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There are many reasons one would want to grow his/her Instagram account. It might be as simple as wanting more influence. It might be part of a marketing and branding strategy. It could be part of an affiliate marketing strategy. Whatever the case is, this guide will help.
How Do I Get More Instagram Followers?
There are six primary methods of growing your Instagram account, and all six are detailed below.
But first, if you don’t have an Instagram account, then you need to go ahead and create one.
Quick Tip: You’ll want your account to be keyword optimized, to that it can be easily found. The best way to do this is to ensure your main keywords are included in your username and in your account name. For example, if your niche is makeup, then you’ll want the word “makeup” to be part of your username as well as your account name (as in the example below).
In fact, this account was the first account to appear in Instagram search results when I searched the word “makeup”. What a fantastic way to grow your account!
Hashtags are very, very important on Instagram and are generally considered to be the core of any growth strategy. For this reason, it is wise to be very deliberate in your use of hashtags.
Your hashtags need to be relevant to your brand and also relevant to the content you are posting. One way to find good, relevant, hashtags them out is to scan the top accounts in your niche and see what hashtags they are using in their posts. So, for example, if your niche is makeup tutorials, then you’ll want to search #makeuptutorials then go to one of the top posts that are ranking high for that hashtag.
Then look at the hashtags this top brand is using. You can use the same hashtags… If it’s good enough for the top brands, then it’s good enough for you. So go ahead and start compiling a list of hashtags.
Another way to find good hashtags is to go to the search bar on Instagram and start typing your main keywords; you’ll see multiple variations appear. You can use these hashtags as well.
Once you have your list of hashtags, you can arrange them in order of their competitiveness. This is easy to do. Simply rank order the hashtags by the number of posts. Then you can easily identify the following three categories of hashtags.
- High Competition Hashtags : Hashtags that have more than 1 Million posts
- Moderate Competition Hashtags: Hashtags that have between 50 K and 1 M Posts
- Low Competition Hashtags: Hashtags that have less than 50 K posts
I recommend that you use a mix of the 3 types of hashtags. This will ensure you get exposure to all three tiers.
So how many hashtags should you use? There are different pinions out there, but I’ve found that 30 hashtags is most effective. 30 is the maximum permitted by Instagram, by the way, so I usually use 7 high competition hashtags, 10 moderate competition hashtags, and 13 low competition hashtags. Your mileage may vary, so be sure to experiment with different combinations to see which ones are most effective for you.
Also, don’t just put random hashtags on any post. Your hashtags should defintely reflect what the post is about. For example, if you are using #makeuptutorial for a hashtag, then the post should actually have a makeup tutorial in it; otherwise when your posts gets bad engagement, the Instagram algorithm will recognize spam and will start limiting your post reach.
One more thing: be sure to always include your own brand hashtag. This is a hashtag that belongs uniquely to you. You’ll have to make it up to ensure it is unique. You can later ask your audience to include your hashtag when reposting your content. Also, if you are selling something, you can ask your customers to use your hashtag while giving feedback of your product or posting a picture of your product.
A branded hashtag will create brand awareness and will make finding content related to your brand very easy.
This method may seem self-evident, but it’s worth repeating. You have to post high quality, engaging, content if you are to grow. You need to give people a reason to follow you and to return to your account. So you need to start posting eye-catching Instagram posts. Another reason you want to post high quality content is so that your account gets natural engagement from real people. Otherwise, Instagram will recognize the poor quality of your account and limit your reach.
For the past few years, Instagram has suffered from lots of bots and bot activity. Scammers and spammers have used (and still use) these tactics to grow their accounts or to make money by selling followers and/or likes. In response, Instagram has put in place quite a few countermeasures. Bottom line, you really can’t get away with it anymore. And why would you want to? Wouldn’t you rather have a legitimate, thriving, business?
If you engage in these spammy activities, you will (at best) limit your organic reach and (at worst), you may get banned. New accounts, especially, get a lot of scrutiny, so be sure to use tactics to grow naturally.
So, in the beginning, in order ensure you do not get banned, you should initially focus on posting quality content. Don’t spend too much effort following other people or liking other people’s content. Just post quality content.
You should probably post 3-5 times per day (more if you can). If you start to run out of ideas, you can repost from top Instagram accounts while giving them credit. Just be sure to ask permission.
Let’s continue with the makeup niche as an example. When you post content, ensure it provides value to the audience. Also, try to post content that is “shareable”. Here’s an example:
Notice also how the post is visually appealing. It is also informative. It is straightforward. And it is educational. This is the perfect kind of post to be shared.
Also, pay attention to the broad use of hashtags. And, notably, check out the brand hashtags #TrySUGAR and #SUGARCosmetics.
You can also make use of funny posts or meme posts (if that strategy fits in with your brand). Funny posts are super popular on Instagram and – if they are truly funny – will get shared broadly. Here’s a good example.
The above post is from a make-up related influencer page.
If you have been using Instagram for a while, then you have probably heard of this strategy. I have used it myself, and it is quite powerful. But, fair warning, you need to use this one judiciously. If you use this strategy too frequently, then you may experience temporary action blocks (I did) or worse, account bans (has not happened to me).
The follow for follow strategy is simple. Follow accounts of people that you know will be interested in your niche, and many of them will follow you back. To find people to follow simply go to the one of the top posts of your niche and start following the people who have commented on their posts and have liked their posts.
Expert Tip: Prioritize the people who have commented as they are more likely to be engaged on your account.
After you have completed your first week of only posting quality content, you can now start the follow for follow strategy. I recommend the following frequency.
- 1st Week: do not follow anyone
- 2nd Week: 10-30 follows per day
- 3rd Week: 30-60 follows per day
- 4th Week: 60-100 follows per day
Do exceed 100 follows per day. Also, be sure to spread your follows throughout the day.
This will feel a bit tedious at first, but it will really start to pay off.
Another powerful strategy is to find the accounts who have been commenting on similar niches as yours and send them a thoughtful message about their profile and politely ask them to check out your Instagram page.
Be careful with this strategy, because if you use it too much, it will appear spammy. Also, do not copy and paste the same message to everyone. Use a different message for every single person. And make it sincere. Compliments work well.
Tip: Focus on larger accounts. If the large account takes a liking to your account, you might get shared to lots of followers.
After your account is about a month old and you have been getting positive engagement on your account, you can start commenting and liking other accounts’ content. Just remember, DO NOT SPAM. Keep your actions limited to 20 per hour. So you can follow 10 people, like 5 posts and comment on 5 posts an hour (BTW, this is not an official policy; this is what has worked for me).
As with the DMs, ensure your comments are all original and genuine.
Now that you have an account set up with a considerable amount of quality content and followers, you can approach other influencers in your niche to help you promote your account. This method may cost you some money, but it is far cheaper than buying Instagram ads.
To start, you need to find influencer accounts related to your niche. Then look for accounts that say something like “DM for paid promotions”. Another thing to look for is an email on their profile; that often indicates that they are open to paid promotions.
Take the above example from another make-up influencer; the “business” before the email likely indicates they are open for paid promotions. This can be an incredibly powerful way to grow.
Getting a huge following on Instagram is actually not that hard, but you do have to put a little work into it, and you definitely need to know the rules.
By the way, if you are interested in making money on Instagram, then check out my other article: How to Make Money on Instagram