Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has become one of the most indispensable tools in the arsenal of businesses of all sizes. And it’s not surprising: with 2 billion active users, the platform brings incredible opportunities to brands as it helps them to build trust among their audience. So much so that according to the SproutSocial Index research, 89% of consumers will buy from a brand after following it on social media. This, however, also poses certain challenges. One of the more prominent of which is growing an organic following to eventually increase sales. As millions of creators worldwide work towards getting their share of the market, growing your audience on the platform becomes harder. However, it’s also not impossible, and if you are armed with the right strategies and enough determination, the results will be absolutely worth it.
To help you with this, we’ve done the hard work and compiled in this article some of the most effective techniques you can use to organically grow your Instagram following.
How to Grow Instagram Followers
When it comes to growing Instagram following organically, there is no one working methodology. The Instagram algorithm is ever-evolving, and so are the tastes and preferences of the users. What worked two years ago won’t necessarily work today. This is why you should always be on top of the trends and developments on the platforms, as you work towards organically growing your followers. Here are 10 strategies that have proven to help businesses and creators to grow their following on Instagram over the last several years.
How to Get 1k Followers on Instagram
Create great content
If there is one thing you take out from this article, it should be being meticulous about the quality of your content. On Instagram, much like on every other social media platform, your content is what sets you apart. So it’s critical that you invest the time and resources to curate relevant, high-quality, and informative content that showcases your brand values and what you offer, simultaneously addressing the pain points of your followers. At the end of the day, people will follow you for the content that resonates with them and because they can feel that you are putting effort into your work.
Use High-Quality Images & Engaging Captions
As the saying goes, you will not have a second chance to make a first impression. That’s why the first impression you make on Instagram should be impeccable. The quality of your visuals, as well as the captions you add to them, can go a long way in helping you achieve this.
Let’s start with visuals. On Instagram, an inherently visual platform, people want to engage mainly with visual content. According to the 2020 Sprout Social Index, consumers want to engage with visual-first content like photos (68%) and video (50%), followed by 30% who want to engage with text posts. So, the quality of your visuals is something you should take with utmost seriousness. In the age of smartphones with readily available cameras, having low-quality and grainy images is a big no for any brand looking to grow its presence on Instagram. Beyond the quality of the visual itself, it’s important that your designs are beautifully-crafted, on point, don’t contain any disrupting colors or elements, and are overall not too crowded.
Descriptions are what you use to elaborate on your visual. They provide context and background, show what it is that you are offering, and what a potential follower can gain by joining your community. They also help to make your content more discoverable through keywords and hashtags. Your caption is half of your post, so it’s important that you make them catchy, engaging, informative, fun, and, more importantly, to the point.
Use location tags
To grow your Instagram following organically, you need to make your posts more discoverable for users. Location tags are one of the more popular ways to do it. By adding a location sticker to your stories or mentioning the location in your posts, you make them visible to people searching for content from specific territories. This, except for increasing the reach of your posts, also attracts a highly targeted and potentially interested audience.
Consistency is another critical step in our list, and it’s as important as the quality of the content you post. Especially in the beginning, when you are just starting to grow your Instagram presence, being active on the platform can make all the difference. As you start working towards growing your Instagram followers organically, take some time to experiment with posting schedules. This will help you understand the best frequency to post for your brand. Keep track of the performance of each post, as well as the overall account to understand how many posts or stories per week the performance increases, and when it starts going down. You can then use these insights to plan your content calendar to achieve the maximum results.
Use Collab Function
You’ve probably seen this on Instagram: one post appearing on two profiles. This is the collab function Instagram introduced recently. Here’s how it works: one creator makes a post on the platform, and invites the other to collaborate.
The function offers several benefits. The first and most important one is that it allows both creators to increase their visibility, reaching a highly targeted new audience. Next, the collab function increases brand transparency by showing people who you collaborate with. Lastly, with the collab function, you can avoid duplicate posts, which simplifies the management process by making all the performance data available in one place.
Run Contests and Giveaways
If you are looking to attract new, high-quality leads to your Instagram, why not spice up your profile with a giveaway? Contests and giveaways have been one of the old-timers of Instagram, and the main reason brands and creators do them is to gain new followers, all while bonding with their audience better. Giveaways are a fun way to give back to your community, engage with them, and reach new audiences. With an Instagram giveaway, you’ll make your account more enticing for potential new followers, offering them a potential gain in the form of a win or even exposure through sharing.
