If you want to learn how to get followers on Instagram then you are in the right place, this is a short guide covering the best tips for doing just that.
While the Instagram algorithm is constantly changing just like Google’s there are tried and tested tactics that have always worked and still do in 2018.
Over the past few years, Instagram has gone from a relatively new and niche social platform into one of the biggest and most innovative since Facebook.
Which is ironic because Facebook actually acquired Instagram back in 2012 for the tasty sum of 1 billion dollars.
This has had many people are wondering whether the organic visibility is gradually being diminished on the gram as it’s affectionately known just like Zucks did with FB.
Did you know Instagram has 800 million users as of 2018? Sure some of them will be bots and duplicate accounts but that’s still a mighty impressive number.
While that might be the case and it’s inevitable Facebook wants to generate more revenue from their social image sharing platform which means forcing people to pay for ads to reach a wider audience there are still tried and tested ways that continue to work when you are trying to get more followers on Instagram.
Building a large following on Instagram is certainly not easy but it can lead to more sales for your business, traffic to your website or blog and partnership opportunities.
The one key difference to keep in mind with Instagram is that unlike more traditional social platforms like Facebook and Twitter, you don’t share out articles with a link in each one to your website.
This is because Instagram doesn’t allow you to add links to posts and limits you to just your singular profile link.
One great way to expand this is to create a LinkTree page with 5 or 6 different buttons and link to that instead.
This acts as an easy way for you to promote several things at once without having to give much direction to the user beyond saying click the link in my description and then click the relevant sub-link.
Beyond anything else, Instagram is a fantastic brand building tool that allows you to build a relationship with your audience in a different way to other social networks and that for me is the charm to using the Gram for marketing your business.
So how do you get more followers on Instagram?
Let’s take a look at some of the best actionable tips you can start using straight away that are totally legit and completely free.
Like Photos in your Topics & Niche
When you are first starting to grow your Instagram following one of the best tips is to engage with others that share the same interests or an interest in what you have to offer.
How do you do that? By liking other peoples posts and occasionally going as far as to leave a comment when you have something meaningful to say.
Start by searching on Instagram for hashtags related to your niche or the topics you are interested in, browse through the most popular and the most recent and leave some likes.
When you give people likes they don’t go unnoticed. Think about when you get likes, you check out their profile and have a look at their content more often than not right?
So go through and like the posts of people you aren’t following but keep it balanced.
This doesn’t mean you should like everything for the sake of it and spend hours on end repeating this process. Spread it out and do it once or twice a day and perhaps after sharing something new yourself.
Remember to remain authentic at all times otherwise, you will fall into the trap of being an unconscious spammer.
Theming & Visual Style
Your main Instagram profile is a photo grid in 3 columns when your images vary drastically in style and format this can take away from the professionalism and attractiveness of your page and means people are less likely to follow you.
This doesn’t mean if you posted a photo of a cat you are now limited to being a feline photographer, there is much more to the look and style of your photos than the subject matter.
Try using consistent filters, color schemes, and style photo. Sometimes it’s as simple as just keeping the quality high across the board.
DevanOnDeck is a great example of this as he keeps his quality consistently high but also his choice of colors and tones in his photography.
A key to growing your followers on any platform is consistency.
You need to be consistently posting, that doesn’t mean every hour or every day but if you decide to post every two days or three times a week stick to it, keep chipping away and sharing content.
It does, of course, to share more regularly and be more aggressive when you are starting out and want to grow your account and in this period it’s advisable to share daily if not a couple of times a day, but don’t overdo it as your followers might drop off.
Sure you could post as many as 4 times a day but it’s probably a little bit overkill.
Don’t post more at the expense of quality, because this is the other area where you need to be consistent if you want to get more followers on Instagram.
Creating Beautiful Visual Content
Since Instagram is a visual first social media platform to stand out you need to create better content than your competition.
Fortunately, you no longer need to be a professional graphic designer to put together some beautiful Instagram worthy photos and videos.
Think outside of the box, use templates, add beautiful typography overlays, add effects to photos to bring them to life or turn your stills into moving images like Cinemagraphs for example.
There are so many apps to help you create amazing Instagram content it’s almost hard to choose a favorite but I would recommend everyone try the tools we recommend to find what works best for their approach and type of content.
Here are some visual content ideas we have put together to help you stand out from the crowd and by crowd I mean 800 million other “grammers”.
Engage & Be Social
Social media should be precisely that, “social” and so one of the best ways to grow your following is to be active and engage in all ways possible on the platform.
When the platform in question is Instagram that means following other users, commenting on other peoples posts and also replying to comments on your own posts to make people feel welcome.
