How To Get More Followers on Instagram [5 Simple Steps].

How to get more followers on Instagram [5 easy steps].

Starting fresh on social or just trying to build your brand online? You're probably wondering how to get more followers on Instagram.

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And no, we don't mean buying followers or using bots. These tricks may increase your number of followers for a short time, but they won't benefit you in the long run.

That's because the only truly valuable followers on Instagram are real people who care about and engage with your brand.

Check out our in-depth guide to learn how to grow Instagram followers organically.

Bonus: Download the free checklist, which reveals the exact fitness influencer steps used to grow from 0 to 600,000+ followers on Instagram with no budget and no expensive equipment.

How to get more followers on Instagram for free

No time to read the entire guide? Check out the video below for what you need to grow on Instagram this year:

Otherwise, it's time to roll up your sleeves and get to work.

Step 1 Lay the groundwork

Have a well thought out marketing strategy on Instagram

If you want to be effective on social, you need a clear plan.

Getting more followers on Instagram is a great goal to start with. But followers alone will not create a successful account on Instagram. Your goal must be part of a larger plan that connects to your business strategy and social media marketing goals.

Think about the reasons why you want more followers on Instagram. What do you really hope to achieve? Maybe you want to:

  • increase brand awareness
  • boost product sales
  • Drive traffic to your site.

Staying focused on these business goals will help keep your account on Instagram consistent. It will help you tell a compelling brand story that appeals to new profile users and helps build (and maintain) loyal followers.

Define your target audience

Ask yourself some questions about who you are trying to reach:

  • Where do they live?
  • What do they do at work?
  • When and how do they use Instagram?
  • What are their pain points and challenges?

Answering these questions will help you create content to connect with people on Instagram who are most likely to give you a follow.

They will also help you consistently deliver content that will keep your audience engaged for the long term.

Create a consistent brand story and aesthetic

Maybe you want to show how your product is made. Or humanize your brand by sharing the perspective of an employee. An aspirational brand can showcase your customers' lifestyles or achievements.

No matter what you're aiming for, it's important to maintain a consistent brand voice, personality and look.

Your posts should be easily recognizable at a glance. Think of your grid on Instagram as one cohesive whole. You can always use Instagram Stories to share content that doesn't quite match the look and feel of your main feed.

Your products don't have to look the same either. You can use styling to give the grid a consistent look and feel, like @themillerswifecustomcookies does:

The Miillers Wife Custom Cookies Instagram profile.Source: @themillerswifecustomcookies on Instagram

Use keywords to appear in searches

Before people can follow you on Instagram, they have to find you. But not all text on Instagram is searchable. Only two fields on Instagram contribute to search results: first name and username.

Your username is your handle on Instagram. It should be consistent with the handle you use on other social networks, as this also makes it easier for people to find you. Use your brand name or a variation of it, which people are likely to use when searching for your brand.

Your name can be anything up to 30 characters. You don't want to stuff yourself with keywords, but including the most relevant keyword in the name field can make you easier to find.

For example, travel writer Claudia Laroye (@itsclaudiatravels) includes the key phrase "travel writer" in her name on Instagram. She is now more likely to be reached by people looking for travel content or writers.

Claudia Laroye's Instagram name includes her job

Source: @itsclaudiatravels on Instagram

Optimize your bio and profile on Instagram

Two-thirds of visits to a business profile on Instagram come from non-followers. If your bio and profile convince them to click the follow button, these visitors can become followers.

Your profile includes name and username fields (listed above), website and bio.

Your bio can be up to 150 characters long, so make the most of it. Communicate your brand identity and show new visitors why they should follow you. What kind of content can they expect?

This bio from @abstractaerialart summarizes the purpose and promise of the account in a quick, easy to digest way:

Abstract Aerial Art instagram bio

Source: @abstractaerialart on Instagram

If you have a professional account (business or Creator), you can include additional information in your profile, such as contact information, type of business and location.

Step 2. Create great content

Design a beautiful Instagram grid

Sure, this may seem obvious, but it's critical when thinking about gaining followers on Instagram. Every post on your Instagram grid must Be of high quality and visually engaging.

