41 Ways to Get Instagram Followers (Get 1000 New Followers Fast)
Every social media platform serves a unique purpose. Facebook is the platform for personal connections, Twitter is for public conversation, Snapchat is for real moments, and Instagram is for sharing beautiful visuals and moments in photographs. While every platform has found its own surge of popularity, Instagram seems to have done the best in terms of performance.
Instagram has always been popular. In fact, it already had around one million users only two months after it launched in October of 2010. Then, just one and a half years after it launched, the platform was bought out by Facebook. In the past near decade of Instagram’s existence, it has been nothing but continuous good news for the company.
When you look at the facts of Instagram’s history, it’s hard to deny how much of a useful tool it has become today. Social media plays a large part in today’s society, and Instagram has done a lot in the way of shaping how we act. Because of this, it’s becoming easier and easier to understand how important Instagram is for any brand or business.
Luckily, Instagram might actually be the easiest to use out of all the major social media platforms being used today. The system has stayed pretty simple and easy to understand over the years—even as changes have been made to the design and algorithm. With that said, there is still a lot involved in succeeding on the platform.
There are many things you should know and many steps you should follow in order to grow a following on Instagram. When you put it all together, though, it’s not all as hard as it may seem. By doing a little research and putting together a solid plan, you’ll see progress in no time.
1. Be realistic.
Before you even start making your plan or doing any research at all, however, you first need to understand the reality of Instagram. As of June 2018, the image sharing platform has over one billion active monthly users. That means that there are one billion unique individuals who are all using the platform and looking for attention in the available space. When it comes down to it, that’s a lot of competition.
You need to be realistic about what your goals are on the platform. Luckily for all of us, the internet seems to be unlimited in the space it can provide for us. Every month, the number of active users on Instagram increases, which means there is plenty of space for all of us and more.
There is, in fact, space for you and your brand to thrive on the platform. In fact, there’s enough space for all of us to thrive with multiple accounts on the platform. But you do need to understand that those are a lot of other accounts that will all be fighting for the attention of your audience.
To stand out from the rest of all the other brands fighting for attention on the platform, you’ll need to be dedicated to the process. Take your time with things, and avoid the temptation to take shortcuts or “easy” ways out. Your hard work will not go unnoticed, and that is exactly what will get people to pay attention.
2. Start out the right way.
There will be many times where you may wish there was a quicker or easier way to do things. The beauty of growing on social media, however, is the work that must be put into it. To make progress from the beginning, you’ll need to start out the right way, first and foremost. This means formulating a strategy, writing out a plan, knowing what you’ll do ahead of time, and patiently creating your profile from the bottom up to represent your brand exactly as you see it in your own head.
Don’t be afraid to take your time in the planning process. It won’t make much of a difference if you start your account next week compared to starting it today. In fact, starting it next week after a whole week of planning will actually give you a better start than if you started it in an impatient rush today. Today, social media users (and consumers) can sense fake, forced advertising from a mile away. Don’t fall into the trap of impatience.
3. Choose the right profile picture.
Your profile picture will be the first thing anybody sees before going to your account, other than the post by which they found you. And as they say, first impressions are important. You can do a lot with your profile picture, and the strategy you use will all depend on the type of brand or business you run.
For the most part, people will be more drawn to a picture of a real human being than a picture of a logo. Of course, there are some cases where you simply won’t be able to get around that, but consider your options before committing. If you’re a personal brand, use a professional headshot or a picture of you that you feel represents your brand as a whole.
If you don’t see any way to make sense of using a personal picture, however, make sure that the logo you use can be clearly seen within the circle crop. Keep in mind that anything around the corners of a square image may be cut out of the crop. Small details like borders may be okay to leave out, but make sure that what is seen can be clearly recognized as the logo that represents your brand.
When deciding to use a logo for your profile image on Instagram, you may want to consider have a special logo designed just for social media use. Of course, you may find that your original logo is already perfect the way it is, in which case you wouldn’t need to do anything special. Otherwise, look out for small lettering or details that may be hard to see at the size of the image. Your logo and profile image need to be easily identified and clearly seen, even while somebody is scrolling quickly through their feed. You need something that will catch their eye and stay on their mind long enough to recognize you next time.
