How do I get more followers on Instagram?
It’s a question I get asked all the time. Though followers aren’t everything but they do represent the number of people who are interested in your business – and that matters!
Instagram, which was launched in 2010 as a photo-sharing mobile app quickly grow itself into a platform that everybody’s using right now.
As of April 2017, Instagram has more than 700 million monthly active users.
Having a good Instagram following can mean more sales for your business, more brand exposure, and a stronger community for your brand.
But here’s the catch – Unless you’re famous or you have a connection with big influencers, it’s really hard to build a massive following on Instagram without doing some hard work.
If you are the average person or business, It can take a long period of time to grow your Instagram followers for business.
You may have heard this advice from people to buy some Instagram followers to get the ball rolling.
But I don’t recommend doing so because purchased followers are either low-quality profiles or totally fake.
They do not serve any purpose except to artificially inflate your follower count.
Luckily, there are a few things you can do right away to grow your Instagram followers for your personal or business account.
In this article, I’ll walk you through a step-by-step process on how you can achieve this with no hassle at all.
Let’s get started.
How to Get More Followers on Instagram
There are twelve tactics that will help you get more following on Instagram.
- Determine your goal
- Craft your bio (Carefully)
- Leverage other social platforms
- Use the right hashtags
- Create a posting schedule
- Your captions matters, seriously!
- Tag a friend post
- Geotag your photos
- Respond to comments
- Run Contests and Giveaways
- Steal your competitor followers
- Run Instagram Ads
Let’s dive deeper into how to implement each tactic.
1. Determine your goal
If you’re on Instagram only for the fun aspect, then you can jump over to the next step.
But if you’re interested in measuring the results of your efforts to your marketing goal, you need to determine what’s the overall purpose of your account is.
If you’re wondering – what does a goal look like on Instagram? It can be anything that you want from Instagram.
The more specific, the better.
Here are some examples that can be your goal on Instagram:
- Increase the sales of your product or services
- Driving more traffic to your website
- Converting your Instagram followers to your email list
- Building audience engagement
- Showing your company behind the scenes
- Making money from affiliate marketing
- Driving more views on your videos
- Creating a buzz for your upcoming product launch
For example, If you’re currently having 5,000 following then your goal can be – Growing it to 15,000 in next 3 months.
If you make yourself accountable to a specific goal, then you can measure your results, track your progress and make sure it’s worth the time and effort you’re putting into this.
2. Craft Your Bio (Carefully)
The next thing you’ll need to do is to create an Instagram bio that describes your business and tells people why should they follow you and what they can expect to see from you.
Your display picture, profile name and your description… everything matters!
Now, I know you already have created a bio for your profile but still I suggest you recheck it and change it to something that accurately reflects who you are and what you do.
- Your display picture – Make sure the photo you are using is good and trustworthy. (If your business have some logo then use it)
- Name – Use your real name or your business name.
- Username – Ideally your username should be similar to your name. If your name is already taken, add some words, numbers or phrases that make it distinct, so that people searching for your business are more likely to come across to you.
- URL – It’s the only place on Instagram where you can place a clickable link, so use it wisely. If your business has a website then enter it. If you don’t have a website then you may put a link to your Facebook/Twitter/LinkedIn profile.
3. Leverage other social platforms
If your following is strong on platforms like Twitter or Facebook, you can direct your fans from these channels to your Instagram profile.
You might have assumed that people are already following you on every platform. (Hint: they probably aren’t!)
What you have to do is to create a post on these other platforms with the preview of your Instagram Feed (screenshot or a photo you’ve recently uploaded) and share it on Facebook or Twitter along with a link to your Instagram page.
It’s a simple tweak that can actually help you in building your following and engagement levels on Instagram.
You can also try adding an Instagram feed to your Facebook page for some additional exposure.
Also, every time you post a photo on Instagram – make sure you share it on Facebook as well.
A recent study by Buzzsumo of over 1 billion Facebook posts from 3 million brand pages found that images posted to Facebook via Instagram receive 23% more engagement than natively published images.
So, every time you upload a photo on Instagram, make sure you share it on Facebook through Instagram.
4. Use the right hashtags
I know the primary goal of your business is to engage with the current audience along with growing your following.
Posting relevant, engaging and interesting photos will satisfy the first requirement but if you’re not using hashtags with your photos, you won’t grow your audience over the time.
By adding hashtags to your photos, you are making it easy for people to find your photos that are searching for those specific tags.
If you use relevant hashtags, your posts will get exposure to a wider audience than the people who already follow you or know about your business or brand.
So which hashtags should you use?
Here are the current top 10 hashtags on Instagram according to Websta:
- #love (1,114,646,619 posts)
- #instagood (618,997,170 posts)
- #photooftheday (435,089,110 posts)
- #beautiful (403,307,934 posts)
- #fashion (398,783,834 posts)
- #happy (380,926,145 posts)
- #tbt (378,948,379 posts)
- #cute (375,273,098 posts)
- #followme (345,985,889 posts)
- #like4like (343,936,935 posts)
Popular tags like the ones I’ve mentioned above will surely give you some additional engagements and likes, however, in the long run they will not lead to increase long-term engagement or sales because they are not coming from your targeted audience.
