7 Instagram Growth Hacks: How To Authentically Grow Your Following + Engagement on Instagram

Okay, hands up if you are sick of the 'follow/unfollow method', spam comments, and algorithm changes on Instagram? 🙋

I know I'm not the only one here.

I feel like everyone is in sort of a love/hate relationship with Instagram at the moment. I've seen a lot of conversations on Twitter and in Facebook groups where fellow bloggers + creative entrepreneurs are losing followers, seeing engagement rates drop, and losing all hope of doing well on Instagram.

It's definitely disheartening when you start to see a decrease in numbers. I've spoken before about how social media unfollowers are actually GOOD for you, but drops in engagement rates are something that shouldn't be ignored.

Instead of losing faith in Instagram, there are 7 things you can easily do to help boost your presence and connect with your audience on Instagram. Let's hack the system, pals! ✊

7 Instagram Growth Hacks: How To Authentically Grow Your Following And Engagement On Instagram | Sick of spam comments and the follow/unfollow method on Instagram? You're not the only one! Instead of losing faith in Instagram, there are 7 things you can easily do to help boost your presence and connect with your audience on Instagram. Click here to read my guide and grab your FREE checklist! Perfect for bloggers, creative entrepreneurs, and small business owners!


You might be thinking "what the eff is a headline?!" 

Your username is what shows up in someone's notifications when you follow someone else, or if you comment or like their post in some way. 

Your headline is what shows up at the top of your Instagram profile above your bio.

Your headline is only available on your profile BUT it is an essential feature to optimise as it is included in Instagram's search function.

You want to make sure your headline includes keywords + phrases related to what you offer so that your account can pop up when your audience are searching for relevant keywords.

For example, my headline is 'Social Media Tips w/ Zoe Linda' - so if someone searches 'social media' or 'social media tips', my account could pop up as an option.


I'm all for the 'Hi - I'm Zoe. I like hot chocolate, Jennifer Lawrence, and crunchy leaves.' kinda bio. (I mean, this basically WAS my old Instagram bio 🙈)

But it's just not professional and it leaves your potential followers thinking "so what?"

Why should they follow you if they don't even know how you can help them as an individual?

You need to be telling your ideal blog readers, customers & clients what you do, how you can help them, and what you typically post to Instagram. Basically, tell them what's in it for them when they hit that 'follow' button on Instagram.

Try to write your bio as if you are talking to one individual within your ideal audience. If you try to talk to everyone, you'll end up speaking to no one.

Here are some examples of great Instagram bios that tell their audience what they do and in a personable way that make me want to hit that follow button!

P.S. @luxundpoppy is actually one of my Instagrowth students and her account has been growing like crazy! Learn more about Instagrowth here!

Believe it or not, I just spent a good half an hour trying to find good examples of bios within many other niches. I looked through fitness accounts, photographer's feeds, foodstagrammers, and more - but came up short. Most people just list their name and where they are from.

Most bloggers just say they are a blogger without going into what exactly makes them different or being at all personable.

Most photographers just say they are a photographer without touching on their style or if they are even available to hire.

Most people focus their bios on themselves. 

You, my friend, are going to focus it on your audience!


To this day, I still see bloggers and business owners that don't link to their website on their Instagram page. SUCH a rookie mistake!

You want to be funnelling your Instagram followers back to your website so you can grow your blog readership, book clients, and sell your products, right?

So, use your #linkinbio! It's the one place you can get your audience out of Instagram and onto your website, landing page, Facebook group, or elsewhere! You've got one chance, so you can't mess it up.

Here are three ways you can use your Instagram link to get your followers engaging with your brand off the Instagram platform:

A) Use it to feature your latest blog post

This is a great way to get your Instagram audience over to your latest blog post. You can easily promo your latest post and use your caption or Instagram story to let your audience know that a link to the post is in your bio.

In my opinion, this option is a short-term win but a long-term loss.

