Instagram is one of the most popular social media networks in the world. The US alone has 88.48 million monthly active users following Russia, Brazil & Turkey.
In September 2017, famous online magazine TechCrunch has reported Instagram growth to over 800 million monthly & 500 million daily active users.
This growing popularity of Instagram is a really great chance for every person & business. You can leverage this platform to create a personal brand, business promotions, get traffic to your site, generate leads, make money, etc.
Bloggers are using the Instagram platform to sale affiliate & info products. Some are making thousands of dollars by promoting other brands.
The Instagram platform is not limited to sharing photos (when it was launched), but it has evolved and has a bunch of useful features that will help you to achieve your goals.
But to achieve those goals you need a lot of targeted followers with high engagement rate. You should keep this bold font statement in your mind & fit in your brain.
If you are buying followers from different websites for the sake of impressing others, you should stop doing it right now. Your goal should be getting targeted followers that are more likely to engage with your contents.
It doesn’t require a lot of efforts & time to get a large number of such a followers, What you need is Patience. So, Keep patience & use strategies given below to get more Instagram followers unless you are a world-famous celebrity.
I want to help you to get more Instagram followers without using any shoddy tactic. This blog post is all about leveraging every feature of Instagram that will get you more followers, more traffic, more leads & to create a high-quality brand.
You must invest your time to execute below strategies & you will get a high return on your time invested (ROTI). If you want instant, fast followers, tricks or cheat, then you shouldn’t be reading this post.
How to get more followers on Instagram (Real & Free):
Below are 15 different ways to get more followers on Instagram.
- Optimize Your Profile
- Post High-Quality Photos
- Tag People in your posts
- Include your location
- Write Descriptive & Story Telling Captions
- Use Trending & Popular Hashtags
- Post Frequently
- Like and Comment on Other’s Feeds
- Use Instagram Stories
- Go Live
- Do Cross Promotion
- Invite a guest to post on your account
- Run Instagram Contests
- Promote on other platforms
- Analyze Instagram Insights
1. Optimize Your Profile:
An information present on your Instagram profile should attract people to follow you. You should always give a reason, to follow you, over the users who have visited your Instagram profile.
How could you do that?
You have to optimize your name, username, profile photo, bio description & link.
If you want to be the Instagram influencer or create a personal brand, you should use your real name here. If you are a business, then use your business name.
Be authentic & don’t use fussy names.
Your username should be easy to remember & match with your brand. In this way, it becomes straightforward for other people to mention you in the comments.
If you have a cliche username, then it would become tough (Important to improve engagements). If the username you want has already taken, then add some catchy words, after your username, to make it distinctive.
Your name & username plays an important role for the people who are searching you on Instagram. So, make your profile searchable & discoverable.
Unlike other social media apps, profile picture on the Instagram is not clickable (When you add a story, it become clickable & opens a story). So, businesses should use a high-quality logo.
Other users can use their own photo with face visible.
You should write a compelling & an actionable description that would make people follow you. Just write who you are, what you do, and be a little sarcastic, add emojis.
Don’t forget to add a tagline, if you have one.
Before introducing Instagram Stories, Bio link was the only space to put website or blog URL. I don’t recommend you placing Homepage link or other social media profile link here.
Instead, place a link that will give value to the users & optimize your user experience. You could provide a free ebook, consultation, webinar or guide to users & chances are they might become your fan in the first impression.
You can also provide such a freebies in exchange for an email address. This way you will be generating quality leads.
It is also essential that you should always change your bio link after a certain period. I recommend you using Bit.ly URL shortener to shorten long URL & get statistics.
Do you Instagram Business Profile has more features than your personal account?
Instagram Business Profile Features:
Businesses should switch to Instagram Business Profile which has great features to get more exposure.
With a business profile, you will be able to:
- See Instagram insights: Who are your followers? Where are they come from? When they’re online? & much more.