4. Create the perfect bio.
The bio is often one of the most underestimated and forgotten aspects of the social media profile. On platforms like Twitter and Instagram, your bio is the most important part of your completed profile (second to your profile picture, of course). When it comes down to it, your bio can ultimately make or break your entire account.
If somebody reads your bio and for some reason doesn’t feel quite right about it, they’ll likely be turned off from ever taking your account seriously or visiting again in the future. Your profile picture or post may be the reason they come to your profile, but your bio will be the reason why they stay. Because of this, it’s extremely important that you take the time to create a statement that you feel properly and fully represents your brand or business.
Your bio could also be a good place to promote your other social media accounts, but you should be careful with the amount of space you take up. You’ll only have so many characters available to say what you need to say. Be brief and to the point, but cover everything anyone would need to know about you and your brand.
Bonus Tip: Don’t be afraid to use emojis to save space in some places, just as long as they’re not overused. Know what kind of language and styling people are using on social media and the internet. You could use this to your advantage, but you should also be careful not to misuse anything. Always know the context of what you’re saying given the current culture. This will be good advice to follow in all aspects of your business, as well.
5. Come up with a branding strategy.
Your branding strategy will be the lifeline of your Instagram account. Of course, all businesses and all aspects of any business should always have a branding strategy prepared, but it will be especially necessary with Instagram. This platform thrives off beautifully crafted imagery. Your feed needs to tell a story, from beginning to end. Everything needs to make sense as a visual whole or you won’t experience the whole of your potential growth.
Your branding strategy should come first before anything else. Your bio and profile picture will help you develop your branding strategy, but you may even find that, after you’re done, you realize that those two things need to be changed to fit your new vision. Overall, this formulated strategy should dictate everything you do from here on out.
6. Determine your target audience.
There are a lot of parts to an Instagram branding strategy, but your target audience will be the first thing you need to determine. Keep in mind that your specific target audience for Instagram may differ slightly from your overall target audience as a brand or business. Instagram, for the most part, is a very specific niche.
Although ages and other characteristics vary greatly across the platform, the mindset is generally the same. You’ll need to remember this while determining what your specific target audience is on the platform. Demographic studies have shown that the majority of users are within the age range of 18 to 34 years old, with around 800 million users in that range. With that said, there are still around 130 million active users between the ages of 35 and 44 years old, so keep in mind that you’ll be reaching a wide variety of people.
Overall, Instagram has become a melting pot of sorts. In the beginning, its collection of users was definitely specific, but it has grown immensely. It being bought out by Facebook in 2012 certainly helped with that. Unless your brand has a very specific target, your content and branding strategy should be able to adapt to every user on the platform.
7. Decide what your content will focus on.
As social media and internet culture continue to evolve, branding and advertising must adapt to match these developments. The truth of the matter is that people no longer want to feel like they’re being sold to. Instead, they want to be provided with content they deem valuable. You’ll need to be careful with the way you promote your product if you have any products to promote.
Of course, the term “value” is rather subjective. Here, “valuable” could mean entertaining, or it could mean educational. It’s your job to understand what your target audience is looking for, and what the word “valuable” will mean to them when it comes to the content you provide. Once you have figured that out, focus your content plan around it.
Let’s just say your business sells watches. What is your target audience looking for? Are they more focused on the function of your watch? Or are they more focused on the style? On one hand, you could center your content around how your watches are made, and perhaps even the history and function of watches in general. On the other hand, you could, instead, center your content around visually stunning photos of your watches. Both strategies would accomplish the same thing in the end, but it all comes down to your audience.
8. Pick a color scheme.
As noted, Instagram is a visual platform. Your profile’s feed should tell a cohesive story from picture to picture. There are a lot of ways you can do this, but the easiest way is to choose a color scheme to focus on in each of your posts. It helps if your color scheme matches something like your website or logo, but this isn’t necessarily a must.