When new users visit your profile, the content should make them want to see more (and click Follow).

Bravo to commercial photographer @nelsonmouellic for this visual feat.

how to get more instagram followers: design a gorgeous Instagram grid like @nelsonmouellic

Write compelling, long captions

Instagram is a visual social media platform, but great captions on Instagram help you get more reach and engagement.

Here are some key strategies to keep in mind:

  • Put the most important words on the front. If the caption has more than 125 characters, users must tap "more" to see the whole thing. Make full use of those first words to inspire that extra tap.
  • Ask a question. This will make it easy for your audience to leave a comment. This increased engagement will help make your account visible to more people.
  • Use emoji. Emoji add some variety and can make your signature more enticing. Just make sure you use these emoji correctly!
  • Try different caption lengths. Our data shows that long captions are more likely to improve engagement, but ultra-short captions can also be very effective when the visuals speak for themselves.

Will Tang of Going Awesome Places posts great photos with detailed captions that tell the story behind the shot. His Insta bio calls him "the creator of absurdly detailed itineraries and guides" This means that this approach to captioning is very on-brand.

Posting of content for re-sharing

Your audience wants to engage with content that is useful and inspiring. Therefore, when planning your posts, think about the types of content that other people might enjoy sharing.

People love to share infographics. Feed that desire by providing your followers with your expert insights. If someone embeds your Instagram posts on their blog, you expose yourself to a whole new audience of potential followers.

People can also re-share your posts on their Instagram Stories. These posts are clickable, so anyone who wants to know more can click through your original post. This is another easy way to expand your reach to new audiences and potential new followers.

For example, here's what a Hootsuite post about LinkedIn demographics looks like after sharing it on my Instagram Story.

Hootsuite LinkedIn demographics story re-share

Embrace Instagram Stories

If you want more followers on Instagram, you need to use Instagram Stories. Half a billion accounts on Instagram use Stories every day, and 45% of the most viewed Stories come from companies.

People who use Stories are highly engaged. In addition, you can use hashtag and location features in your stories to expose them to people who aren't already following you.

Make the most of Stories attractions

Have you put a lot of effort into your Instagram Story and not quite ready to say goodbye after 24 hours? Pinned Stories highlights are a great way to introduce your brand to people who visit your profile. So pack those highlights with great information and content to show new visitors why they should follow you.

Also, don't forget to customize the cover photos on your highlights. Supplement company Vega maintains its brand and is plant-friendly with custom green stripes.

Vega nutrition instagram bio

Source: Vega on Instagram

Post consistently

Your existing followers want to see content from you. That's why they followed you in the first place. So give them what they want!

When users interact with your posts, those engagements tell Instagram's algorithm that your content is valuable. These interactions will then increase your reach. So giving your current followers something great to interact with can help bring in new Instagram followers.

How often should you post? According to our analysis, from 3-7 times during the week.

Fasting at the right time

Instagram uses an algorithm, not a chronological feed. But time is still important to the algorithm.

Hootsuite's community affairs team said. the best time to post on Instagram is between 8 AM -12 PM PST or 4-5 PM PST on weekdays.

But your audience may have different habits than ours. A tool like Hootsuite Analytics can show you the best time to post for your audience based on past engagement, impressions or traffic.

Hootsuite analytics dashboard showing Instagram followers online by hour

Source: Hootsuite Analytics

Try Hootsuite for free. You can cancel at any time.

Start testing different times and measure the results. For example, if you are a retail brand, you can test postings during lunch

Schedule your posts and stories

What if the best time to publish to your account is 3am? (Hey, it happens.) Use a desktop Instagram tool like Hootsuite to schedule and post directly to Instagram.

Scheduling posts on Instagram in advance allows you to plan a cohesive grid that tells an overarching story. It also allows you to take the time to create excellent captions, rather than trying to come up with something witty on the fly.

You can also use Hootsuite to schedule Instagram Stories and Reels.