It's not a favourite of mine because it means:

  • you have to keep swapping your link whenever you publish a new post
  • you'll have old posts still circulating the 'gram saying to check out your #linkinbio that leads your audience to another, newer post
  • you can only point them to one thing at a time, which sucks when you have a blog, mailing list, Facebook group, and more you're trying to grow 

If you DO go ahead with this, I'd definitely recommend using a link shortener like Bit.ly to shorten your blog post link, especially if it's a long URL. It just tidies up your profile a little!

B) Create an Instagram landing page on your website

Instead of swapping your link out all the time, you can create one page on your blog or website where the URL stays the same but the content changes to fit your current needs.

Here's an example of Lauren's (from Elle & Company) Instagram landing page:

This page features her four most recent blog posts and, if you scroll further down, you can sign up for her latest webinar and get yourself on her mailing list. 

This is super easy to create! Just make a new page on your blog or website but make sure it's not in your navigation or footer. Make the URL something like www.yourblog.com/instagram so it's easy to share in your bio.

C) Use Linktr.ee to showcase multiple links within one link and basically kick-ass at Instagram

Can you tell how much I love this already?

Linktr.ee allows you to use one link in your bio that drives your followers to a 'menu' of sorts with multiple links. It's basically amazing.

You can see how this looks in reality with my profile below. You can see I have my linktr.ee URL in my bio; linktr.ee/zoelinda_ 

If you click that link, you'll be taken to my menu of links (below)! This screengrab was taken on desktop, but it is super mobile friendly and adapts perfectly to fit a smartphone screen.

Linktr.ee is great because:

  • you can easily add new links
  • there doesn't seem to be a maximum link limit
  • you can easily rearrange your links
  • you can track the number of clicks per link
  • you can customise your menu colours

What option are you going to go ahead with?

For options 2 + 3, I've created a simple checklist for you on what sort of content you might want to feature on the landing page or in your Linktr.ee!

Get your FREE Instagram link checklist!


Make sure your Instagram landing page or Linktr.ee menu kicks ass with this simple checklist!

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P.S. This checklist is taken straight from my upcoming e-course, Instagrowth! If you're interested, click here to join the VIP waiting list!


I know this is cosmetic but if you are following more people than people are following you, your Instagram can seem unprofessional.

It can appear as if you have been implementing the 'follow/unfollow' method - yes, THAT method - which, gives off a bad first impression.

Take some time to sift through your 'following' list to see if there are any accounts you haven't interacted with for a while or that you are no longer interested in. Maybe you followed a brand account that you're not interested in anymore, or you find yourself following a group of celebs that you haven't seen post on Instagram for a while.

Top tip: Try to avoid using apps that track your followers and unfollowers. This shifts the focus from your personal interests to a fear that you may unfollow someone who follows you.

My rule for following a new account or unfollowing an account is to ask myself 3 simple questions:

  • Do I know them personally?
  • Are they in my ideal audience?
  • Are they a resource or an inspiration to me?

If the answer to all of these questions is "no", then I know they're not worth following.


With Instagram being such a visual platform, it’s no surprise that accounts with eye-catching, engaging themes perform so well. Not only does it give new followers a great first impression, but it also makes sure that your branding is recognisable in every photo of your Instagram feed. 

It takes time and effort, but I’ve got 5 reasons you need an Instagram theme to help grow your blog’s visual brand:

You can give a great first impression

On Instagram, first impressions are everything. You want someone to click on your profile for the first time and think to themselves “wow, this looks awesome!”

You want new visitors to hit that follow button instantaneously. You want followers to know exactly what you’re all about within a split second of viewing your profile. Having a well-thought out Instagram theme can do all of this for you.

If you’ve defined your purpose and honed in your target audience, you’ll start to deeply understand what types of content you should post on your Instagram account to create a great first impression.

Your audience will know what to expect

People like to know what they are signing up for. I rarely follow an Instagram account without a strong theme because I don’t know what will end up on my feed.

If I’m looking to fill my feed with food snaps, I would find and follow accounts that focus on those specific things. I wouldn’t follow somebody who has posted a lot of random photos and pray that they will one day post some foodtography. Would you?

Having a specific niche builds trust with your audience, which comes in handy when you start your business or monetise your blog.