Be creative with the colors you choose and the way you present them. For example, your color scheme could simply be black and white, or your color scheme could include every color in the rainbow in one way or another. For a rainbow scheme, you could focus on one color at a time for six or nine photos and then fade into the next, continuing the cycle through each color. Of course, you could do this for any color scheme, not just rainbow.
When you’re choosing your color scheme, you should keep in mind what each color might make people feel. For example, yellow is a very happy color. Green is often associated with nature or life. Blue and red are often used by health businesses. Every color has something that we have associated it with, and knowing this could help your brand make a significant impact on and off the platform.
9. Decide how your photos will be edited.
After you pick your color scheme, you’ll need to think about how your photos will be edited. Editing can completely change the way a photo is presented. The visual message is greatly affected by how you edit things like brightness, contrast, saturation, and more. Luckily, there are plenty of apps for both iOS and Android that make editing photos quite simple. With a couple of taps or swipes, you can make a happy picture look sad and vice versa.
There are a lot of things you can do with editing, and the whole of Instagram is a perfect example of this fact. To help create a cohesive look to the images you post, it may be a good idea to come up with a custom filter or set of edits that make up the look you want. Depending on the app you use, there may be a setting to save a custom filter, or you could simply write down the values of each adjustment you made to manually enter for each edit.
App Recommendation: Snapseed, created by Google, is a very popular choice for Instagram users. It allows you to make a lot of custom edits from the simplest of adjustments to more complex changes. Think of it as Photoshop for your phone. There’s also an option to recreate the last edit you made, so you could continue to use the same custom edits for each new image, just as long as you aren’t using the app for other edits in between.
10. Find a collection of hashtags relevant to your content.
When it comes to getting your content seen, hashtags should be your number one priority to focus on. You could be making the best posts out of anyone on the whole platform, but it won’t matter much unless you’re using the right hashtags to get those posts seen. Of course, using just any hashtags also won’t do you much good. You’ll need to do a little research to find the hashtags that will perform the best for your specific content.
With that said, you shouldn’t just use a hashtag because it’s popular. There are a lot of tags that could certainly get you a lot of exposure, but it wouldn’t make much sense to use those. For example, you wouldn’t use the tag “dogs” if there weren’t any dogs in the picture. If your posts are showing up in unrelated tags, it’s likely that people will just get annoyed and avoid your profile completely.
App Recommendation: Preview is an extremely underrated scheduling app for Instagram. It allows you to plan out all of your posts and see them in the grid format to visualize the cohesive aesthetic you’re creating. It also has a great feature that allows you to see the best hashtags for different niches or topics, like architecture, fitness, makeup, nature, positivity, quotes, travel, yoga, and everything in between.
Bonus Tip: Instagram limits you to 30 hashtags per post, but that doesn’t necessarily mean you should use all 30 available tags. It seems that using so many tags could actually get your post marked as spam. Based on advice from experienced social media managers, 5 to 10 tags is a good amount to get your post noticed without getting lost in the system. This is also why finding the perfect hashtags is so important since you should only use so many.
11. Set out a schedule for posting.
Second to hashtags, timing is everything. For you to understand why, however, you need to understand how Instagram presents different posts to its users. For the most part, people find new posts by searching through hashtags. But there are hundreds of millions (around one billion, in fact) of people searching for and using those hashtags at all times throughout the day. How will you be seen in the midst of all that?
The best way to be seen between the hundreds of other posts being made in the same minute as yours is to follow a schedule. Now, this doesn’t mean you have to post on the dot to second every day at the same time. Your schedule should serve more as a general guideline, but still, try to stay within a couple minutes’ window of it to be safe.
When determining your posting schedule, keep in mind that a single time likely won’t work every day of the week. For example, 5:00 p.m. might be a good time to post on a Sunday, but that likely won’t work very well on a Saturday. Popular leaders in the industry like Hubspot and Later have all reported on varying times that have been shown to work best for each day.
