How To Get More Instagram Followers (Without Buying Them)

What would a million Instagram followers mean to your business?

With over 1 billion users on Instagram and still growing, it has proven to be an amazing marketing tool for business owners looking to grow their business’ customer base.

To be frank, getting this is not going to be easy but increasing your present Instagram followers by 200% should go a long way for your business.

Not only does growing your Instagram following improve your reach, but it would also make a big difference in your business.

Though Instagram is a bit behind the 1.4 billion users on Facebook, it has a higher engagement rate than Facebook. According to a Forrester study, brands’ engagement rate on Instagram is 58 times higher than Facebook.

All these are great, but how do I go about this?

Great you asked!

In this post, I will be sharing tips on growing your Instagram followers organically without having to buy them.

Let dive in…

Craft a social content marketing strategy

A social content strategy is a plan that helps you focus on the important things that would increase your Instagram followers alongside making it easier to track your results.

This should always be the first thing you do irrespective of the social media network or initiative you are working with. With a content marketing strategy, you can easily organize your team workflow without any difficulty and help you monitor your content. Apart from a strategy, learn who your brands are.

What do you plan to achieve?

What you plan to achieve is not really growing your Instagram followers; it is what you plan to achieve with your Instagram followers.

Are your goals to increase sales, service orders, or email subscribers? This would help you understand who are the best people to target.

Know your target audience

When you craft your social content marketing strategy you will also need to understand the demographics of your target audience. Are they stay-at-home-Moms, students, or entrepreneurs etc.?

Once you’ve put together some example audience personas you’ll have a better understanding of the type of content that will resonate better with your target audience, which as a result will lead to the right sort of followers following you.

Pro Tip: Apart from a content strategy, create a set of social guidelines so that your brand maintains a professional standard on social media.

Craft an amazing bio and profile

Your Instagram bio and profile show everyone what you stand for and how professional you are. Having a poor bio could cost you your reputation. Your Bio and profile define your online reputation and this is why big companies like Facebook, Twitter never stop improving their design.

Before you set out to get new followers, first you need to look at your Instagram profile. Ensure that your bio and profile represent your brand the way you want it. It should be able to show your followers what your brand is about.

A look at ShipBob Instagram bio shows what they do; eCommerce shipping:

Instagram bio and profile

You could further optimize your author bio with an Instagram bio link app like Shorby so you can serve more links at once.

Interlink your social media profiles together

Have you got a strong social media presence on other social media platforms?

Do you already have a great number of followers on Facebook?

If you do, then tell your followers from other platforms about your Instagram account, and put your Instagram link in your bio or description on other social media platforms. You’ll find you’ll get a nice and easy quick boost to your Instagram followers count this way.

This is a good way of leveraging other social media channels for your own growth; Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Pinterest are also included.

Cross-promote your content and branded hashtags

Constantly updating your other social media accounts is already difficult, and adding an additional social media platform to this list can make it even harder.

To make managing these accounts easier, take advantage of cross-promoting your content on all your social media accounts and you can also do the same for your branded hashtags.

The best way to do this is to repurpose your content to work on the other social media channels. While infographics work best for Instagram, you can repurpose it into images for Facebook, and short phrases for Twitter.

This is what content repurposing is all about. It is the same content but in different formats. And the interesting part is that you can create a video on the content and still upload it on YouTube.

In essence, you are cross-promoting your content and creating identical brand stories across all your channels.

Run a contest or do giveaways

This is a great trick for increasing your Instagram followers within a few days.

Running a contest or doing a giveaway doesn’t necessarily mean it’s going to leave you out of pocket, but you’ll need to have a reward that will speak to the type of followers you’re looking to follow you.

Remember audience personas from earlier? What you’ll need to do is offer something of value to your ideal follower, which in return will give you their follow.

The example below is from Zoma, a mattress and bedding company who ran a contest last year and offered a free Zoma Sports Mattress as the prize. All you had to do was follow 3 simple rules: follow their account, like the post, tag 2 friends and comment your fitness goals:

It would be rather bizarre if their prize was a year supply of pies, because pies aren’t related to their brand identity, nor will it attract the right type of follower.

If you’re a food blogger you could offer a digital recipe book, if you’re an email marketer you could offer a guide on increasing email subscribers or an online course.

Some options will cost you time more than money, but what you’ll end up with are real Instagram followers that would affect your business positively.

One prize to avoid when you start out would be cash. Now don’t get me wrong, cash can be a great prize, but cash applies to everyone. Yes, you may get a lot of followers very quickly if you offer a $1,000 prize up for grabs, but these followers most likely won’t engage further on down the line, and some will unfollow once they’ve found out they didn’t win.

Remember, its quality over quantity, 1,000 ultra-specific engaged followers will always be better than 10,000 random unengaged followers.

A great way to get started is by identifying from your audience personas what their pain points are, and work on crafting a solution which you could offer as a prize for a giveaway.