Your account will be on-brand

A great first impression is important, but it means nothing if the impression doesn’t reflect your blog’s visual branding. There’s no point creating a theme with a calm vibe if your account is for an excitable and upbeat events blog! You need to make sure your blog’s visual branding is obvious from your Instagram theme.

Keep your photos on brand by using the same:

  • Colours - stick to 3 or 4 colours maximum

  • Fonts - if you use text on your images, use the same 2 or 3 fonts

  • Backgrounds - all white? Patterned? Colourful? Keep your backgrounds coherent to stay on-brand

  • Props - if you use a set number of props in different ways, your followers will be able to hand pick your photos from everyone else’s in their feed

Your photos will really stand out in your follower’s Instagram home feeds. They will be able to instantly recognise your posts and branding without even having to look at your username! Now that’s good branding.

Related Post: The Best Apps for Editing + Scheduling Your Instagram Posts

You will have a consistent account

Once you’ve sorted out your branding and first impression, you need to be consistent. The hardest part of finding a theme is sticking with it - believe me, I know how hard it is!

It may be tempting to post something that doesn’t quite fit into your theme but don’t. You know the little song “one of these things just doesn’t belong”? Your followers will start thinking that while scroll through your Instagram feed.

This one post will stick out like a sore thumb and may even lose you followers. If you go to a rock concert, you wouldn’t expect to hear a church choir sing - give your followers what they signed up for!

Consistency often goes hand-in-hand with having a strategic plan for your InstagramStock photos are also a great way to achieve this consistency without the big time investment.

If you take the time and effort to keep your theme consistent, the payoff will be invaluable.

Related Posts: Why I Use Planoly to Plan My Instagram Feed

Your visual aesthetic will attract new followers

Along with being on-brand, you’ll want to be consistent not only in the types of content you post but also in the way they look together. A visual aesthetic sets the tone for your Instagram feed. It’s best to post photos that have similar exposure, contrast, brightness, and colours.

Your visual aesthetic is often nicknamed “the vibe” of your Instagram feed. So what’s your vibe? Maybe it matches one of the examples below:

  • Feminine and frilly: usually lots of pink, gold, and anything that sparkles

  • Dark and moody: great use of light and dark in high contrast, shadowed photos

  • Earthy and organic: all shades of green and brown can be found on these feeds

  • Modern and clean: minimalistic in nature with a lot of white space

These accounts all have their themes down to a T. You know exactly what you’re getting from their grid of 12 pictures and can’t help but love it!

How do you find your theme on Instagram? Well, I have a handy FREE mini-course just for you! 

With #FindYourTheme, you will:

  • determine your audience + where they hang out on Instagram
  • define the purpose of your Instagram account
  • brainstorm new content for your feed
  • choose a bespoke colour palette for your profile
  • decide on props + backgrounds for your photos
  • set a tone of voice for your Instagram captions

I'm really proud of this free e-course so I hope it will be helpful for you too! Click here to sign up or use the form below!

Want an envy-inducing theme?


Sign up to #FindYourTheme in 5 days with my FREE email course!

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I feel like so many bloggers and entrepreneurs struggle with their captions on Instagram. 

Much like you set a theme to your Instagram content, you need to set a brand voice in your Instagram captions. 

I recommend creating a sort of 'lexicon' for your account, which includes a set of 10 to 15 words, phrases, and emojis that you use on a regular basis to keep your captions branded and consistent.

There are many different ways to utilise your caption on each of your Instagram posts. Let's talk about some of the things you can include in your caption:

  • Inspirational quotes
  • Personal updates
  • Blog/business updates
  • Asking a question
  • Product/outfit breakdown
  • Tips + tricks
  • Provide instructions
  • Talk about someone you're inspired by
  • Introduce yourself

You also want to make sure each of your captions includes a strong Call To Action (CTA) that drives conversation and encourages your followers to engage with your post or your profile in some way.


Hashtags. Hashtags. Hashtags.

I literally cannot emphasise the importance of hashtags on Instagram.

You probably know this, right? Everyone has told you that hashtags will help, but maybe you're not convinced or you haven't found the right hashtags yet.