This is a great way to not only get more followers but to get real followers who respect you for engaging with them and being human.
Your personality is a great tool and often this doesn’t shine through if you are just sharing images and not saying anything.
Use Instagram how it was intended and you will be rewarded, always be social.
Use The Right Hashtags
Hashtags are an Instagram 101 but often a subject people think they already understand.
Hold your horses young padawan!
Instagram is always changing its algorithm and as such what worked a few years ago might not work today.
One example of that is hashtag stuffing. Avoid using too many hashtags as this could lead to reduced post reach and even a shadow ban according to some.
Instead, focus on 5-10 of the best hashtags for your niche and are relevant to the content you are sharing.
Use tools like Hashtagify to find the most popular tags related to your topic and you will be able to increase the visibility of your next post massively.
Simply put in your topic or niche and Hashtagify will give you data and suggestions on the best hashtags and find you other related hashtag ideas to try.
If you are trying to build a community there’s no better way than by creating your own branded hashtag and encouraging others to use it too, especially if they are reposting your work and giving you a shoutout.
There is nothing special to creating a branded hashtag other than just typing #whateveryouwant however you do want to make sure nobody else is already using it as that will avoid or at the very least dilute its usefulness.
If you do photo contests and encourage other users to create similar work and use your hashtag you can thank them by reposting it and giving them a shoutout later.
Contests & Competitions
If you have a budget and you are able to give out a reward or free access to your new course you can run a competition on Instagram to get others to grow your followers for you.
One way is to get your followers to repost a specific post with your branded hashtag in to help spread the word about your profile or a product you are launching.
This works particularly well when doing an info product launch, especially if the product is a digital download since the cost is pretty much free to reward your loyal supporters.
Reposting some of the best content in your niche on Instagram is a great way to easily share high-quality content.
Just remember to credit the users’ profile who you are reposting content from.
Report for Instagram is an app for iOS and Android users that makes it easy to quickly repost any image you find on Instagram and want to share and of course lets you set your own caption and give a shoutout.
I wouldn’t advise going over the top with this approach so use it sparingly to add content that you already know performs well because you were able to see how it performed for someone else.
There are of course situations where this would be seen as untoward so consider the context and use some logic when deciding what is fair and not when reposting other peoples work.
and once again, always give credit!
If you don’t ask you don’t get
Ask people to follow you on Instagram that already follow you on your other social accounts. Even if you have a modest following on Twitter, Facebook etc, if they are true followers then you have a good chance of converting them over to following you elsewhere too.
If you have an email list you can send a message out asking people to follow you on Instagram and inform them you share platform-specific content that is only shared on there.
Tell a Story
People love stories, stories get peoples attention and will lead to more likes and of course followers.
Try using longer Instagram captions and add some narrative to whatever you are posting.
If you are sharing a photo of a product, really talk about it, why are you sharing it, what’s so great about it, ask a question to encourage people to engage and respond.
If you are sharing a photo of a historic landmark share some interesting facts or stories about the place, don’t just share it with the name of the place, the location and say it’s beautiful.
In addition to using your posts to tell a story, Instagram also has a “Stories” feature that allows you to compile 1 or more photos or videos or a mixture of both content types to create a more compelling story.
You can also add these as highlights so they stay on your profile permanently.
Here is an example of Gary Vaynerchuk using Facebook Stories. This is also an example of an account takeover partnership
Just like normal Instagram posts you can add hashtags and geotag your stories. You can even add hashtags in the form of stickers if you want to get a little creative.
Stories are a great way to curate pieces of content from multiple images into one cohesive series.
Use your Instagram Link in Features
Next time you do some marketing outreach and get mentioned or featured, use your Instagram profile link when you are asked to provide a social media link to drive more traffic from other publications and websites to your Instagram account.
This might be one for the most experienced marketers out there who are used to getting featured in the likes of Forbes, Inc, and HuffPost and already know how much valuable and targetted traffic this can drive.
Which of course leads to more followers on your Instagram account.
If you do a podcast or a webinar with someone, share your Instagram. If you are featured in a blog and quoted, ask that they link to you on Instagram instead of Twitter or an alternative.
Instagram is a platform for sharing visually pleasing content, that includes not only photos but videos too.
If you aren’t sharing videos as well as photos then you are missing a trick.
Videos engage people far better if a photo speaks a thousand words a video speaks a million.
You can tell a story in a video and include a beginning, middle and end far easier than with a single photo.
Videos are also particularly useful if you are trying to teach something and get your message across.
In addition to being able to share videos on your profile, you can also use them to create stories or go live.
Speaking into a phone camera might not seem very Hollywood but it has a sense of authenticity to it that’s impossible to augment.
