In the digital age, the thirst for followers (and elusive likes) is very real. Outside of our social circles, however, it can be difficult to gain followers to promote our brand or simply stroke our egos. Nonetheless, there are plenty of ways to gain more Instagram followers if you’re looking to widen your online reach. You may not garner as many likes as Beyonce or Justin Bieber anytime soon, but these helpful tips and tricks should help bring your page to a broader audience with fairly minimal effort.
REMEMBER TO HASHTAG
One of the easiest ways to increase your follower count is simply by using hashtags, which are words or phrases that follow a pound sign (or hash) and are used to denote specific types of posts on social media.
Using popular or trending hashtags can make your photos more accessible to those who utilize Instagram’s search function. But what hashtags should you add to your posts? Lucky for you, we’ve created a list of some of the most popular hashtags, which should make daily hashtag incorporation even easier. If none of these strike your fancy, feel free to come up with your own. Keep them short and sweet, though, to increase your chances of people engaging with them.
Engagement is crucial when it comes to increasing your follower base. While liking images is an easy way to engage users, commenting on photos and responding to others on Instagram adds a bit of personality to your profile. Try to be genuine in your interactions — you’d be surprised how easily people can catch on when you’re farming for likes — and only comment on photos you truly like. You can start by looking up photos with hashtags you’re already using, which will allow you to interact with users of similar interests and styles.
You can also find accounts to comment on through the Explore tab (which is tailored to your interests). You may be able to amass a few more followers by searching for Instagrammers using #followforfollow, #followme, and #likeforlike, but don’t be surprised if they unfollow you a few days later — it’s simply part of the game. You’re better off trying to strike up authentic communication to beef up your follower count.
TIMING IS KEY
Although Instagram no longer displays posts in chronological order, knowing when to post to Instagram still matters. Try and post to Instagram when you know your followers are most likely to be online, to ensure that your photos don’t get buried by the countless other accounts they’re no doubt following. Lunchtime and early evenings, as well as in the morning before work, are some of the best times to post to social media, and will drive up the engagement of your posts almost immediately.
But knowing where your audience lies (or where you’d like to see it grow) may have you posting to accommodate other time zones besides the one you’re in. You can use the Later app to plan and schedule posts for these peak times. Using Insights, an Instagram feature unique to business accounts, can also help you determine the best time to post your pics.
ADD A BIO
Filling out the bio on your account is another easy way to boost engagement and convince people to start following you. For entrepreneurs and artists, this allows you to more easily express your concise brand message and link to your other professional pages. It also provides you with the opportunity to let people know a little more about you, who you are, and the types of things that can expect you to post.
You only have 150 characters to tell your life’s story, though, that should be more than enough. Don’t bombard people with unnecessary information or tags in your bio. Telling people what you do or what you like will allow you to rack up followers with similar interests in no time, and for just a bit of upfront effort.
It’s important to utilize your full social network to increase your Instagram following. You can connect your Instagram account to your contact list and/or Facebook, which will allow you to quickly add friends, family members, or all those acquaintances you marginally care about.
Similarly, to maximize your existing network, it can be helpful to link your Instagram page via other social networks. It’s likely that people who follow you on Facebook or Twitter have Instagram accounts, and knowing where they can find you could lead them to follow you on multiple sites. Also, if your Instagram page is pertinent to your professional life, it can be helpful to list the account on both your business card and website.
With an app based on the visual appeal of images like Instagram, anything that gives your photos a little extra pop can increase your odds of engagement. Beyond Instagram’s built-in filters and editing controls, there are several other apps to help make your posts stand out. Instagram’s own Layout app — which is currently available for iOS and Android — allows you to create custom collages, helping your photos to stand out in the crowd. VSCO offers a professional set of classic film styles that you can apply to your photos as well, and Adobe Spark Post lets you create collages and add animations, with preset templates for various post sizes, including Stories.
TELL A STORY WITH YOUR POST
Pictures may be Instagram’s bread and butter, but if you want to amass followers, you’ll want people to feel a deeper engagement with your posts. You can do this by adding a thorough description, quote, or story to your posts, which will add context to your account and build a narrative other users can follow.
You may still not be able to add links directly to Instagram descriptions, but a lot can be said in 2,200 characters. You can also tag fellow Instagrammers who may be in your photos or tag creators whose work may have inspired your own. You can even add up to 30 hashtags to your posts, letting you make them a bit more interesting.
It sounds obvious, but people on social media have a tendency to follow the leader — hence the spread of memes and repetitive jokes. If you want to become an Instagram celebrity, however, imitating the style and content of others will only help you so much. Develop a distinct style with your photos, and a distinct voice with your comments, so that when people see your posts, they will instantly recognize them as yours.
You don’t have to get super specific necessarily, but drawing your focus in a bit, rather than just posting anything that catches your eye, will help bring in the followers. Give it a bit of time and be authentic, and you’ll soon be swimming in a sea of new Instagram followers.