Starting out on Instagram can be a disheartening experience. Even with the flood of users accessing it every day, attracting new followers can feel like an agonizingly slow drip.
Don’t despair, though. With the right approach, you can turn your luck around. This article will give you 50 tips to help boost your follower count in no time.
1. Improve your Instagram experience with SocialDrift.
SocialDrift is the leading platform in Instagram automation. With its sophisticated artificial intelligence, it can target and interact with real users for you. This takes the workload off your hands, and will bring you rapid and organic growth.
2. Follow other users.
You can’t expect people to follow you if you don’t do the same for others. Use the Explore tab to find accounts whose personalities and interests align with your brand. Don’t hesitate in following users who don’t have many followers. They might appreciate the attention. There’s also a list of “Suggested Users,” which you can find by clicking the icon in the upper right on your profile and choosing “Find and invite friends.”
3. Give out likes and comments.
Feel free to like as many posts as you want. Give them to anything that catches your eye, or to any user who you think might enjoy your brand. Furthermore, leave a positive comment on these posts as well. Compliment them on their photography skills, or their choice of subject. You might just make somebody’s day and earn a follower in return.
4. Have conversations.
If somebody leaves a thoughtful comment on your post, you should write a reply back to them. Instagram is a social platform first and foremost. It thrives on connecting people and fostering meaningful interactions. So, get out there and make some friends!
5. Use hashtags.
Hashtags are an absolute necessity on Instagram. Without them, nobody would be able to find your posts if they didn’t already know your username. Hashtags are the primary way of searching for content.
Take a look at the most popular hashtags on any given day. Consider which ones you could contribute to in a relevant way. You can add up to 30 hashtags to a single post, although I wouldn’t suggest going any higher than a dozen. You don’t want your captions to get cluttered.
6. Create branded hashtags.
If you have enough followers, you could get your own hashtags trending. Just ask them to add the tag to their content. Doing this will extend your reach out further than before. You can also connect the hashtags to any campaigns you are currently running.
7. Make high-quality content.
Content should be your primary focus on Instagram. It is the key to gaining followers. If you aren’t putting out visually pleasing photos and videos, then you won’t get anywhere on the platform. Socializing isn’t enough. You need to put in the time, money, and resources to make your content look professional.
8. Develop a recognizable style.
Your aesthetics should reflect your brand’s identity. Think about what you want to convey with your content.
Are you serious and committed to your customers? Relaxed and fun-loving? Humorous and irreverent?
You can communicate these things through the compositions and colors of your content. This will give viewers a better understanding of the brand while viewing your page. If they like the image that you project, then you might win them over as a follower.
9. Light your photos well.
There are too many poorly lit photos on Instagram. Some are downright incomprehensible in how dark they are. Avoid this by making sure that your photos are bright enough to be clear. Just make sure that you don’t overcompensate and wash it out with too much light.
10. Feature faces often.
According to recent studies, people tend to enjoy pictures more if they have faces in them. In fact, Instagram posts with faces tend to get 38% more likes than those without. This makes sense when you think about it. Our brains are hardwired to recognize faces and interpret their expressions. So when somebody is browsing through a feed, faces are more likely to stand out to them.
11. Write fitting captions.
Don’t neglect the captions section of your posts. Some brands do the bare minimum with them, which is a mistake. A good caption can complement your content and even enhance it. The most impactful captions either provide contextual information, entertain the viewers, or provoke thoughts and feelings.
12. Ask viewers questions.
Instagram is filled with people who want to be seen and heard. One way you can provide this to your audience is by asking them questions. You can solicit their personal opinions and preferences, or get their thoughts on the direction on your content. Who knows, they might even provide some valuable insight that you could use in the future.
13. Post frequently.
If you aren’t active on Instagram, then not enough people will be able to discover your account. Try to post at least a couple times each day. Be sure to space out your posts if you post more than that, though. You don’t want to dump all of your content at once and clog people’s feeds.
14. Post at the right times.
Another thing to keep in mind is the times at which you are posting. Some studies have shown that posting at 5 p.m. and 2 a.m. EST tended to yield the most engagement on average. However, there are some days in which other times are better. Overall it seems to vary depending on which day of the week it is.
The best thing to do here is do research and pay attention to your intended audience. Take note of when they seem to be the most active, and when they are more dormant.
15. Incorporate your username on printed materials.
If your business makes fliers, pamphlets, signs, decals, or any other physical marketing, then you might want to include your Instagram handle somewhere. All you need is some space for the Instagram logo and then your username next to it. That should be enough to guide curious viewers to your account.
16. Call your audience into action.
If you want something, then you should try asking for it. Put a call to action in your captions to encourage interaction with your posts. A CTA can be a short phrase such as “tell us your thoughts in the comments,” “tag a friend who this reminds you of,” or “visit the link in our bio for more information.”