And our goal is to get targeted followers, right?
So if you want to attract targeted followers, you’ll need to find and use the most relevant hashtags.
A hashtag can be:
- Location-specific (#Utah #seattle)
- Brand specific (#Nike #Puma #Adidas )
- Product specific (#iphone7)
- Challenge or contest specific (#Nikerunningcontest)
- Campaign specific (#charityforchildren)
- Event-specific (#Summerfest)
- Feelings specific (#happy #love #mood)
Now you know a little about hashtags, Let’s dive into some best practices for using them on Instagram.
Use 11+ hashtags – No less than 3. No more than 30.
Why no more than 30?
If you add more than 30, Instagram won’t let you post the comment.
Buffer found that posts with more than 11+ hashtags tend to get more engagement.
Though more hashtags are generally better but don’t sweat your amount of Instagram hashtags unnecessarily.
Use hashtags in your comment, not in the actual photo – Yes! That’s true.
Because it makes your image caption clean and nice looking. Also, it keeps your caption distinct.
Hashtags aren’t for people to see. They are for people to find you.
Stalk your competitors – Your competitors will probably have the same target audience as you do, so why not take advantage of it?
Go to their account, scroll their feeds and note down the hashtags of their popular posts.
If it’s working for them, it will likely work for you.
Also, don’t use hashtags like – “like for like”, #follow4follow, like4like, #like4likes and other similar tags. This is a dirty tactic that’ll leave you with a whole bunch of low-quality followers.
5. Create a posting schedule
Beyond adding the appropriate hashtags, you should also be considering the schedule of your posts.
In a blog post announcing the changes on March 15, Instagram says that they’re focusing on optimizing the ordering of posts and that most users miss on average 70% of their feeds.
So, if your posts are getting shared on regular basis and are receiving a good level of engagement, then Instagram’s algorithm will show your posts in the top of your follower’s feeds.
And how do you do that?
Post often on Instagram.
Here is what I recommend:
- Post 1-3 photos or videos per day.
- Add 5-10 Instagram stories per day.
- Post 1 live video per week.
Now, this can vary from business to business and types of audience you are having. So I will recommend you measure it on your own.
And how will you do it?
Measure the total new followers you gain each week based on a number of posts you do per day.
To find out your optimal posts counts per days, increase the counts of posts daily each week until you find the number at which you optimize your new follower rate.
For example – Let’s say you are posting two posts per day for a week. Count the total number of new followers you gained this week.
In the next week, post three times a day for a week.
Again, count the total number of new followers gained on the weekend.
If the number of new followers is higher than the previous week, increase your total daily post to 5 or 6 for the following week and measure again.
Rinse and repeat.
Continue increasing the number of daily posts per week until you reach a point where your total new followers decrease from the previous week.
When that happens, go back to the number of posts per day where you saw the greatest weekly increase – that’s your ideal posting schedule.
To get around this, I’d suggest you use a tool like Buffer or ScheduGram to schedule plan your posts in advance for days or even week, including all of your edits, filters, and captions so you can publish them at a later date.
6. Your captions matters, seriously!
Treat your captions as though you are speaking right to your followers.
Every time you post a new content to your account, think about adding an interesting call to action into your caption, It will increase your chances of getting more responses from your followers.
It doesn’t have to be complicated, something short and sweet is good.
For instance, under a photo of a massive chocolate fountain with a text overlay that reads “Chocolates Cures All,” you could add the caption – “Like if you agree!”
You can also use some texts that say something like “make sure to follow us for the latest offers, updates, discounts, and promotions!”
Make it easy for your followers to engage by telling them exactly what to do.
7. Tag a friend post
I cannot emphasize enough the importance of using “tag a friend’- type content, it is one of the best ways to increase your Instagram followers.
If you’ll post a photo or video that followers can relate to is a great way to connect with people in your targeted market.
Generally it’s being used in memes but still, there are other types of content you can post to drive engagement with potential customers.
Posting attractive photos of your product/services with a caption like “tag a friend who would love this!” or “tag a friend who should try this!” is an awesome way to boost interactions on Instagram while spreading the word about your products or services.
As simple as it may sound but people are more likely to do something if you ask them to do it.
If you put the idea out there, it will encourage your followers to act accordingly.
8. Geotag your photos
It’s so simple, yet so often forgotten.
When you post a new photo or video, don’t forget to geotag it.
That way, other people who used the same geotag can see your photo and potentially follow you since you now have so much in common.
For example, say you’re a food critic and you’re visiting a highly acclaimed restaurant in Seattle.
When you’ll share a photo of your exquisitely crafted meal, be sure to geotag that restaurant as a location in your post.
This way, others who have been there or who live locally will be inspired to perhaps share what their thoughts were on their meals, like your photos or follow you thinking that by doing so they’ll get more inside scoop on great restaurants in their city.
