On Instagram there are special accounts called feature accounts, these are also known as hubs or groups. Think of them as mini-communities within Instagram. Building a successful feature account can be a challenge, but by following a few techniques and tips, which I will mention below, you should soon be able to grow a large and popular hub. If you want to learn how to build a good personal account or brand you may also want to read my post: Building an Instagram following.

What is an Instagram Feature Account?

But first what is an Instagram Feature Account? Well these accounts:

  • Mainly post content that is produced by other Instagram accounts (with credit).
  • They help build awareness and drive traffic to the account being featured.

I have several hubs, two of which include:

Both these accounts are less than a year old and have been growing like crazy, sometimes with over 1,000 new followers per day.

If you aren’t wanting to build a feature account, but want to know how be featured read my post Tips on Getting Reposted by Feature Accounts.

How Do You Create an Instagram Feature Account?

When creating an Instagram feature account try and identify a niche, such as both my hubs are travel related. On @bestcitybreaks I only post city images, whilst on @travelanddestinations I post pictures that are both urban or rural, such as landscape shots as well as city and architecture.

1. Find a good catchy account title

You definitely need a good title for people to consider following you. Ie my account @bestcitybreaks instantly says that it posts “city” pictures, most likely cities that you could go to on a short “break” and using the word “best” makes people think it posts great pictures.

2. Create a good profile description

Although not the most crucial part of the account, a good description will look more professional and also help make it clear as to what the account is about. Such as the profile description for @travelanddestinations below.

Instagram effective profile description
Instagram effective profile description

3. Create a Hashtag

Next, you will need a hashtag that relates to the account. Whenever possible you should use the account name as the hashtag, ie

Account name: @bestcitybreaks
Hashtag: #bestcitybreaks

This keeps some consistency between the account and the hashtag.

4. Start posting content

It’s unlikely you’ll have many or anyone tagging you for a while, so you’ll probably have to post your own content at first and reach out to photographers via comments and DM (direct messages) to ask for permission. It will take time but once it gets going it’ll speed up.

How to Grow an Instagram Feature Account?

Now, what do you need to do to grow this account and make it successful?

1. Keep to a theme

First make sure you keep to the theme when posting pictures, for example if you are running a landscape hub and then start posting portrait pictures, your followers would get confused and may decide to unfollow. Below is an example of my hub @travelanddestinations where I feature landscapes and city pictures.

Example of an Instagram Feature Account
Example of an Instagram Feature Account from @travelanddestinations

2. Post regularly and consistently

Get into a routine of when you want to post and try and keep to this. For example on @bestcitybreaks I post 3-4 times a day.

1. First thing in the morning.
2. Next around lunchtime.
3. Later around dinner time.
4. And then finally before I got to bed.

This keeps traffic to the accounts flowing and my followers engaged. It also provides more opportunity for people to get featured.

3. Mainly feature images that are vertical or square

Try and avoid posting images that are the landscape orientation. I’ve found these pictures generally get less engagement. I expect it’s because there is less image being shown than on a square crop or vertical crop. Vertical crops seem to do the best and this is likely because there is more picture that can be seen. Make sense?

4. Feature people that tag the account

When I say tagging, I mean using the hashtag ie (#bestcitybreaks) or tagging the account in the photo. I look at both of these when looking for pictures to feature next. I don’t give preference to people that tag both, I just use it as a way of sourcing content.

5. Use 30 relevant Hashtags

For my accounts I use 30 hashtags. Being a travel hub I always use hashtags that are relevant. I normally tag some general tags such as #travel #holiday #vacation #country #city and also tag some hubs such as #livingeurope #cbviews etc.

By tagging other hubs the people managing those accounts may tag good content to you in return, so it’s likely working together to find the best relevant content for the hub.

Example of using hashtags on a feature account
Example of using hashtags on a feature account

6. Follow and engage on similar accounts in your niche

On my hubs I follow other accounts that are travel related, and as much as possible like and comment on their pictures. As well as supporting those accounts by doing this, you may have some of their followers start following and tagging you.

Other Tips

Here are some guidelines when running Instagram feature accounts.

Ask for permission

Always ask for permission, or feature someone that has tagged you. Generally, permission to be featured comes from being tagged in the hashtag, such as #bestcitybreaks or being tagged in the photograph. When your hub is new you may need to DM (direct message) people asking for permission. It takes a bit of time but you won’t have to do it for too long.

Credit the original account

You should always credit the original photographer/artist in the photo. Both in the caption such as “Image by @mikecleggphoto” and also tag the Instagram account in the picture. This helps the original artist/Instagrammer know that they have been featured as they will get a notification.

Example of crediting an artist on an Instagram Feature Account
Example of crediting an artist on an Instagram Feature Account

Say thank you

When someone tags you and you feature them, then I think afterwards it’s polite to say thank you. I therefore always go to their account and the picture I featured and write a nice comment.

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Summary

I hope this helps get you started. Try using these techniques and with persistence, you should start to see results before long.

Want to see some of my Instagram posts, follow me on @mikecleggphoto, and also my hubs @bestcitybreaks and @travelanddestinations.

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Photography Tips – Building an Instagram following
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Instagram - How to Build a Successful Feature Account

8 Comments

  1. Thank you for your advices, I found this article really interesting, I’m going to try on some of your tips 😀

  2. Thats interesting indeed! I was always wondering about those feature accounts; for me they are great as they -if I am lucky- help me to grow my own account when featuring me… however, what’s the benefit from having one? If there is non except from having a great running instagram account; thats awesome! I am just doubting that I don’t get the obvious 😀

    • Mike

      One thing I have found about running a hub is that you end up seeing so many more destinations and you’ll get lots of inspiration. For example I have featured places in Italy I’ve never heard of before as opposed to just the well known places. Also hubs are good for the community too as you can help other accounts grow and gain more exposure.

      • oh wow, you are right! I haven’t thought about the inspiration and the learning effect is can have. Thank you for giving me insight of this 🙂

        • Mike

          You’re very welcome and good luck with your account if you start one up! 🙂

  3. thesanetravel

    Interesting post. I have a regular Instagram travel account @thesanetravel with almost 27K followers. It would be great to get featured in your accounts. I will use your hashtags to try. Thanks for sharing.

  4. Lauren Little

    I’ve had an art feature account for 1 year and im only at 1500 followers… I’ll admit that my posting could be more frequent but otherwise everything else you’ve mentioned I’ve done… I feel like there is something else going on that no one is saying!

 

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