The sheer size of Instagram is staggering when you think about it. Last year it smashed past the 1 billion monthly active users mark and hasn’t shown any signs of slowing down. That’s over an eighth of the world’s estimated 7.7 billion population. Soon it might even reach a fourth.
With its mouth-wateringly massive user base, just about every business has set its sights on Instagram. Their hunger has been rightly justified, too.
According to Instagram, 80% of their users follow a business. Its engagement rates are also among the highest of any social network. So it’s to be expected that everybody wants a slice of that pie while it’s still fresh.
Sitting at the table doesn’t guarantee you’ll get any of it, though. Sometimes you’re lucky just to catch the crumbs.
Are you tired of being starved for followers? Here are 20 easy ways that you can fill up your plate.
1. Buy Instagram Followers For Social Proof
If you want more followers, then you could simply buy more. It doesn’t have to be more complicated than that. Thankfully there are services like ViralRace that will gladly supply you with exactly what you need.
Engagement is another important factor to consider. ViralRace can provide this for you as well. As your posts accumulate likes and views, they get elevated towards the top of people’s search results. In turn, this will also promote further follower growth.
Think of it as a way to get the ball rolling and instant social proof. All it takes is a little shove to put things into motion, and soon enough you’ll have an unstoppable amount of momentum.
2. Optimize Your Hashtag Usage
Hashtags serve as Instagram’s primary means of organizing content. If somebody wants to find anything, they’ll likely search through a few hashtags first. This can be a bit scattershot in practice as there are often several hashtags for the same topic.
In other words, to maximize the visibility of your posts, you’re going to need to optimize the way you use hashtags.
Don’t assume that the largest hashtags are always the best bet. You’re actually going to want a mixture of hashtags of various sizes. The smaller ones will put you in front of niche communities, while the larger ones are for the more general crowds. Both have their own advantages.
As for how many hashtags you should put in your captions, the sweet spot seems to be about a dozen. Make sure that they are all relevant to the content of your post. Spamming unrelated hashtags is a surefire way to get ignored.
3. Find the Right Time To Post
This is something that gets frequently debated between experts. Ever since Instagram switched to an algorithm-based feed rather than a chronological one, it’s been uncertain how much posting at specific times of the day affects anything.
The best advice on the subject comes from Hootsuite. They assert, based on the data they’ve collected, that the right time to post depends upon your industry and when your audience is the most active. Their recent study goes into further detail on the matter.
You might need to do some trial-and-error research of your own to confirm their findings. Then, once you’ve found a time slot that yields the best results, you should stick with it and try to post at least once a day. Two or three daily posts would be even more ideal.
4. Maintain Consistent Content Quality
Quantity has never been a substitute for quality. A handful of high-quality posts will make more of an impact on viewers than a flood of low-effort content. There’s enough of the latter on Instagram as it is right now.
Take a look at what other similar brands are doing. Hold yourself to a higher standard than the average. That’s the only way that you’ll stand out from the rest.
If you make your own content rather than hire professionals, then you should research the principles of photography. There’s a myriad of tutorials out there that are only a Google search away. You should at least have a basic understanding of lighting, composition, color theory, and editing techniques.
5. Follow Other Users, Like Their Posts and Leave Comments
Never lose sight of the whole reason that social networks exist. They’re meant for socialization between individuals, as well as the creation of communities. So when you have a presence on Instagram, you are expected to interact with others like everybody else.
Start by following the accounts of anybody who seems likely to be interested in your brand and follow you back. Then you can continue to develop your connection with them by liking their posts and leaving friendly comments. Many will appreciate being noticed and treated in a personable manner.
Performing these actions will show them that you’re there for more than just promotional reasons. Giving other people attention will go a long way in humanizing your brand and gaining a positive reputation on the platform.
6. Make The Most Out Of Your Bio
Your bio is one of the first things that a viewer will look at when they visit your page. It’s the space at the top of the page where you explain what your brand is about and provide any important information.
