How I grew my Instragram to over 10k followers

One thing I get asked regularly is how I've managed to grow such a big following on Instagram.  Now before you say anything I know that my following isn't as big as some people. I don't have hundreds of thousands of followers and my posts aren't likely to do a Kim Kardashian and break the internet any time soon. However, I do have a little space on the internet that people register regularly and interact with. As a result I've been given the opportunity to work with some incredibly huge brands that I love like Merrell, ASICS and New Balance. Being asked to work with big household names who I've grown up loving is such an amazing feeling and I know that I am so so lucky.

Why my account works

I think my account works because it's different. It isn't just healthy meals or gym selfies and I know that sets my account apart from a lot of health and fitness bloggers. In fact so much so I don't call myself a blogger and I don't like the terms influencer. I built my Instagram page to motivate myself to eat well. I had got to a point in my life where I was sick of eating hardly anything all day and then eating three chocolate bars on the way home. Or being really healthy all week and then ruining it all on a weekend. So I set up my page to be accountable. I started trying to eat healthily and to stay on track and find inspiration I created an Instagram account. I was instantly different from most other health and fitness bloggers because I have a full time job in the City, rather than working solely as a blogger or spending every day working as a PT in a gym. My posts offered something a bit different, something very real. I starting sharing tips for fitting in healthy eating when I'd had a hell of a long day at work and all I wanted to do was stuff my face with toast and biscuits and do you know what, that's what people liked. People liked that I was honest and that I didn't have my breakfast toppings neatly placed and picture perfect. My account is real (as real as an Instagram highlight reel can be). I rarely use filters and have a 3 snap rule on how many photos I'll take to try and get a good shot. As I got my nutrition on track I began to share more of my life and what I loved. I got more and more messages from people asking how I did things and why and so I created a blog as a place to share more of what I was doing. My Instagram account now has almost 14k followers and on the way I've built up a fantastic community. The amount of support I got recently on the run-up and during the London marathon was incredible.

Anyway enough about me. Here's what I've learnt along the way:

Tips that could work for you

1. Be Yourself - being genuine and honest on social media goes a long way. When I started to be myself and tell people that workouts were hard or that I actually didn't like kale (told you I'm not a normal fitness blogger) people responded and said that they felt the same way. Showing myself to be a regular girl who was trying to build a career in the City was something people could and do relate to. I now regularly share my adventures using #LivingInTheWeekend - adventures you can enjoy without giving up the day job - that again is something that makes me normal.

2. Be Interesting - at the same time as being yourself I think that the reason my profile works is because I do different things. I started my profile to inspire myself and now I keep going to share my adventures in the hope that if even one person sees them and decides to give them a go it will have been worthwhile. In the last six months I have climbed Kilimanjaro (the highest free-standing mountain on the planet), moved out of London to live in the country, started a new job, trained for and ran a marathon, climbed Snowdon and completed a Tough Mudder. I've shared the highs and lows of my journey on Instagram @lucy_fitness.

3. Be Interested - it might sound a bit obvious but the key to social media is to be sociable-. Talk to people, be interested. Ask questions on your posts. People won't respond straight away but they will in time so make sure you write back. Also engage on like minded accounts. Some people don't want to like people's accounts as they don't want that account to get more traffic, however, the algorithms are built in such a way to show you and other people what you're all liking and commenting on. So if you stay quiet no one will see you and your account remains hidden.

4. Stay true to yourself - Accounts with integrity are the ones that people like. By like I don't mean the number of likes, that's kind of irrelevant. I mean it's the accounts that people genuinely engage with. I am so lucky to have had an incredible amount of opportunities via my blog and Instagram but for every collaboration you see there are probably two others that aren't the right fit so they haven't happened. Don't try too hard. Stay true to you and like/ comment/interact with similar or relevant accounts. Make sure you say hi to people if you like their stuff and tell them if you try their recipe or go on an adventure that they're written about. Tell people you agree with them or would love to try their workout. Instagram is such a friendly place if you take the time to talk to people. Interaction is the key way to building a dedicated interested following.

5. Post regularly - you don't have to be a lot but be consistent. If you are going to post say once a day, do it around the same time. I found that if I post around 8am I get a lot of engagement. Maybe people are on their way to work and they can respond or maybe it's because I'm posting about breakfast so it's relevant to what people are looking for. Obviously the exact time doesn't matter because Instagram is global but I'd advise trying to keep to a broadly similar time so that people know that when they go to your page they'll find regular new content.

6. Use hashtags and geotags - they aren't spammy, especially  if you put them in the comments. Instagram is built using algorithms. One of the key functions is hashtags. Using hashtags is how people who don't follow you will find you. People will search something they're interested in like #thegreatoutdoors and find you if you've used this tag, that's how you build your audience. Make sure they're appropriate to what you're posting about. Take a look at the hashtags used on other similar accounts for inspiration. You can use a maximum of 30 on each post. Similarly, people will find your posts if you add a location. If you find an incredible place and take a great picture put a location. Not only will you inspire people to visit but anyone else researching that place will find you.

There's so much more I could say but I won't as this is already a bit long but if you want any tipsthen feel free to send me a message on Instagram or drop me a comment below.

Have a great Sunday.

Lucy x