Hootsuite Planner showing scheduled Instagram Stories

Step 3 - Make yourself findable

Use relevant hashtags to reach new users

Unfortunately, the text of your posts on Instagram is not searchable. But your hashtags are. Thoughtful use of hashtags can be a good way to gain followers on Instagram for free. You can even create your own branded hashtags.

The right hashtags can help people find your content. Instagram users can even follow hashtags. This means that your hashtagged content can appear in the feeds of people who aren't already following your account.

You can include up to 30 hashtags in a post on Instagram, but don't overdo it. Instead, do some experimenting to find out how many hashtags work best for your particular account.

Avoid hashtag grabs such as #likeforlike, #tagsforlikes, or #followme. They may give you a temporary boost in followers. But these people are not interested in what makes you and your content unique. They won't help you build a meaningful, engaged audience on Instagram.

Instead, focus on using highly targeted hashtags specific to your photo, product or company, as stylist Dee Campling does in this shot #wfh.

Tag your location

If the location of your post or Story is clear, it's a good idea to add a location tag. This is another easy way for people to find your content on Instagram.

If your business has a physical location, tag it and encourage customers to do the same. Users can then click on that location and see all the photos and Stories posted from your store, restaurant or office.

For example, here's what you get when you search for the Van Wonderen Stroopwafels location in Amsterdam:

Amsterdam location tag page on Instagram with top posts

Source: Instagram

If you are writing a post from a conference or event, adding your location can help you connect with other attendees. This will expose your account to a very important group of new potential followers from Instagram.

Tag relevant users

It's easy to tag Instagram users appearing in your photos. Just use @-mention in the caption or Instagram's tagging feature within the post.

Hootsuite Instagram post tagging a partner in the caption (as an example of how to get more Instagram followers)

Users are notified that they have been tagged, so the tags encourage them to engage and share the post. Your post will also appear in the Tagged tab on their profile on Instagram.

You can also tag users in your Instagram Stories. They can then publish the shared content in their own Story with a few taps. If they do, their viewers will be able to click through to your account.

Hootsuite Instagram Story that tags a user (as an example of how to get more Instagram followers)

Be careful, however. Tagging someone just to get attention is not the best idea. Instead, tag only users visible in the photo or related to the content of your post.

Some potentially suitable users for designation may include:

  • Customers
  • Suppliers
  • Other relevant businesses
  • Colleagues or employees
  • Someone who taught you a skill or told you about something you shared in a post
  • Anyone who appears in the picture

Encourage others to tag you

Another way to introduce your account on Instagram to a new audience is to ask other Instagram users to tag you. When they tag you in a post, their audience sees your handle and can click on it if they want to learn more.

Your bio is a great place to ask people to tag you on Instagram.

For example, Visit the USA asks Instagrammers to tag them for a chance to be featured on their account.

Visit the USA's instagram bio

Source: @visittheusa on Instagram

Cross-promote your Instagram account on other networks

If you want to get followers on Instagram for free, you need to make it easy for people to find you.

Your profile on Instagram should be easy to discover. If you have already built a following on another social network, let those fans know about your Instagram account.

Share the link to your profile on Instagram and give your current social followers a reason to check it out (such as an Instagram-exclusive coupon code, event or contest)

When BlogHer hosted Jameela Jamil on the Instagram Live, they made sure to promote it on their Facebook page as well.

If you're just setting up your Instagram account, make sure you post some content before promoting your account elsewhere. Aim for a minimum of 12 posts.

You can also highlight some of your best posts from Instagram on your other social channels. Consider boosting these posts with paid advertising so your other social followers can find and follow you on Instagram.

Embed posts from Instagram on your blog

You've already seen some embedded posts from Instagram on this blog. These clickable posts allow users to head directly to the corresponding post or profile on Instagram.

Embedding your own Instagram posts on your blog is an easy way to share content and drive traffic to your profile. Every new visitor to your profile on Instagram is a potential new follower.

For example, let's say Hootsuite wanted to announce the metamorphosis of our mascot. Surely, we could share some pictures of Owly's new look.

But we can also embed a post on Instagram, like this one:

Every time you share on your blog visual content, such as photos, charts or infographics, it is possible to embed a post on Instagram instead.

