Everybody asks me, “How did you get so many followers on Instagram?” Since my real name is Tony Bennett, it’s the second most frequently asked question I receive right behind, “Do you sing?”

No, I don’t sing, at least not very well. Fortunately, I do have a better answer to the first question! But before anyone should worry about different “strategies” to attract more followers, you need to make sure you’re doing enough on your end to attract them.

3 Secret Tips from Instagram Superhero Tony Bennett
Tony is great at communicating with his following, including me!

One of the reasons it’s so difficult to write about getting more Instagram Followers is because, what worked for me may not work for you. Additionally, there are many ways one can go about it, but it all comes down to one thing – you have to give people a reason to follow you.

“You have to give people a reason to follow you.” ~Tony Bennett

That’s what we’re going to focus on. Here are 3 simple ways to attract more followers and keep them engaged for the long haul.

1) Respond to commenters, individually, using their name

It’s a rather simple gesture, yet, I believe much of my success related to my personable approach interacting with fans. Most Instagram followers don’t start out as fans, it has to be earned. Granted, I can’t keep up with all the comments I receive nowadays. That doesn’t mean I’m not still on the lookout for new faces in the crowd.
You’d be shocked at the number of people who follow me right after I acknowledge their comment. I can’t shock you because I don’t have an official tally, but I wouldn’t be surprised if it were over a thousand.

3 Tips from an Instagram Hero named Tony Bennett
Tony Bennett uses clever text to describe his images. With over 5,450 ‘likes’ on this single image proves Tony is doing something right!

Furthermore, another reason I prefer to reply to commenters individually rather than in a group is the perception of popularity.
Let’s say you have 12 comments. Most people break up their “Thank you’s” into groups and lump in 5-7 at a time, which is better than no response at all. However, if you take an extra 3 minutes and reply to each one individually mentioning their name (if available), you double your comment count while making an impression that you care about who takes interest in your work.

2) Learn to edit your photos

“No edit” and “no filter” posts can be nice, but let’s be real, Instagram is about standing out. I’m not saying you have to be a master a photoshop… heck, I’ve never even used it!
I’m saying you should at least download a few photo editing apps on your phone and become somewhat proficient using them. My editing philosophy is to as closely match the picture with how I saw it live. Original photos, even from good cameras, rarely convey the same color vibrance and clarity straight out of the shoot.
3 Tips from Instagram Superhero Tony Bennett
A few recommendations for photo apps include Photoshop Express, Pixlr Express, Snapseed, and Vintique (on both iOS and Android) and I’ve seen great compositions using DeluxeFx and Mextures (only on iOS)  Take a look at a few of these before and afters to see what I mean.

3) Be an active non-follower

I know what you’re thinking… “uhh Tony Bennett, that doesn’t make sense. How can I be active when I’m not following someone?” But it’s soooo easy to do, stay with me. In fact, the effects are two fold.
Once your Instagram account gains popularity, you’re not going to follow everyone who follows you. However, that doesn’t mean you can’t engage with your most loyal fans. You likely know the people who like all your posts or comment on many of them. Show them some love, even if you’re not following them. Then, odds are they’ll continue to patronize you.
3 Tips from Instagram Superhero Tony Bennett
Also, on the flip side, being an active non-follower means prospecting for new followers and new likes. Do you ever wonder why some people with less followers than you get a lot more likes? Chances are they are liking posts from certain tags… or liking on the “explore” page… or they are getting the attention of large accounts who’ve liked their posts.
All those things translate into more followers and likes for you. Most people don’t “leave” the confines of who they follow in their timeline… but then nobody new will know your account exists. It’s up to you to go find them.
Everyone thinks there’s a magic formula out there to achieve an Instafamous status. Truth is, it’s time consuming and I think in today’s instant gratification society, most people don’t have the dedication and patience to do what it takes.
Trust me, if you produce eye catching images and spend a couple hours a day being an active non-follower, you too can build an impressive Instagram following.
Let me know if you need any further clarification on these topics or ask any Insta related question in the comments section below and I’ll be happy to answer them. Of course, you can always find me on Instagram at @tony.bennett
Thanks to Tony Bennett for a great blog post! You are a talented photographer and one of my favorite Instragram superheroes!
*You can find more great tips on Fine Art Tips Facebook Fan Page. Let’s also meet on Instagram, Twitter, Google Plus and on PinterestBe sure and check out and my fine art prints and notecards on Fine Art America. Check out my website,  LoriMcNee.com.  ~Lori