- Promote Instagram posts: It is like Facebook post boost. You can run Instagram ads within the app.
- Get contact button: With Contact Button you will be able to add email address/phone number & directions.
- Add links to your stories: If you have more than 10,000 followers, you should be able to add links to Instagram Stories.
Instagram Business Profile – Land Rover:
2. Post High-Quality & Attractive Photos/Videos:
Instagram is a visual platform & photo/video is a must-have element of every post. So, you should always post attention-grabbing photos.
You should post at least 15-20 photos before promoting your Instagram account.
On the Instagram platform, video generates more comments than photos & photos generate 36% more likes than videos. So, you should post both photos & videos more often.
Here are a few guidelines for posting photos & videos:
Use Unique Color Palette & with Brand Colors:
Most of the brands are using the unique color palette for each Instagram post. You can even use a combination of 2-3 colors. An Indian brand “Frooti” is leveraging this technique.
You could also use your website or product color & font in your photos. This strategy will make your brand stand out & it will increase the affinity of users towards your brand.
Filters can improve the look of your photos & videos. According to Canva, Clarendon is a most used filter on Instagram.
You should also apply such a filters for your photos. You should use Boomerang app by Instagram, that will make your video loop back and forth. Don’t overdo it.
Use Photo Editing App:
What type of photos/videos should you post?
You should always post the contents which are relevant to your targeted followers. You should know which content your target audience likes most, which contents get more likes and comments, analyzing these tactics will help you a lot.
Here is the list of different Instagram photo posting ideas:
- Photos with faces get 38% more likes. So, It would be better if you post your own images, rather than stock photos.
- Post of photos of employees who are working/involving in the meeting.
- Photos of Cultural Event, Conference, etc.
- Behind the scene process of your product or service.
- Use mockups of new features of your product.
- Photos of customers with your product.
- Quotes from influencers & customers who love your product.
- Customer Success Story.
Post User Generated Content (UGC):
The User Generated Contents are created by other users such as your employees, customers, influencers, etc. The UGC contents could help you to generate a lot of followers.
It creates 20% more influence on purchase decision than any other media type, and that’s why brands approach the people with a large number of followers for product promotion.
You should ask your customers, site visitors, influencers to create content for you. You can incentivize them for producing quality content & also give credit in the Instagram post.
3. Tag People in your posts:
You should tag people in your post to increase the reach of your Instagram post. Don’t overdo it. You should tag relevant people & only if necessary.
Tagging people will encourage them sharing a post with their following. You can also ask your followers to tag someone, but you should create a relevant post such as:
- If you are a food blogger, you could say, Tag someone who wants to eat this cheeseburger.
- Motivational influencer could say, Tag your friend who always motivates you.
- If you are a gym instructor, you could say, Tag someone who has six pack abs like me.
You can tag a relevant person on New Post screen.
On the next screen, tap on photo & search person you want to tag.
You should also approve photos you tagged in before appearing on your profile. No one wants unwanted photos on a profile, so make sure that irrelevant images should not appear on your profile & you should never tag a wrong person.
4. Include Location in your posts:
The brands who tag location in their Instagram posts get 79% more engagement than those without. Instagram has a feature to search posts by location.
A lot of people including me are inquisitive about knowing what is happening around their city. So, If you tag location in your posts, you will get more exposure & more followers.
You can quickly do that while uploading a photo. Just tap on “Add a location”.
On the next screen, you can select any location you want. I recommend adding the location where a photo was clicked.
5. Write Descriptive & Story Telling Captions:
A story telling & descriptive caption is important tactic to reach more people & increase engagement. You can add up to 2200 characters in a caption.
You could add long captions to your post, but it doesn’t increase engagement.
So, depending on your brand, you can decide caption length.
Here are a few tips on writing captions:
Write important words upfront:
Instagram only display first three lines of your post in user’s feed. So, It is imperative to start your caption with a compelling & attention-grabbing introduction.