17. Keep consistent.
Viewers enjoy consistency. They like knowing what they’re going to get before they commit to it. It also gives your brand a sense of identity and reliability.
Try to maintain a similar tone across your posts. Find an attitude that fits your brand and stick with it. Come up with unifying themes across your posts, and follow them for awhile. Think about how your content flows together as a whole.
18. Be authentic.
Authenticity is one of the most respected traits that anybody could have online. It’s easy to understand why, as the internet is filled with phonies, imposters, and scam artists. Honesty and openness feels rare in comparison.
Be truthful and sincere with your audience. Don’t pretend to be somebody that you’re not. Address criticisms and admit when you are wrong. Viewers will find this refreshing and will be more likely to follow you.
19. Make an emotional appeal.
The strongest connection you can make with a viewer is an emotional one. If you can evoke joy, sadness, awe, inspiration, or wistfulness, then you will have accomplished something noteworthy. It will make you stand out in the vast sea of boring, dry marketing around you.
20. Be a storyteller.
Storytelling is ingrained in every culture. We tell stories to communicate information, entertain audiences, and make deeper connections with others. A well-told story can captivate people and bring them back for more.
Instagram has endless opportunities to tell stories. You can tell it in a single image, or in the captions of a post. A narrative can be formed between multiple pictures, or within the span of a short video.
21. Hold contests and giveaways.
Who doesn’t like free stuff?
You can get hundreds, possibly thousands, of Instagram users to flock to your page with a contest or a giveaway. To ensure that you gain followers, you can ask them to follow your account in order to qualify. You can also ask them to use branded hashtags or like certain posts to help spread brand awareness.
22. Have limited-time sales.
What’s the next best thing after free stuff? Discounts, of course.
Occasionally holding limited-time sales is an easy way to get more followers. You could make a post with a special coupon code, or put it in an Instagram Story. The latter will disappear within 24 hours, so it gives viewers more incentive to closely monitor your activity.
23. Geotag your photos.
If you are a business with a main store or central location, then geotagging is the way to go. Any images that you tag will appear on that region’s Instagram page, and consequently will be visible to anybody from that area who visits it.
24. Tag any relevant people.
Locations aren’t the only thing that you can tag. You can also tag other Instagram users. Do this whenever it is relevant to the content of your photo, such as if you take a snapshot of an influencer at an event. This will make it show up in their feed. Hopefully they’ll share your post in return.
25. Work with influencers.
Influencers are an essential part of any marketing plan. The reason they are so effective is because people trust them. They are seen as dependable, influential people within their communities, so their opinions about brands are valued.
Find an influencer that meshes well with your brand’s image. If they have an actual passion for your products, then it will shine through. Work out a deal that benefits both parties, such as sending them products for review.
Just don’t try to control their content if you form a partnership. It’s important that they maintain their authenticity and don’t seem like “sell-outs” to their fans.
26. Host a takeover.
A takeover is a particularly fun event that you can do with an influencer. This is where you give the reigns to your account to another user for awhile. It can really spice up your content and attract lots of new visitors.
27. Exchange shoutouts for shoutouts.
You’ve probably seen the #s4s hashtag if you’ve browsed Instagram long enough. It stands for “shoutout-for-shoutout.” This means they’re looking to trade mentions with other people. You can’t really lose when you participate in a #s4s agreement. Both parties involved get exposure to each other’s follower base, which will hopefully result in a crossover between them.
28. Share user-generated content.
Sometimes you’ll see incredible content from followers that features your brand. If you’d like to share it on your page, then try asking the user for permission to do so. Most of the time they’ll likely say yes. Putting a spotlight on UGC will motivate others to make content for you, in the hope that you’ll showcase their work too.
29. Cut down on filters.
When Instagram was first introduced, filters were a staple on the platform. However, in recent years, people seem to be using them less and less. Now it’s common for most posts to have no filter at all. So consider using them less, or not at all.
30. Spend extra time on editing.
Even if you don’t use filters, it’s still a wise idea to tidy up pictures before publishing them. You want your content to look the best it possibly can. So if you need to tweak the brightness or contrast levels, or crop the photo just right, then go ahead. It’ll be worth the effort if it results in a more appealing image.
31. Give viewers a peek behind the scenes.
People are always intrigued about what goes on behind the scenes of businesses. Need proof? Check out the countless television shows and web series that cover this topic.
One of the benefits of sharing behind the scenes photos and images is that it humanizes the brand. It shows your audience that there are real people working to make the products that they own.
32. Cross-promote your Instagram on other platforms.
Are you already established on Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, YouTube, or any other network? Then don’t forget to let your followers on those websites know that you’re on Instagram too. Some of them might be unaware of your account, or never thought to look up if you have one.
33. Approach everything with a plan.
It’s never advised to dive in and improvise on Instagram. In almost every case, having a clear strategy has proven to be a better idea.
