Building A Successful Instagram: All You Need To Know

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It’s no secret that I’m a little obsessed with one particular social media platform that starts with Insta and ends in Gram. Yep you guessed it, Instagram. When I first downloaded the App in 2015 (I was a late-comer), I was reluctant to trying it. I thought “I’m not going to be a sheep, I will never get into this social media craze”. Well… a sheep I was. From downloading the app till now, I have built a successful Instagram, earned enough money to comfortably live off and met some amazing people because of it.

Building a successful Instagram was my first main priority, I never even knew about travel blogging at the start. It was only when I hit around 50,000 followers that I started noticing other large Instagram accounts with blogs. Then a lightbulb lit up, “Hey I could totally turn this into something more serious”.

So I started my own travel blog! Here is how I did it!

I’ve always loved writing and creating content for others to read and learn from. So starting a travel blog, and getting serious about other social media platforms sounded like an awesome idea.

For the last year or so, I’ve throw a huge portion of my effort into building the brand: Luxurybackpacking. Working from 9 till 5 pretty much everyday so get this blog into take off mode. There has been some ups and downs along the way, but it’s all part of the journey. I LOVE IT.

Not only is Instagram one of the fastest growing social networks, it’s also one of the biggest. If you’re going to focus on building a following on one network, I highly recommend Instagram.

Building a Successful Instagram: Luxurybackpacking

Make sure to check out my Instagram, and if you like it hit follow ♥

Take a look at our online Instagram e-course: Instamazing Passion & Profits! 

Learn how we went from earning $0 – $28,000 in a year just by using Instagram!
You’ll learn the basics on what it takes to be successful all the way to earning a solid income!
Need more convincing? Take a look here!

As Instagram is our favourite social media platform, and currently our highest social media following: at nearly 75,000 followers. You may be thinking how the heck have you accumulated that many over such a short period of time (just over one year)?!


Here are the do’s & don’ts to building a successful Instagram:

Building a Successful Instagram: Havasu Falls

DO: Engage With Other Accounts & Your Followers

High engagement is just as or more important that your follower count.

You don’t want hundreds of thousands of followers, but only a fraction are actually engaging with your posts. This looks suspicious, and can result in brands choosing not to work with you in fear that you bought followers.

The higher your engagement is, the higher your chance that you will get noticed on Instagram with large accounts. I’ve been focusing on engagement for the last few months by improving my likes and comments ratio compared to my follower count. This is actually the hardest thing you can do on Instagram. It’s really difficult to keep your engagement level the same over a long period of time, let alone increase it.

Building a Successful Instagram: Luxurybackpacking

Interaction with your Instagram followers and other Instagram accounts is therefore very important to having a successful Instagram. If someone comments on your photo, go to their profile like some of their pictures and simply thank them for commenting. Maybe they asked a question? Make sure to answer it back. Followers will appreciated this and you will build up a more personalised relationship with them.

Make sure to always add a location to your photo, as this will automatically gain a higher engagement rate. People in this location are likely to search this, or famous places will get a lot of engagement. Users that search for a specific location are also interested in a certain topic, so always add the location!

DON’T: Post Low Quality Pictures

After all Instagram is all about pictures, how you create an image and the quality of each post. No one will want to follow or engage with you if your images are blurry, dark or just not relevant to your brand.

In reality, people follow you because they love your posts and they’re inspired by them. Posting high quality photos will attract more people to your profile and help build a successful Instagram. Compared to a blurry image, which doesn’t look professional, and it does not exactly helping your brand image for your blog or website.

Having said that, it doesn’t mean you need to be a top photographer with thousands of dollars of equipment. So don’t let that put you off. I don’t consider myself to be a professional photographer by any means. That being said, what I do, and what you can do too, is work on improving and taking better pictures all the time, which I love.

Like i just mentioned, don’t think you have to fork out thousands of dollars on photography equipment. Some of the best and most successful Instagram accounts, use their iPhone or Smartphone to capture their images (they just don’t tell you). Do remember however, if you want to boost your follower count, you need to post your best shots, I mean your very BEST shots. That also means editing and fixing your pictures before posting. We recommend Lightroom for editing pictures. Nearly all ours are edited on this platform.

Remember, quality over quantity any day.

