Instagram is one of the most popular social media platforms in the digital era. Some might even consider that an understatement. You probably already know this, which is why you want to learn how to get more followers on Instagram.
So what is the current status of your Instagram account? Is the page optimized? Are you posting high-quality content o a regular basis? What is your current follower count? These are all important questions you need to ask if you want to increase your follower count and begin to make money from Instagram.
Here are some compelling Instagram statistics:
- There are over 2 billion monthly users
- 500 million people are active on the platform daily
- 95 percent of Instagram users also use YouTube
- 71 percent of Instagram users are under 35
- 35 percent of adults online use Instagram
The problem with Instagram is that you’re not the only business competing for users’ attention!
Did you know that there are more than 25 million business profiles on Instagram? There are also 95 million or so posts made daily on the social network. This much content can make it hard to stand out!
To start, you should be aware of several best practices that will help you gain real Instagram followers for your business. The list below can serve as a primer for getting started.
How to Get More Followers on Instagram
Attracting followers on Instagram is easier said than done. Building an audience requires persistence, consistency, quality content, and hard work.
To help you accomplish this effectively, here are some pro tips to keep in mind:
Develop an Instagram Marketing Strategy
It can be tempting to start posting content immediately, but a little planning goes a long way. Before you dive in, do you have a good focus? Some things your Instagram marketing strategy should include are:
- A specific niche
- Your target audience
- A tone for your brand
- Colors and identifying visuals
- An understanding of your competitors
- A posting schedule (tentative)
Without understanding these key aspects of your social media strategy, you may end up creating content early on that won’t align with your mission down the road.
Schedule Instagram Posts in Advance
A consistent posting schedule will help your audience see your content daily. It might sound like a huge obligation to make a post every day, but you can make your life a lot easier by scheduling posts in advance.
You can do this within Instagram itself (just choose Schedule for Later when finalizing a post) or with a number of handy tools like Planable.
Another important part of scheduling Instagram posts is determining the best posting times. Generally, midday and midweek are the best times to post, but your audience won’t necessarily follow the norm.
Instagram Insights or third-party analytics tools to help you track what posting times are most successful for your audience. This may require a bit of experimentation, but posting at the right times is one of the easiest ways to boost your Instagram followers.
Get Partners and Brand Ambassadors to Share Your Content
When building influence on a social network like Instagram, don’t be shy about being social and networking. Seek out others in your field, especially brands that complement your niche, and start rubbing elbows!
Getting to know potential future clients and networking with your peers is a great strategy that can lead to cross-marketing and sponsorship deals. Get out there and mingle!
Collaborate with Influencers in Your Niche
Teaming up with other influencers can net you many new followers. This is a mutually beneficial arrangement as you can both gain exposure to each other’s audience.
This may seem like helping the competition, but it really isn’t. Most users follow more than one content creator in a specific niche. Some users may be following up to ten influencers in a specific niche.
If you think you’re the only lifestyle influencer your Instagram followers are following, think again. So to amp up your followers, connect with a like-minded influencer and collaborate.
Here’s an influencer duo crushing it in the fitness, health, and lifestyle space.
These influencers are on their way to mid-tier influence fast. You can do the same by collaborating with others and sharing potential followers.
Collaborate with Other Brands
The goal for most influencers is to partner with brands and make paid endorsement posts. The traditional way to do this is to build enough of a following that brands flock to you to promote them.
Another strategy? Reach out to brands in your niche and ask them how you can help! You could even offer to make a sponsored post pro bono with hopes that it will lead to further opportunities.
Some brands might even have great ideas on how you can promote them, which you can add to your toolbelt for use in the future!
Create Instagram Contests to Increase Engagement
Everybody loves free stuff. Contests are a tried-and-true method that can help boost your Instagram followers and improve engagement.
There are many different ways to run a contest depending on your type of content and audience. Here are a few ideas:
- Merit-based contests (submit your best X)
- Random lotteries (comment and share for a chance to win!)
- Giveaways (enter your email address for a prize)
- Case studies (fill out this form for a chance to win)
- Polls (what type of posts do you want to see more of?)
Contests can help boost your Instagram followers in three ways:
- They are fun and promote engagement
- They encourage likes and shares
- They keep people checking in
While you might have to give away some of your time or a product to run an enticing contest, the benefits are almost always worth it. Contests are a quick way to gain exposure and encourage your audience to take an action, like share your post or tag their friends.
Check out our guide to explore more Instagram post ideas.
How to Increase Followers for Free
Pursuing becoming an Instagram influencer can be hard work, but there is one major perk to getting started in this business: it’s free!
Yes, you will invest a lot of your time and effort. But ultimately, there is no upfront cost like there is starting other types of businesses.
While you can try to accelerate your growth with paid ads, product reviews, and frequent giveaways, the main currency of Instagram influence is your time.
