Saturday, July 08, 2017

7 Tips To Gain Instagram Followers

This is a long overdue blog post on how I gain more Instagram followers on my personal Instagram account iamjolene which is currently at about 17k.

Anyone can use my strategy to gain followers if you hustle a little more. I won't call myself a "blogger"; I am just somebody who writes a blog. I don't quite like the term "influencer"; I'm not like those IG influencers who are mini celebrities commanding high rates. Of course, I'm not some actress, model or celebrity too. I'm just an ordinary person who has a personal Instagram account. And if an ordinary person like me could gain 17k followers, you can do it too! :D

When I experienced an exponential growth of Instagram followers and reached 10k followers 2 years back, people noticed and asked me how I did it. I readily shared my tips with close friends and some of them put them into practice and saw growth.

There are lots of articles on the Internet about how to get more Instagram followers. They have got really good tips there, from curating your account to holding contests to using the right hashtags.

I won't be repeating rich information which could readily be found in many articles so in this blog post, I will share with you MY WAY of gaining real Instagram followers ethically without buying fake followers or doing those annoying follow unfollow methods.

The key word here is GOOD ENGAGEMENT. Sincere ongoing engagement leads to organic followers and these are the followers who usually stick by you for a long time.

Tip 1:
Find IG accounts of similar niche as yours and like a few photos from them.

Liking a few photos would certainly get the IGer's attention. Some of them would return the likes back and might even follow. Depending on whether their account is to my taste, I'll follow back.

Tip 2:
Comment sincerely on photos that you have something to comment on.

Liking is easy but commenting takes more effort so it definitely catches the IGer's attention. This needs time and effort so I do it during commutes and pockets of free time. Everyone appreciates sincere engagement. I follow back IGers who have been engaging sincerely even though their feed may not be my liking coz I appreciate them. Such followers eventually become long time IG friends. Likewise, there are also IGers out there like me who would appreciate your sincere engagement and follow you back.

Tip 3:
Scroll through the likes, comments and followers of other IG accounts and engage in them.

After that, follow Tip 1 and 2.

Tip 4:
Leave sincere comments on famous accounts. 

Don't leave cursory ones or simply emojis. Cursory ones are done by insincere people only trying to gain attention. Emojis are usually done by bots.

Your comments with thoughts put in will definitely get their followers' attention who might visit your page back.

Take for example, when I comment on famous hairstylists' accounts, other hairstylists and funky hair pple would visit my feed and like all my purple hair photos. Some would follow too.

Another example would be when I comment on a few famous travel accounts, somehow other travel accounts would visit my feed and like my travel posts. Likewise, some followed too.

Even if you don't gain followers this way, you might have those famous account liking your photos. I had Guy Tang's mydentity account liking my purple hair posts and the official Lululemon account liking my yoga wear post. It really felt good to have famous accounts liking your posts.

Tip 5:
Reply to comments.

Because people appreciate you when you reciprocate and it definitely shows your sincerity!

Yes, I know. It is hard to reply to every single comment when we have a life going on outside of Instagram. Take a few minutes to reply as a way of saying thank you. I appreciate people taking the time to comment and I would visit their account and engage their posts too.

As you gain more followers, it becomes harder to reply to every comment and I don't reply to every single one now. Giving a heart to acknowledge would be the least you could do.

You should also note that one-word or few-words comments such as "great post" or "cool" or emojis are usually left by bots or insincere people in a rush to get attention. It's up to you if you want to reply to them to get their attention back, give a heart or just move on.

Tip 6: 
Like many photos of IGers who have a lot more following than followers.

If you simply want to grow followers without bothering if they are of your niche or theme, scroll through followers of famous accounts and do the above. IGers with a lot more following than followers are highly likely to follow you back. Remember not to spam too many likes though. I personally dislike it if people who visit like every single photo of mine.

Do note that this way of gaining followers would get you lots of "dead" or inactive followers. That means they only follow you without ever liking or commenting on your posts at all. Suddenly having lots of such accounts following you would generate more of such accounts following you. I don't understand this logic or how the IG algorithm works but I noticed this when I had my exponential growth.

