I want to Grow an Instagram Following

I’ve been trying to grow my audience on Instagram. Not understanding the best way to do this, I consulted my go-to-source, KelbyOne training. To my delight, there was a course called, “How to Build an Audience in Instagram,” delivered by Scott Kelby himself. I watched it and found it very useful, loaded with all sorts of tips and techniques for growing my audience. He convinced me to use his outline. If you haven’t seen the course, the key takeaways are, post beautiful photos and use hashtags judiciously. Sounds easy, eh? It was!

I use my platform of HooteSuite on the PC to get my photos, text, and hashtags over to my iPhone. Then I use the Instagram iPhone app to post to Instagram. This two-step process is cumbersome, but it works.  I started posting and hashtagging and my audience started to grow. Thanks, Scott, it’s working!

Using Grids

Now comes the rest of the story. I read a post by Scott about a cool App called, “Grids” where I can post to Instagram directly from my PC. Cutting out a step and streamlining my process is always welcome.  I was all in. I purchased the App and connected to my account – easy! The interface is nice to look at and easy to use – awesome!

I’m ready to rock and roll. I created my first post and added it to Instagram. Do you know what happened? Nothing. There were virtually no likes or follows. Could it be that my photo was not good enough? Nah, that couldn’t be it. Maybe the hashtags never made it to Instagram?  I then checked some of the tags and my photo was there. But, there was little response. Maybe the Instagram audience was taking a little break so I waited a bit. A couple of hours later I checked again – nothing.

I added three new posts over the next three days, getting the same results, about 1/6 the activity that I had received before. Even worse, I was starting to lose followers. This is certainly not the results I was aiming for. What is happening here? I surmised there must be something “different” between the way Grids adds a post to Instagram and the way my iPhone adds a post. Being a Mathematician and a Computer Scientist, I decided to run a little test.

This is a screenshot of the Grids interface of our account. The posts using Grids had 12, 14, and 12 likes. Those using HooteSuite and my iPhone averaged 6 times as many likes.

Testing My Hypothesis

The first part of the test will be to use my old process for my next new post. If that works well, then nothing I did broke Instagram. The next morning I added a post and sat back to watch a bit.  Within moments, I was getting the kind of activity I was receiving before my diversion into Grids. By the end of the day, I received an equivalent number of likes and follows as my previous use of the HooteSuite/Phone process (see the photo above, top row – middle). Now, onto the second and more important part of the test.

I decided to re-post one of the posts I did using Grids, but this time I would use my old HooteSuite/iPhone process. I woke up the next morning anxious to run my final test. Sitting at my computer I put together my new post using HooteSuite. I made sure to copy everything from the Grids post exactly. Satisfied that I had a valid test, I went through the process of posting from HooteSuite to iPhone to Instagram. Bam! Within moments I had far surpassed the activity I had received on Grids, getting the level of activity I had come to expect (see the photo above, top row – left).


When there is something that is too good to be true, it almost always is. Grids provides an easy mechanism to get your photo from PC to Instagram, BUT it hampered my ability to grow my following. I will be writing the folks at Grids with my findings. And, I will stick with my old process of posting through HooteSuite and my iPhone. Let me know what your thoughts and findings are. Thanks for reading!