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Updated 28 Jan 2020

How to Get More Followers on Instagram

Picture it - you’re a super famous celebrity who has oodles of fans and anything you touch turns into profit - think the Kardashians. Well, you don’t need to have a famous last name to achieve this level of notoriety, especially on social media. All you need is to optimize your Instagram use. Seriously. Even YOU can join the ranks of famous influencers!

And who doesn’t want a little fame?

In fact, Instagram has blown up in the last 5 years to become a social media platform that rivals user-generated content giants like Facebook, Twitter, and Snapchat. Having an Instagram account means you can have “insta” access to whatever fanbase or target audience you desire through one simple concept: the follower.

Think now about your Instagram app and that cute little camera that sits on your home screen just waiting for you to flood it with photos, hashtags, and stories. Now picture it as a vast, uncharted sea of followers just itching to engage with the next cool post that comes their way. That sea is yours to discover, and this article will show you how to become a Kardashian-esque influencer, and, in other words, gain more followers on Instagram.

Benefits of gaining Instagram followers

Wondering why you should even want to gain followers on Instagram? Well, if you’re a regular human you can get a nice ego boost from being followed and maybe even make money by cashing in on the influencer marketing trend that is taking over social channels. You can’t hold influence without having followers.

If you’re someone with a business, you can take advantage of the brand marketing opportunities that Instagram provides. And of the best ways to boost businesses or brands on Instagram is to increase followers. The more followers you have, the more credible your business appears.

Why is it important that people follow your business on Instagram in the first place? Visibility. It is a fact that Instagram sees over 1 billion active users monthly, and 500 million stories are posted every day.

Of the adults who are online, 60% of them use Instagram. Instagram has 25 million business profiles, so other businesses are using it and you’ll be missing out if you aren’t. Finally, 72% of Instagram users report purchasing something they’ve seen on the social media platform.

That’s a lot of potential revenue created by Instagram marketing strategies! If you don’t know when to post, post photos that are of poor quality, or fail to capitalize on social media engagement strategies like using clever captions and popular hashtags, you will never grow followers or see those increased revenues.

Tips and tricks to get more followers on Instagram

Getting people to follow you is a bit of a science. Fortunately, it isn’t an overly complicated science.

One thing to pay attention to is a little statistic called the follower/following ratio. The way it works is fairly simple: if you follow more Instagram users than follow you, you lack social proof and are not seen as being follow-worthy -- or worse, you are viewed as fake. If you follow the same number of users that follow you, you’re in the normal range and have a bit more work to do to build an audience and more effectively engage followers.

The golden ticket is to have more followers than follows. This is the sweet spot that will help to catapult your Instagram account from boring and predictable to being influential and on-trend.

Having more followers than follows makes you an honorary Kardashian ...okay, not really, but it will provide social proof and land you closer to the realm of social influencers. Once you reach these levels, however, the only way to stay safe is to measure engagement and optimize your posts accordingly. If you take steps to measure and optimize, you can better produce and post content that will appeal to all your followers, both new and established.

Social media marketing only works if you can create content that people want to follow and engage with.

So what type of content will attract attention and increase your follower count? Engaging and original content. Think of Instagram and other social channels similar to the way you think about traditional media if you do not produce content that looks good and stands out, no one will ever notice.

Post high-quality photos regularly and you will increase the likelihood that an Instagram user will follow your account. Learn how to take better photos if necessary, and research how to properly use a hashtag (and the meaning of hashtags), how to properly caption photos, how to tag locations and people, and always consider what your audience would want to see from a post.

One of the best ways to teach yourself how to use Instagram is by learning from the best, so check out popular Instagram accounts and influencers and take some notes.

Look at the frequency of their posting, the time of day they usually add new content, what hashtags they use and how they use them, who they follow and their follower count, and if they post stories in addition to posts.

There is no need to reinvent the wheel just take some time to learn the space and what others are doing so you can better understand how to engage your audience, attract new followers, and make your account more influential.