9. Respond to comments
When any user leaves a comment and engages on your photos, take some time and respond to them, especially if they show an interest in your products or services.
And when you reply to people, make sure you leave comments by @mentioning them – It will make them feel special.
Keep doing this for a month or two, and you will see a drastic increase in your engagements.
Also, it will increase your chances to turn some of your followers into customers.
10. Run Contests and Giveaways
Running contests and giveaways on Instagram is another great way to increase your followers if done correctly.
I will explain how to do it but let’s start with what types of contest and giveaways you can run:
- Enter your email to win – Participants have to submit their email address in order to enter. You can select this type of contest if you want to sell something to them in future through email marketing.
- Comment to win – Participants have to comment on a piece of content to win.
- Like to win – Participants have to like one (or more) of your photos to enter.
- Follow to win – Participants have to follow your account to enter the contest. (After the contest is over, a percentage of people will unfollow you, don’t worry it’s normal)
- Participate in challenge – This is where you ask people to do something specific like repost a specific image and tag you in the caption. Or ask them to use your hashtag that you’ve created for your challenge on their own images.
- A combination of methods – You can also combine some of the above methods in order to enter your contest or giveaways, most of the methods mentioned above can work together.
Just make sure you don’t put the barrier to entry to be so high that people get turned off by the process.
Once you have selected the type of contest, it’s time to set up some rules so that there are no disputes after the contest is over.
Your rules should include:
- Duration of contest (at what date and time does it begins and end)
- The method of entry
- The prize
- How the winner will be chosen
- A statement acknowledging that the contest isn’t affiliated or sponsored by Instagram.
The one drawback of hosting a contest to grow your following is that you will be attracting people who aren’t necessarily interested in you or what you do.
They simply want to win.
In order to solve this, I have one advice for you.
You should offer a prize that is closely aligned with your business goals. For example:
- If you own a SaaS company, your prize can be a free trial of your product.
- If you own a fashion store, your prize can some of your best-selling merchandise.
That way, your audience will be narrow and targeted and you won’t attract an irrelevant following.
It’s also a good idea to write a follow-up post on the winner and the prize received.
Also, ask your recipients to post a photo and tag you in a post that shows what they won. That way every winner’s post will expose your brand and account to even more potential followers.
11. Steal your competitor followers
One of the best ways to attract the new and targeted following is by seeking your competitors Instagram accounts and engaging with their audience.
Since these people have already shown some level of interest in the products/services you carry simply by following your competitor’s account.
So how can you steal your competitor’s followers effectively?
The answer is simple – by engaging with them.
Start by creating a list of your top 5 competitors and start following their followers.
Try to follow 40-60 users per hour, not more than that. Why?
Because, if you try to follow too many people within a certain time period, you’ll no longer be able to follow users.
If you’re thinking that following 30-50 users per hour might take too much time? Well, it doesn’t.
Here’s how it works. You can do this in just a few minutes each hour.
Repeat this process as often as possible.
As you follow users, many will begin to follow you back. If you are actively posting and providing value, then you will quickly begin to attract a following.
And once any user follows you back, go to their profile and like some of their photos, or if their pics are good enough then leave a genuine comment.
The more you put in and engage with people, the more you’ll get out of it 🙂
12. Run Instagram Ads
I’ve saved it for the last as most of the companies don’t want to spend money on advertising, or they have a very limited marketing budget.
But sometimes all you have to do is pay and get the ball rolling.
Instagram Ads are a great way to help boost your presence and performance since you can target people who could be interested in your products/services.
Running an advert on Instagram is not costly, I will recommend you to start with a budget of $5/day and see for yourself whether it’s working for you or not.
If it’s providing results then you can increase it to $10, $20 or $50 per day. And if not, you can turn them off.
I promise that if you practice all of these tactics (especially #11) mindfully, your Instagram following will grow at much faster rate.
I’ve summarized everything you’ve learned so far, here:
- Determining your goal is the first step.
- Your display picture, profile name, and your description… everything matters!
- Leveraging other social platforms like Twitter and Facebook, helps you grow.
- Every time you post a photo on Instagram – make sure you share it on Facebook as well.
- Use 11+ hashtags – No less than 3. No more than 30.
- Don’t use hashtags like – “like for like”, #follow4follow, and other similar tags.
- Creating a posting schedule will save you a lot of time.
- Treat your captions as though you are speaking right to your followers.
- “tag a friend’- type content, is the best way to increase your following.
- Don’t forget to geotag your photos.
- Respond to comments. Mention them, using @, in the comment.
- Offer a prize that is closely aligned with your business goals.
- Follow 30-50 users per hour
- Send direct messages to people who provide a lot of value.
- In your photos, tag users who you know personally.
Growing an engaging Instagram following is a marathon, not a sprint. You’ll need to do this over and over, day in and day out, month to month to see any worthwhile results.
Like any other skill you want to master, it takes patience and commitment.
Are you using Instagram as part of your marketing strategy?
Let me know how you plan to do it in the comments below. Or if you are already an Instafamous, why not spill the beans on how you did it?