Writing curiosity based introduction will help you a lot.
A case study revealed that post that includes another user handle (mention) in the caption increases 56% more engagement.
Adding mentions will help you to reach a wider audience, but you should do it authentically & without spamming the users. Do mention users unnecessarily.
Over 50% of captions & comments contains at least one emoji. You should add a few emojis in your post captions.
It will help you to improve engagement & add a personal touch but do not show your emoji-affection by adding a lot of emojis. Instead add few emojis, appropriately.
A CTA (Call To Action) is nothing but the action you want from your users after reading the Instagram post.
Below are some CTA’s you can include:
- Ask question to increase engagement.
- Encourage to tag someone.
- Ask users to visit your bio link (New blog post promotion or Lead generation)
- Ask for a solution to your problem.
- Share your story or what’s your take on this.
- Double tap if you like it.
Use such a CTAs in your Instagram posts & increase engagement rate and followers.
Experiment with different caption length:
As I already mentioned, Caption length doesn’t impact engagement. Significantly. I believe caption length matters according to niche.
If you are a food blogger, then recipe image is not sufficient for your audience. You need to add recipe steps in the caption which could make it long. a flower delivery service doesn’t need a long caption.
6. Use Relevant & Popular Hashtags:
The hashtag is an important feature of Instagram that you should exploit to get more followers. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags.
People search specific hashtagged posts using the search bar or jump from one hashtag to another by clicking on hashtags of the posts featured in an explore tab.
A post with at least one hashtag gets 12.6% more engagement. So, You should have hashtag strategy in place.
Here are a few Hashtag tips that you can use to increase followers on Instagram:
Find popular hashtags by using Instagram search feature:
Instagram has search hashtag search feature where you could get a list of popular hashtags. Just type a broad hashtag relevant to your brand & you will get autocomplete list of hashtags with some posts.
I typed #socialmediamarketing & it popped down a list of popular hashtags relevant to it.
You should create a list of such a popular hashtags and store it in a file or note app to use them later.
Check your competitors’ hashtags:
If you are a new in the market & don’t know which hashtags to use, you could analyze your competitor’s hashtags. Go to their feed & find popular posts with high engagement.
Use those hashtags in your posts. You can also check out hashtags of influential people in your industry.
Create your own hashtag & make it popular:
You can create your dedicated hashtag for your brand & make it popular by promoting it. A lot of big brands are creating their own hashtag and promote it both online & offline media platforms.
You should create a hashtag that will motivate your audience to share posts & create a buzz.
A popular luxury car brand Mercedes-Benz has done this. They’ve created a hashtag #mbfanphoto & encouraged followers to share their Mercedes car photos.
As a result, people posted over 200,000 photos with this hashtag.
It is obvious to get hundreds of thousands of posts for a brand like Mercedes, but you can also apply this technique even if you have less number of followers. It’ll give you the results in the long run.
Create meaningful & motivating hashtags:
Your hashtags should be creative & attract the attention of the users. It should be meaningful & easy to remember.
Your hashtag should carry some motivation & emotion. So you could do that by making your hashtag sarcastic, terrible or funny. Make proper use of capitalization of characters.
Don’t use too many hashtags:
Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags.According to a TrackMaven study of Instagram accounts with 1000 followers or less, posts containing four or five hashtags received an average of 22 interactions.
Also, posts with 11+ hashtags even get a good number of interactions. So, It doesn’t mean that you should use 30 hashtags of every post.
Your goal should be using relevant & popular hashtags, this way you will get targeted and more followers. Even If you decide to use all 30 hashtags, make sure that your caption is long enough.
Don’t use generic hashtags:
There are a lot of hashtags which are popular, but you should never use them in your posts for the sake of getting more followers.
These hashtags are #folloforfollow, #follow4follow, #likeforlike, #like4like, #likesforlikes, #likeforfollow, #followforfollowback, #follow4like, etc.
