The Ultimate Guide to Growing Followers on Instagram

We all aspire to grow our Instagram followers.

Imagine what it would be like to be welcomed by millions of followers in your profile everytime you open the app.

But it’s not the number of followers that matter, but what those followers translate to. Fame, popularity, influence, authority, sales, brand awareness and more. Whatever you may want to translate those followers into to benefit you when you have a lot of followers on Instagram, you have options, if you don’t, the possibilities aren’t as many.

Instagram is a tremendous tool for reaching people from all over the world, but it all starts with growing followers on Instagram.

Gaining followers and building your page on Instagram is an art. But sometimes, it can feel like growing followers on Instagram is put on a pedestal and presented as impossible by the people who have already achieved it. If you are like I was when I first started with Instagram in 2014, you’re aspiring to grow followers on Instagram – a ton of them, but that goal may feel distant, because no matter what you’ve done, you’ve only been able to accumulate a few followers, at max.

But while some of the people who have already achieved what you’re looking to achieve, present growing followers on Instagram as almost impossible, or only possible if you have fame from the beginning, that is far from the truth.

Growing followers is possible, but in order to do so, you need to use the right strategies and know about the strategies that help you grow followers on Instagram, but most importantly, know what will help you reach your goal, and what will slow you down in the process.

Here’s something that fascinates me:

There are a ton of users on Instagram with millions of followers on Instagram. There are even more users with hundreds of thousands of followers on Instagram. 

This means that the recipe for growing your Instagram followers is already mastered. People have already figured it out. But here’s where it gets interesting:

Despite this, there are actually very few guides out there on how you can grow Instagram that goes through a step-by-step process of the most crucial parts you need to know to grow followers throughout the journey – from start to infinity.

Fortunately, I am not a person who just write about things and have never done them myself.

In fact, I’ve grown a total of about 1 million followers on Instagram across a number of accounts, with the largest account having a few hundred thousand followers.

Therefore, I consider myself knowledgeable and experienced enough to take you through this journey and share some of the secrets I’ve learned over the years that can make the biggest impact when it comes to growing followers on Instagram.

Without further ado, let’s dig right in.

1. Setting up your account

Before we get into the nitty-gritty tactics of growing followers on Instagram, you have to set up your Instagram account first – if you haven’t got one already.

I assume you already have, so let’s look at how you set up your account to perfection to maximize your ability to grow your followers on Instagram. View your profile and account as the foundation to your Instagram success. Don’t try to take any shortcuts, because if your foundation is unstable, the rest of the construction will fall as well.

Starbucks Instagram

Username

Your username is actually quite important on Instagram and can actually have a huge impact on how well you’re able to grow followers on Instagram.

The most important part is that you pick a name that is easy to spell and search for and doesn’t contain a lot of dots, underscores or numbers.

Make your username as simple and memorable as possible because this will make it easier for other people to find you.

Secondly, you want to write a bio and description that attracts people, grabs their interest, and convince them to stay and ultimately start following you.

Here are some very helpful tips when writing a good bio on Instagram:

1: Your Name

People should quickly be able to see who the accounts belong to. If you have a business account, you should have your business name in your profile.

2: Your Link

Having a link in your bio will help you look more professional, but most importantly, it will give your audience and profile visitors some context to who you are, what you do, and what you’re all about. No matter if you are a business, you should have a link that has something to do with you.

If you don’t have any link to share with your audience, you’ll have to skip this step. It is better to not have a link than to link to a website you don’t have anything to do with, for example, “Instagram.com

3: Your Biography

Your bio is the place in your Instagram profile which works as your description. When writing your bio, the most important part is that you tell people who you are. You should do this both if you have a personal account or a business account. Writing who you are and what you do enables people who have never heard of you before to instantly be able to know, and then decide whether or not you should interesting enough to start following.

In your bio, be personal. Personal is good because it shows that you are human and makes it easier for people to connect and resonate with you. To make you stand out from the crowd and make your target audience resonate with you, even more, make sure you include a touch of humor in your profile. This humor should be aligned with your brand personality and brand voice, and this is true if you are a business or a regular person looking to build your influence and popularity.

Instagram biography

4: Contact information

People might want to contact you and you should make it easy for them to do so. Have your email in your bio so people can easily find it without having to search the whole web. Who knows, there might be people who want to collaborate and partner with you, and come with irresistible offers. In other words, if you have your contact information visible, you’ll most likely get more business requests.

