The Instagram equation: Art + Science = More Followers


The Instagram Equation

Oh how things on Instagram have changed. Much of the advice I shared here last year, besides the obvious practice of daily engagement with new members of your audience, doesn’t hold value today. I’m not backtracking, I’d like to think of it more as adapting because it’s not as if what I suggested was wrong… it’s just that Instagram moved the cheese on us. But fear not, your retired IG Superhero is hot on the trail of cheddar and ready to share a few tasty morsels with you!

The equation, though, is always changing. And while solving it can be a bit tricky, there’s more than one solution to grow your Instagram account.

There are a number of different solutions to the problem. Before we even get too much further, something needs to be established. What do YOU want Instagram to do for you and what do you want to do for Instagram? Me…? It’s become more about sharing stories and expressing my thoughts through pictures than the followers and being instafamous. Just take a quick moment and find out if you’re bringing something to the table.

Art Trumps Science

Being Instafamous isn’t just about the art, there’s also an underlying science of attracting followers which comes into play. Seriously, there’s a top secret instagram algorithm. Though, to set the right expectations, I will say Instagram places a much higher emphasis on creating good Original content. IG pages who only repost OPP #otherpeoplespictures are a dime or dozen.

If you can’t take a good selfie or aren’t willing to capture the beauty in nature or don’t have much of a creative passion in any capacity, then I’d recommend sticking with Twitter & Facebook. If you think you’re dedicated enough to the art part of the equation, read on.

3 “facts” about getting more followers on Instagram.

While these Instagram tips probably are fact, they’re *technically* hypotheses based on my experience, observations, and reports of mythical activity which I’m just masquerading as proven scientific truths. But they’re definitely not myths!

1) 1 like from an instafamous account has further audience reaching effects than 100, maybe even 1000, likes from average accounts. Back when I was running my #supergram contest, I heard multiple instances of substantial account growth WITHIN MOMENTS after participants posts received likes from my contest co-hosts and myself.

The Biggest jump I saw screenshot proof of was from my instafriend Jerry (@witness_x) who gained 69 followers and saw a spike in activity to the tune of hundreds of likes within 15 minutes of the color queen @kardinalmelon liking his post.

A good follow up piece will be how to get their attention… it can be tricky. For now, I’d say be persistent and genuine with praise of their works. I also notice spike in activity when certain friends swing by and engage on my posts.

2) Instagram now suggests followers after you follow someone with a 4 figure follower count the only problem is I haven’t quite figured out a blueprint on how to ensure an account would be linked to another. But for experiments sake, I changed my “name” from “Tony Bennett” to “A Pure Michigan Fall showcase” and sure enough, I’m often one of the 3 suggested after someone follows @puremichigan.

By the looks of it, the algorithm is largely based on geographic location, so think about adding it to you bio or play with it a little to see if you can link yourself to a fast growing account.

3) It’s easier to get videos to “go viral”. Another unscientific truth, as I don’t have a written from Instagram stating “videos are more likely to appear on the “explore” page than images”. But I’m noticing a phenomena of video heavy accounts growing at a more rapid pace than photo pages with similar content.

I see at least 30-50 new followers whenever I post a video. However, on the flip side, my videos hardly ever get as many likes as the pictures do. It’s all relative, though, because more followers will lead to more likes on everything.

Don’t go fake – slow is better than shallow

Lastly, I’ve seen a growing number of folks go the route of buying fake followers. In theory, especially on instagram where perception is most definitely reality, it’s not the worst idea if done reasonably. No, I’m not advocating it but human nature says people are more likely to follow accounts with big numbers.

With that being said; it’s so easy to spot a fraud on Instagram that it’s not worth getting a bad rep over it. If you want to win over those key accounts, you need legit activity. Having 100k+ followers with only a few hundred likes on Instagram will stick out like a sore thumb.

Tony Bennett Instagram

My growth this year has been slower than the past two, but I’m rather optimistic that I’m on the right path. I’ve still managed to amass an additional 17,000 followers in the last 4 months after stagnating in the first half of the year using the philosophies discussed above.

It’s tempting to go get the fake cheese wiz and pad my stats… but I find the real stuff to be far more rewarding. Hope you found my facts to be helpful. Do you have any success stories to share? Make sure to comment with your instagram tag readers can check you out. I’m @tony.bennett, hope to see you around the gram!

How to Deal with Negativity on Your Blog (and the Internet)


How to Deal with Negativity on your Blog

Any seasoned blogger or social media marketer will be able to tell you war stories about awful comments, negative feedback, or surprising responses they’ve gotten to content that they have published. Unfortunately, negativity and the Internet seem to go hand in hand. As a blogger, you’ll often get positive responses to your writing, and people will tell you that your writing has inspired them or given them great advice. The same rings true for social media marketers. However, we need to be prepared to deal with the negative comments as well.

Bloggers, celebrities, and everyday people alike have made the news when they’ve decided to quit blogging or participating on social media due to cruelty. Not long ago, Zelda Williams, the daughter of the late Robin Williams, shut down her Twitter account because of a group of people who were tormenting her about her father.

It seems like people sometimes see other humans on the Internet as less than human. Sometimes, we don’t put a face with an online account and don’t feel the need to use common human decency towards others.

Here are a few ways to deal with comments or interactions that are less than desirable on your blog (or otherwise):

Moderate Your Comments

Many blogs and business social media pages allow people to comment freely. However, one rude comment can spiral into a whole thread of negativity. Nip that in the bud by not publishing these comments or by addressing the criticism. This is not to say that you should delete comments that simply disagree with your point of view. A friendly debate isn’t a bad thing.

Have People Sign In to Comment

From what I see, it seems that people are less likely to spew hateful comments when these comments are tied to their name or account. While this isn’t a foolproof strategy, it may cut down on negativity.

Have a Comment Policy

By setting clear boundaries, this spells out what types of comments are deemed appropriate on your blog. This allows you to deal with any comments including spam, racist language, offensive language, off-topic comments, graphics, personal information, or comments containing links just to name a few.

Post Things that are Relevant to Your Industry

Resist the urge to post on your blog or social media page as social commentary on news stories or cultural happenings unless they are directly related to your brand. If you are running a business blog in particular, I find that keeping your voice neutral when it comes to politics or religion can help to keep negative comments to a minimum.

(Photo Source)

Megan Totka is the Chief Editor for She specializes on the topic of small business tips and resources. helps small businesses grow their business on the web and facilitates connectivity between local businesses and more than 7,000 Chambers of Commerce worldwide.