Geotagging lets you select the location your photo was taken. Instagram will suggest locations based on your current location and where the photo was taken but you can change this to be anywhere you want.
While it’s always best to be human, organic and truthful, sharing the real location or somewhere nearby but there are times where you might want to step it up with a growth hack.
Try geotagging your next 10 photos in the most populous 10 cities in the world and you are bound to increase the number of likes on the post as well as your followers.
Of course, try and be tactful with this, taking a photo of you on a beach and then posting it in London would look a little stupid, so put a little thought into it at least!
Find What Works AND What Doesn’t!
Go back through your Instagram posts and using a piece of paper or a spreadsheet list out the posts and how they performed, list both number of likes and comments.
Once you have performed that exercise detail what unique attributes the best performing posts have in common, is there a pattern?
Use this information to influence what you post and don’t post in the future.
If you upgrade your Instagram to a Branded Instagram Account which is totally free and I strongly recommend you get access to Instagram Insights which is their built-in Analytics tool that breaks down your performance in more detail using charts and graphs.
You can see details like profile visits and the increase or decrease compared with the previous week.
Insights also displays the number of clicks to your website link, emails sent, reach, impressions and of course which content performed the best.
The definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.
So double down on what performs best and you will get better results with less effort.
It’s Always 5 o’clock Somewhere
But where? This is why you need to consider the what the best times are for you to share content and engage with others to help you get more followers on Instagram.
Consider where in the world your target audience is, what timezones, is it just one timezone or multiple?
Then ensure to post or even better schedule your posts for these times and test the results.
Using Instagram Insights you can then report on which times perform the best for your content and which days of the week.
Look at your audience insights and find out what times of day and days of the week your followers are most active.
This is all vital information to help you fine-tune your strategy for Instagram growth.
Link to Your Instagram
If you want to promote your Instagram as one of the best places to keep up to date with your life, career, and work then it makes sense to link to your Instagram account.
You could add your Instagram account link to your other social media profiles but I think a better way is to use LinkTree and add all of your social media links in one place and then add that link to your profile as a hub of where to find you or your best content.
Since Instagram content is visual you should try cross-publishing content or repurposing content for Pinterest which is another high volume image first social platform you can get a lot of traffic from.
Another place I have seen people promoting their Instagram is from the bottom of their guest posts, and this doesn’t just mean guest posting on popular privately owned websites but also on the bottom of people articles on Medium.com.
If you answer questions on Quora then that is another great opportunity to draw people over to your Instagram account to find out what is going on with you there.
Partnerships and Collaborations
One of the fastest ways to grow your following on any social network is to partner up with similar people in your space that share your target audience and find ways to collaborate.
On Instagram, a popular method is to do a shoutout, where you do a shoutout post for the other person and then they reciprocate and you can work together to discuss what content to use.
You need to be mindful not to go and ask big accounts for shoutouts when you only have a few hundred followers though because you are likely to get ignored.
Pick people that are about the same size as you or maybe a little bigger and you will get much better results and not waste your time.
Another trend that requires you to build up a better rapport with another user first is to do a guest contributor deal where you take over their account for the day.
Sell Yourself in Your Bio
If you want to make a good impression and let people know what to expect, go beyond just adding your best content to your profile and make sure you write a catchy and engaging profile description that says what you are about.
Add the subjects and topics you cover as hashtags and keep it short and to the point.
A simple but effective way to add the finishing touches to your profile along with your link of course.
Focus on Organic Growth
While it’s easy to get excited you shouldn’t expect to see massive results overnight and wake up to tens of thousands of followers.
Getting more followers on Instagram and growing your account takes time.
There are very few overnight successes, so if you want to get more followers on Instagram the key is to find what works for you in your niche, repeat those things while continually trying out new ideas and be consistent in your publishing schedule.
How to Get More Followers on Instagram – Final Word
There are lots of clever ways to get more followers on Instagram but often it’s the simple and obvious steps that have the best impact, but the key is to be consistent and keep repeating the tactics that work for you.
If you haven’t already made a start on Instagram then you should definitely make it the next platform for you to start testing.
There has never been a better time to strike it out and start a personal brand or lifestyle business and Instagram is a great example of a platform that has been helping people achieve this.
There are thousands of influencers making a full time living from their success on Instagram and transferring that success to other platforms to grow their businesses.
I don’t expect that to change anytime soon and still think influencer marketing is an undervalued and underutilized asset.
I hope you found this guide on how to get more followers on Instagram informative and useful, if you want to follow me on Instagram you can do so by going here.
Do you have any tips, tricks and growth hacks on how to gain followers on Instagram you think I have missed?