The best part is that with Instagram business accounts, you now have access to ”call to action” buttons in your profile. What are call-to-action buttons?

Well, before the CTA buttons, you had to include all information in your bio, and since there is a limit to how many characters you can have in your bio, including email, phone number, etc obviously took up a lot of space, preventing people from writing good bios.

The call-to-action buttons, on the other hand, are placed below the bio, right above the feed in your profile, and these buttons also include links, so when someone clicks on them, they get redirected directly to the method of contact, whether it be to call, email or visit see directions.

Instagram contact button

Have in mind that in order to get access to the business account, you need to convert your account into a so-called business account first.

5: Profile picture

Lastly, don’t forget to add your profile picture. Your profile picture is probably the first thing that people will see when they come across your profile, so it is crucial that it is attention-grabbing and sparks people’s interest. If you have no profile photo, you’re setting yourself up for failure right away. It might seem like a small detail but it is crucial for success.

Having a profile photo helps you look more human and not like a bot, and depending on your image, it can also help convey what you do.

Your profile picture should be high-quality as with all the photos you post on Instagram.

Profile pictures with a face tend to get more followers and be more trustworthy so have a picture of yourself if you can as this will help you gain followers. If you’re a business, it’s not ideal to have a face shot, so use your logo instead to help with brand awareness.

2. Decide your niche

Now that you have set up your account, it’s important that you decide on a niche. Having a niche is crucial for growing followers on Instagram because after all, people follow you because of the content they share and because they get value from that content. The only exception if you’re a celebrity, because in that case, people follow them because they want to stay updated with what they do, but that is not the case for most users on Instagram.

Okay, so people follow you because of the content you, share, and at the same time, remember that not everyone like the same things. The reason we follow different accounts is so that we can get content related to things/niches were are passionate about.

If you one day post a picture of a coffee, the next day a photo of a tennis racket, the next, a post about video games, you’ll create an immense disconnect with your audience. How many coffee drinkers do you think care about video games?

Well, probably a lot, but the point is that if I start to follow an account that is focused on coffee, I expect that account to share coffee. And If follow that account because I am interested in that niche. If I start to follow an account and expect a certain type of content focused on one particular niche, I expect that all the content from that account will be focused on just that.

The mistake many people make is believing that the bigger your net is, the more people will start following you, but that is actually not the case, because if you throw your net too wide, ultimately, you won’t catch any fish at all.

When you show your audience and the people who come across your page that you are focused and specialized in a specific industry, these people will be able to resonate with you much better, and more importantly, you’ll be able to establish yourself as an industry expert, and this, in turn, will help you attract even more followers.

When you make it clear that you’re focused on one specific niche, you make it clear on what people can expect from you, and unless you’re a celebrity, doubling down on a specific niche is the way to successfully grow followers on Instagram. Of course, you might argue that influencers, for example, can share different types of images, but these individuals still have a niche, and that is ”inspiration” and lifestyle”.

In other words, just because you are focused on one specific niche doesn’t mean that you can only share one type of posts.

By deciding on a single niche that you are going to have on your Instagram page, people will be able to know what to expect from you and you’ll attract people who will be genuinely interested in your niche instead of them starting to follow you and then unfollow you because you’re posting random images that they aren’t interested in.

You can begin by asking yourself these questions:

  • What kind of followers do I have?
  • Who is my target audience?
  • What type of content do my followers enjoy?
  • What do my followers not enjoy?
  • What are my followers’ interests?

By asking yourself these questions you can quickly get a better picture of what you should post on your social media and what you shouldn’t post. When posting something less popular, it usually shows very clearly in the form of fever likes and comments – in other words, a lower engagement.

By looking at your posts’ engagement and taking wisdom from it, you can learn what type of content works well and which your audience resonates with, and what type of content they don’t resonate with as much.

3. Content

This step is incredibly important. This is because Instagram is a content-driven platform, and the whole reason people start following an account on Instagram is because of the content they share. To a very large extent, your Instagram success and ability to grow followers on Instagram is dependent on your content.

The single biggest mistake I see people committing almost every day is posting low-quality images.

Come on! No one wants to see blurry images on Instagram! It’s 2018!

If there is something that you should take with you from this article, it’s to never post low-quality images on Instagram. What you shouldn’t do either is compromise quality for quantity. Sure, it’s important to post on a regular basis on Instagram,  but what is even more important is the quality of your content.

