Instagram has become a cornerstone of the social presence of many brands, increasing profitable traffic to landing pages, increasing conversions and building an engaged audience.
If your presence on Instagram isn’t quite as impactful as you would like, it may be time to find out how to refine your strategies to get real, organic followers on this social network. The larger your audience, the greater your opportunities to interact with users and create unique experiences for them.
The organic distinction is important – brands sometimes opt for the simpler solution when trying to get more followers on Instagram. Like sites and paid followers are everywhere, but these shortcuts should never be used as the Instagram algorithm is periodically updated to eliminate paid and poor quality accounts and interactions.
Not to mention the fact that the number of your Instagram followers is ultimately meaningless if those followers aren’t represented by engaged fans who shop, visit your landing pages, and promote your brands to friends and followers. Start growing your presence the right way with these tips for getting more followers on Instagram.
10 ways to increase the number of followers on Instagram
1. Optimize your Instagram account
Before starting to understand 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 “homepage” of your account.
Without a proper bio, image captions, username or profile picture, how will people know the account belongs to your brand? It might seem obvious, but on Instagram your bio and image help build the foundation of your brand identity. The link to your bio is your ideal solution to transfer Instagram traffic to your site, therefore it is imperative to optimize your account.
If you don’t know exactly where to place the link, try marketing or product pages that reference specific hashtags, keywords, or campaigns on your Instagram account. Creating a link to your homepage is fine, but why not do it even better by offering users a rich experience when they go from your bio to the site? This aspect has determined the popularity of the landing pages reached through the IG link that host relevant links to the latest content cited on a brand feed, and of the “link in bio” posts that help direct audiences to these links.
Also, make your username as easy to find as possible, which usually means making it similar to the actual business name of the brand. If your business name is longer, shorten it with a term that is recognizable to your audience. Do not add numbers and special characters to your username, and if possible make it similar to the aliases you already use for other social media.
2. Maintain a consistent editorial calendar
The worst thing you can do when trying to gain Instagram followers is to post content randomly, at unscheduled times. If you are lucky enough to find people who have followed you right from the start, you need to keep them from forgetting that they followed you right away.
To counter these situations, stick to regular post scheduling. Generally, brands should post only a few times a day to avoid spam, however whatever the cadence you choose, keep it constant. There are about 200 million users who log into Instagram every day, so to further expand your possibilities, try to publish posts throughout the day.
In fact, a research we conducted on the best times to post on Instagram identifies the most suitable times for different industries. Alternatively, you can follow our research on the best times for all subject areas, below:
Sticking to a schedule will help you create a consistent experience for your followers and keep them informed about your brand. However, if you’re wondering how you’re going to remember to post at different times of the day, Sprout can help you with its Schedule and Optimal Times features. Read on for more details.
3. Schedule Instagram posts in advance
While Instagram’s algorithm has changed to show users more content that interests them, posting at the right times can still ensure greater visibility for your posts by increasing their overall engagement.
There are many solutions that your brand can adopt to increase visibility, and now with Sprout Social you also have the programming of content on Instagram. With our latest tools, we can help your brand program content through a simple process.
By planning content in advance, your entire team can evaluate campaigns and schedules more efficiently. It’s always convenient to create content in advance and with our scheduling tools for Instagram, you can target your audience while maintaining a steady stream of content.
You can also use ViralPost, Sprout’s patented tool, and let us do the work for you. ViralPost analyzes the historical data of your account engagement and identifies the best times for publication using an algorithm.
Refine your Instagram editorial plan with Sprout Social
In addition to scheduling a complete picture of your editorial calendar for Instagram, Sprout offers additional features to refine your brand feed.
Share IG approved visuals with your team using our Asset Library, or try our Grid preview feature to ensure that all aspects of your presence are true to your brand style.
Experience these features and more with a 30-day free trial from Sprout.
4. Make efforts to have partners and brand advocates post your content
When learning how to get more followers on Instagram, it’s important to know the value of your audience. The more your followers increase (organically), the more interested buyers and customers will be.
The best way to get customers to follow you is to make yourself known and be present. It is essential to be present on your Instagram and on the pages of other instagrammers. Try sponsoring user-generated content to put your brand in customer feeds. You can also organize contests on Instagram to make your brand known to a wider audience. These types of campaigns build social proof, showing that your fans are engaged enough to repost your content or create their own UGC.
Another way to increase the number of your followers is to present your pseudonym to a wider audience. Try partnering with larger Instagram accounts in your industry, such as popular influencers in your space, to share your content with their audience.
Make sure you are providing something of value. You absolutely need to avoid this sounding like a sales pitch. Establish marketing partnerships and find co-marketing plans with other companies to build your Instagram audience.
5. Avoid fake followers on Instagram
There is a huge difference between an Instagram account with fake followers and an account with real followers. It might be tempting to simply buy Instagram followers, but the disadvantages of organic follower growth outweigh the advantages.
Fake Instagram followers tend to:
- Fooling New Followers: If users come to an inactive Instagram feed with tens of thousands of followers, the credibility of the account will fail. Don’t trick people into following you. Inspire trust and build long-term relationships for better engagement.
- Don’t produce ROI: Buying followers might seem like the simplest solution, but bot-generated purchased followers or new automated followers won’t buy anything. People follow brands on Instagram for one simple reason: they like your posts or your company in general. These people are actual buyers and will bring monetary value to your business.