Of course, these reported times are only averages based on statistics and reports from experienced social media managers. While it is certainly a good place to start from, it’s important to keep in mind that every account will perform differently. A good time for one account may not necessarily be a good time for another, even if they’re in the same niche.
Instead of assuming that these are the only good times without argument, use them as a starting point for some trial and error. Don’t be afraid to listen to your gut and do your own research. Look at the people who have already expressed interest in your account and see what times they’re normally active, then use that to tweak the proven times to fit your personal audience.
12. Understand how Instagram presents posts in hashtags.
While there are certainly many specific hashtags that people may be searching for, it’s much more common for people to use and search for generic terms such as “happy”, “cute”, or “beautiful”. From there, it may get a little more focused for terms like “nature”, “quotes”, or “fitness” if the person is searching for a particular niche. It’s unlikely to get more specific from there, however. For example, someone is much more likely to simply search “yoga” than they would be to search “Ayurvedic yoga” on Instagram.
Keeping that in mind, you should understand how Instagram actually presents the results for any hashtag search on the app. When somebody types in a search term, they’ll be directed to a set of tabs to choose what they’re searching for (between “Top”, “People”, “Tags”, and “Places”). Depending on what tab they last had opened, they’ll likely open up to the “Top” tab, where they’ll see some top profiles that fit that term and some hashtags that match, as well.
After they select the tag they were looking for, they’ll be brought to a page that almost looks like a profile of sorts. On this page, there are two tabs, one for the top posts in the tag and another for the most recent posts in the tag. Because the app automatically resorts the user to the “top” tab, they may not ever visit the “recent” tab. While you’re growing, however, it’s the “recent” tab that will get you your exposure.
When somebody looks through the “recent” tab, depending on the hashtag in question, it’s likely that there are hundreds upon hundreds (maybe even thousands) of posts being made with that tag every minute. If you post something one minute but the person checks two minutes later, there’s a possibility that your post could already be buried already, and they’ll never see it unless they scroll a long way down the page.
Bonus Tip: Add your hashtags at the bottom of the caption instead of commenting them separately as some people might suggest. Instagram doesn’t show posts in the hashtag results according to when the tags were added. Posts are shown according to their original post time, so the minute or so it takes you to comment your tags could mean that, by the time you add them, your post is already buried and won’t have the chance to be properly seen.
13. Make some posts before you start actively advertising.
Before you start to follow people and engage with other users, you should make a few posts so your profile doesn’t look entirely bare when people go to look at it. These posts should still use your collected hashtags, though, so that you can get some exposure from the beginning. A profile with posts and no likes will have about the same impact as a completely bare profile, after all.
You should have about nine or twelve posts up before you start actively advertising. This equals about a screen full of posts on your profile, so you won’t look so empty when someone checks you out. You may be tempted to put up all nine or twelve posts in one day, but this won’t do you much good, either. You should space them out over a couple days or so and use this time as an opportunity to test your hashtags and different times for posting.
14. Consider setting up some Highlights on your profile.
In late 2017, Instagram added Stories Highlights that allowed users to add permanent Stories to their profiles. Normally, Stories only last 24 hours before they’re removed, but these Highlights last forever (or at least until you delete them). They show up right above your posts, beneath the bio. The best part is that they act just like regular stories, so you can customize them however you would normally.
You can use the Highlights feature for many things, whether that be for introducing yourself, featuring your best posts, or even promoting your products or services. When you’re just starting out, it may be best to use this feature to introduce yourself and your brand. When someone new visits your profile, they’ll be able to immediately get a full introduction even if you don’t have many posts. This is helpful at any point in your growth, but it will especially do a lot in the beginning.
15. Ask your existing community to follow you.
When you’re just starting out on any social media platform, the best thing for you to do is to ask your existing community to follow you. It’s a great way to get yourself started, and it’ll give new viewers a better first impression of your page. Generally speaking, people don’t typically want to be the first to do something. If you have absolutely no followers, it’ll be more likely that people take one look at your profile and then click away without following.