To grow your Instagram followers, learn the basics of composition, photo editing and colors and you’ll come a long way.

Spend time learning about “the rule of thirds”, “the golden ratio”, and other composition techniques. Watch YouTube videos and practice editing your images. If you are producing content that is visually appealing, more people will want to follow you.

While it is important to share high-quality images, it’s not enough. The most important part is that you ask yourself how your content brings your audience value. Remember, people don’t want to follow someone on Instagram because their posts are beautiful to look at. People want to get value in one way or another. The catch is that this is a concept which many people tend to misunderstand.

Here’s the deal:

”Value” when it comes to content can come in many shapes and forms on Instagram, and any social media platform for that matter. Value can be entertainment, a good laugh, inspiration, information, knowledge, and anything in between.

Before you share something on Instagram, make sure that it brings your audience value in one way or another, because when you do, you put yourself in a position where you have the leverage. When you have something that others want, they’ll come to you.

The ultimate number of posts on Instagram

Something you should also consider is the number of posts you share each day. The ”ideal number of posts” is a topic which has been discussed widely over the years, and as if that wasn’t confusing enough, there has been a number of studies made on this, and unsurprisingly, they all say different things. This is just like ”the ideal time to post on”, which I’ll go more into detail further on.

First of all, the best frequency to post on Instagram really depends on you and your followers. In other words, it depends, and you have to find which works the best for you, so that you can reach your target audience but at the same time avoid spamming your audience. Fortunately, with the Instagram algorithmic feed (Instagram algorithm), you won’t spam your audience if you share several posts within a short timeframe since Instagram won’t present all of them in each and everyone’s feed.

You have to ask yourself the question “How can I tailor the frequency of my posts on Instagram to get the ultimate results?”. 

And luckily, I will provide you with very helpful tactics that can help you decide how many posts are ideal for you.

1. Experiment

Most people agree that you should post at least once a day in order to keep your followers updated and prevent them from forgetting about your existence. Have one post as a minimum requirement and then experiment with for example 2 posts a day for a week and then measure your results.

  • Has your engagement increased?
  • Have your followers increased?
  • Most importantly, have the number of people you reach increased? The answer will most likely be yes.

If the answer is yes, you might be onto something. Then you can try to post 3 times a day on some days and see what results you are generating.

Are you losing followers because you are spamming too much or does your followers just enjoy seeing more content from you?

It is said that practicing is better than studying in some cases and this is true in this case. You won’t learn very much by thinking about how many posts you should post or looking at what other people are doing, because your ideal number might be different. Instead, go out and test and then write down the results of your little experiment.

2. Look at your competitors

It can be helpful to look at how many posts your competitors are posting on Instagram per day.

Pick out some of your biggest competitors that are sharing about the same thing as you and write down how many posts they are posting each day. You should also note their engagement because there are a lot of pages that aren’t posting the ultimate amount of posts because frankly, they didn’t even know such a thing existed.

Compare the number of posts and engagement and see which amounts seem to get the best response.

Now, you can get yourself an understanding of an approximate amount of posts is the ultimate amount for you.

3. Ask your followers

Why not just ask your followers how many posts they want to see because after all, it is your followers that are going to see your posts and they will, of course, know how many posts per day they want to see from you.

You can ask that question by either just making a post and asking your followers, Direct message a few of your followers, ask them in a comment on their post and much more.

4. Engaging

Engaging with users on Instagram is a crucial part for growing followers on Instagram which you cannot neglect. Instagram is a social media platform, so be social for god’s sake!

It’s amazing how many people use social media, are looking to establish their presence, and then not use it the way it is set out to be used.

Social media engagement

The best part about engaging with people on social media is that you build relationships with them. When you build relationships with them, they’ll become more loyal, and ultimately they’ll start following you. Of course, engaging and interacting with your audience takes some time and energy, but considering the fact that engaging leads to an incredible loyalty, it is definitely worth it, because in turn, it will lead to referrals, and them telling their friends, as well as becoming your most loyal advocates which will help spread the word about you.

Social media engagement

There are loads of tricks that you can use when engaging with users to make them more loyal and even make them followers to your page.

The more users you engage with, the bigger the chances someone will start to follow you. 

Here are the most effective tactics on growing your Instagram page through engaging:

1. Like photos on a specific hashtag.

This is a great way to grow your followers, and it is also a great way to interact with the right people. Go to a hashtag that is relevant to your niche, because ultimately, since you’ve now decided on a specific niche, you know what type of people will be interested in your page and start following you. As such, you need to find your target audience and engage with them.