Create a list of goals that you hope to achieve, starting with the smallest and most practical ones. Figure out ways to accomplish them, and come up with backup plans if something doesn’t work out. Schedule your posts weeks or months in advance if you can.
Aimlessness is the central reason why so many accounts flounder and fail to see stable growth.
34. Team up with other brands.
Not everything has to be a competition. In fact, brands tend to prosper when they pool their resources and work together.
Perhaps there’s some sort of promotion you can run cooperatively with another brand, like a charity event or fundraiser. Maybe there’s a uniquely visual way that your products connect that would make for a neat campaign. Either way, you’re sure to reach a wider audience than you would alone.
35. Hide unwelcome tagged photos.
The internet is filled with trolls and haters. Anybody who has been on it for longer than a day can tell you that. Instagram isn’t unlike every other website in that regard. You will eventually run into some unsavory users who will try to drag you down and scare away your followers.
One way these types will mess with you is through abusing the tagging system. They might tag your username to some content you wouldn’t want associated with your brand. If this happens, don’t worry. It’s easy to hide these posts so people can’t view them from your profile.
Go to your profile. There should be an icon that looks like a person on a box, somewhere beneath your bio next to the bookmark icon. Tapping it will bring you to Photos of You. From there, tap on the settings icon in the upper right corner. It will give you a scroll-down menu of options, including Hide Photos. Then you can select the photos you want to hide and hit Hide from Profile to confirm.
Additionally, under settings, you can also choose Tagging Options. If you tap Add Manually, then all tagged photos of you will need your approval first.
36. Remove inappropriate comments.
Another thing that could be turning away potential followers are the comments sections on your posts. Nobody wants to join a community that seems hostile and contentious.
You can take care of this problem by deleting the offending messages. Tap the speech bubble beneath the comment, swipe left on it, and then click the trash icon. It’s as simple as that.
Don’t be afraid to curate a comments section when necessary. It’ll turn it into a more inviting place for newcomers.
37. Participate in local events.
The internet isn’t the only place that you can make your Instagram presence know. You can even promote it in your own backyard.
Get involved in your local community. Hold events and gatherings that are exclusive to your area. These can be great opportunities to distribute materials that mention your Instagram account.
38. Share Instagram Stories.
The biggest advantage to Stories is that they can be discovered by users other than your follower base. Another upside is their temporary nature, which means you can spend less time fussing over them. Also, you can do live streaming video through Stories.
39. Produce lots of video content.
It wasn’t until last year that Instagram expanded its video capabilities. The maximum video length was expanded from 15 seconds to a full minute. Ever since then, video content has swelled in prevalence on the platform.
While photography is still the most favored medium on Instagram, that shouldn’t dissuade you from making videos. Some brands have found enormous success in making it their primary form of content, such as Red Bull.
40. Include some emojis.
A recent study found that adding emojis in your captions often leads to a higher rate of engagement.
Think of them as colorful splashes of emotion that liven up your writing. Not only do emojis save you character space, but they can also convey tone and ideas.
41. Optimize your profile.
Every part of your profile should be optimized for maximum appeal. This includes your profile picture, name, and bio. Make certain that everything looks good, reads well, and represents the brand.
42. Make sure your account is public.
If your account is private, then nobody will be see your content. Rectify this by going into the settings on your profile and disabling Photos are Private.
43. Invest in Instagram ads.
Instagram offers a variety of advertising options. Your ads can come in the form of photos, videos, or carousels of multiple images. You can also buy ads for Instagram Stories.
44. Review with analytics.
Utilizing an analytics tool can assist you in figuring out what works and what doesn’t. Owlmetrics, for instance, can tell you which posts resonate with your audience the most. It can also give you detailed information about your followers.
45. Don’t be pushy about sales.
On Instagram, it’s better to blend in than stand out. Nothing makes you stand out more than being blatantly promotional. Viewers generally don’t like it when brands are overly pushy, as it feels like an intrusion into their casual browsing.
46. Pay attention to trends.
Keep track of the latest trends and styles. Capitalize on them whenever it fits with the brand, so that you can remain fresh and current.
47. Keep an eye on the competition.
Carefully observe your competitors. What are they doing to get followers? What mistakes are they making? Knowing these things can aid you in formulating your Instagram strategies.
48. Use apps to create collages.
A beautiful collage can make for an alluring piece of content. Try using Instagram’s own Layout app to make your own. It’s intuitive, totally free, and available for both iOS and Android.
49. Carefully curate your feed.
Always have a bigger picture in mind. Think about how each post will look alongside each other in your feed. If your page has visual cohesion, it will draw more followers in.
50. Find a niche and fill it.
Some brands try to be everything for everyone. They go for the widest market possible and end up stretching themselves too thin in the process.
Remember that it’s perfectly fine to occupy a specific niche. The audience may be smaller, but they are more enthusiastic. This usually results in greater levels of engagement, especially with groups that feel ignored or underrepresented.