You only get 150 characters to work with, so you need to make each one count. Try to make an attention-grabbing, single-sentence description of yourself and what you do. Don’t sweat the minor details if you can’t fit them in.
You’re also allowed to include a clickable link in your bio. This is the only place that you can do that on Instagram. While most just put their main website here, you could use Linktree to make a hub containing multiple links.
It’s been said that it only takes a few seconds for most users to decide whether they want to follow somebody. Having a strong bio might be what seals the deal for them.
7. Have A Visual Identity
Aesthetics are key to establishing your brand’s identity on Instagram. Having a unified visual style will hook viewers in, as it gives them an idea of what to expect from you. If your content lacks cohesion and jarringly switches styles at random every other post, then they might be less inclined to follow you.
There’s a lot of different ways to build a visual identity. It could be as simple as the colors that you use, as many brands have a certain palette that’s unique to them. There’s also many different approaches to photography, whether you go more composed or spontaneous.
The most important part of choosing a style is that it conveys the personality of your brand. Instagram users tend to be more receptive to accounts that are willing to be expressive and unique.
8. Engage With Your Captions
Captions don’t have to be just dry, boring descriptions. They can be as fun and compelling as the content itself. In fact, a perfect caption can push a post over the top and win over new fans.
There are numerous ways to spice up your captions. You can joke around and make puns, or tell an interesting story that provides some context and background information. Feel free to add emojis and talk in an informal tone if it suits you. Unless you’re discussing serious topics, a lot of social media tends to be light and humorous.
You can try asking questions and soliciting opinions, or telling your followers to tag other people who they think would relate to the content. All of these are good ways of generating comments on your posts.
9. Feature User-Generated Content
User-Generated Content is anything made by other users. When it features your brand, it essentially acts as free advertising. That’s why it’s a wise idea to encourage people to make more of it.
One way to do this is by featuring User-Generated Content on your feed. There’s a lot of users who enjoy seeing their work get the spotlight from their favorite brands and influencers. It’s a mutually beneficial interaction where both parties get exposure with each other’s followers.
Always remember to give proper credit in the captions where it’s due. You don’t ever want to be accused of stealing content. Even if it’s totally accidental, something like that could damage your reputation for awhile.
10. Hold Contests and Giveaways
It’s difficult for anybody to resist the siren song of free prizes. It’s especially true if you don’t demand a whole lot of effort to compete for them. That’s what makes contests a tried-and-tested method for obtaining more followers.
A basic Instagram contest typically involves asking participants to follow your account and leave a comment on your post in order to qualify. You can also require them to tag some of their friends. That will assist in spreading buzz about the contest to more people.
If you want to get more complex, you could do contest based around user-generated content. In that case you should ask them to follow your account, tag you in the captions of their submission post, and include a branded hashtag.
11. Tag Your Locations
Location tags function a lot like hashtags on Instagram. Anyone can type in the name of any city into the search bar and look at all of the posts under its tag.
As a result, many people browse around these tags to see what’s going on in their surrounding area. It’s where they learn about upcoming events, make new friends, and discover local businesses that they can support. You might be missing out on lots of these types of followers if you don’t tag your locations.
If you have a physical store and take pictures in and around it, you should tag it so that people know where to find it. You should also tag photos whenever you travel and create content in different locations.
12. Partner With Influencers
The power of influencers can’t be underestimated. There’s a good reason why they have their own dedicated followings. They know what content will perform well with their audience and how to foster tight-knit communities around them.
Working with the right influencers can send your follower numbers skyrocketing. However, you shouldn’t jump into a partnership with just anybody
The first thing to ask yourself before reaching out to an influencer is whether their attitude and public image aligns with your brand. You should also consider whether their followers will mesh well with your own. If you can confidently answer “yes” to both of these, then it should be okay to proceed.
An influencer partnership can take on many forms. For example, you can send them products to review, let them takeover your Instagram for a day, or ask them to participate in a hosted event. Spend some time brainstorming together to come up with a plan that suits both of you.