Asking your friends and family is a good way to start, but there are other ways, too, depending on how established you already are. Don’t be afraid to ask people to follow you. Sometimes, people really just need a little reminder to go out of their way to do something. And you’re not asking for much, either—just a simple follow. With that said, it does help if you provide a little value when you ask.
16. Share on existing social media platforms.
If you already have other social media accounts established, sharing your new Instagram on those platforms is a great way to get some initial growth. This doesn’t mean that all you should do is tweet out a quick “follow me on Instagram”, though. There are a lot of creative ways you can promote your new Instagram account on other social media platforms.
For example, you could run contests or giveaways on one platform that requires the user to follow you on Instagram to enter. You could also provide content on one platform that continues on your Instagram—“check out my Instagram for the rest”. As long as you already have engaged followers on another social media platform, you should be able to bring a lot of them over to Instagram to get you started.
17. Give people incentives.
Another great way to bring your existing community over to your Instagram, regardless of where they’re coming from, is to offer them something in return. This creates a feeling of motivation to push people to follow you, and it also makes it feel a little more exclusive. These two things are bound to get the attention of your existing audience.
So what kind of incentives could you offer? Well, it depends on your brand or business. For example, you could offer a shop discount for the first hundred people who follow your new Instagram. You could put the code right in your bio, or you could have them email you with their username as proof and get the code that way. Regardless of what you choose to offer as an incentive, remember to stick to it and have an efficient process for delivery.
18. Get involved on the platform.
After you’ve completed your profile, branding strategy, and have brought over some people from your existing community, it’s time to get involved. Getting your posts seen in hashtag results may be the easiest and most popular way of getting seen, but engaging with other users is what will really get you noticed on the platform.
There are a lot of ways to engage with other users, but every interaction needs to stay true to your brand. Just like with your captions, the language you use is extremely important. In fact, your language is even more important here because it is taking part in a conversation. How you present yourself in any engagement will greatly affect the way your audience perceives your brand.
19. Follow people who might be interested in your account.
Following people is a great way to get attention from people who may not happen across your posts in the hashtag search results. It greatly expands your reach, and it can be specifically targeted to people who have already expressed interest in your niche. They’ll get a notification that you’ve followed them, and then there’s a chance that they might check out your account to see who you are.
There are two great ways to find people who are interested in your niche. First, you could follow people who are posting in your relevant hashtags. Keep in mind that it’s likely many other people will be doing this, too, so you may get lost in their notifications or buried underneath other new followers. You could also check out popular accounts in your niche and follow people who follow those accounts.
Bonus Tip: Before you follow just anyone, however, you should check their profile to see how active they are on the platform. It’s better to follow active people because it increases your chances of gaining active, engaged followers in return. Look out for things like recent posts and a completed bio. A profile picture of a real person is also a good sign but not a guarantee.
20. Engage with people’s posts.
Simply following someone won’t necessarily guarantee that you’ll get someone’s attention, however. You’ll need to engage with their posts to really make yourself known. A good practice whenever you first follow someone is to go through their posts and find a few to like and comment on. With that said, don’t spam their notifications by liking and commenting on everything. Two or three posts will do.
When commenting on people’s posts, make sure to add something valuable to the conversation or say something about what they wrote in the caption. Vague, one-word responses will probably be ignored. People tend to see these types of responses as spam or comments from fake accounts, so they won’t get much attention. Show that there’s a real human behind the screen by commenting with substance, and you’ll likely get a comment back and maybe even a new follower.
21. Always reply to comments on your posts.
You never want comments on your own posts to go unanswered, especially when your account is only in the beginning phases of its growth. Until you’re getting hundreds of comments on every post, you should definitely be making it a priority to respond to every comment you get. While some comments may very well be made by people simply hoping that you’ll check out their accounts, many of them will also be from people who are genuinely interested in your content. Always assume that a comment is genuine, and treat your reply that way, as well.
