Instagram has become the cornerstone of many brands’ social media presence, driving profitable traffic to land pages, increasing conversions, and building an engaged audience.
If your Instagram presence isn’t as strong as you’d hoped, it might be time to learn how to fine-tune your strategies for building real, organic followers on this social network. The more your audience grows, the more opportunities you will have to engage with users and provide them with a unique experience.
The notion of “organic” is important: sometimes brands take the easy way out to try to get more followers on Instagram. Paid sites to get likes and followers are ubiquitous, but those shortcuts are never worth the hassle gave that Instagram’s algorithm is regularly updated to weed out low-quality paid accounts and interactions.
On the other hand, the number of followers on Instagram means nothing if it does not translate into engaged fans who make purchases, visit your landing pages and promote your brand to their friends and own followers. Start building your presence the right way by following these tips to get more followers on Instagram.
10 Ways To Gain Real Followers On Instagram
1. Optimize your Instagram account
Before looking for how to get followers on Instagram, one of the most important steps is to have a fully optimized account. Think of your brand’s Instagram bio as the “landing page” of your account.
Without a bio, image captions, an adequate username, or profile picture, how can people know the account belongs to your brand? It may seem obvious, but on Instagram, your bio and image form the foundation of your brand identity. The link in your bio is your one-time chance to drive traffic from Instagram to your site, so optimizing your account is key.
If you’re not sure where to link to, try marketing or product pages that are associated with specific keywords, hashtags, or campaigns on your Instagram account. You can redirect to your homepage, but why not give users a consistent experience by moving from your bio to a site? This explains the popularity of Insta link landing pages that include relevant links to the last few pieces of content mentioned on a brand’s feed, and “link in bio” posts that help direct the audience to those links.
Also, choose a username that is as search-optimized as possible, which usually means sticking close to your actual brand name. If your business name is very long, shorten it to something your audience will recognize. Don’t add numbers or special characters to your username and, if possible, keep it consistent with your other social media handles.
2. Follow a consistent content schedule
The worst thing you can do to try to get followers on Instagram is post content at random, haphazard times. If you are already lucky enough to have followers, they should not forget that they follow you.
To prevent this from happening, stick to a regular posting schedule. Generally speaking, brands shouldn’t post more than a few times a day to avoid spam, but whatever your cadence, be consistent. About 200 million Instagram users log in every day, so to further broaden your horizons, try posting multiple times throughout the day.
In fact, our own research on the best times to post on Instagram shows the best times to post for multiple industries, or you can check out our research on the best times based on the following topics:
Sticking to a schedule will help you build a consistent experience for your followers and keep them informed about your brand. But if you’re wondering how you’re going to remember to post at these different times of the day, don’t worry, we’ve got you covered with Sprout’s scheduling and optimal times features. Read on for more details.
3. Schedule your Instagram posts in advance
While Instagram’s algorithm has been tweaked to show users more content that interests them, posting at the right time can still give your posts greater visibility by increasing the overall engagement they enjoy.
There are many things your brand can do to increase its visibility, and now with Sprout Social, programming Instagram content is one of them. With our latest tools, we can help your brand schedule content through a simple process.
By planning content in advance, your whole team can view campaigns and schedules more effectively. It’s always a good idea to build your content in advance and with our Instagram scheduling tools, you can reach your audience and maintain a steady stream of content at the same time.
You can also use Sprout’s patented ViralPost feature and let us do the work for you. ViralPost analyzes your account’s engagement history and identifies the optimum times for you to post algorithmically.
Perfect your Instagram content plan with Sprout Social
In addition to scheduling a full picture of your Instagram content calendar, Sprout offers even more features to perfect your brand feed.
Share Insta-approved visuals with your team using our Asset Library, or test out our grid preview feature to ensure every aspect of your presence is in line with your brand style.
Get hands-on insight into these and other features with a 30-day free trial of Sprout.
4. Encourage your partners and brand ambassadors to publish your content
When learning how to get more followers on Instagram, it’s important to know the value of your audience. The more your number of followers increases (organically), the more interesting buyers and customers you will gather.
The best way to get customers to follow you is to show off and be present. Having a presence on your own Instagram account as well as others is essential. Try sponsoring user-generated content to show off your brand on your customers’ feeds. You can also run Instagram contests to expose your brand to a wider audience. These types of campaigns build social proof by showing that your fans are invested enough to repost your content or create their own content.
Another way is to promote yourself to a much larger audience. Try working with bigger Instagram accounts in your industry, like well-known influencers in your industry, to share your content with your audience.
Just be sure to offer them something of value. Above all, you must not appear too commercial. Find marketing collaborations and co-marketing plans with other businesses to build your audience on Instagram.
5. Avoid Fake Instagram Followers
There is a big difference between an Instagram account that has fake followers and an account that has legitimate followers. It might be tempting to just buy Instagram followers, but the downsides far outweigh the benefits of organic follower growth.
Fake Instagram followers tend to:
- Misleading new followers: If users land on an inactive Instagram feed with tens of thousands of followers, it reduces the credibility of the account. Don’t trick people into following you. Build a trusting and lasting relationship to get better engagement.
