How I Gained 21K Followers in 6 Months

Other Polyvorians have asked me how I gained a large following in just a few months. To be honest, I never cared too much about the number of followers.  I joined Polyvore to create and express my love for fashion.  21K followers in 6 months actually took me by complete surprise.

I’ve seen some Instagrammers gained 100k followers in 24 hours by creating a profile simply featuring other people’s photos and videos (most of the time, the original creators would receive credit).

Unlike Instagram, Polyvorians cannot get hundreds and thousands of followers in a very short amount of time. First, we have to spend time on creating sets and building our portfolio. How long does it take to create a set? It varies.  I usually need an hour. The longest I’ve spent on a set is 4 hours (spread over 2 days); the shortest, 20 minutes. One member said she spent 8 hours creating an art set. Wowzers!

I don’t know Polyvore’s algorithm, I believe the combination of the following factors resulted in me gaining 21k followers in 6 months.

1. Create quality sets

By quality, I mean visually appealing and well assembled. If it’s a fashion set, it’s not just about the outfit and accessories, the set layout also plays an important role.  There are a lot of different styles of layouts. If you are new to Polyvore, I would recommend that you visit its website, go to “Trending”  and browse sets in “Top Sets – The best styles from our community” and “What to wear – Outfit ideas”.  It will give you an idea as to what Polyvore considers quality sets.

2. Be active

I create and post sets on a regular basis. A couple of sets a day on average except when I am on holidays or too busy.

In addition, I like and comment on other people’s sets almost everyday. Commenting can be time consuming. It’s impossible to comment on everyone’s sets. You can start by choosing a few of your favourite Polyvorians.

Personally, I truly look forward to seeing a number of my Polyfriends’ sets each day. I appreciate their creativity and talent. Their sets often give me inspiration. Therefore, complimenting on their creations feels like a very natural thing to do.

3. Enter contests

Group contests

As a new user, I didn’t know anything about groups and contests. I was totally in my own world. It started by another member inviting me to join her group to enter a group contest. I gladly participated as I was running out of ideas to title my sets. Group contests normally provide a theme. For example: denim skirt, plaid shoes, or statement bags etc. Winning wasn’t really important and still isn’t to me. After all, beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Just because the group moderators don’t pick your sets, it doesn’t mean they are not fabulous.

To enter a contest, you must first join the group. As I mentioned in my previous blog post “How to Use Polyvore on iPhone“, some groups are open to everyone, some are private, therefore, require an invitation by the group moderator or you have to apply to join.

The major benefit of joining groups and entering group contests is to gain exposure. When you submit a set, you are allowed to post it in 5 groups.  You can browse groups on your phone or on Polyvore’s website. Some of the largest groups include “everyone on Polyvore” and “wanna your set to be popular”. But I also like medium sized groups such as “All season group” and “Style for style” because your sets may have a better chance of being viewed.

If others like your set in a contest, they may visit your profile and start to follow you.

Polyvore contests

I became aware of Polyvore contests in Oct. 2017 as I didn’t even know how to find these contests on my iPhone before that.  To find all contests on iPhone, please read my previous post How to Use Polyvore on iPhone. Or you can visit Polyvore website on your computer. In “Activity”, you will find all the official and group contests.

Back then, I was more into group contests so I didn’t actively participate in Polyvore contests. In Nov. last year, I submitted two sets to Polyvore’s “Keep it Cozy: Fuzzy Coats” Contest. The first one was chosen as a Top Fashion Set (TFS) on Nov. 22. I didn’t realize that until other members started congratulating me in the comment section. I had no idea why. I remember thinking to myself – “what the heck is TFS?”

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I also talked about TFS or TS in “How to Use Polyvore on iPhone“. To recap, Polyvore picks 30 sets each day and showcases them as a collection on its Homepage, under “Top Sets – the best styles from our community”.  That’s where you really get exposure. Some of them can get thousands of likes.

In early Dec. 2017, I had just over 2,800 followers which I thought was a lot. I remember this only because Zaful contacted me for collaboration. By looking at the numbers of my followers and likes of each set, they proposed to pay me $50 a month for making 60 sets using their clothing. These sets are called sponsored sets and that’s a whole other topic. My response, NO THANKS. My time is worth a lot more than $0.83/hr, assuming it takes me an hour to complete a set.

In any event, ever since my first TS, I began to notice that the number of my followers increased drastically.  When new users sign up, they automatically start following a number of existing members and of course, both Polyvore and Polyvore Editorial. I don’t know how Polyvore chooses these existing members, but I became one of them.  Every day, I see notifications of brand new users following me.

From Nov. 22, 2017 to today, Feb. 27, 2018, I have 16 Top Fashion Sets, 1 Top Home Set, 3 Top Beauty Sets, and 1 Polyvore contest win (3rd place). I am pretty certain that these sets help me gain more followers.

I would like to mention that out of 16 TFS, 7 of them were not created for Polyvore contests. I created them either for group contests or for my own enjoyment.

What I don’t do

1. I don’t ask for likes and follows

If other members truly appreciate what I’ve created, they are very likely to like and/or follow. I don’t need to ask. It should be genuine.

To receive likes, comments and follows, as far as I am concerned, I need to take the initiative to visit others first.  It doesn’t really bother me if they don’t follow, like or comment back. But, based on my experience, most do.

I do think the more people like your sets, the more your sets get rotated in the system so more people would have a chance to see them.

2. I don’t post “follow me and I will follow back” on my profile

When you have a small number of followers, that’s doable. However, it’s just not possible when you have a large following that continues to grow, unless one has an enormous amount of free time on her/his hands.

Some mornings when I launch Polyvore on my phone, I see a few hundred notifications including comments, likes, new followers, group announcements etc. There is no way I could go through every single one of them.

So if you liked a number of my sets or followed me and there’s no response from me, chances are I didn’t see the notifications.


3. I don’t tag Polyvore and Polyvore Editorial in my sets

Maybe I should. I’ve seen some members do that and it’s probably a great way to increase the chance for Polyvore to see them. But I do not know if it increases the chance of being picked as a TS.

Polyvore obviously has a system of picking TS. They probably have a sizeable team as I don’t know how they could possibly view this many sets. I am curious to know how many new sets are posted every day with over 20 million users around the world.

Anyhoo, I assume Polyvore looks for great styles, creativity and originality. The number of likes and comments is not a deciding factor for TS. I’ve seen sets that have no titles, no tags and few likes/comments got chosen.

If Polyvore and Polyvore Editorial like what they see, they will start following you. I guess this would increase the chance of them seeing my sets aside from entering their contests. In my experience, Polyvore Editorial followed me first, then after a few weeks, Polyvore followed suit. That happened after a number of my sets became TS.

I hope whoever is reading this would find it helpful to their Polyvore experience. Happy creating!