Why is it such a big deal to grow your Instagram account? The reason is obvious! People are building multi-million dollar businesses just by growing their Instagram follower count. Some of the most popular influencers literally charge six figures for just one sponsored Instagram post.
But growing a massive following on such a popular platform that changes its algorithm frequently is not a cakewalk. There is a detailed strategy that goes behind Instagram growth. In this article, we will cover some of the popular strategies that brands and influencers on Instagram use to get real Instagram followers. Let's dive straight into the strategies.
13 Ways to Get More Instagram Followers + Bonus Tips
1. Optimize Your Instagram Bio
Your Instagram bio is like a quick elevator pitch to impress new people who visit your profile. In a few chirpy sentences, it should concisely explain who you are and what you do.
For instance, take a look at the Instagram bio of Make Lemonade, a co-working space in Toronto. It is "Community of Entrepreneurs where friendship, fun & business meet.”
There are two things notice-worthy in this bio:
- It is directly talking to the audience (entrepreneurs).
- It triggers emotions with words like "friendship, fun, & business".
Also, don't place your Instagram username in your bio. Instead, use targeted keywords for optimizing it.
End your Instagram bio, with a CTA that promotes new resources or offers on your website.
Pro Tip: Use the "Story Highlights" section of your Instagram bio to share extra information.
2. Experiment with Instagram Reels
Reels is one of the best features on the Instagram app. With your reel content, you can reach a wider audience than just your followers. You can experiment with popular trends, behind the scenes, creative video content, etc.
Here’s how Bee, a prolific illustrator, has reached thousands of views by producing high-quality reels. She covers art experiences in her super-creative reels videos and immediately captures viewers’ attention.
Here are some tips to improve the virality of your reel content:
- Use the relevant keywords and hashtags in captions. Explain the content of your reels by describing it in your Instagram captions. Add some emojis (where applicable) to make it visually appealing.
- Keep your reels short and snappy. Use trending music according to Instagram insights. You can also use popular transition formats for higher engagement.
- Some users keep their audio off while watching reels - add on-screen text for them.
- Most people watch reels because they are visually stimulating. So shoot them with a high-quality camera.
- This goes without saying. Make sure your reel content is creative and original. Even if it's based on a popular trend, add your unique twist to it. Don't copy blindly!
3. Host an Instagram Giveaway
A quick hack in social media marketing to increase your follower count is to host giveaways. It can help you build a loyal and supportive community.
Replenish, a skincare product brand, announces giveaway contests often. They state the rules clearly in their caption along with the challenge, offer, clauses, etc. Here, Replenish asks its followers to like the post, tag their favorite coffee/tea brand, and save the post.
You can ask them to tag their friends in the comments or tell their friends to follow your account as well. Popularize the giveaway alert by sharing it in your Instagram stories with other growth strategies.
Pro Tip: Collaborate with your fellow creators or brands in hosting these giveaways to increase reach. This leads to the next point.
4. Leverage Influencer Marketing
Influencer marketing is the most happening thing right now! People on social networks are going gaga after popular influencers and consistently engaging with their content.
Big Instagram influencers are getting more attention than they can handle, and your brand could use some of it. You can gain access to a whole new audience. And no, you will not go bankrupt paying influencers! You can form meaningful partnerships with them where you both mutually benefit.
You can gift them your product. In return, you can ask them to review your products in their posts. Or, if you are a creator with a decent number of followers, you can pitch creative collaboration ideas to popular and relevant influencers and bloggers in your niche.
Daniel Wellington reaches out to influencers big and small, so they market its latest products to more audiences. It additionally gives personalized discounts to followers of each influencer. For instance, in this post, it provided a flat 15% discount on one of its exclusive watches to the followers of a Russian influencer, Kakurina Alena.
5. Use Trending and Relevant Hashtags
A short-term Instagram marketing strategy to increase follower count is to use hashtags. You can use tools like Websta, Hashtagify, Tagboard, etc., to discover popular hashtags in your niche and place them in your captions.
But one problem with this strategy is that though you will reach a lot of people through the explore page, all of them might not be the audience you want to target.
For that, you need to use more targeted and specific hashtags. This will not drastically improve your follower count, but the people following you will be genuinely interested in the content related to your niche (your brand, its offerings, etc.).
You will build a more engaged audience. Creating an exclusive branded hashtag is also a great strategy to improve brand awareness.
Dior uses branded hashtags in their posts and encourages their followers to use them as well. This also connects them with their offline shoppers, who can post about their branded purchase with Dior hashtags.
6. Show Up on Instagram Stories
The "highlight stories" feature is one of the best tools you can use to convert your profile visitor to a follower. These stories are like a sneak peek or trailer of the kind of posts you usually post from your account. And Instagram users these days interact a lot more with stories than their feeds.
So if they find the stories on your "highlight" section entertaining enough, they are more likely to follow you. There are also multiple interactive features on Instagram stories like polls, templates, Q&A, music, GIFs, stickers, etc. Make use of these features to boost engagement.
Adobe highlights stories and puts them in proper categories so their visitors can have a look at whatever they most connect with. This attracts relevant followers.
