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HERE'S HOW TO DO IT
We take a close look at fashion influencer @Sarahjoholder
At a glance, Sarah Jo Holder might seem like just your average 25-year-old woman. But online, Sarah Jo can boast over 150,000 followers on Instagram (@sarahjoholder) and over three million views on her YouTube channel! It’s hard to believe that just one year before she only had 16,000 Instagram followers. That’s a 10x increase in followers in just over a year!
After graduating from university in 2014, Sarah Jo began a small fashion blog as a way of attracting potential employers. But after discovering social media influencers like Zoella and Patricia Bright, Sarah Jo was inspired to invest more time into her Instagram and YouTube accounts. Fast forward a few years, and Sarah Jo has clearly found her niche.
On YouTube, she identifies herself as an OCOS (obsessive chronic online shopper) who is always on the hunt for a good clothing discount. But one look at her Instagram proves that just because she’s spending less on her clothing does not mean she’s lacking in fashion sense!
Want to follow in Sarah’s footsteps? Here’s how!
Although being a social media influencer is a fairly new job, the field is increasingly competitive. It’s easy to get started. All you need is an internet connection. But after that is the hard part. You have to find a way to get noticed in the sea of established influencers as well as micro influencers. Let’s look at some top tips on how to grow your Instagram!
1) First, Work on Creating a Cohesive Aesthetic for Your Feed
Imagine a new potential follower clicking on your profile and scrolling through the feed. This is a lightning-fast glance, and if you don’t make a strong, lasting impression, no one is going to hit the “follow” button. Make sure the photos you have on your profile reflect a single, cohesive aesthetic. If you take a look at Sarah Jo’s feed, you’ll quickly see that she’s established a clear, cohesive look. Figure out what your “look” is and make sure your photos are reflecting that.
2) Strategically Utilize Story Highlights
Part of the appeal of Instagram stories is they’re only on your profile temporarily. But now you also have the option to highlight specific stories so that they’re instantly visible in your profile. If you have a story you’re especially proud of, highlight it. If you posted a story that you think is the perfect representation of your branding, highlight it. Choose stories that people find intriguing. If you look at Sarah Jo’s profile, you’ll notice that she’s highlighted several stories.
3) Engage with Other Influencers
One of the best ways to gain new followers is to engage with other influencers and their followers. Like their posts and comment, but also like the comments on their posts and reply to fellow followers. Put some thought into what you’re saying. If they like what you say, they just might check out your profile and give you a follow.
4) Cross-Promote Your Instagram Account
Find new Instagram followers by promoting your Instagram account on other social media platforms. Have a YouTube channel? Tell your subscribers to give you a follow and include your handle in the description box. Add your Instagram handle in your Twitter bio and link to your Instagram account on your personal blog.
5) Use Hashtags
Using hashtags on your posts and stories is one of the most effective ways for you to gain new followers! Anyone can see your posts if they’re checking out a hashtag you used. You’ll easily gain new followers through the explore page of Instagram. Sarah Jo uses hashtags on many of her posts. Not only can you use successful hashtags, but you can also create your own to start trends and help your followers easily locate your Insta posts.
6) Tag Your Location
Tagging your location is similar to gaining followers through hashtags. Instagram users sometimes check out posts by searching for a certain location. Whether you’re tagging your hometown or your vacation destination, this is an effective way to get noticed on social media. Sarah Jo also uses this method. She’s tagged locations all across the globe from Florida to Greece to the Island of Mauritius.
7) Post Regularly
Consistency is key to gaining a large Instagram following. In the Instagram world, that means you should be posting at least once a day. Sarah Jo posts at least once a day, sometimes several times a day. You don’t want to be pushing content if you don’t have any, but you do want to consistently show up in your followers’ feeds as well as the explore page.
8) Try to Get Featured
Chances are, no matter what kind of account you have on Instagram, there’s a feature account out there that’s all about it. Usually, these accounts will use certain hashtags or simply ask that you tag them in order to locate your posts. If they like what they see, you might get featured and seen by an entirely new audience. So do a little research and find accounts that do this on your area of expertise, whether it’s food, fashion, or something else.
9) Follow Your Role Models
Follow the accounts that you dream of aspiring to! They can be influencers that are just a little more popular than you or ones that you think are significantly out of your reach. Either way, that account will be notified you’ve followed them. If you’re lucky, they might check out your account and follow you back! Let’s assume their content is similar to yours and maybe their followers will love your account too, why don’t you scroll through their followers and like a pic or two to see if it leads to any new interactions. You’ll be surprised how effective this is.
10) Post Ads and Partnerships
Ads and partnerships may come a little later in your time as an Instagram influencer. But if you can find a brand who is willing to collaborate with you on a post, take it. Sarah Jo has done this with many brands (here’s an example!)
The road to becoming an Instagram influencer is difficult. You’ll have a lot of competition. But with hard work, research, and perseverance you can definitely increase your following by 1000%! Sarah Jo Holder did it in just one year. With these tips, we can all do it, too!
Sarah's original interview was featured in the March 2018 issue as the Fashion Project LIVE Award Show Judge, This feature was written by Fashion Project LIVE and does not represent Sarah's words or how she feels about her Instagram growth.