For most people, the reason people aren’t following isn’t that their content is crap, but rather, it is because people don’t know about their existence. And when liking people’s post, that’s exactly what you do – make them aware of your existence. As a result, people will start following you.

“Like” about hundred images in that hashtag. Don’t like more than that in one go because Instagram’s anti-spam rules” has set a limit to about that, and if you reach that number, you’ll become temporarily blocked from performing that action for a while.

Best of all is that Instagram now has a ”suggested tags” section when you search for a specific hashtag, which will present new examples of hashtags you can search for. This is great if you are out of ideas on which hashtags your target audience is using.

2. Comment on images on a specific hashtag

This is a bit more personal and leaves a bigger impact than liking does. Liking a post leaves a mark, but it doesn’t leave an impression. if you, on the other hand, leave a thoughtful comment, you can leave a long-lasting impression which will not only make them follow you, but become long-lasting loyal fans of your brand and account.

Instagram hashtags

You’re more likely to gain followers from commenting on people’s posts within your own niche.

Write a kind and interesting comment and possibly with a question so you can start a conversation and build up your relationships and gain more loyal followers.

The more you converse with them, the stronger your relationship will become, and so asking a question is a great way to get the conversation started.

3. Always respond to comments on your posts

If you’re looking to increase your engagement, increase your audience’s loyalty, and ultimately grow your Instagram followers, responding to comments on your posts is a must.

This is especially important as a brand, but remember that if you run your Instagram account as a person, you’re still your own personal brand.

This is especially important if people ask a question in their comment. Social media is not a lot different from real life, and if someone asks you a question in real life, would you just turn your head around and ignore them?

I hope not! And if you do, you send signals that you don’t care about them, and so why would they care about you? If they follow you, they’ll unfollow you, and if they don’t follow you, they certainly won’t start to if you ignore them.

Therefore, make sure you answer and respond to all comments that you receive on your posts and thank them for their kind words and support. Not only is this a tremendous way to build and strengthen your relationships with our audience, but it is a tremendous way to turn them into loyal advocates that will go around spreading the word about how awesome you are.

4. Returning likes

If someone likes your pictures, go and like some of theirs! You might gain a follower just by returning a like! Simple as that.

Bonus tip:

This is a trick that very few people are doing but it can help you get your name out there and grow followers on Instagram.

Turn on post notifications on some major Instagram pages and as soon as you get a notification that they have shared a new post, go to their post and be the first one to comment.

If you are always the first person commenting, people will notice and be curious about what your page is all about – especially if you comment something unique and attention-grabbing.

5. Use hashtags

Keep in mind when you start a new account, Instagram will not put your images into the hashtag feed – this is to prevent bots and spammers making new accounts all the time and spamming the hashtag feeds. Instagram will start showing your posts after 2-4 weeks.

Instagram allows you to use a maximum of 30 hashtags in each of your posts. How many should you use? All of them. Just like the question of how many posts you should share a day, the question about how many hashtags is the ideal number for maximum engagement is one that has been debated a lot. But if you onside the fact that each hashtag is a place to display your post, shouldn’t you showcase your post on as many places as possible for maximum reach? I think it’s quite self-explanatory.

Instagram hashtags
Source: Agorapulse

The whole point of using hashtags in your posts is to gain more exposure when users search for specific hashtags and attract THE RIGHT people who genuinely are interested in what you have to show.

When you go on to a hashtag, you’ll find that there is a “top section” and a “recent post” section. The posts featured in the ”Top posts” section are the posts that have gotten the most engagement among the people who have used that particular hashtag in the most recent times. Of course, you want to strive to be featured in the top posts section, because this is the place where the best posts are displayed, and thus a better type of exposure.

If you are using a hashtag that is popular, your post will not be visible for a long time, maybe only seconds because the constant stream of new posts will push your post down. With the top section, however, it’s a little different. Top Posts is the section that will get your pictures more engagement due to the extreme exposure (again, if it is a popular hashtag) and more followers. 

If you’ve ever noticed that some of your posts have gotten a way better engagement than normal, then there’s a chance that you got featured in the Top Posts section.

All hashtags have their own Top Posts section. The more pictures the hashtag has (the more popular it is), the harder it is to get featured in the Top Posts section due to the tougher competition.

