A question I get asked all the time is “How do I get more Instagram followers?”, and it seems to signify the increasing preference of Instagram over other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter or Linkedin. The reason why you might want to increase your follower count on Instagram is because you’re looking to either grow your own business, become an influencer or perhaps because it might make you feel better about yourself.
The answer to getting more followers on Instagram is to regularly post quality content, use relevant hashtags and engage with existing and potential followers. More often than not you will want to stick to a certain niche, whereby you cover a wide range of subjects within a certain topic, like Fashion, Fitness or Food, as it will give the follower a clearer image of what they can expect when following your account. There is more flexibility with this though if you’re running a personal account.
To shortcut your Instagram growth, you could also implement a paid ads strategy to get more followers, however you should know that this won’t be successful unless you’re posting great content already, otherwise you’ll just be wasting your hard-earned money. If you’re interested in learning what to post & when, then stick around as i’ll teach you how to get more followers on Instagram.
What should I be posting?
In short, you need to be posting quality content. Content that achieves a desired purpose, whether it be to make the reader laugh, teach them something new, or even to just get their opinion on something in the comments. Whatever the purpose of your post might be, the post itself needs to be of high-quality visually as well as in the caption.
But what is quality content? Let me show you some examples of content that has received a high amount of engagement either because of the visual aesthetics, the captions beneath it or a combination of the two…
As tattoos go, this is an epic one. Followers of the tattoo page @unreal.tattoos were more than wowed when it shared this back tattoo from Lumina Tattoo Studio. A combination of the bold design, size of the tattoo and the sharp photography has pulled in thousands of likes, and I can confirm that this post received 26% more impressions than it’s nearest contender.
You’ll also notice that this post doesn’t really have a caption, that’s because it’s in a niche whereby the followers don’t really care for written content, they just want to see some cool tattoos – primarily for inspiration for their own work. That’s not to say that a well thought out caption wouldn’t help to grow the account, but the image alone does the job.
This post is from a Michael Wong, otherwise known as @mizko, who does a great job at combining brilliant design and great caption copy. Michael’s content consists of informative posts that help his followers to build their own freelancing businesses, more specifically in the design niche. He does this by creating sliding posts which display helpful snippets of information, as well as further clarifying those bullet-points in the caption below.
If you’re not one for recording or taking pictures of yourself (like me), then you can adopt a similar style to Mizko by ‘creating’ your post images instead, and then writing a fulfilling caption below which expresses your knowledge, opinions, feelings and experience, with the intention of helping others. Your images could consist of drawings, illustrations, photos, quotes and more. Heck, I’m pretty sure I was once following an account that just took pictures of bananas – no euphemism intended.
Sometimes a picture says more than words ever could, and this post from Doug The Pug is no exception. This is an example of an account that focuses on creating unique, visual content for each post, content that will automatically grab the user’s attention, as they aimlessly scroll through their Instagram feed during their toilet break.
This just shows that you don’t have to show your face, or be the modern-day Shakespeare of Instagram captions, instead you can just focus on creating great visual content. This bodes well particularly for Photographers, Artists and Graphic Designers, to name but a few creative professions.
How often should I post on Instagram?
Ahh the golden question on social media, and especially Instagram. How often should I post? I hear it all the time and there doesn’t seem to be a definitive answer for it, other than “as often as possible”. The idea is that you should be posting often enough to remain in your follower’s news feeds, but not so often that it begins to hinder the quality of your posts.
To answer this question, I can only speak from personal experience and understanding of the Instagram algorithm. To give you an example, I manage the aforementioned @unreal.tattoos page on Instagram, where I post at least three times a day!
If you’re running a personal page or small business then your jaw might have just hit the ground, but don’t worry. Just because I’m posting three times a day, it doesn’t mean that you have to as well. Sure it helps to post regularly, but I recognise that it just isn’t feasible for the average person. Instead just look to post at least once every other day, then work from there.
If you really want to grow your Instagram account, then check out this post on How To Always Beat The Instagram Algorithm.
If you’re concerned about posting so often that you begin to annoy people, then don’t worry. If anyone is sick of you or your posts, then they’re not the right people to be following you anyway. Likewise, if you’re running a business page and someone chooses to unfollow you, then great – it saves you time trying to convince them to buy your products or services!
Which hashtags should I use?
A key part of growing your Instagram account is to include hashtags on your posts (and stories), without them you will only be showing your content to your existing followers, and the only way to increase the post reach beyond that is if your existing followers shared your content with their friends and family. The easier option is of course to just include hashtags instead!
Hashtags work as a way of categorising posts with other, similar content, by including a term or phrase, prefixed with a ‘#’ symbol. An example of a hashtag might be #dog, #manchesterunited or #funnymemes. When you add a hashtag to your post, it will categorise your post amongst other posts that have also used the same tag. Potentially, with enough engagement, it might even show your post in the ‘Top Posts’ section of the respective hashtag’s page.
NOTE: Your account must be public for people to see your posts under the respective hashtags.
Instagram allows you to include up to 30 hashtags with each post, and I fully recommend that you use the permitted amount. The reason being that it gives users thirty different opportunities to find your content, thus making it much more likely that you’ll gain more followers than if you were to include just one, two or no hashtags at all.
Check out this extensive blog post that I wrote, which runs through the what, where, why, how and why of Instagram hashtags, and will have you speeding up your account growth dramatically – in no time at all!
How to engage with people effectively
Creating great content is only one part of the Instagram (or Social Media) puzzle. In order to really grow your follower account, and increase the potential business opportunities from those followers, you’ll want to start engaging with existing followers and potential followers too.
In all honesty, the amount of followers you have means nothing. I would rather have 1,000 followers that love my content, than 100,000 that don’t. How many of your Instagram followers can you genuinely say you’ve had a proper conversation with? Whether it be in the comments, on their posts or on a live video? At the end of the day, it’s less about having more followers, and more about building connections with the ones that you already have.
With that being said, you should spend an additional hour or so after you post your content, to reply to any comments that you receive on said post. When I say “reply”, I mean that you should leave a genuine comment, none of this one-word “Thanks” bullshit. Instead, ask them a question or mention something you’ve seen on their latest posts or profile. Give them a reason to follow you, and not the next person.
For those of you that aren’t so keen on posting content regularly, there is hope for you yet, as you can engage with other people’s content instead! Check out this post on how you can start using the $1.80 strategy to get more followers today.
Building a successful Instagram account requires hard work, care and consistency, which might seem like a lot of effort but in return it can open up so many doors for you and your business. To truly benefit from Instagram; focus less on the number of followers that you have, and more on the amount of meaningful relationships you have with those followers.
What are some of your favourite Instagram accounts that you like to follow? Let me know in the comments below!