The art of Instagram: how to grow your following

A few days ago I hit 300K followers on my Instagram page vladamua and it inspired me to write a blog about how I grew my following. All of the information I have right now is merely my own knowledge based on trial and error. I will be writing about my experience of managing a makeup page of original content and what works for this specific area. It may also work for other fields, so if you are interested to know what I’ve learned, please keep reading.

1. Specialize your page

It has to be obvious what your page is about from the first glance. Makeup, lifestyle, baking, painting… whatever you decide to post about, make it easy for people to identify in the first few seconds of their visit. Don’t post any irrelevant photos, most people who want to follow a makeup page will not be interested in what you’ve had for lunch today. You can start a separate personal page for your friends and family for this kind of stuff.

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2. Create unique and beautiful content

In my opinion, this is the most important thing about running a successful Instagram page. It doesn’t matter how many “shout outs” you get. If your content isn’t good, people won’t follow you. Figure out your strong suits and develop your skill.

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You can purchase this 300K Anniversary limited edition print here


3. Be consistent with your posts

Posting every day or even a few times a day is ideal. You will hit a larger audience if you post frequently. On my page vladamua I use product shots as my “fillers” for the page, they help me post often to maintain engagement on my page, they don’t require a lot of retouching and are less time consuming. Plus, they give me a chance to get featured on brands’ pages as well.


4. Work with brands

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 Both images were shot for Pat McGrath Labs

Big brands usually have a massive following, and they often share the looks that were created using their product. It’s a win win relationship: the brands get beautiful photos to advertise their products with and you get exposure to their following! Maintaining great relationships with brands is very important, these are your sponsors, supporters and potential clients.


5. Collaborate with other artists

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Photos and retouching by Julia Kuzmenko 

Models: Porsche Thomas and Laura Gude, makeup by Vlada Haggerty

Doing collaborations with photographers, painters, jewelry designers and even with other makeup artists can be very beneficial in several ways:

a) it can inspire you to create something new and out of your comfort zone;

b) it will help you grow as an artist;

c) it will expose your work to their following and vice versa;

d) it can create new job opportunities.

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Here is a wonderful example of how collaborating with another artist can result in something unique and beautiful. Check out Yoaila’s amazing creations here: Yoaila Jewelry


6. Watermark your photos

I can’t stress enough how important it is to watermark your work. When I think of all the times my work was shared without any credit and all the opportunities I’ve lost because of that, I want to say it over and over again. Don’t make the same mistakes. It’s so much easier to prevent the image theft than to deal with the consequences. Ever since I started watermarking my photos, I noticed that my following started growing much faster. People can actually find me now!


7. Use a color theme on your page

The recent Instagram page trend is to color coordinate the photos on your page either by rainbow colors or just by having smooth color transitions between the photos. It looks very attractive and makes people stop for a moment and scroll through your feed. That’s essentially what you want: for your potential followers to stop and look at your work. Curiosity is what will make them follow you. They will want to see more of your work in the future! It can be a little tricky if you only post original content and requires a lot of planning and thinking ahead, but the result is worth it. Another option is to incorporate other people’s work into your color theme, but please be mindful and respectful and credit the photo you’re using.

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8. Keep growing as an artist

If you want to have loyal followers, you will need to keep it interesting for them. I often unfollow pages that post the same makeup looks and don’t develop as artists. Practice your skill, upgrade your gear, learn new techniques and stay on top of the trends. If you keep people inspired, they will never unfollow you.

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Shot on Juanuary 8th, 2015  

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Shot on May 30th, 2016


I really hope that this post can help you grow your following and expand your audience. After all, the amount of exposure your art gets is most important when you start to establish yourself as an artist. I wish you the best of luck in this amazing adventure!