Welcome to our in-depth guide on growing your Instagram followers organically and authentically. In today’s digital age, building a strong presence on Instagram is essential for individuals and businesses alike. With over one billion active users, the platform offers immense potential to connect with a larger audience, showcase your brand, and increase your influence. However, attracting and retaining followers requires a thoughtful and strategic approach.
In this article, we will explore effective strategies to help you expand your Instagram following. By implementing these proven tips and tricks, you’ll be able to boost your presence on the platform and connect with a larger audience.
For small to medium-sized businesses wondering how to get Instagram followers, the struggle can be only too real. For many, it’s all about the name and the strength of the brand. Let’s take Nike as an example. If you are a Nike fan, it’s not hard to find and follow them – it’s no surprise that they have followers in the millions across several accounts!!!
But what if you don’t have the benefit of a big brand name or you aren’t an A-List celeb? How do you get found amongst the thousands of other Instagram accounts? How do you stand out in a crowded environment and attract new followers and how does your content get seen? We take a look at some tips for how to get Instagram followers that are genuine and more likely to engage with your content.
Top Tips to Achieve Instagram Followers
Let’s start with the short version before we take you through what is quite a detailed guide to increasing your Instagram followers the right way. Here are our top ten tips in brief however, we plan to give you a much greater depth of insight into each of these tips so grab a cuppa and read on.
- Optimise Your Instagram Profile
- Be Consistent with Posts
- Post What Your Audience Wants to See
- Use Relevant Hashtags
- Analyse the Stats
- Ask Others to Post Your Content
- Promote Your Instagram Profile
- Listen and Respond
- Experiment with Ephemeral Content
- Never Buy Fake Followers
Optimise Your Profile
You have approximately 7 seconds to create the right impression. This is the amount of time people will focus their attention before they move on to something else. That means your profile needs to be clear, concise and inspiring to encourage people to click that follow button.
Ask yourself this before you go any further. Does your profile have the following elements?
- A profile picture that is relevant to your brand (is it easy to identify?)
- Is your business categorised appropriately?
- Have you included a brief description of what your business offers?
- Website link – link to a specific landing page or somewhere that you want to send your audience
- Is your handle as close to your business name as possible?
- Does your grid inspire and grab their attention?
Be Consistent with Posts
Consistency is key when it comes to gaining followers on Instagram. Your audience will expect to see a constant stream of posts from you but not too many that they feel like they are being spammed. Stick to a schedule of posts, whether that be every day or just every weekday. Weekends tend to be less successful for engagement than week days so try and post at optimum times. don’t just post for the sake of it and don’t try and create lots of posts, just because you have plenty of content to share. Spread it out.
Consistency Not Repetition
While consistency is critical to the success of Instagram, you don’t want to become repetitive and boring. This risks your followers clicking ‘unfollow’ and the point of this guide is how to get more real Instagram followers. Posting the same old posts day in day out will soon turn people off. Even cute puppies and cats can get a little tired after a while. Keep your content varied and post what you audience want to see.
What Time to Post
There is a lot of research available that specifies the best time to post on social media. You will find lots of different information online – some of it will be conflicting, some will follow the same pattern. This example tells you the days and times that are best to post.
As you can see from the above, 11-1 on a Monday tends to be the optimum time to post for engagement on Instagram. However, this may not be the case for everyone. If you have a global reach, for example, you may find it quite hard to pinpoint. It also depends on the kind of schedule your audience keeps and their age/demographic etc.
Consider your own habits. Ever get to an appointment at 11 am five minutes early – chances are you have a quick scroll of Instagram or Facebook. There has been research that indicates that 5 minutes before the hour or 5 minutes after the hour are good times to post – catching people before they go into meetings or as they come out.
Then there is the morning/evening commute when you use your screen to pass the time. You might be an early morning scroller with your first cup of coffee of the day. The best thing to do is use the above as a guide but experiment with what works best for you.
Use a Scheduling Tool
The trouble with being consistent on social media is remembering to post at the right time. Often, you are so busy working on your business, that you forget to post Wednesday pm’s post then you get out of sync. Scheduling tools allow you to diarise your content for publishing and schedule it to the chosen social media platform at a specified date and time.
There are many different scheduling software apps that you can use. Facebook’s Business Suite allows you to schedule posts to both your Facebook and Instagram pages however, we have used platforms such as Hootsuite and more recently, Canva to schedule posts. We tend to favour Canva these days as it’s more of a one-stop shop for everything. Not only can we create the posts in Canva, but we can also connect our business social media accounts and post directly to them at a chosen day and time.
Post What Your Audience Wants to See
Do you have enough information about your customer base to pinpoint an ideal target audience? Who is a typical customer, why do they buy your products, where do they live, and how old are they… the more information you have about your clientele, the more accurately you can tailor your content.
How to Get Instagram Followers
The trick is to give your audience what they want – inspiring images, relevant and engaging captions, and content that inspires, educates, informs, engages, and entertains. This might be real-life experiences using photos you have taken, pictures of your products or services, before and afters, quotes, graphics, reviews, or anything aesthetically pleasing.