An Instagram post without hashtags is like trying to shout over a crowd without a megaphone. 

Are you someone who #writes their #hashtags within their #caption like this?

Or someone who uses tags like #Tag4Likes, #InstaGood, and #PicOfTheDay to drive engagement to their posts?

Or maybe you don't even use hashtags at all?

Then, I hate to burst your bubble but you are missing out on SO much engagement. 

A couple of stats for ya:

  • Instagram posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement [source]
  • Interactions are highest on Instagram posts with more than 11 hashtags [source]
  • Personally, my engagement increased by 1275% when I started to use hashtags - that's cray!

Unless you have a huge following on Instagram (and I'm talking in the hundreds of thousands), you should always be hashtagging your photos.

How do you expect to grow your following if you're only posting for the people that already follow you?

Instagram doesn't make it easy for your followers to share your content so how else do you expect new people to find you? I'm fed up of hearing that it's 'wrong' or 'uncool' to hashtag your posts on Instagram (and who the heck decided that anyway?).

How do you find new hashtags on Instagram?

Research! If you have a tag you already like and use, you can use it to find ever more hashtags to increase your Instagram followers.

Whilst in the Instagram app, click your chosen tag and you can find a whole bunch of related tags at the top of the screen.

Click through to these and see how many uses they have, what kind of people use the tag, what other tags they relate to, etc.

Also take a look at photos in the 'top posts' section of each tag, and see what other hashtags these Instagrammers have tagged their posts with. For example, if you search for #BlogSociety, you might spot that some of the top posts include the tag #BlogBFFs.

It's a bit of trial and error but once you have your hashtags pinned down, you'll see a great increase in engagement with the right audience for you.

Related: Ultimate Instagram Hashtag Database

Want access to my personal Instagram Hashtag list?


Sign up here and download it for free now!

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Did this post help you up your game on Instagram? Let me know in the comments if you have any questions about Instagram or hop into my FREE Facebook group to ask there!

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8 Surefire Ways To Increase Blog Traffic With Pinterest

Overwhelming. Confusing. Pointless. 

These are just some of the things I used to think about Pinterest. I just didn't 'get' it. 

As someone who has always been naturally good at computing, marketing, and social media, it hit me hard when I realised that Pinterest had me stumped. I kept trying to use it to grow my blog and business but it wasn't working for me.

I had pretty much given up until I thought about why it wasn't working for me.

I hadn't taken the time to learn how to utilise it and implement a strategy.

I don't want you to make the same mistake as me. Pinterest is something that can be a huge referrer of traffic for your blog and is worth setting up from the get-go.

Keep reading to hear my top tips and tricks on how to promote your blog, increase your Pinterest followers, and, ultimately, increase your blog traffic with Pinterest! 📌 

8 Surefire Ways To Increase Blog Traffic With Pinterest | Pinterest can be such a tricky beast to master but it can be an unrivalled source of traffic to your blog. Click through to learn how to promote your blog, increase your Pinterest followers, and ultimately increase your blog traffic with Pinterest! This guide is prefect for new and seasoned bloggers as well as online entrepreneurs who want to learn more about social media marketing!

Disclaimer: There are some affiliate links below, but these are all products I highly recommend. I won’t recommend anything on my blog that I haven’t verified and/or personally used.


Whether you're in business or not, you're going to want to set-up your Pinterest profile as a business account.

This is really simple to do but will give you access to really important analytics such as your most popular boards, pin impressions, and audience demographics.

It may not seem like a necessity right now, but it will make using Pinterest a whole lot easier when you have it set up.

You'll be able to understand what content your followers are most engaged with, what boards are worth putting more effort into, and how many clicks to your website you are getting.

If you don't already have a Pinterest account, you can get a Business Account set up right here by clicking the big red 'Join Now' button.

If you already have a Pinterest account, just head here and click the 'Convert Now' button.


I'll get onto your profile set-up in a minute but you need to undertake some keyword research first. 

"Why's that, Zoe?"

Well, faceless person on the internet, let me tell you something.

Pinterest is not a social media platform. It is a search engine.

