Do you spend hours a day on Instagram trying to grow your account? But you seem to struggle to get any new followers.
If that’s the case, you are not alone.
Everyone wants to get more followers. That’s understandable – it is very lucrative to have a huge follower base. Maybe you want to grow your business, build a community around your passion, or even be a social media influencer.
There are many reasons you may want to grow your Instagram following, but it can definitely feel hard or impossible. At least It was definitely easier a few years ago than today.
That’s true, but don’t worry – there are still ways to grow your account!
Before starting, remember that numbers don’t tell the whole story. The number of followers is only crucial if you want to be an Instagram influencer. If you’re going to build your personal brand or your small business, you want to focus on the quality of your followers.
You don’t necessarily need a huge following to be successful, and what actually matters is that your audience is engaged.
But it never hurts to grow your following either. Building a targeted audience always pays off whether it’s on social media, an email list, or your website.
- 1. Content, content, content!
- 2. Be Consistent
- 3. A feed that stands out
- 4. Use all Instagram Features
- 5. Be active: Connect, network & engage
- 6. Drive traffic from other channels
- 7. Giveaways
- 8. Shout outs & collaborations
- 9. Hashtags
- 10. (Avoid these) hacks!
1. Content, content, content!
Let’s start with the most obvious “method”:
Posting good content!
It’s not really a method as it should be one of the fundamentals. You always need to post content that your audience likes and finds valuable. Whether your post is a photo or video, the quality needs to be high. Evident and straightforward, but requires work. Nothing comes easily or by themselves. If your posts are low quality or uninteresting, you won’t achieve the Instagram growth you are waiting for. Not trying to sound too negative, but that, unfortunately, is the truth.
On the other hand, if you post good, valuable content consistently, the growth will eventually come. Sooner or later. There is always an audience for content that people can relate to. You just have to create and target your content precisely to that group. I know it can be unmotivating not to see immediate growth, but trust me, hard work and excellent content always pay off.
If your current followers like and engage your posts, a snowball effect is waiting just around the corner. You’ll eventually be suggested by Instagram in the Explore page for your potential audience. The explore page is what makes the most significant difference. If you can hit the explore page, growth is pretty much guaranteed. Does it take time? Usually yes. But it’s definitely worth it.
Great content is what attracts new followers. So make sure your posts are great and stand out from the millions of Instagram photos every day.
2. Be Consistent
Posting good content is a must. And you need to it consistently and regularly. Everything you do on Instagram needs to be consistent.
Firstly, you need to be clear about what your Instagram account essentially is. If you post all kinds of things that have no connection to each other, your page appears very confusing and messy. Therefore stick to a specific niche and post only content that is related to that. That way, people will know what they can expect you. If they like what they see, they will click that Follow-button. Exactly what you want.
Another important thing is to post regularly. You don’t necessarily have to publish a new post every day, but never keep your followers waiting for a new post for too long. Otherwise, people will forget you, and you’ll never get the attention you wish for.
So my advice is to have a plan and stick to it. You can and should plan your posts in advance.
3. A feed that stands out
Nearly as crucial to high-quality posts is your Instagram feed. In order to get more followers, your feed needs to look professional and visually pleasing with a coherent aesthetic.
Why are a feed and a theme so important?
It helps you stand out! It’s what people see when they visit your profile – make sure it’s worth their time. And if they are impressed with your feed, a new follower is guaranteed.
So make sure you have the following:
- A Clear bio: tell clearly what you and your profile is about. You want to make an impression immediately when someone visits your profile
- A Recognizable profile picture: Your profile picture is everywhere: your feed, front page, stories, explore page, each post. It’s part of your brand and similar to a logo: it helps people quickly recognize you.
- A theme and visual feed: be consistent and create a brilliant feed. Make sure your whole page looks attractive, just like each post should.
4. Use all Instagram Features
A few years ago, Instagram was just about posting square pictures (usually edited with Instagram filters) to your feed. A lot has changed since. There is now both the Instagram Stories and IG TV. Stories are in many ways, even bigger and more important than actual posts.So if you don’t yet actively use IG stories and IG TV, you are missing out and leaving a lot of potential on the table.
But isn’t it enough that I create great content to my feed? Maybe, but you are not utilizing every feature available.
What’s the first thing you see when you open the Instagram app? Yes, that’s right, Stories from people you follow.
That’s where you want to be too! And the only way to get there is by posting stories. The posts are below the Story circles. Obviously, some people prefer the feed to stories, but it pays off to be active everywhere.
The same applies to IG TV. Although IG TV has not gained the popularity Instagram hoped for, it’s still a feature you should use. Instagram even promotes it actively. There’s an IG TV icon next to the Direct Messages at the top bar of the app. Also, IG TV videos are pushed in the Explore page. IG TV is one of the least used features of Instagram, so there’s even less competition, and there’s a better chance to hit the explore page.
The more visible you are on the platform, the more recognizable you get. And that’s precisely how you build your brand on Instagram! In the process, you also gain followers – exactly what you are looking for.
5. Be active: Connect, network & engage
Instagram (like any other social media channel) is all about social connections. So always remember to engage with people: your followers, pages in the same niche and new people. Without connecting with people, growing your following is nearly impossible. Instead, make sure to be visible and active on the platform.
- Reply to comments you receive on your posts.
- Comment and like other users’ posts.
- You can also build deeper relationships with your followers by joining group chats and direct messaging your followers.
The more active you are, the more visibility you get. However, too much is too much. So never spam either. Only comment something meaningful and what actually is relevant to the post.
6. Drive traffic from other channels
Have you ever wondered why your latest post has a low engagement? I know I have.
The thing with the Instagram Algorithm is that you’ll never know how much attention your post gets. Even an excellent post won’t guarantee you high engagement or growth in following.