Below are some strategies you can use to boost your Instagram followers for FREE!
Have a Consistent Brand Aesthetic
Like your website, your Instagram account is the face of your business in the realm of social media. It’s your brand page, and it needs to represent your business in the best, most strategic way possible.
Ensure you’re leaving a good first impression when opening your page and that your business description is updated. A branded username, cool profile photo, branded hashtag, and link to your website will also help.
It should look something like this:
One thing you can do is brainstorm how you want your brand to look. This includes colors, logo, and overall vibe. Write these ideas down and use them as a guide anytime you are representing your brand.
Optimize your Instagram Bio and Profile
Your Instagram bio and profile are some of the first things new visitors will see on your page. They are a good opportunity to share information about yourself but try not to overdo it.
Most successful Instagram influencers keep their bios short and sweet. A little information about who they are, what they do, and links to their other social media accounts or websites.
Your profile picture is another important part of your branding. It is usually a good idea not to change it too often, so make sure you are strategic with your selection.
Post Content Followers Want to See
There are a lot of spammy businesses on social media. The majority of your posts should be engaging content, not sales ads.
This may seem counterintuitive – after all, you’re trying to use Instagram to make money. The truth is, Instagram posts that deliver value are more likely to gain organic followers. With enough skill, they can even convert.
There is not one bit of sales content in the above post by Boostingbee, yet it worked, driving 500+ likes and hundreds of followers.
While you will eventually mix sponsored posts in with your regular content, finding a good balance is important. Oftentimes, your fans come to your page to see your content. If they start seeing more ads and targeted posts that don’t interest them, they may stop engaging or even unfollow you altogether.
Use Relevant Hashtags That Convert
If you want more Instagram followers, you need to utilize the power of hashtags. Hashtags are essentially the keywords of Instagram.
Hashtags are critical to getting more followers because they allow users to find you more easily. For example, a yoga influencer can utilize hashtags like #yoga, #beginneryoga, #yogatraining, and other hashtags that yoga enthusiasts on Instagram follow.
Here’s an example from Instagram micro-influencer @zenbaby.yoga.
If you had a coffee shop in New York, you would most likely use #coffee #coffeetime #coffeeaddict, #NewYork, or basically any hashtag related to your brand and coffee. Take a look at the posts under the #Baristadaily hashtag for more examples.
Finding trending hashtags as they first pop up can drive serious views to a post. Hashtags can also be specific to a day of the year.
For example, #nationalcupcakeday. Here’s how micro-influencer @ourgalchloe leveraged this trend.
This post got an amazing engagement rate of 13.3 percent. And who knows how many followers? Not bad for a trendy hashtag!
Post Content Consistently
When you post on your Instagram business page, that post only has an organic reach life of maybe an hour, possibly two, unless it goes viral. You have to post often and on a schedule to stay in front of your audience.
According to one study, posting seven times a week or more can increase your number of followers by 56 percent.
Posting consistently on your Instagram account can also boost your likes and engagement. For instance, doubling your posting frequency can increase your engagement by up to 19 percent.
Want to get more followers on Instagram? Create a posting schedule and try to increase your post frequency. Just be sure you are still posting quality content!
Find Your Target Audience
Determining your target audience sounds simple, but it isn’t always. Your target audience isn’t necessarily the audience you have, either. When analyzing your influence, you may find that the followers you attract aren’t what you expected or even what you want.
For example, a makeup influencer may find they are attracting a lot of followers who aren’t actually interested in makeup. Rather, these fans find the influencer funny or attractive. While some influencers are happy for every follower they have, those who are not interested in the products they sponsor have less value than those who are; And brands will notice that.
As an influencer, your role is to pull a marketable audience that brands can use to sell their product. Attracting followers outside of your target audience is less valuable.
Embrace Instagram Stories
Leveraging Instagram Stories is a must. Stories are a great way to boost your Instagram followers and build an engaged audience.
Highlights is an Instagram profile feature that puts all of your Stories in bite-size sections, placed front and center under your Instagram bio.
Here’s an example from Instagram micro-influencer @yogawithadriana.
As you can see, there are a number of sections for users to explore. Highlights also give your Stories a longer lifespan on the social media channel. Instead of Stories lasting only 24 hours, they can be placed in Highlights where they will remain for visitors to view.
Here are a few Stories Highlights best practices to get more followers:
- Organize your stories into themes (travel, lifestyle, products, etc.)
- Create trailers for your stories to entice users even more
- Utilize the power of video to create compelling highlight reels
- Swipe-up should be in play to promote and sell products
Here are some Instagram Stories statistics that you should know:
- Top influencers post up to 7 Instagram stories daily
- Sponsored Instagram video posts net 3 times more comments than image posts
- Top publishers are increasing videos by 90 percent
- Instagram stories get 9 times more searches than Snapchat
Here is another example from @lipstickfever.