7. Cross-Promotion on Multiple Social Media
One of the best ways to boost your follower count on Instagram is to cross-promote your account on other social media platforms where you’ve already built an audience. For instance, you can tweet about your Instagram account and ask people to follow you.
Short video platforms like TikTok are a booming opportunity to promote your Instagram account. Facebook is a bit redundant these days, but some groups are still pretty active. You can find the active groups in your niche and promote your Instagram account there. You can even ask your subscribers to follow you if you have an email list.
Samsung has multiple channels on Instagram itself. They list out all the sister pages in the bio and cross-promote for more followers. You can also add multiple Instagram accounts to your bio.
8. Follow Relevant Instagram accounts
If you are a brand or a creator, you cannot follow anyone and everyone. You have to be very selective in following accounts.
Here are the types of accounts you should follow:
- Pick good accounts from the "suggested users" section. The Instagram algorithm suggests you only have Instagram accounts relevant to your niche, so you might get a follow-back.
- If any brand (in your industry) or popular creator account follows you, make sure to follow them back. People who check their follower's lists might follow you.
- Follow accounts that your competitor accounts follow and vice versa. Most of them will be your target audience, and if they check your feed and find it creative enough, they might follow you back.
H&M follows a lot of top celebrities and influencers that have helped them lionize their campaigns. This gives them an idea of what’s currently trending so they can please most of the audience and increase their following.
9. Conduct Frequent Live Sessions
Most creators or brands often don't make the best of the "Live" feature to grow their follower count. If people spend their valuable time watching your Insta Live, you have to give them more value than just casual chit chat or random blabbering. Or else they might unfollow you.
Either interview a thought leader of your industry or invite a relevant influencer to speak in your Instagram Live. You can also take questions from your audience. Later you can post it on IGTV. If your live sessions are valuable, your current followers will ask other people (who might not be following you) to join the Live. It creates an opportunity for increasing your follower count.
You can also live stream any promotional event your brand conducts to create some hype and FOMO among real people. It could lead to more people following you. Another idea is to host live tutorials and workshops relevant to your niche.
Revlon goes live with multiple influencers and professionals that share tips and tricks with their followers. If you are a small brand, you can benefit from such live sessions by taking up questions from your viewers.
Pro Tip: Drop reminders of your live sessions with counter stickers in your stories.
10. Retweak Your Content Marketing Strategy
If you are a brand and solely post about your products or offers, why will people follow you? No one is interested in seeing Instagram posts that blandly advertise offerings. Instead, be creative and create Instagram content that is either entertaining, inspiring, or educational, as well as resonates with your brand.
Memes are the type of content on any Instagram page that get maximum shares. So post a lot of original, funny, and relatable meme content on your feed around the theme of your brand. More shares will lead to new followers.
Here’s how McDonald’s took part in the trending Suez Canal meme marathon with a branded touch. The followers loved them, and as a result, the post garnered 100K+ likes.
11. Create Branded AR Filters
One of the most recent techniques to make your account viral is launching Instagram augmented reality filters. You can create an AR filter for your stories that is unique to your account. When your followers watch your story (created with this filter), they can try it on their stories too. When their followers (who might not be following you) further see and like the filter, they will open your account to use it.
More people opening your Instagram profile means a higher number of followers. You can even collaborate with influencers so that they use your unique AR filter on their stories. Also, make sure that your brand ambassadors repeatedly use your AR filter on their posts and stories over weeks to create an effective campaign.
Dunkin took a step further and launched a filter suggesting what meal their user should order from Dunkin. Well, who doesn’t like recommendations when in confusion?
Pro Tip: An amazing strategy to launch your AR filter experience is to flex it on your Instagram Lives.
12. Repost UGC and Tag Them to Notify
User-generated content is the most authentic content that will create a great first impression of your account in front of potential followers. It will show them that you care about your followers and have a good bond with them. Never miss out on reposting UGC! It is a win-win situation!
If someone tags your brand on their stories or posts, share it on your Instagram feed and stories as well. Thank them for it with a comment or a DM. If your followers are spending time engaging with your content, make sure to engage back. Add a bit of humor so that you can make an entire post out of it.
Here’s a dedicated account that posts the UGC content for Audi RS Q8. The content creator is tagged, and they get to experience global exposure. Isn’t that tempting?
Pro Tip: If you are launching a new product or making an announcement for a sale, create quality content that creates mystery around it. People will get intrigued and share the content that will bring new Instagram followers to your account.
13. Post at Best Times
The Instagram algorithm no longer organizes posts on the user feeds in chronological order. But still, recent posts are more likely to appear on top. So there are two ways to go about it. You can post either when there is very high traffic according to Instagram analytics so that your content gets noticed by more people.
Or you can post when there is low traffic so that your content faces less competition to appear on the top of user feeds. You can even run a beta test to check during which times of the day the engagement rates are high. Your content will get maximum shares, leading to more people discovering and following you.
Pro Tip: Convert your account into a business account to easily get all the metrics like demographics, activity, etc.
Go Get More Instagram Followers!
Growing your Instagram follower base is a lot of work initially. Almost everyone is a creator these days, and getting more people to notice or discover your content is not easy at all. But if you follow the above strategies, it will get easier.