7. Post frequently:
According to Tailwind, The more you post, the faster your following grows. Posting 7+ posts per week could increase 56% more followers.
One more important thing is you should post at the right time. That means, Post when your audience come online on Instagram.
You can find out the time when a higher number of followers comes on Instagram. Above both apps will help you to figure out this.
8. Like and Comment on Other’s Feeds:
Instagram is more like a community & you must participate with other users to be a solid part of this community. You have to expose yourself in front of more users such as influencers, followers, etc.
I recommend you to follow the people who have the same audience like you. You should like and comment on the posts that interest you.
If you followed an influencer in your industry, Turn on the notification. Whenever an influencer does post, you will receive a push notification. Go and interact, like, comment on their posts.
Like & comment on the posts that contain hashtags relevant to your industry. Also, If you love comments from other users, you should like such a comments too.
If your followers make comments on your post, then reply them with @mention. Appreciate your followers as you grow. E.g. Thank them when you reach 5K, 10K, 20K followers.
You could also re-post other people’s photo that interests you. It will help you to create better relationships. Don’t feed your account with a lot of reposted images.
9. Use Instagram Stories:
Instagram stories are much popular than SnapChat. It has over 250 million daily active users.
Stories work similar to the other social media platforms; you could add series of images & videos and then added images/videos start to disappear after 24 hours in chronological order.
You don’t need to create high-quality images or videos for stories. Even you don’t need to be picture perfect.
Why is this so?
Because the purpose of stories is to post your entire day activities with your followers. It will give more personality to your brand.
You should use Instagram stories to show your audience:
- What you do apart from your profession?
- What is behind the scene process of making your product?
- Images of a team working hard to achieve a goal or even relaxing in a cafeteria.
- Video of people using your product
- Sneak-peak of meeting with client or interview
There are endless possibilities of using Instagram Stories. You just have to show other side of your brand differently.
After bio description, the Instagram story is another place where you could add links.
There is a limitation.
You can only add links to your stories if you have a verified account or you are running a business profile and have more than 10,000 followers.
This method is a great way to get more traffic & leads to your website. You can add a link to your latest blog post, feature announcement, new product, etc.
When you add a link to your story, Instagram will show “See More” text at the bottom but you could edit an image and add a label or graphic to get an attention of the audience.
Your followers need to swipe up the image to open the link. A link will be opened without leaving the Instagram app.
10. Go Live:
The Instagram live video is also a great way to get more followers. A live video on Instagram disappears as soon as you stop broadcasting which creates a personal experience for your followers.
They feel included in the live video with you. You could start live video as soon as you find something interesting happening around you.
You could broadcast things like birthday party moments, office dog doing ridiculous things, staff meeting, etc.
Just tap on the camera icon which is at the upper-left corner.
On the next screen, swipe left and tap on “Start Live Video”.
As soon as you go live, Instagram will start notifying your followers. You should always start a live video when most of your followers come online.
Post a photo & a story with the date/time of the upcoming live video to get more people to watch your live video. Ask a question in the caption, “Who is going to join my live video broadcast of … ?”
Having more people to watch your live video will help you to get more exposure to the people who are not following you.
Instagram has “Top Live” option in an explore tab at the upper-left corner. More people means, your live broadcast may get featured here.
11. Do Cross Promotion:
You need to build a solid relationship with other users who have a similar audience like you. Find users with a large number of followers.
Once you find them, start to build a relationship with them by following, commenting & liking their Instagram posts. If the users have already done cross-promotion, then they’re more likely to do it again.
Do this process of building a relationship with the users for at least 2-4 weeks. Later, Ask for cross promotions.
Sometimes, the users may ask you for money. So, If you have a budget then go on otherwise hop on next user.
If you don’t have time to build a relationship on Instagram, I suggest you doing influencer marketing.
A ShoutCart is an Instagram Influencer Marketing platform where people could buy & sell shoutouts. Just visit ShoutCart & find the users who have the same audience like you.