- Not generating ROI: It might seem easy to buy followers, but your newly acquired bot or new automated followers won’t buy anything. People follow brands on Instagram for a reason: they like what you post or your business in general. They are real buyers who bring monetary value to your business.
- Create little, if any, buzz: If you have 10,000 fake followers, how many will comment, like, and share your content? It is more than likely that these bots or fake accounts will be cleaned up and deleted by Instagram and reduce the engagement of your posts to zero.
Real people have the ability to share, like, comment, and engage with your Instagram posts. In addition, these users appreciate it when someone on the other side responds.
For example, Lush Cosmetics takes the time to answer various questions about its products, which makes customers want to come back, follow it, or perhaps share it with others. These interactions will always be more valuable than a group of inactive followers.
6. Showcase your Instagram account everywhere
How will people find your account if you don’t promote your Instagram? Make sure your Instagram account is listed on your website and other social networks.
Creating visibility and notoriety is one of the best ways to be discovered. If you really want to get more Instagram followers, tell people where they can find you. You could add social buttons to your website to encourage social sharing across your networks while showing people where they can find you on Instagram.
Another good idea is to promote your Instagram across all of your social media accounts. The Museum of Modern Art regularly advertises its Instagram account through Twitter. You can easily leverage your other social networks to direct users to your Instagram profile.
However, don’t just ask them to follow you. Instead, you should try to promote unique content on your Instagram so people have a reason to follow you on that platform. Luckily, with Instagram adding tons of new content and video features like Stories, IGTV, and Reels, you have a great opportunity to attract followers with creative content.
7. Post content that interests your followers
Although it’s easier said than done, it’s a good idea to know what content your followers want to see. You’ll quickly notice on Instagram that some content performs better than others. This is why testing is important.
Whether it’s filters, captions, content types, or post times, the smallest detail can make all the difference. Keep up to date with new trends on Instagram to see if you’re posting popular content.
To take your analytics a step further, your brand should invest in Instagram analytics tools. They will help you track, reference, and analyze Instagram content across multiple accounts.
Trust your content strategy by analyzing various filters, captions, and more to see what works best for your audience. If you don’t know where to start, try analyzing your competitors.
You shouldn’t directly copy your competitors, but it’s smart to take notes on what they do or post that drives engagement. A little research on the competition can be very helpful. You can use our Instagram Competitors report to get insight into what’s working for other brands in your industry.
8. Start the conversation
One of the best ways to market your Instagram account to your users is through conversation. According to Sprout’s 2020 Social Index, consumers want to engage with visual-first content like photos (68%) and videos (50%), followed by 30% who want to engage with text posts. Instagram is a perfect fit for this audience profile, pairing eye-catching visuals with captions that can be just as engaging as you hone your Instagram caption writing skills.
People continue to use social media as their go-to contact for interacting with brands, whether to ask questions and start impromptu discussions, to seek serious customer support, or to praise their favorite products and brands. . And for your business, you need to support customers and communicate on Instagram.
Try to answer as many questions or comments as possible, because it can be the difference between getting a new customer or follower or improving your relationship with your audience. Our Index research also shows that 89% of customers will buy from a brand after following it on social media, so it’s important to devote the attention and loyalty needed to turn a visitor on your profile into a follower.
The more intense the conversation on your feed, the more followers you are likely to gain. Thank your followers and don’t be afraid to respond.
9. Find conversion-friendly hashtags
One of the most proven ways to get followers on Instagram is through hashtags. For years, hashtags have been an essential tool for discovery and have allowed us to expand our reach on social media. As a marketer, you’ll want to build your community by gaining followers and that’s exactly what hashtags do.
To start, find hashtags that aren’t used too much. Social Media Examiner sums up this theory by explaining how the hashtag #love lists more than 184 million photos. Trying to showcase your Instagram content in a sea of photos and videos is no easy task.
You need to find hashtags that people in your target audience are more likely to check out. If a relevant link is established, these users will be more likely to follow your account. Unique branded hashtags are a way to group posts around content that is highly relevant to your brand and campaigns.
For example, M&Ms does a great job of focusing on hashtags from an event the company is attending. By using hashtags like #mmspotlight, the brand targets its audience more directly where the concert is taking place and increases its awareness.
Understanding how your hashtags are performing on Instagram is also just as essential as using them. And with Sprout Social’s hashtag analytics tools, you get direct access to hashtag performance and usage data to see what’s performing best.
Don’t jump into the world of hashtags blindly, know what you’re tagging in order to gain followers.
10. Make your Instagram followers happy
Last but not least, when you make your Instagram followers happy, you are rewarded by seeing your follower count grow. We’ve given you lots of tips for finding and scheduling content, all you need to do is put them into practice in a way that feels authentic to your brand voice. In other words, avoid looking desperate, commercial, or robotic.
For many accounts, that means offering posts that are legitimately designed to make followers smile and build customer relationships. Don’t forget to provide content to your followers as if they were friends on your personal feed: this can include posting memes, inspiring content, or simply re-sharing photos or artwork that can entertain your followers during the day (with proper attribution of course).
How to increase your number of followers on Instagram?
Instagram continues to grow in popularity with the public, so taking advantage of these tips for getting followers will help you increase your reach.