Share your Instagram account in other communications

Think outside your social channels when sharing your account on Instagram.

You can include a link to your Instagram account on your website, in your email signature and in your online newsletters. The link doesn't have to be big either. You can use a small Instagram icon.

Email signature featuring social media links

If you're promoting a new account on Instagram, a quick email blast is a great way to get free Instagram followers fast.

Don't forget about your offline materials, too. You can post your Instagram handle on coasters, posters, handbills, business cards or packaging. This is an easy way to drive more free Instagram followers to your account.

Use Instagram QR codes

Your Instagram QR code is a scannable code that allows other Instagram users to instantly follow you. It's another easy way to promote your account on physical materials such as handbills, signage and product packaging.

Your QR code is also a great way to gain new followers in real time at networking events and conferences. People you connect with in person can scan your code to follow you without having to type in your handle. Print it out and stash it in your badge for easy access.

Find your QR code on Instagram by tapping the three-line icon at the top right of your profile on Instagram and selecting QR Code .

Try to get featured

Feature accounts are accounts on Instagram that curate and re-share content based on hashtag or tagging. Some of these accounts have a huge following. If they share one of your posts (along with your handle), they can send a new stream of Instagram followers your way.

There is a feature account for almost every niche and interest on Instagram, so start exploring.

For example, @damngoodstitch features posts about embroidery. The account has more than 180,000 followers.

Aim for Explore

The Explore page is what you see when you click on the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the Instagram app. According to Instagram itself, it's a place where "you can find photos and videos you might like from accounts you don't already follow."

Half of all accounts on Instagram visit Explore every month. This is a huge opportunity for brands looking to grow their audience.

Hitting the Explore tab is not easy. Fortunately, we have an entire article dedicated to helping you achieve this goal.

You can also pay to get into the Explore channel by selecting Explore as the place to place the ad.

different examples of the Instagram Explore page and Ads in the Explore feed

Source: Instagram

Follow relevant accounts

You should only tag people in a post on Instagram if the content is directly relevant to them. But you can follow anyone you like. And when you follow a user on Instagram, there's a good chance they will check your feed and consider following you back.

Social listening is great for finding conversations and influential users (a.k.a. influencers) to follow.

The "Suggestions for You" section on Instagram is also a useful resource for finding relevant accounts to follow. These suggestions appear in your feed on Instagram between posts, in between Stories, or on the right side of the screen on your computer.

Just remember not to follow too many other accounts too quickly. Your follower ratio, or the number of people who follow you compared to how many you follow, is important for credibility.

And don't follow people just to get their attention, only to reject them after they follow you. This is a kind of jerky movement and will harm your reputation on Instagram.

Engage with existing communities

Like all social media networks, Instagram is communities built within it. So make sure you participate in these spaces.

Engage by liking, commenting and sharing content from other credible users in your community. Avoid generic comments (like "Awesome post!") that look like they come from bots.

Engaging with other posts helps attract attention (and potential new followers) in two ways:

  1. People get notifications when you like and comment on their posts. They can check your profile to return the favor.
  2. If others find your comments thoughtful or intriguing, they may check out your profile.

Work with influencers in your niche

Here's an important statistic for anyone thinking about how to gain more followers on Instagram: 60% consumers say they would follow a brand on Instagram after seeing it promoted by an influencer they trust.

If you're not working with influencers right now, you should definitely consider it. Fortunately, we have a whole guide on influencer marketing for you.

Collaborate with other brands

Don't be afraid to reach out to other brands to see if there is a way you can collaborate on Instagram. The right kind of collaboration can help everyone involved gain more followers on Instagram.

Think about the companies you already work with in other ways. Perhaps you are connected in a local business improvement association or trade area. How could you collaborate on Instagram?

One popular option is to hold a contest with products from multiple companies, as Rocky Mountain Soap Company did with Annika Mang of @borntobeadventurous.

Try collaboration on Instagram Live

Live video continues to grow in popularity, and Instagram is a great place to capitalize on this trend. Users are notified when the account they are following starts broadcasting live, so live video really gets attention.