Buy shoutout & they will promote your post. Most people see follower count as metric for buying shoutouts but chances are those followers might be fake.
12. Invite a guest to post:
If you’ve built a solid relationship with other users, then you should invite them to post on your account for a specific period. It is more likely that invited user would tell his followers that he will be posting on your account.
This way you could attract his followers towards your account & they will also follow you to get updates.
13. Run Instagram Contests:
Contests are much popular & a definitive way of growing your followers. People want free things & the contest is a way to get it by doing simple tasks.
You could run a contest & announce a prize which is highly valuable.
The prize could be:
- Copy of your bestselling book/ebook.
- Three months free subscription to your community/product.
- T-Shirt with your slogan.
- Discount code for your high-ticket offer.
- 1 hour of one-on-one free private coaching
- Anything which complements your product/service.
You could ask people to do following task to make an entry in the contest:
- Like your photo
- Comment on a photo
- Post with a specific hashtag
- Download Something (E.g. E-Book – great way of collecting emails)
- UGC, i.e. People using your product. (E.g. Selfie with a car, photo of food made according to your taught recipe, etc.)
Don’t ask a lot of things to the people. Otherwise, they won’t make an entry to your contest. Even if you ask to do so many things to get an entry, your winning prize should have high value.
You could also run the contest for several days & announce the winner who has actively participated in the contest.
Don’t forget to do content promotion.
14. Promote on other platforms:
Have you promoted your Instagram account other platforms? If not, let’s help people to find out your account.
Here are a few ways to promote your Instagram account:
Promote on social media accounts:
Apart from Instagram, you have an account of different social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, etc. You should take advantage of these accounts for getting more followers on Instagram for absolutely free.
People following you on other social media platforms are more likely to follow you on Instagram.
While adding a new post on the Instagram, there are different social icons such as Facebook, Twitter & Tumblr. You should connect to these accounts & publish your IG posts.
You have control over selecting whether you should publish a post on those platforms or not & I like this feature very much.
Add Instagram profile link on your website:
You should make it easy for the people to find you by adding Instagram profile link on your website. It is an excellent way to get more followers.
I have added my Instagram profile link on my website sidebar widget.
You could even show the Instagram feed on your website using WordPress plugin like Instagram Feed. While writing a blog post, you could also insert a photo from your Instagram account.
Just copy the URL of Instagram post & paste into the editor. Don’t add a lot of IG images otherwise; it may increase site load time.
Add Instagram profile link to your Email Signature:
You could also add Instagram profile link in your email signature. It will give you more exposure.
When you send a newsletter to your subscribers, they will see your Instagram account link & follow you.
Promote dedicated hashtag & account link on an offline media:
You should create a dedicated hashtag & spread it across offline media such as Letter pad, Visiting cards, billboards, receipts, print ads, etc.
15: Analyze Instagram Insights:
Instagram has a powerful analytics feature. You can leverage this feature to measure the performance of your efforts & align your current strategy.
As I already stated, Instagram insights feature is only available for business profiles so consider switching to it.
Instagram provides a variety of metrics such as:
- Website Clicks
- Profile Views
- Saved Posts
- Video Views
- Replies to stories
- Story Exits
You could also get insights on Top Posts, Followers by gender, age, & location. Learn more about these metrics here.
Now, You’ve learned How to get more followers on Instagram. But reading this blog post is not enough, go & execute all the techniques.
Don’t forget your end goal. Don’t use faulty strategies. If your followers aren’t loyal, not engaging, then there is no point of having thousands of them.
Never buy followers. Keep patience & use these white-hat techniques for good follower growth. If you follow above strategies, you will get high engagement rate, increase in loyal followers, website traffic & leads.If you want to get more followers on Instagram, apply these strategies.Click To Tweet
Which are above strategies you have been already using? What are other strategies you are using to get Instagram followers?