How I proved that you don't need a huge Instagram following for good engagement.

Think you need thousands of Instagram followers for better Instagram engagement? Well, I think I've just proved that you don't.

I've decided to create a second Instagram account. I've always wanted to share more architectural shots on my Instagram, however, I've never felt that they would quite 'fit' with my main blog account (yes, I'm one of those people. Sorry not sorry.)

So, last weekend, I took the plunge and created a second account, which you can follow here, so that I have the freedom to post all of the buildings and shots of the city that I love. 

Now, as you can imagine, starting all over again with an Instagram account seems like taking on a little bit of a big and bonkers task, particularly with the new algorithm and how hard it is to grow a following on that platform. However, I've noticed that something unexpected has started to happen.

If an engagement vs followers ratio is a thing, I'm actually doing better on my second account. As you can see from these screenshots, one of my photo's has managed to reach 106 likes, with just 107 followers at the time of writing this. I never expected this kind of engagement on such a 'little' account, in comparison to what's out there.

S o,  w h a t  h a v e  I  l e a r n e d?

G o o d  q u a l i t y  p h o t o's  m a t t e r. | I've dedicated my second account to being strictly iPhone photo's only, as when I'm out and about in the city, they're always generally shot on my phone. But, that doesn't mean that if you only take photographs on your phone, that they're going to be bad quality. Mobile phone camera's are getting better, and I can only speak as an iPhone user, but I actually prefer my iPhone camera when taking shots like this. 

As long as you can get good lighting, don't have to zoom too much and have a good way of editing, good quality photo's, even on a phone, is most definitely possible and a must!

R e l e v e n t  h a s h t a g s  m a t t e r. | Hashtag the hell out of your photo's. You can use up to 30 hashtags on each photo you post, and if engagement is what you're after, these are most definitely your golden tool. You wouldn't believe the difference in engagement in a photo with hashtags vs a photo without them. 

But, the key here is to also make sure they're relevant! On my blog account, I use hashtags such as #fbloggers and #lbloggers. Not quite sure these would fit in here. So, instead I've looked at other successful architectural accounts and found hashtags such as #archilovers - this is then a good way of finding new accounts to follow! 

Because my feed is mainly Liverpool based, I also use hashtags such as #itsliverpool and #igersmersey - this also helps to find local Instagrammers like yourself!

E n g a g i n g  w i t h  s i m i l a r  a c c o u n t s  m a t t e r s. | This nicely links with my point above. Engaging with similar accounts is a lot better than leaving random comments on accounts that are no where near the same vibe as yours, because they just won't be interested in your account. 

I've found that local Instagrammers around Liverpool, who take similar shots of similar things, are a lot more likely to engage with me than other accounts. So, use this to your advantage!

H a v i n g  a  c o n s i s t e n t  't h e m e'  m a t t e r s. | And by this I mean, have your 'thing'. Whether it be a certain way of editing your photo's or using similar compositions or subjects, creating an aesthetic for your account helps people to identify your account. And this means that your feed will look a lot more 'put together' when another user first clicks on your account - and I know from personal experience, that I'm more likely to follow another Instagrammer if their feed kinda 'flows' - if that makes sense!

But the number of followers you have? DOES NOT necessarily matter. I mean, it's always going to help. If you have more followers, the chances are your post is going to be seen by more people, therefore resulting in better engagement. But, creating my second account and starting from scratch has definitely made me realise that you can get good engagement, without needing a huge following.

What are your thoughts on engagement vs followers on Instagram?


You can follow me on Instagram here, and now here too!


  1. I love this! I've seen accounts with thousands of followers with average engagement and seen accounts with a smaller following with rampant engagement, so I agree; the number of followers you have do not necessarily mean better engagement.

    I find hashtagging and engaging with other accounts such an important factor when it comes to beating the algorithm. Thank you for sharing this with us, Soph.

    (also, your architectural shots are AMAZING????)


  2. Instagram is one I'm still trying to connect with, I want high quality photos and for it to be something I'm proud of! I loved this post!

    Jodie //

  3. Eeek - just followed your new account as I frigging LOVE your building shots! I am exactly the same. I love taking shots of buildings :) I also totally agree with you here. I've moved away from the beauty blogging side of things and have started to post more authentic photos of my life and have seen such a boost in terms of engagement. It's always nice to know your photos are appreciated rather than people following you so you'll follow back! xx

    Jessie | allthingsbeautiful-x

  4. Both your instagram accounts are gorgeous! I've got a small following on my instagram but I'm literally just doing it for me and am so surprised when my images get over ten likes! I hate it when people follow you until you follow back then unfollow, so fake.

    I have started trying to find similar accounts to mine through hashtags, they are underrated, they're there for a reason.

    Madi x

  5. I love your shots on your second account and the editing is great!
    I'm not gonna lie, I'm really not one for following a theme on my Instagram, I just post the pictures that I like and try not to edit them too much. I have noticed though since I've started travelling more my posts are mostly of buildings or landmarks and much less of me or people! x

  6. You create some gorgeous shots Soph, I'll have to check out your second account.
    I try to keep a theme on my instagram account but I always seem to fail after about 3 photos haha

    Dionne xoxo
    DeeDee Louise

  7. I love your architecture shots, they're stunning! Liverpool is a brilliant city for architecture lovers, I couldn't believe how gorgeous it was when I visited. So interesting to hear your tips for engagement, I don't bother too much with my Instagram but now I know what to do when I do want to up the engagement :) xxx
    Lucy @ La Lingua | Life, Travel, Italy

  8. I've actually noticed exactly the same thing! I just started an instagram account for my blog and I got much more engagement with my new account than with my personal account. Interesting!

  9. Great post Soph!

    So yes engagement is a big thing, much more than following. A client account I manage has just hit 130K followers, with between 20-30 comments on each pictures which is not that amazing considering the following BUT, I've noticed a few things that have upped the engagement:

    Replying to comments - and I don't mean those ones with load of emoticons that say cool pic, or love your acc etc as I find these belong mostly to spam accounts. But people who are interested in having a conversation, reply back and ask questions. From doing this on old photos, I find that they start getting new likes. Whilst I'm not too sure if this is due to the new update, it seems to work for us.

    Leave a worthwhile comment - see above first. I avoid putting any crappy emoticons on which don't make sense half the time. If I've something good to say, I'll say it and hopefully that starts the chatter.

    Videos - I think lots of these spam accounts post these perfect pictures yet there's no personal touches to them. There's just a big bunch of non relevant hashtags etc. I find that posting videos helps to touch base on a more personal level and they're there on your feed, when a new user follows you.

    Personally, on my blogging Instagram acc, I got for quantity over quality. I won't follow for the sake of following and the ones I do love to follow, I try to interact with them as much as I can.

    Thanks for a great post!

  10. I love your new account, I'm loving seeing Liverpool through other peoples eyes and have been enjoying discovering a lot of Liverpool based instagrammers as you pointed out.

    Hannah - This Woman Rose

  11. I've been loving your new account Sophie, especially as it's been ages since I went to Liverpool so it's my tiny bit of joy to enjoy to cure my need to visit again!


  12. I think this is so relevant right now and its cool that you proved it right here with your own second account ! xx