You may not like such "dead" or inactive followers but they certainly add significantly to your followers count. When you have a good follower is to following ratio, people are more likely to follow you.

Tip 7:
Be bold to ask politely and sincerely. 

When I often have to and fro likes and comments from the same IGers, I would be open and ask if we could follow each other because I appreciate the connection. Most of the times, they would follow back. I built many real connection and IG friends in this way. Some of these IGers grew to be so popular in the high 5 digits follower range but they never ever unfollow coz there is a rapport built right from the start. However don't do a "Hey, I followed you. Follow me back." Nobody likes that. Of course, don't be discouraged if fellow IGers do not want to follow you back. You may think that they are a bitch but it is fine. It's just frivolous Instagram. Be gracious, move on and don't take offence.

I'm sharing what worked for me to get to where I am now before I started joining Instagram communities or more affectionately known as pods. To grow followers and engagement organically is super hard work when you don't do the follow unfollow method. People seldom have the time now but I really dislike people who do follow unfollow. It is downright insincere.

Many people are also turning to bots and Virtual Assistants (VA) that would do all these back-end work for them. That sure sounds great but for now, my IG is still a personal space and I would like to manage it myself. Moreover, bots and VA do the follow-unfollow method too so I personally would stay away from them until perhaps one day when I get famous, busy and insincere. ;P

With the introduction of the Instagram algorithm whereby posts are not shown in chronological order on news feed, my rate of followers gain and likes are seriously affected. While gaining a steady stream of followers, I realised that I'm losing followers by the few hundreds since the start of this year even though my engagement is more. I could gain a few followers every 3 days but I lose about 10 per day. I could never cross back to my 17.4k mark. I discover that many IGers also experienced the same problem and it could be an Instagram algorithm issue where our posts are not readily available to people who would follow and engage. Nevertheless, quality over quantity. It is a natural way to detox my account when these unfollowers are the inactive ones.

I will continue with sincere engagement because I believe that a little hustle and sincerity would perpetuate real growth in followers.

Image Credit: All the beautiful images on this post are used with permission from with_love_martha. Even though we just knew each other this year, I know she's such a sweet lady from our interaction on IG. Check out her Instagram page for loads of beautiful edibles made by herself and follow her while you're at it. 

Side rant: I know that parts of my blog look unsightly now because I hosted years of images (which include images on my main blog page like the blog buttons on top) on Photobucket. I'm mad pissed and completely upset that years of photos hosted with Photobucket are all replaced by their unsightly banner now. RAWR!!! If you haven't already known about the Photobucket saga, read more about it here.

Monday, June 26, 2017

The Blissful Bundle from A Better Florist

I love flowers.

My love for flowers started when I was in an all girls' secondary school and gal pals gave each other flowers on Valentine's Day, a day we affectionately termed as Friendship Day.

Groups of friends and classmates would buy tickets and support you when you perform in a concert (I was from the symphonic band) and then present you with large bouquet of flowers and balloons at the end of the performance.

It was all really heartwarming back then in school. Hence it is an irony that instead of being swooned when my then boyfriend (now husband) bought me bouquet of flowers twice early in our relationship, I told him not to waste money. My mistake. I've not received any flowers from him since then.

I still love flowers though I seldom receive them now. A Better Florist made by day when I received this vase of Spring Breeze at my office last week.

I absolutely adore fresh flowers in glass vase. I love pastel, romantic, vintagey flower theme. I love the burst of floral fragrance when I sniff at flowers.

My pastel theme flowers from A Better Florist came in a glass vase with vintagey twine all bursting with floral fragrance. It was no wonder my kitty cat Miyo stepped into the doorway of my room, lifted her head and sniffed the air with a cute little pink nose going up and down before running to the flowers.

The Blissful Bundle is the ultimate bliss-pack for a stress free season which includes the Spring Breeze - gorgeous pastel blooms to brighten anyone's home or work space. I feel so happy looking at them by the TV every day!

Even though I love flowers, I am a flower idiot. My Instagram friend told me that I have got Roses, Lisianthus, Gerbera daisy and little green Chrysanthemum pompoms. Now I suddenly feel so enlightened about flowers! *LOL*

The Blissful Bundle also comes with a relaxing lavender candle for bedtime, and an energizing lemongrass candle to start the day.