Building a Successful Instagram: Luxurybackpacking

3. DO: Find the Best Time to Post

This is so important to earning high engagement and to even gaining more followers on Instagram. Being consistent as well as finding the best time to post are intertwined, finding the sweet spot of both will have your engagement sky-rocketing.

You don’t want all your loyal followers to be asleep or at work when you post. The most effective way of determining the best time to post on Instagram is by testing how your photos perform at different times of the day and week. If you notice that photos you post in the mornings are consistently giving you more likes, comments, or followers than those posted in the afternoon or evening, then make sure to post these peak times.

We’ve found the best times to be during the morning and late evening, but this may be totally different for your followers depending on what time zone you’re in.

I did a little experiment (and sacrificed a post) to show you guys the difference in posting at different times of the day:

Building a Successful Instagram: Luxurybackpacking

Building a Successful Instagram: Luxurybackpacking

4. DON’T: Post Inconsistently 

As mentioned above, posting consistently is really important to having a successful Instagram account.

Make sure to never go long periods of time without posting anything, a couple of days without posting is fine. You may even want to tell your followers by Instagram Story that you won’t be online for a while. Make sure to never then post for example, 10 photos in a row within the space of a few hours.

Make sure to space posts out at least 3 hours (the very minimum) in between if you can. I try to post 1 or 2 photos a day, and I rarely go a day with out posting if I can help it. My followers know this, so if I suddenly don’t post for a week they know something is up.

On a slightly different note in terms of consistency, it is really important to be consistent in the style and colours of your account. You should never be random or sporadic when choosing what to post next. Make sure that it fits in with the previous photos and the one below it.

Your feed should look beautiful. When people click on your profile, and choose whether to follow you or not, they will create an opinion based on the overall layout of your account. You have roughly 2-5 seconds to impress them, so make it count!

Building a Successful Instagram: Luxurybackpacking

DO: Create Engaging Captions

Always write a well thought out caption, something personal and that your followers can relate to, through this you will be able to build a successful Instagram account.

For example, describing where the place is, what happened, and ask a question. This will encourage followers to comment on your post, making it more visible to potential followers and get your name noticed.

You can also write captions relating to what day it is, the time of year etc. Do remember, if people engage and comment on your post, reply to them and engage back on their account. Sharing is caring.

Building a Successful Instagram: Luxurybackpacking

DON’T: Buy Followers…I’m Serious!

Guys I’m being serious here, please never ever buy followers, it’s simply cheating and not a way to build a successful Instagram account.

First off, it’s not fair on the accounts that work so hard to gain a strong following, only to realise they didn’t get a sponsorship by a brand because the other account who has (bought) and higher followers than them secured the deal. There is an Instagram etiquette, and if someone finds out you’ve bought followers, word spreads quickly, don’t be that person as no one will want to great a relationship or work with you in the future.

Secondly, I’ve personally caught many Instagram accounts out for buying followers, it’s pretty fun to go stalk people on SocialBlade to see who’s cheating this way, and it’s very surprising!

Thirdly, the accounts that follow you if you buy followers are all bots or spam accounts. Within a few days or weeks these accounts will unfollow you leaving you with no extra benefit. In addition, have such a high follower count with no engagement does look very suspicious. Brands and other accounts will pick up on this, so don’t do it.

Below is an account that has bought followers (remaining anonymous), they are fairly famous too…it sucks!

Building a Successful Instagram: Luxurybackpacking

DO: Use Relevant Hashtags

Without any hashtags you will not get noticed and future followers won’t be able to find your photos, therefore building a successful Instagram will prove very hard. Using hashtags seems simple, but I see that 90% of Instagram users have no clue what they are doing when it comes to hashtags.

Using relevant hashtags is so important, a travel blogger would gain no benefit by using the hashtag #amazingkitchens. Similarly the hashtag #travel is so over saturated (over 150 times a minute!) there would be no use using this hashtag either, as even after 10 seconds of publishing your post would be way too far down.

The best way to get noticed by a wide range of Instagram users is to be featured in the top 9 pictures for a certain hashtag. If you click on a hashtag you will be shown the most popular photos on Instagram for the day with that exact hashtag. Analyse your hashtags! Are you going to make it to the top 9 photos? No, then try to find other hashtags that might be a little less popular but where you at least will be highlighted.