If you have a relatively small amount of followers and use hashtags that have several million photos posted with it, then you’ll most likely not end up in the top posts because there are larger accounts using the hashtag. The key is to target hashtags with a lower amount of posts since the competition is lower and you have a bigger chance of ending up there. As mentioned, ending up there is what brings organic visitors to your account.

The most important part of using hashtags is making them relevant. A tip is to see what hashtags your competitors are using and then steal some of them.

6. Tagging people in your posts

If you didn’t know, you can tag up to 20 users in your posts.

Tagging users that you have gotten to know on Instagram are great to tag as the chances of them commenting on your post is big.

When you tag someone in your post, it will be visible in their profile, meaning that your post will get a bigger spread and hopefully help you gain more followers. Additionally, the Instagram algorithm favors high engagement and fast engagement, so the more people who engage with your post, the better it will be ranked and seen in people’s feeds.

7. Ultimate time to post on

Now we’ve reached this debated topic.

Apart from ”the ultimate number of posts”, there are also ”ultimate times to post” on as well that you want to consider. And just like the ideal number of posts, there isn’t a universal time which is the best time to post, because this depends on your audience. Obviously, if my followers are based in New York, my ideal time to post will be different than if they were from Italy, right?

Also, with the Instagram algorithm, the time that you share a post on has become less important, since there are many other, more important ranking factors that determine what content you see in your feed. That does not, however, mean that the time you share a post on Instagram doesn’t matter at all.

Now, with some of the things I have mentioned, you don’t directly grow your followers with. For example, the best time to post only matters for getting people who are already following you to see your posts, but this also affects how you’re growing your followers on Instagram as well. Because the more people who engage with your posts, the more people you’ll reach.

And in order to get people to follow you, you obviously have to follow them and make them aware of your existence first.

Secret bonus tips for growing followers on Instagram

Image size

In Instagram’s early days, images could only be posted on the platform in a square format (if you used Instagram at this time, let me know in the comments!) However, after Instagram introduced new formats on the platform, there is a great tactic that you can use to get better results.

A longer, vertical image on Instagram take up more of the screen than a horizontal image. In fact, it almost takes up the whole screen when the vertical image is as large as it can be. This means that you’ll have an easier time grabbing people’s attention with your post.

As such, you want to focus on using vertical images at all times. Just ask yourself, would you want a smaller or larger billboard? The answer is quite obvious.

Instagram engagement groups/pods/comment groups

A comment group, also known as a pod is a chat group of users on Instagram Direct Message of a maximum of 15 people (the maximum number of people who can be in a DM group). This is usually a group of users that are posting content within a similar niche.

When someone has shared a new post, they let everyone in the group know about it and everyone goes to engage with it. By doing this, you boost your instant visibility of the post and increase the likes/followers and comments on your page. In turn, it will lead to you gaining more Instagram followers.

Targeted likes & comments

If you have decided on a niche (which you should have by now), you obviously have some competitors within that niche. These individuals also probably have way bigger pages than yours. Go to their page and check out the users that have liked and commented on their posts. These people are most likely interested in what your competitors are posting, meaning that they probably will be interested in what you are posting as well.

Go to the accounts and like/comment on their page and you can be sure to receive some new targeted and relevant followers.

Creating your own hashtag

Creating your own hashtags can be a great way to create a movement. Make a hashtag of your business name or username for example and ask people to use it.

To motivate people to use your hashtag, you can give away free shoutouts to those who are using your hashtag or you can arrange giveaways!

Conclusion

As you can see, there are a ton of ways you can go about growing your followers on Instagram. But if there’s one thing that you need to have to successfully grow your Instagram, it is patience. Furthermore, you also need to work actively and consistently with growing your page, because unless you don’t get a shoutout from a  celebrity with millions of followers, your follower growth on Instagram won’t skyrocket overnight but more so, it will slowly but surely increase.

By using these methods of increasing your exposure and growing your followers, you can increase the rate at which your followers grow.

Let us know if you have any more tricks to growing your Instagram followers in the comment section below!

Now, while this guide was thorough and in-depth, I’ve actually written a book about my journey from 0 to more than a million total followers on Instagram that is as in-depth as it can be. In the book, I talk about every single tiny detail that can make an impact in your Instagram follower growth throughout the process, and I share every single trick that can help you grow your Instagram followers.

Feel free to check it out below!

How to grow Instagram followers e-book

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