If you are not gaining Followers on Instagram, there’s one thing you can try. Instead of relying just on Instagram, you can drive traffic from other channels to your Instagram account.
Do you have a blog? Or an email list? Or maybe you are active on other social media channels, like Facebook?
If yes, great! An Instagram post is visible only on Instagram so you can’t control how many see your posts. But nothing prevents you from leading people to your Instagram page from other channels. If you already have a fanbase/following somewhere, the same people probably would love to follow you on Instagram too.
“ 1. Like this post, 2. Follow me, 3. Comment and tag your friend.”
You probably see these types of posts regularly. Even every day.
If you want to grow your following fast, giveaways are extremely powerful. With the help of giveaways, many big Instagram pages and influencers have built their account.
How do giveaways work? You host a giveaway with a prize that people can win. Usually, people need to like and comment on your post and additionally follow your account to participate. The more participants you get, the more followers you gain.
So the goal is to get people to follow you and share the post with their friends. Potentially this leads to fast growth as you quickly get a lot of attention and visibility on the platform.
However, if you want lasting benefits, you have to do them right. There’s a high risk that your giveaway attracts people that are not interested in your content.
Does it matter? You still get a lot of new followers, right? Well, you could end up losing all the followers you gained. There’s a chance that they followed you only because they wanted to win the prize. And once the giveaway is over and the winner is announced, people will unfortunately unfollow. And even if they don’t unfollow you, they probably won’t be your most active fans.
Whenever you host a giveaway, make sure it attracts the right audience. You want to get more targeted and relevant followers, not just any followers.
Quick checklist before you decide to host a giveaway:
- Have a prize that attracts only those who are interested in your content
- Don’t promote the giveaway to everyone. Instead, target only your potential audience.
- Avoid loop giveaways. Loop giveaways consist of several accounts that people need to follow to participate. Usually, loop giveaways result in quick, but untargeted new followers that will unfollow as soon as possible.
8. Shout outs & collaborations
I can guarantee that there’s an audience for almost any niche on Instagram. You just have to find it.
By collaborating with other Instagrammers in the same niche, you can quickly show you and your content to a potential audience. What you can do is shout outs and collaborations. A shoutout is about recommending another page to your followers. A shoutout gives you visibility on another page and attracts new followers to you.
So try to find other Instagram users that post similar content and ask for a shoutout. Once again, it doesn’t make sense to do shoutouts or collaborations with accounts that have nothing or very little in common with yours.
Another effective method is to collaborate with other Instagram users. Try to create content together with someone, so you both show up to each other’s followers. You could collaborate with users in the same niche or even brands.
Instagram also suggests new profiles to follow based on your current followings. So if you share the same followers with someone in your niche, you may get recommended too.
You could also buy engagement from large accounts in your niche. These likes are called power likes. These potentially help to hit the explore page, but there’s no guarantee.
In any case, collaborating in some form will help you get new followers. It’s all about connecting with similar people.
Hashtags used to be the number one source of new followers. They are not quite as powerful anymore but still plays a massive part in people finding content.
Hashtags basically work in two ways:
- People can search for photos based on hashtags. They can also follow hashtags, so they get most liked pictures from that hashtags in their front page
- Hashtags help the Instagram algorithm determine what your post is about. And further, recommend the post to people who might be interested in it.
Make sure you only use hashtags that are relevant to your post. Those are the only ones that matter. Using the right hashtags will give you visibility on Instagram. They help people find you and your content. Eventually, this will lead to follower growth.
Avoid random and very popular hashtags because they won’t help you at all. Spammy hashtags like #follow4follow could give a follower or two, but not from your target audience.
10. (Avoid these) hacks!
This article focuses mostly on how to grow your following organically, but there are other ways too.
Although these could work and get you more followers, I advise you to avoid these. Furthermore, you risk your account by following these methods. Organic growth is always better.
But if you are still interested in hacking your growth, here are some of the most used methods:
A. Follow / Unfollow:
The infamous Follow-unfollow method is about following people that you think could be interested in your profile. And if (and when) they follow you back, you eventually unfollow them and hope they stick with you. Sometimes they do, and sometimes they don’t.
However, this is obviously unfair to the people and could cause harm in the long run.
B. Buying engagement or followers
Yes, you can buy likes and followers. I get email messages every day about offers on likes and followers. I have never used these services, and I suggest you don’t either. Although you could receive new followers, these have absolutely no value. These followers are not interested in your content; usually, these are fake accounts that are basically bots.
Moreover, Instagram does its best to delete all these fake accounts, so you probably end up losing all the followers anyway. Plus you risk getting banned yourself, too.
All in all, it is just not worth it!
C. Engagement pods/groups
Engagement pods (/groups) are basically about exchanging likes and comments between the group members. The groups could be e.g., on Instagram (Direct messages), Facebook, or Telegram.
There is practically nothing wrong with this method if the group consists of people that are genuinely interested in each other’s content. Then it’s mostly just about networking and socializing.But if it’s all about exchanging engagement in big groups, it’s basically no different than fake likes and comments.
Anyhow, you could spend your time more productively on the platform. Instead of wasting time on these groups, I suggest you spend time connecting with new people and creating better content. In the end, these groups have minimal effect on your follower growth.
If you want to grow your Instagram following, my #1 advice is to focus on creating great content and being active on Instagram. Focus on organic growth as it is always better than shortcuts. As long as you have patience and believe in yourself, you’ll achieve growth at some point.
Although it can be tempting to get new followers fast, I strongly recommend you to focus less on getting new followers and more on building a community
Have you tried any of these tips to grow your Instagram following? Or do you have any other tips that you have found success with?