Of course for smaller accounts this is very hard as the hashtags related to your topic are used many times and have a high engagement rate, but starting somewhere will help you grow in no time, and we suggest using the maximum 30 hashtags on every post for full engagement.

You can even create your own hashtags that your audience and followers will want to get engaged with. We created the hashtag #luxurybackpacking, and since starting we have had over 4,00 people who use the hashtag on their photos! This will create a strong sense of community, and in no time others will start to join your tribe too!

Building a Successful Instagram: Luxurybackpacking

DON’T: Steal Other People’s Ideas

Instagram’s is SO saturated, it’s hard to come up with original ideas in popular destinations like Bali for example. However, be creative. Don’t just copy exactly what other accounts have done. Choose a different angle, time of day, different equipment in the shot.

There is a big difference between being inspired by someone and ripping off other people’s work, and it’s something that happens all the time on Instagram, sadly.

If you like our photos, don’t forget to follow us on Instagram!

Did you find these tips helpful? Have you got some great tips on how to build a successful Instagram that you want to share? Comment below, we love hearing from you guys!

If you’re really wanting to succeed with Instagram, our online e-course jam packed with over 30+ lessons, 7 modules, various PDF worksheets and bonuses is the way forward!

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Building a Successful Instagram- Everything you need to know.

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By | 2017-09-15T16:34:17+01:00 September 20th, 2017|Travel Blogging|13 Comments

About the Author:

Hey there I'm Emma! A luxury and adventure travel blogger. I've currently travelled to 53 countries with no plans to stop! I hope I can inspire you to travel the world with my travel guides, travel and blogging tips, as I believe travel is for everyone. So come and travel well for less with me!


  1. Barry 09/20/2017 at 6:51 pm - Reply

    Nice tips – I’ve just started paying more attention to IG so the post came a the right time!

    • Emma Lomas 09/21/2017 at 5:36 pm - Reply

      Hey Barry,

      Thanks, that’s great. Instagram is such a powerful and influential platform if you know how to use it correctly 🙂

      Happy Travels,

  2. Alexander Popkov 09/21/2017 at 4:54 am - Reply

    Thanks, that summarizes most of the things. I decided to develop my Instagram but didn’t want to remove all silly and fun memories. Decided to start a new HQ IG..

    • Emma Lomas 09/21/2017 at 5:36 pm - Reply


      That sounds great! Glad this post has been of help to you.

      Happy Travels,

  3. Eva 09/23/2017 at 4:36 am - Reply

    Awesome article!
    A couple new tips I will apply right away. Thanks for sharing!
    I’m still hovering just over 1200 and seem to be getting around 100 followers a week but it’s taken a long time to get that consistent flow coming in.

    • Emma Lomas 09/23/2017 at 3:18 pm - Reply

      Hey Eva,

      So glad we can help! Instagram is a super successful social media platform if you know how to implement strategies well 🙂
      Keep at it 😀

      Happy Travels,

  4. Mila 09/26/2017 at 1:16 am - Reply

    Very valuable! Thank you for the advice

  5. Kayli 09/26/2017 at 1:43 am - Reply

    Really enjoyed this post! I’ve been struggling with the whole ‘finding the right time to post’ thing. I use apps to track best timing, but still seem to fall short on a couple. That being said, it might connect back to the inconsistent posting that you linked in with this topic.

    Thanks fo sharing! Very beneficial!

    • Emma Lomas 09/30/2017 at 6:10 pm - Reply

      Thanks so much Kayli!
      Yes it’s probably attributed to a decline in engagement 🙂 Keep posting consistently and you’ll see a change

      Happy Travels

  6. Bob 09/26/2017 at 2:15 am - Reply

    This is a great insight into something that is so important! Thanks so much for sharing this!

    • Emma Lomas 09/30/2017 at 6:11 pm - Reply

      It sure is important if you want a successful Instagram 😛

  7. Bria 11/08/2017 at 7:44 pm - Reply

    Hey Emma! I just spoke to you on Facebook, haha, but these are great tips! I’ve been putting my blog on the back burner while I get my life together over here in Korea, but now I’m ready to hit the ground running! These are great tips as Instagram is the first social media platform that I want to utilize. I have about 250 followers and obviously I want to get those numbers up. I’ll be following you for sure. Thanks for the info! Keep it up!

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