13. Collaborate With Other Brands
Keep in mind that you’re not alone in the quest to get more followers. There’s an incalculable number of other brands that are in the same boat as you. Rather than treat each other as rivals, you could team up to become invaluable allies.
Collaboration campaigns tend to succeed when they’re between brands that offer complementary products. Let’s say that you sell supplements for athletes. It would only make sense if you worked alongside another brand that sold training equipment or fitness apparel.
Don’t worry if the other brand is bigger or smaller than you are. Both sides have access to a considerable amount of followers that the other doesn’t. By combining your strengths you can reach greater heights than ever before.
14. Get Verified
If you’ve been on Instagram long enough, you’ve probably noticed that some accounts have blue verification badges next to their names. This symbol means that the account belongs to the actual person or brand that it represents.
While it might seem like a small thing, a verification badge can have a major effect on how many followers you get. It reassures any cautious visitors to your page that you’re the real deal and that it’s safe to trust you. Without one, they might become suspicious that you’re some sort of shady copycat trying to deceive them.
All you need to do to receive a verification badge is apply for one. That involves going into your Settings, then Account, and finally Request Verification. After submitting your name and proof of identity, Instagram will check your eligibility and decide whether or not to verify your account.
15. Use Instagram Stories
Instagram Stories started off as the platform’s answer to Snapchat. Eventually it outgrew its competitor and became one of Instagram’s most popular features. It has an average of over 500 million active users on it every day.
The best thing about Instagram Stories is that anybody could stumble upon your posts. Users don’t need to be already following you or searching through hashtags to find them. Stories also tend to garner higher levels of engagement than regular Instagram posts. That means that each Story has the potential to bring in a lot of new followers.
Instagram Stories only last 24 hours before they disappear. So your content on it can be less polished and more casual than the stuff you put on your main feed. You have the freedom to be more relaxed and playful with what you put on there.
16. Share Live Video
Over the last few years, live streaming has taken off as a medium. Platforms like Twitch, Mixer, Livestream, and Periscope have become giants in the internet world. Now almost every social network has their own live video feature, from Facebook to YouTube.
What attracts viewers to live video is that it’s unpredictable. Given that its recorded and broadcast simultaneously, there’s always a chance that something unplanned is going to happen at any moment. That makes it far more exciting than any pre-made and edited form of video.
Instagram Stories has a live video feature called Instagram Live. You can use it to make special announcements, reveal products, share behind-the-scenes glimpses of your operations, or capture events as they’re happening.
Live video opens the door to countless creative opportunities that could reel in tons of new followers. The possibilities are endless.
17. Promote Your Instagram On Different Social Networks
A common mistake that brands make is that they assume that they have the same followers across all social networks. That’s hardly ever the case. Most of the time they tend to be distinct groups with little crossover.
If you have followers on Facebook, Twitter, or wherever else you might have an established presence, then let them know about your Instagram. They might have been totally unaware of the fact you have an account on it too.
Be sure to include it on your website and blogs as well. If you use WordPress, there’s even plugin options to embed your Instagram feed right onto any page of your site. That can be a great way to draw traffic straight to your profile.
18. Include Your Handle On Printed Materials
Don’t limit yourself to promoting your Instagram on other networks. You can do it offline too.
Most brands do this by reserving a small section of their printed designs for a list of their social media handles. All that’s necessary is an Instagram logo with your username next to it. Any Instagram user who sees it will understand it immediately.
You can include your Instagram on business cards, flyers, posters, billboards, newsletters, and any other printed material you can think of. There’s a high probability that it’ll lead to some people noticing its inclusion and deciding to check out your profile.
19. Keep An Eye On Trends
Social media moves fast. Much faster than anybody can catch up with. Don’t feel discouraged if you can’t keep track of everything. Just try your best to follow the things that’s important to your core audience.
Take a moment every other day to browse through your feed and see what your mutuals are talking about. Check out the Explore tab whenever you get the chance. It’d also be a good idea to follow a handful of accounts that post about the latest news and trends. This might give you some ideas for possible content.