- Create few interactions: If you have 10,000 fake followers, how many of them will leave comments and likes or share your content? These automated or fake accounts will most likely be deleted from Instagram and make your posts look like the grave of engagement.
Real people can share, like, comment and interact with your Instagram posts. Furthermore, these users are satisfied when there is someone on the other side who responds to their interventions.
For example, Lush Cosmetics spends time answering various product questions, and thanks to this effort, users return to its site, follow the company, and presumably share information with other users. These interactions will always have more value than an inactive follower group.
6. Show your Instagram account everywhere
How will people find an account if you don’t promote your Instagram? Get your Instagram account 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 followers on Instagram, let people know where to find you. You can add social media buttons to your website and blog to help promote social shares across all your networks as well as to show people where to find you on Instagram.
Another great idea is to cross promote your social media accounts. The Museum of Modern Art periodically makes known his Instagram account via Twitter. You can easily leverage your other social networks to direct users to your Instagram account.
However, make sure you don’t just ask to be followed. Instead, you should try to promote exclusive content on your Instagram account so that users have a reason to follow you there. Fortunately, as Instagram continues to add hundreds and hundreds of features for new content and videos such as Stories, IGTV and Reels, you have a tremendous opportunity to grow your followers through creative content.
7. Content of posts desired by followers
While this is easier said than done, it’s helpful to try and figure out what content your followers want to see. On Instagram you will quickly find that some content offers better results than others. This is why testing is so important.
Whether it’s filters, captions, content types or post times, even the smallest detail can make a difference. Constantly update on new Instagram trends to make sure you’re posting popular content.
To deepen your analysis, your brand should invest in Instagram Analytics tools. This will make it easier to monitor, compare and analyze Instagram content in accounts.
Trust your editorial strategy by analyzing different filters, captions and other elements to find out what works best with your audience. If you don’t know where to start, try analyzing your competitors.
You don’t have to copy your competitors directly, but it is good to take note of what they do or post to increase engagement. A little competitive research can produce useful results. You can use our Instagram Competitors report to take a look at what works for other brands in your industry.
8. Start the conversation
One of the best ways to get users to know about your Instagram account is through conversation. According to Sprout’s Social Index 2020, consumers want to interact with visual content first, such as photos (68%) and videos (50%), followed by 30% who prefer textual posts. Instagram is the ideal social for this audience profile as it combines compelling visuals with captions that can be just as engaging as you perfect your caption copywriting skills on Instagram.
People continue to use social media as a go-to contact for brands, both for instant questions and chats as well as for important customer service inquiries and to express appreciation for their favorite brands and products. And for your business, you need to be supportive and communicative on Instagram.
Try to answer as many questions or comments as possible as it could actually make a difference to gain a new customer or follower or to improve the relationship with your audience. The research of our Index also showed that 89% of consumers will buy from a brand after following it on social networks. It is therefore important to ensure the attention and loyalty necessary to convert a visitor to your profile into a follower.
The higher the number of conversations related to your feed, the greater your chances of gaining followers. Appreciate your followers and don’t be afraid to reply.
9. Find hashtags that produce conversions
One of the most proven ways to get followers on Instagram is using hashtags. For years, hashtags have proved to be an indispensable tool for discovering useful information and have allowed us to expand our reach on social networks. As a marketer, you need to build your community by gaining followers and in this case, hashtags will be extremely useful to you.
For starters, we recommend finding hashtags that aren’t too popular. Social Media Examiner highlights this theory by explaining how the #love hashtag has more than 184 million photos linked to it. Trying to highlight your Instagram content in a sea of millions of photos and videos isn’t easy at all.
You need to find hashtags that your target audience’s people are most likely to check out. If a relevant link is made, these users will be more likely to follow your account. Original brand hashtags are a solution for grouping posts dedicated to content that is highly relevant to your brand and campaigns.
For example, M & Ms does a great job of focusing hashtags on events they attend. Using hashtags such as #mmspotlight, the brand targets its audience more directly where the concert spotlight is focused and promotes brand awareness.
Understanding the performance of your hashtags on Instagram is just as important as using them. And, with Sprout Social’s analytics tools, you have direct access to performance and hashtag usage data to discover the solution that delivers the best results.
Don’t blindly enter the hashtag universe. In fact, you need to know exactly what to tag in order to create your follower group.
10. Make your Instagram followers happy
Last but not least, when you make your Instagram followers happy, you will be rewarded with audience growth. We have given you many tips for searching and scheduling content. Now you just have to put them into practice in the way that best suits your brand style. In other words, avoid conveying the impression that you are short of followers, that you are sales oriented or that you are an automaton.
For many accounts, this means posting specifically designed to make followers smile and build relationships with customers. Don’t forget to provide content to your followers as if they were friends on your personal feed. Such content can include posting memes, content to draw inspiration from, or simply re-sharing interesting photos or artwork (all of course credited to an appropriate extent) that can lift your followers’ mood a little during the day.
How do you intend to increase the number of your followers on Instagram?
Instagram is increasingly popular, so taking advantage of these tips to gain followers will help increase your reach. If you’re ready to use Sprout’s powerful tools for managing your Instagram account, start a free trial today.