Pinterest, and it’s algorithms, work the same way as Google does. If you search for a topic on Google, you are going to see the best results for that topic. It’s the same on Pinterest. If you’re searching for ‘wedding reception ideas’, you’re going to see the best pins first.

You need to treat your Pinterest account like you do with your blog posts and SEO the heck out of it! 

Related post: 5 Super Simple SEO Tips For Bloggers

You can use Pinterest's search function to find relevant keywords in your niche. Learn how to do this in my FREE guide to Pinterest keywords!

Download your FREE Pinterest Keywords Guide


Sign up here to grab your free e-book!

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Once you've got a set of keywords relevant to your niche, you're going to want to add some of them into your Pinterest profile name.

Choose one or two keywords that your audience might be searching for on Pinterest to add into your name and you’ll find yourself popping up more in search results!

Here’s a screengrab of my profile on Pinterest:

If someone searches for ‘social media strategy’ or ‘influencer marketing’, there’s a chance my account will pop up!

Top tip: Your profile name is what shows up in someone’s notifications when you interact with their account. This is a chance for you to quickly tell them who you are! For example, my Pinterest name says exactly what I do. If I follow someone that needs social media help, they might see my profile name and think “Hey! That’s exactly what I need right now!” Make sure you get your name right!

Here are some examples of great profile names from fellow bloggers:


Too many times I've seen Pinterest bios that are something like the below:

Zoe. 24. Hot chocolate lover. Lives in the countryside.

They honestly make me think "so what?"

So what?

Why should I follow you? What do you pin that will make me want to follow you? How are you going to help me? 

These are questions you need to answer in your bio in order to get traffic from Pinterest.

If you're struggling with writing your Pinterest bio, simply fill in the blanks below!

I help [insert ideal audience] to [insert their goal/pain point] through [insert how you help them].

This simple sentence can work over hundred of blogging niches. For example:

  • I help new vegans settle into their new lifestyle through simple but effective meal planning and recipes.
  • I help personal trainers build an online presence through Facebook Ads training.
  • I help college students master productivity through free courses and online workshops.

This small change to your Pinterest profile will dramatically help increase the number of followers you get on your account. 

If you need more help defining your blogging niche, read Melyssa's post here.


Okay, okay. We all have our 'Dream Home', 'Wedding' and 'Oreo Cookie' boards. (Just me on that last one? 🙈)

But any boards that aren't relevant to your blog topic (or interesting to your readers) should remain secret. 

If you're a food blogger, pins about makeup and hair styles aren't going to be helpful to your ideal audience. You don't have to delete these boards! Just keep them secret for now and you can keep pinning to them for your own personal use.

Have a look at your current Pinterest board situation and ask yourself these questions:

  • Are there any boards that aren't relevant to your blog?
  • Are there any boards that could be merged or separated into multiple boards? 
  • Are there any topics you write about on your blog that aren't represented on your Pinterest account?
  • Are there any topics your ideal audience are interested in that you DON'T write about on your blog? Could you create a board for these?

That last point might seem contradictory but it makes sense. 

For example, I don't write about home decor on my blog, but my most popular Pinterest board is my 'Home Office Inspiration' board. This is because my ideal audience are female bloggers + entrepreneurs - most of whom have home offices!


I nearly forgot about this point but it's so important!

If you want to grow your blog traffic using Pinterest, you NEED to have Pinnable blog post graphics for each of your blog posts.

If you're not sure what a great Pinterest graphic should look like, take a look at my little infographic below:

You can use tools like Canva or Adobe Creative Cloud along with Haute Chocolate's stock photo library to create amazing blog post graphics that will get pinned like crazy!

Related: The Anatomy of a Great Pinterest Graphic


Once you've created awesome blog post graphics for your content, you're going to want to pin them onto group boards.

Group boards are great because they usually will have more followers than you and when you pin to that board, you are exposing your blog to a whole new audience of potential readers and followers!

If you're part of some group boards already, make sure to pin your blog post content to them stat!