This micro-influencer also utilizes the power of video in her regular posts too.
This beauty video tip netted 3,153 views and 26 comments. If you do the math, this one video had an engagement rate of 5.67 percent. That is exceptional compared to most influencers’ average engagement rate of 2.1 percent.
Participate with Other Communities
As we mentioned earlier, networking on social media is a great way to expand your following and reach new people. In addition to other influencers and brands, try connecting with those on the other side of the fence: your audience.
This doesn’t just mean responding to comments on your page, but getting off of your page and interacting with them elsewhere.
For example, if you are a video game influencer, don’t just stream and post videos of yourself playing. Go watch and interact with other streams, give tips on clips of your fans playing, or offer to party up with your audience for an evening.
Create an Eyecatching Instagram Grid
Some influencers employ this tactic to give their Instagram page a more aesthetic look. Essentially, you plan your posts so that the thumbnails presented on your wall are arranged intentionally in a specific pattern, almost like tilework.
This can be as simple as alternating image and video posts for consistency or as complicated as arranging background colors to form a rainbow on your page.
Simple strategies include:
- Checkerboard patterns (by content type or color)
- Color fades
- Themed rows and columns
- Thumbnails that reference other posts
- Posting ratios (such as two images then one video)
All of these strategies will result in a more curated look, adding a wow factor to your page.
Incorporate Instagram Reels into Your Content Strategy
With the booming popularity of TikTok, Instagram Reels provide a wealth of engagement potential and will help you gain followers. Just find out what your audience is interested in and make a few-second-long video that incorporates your personality!
Like this Reel from Kayla Itsines, a popular fitness influencer:
You can even team up with an Instagram influencer that knows all about video content, introducing your brand to their followers!
Sharpie paired their iconic markers with the talents of an artist to make this clever video post attract 27,000+ views:
Avoid Fake Instagram followers
While follower count is an important metric for influencers, be wary of fake followers (especially the kind you pay for). It can be tempting to boost your Instagram followers to get to that next milestone and accelerate your growth, but if they aren’t real people, it can actually work against you.
Expect that any brands willing to sponsor you will have done some detective work to make sure you and your influence are legitimate. If it is obvious many of your followers are fake, especially if they look bought, you may find yourself blacklisted. It’s not worth the risk.
Engagement is also important as an Instagram influencer. It has become one of the top metrics for brands looking to hire influencers for lucrative sponsored posts. Fake followers are unlikely to provide meaningful engagement, which can ultimately hurt your metrics.
Simple engagement like this example from @sweatandtell will encourage your audience to interact with your page and even attract new followers.
This video post received over 100 comments, so it can be a bit time-consuming to reply to all your post’s comments, but it will be worth it to watch your follower count grow!
Use Instagram Live
Going Live on Instagram is a great way to connect with your followers in a meaningful way. You can do Q&A sessions, perform a new song, or just share something about your day. Whatever it is, Instagram followers love it when their favorite influencers go Live.
When a follower interacts with your Live post on Instagram, their friends are more likely to check you out and follow you, too. Networking and word of mouth are two of the best ways to drum up loyal followers.
According to The Verge, Instagram also announced that users would be able to go live for up to four hours very soon.
This can be a great opportunity to create more long-form videos and really strengthen engagement.
Write Captivating, Shareable Captions
The text caption for Instagram posts is not just an add-on no one cares about. It is a space to tell an important story, maybe even get personal with your audience.
A longer post caption can entice more users to become followers because a connection can be sparked between Instagram users and influencers.
Here’s what this looks like from travel influencer @travelmadmum.
This influencer lets her audience in and touches on topics that many moms are dealing with — Kids, home, education, and work.
You certainly don’t need to write an ebook every post. But let users in and give them substance behind the image. Don’t worry if you’re not much of a writer. People are more interested in the story than the grammar.
Link Your Profile on Your Business Website and Social Media Channels
Making use of multiple platforms can help you reach a wider audience. Think of this like casting a fishing net; the bigger the net, the more you will catch!
This isn’t to say you need a presence on every social platform (that would be an unmanageable amount of work), but be sure to point followers to the accounts you already have on other platforms. Your fans are already interested in your content, so there’s a good chance they’ll follow you on other channels to see more of it.
This includes any websites or personal accounts you have, as well. Unless you want to keep an account private, you can create your own network for your fans by leveraging content on multiple social platforms!
How We Can Help with Your Instagram Marketing Campaign
Now that you know how to gain more followers on Instagram, let Scalefluence help you scale your business. The digital age is not one-dimensional, particularly when it comes to social networking. It’s a time when businesses need to be seen and heard in as many online spaces as possible by growing across multiple channels.