High Quality Images
Instagram is a very visual platform so it’s all about the photo. Everyone has the same aim, even if they don’t realise it… to stop the scroll and engage their audience. Imagine your own scrolling habits, you keep moving down the feed until such a time that you find something that you want to know more about. You might like a few posts, leave the odd comment and then click the post to see more. Chances are, you follow a certain number of accounts that share content that you are interested in.
Do not compromise on the quality of the images that you use. This is most important. Your content needs to be high quality and it needs to inspire. Think about he kind of posts that stop you in your tracks. If you haven’t got a constant supply of images, look to other resources to create original posts that are keeping with your brand. You can go for an aesthetically pleasing Instagram grid or you can mix it up and keep it varied.
This type of grid features both high-quality images and carefully created graphics. All you need to do once you have created the posts is post to your profile.
When scrolling the feed, you generally only see the first line of the caption. It doesn’t matter if you write war and peace, someone will only see it if they click through to your post.
Use Relevant Hashtags
The above content tips are great but unless someone is following you, they are only going to see your content if they are searching for it. This is where the hashtag comes into play. There is an art to hashtags and one that you will learn quickly what works and what doesn’t. To read more about choosing the right hashtags and how to use them, we have written a more in depth guide here.
There are a few basic rules of thumb that we can share here to keep it brief though:
- While you can use up to 30 hashtags on an Instagram post, the recommended amount is 3-5 (2024)
- Choose a mixture of popular and less popular ones
- Ensure they are relevant
- Consider the types of hashtags that you follow and follow some yourself to get inspiration
- Add your own brand hashtags – have some fun with this
The point of hashtags is that they make your content searchable. they are the key to reaching a larger audience and an integral part of your Instagram strategy.
Analyse the Stats
Analysing the stats of your Instagram business profile will help you learn the kind of content that you audience is consuming, what they are engaging with and thereby what you should be posting more of. To access this part of your account, click on the three lines in the top corner of your Insta profile then click ‘Insights’.
Within Insights, you will see the number of accounts reached for a specified period. In this instance, it’s the last seven days. You can change this to last 30 days if you want more of an overview. Then, clicking accounts reached will show you how many accounts each of your posts reached. You can get down to post level and see who liked your posts, how many comments they had, how many people they reached and really get a feel as to which content is performing well. This then gives you great insight into what you should be posting more of.
While you can just use the top level data of how many likes and comments you have, which you can see on your feed, it is great to have access to a much greater depth of information, especially if you want to build an effective strategy and succeed in how to get real Instagram followers.
Ask Others to Post Your Content
There is a whole army out there of social media influencers who are making a living out of promoting other people’s contents. This tends to be more for the celebrity who has several thousand followers however, there are influencers that have become celebrities because of their social media success. The trouble with this is that everyone thinks they can do it and will promise you the earth and charge you for it.
If you are a small business, identifying people to post your content can be a huge challenge. Where do you start? We have managed relationships with our clients who have used the services of influencers to try and get their message to a wider audience. It doesn’t always work but when it does, the results can be impressive. For one particular customer, we were able to get a fairly well known actress, who is no longer an actress but more of a lifestyle guru, to create a series of stories about the products we had sent her to trial. She didn’t charge us any additional fee, she was happy to receive the products and work with us. Anyway, one day we checked in on the client’s Instagram to see 100s of follow notifications. At first, we were surprised as to how this had happened. Then we checked out stories and realised she had done some really comprehensive video stories and people wanted to know more. In this instance, it worked like a charm.
Promote Your Instagram Profile
If you want to give yourself a chance when it comes to how to get real Instagram followers, you need to make sure people know you are on Instagram. You can do this by making sure you take full advantage of the opportunities to promote your Instagram profile. There are a few things you can do raise awareness and inform your customers, and potential customers that you have an Instagram profile:
Promote it on Your Website
Make sure you promote your Instagram profile on your profile – add the Insta icon somewhere prominent with a link to your profile. Some people will actually hide the icons at the bottom of the page alongside their Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and other social logos. instead, it’s better to put them in a prominent place. We would recommend somewhere near the top if this works with your site design.
Another consideration is to add an Instagram feed to your website, perhaps in one of the sidebars? Every time you post to Instagram, it will update on your website. You can just display the latest post there. You could also set it up so that a grid appears further down your home page so that your audience can see the latest 3-6 posts. If they like what they see, this might encourage them to click through and follow your page.
Use Other Platforms
Add your Instagram logo somewhere prominent in your newsletter or add a section to regularly promote your Instagram profile. Perhaps you can choose a featured post to share each month – one that proved very popular or engaging with your audience. Share the occasional Instagram post or your profile to other social platforms too.
This also extends to your more traditional forms of marketing. When choosing your Instagram name, you should try and keep it close, if not identical, to your Facebook handle. This not only means that people can find you across the platforms, especially when trying to tag you, but also that you can use one handle when adding to your stationery. Find us on Facebook and Instagram @ournameis.