Just be careful about controversial topics. Don’t risk your public image by wading into something polarizing that could cause a major backlash. Play it safe and go for subjects that you can relate back to your brand. Seasonal trends, for instance, can be fun and bring lots of viewers to your page.
Following trends will also show you what kind of content is attracting the most attention on Instagram. You could use what you find in order to further develop your own visual style.
20. Target Niche Communities
Not every brand should cast their net wide. In reality, attempting to do so can be a detriment to the effectiveness of their marketing. That’s because not all products and services have the ability to appeal to everybody.
Sometimes it’s better to limit your scope and hone in on a specific audience.
With niche groups, you’ll find that individuals are much more passionate about their interests. They tend to latch onto anybody who shares it with them. This translates to more engagement and brand loyalty on a platform like Instagram.
So try to make a profile of your ideal follower. Narrow it down as much as you need to when it comes to age, location, gender, or any other defining traits. Create a mental image of them that’s clear enough that you can use it to search through hashtags and find the users that match it the best.
21. Advertise On Instagram
There really isn’t any reason why a business shouldn’t be using Instagram Ads. They’re incredibly affordable, quick to set up, and Instagram does most of the hard work for you. You can depend on their advanced targeting capabilities to boost your visibility and get the right eyes on your content.
Instagram has a wide variety of ad types that you can choose between. You can create photo and video ads that appear in people’s feeds. These can be expanded into multi image/video Carousel ads. Additionally, there’s also ads for Instagram Stories and the Explore tab too.
You don’t even have to create new material for an ad, as you can even choose older posts to promote. It’s about as effortless as you can imagine.
22. Join An Engagement Group
There’s one method to getting followers that’s not discussed enough: you could join an engagement group, which are sometimes also known as Instagram pods. These are groups of Instagram accounts that agree to interact with each other’s content to expand each others’ reach.
To find an engagement group, you usually need to look around messaging clients such as Telegram and WhatsApp. Some of them specialize in specific actions, such as likes and comments. It might take a little searching to find and join them, but they’re most certainly out there.
Be careful and selective about which groups you join, though. Make sure to talk with a group’s members so you can understand what’s expected from both sides before agreeing to anything.
23. Be Responsive
Sometimes in the comments you’ll see people asking questions or voicing complaints. Don’t ignore them. That will only make you seem uncaring and impersonal to other users.
Take the time to write out a thoughtful response that addresses all of their concerns. Keep a polite and respectful tone with your words. As long as they aren’t an obvious troll trying to provoke a reaction out of you, they at least deserve your serious consideration.
Responding to comments will demonstrate that you are a brand that cares about their customers’ experience. Also, you should be willing to admit mistakes and try to make up for them. Honesty is a rarity on the internet these days, and it’s one that’s often rewarded.
24. Moderate Your Comments
There’s a reason why the phrase “never look at the comments” has become a motto on the internet. That’s because they frequently become spaces for needless negativity and antagonism. You can make an effort to change that, however.
Don’t be afraid to moderate your comments when necessary. If you see anybody using hateful language or harassing another user, then it would be best to delete their comments. You should also consider reporting abuses from any repeat offenders.
Spam comments from bot accounts are also another nuisance you’ll commonly run into. Feel free to report both the comment and the account before you delete it. That will help Instagram with detecting and removing them from the platform entirely.
Making a good first impression with viewers is important. Your comments are the best place to start with accomplishing that. You’ll find that the more inclusive and inviting your community appears, the more people will want to follow you to join it.
25. Tag Other Accounts
If you ever share content with other people or brands in it, you should definitely tag them. That will send a notification to the tagged user, who can then repost and share it with their own followers. It’s an easy way to encourage crossover between your audiences.
To tag somebody, simply choose Tag People on the Share screen before publishing a post. Then all you have to do is select the person in the photo/video and enter their username. If it’s a post you’ve already shared, then you can go back by tapping Edit in order to add the tags.
You should also mention the tagged accounts in the captions as well. That will ensure that viewers will know who they are and be able to visit their profiles.