If you're not a part of any group boards just yet, here's a few ways to find the best ones to join:

  • Simply Google 'Pinterest group boards for [insert blog niche here]' and you could find some blog post round-ups and recommendations
  • Look through the Pinterest profiles of prominent bloggers in your niche - you will probably find that these bloggers will be a part of lots of group boards that are also relevant to you. (Side-note: If you're in the blogging, social media or business niche, you might want to have a little nosey at my account!)
  • Search for keywords on PinGroupie.com - though, I've found that recently this content is a little out of date
  • You can also search directly on Pinterest but Pinterest doesn't make it easy to know which boards are group boards and which ones aren't. 


Pinterest is such a powerful tool for increasing your blog traffic. When using it right, you can make Pinterest your number one source of traffic to your blog with such little effort. “How?” I hear you ask.

Well, my friend, there’s a little tool called BoardBooster – and it will rock your world.

Looping on BoardBooster

BoardBooster is a Pinterest scheduling software. Unlike Tailwind and Buffer, BoardBooster has the feature to ‘loop’ your Pins.

This means all the pins you’ve already saved to your boards don’t sit there gathering dust, instead, they gradually get repinned to your boards again. It’s great – you’re constantly pinning content without having to actually pin!

With BoardBooster, I have my boards looping over 70 pins a day. I literally get repins and likes in my sleep and always wake up to hundreds of notifications. It’s lazy but effective!

Once you’ve signed up for a BoardBooster account, Looping is the first feature you want to set up. Head to Pinning Tools > Looping to get started.

Click the ‘Add Boards’ button and select which of your boards you want to loop pins on. Choose the boards that have the most pins and that are the most relevant to your audience.

Here’s a behind the scenes look of my BoardBooster account:

Along with scheduling pins to post onto my Group Boards, BoardBooster ends up pinning nearly 150 pins for me per day

Because of this, my Pinterest account has grown from 40 to over 4,100 followers in the past year! Crazy!


So, I want to express that I didn't just wake up one day and suddenly know all there is to know about Pinterest. (Duh!)

I took Melyssa Griffin's e-course Pinfinite Growth in May 2016 and it has done WONDERS for my blog traffic and business growth.

I took the time to learn a killer Pinterest strategy from an expert and that education has allowed me to write helpful posts like this as well as offer Pinterest strategy services to my clients!

Without implementing this Pinterest strategy, I wouldn't be able to say that I've achieved all of this: 

  • I've grown my Pinterest following from 45 unengaged followers to over 4,100 dedicated Pinners in my tribe!
  • Pinfinite Growth has played a huge part in helping me reach over 200,000 Pinterest users each month
  • I used to pin irregularly and whenever I remembered/could be bothered - now I can sit back and know that I am pinning over 130 pins per day without doing anything thanks to Melyssa's introduction to BoardBooster
  • Since enrolling in Pinfinite Growth, my repin/save rate has increased by over 2,180% - that's just crazy talk
  • Pinterest is now my #1 referrer of blog traffic bringing in over 50% of my readership
  • Before taking Pinfinite Growth, my monthly pageviews were hitting around the 1,500 to 2,000 mark. Now? My blog is getting just under 10,000 pageviews per month. That's a BIG difference for someone just starting their blog!

If you don't have a strategy for your Pinterest yet, shaaaaame on you!

Don't let your Pinterest gather dust - turn it into your blog's secret weapon! Enroll in Pinfinite Growth now!

P.S. You can also sign-up for Melyssa's webinar - 3 Essential Pinterest Strategies That Will Rapidly Grow Your Traffic + Email List (No Matter Which Niche You’re In!) 

In this webinar, you'll learn:

  • Why Pinterest is NOT a social media platform (and what that means for your strategy).
  • How to craft content that CONVERTS on Pinterest (so that you can effortlessly drive heaps of new visitors to your blog).
  • How Pinterest helped Melyssa grow to 300,000 monthly pageviews and 75,000 subscribers!

Phew! I hope you've learnt some ways to use Pinterest to promote your blog and increase your blog traffic.

What's the biggest thing you've learnt from this blog post and what are you going to do to up your Pinterest game now? Let me know in the comments, folks!

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