I am one who absolutely dislike Lavender -- one of the most popular scent in the world. I find that many Lavender products have got a salty base note that could sometimes smell like saliva.

I am utterly amazed that this Lavender soy candle smells heavenly. There isn't a hint of the salty saliva smell I often associate with Lavender. It just smells like fresh Lavender. I'm slightly addicted to it as I keep opening the lid to sniff it. The Lemongrass smells just like strong Lemongrass and fortunately, I'm fine with Lemongrass so I would say it smells great too. I wonder what Miyo thinks.

Look, there is even a flower care guide!

The customer service from the lady handling my order till the courier service was great! It was a breeze communicating with them.

A Better Florist also conducts Flower Jam Sessions every Saturday. Visit them for more details!


Monday, May 01, 2017

Chinese New Year 2017 -- Year of the Rooster

It is 3 months after the Chinese New Year and I am just done with editing the photos. I say 3 months is a pretty good improvement as compared to the previous years. °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

Loooooooong picture-ful post. Go get your drinks and popcorn while waiting for the images to load. You could even savour your main dish in front of your computer. Those viewing this on your smartphones and other hand held devices, I suggest you skip reading this post till you get home or you might risk jamming your device and cursing at my blog in public. I know my turtle friend did that once minus the cursing in public. =P

~*Pre CNY*~

The Year of The Rooster is my hubby's year (and nope, he isn't 24 years old so figure how OLD he is.)

My MIL who doesn't usually buy chinese zodiac decorations bought rooster CNY decorations for us since it is her son's zodiac year. The boy boy and girl girl chicken with furry tummies are just too cute! I love them and love how festive they made our home look. Now after CNY, they are sitting idly in the cupboard only to be gloriously hung up 12 years later. _へ__(‾◡◝ )>

I looked like I was posing casually with the chicks but check out what went behind the scene. I had to prop myself up on the chair to reach tat level to stick the decoration up. And one of my gal pal who saw the above photo asked me if I was wearing my CNY clothes coz it looked so pink. Well, I was in home clothes -- my VS Love Pink pajamas and FBT shorts. LOL.

Presenting my CNY 2017 nails to welcome the year of the Rooster! Because roosters are not that cute in general, I decided to do a baby rooster instead. I asked the nail artist to modify from a chick nail art and had its hair replaced by the red lines for a baby rooster. 🐔🐓🐣🐥

I did my CNY2017 nails way early as I couldn't stand the ickiness of how long the Christmas nails had grown with the edges flipping up. But after doing so much housework, my CNY nails are starting to show signs of colour lightening at the edges.

After moving to our new home, my OCD nature peaked. I'm constantly cleaning the house largely because of Miyo too. Her fur is too soft and smooth that when they shed, they float everywhere, contributing to 90% of the dust and dirt in the home.

Here are 19 out of 26 household tasks checked! I was surprised by how much the hubz and I could do over the last weekend before CNY and how much we could accomplish when we divide and conquer. Although we did not complete all the tasks, we felt proud of ourselves and had an enjoyable time having people visit our home.

The kitchen counter looked so festive with all the goodies, a nice basket of mandarin oranges and a silly mascot cat who seemed to think it is HER YEAR.

"This is my chilling place ok?"

"Humans, you do not put 2 mandarin oranges in front of me and make me your CNY mascot."

We did not snap any family photo this year during reunion dinner with the in laws coz it was the first time we were seated outdoor where it was too dark. This was what my FIL snapped.

~*CNY Happenings*~

All decked in maroon for Day 1. I suspect this dress would wind up being my Xmas dress too.
I wasalso  trying to snap my purple, blue and green hair but all the camera could capture was the blue.

When you have an uncooperative cat with a resting bitch face and you just want to take a decent CNY family portrait, you realize that you need to invest in a tripod... or a new cat.

Day 1 would be spend at my family home for lunch. I always LURVE the food that my parents prepare. Yes, both my mum and my dad are good cooks! We had steamboat lunch this year and the soup base is pig stomach soup. They make the best pig stomach soup in the world! We also had the usual CNY dishes like ngor hiang, leek and white-spotted rabbitfish.