Strategies to Help You Build an Engaged Instagram Following

What are the simplest ways to get more followers for your Instagram account? Here are some strategies that can help improve content, increase engagement and grow your brand and social media presence:

Do an audience analysis

Figure out what you are trying to accomplish with your Insta posts and think about your audience and what it would take to get them on board.

If your business is a bakery, you’ll want to sell your brand image as such. In this case, you would fill your account with baking-related posts and nothing more. Think about your audience and put yourself in their shoes -- what would they expect from your Instagram account? If you’re trying to attract people to your brand, make the content you post attractive. Do not share out of focus pictures or snaps from your most recent vacation (if they have nothing to do with baked goods!).

Use your content to speak directly to your audience. If people visit your bakery and tag you in their Instagram posts, regram those people’s photos! User-generated content is one of the best ways to encourage audience engagement. Remember, everyone likes to be seen!

Create content that is engaging

How does Instagram calculate engagement? Instagram considers engagement as the number of times your posts are liked, saved, and commented on, and it can be measured by dividing the total number of likes and comments by the number of followers you have - this will give you a percentage.

engagement formula

If you are using Instagram for personal use or for your business, you will have to do these calculations yourself. Or you can use a third-party app to handle the analytics for you.

How can you increase your engagement rate on Instagram? Your engagement will feed follower engagement. To do this, look for and connect with accounts that are in a similar niche market. Engage with these accounts every day, particularly right before or after you post something to your account. This will increase visibility amongst people who are already interested in accounts like yours. This means your posts, comments, location tags, and hashtag use will act as bait, drawing in potential followers.

Be consistent with your theme

The keys to Instagram are appearance and consisting branding - the more appealing your photos are, and the clearer your brand message is, the more follows you are likely to get. Use a similar color scheme for your account, the same filter for photos, and the same tone (funny, quirky, sarcastic, etc.) to help you establish consistency and you will experience more likes, views, and follows.

Optimize your Instagram profile

You might explore your settings to help you achieve a wider reach to your audience, as certain Instagram profile elements can impact your ability to attract followers.

For starters, make sure your profile is set to public, not private, so people can see your content. Choose an appropriate, albeit obvious name whether for your personal or business account. You can’t attract followers if they can’t find you because you’ve made a poor choice in name.

By the same token, make sure your profile picture is clear. If your brand has a logo, use it for crying out loud! Seems like common sense, but some Instagram accounts totally miss the mark here. Write a clear bio that describes what you or your brand is all about, and don’t be afraid to use a choice hashtag or two right in your description.

Make use of hashtags (#)

As with Twitter and other social media platforms, the Instagram hashtag works to categorize photos and videos and therefore can help you organize your content.

In order to help potential followers discover your content, Instagram allows you to include up to 30 hashtags for each photo or video you post. You can also include a caption for your pic or video content that introduces your post to your followers. So, with a relatively simple concept (and easily recognizable symbol - #) Instagram enables users to post and categorize content that will be targeted to a specific audience.

Consider taking some time to explore hashtags that are being used in your particular niche. This will give you added exposure. And look for long-tail hashtags. These are hashtags that contain more than one or two words. Often these hashtags will have fewer posts than the shorter ones but this means that if you use them, your post is more likely to get seen.

For example, if you post about your latest baking creation - let’s say a gluten-free sugar cookie iced with coconut icing sugar - you could appeal to people who love sugar cookies, people who are gluten-free, and people who like sugar alternatives by using the hashtags #cookies and #sugarcookies but also consider using longer hashtags like #sugarcookielovers, #glutenfreecookies, and #sugaralternatives.

Synchronize your social media platforms

social icons

Lastly, synchronizing your social media platforms like Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram increases your reach exponentially. The more ways your accounts can be located, the more access users have to them. This wide reach has the same impact as casting a fishing net versus using individual fishing rods - work smarter not harder.

While it may be hard to achieve the follower numbers of the top influencers and the highest earners on Instagram, these tips will certainly set you in the right direction.

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