To get your live video in front of a new audience, use the "Go Live with a Friend" option to co-host a live video with someone else in your industry. Ask the other person to host the Live video and then invite you as a guest. The two of you will appear on a split screen, introducing you to all your followers.

For example, e, Design Emergency hosts a weekly Instagram Live to interview key figures in the design world.

Similarly, Wine Spectator's Straight Talk series features interviews with industry insiders.

Use interactivity features in Stories

Instagram Stories offers a host of interactive features to engage users, such as stickers with polls, questions and chat. These stickers are a simple, low-effort way to get your audience to engage with your content.

Probe stickers increased three-second video views in 90% Instagram's beta campaign for the feature.

get more Instagram followers by using interactive features like polls

Source: Instagram

If users come to your Story from a hashtag or location page, they may engage right away. This is a great way to make them want to learn more about your brand by giving you a follow.

Pin your best comments

One of Instagram's little-known features is the ability to pin up to three comments to each post.

There are several ways you can use this feature as part of your plan to gain more followers on Instagram.

  1. Use pinned comments to extend your signature beyond 2200 characters, continuing the story in the comments. This allows for more detailed and in-depth storytelling, which may be appropriate for some accounts.
  2. Pin other users' favorite comments, especially if they generate high engagement.

This feature can help you manage the conversation about your posts and create more opportunities for engagement.

Step 5 Keep learning

Create an AR filter

AR filters for Instagram Stories are photo effects that Instagrammers can use to modify photos taken by the front and rear cameras of cell phones.

Those posts with the puppy ears? Those are made with an AR (Augmented Reality) filter. Those "which [vegetable/pizza/emoji/etc.] are you?" posts? Yup, those use AR filters too

Any Instagram user can now create an AR filter. The filters you create live in their own section of your profile on Instagram.

Paige Piskin's Instagram profile has a different tab for filters

Source: @paigepiskin on Instagram

If your filter is not promotional or branded, it will also appear in the Instagram Stories effects gallery, where any Instagrammer can find it.

How does creating an AR filter help you get more followers on Instagram? Your account name appears in the top left corner every time someone uses your AR filter. It's clickable and can drive more new visitors to your profile.

Instagram stories AR filters (example of how to get more followers on Instagram)

Source: @gucci on Instagram

Run contests

Contests on Instagram are a great way to help you gain more followers. Just make sure your entry process includes asking people to follow you and comment on one of your photos by tagging a friend.

Tagged friends will also see your post and may choose to follow your account.

Encouraging user-generated content through a contest can also help you reach more people. People will learn about your profile from posts that their friends create. This is an effective way to build trust with new followers and get more eyeballs on your page.

Consider advertising on Instagram

Okay, it's not exactly a way to get free followers on Instagram. But Instagram ads can be a powerful way to reach new followers quickly by getting your content in front of people who might not otherwise see it.

And unlike buying followers, using ads on Instagram is a perfectly legitimate and effective way to quickly gain more Instagram followers with little investment.

Target your audience by location, demographics and even key behaviors and interests. You can also create lookalike audiences based on the people who already interact with your business.

In addition to the feed, you can advertise in Instagram Stories and the Explore feed. For all the details on creating and posting an ad campaign on Instagram, check out our detailed guide to advertising on Instagram.

Learn with Instagram Insights

Analytical tools Instagram will give you impression data for each post, along with reach, engagement, top posts and more. You can also find demographic information about your followers, including gender, age and location.

Instagram Insights dashboard

Reviewing this data on a regular basis can help you identify areas where you can adjust your strategy to help you gain more followers on Instagram.

Pay attention to what time of day your followers are using Instagram, so you can publish posts when people are most likely to see and engage with your content. Data nerds who want to go deeper might consider a social media management tool like Hootsuite. These tools can show you the best times to post based on impressions, engagement and traffic. They will also give you some other helpful performance metrics, such as follower growth rate.

Hootsuite dashboard Instagram Overview

Get more followers on Instagram with Hootsuite. Schedule content at the most optimal time, improve engagement, track your performance and more - all from one easy-to-use dashboard. Try it out for free.

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