Listen and Respond
Social listening is basically listening to what people are saying about you on social media. You can do this by either manually checking for hashtags including your company name (or variations of it), checking posts you’ve been tagged in, or those that you have been mentioned in. Check these posts and what they say. Often, they will be good but it’s important to also check for the bad. You want to hear what people are saying about you on social. You may not always like it, but it will help you to improve your offering and service.
Respond to Comments on Your Post
Be sure to respond to comments too. If someone has taken the time to comment on one of your posts, thank them. You can just add a ‘thank you’ message or you can develop the conversation.
Comment on Their Posts About You
If someone tags or mentions your company in a post, jump on that! They are sharing a post about you, that mentions and tags you in. This means that their audience is seeing this content. You want that audience to follow you. Jump on that post and leave a comment. Think about what you write. engage and make yourselves look super friendly and approachable. Perhaps leave a comment that others will see the encourages them to visit your profile and follow.
Monitor and Share Stories
Stories are also another way to communicate with your audience. Check for mentions in the stories of others then respond (you will get a DM notification of the mention). you can go one step further and share the story too. If someone adds a photo of them modelling one of your products for example, you can add that story to your story.
There is also a benefit for them if you re-share their story. They may pick ups follows from audience seeing the story. There are plenty more benefits to using Instagram stories correctly but we will cover that in the next session. For now, the point is to listen to what people are saying about you on social media and respond to any interaction.
There are platforms which allow you to monitor mentions, stories, tags etc – these are more relevant as you grow and get more interactions. For now, you can probably manage this manually by checking in on your account a couple of times a day.
Experiment With Ephemeral Content
Platforms such have Tiktok and Snapchat have made ephemeral content incredibly popular but what is it and what does it mean? Well, online permanent posts that say in your posts and just move further and further down, ephemeral content os temporary content that is only available for a short amount of time. In the case of Instagram and Facebook, a story is available for 24 hours. Good news if it doesn’t really do what you hoped or you change your mind about it after you’ve posted it. It also allows you to post things with a deadline. This is great if you are having snap sales or one day only offers or exclusives. When it comes to how to get Instagram followers, ephemeral content is a great tool.
Take Advantage of the FOMO
Like Boxing Day sales or Black Friday, people will literally queue for hours to get a deal. They wait for that one day to grab a bargain and can’t miss it, even if they maybe don’t need to buy anything. This FOMO (fear of missing out) also applies to Instagram Stories or other temporary content. People know it’s not going to be there for long, so they are more likely to interact.
Stories Allow People to Directly Communicate
We have found that stories allow us to get greater feedback than posts in the main feed. When you post a story, you can ask a direct question and even make it easy for people by giving them options to check. You can create a poll, give them two choices, ask a question, mention others and create a conversation. We find we get far more interactions from this type of content. One theory is that it is quick and easy, and does the thinking for them. Another theory is that they are less inclined to make their views public so the nature of stories encourages greater interaction.
Have Fun with Reels
We are absolutely loving Instagram Reels right now and can see some real mileage in using them to help grow your follower base. In fact, they should definitely be part of the ‘how to get Instagram followers’ strategy. Reels are short video clips that are discoverable if your account is public.
It’s much better if you can create original reels. Take inspiration from what you see when browsing. You need short video clips or photo montages, then you use the tools available to bring it to life. In the last few weeks, text to speech has been added as a feature with real comic effect. We are still exploring reels, still experimenting and having great fun. It’s not unusual for us to get lost in the reel scroll making notes of ideas that inspire us. Take some time to get familiar with it. If you hit on the right kind of reel post, you will be winning when it comes to how to get Instagram followers.
NEVER BUY FAKE FOLLOWERS
So important that we put this one in capital letters and the reason that we have called this article “How to Get Instagram Followers!” Tempting as it is to be drawn into this idea that lots of likes will make you look more popular and trusted, it can have a really adverse effect on your Instagram engagement. Engagement is the key and fake likes will flag your account and you will get penalised for it. Better to have a low number of high quality followers than thousands of fake ones.
- Instagram can tell if you buy fake followers and can even remove your account.
- It damages your credibility – take note influencers
- You will ruin your engagement and visibility
DO NOT BUY FAKE FOLLOWERS. Just say no.
Also don’t sit there following hundreds of accounts hoping to get followed back. This will lead to restrictions and even being banned.
Instagram Followers the Organic Way
We have covered quite a lot of ground on how to get Instagram followers so you probably need to digest the information and start to get familiar with the various aspects of the platform. We would recommend you take one or two tips and start working through them gradually. Don’t expect instant results. It takes time to build a genuine following.
We would love to hear from you and your success stories. How have you managed to grow your Instagram following? How long did it take and what did you find worked best for you. Leave your comments below. Alternatively, if you would like to discuss your business specifically, get in touch. We would be happy to take a look at your Instagram account and offer our advice on how to get Instagram followers for your business.