Use Instagram Stories and Lives
Since their introduction in 2016, Instagram stories and Lives have become an integral part of the marketing strategy for millions of creators and brands around the world. And it’s not surprising: they bring huge benefits from the marketing perspective by, among other things, making brands more humane. But how do they help with gaining followers? There are several ways. Firstly, Instagram stories are one of the ranking factors of the omnipotent Instagram algorithm. By analyzing your content, including your stories and their performance, the algorithm can rank your content higher, and even make it appear in the Discover section. The next is authenticity. Through utilizing Instagram stories and Live, you can build stronger and more authentic relationships with your existing and potential followers through quick, easily consumable, and more genuine content. The last one on our list is the simplicity of it all. Through Stories and Live videos, you can also make consistent posting much easier. Instagram offers quite a few in-app tools and templates you can create to customize your stories and even create them from scratch, keeping up with the trends your potential followers can relate to without investing a lot of resources.
Use Your Instagram Bio
Your Instagram bio is one of the first things potential followers will see when they visit your account, and you should use it to the maximum. Typically, it would include information about who you are, a link in your bio, what you do, or anything else that you want to share with your followers. The trick is, there is not a lot of space, so you should be very concise and engaging. Accurately represent your brand and what you do, and what’s in it for your followers. Your bio should also include an email and other contact information to make it easier for users to contact you.
Go With Different Content Types
When Instagram first launched, it was a strictly image-only platform. A lot has changed since then, and now there are several different content types you can use as you work towards growing your Instagram following organically. With carousel posts, reels, and videos, you have more space to get creative and offer more information, which can help you significantly increase your reach. And there is data to back this up! According to research from Hootsuite, carousel posts take up a whopping 17% of Instagram feeds, get 3X more engagement, and 1.4X the reach of regular Instagram posts. While crafting carousel posts and videos may be more time-consuming than single-image posts, it’s can go a long way in helping you to attract more followers to your profile.
Engage With Others
Engaging with other accounts may be time-consuming, but it should be part of your strategy if you are looking to grow your account organically. Allocate some time daily or weekly to like and comment on the posts of other users, from influencers to regular users. This will increase your exposure to the community you are a part of. When you engage with the profiles of other people, you increase the possibility that they will check your profile, and give you a follow or like your posts. This increased engagement will send signals to the Instagram algorithm, which will start showing your posts to more people. Also, be aware of fake Instagram followers who are not engaging with your content and decreasing your engagement rate.
Do Hashtags Get Followers?
Hashtags… the eternal debate. Effective, or not so effective? The answer is, it depends on how to use them. Hashtags are undoubtedly a great way to improve the reach of your account. They help you group your posts according to specific topics and then make it easier for interested users to discover your content and interact with it. And people who are interested in the topics you cover are much more likely to give you a follow. The important thing is, naturally, to use tailored and specific hashtags relevant to your content. Avoid using tags like “like4like,” “follow4follow” and the like, as they may give a temporary boost to your account performance, but they do more damage long term. Additionally, avoid using too many hashtags. Instagram allows you to add up to 30 active tags to each post. However, we would recommend using from 3 to 7 targeted tags for the best result, and to avoid the risk of appearing spammy.
5 Bonus Tools to Help you Grow Your Instagram Account
ViralMango is an influencer marketing tool that connects influencers and brands of all sizes for fruitful and mutually beneficial collaboration that’ll help you both grow and reach new audiences. As you start to grow your Instagram profile, working with other creators will be one of the cornerstones of your success. Connect with potential collaborators, create, and manage your work and performance all in one place.
Preview App is one of the most widely used Instagram planners. The app allows you to see how the post and stories will look in your profile before you upload them, find relevant hashtags, research caption ideas, and otherwise plan your future posts.
SproutSocial is a social media management tool that’s used to schedule Instagram posts. The tool allows you to attach several Instagram accounts and give access to multiple people, to simplify the process of scheduling across teams. You can then access analytics, data, and other important information to optimize the performance of your posts.
- Unfold App
Unfold App is a powerful design tool created to help craft aesthetic Instagram stories and posts only with a few taps. The app offers pre-designed templates, customization tools, transition effects, and a selection of fonts you can use to easily create beautiful Instagram stories on the go.
- Followers Track for Instagram
Followers Track for Instagram is a great app to manage your following on the platform. With this app, you can unfollow the accounts that don’t follow you back, access essential info about your followers, the number of people who followed and unfollowed you, and much more. It’s a must-have tool for those looking to grow their Instagram following organically.
Growing an Instagram is not easy. More and more businesses try to make it on the platform, and the ever-evolving constantly keeps the creators on their toes. Luckily, with the right strategies and consistent effort, it’s absolutely possible. By always being in the know about what’s going on in the platform, utilizing the latest tools, and experimenting to see what works, you can slowly but consistently build an audience of interested and highly-engaged people. The winning strategies covered above are a great place to start, and hopefully, you will find them useful. Good luck!