As usual, we would have the tradition of taking The Loh Family portrait shots on the sofa and the anigif of various shots on continuous snap timer mode that would follow.

After that, it would be at The Ng Family for the same portrait shot on the sofa and the anigif. Both sofas are getting really old. (‐^▽^‐)

My paternal grandma whom we always find really cute hasn't been doing well these 2 years. She doesn't recognize anyone anymore. I missed this family photo with her while I was paying respects at the in laws' side on Day 1. (⌯˃̶᷄ ﹏ ˂̶᷄⌯)゚

I forgot which day it was when we had the usual steamboat dinner with the hubz' paternal relatives. I always love all these home cooked Chinese food and kh's eldest uncle and his wife whip up really fabulous home cooked food.

Great home cooked food should be shared.
The best black coffee in the world too!

This pair of yellow birds would come every new year to build their nest at the exact same plant outside kh's uncle's place. I spied a little blue egg in there! So exciting! I guess for a tropical country that does not experience the 4 seasons, this is indeed a tell tale sign of spring's arrival.

A yellow bird also attempted to build a nest on our swing. I wondered if it is the same species of yellow bird. Can you spot the bird and the curious Miyo?

After a good lunch feast, it was dinner feast at my paternal relatives' place. There was a mixture of Chinese and Western food and they were all so delectable too! What a day of lots of good food and family warmth.

Best Japanese sake ever!

There are lots of new addition in this family photo as the younger cousins are all taking their partners along. The youngsters are all growing up and the not so young are all growing old but still keeping our hearts young.

There seemed to be 2 CNY lunches with the the department as one of the day was the actual CNY lunch while another was a CPR workshop day coupled with National Education tour at the Battle Box.

Instead of taking a whole dept shot, we decided this would do when we asked the other table to join in the wefie.

The unofficial 2nd CNY lunch with the dept after our CPR renewal course. We are all certified to perform CPR.

Anywhere also can take photo... Gals... This is in the ladies btw.

The Battlebox tour at Fort Canning may not be cheap but it is worth every cent. This is currently run by a private company and the guides who are volunteers are excellent. If this private company had not stepped out to manage this, the Battlebox would have been closed by the government for the next few years. That would be a huge part of Singapore's history being closed to the public.

After the battlebox tour, a few friends from work headed over to my place to see Miyo and to gamble. What's CNY without some gambling?

The Banker who kept winning sought Prophet Miyo's divine answers.

Everyone loves Miyo even when she has a resting bitch face.

The VIOS decided to replicate the atas CNY BBQ from 2 years back.

Just look at the premium ingredients!

Dot was surprised by the birthday cake for her. Check out the scaredy cat Miyo cowering under the sofa in the last pic. She was freaked out when we switched off all the lights and sang the happy birthday song.

This is what goes on behind the scene when you are the cutest diva RBF cat in the world.

And as the years go by, we continue living young and doing youngish stuff like age didn't matter. Ending off the night with failed 三连拍 which nobody followed and THE silly DAB pose which everyone did!

The last CNY gathering was the Hubz and his uni frenz' annual mahjong gathering. This is the first time we have it at our new place coz everyone wants to see Miyo too.

The boys plan to take a shot like this for the next few years to come until everyone becomes old uncle and old grandpa.  °˖✧◝(⁰▿⁰)◜✧˖°

And we deep fried for the first time in our open concept kitchen coz everyone had craving for luncheon meat fries for supper.

I thought of scrapping the idea of posting a late CNY post  but felt that it would not make my blog complete if there is a missing post for this year's CNY, and the hubz' year too. I sure hope you enjoyed joining me on my CNY 2017 happenings through these photos whether they are late or not.

It is the Labour Day public holiday here in Singapore and I was supposed to be working on my work laptop for an event we are organising. It would be a real busy month of May this year but hey, I've promised myself that I want to blog more and I'm honouring my word to myself. It feels really good! I realise that the only promise I always break is the one to myself. I will break that habit and continue to keep promises I made to myself from now on.


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