Participate in popular conversations

Constantly participating in popular conversations has been of great help to influencers. You can also leverage this for your audience.

Contribute valuable comments to a trending conversation on Instagram and also tag other people to join the conversation.

It does not need to be a conversation in your niche, you can also join a general conversation like politics, celebrity gist’s, to name a few,

Constantly dropping your thoughts on trending conversations will put you out there and increase your organic reach. Always make good use of trending hashtags in your post to get more views.

Collaborate with other influencers

Growing your followers can be easier when you collaborate with other social influencers in your niche. Do thorough research of influencers in your space and create a spreadsheet for them.   

Following the influencers in your niche is a great start in collaborating with them. Always engage with influencers by constantly dropping valuable comments and also tagging other influencers.

Doing all these will get you on the radars of the influencers, however it doesn’t mean that they’ll reach out to you. So you’ll usually need to make the first move and reach out to the influencers in your space and make them a proposal that would favor both parties.

Managing the collaboration manually can sometimes be difficult, however you can always look into using content collaboration software and tools to create and manage these collaborations.

Create consistent content

How many times do you update your profile in a day? If you are not updating your Instagram profile with visual content then you are not helping the matter either.

This goes for every marketing channel, you need to be consistent and intentional about updating your content on Instagram.

Create wonderful infographics and images that can prompt users to leave a comment and tag friends. You need intriguing images and you can easily achieve this through Visme. Visme is a great tool that can help you get this done easily with a lot of templates.

Schedule your content

Let’s face it, posting daily manually is not an easy thing to do, unless you have the entire day free.

Which is why the best approach is to set aside some time to create a lot of content for your Instagram, and schedule it using a social media scheduling tool, or you can use a marketing calendar to plan your content in advance.

In fact, there are entire platforms designed specifically to help with Instagram marketing and Instagram scheduling.

Just by setting aside some time you could plan, make and schedule your Instagram content for an entire week, fortnight or even a month. Job done!

Write good captions

Captions are descriptions of what your visual content is all about. They will vary in length, but the best ones are always those that go into more detail surrounding the purpose of the image.

For example your image could be you looking out your window watching the rain. For your caption to really intrigue and captivate the viewer you’d need a lot more than ‘I’m stuck inside because of the rain…’ because well that is obvious, you don’t need a caption to tell you that.

You could focus on what your thoughts were at that moment in time, or perhaps why you were gazing out the window. Then to make it more engaging, ask a question and encourage others to comment. Such as: what do you do to pass the time when it’s raining? Let me know…

Most images are probably self-explanatory, so take advantage of the caption to add context, questions and really encourage engagement from those who see your post.

Writing a better Instagram caption requires you to add a call-to-action and inspiring emotions through your visual content.

Utilize location tags

If your visual content can be attached to a location, or your business has a physical location alongside an eCommerce store; it would be best to add location tags to your visual content.

This would help make your visual content much more visible to audiences that are in a similar location. Audiences residing in the same or nearby location tend to convert better compared to audiences in distant locations.

Attended a conference/event or are you the host? Location tags work best in connecting with other people who attended the event or might possibly be interested.

Engage with your current followers

Whether you have 100 Instagram followers or 10,000; remember they all count. There are real people, with real feelings behind each Instagram profile.

Each person who likes your post, or leaves a comment, respond to each and every one of them. Show your gratitude by liking their posts, or just by talking to them. Get to know a few of them.

Engaging with your current followers takes time, and as your following increases you’ll find it more difficult to keep tabs on every follower, but remember that in order to build a following or any sort of fan base you need to be present and socially available on social media.

For every person you get to know they may talk to 2 other people about you, and that could potentially turn into many more followers just because of the power of word of mouth.

Making the most of your Instagram followers

Instagram is a great social media platform to showcase your business and connect with other people.

However, to be success in increasing your Instagram following you need to focus on targeting the ideal follower which will impact your business positively.

Remember it’s quality over quantity, a smaller engaged following is more likely to generate more sales in comparison to a larger following filled with random followers who aren’t engaged with your business, your purpose or your content.

To find these ideal followers add these to your social media strategy:

  • Check your bio and profile – Does it explain who you are and the purpose of the business?
  • Have you utilize your following from other social media platforms?
  • Repurpose your content for different social media platforms.
  • Do a giveaway for a prize that really resonates with your target audience.
  • Participate in popular conversations to get your face about – it doesn’t have to be relevant to your business.
  • Partner up and collaborate with other influencers.
  • Create content which is consistent and useful, and use a scheduling tool to save you time.
  • Work on writing engaging captions for each post you publish.
  • Use location tags if applicable.
  • Lastly, don’t currently to give attention to your current following as they are the ones who already know you, like you and are most likely to spread the word naturally!

It will take time and a lot of effort to implement these into your social media strategy, but the results will be well worth the wait!

Related Reading: 6 Best Instagram Scheduling Tools To Save You Time.