You don’t have to do much for a reply to be genuine, though. Put in the same effort that the comment gave you. This means that if they replied with just an emoji, it’s alright for you to do the same. If they put in an effort to respond to your caption or comment specifically on what was in the picture, however, you should respond thoughtfully to what they said.
22. Reply to direct messages quickly.
Although you may not be getting any direct messages right away, you should be prepared to respond quickly as soon as you do. People are typically understanding of busy schedules, especially for professional accounts, but you should still try to respond within 24 hours of the original message. Always be polite in your direct messages, and never say anything that you wouldn’t want to be publicized.
Keep in mind that a lot of accounts utilize automatic messages whenever you follow them. These are usually easy to spot, but there’s also a chance that the message is genuine and sent directly to you from the person who runs the account. Even if you think the message was automated, you should still reply thoughtfully. You never know what it might do for you.
23. Join engagement groups.
Support groups and networking groups of any kind are always a great help in growing your brand or business. Luckily, these exist for Instagram, too. Engagement groups are groups of Instagram users who support each other by agreeing to like or comment on other members’ posts. Some groups may only like posts, some may only comment on posts, and some may do both.
Engagement groups aren’t too difficult to find, as long as you put a little effort into looking. Keep in mind that some of these groups may ask you to send some sort of payment to join. Be careful, and use your own discretion before sending anybody your money. With that said, there are still many quality engagement groups you can join that operate solely under the requirement that you contribute to engaging with other members and their posts.
Bonus Tip: When you’re looking for engagement groups to join, you may want to consider finding groups that are targeted for your specific niche. This will allow you to meet people who create similar content to you, and you could potentially collaborate with them in the future.
24. Create content that people can engage with.
Creating and posting content that you love is definitely important, but it won’t get you very far if it’s not the kind of content that people want to see or the kind that people will actually engage with. Generally speaking, people are pretty picky—especially today. Now that we have so much content to choose from to consume, we no longer need to resort to things that don’t quite float our boat. So if you’re not making content that people want to see, they simply won’t give you the time of day.
When you enter the role of a social media creator, it becomes your responsibility to keep up with the current times and trends and incorporate relevant information into your content. That doesn’t mean that you have to talk about current news to get people’s attention, though. It does mean, however, that you need to be aware of what people are talking about and what they want (or don’t want) to see on their social media feeds.
With that said, there’s more to creating engaging content than just staying relevant. You could follow all the rules, keep in touch with all the trends, and still not get any engagement if you’re not presenting your content in the right ways. You need to create content that actually motivates people to respond.
25. Run contests or giveaways.
One great way to encourage people to engage with your posts is to run a contest or giveaway. Depending on what kind of brand or business you run, this could involve a lot of things. Maybe the prize could be something cool you purchased yourself, or maybe the prize could be something to do with a product or service you offer. Be creative with what you offer, but just make sure that the prize is enticing enough to actually make people want to enter.
You could also use this as an opportunity to expand your reach, as well. Simply make one of the requirements be that they have to tag three friends and be following your account to enter. This is a pretty popular giveaway or contest entry requirement, and it’s a great way to give your post more exposure.
26. Ask people to tag their friends.
It may seem too good to be true, but one of the best ways to get engagement on your posts is to just ask for it. You see this a lot on posts across the platform, and it’s usually pretty successful. Of course, there’s a strategy to actually getting people to tag their friends, though. After all, a simple “tag your friends!” probably won’t do much to motivate any action.
Instead, you should add a catch to your request. For example, a popular method is to write a relatable caption and tell the reader to tag someone who fits that description. Or you could post something interesting or cool and tell the reader to tag someone they think would love it. The idea is to make them think of someone and feel compelled to share the post with them.
27. Include meaningful captions.
Instagram may be a primarily visual platform, but people do still pay attention to the captions. You could have the most beautiful picture in the world but still not make an impact because of a caption that falls flat. Think of it this way: if you saw a beautiful post with a boring or essentially nonexistent caption, would you feel motivated to comment or engage? A picture may be worth a thousand words, but you’ll still need some actual words to make it mean something.
By taking the time to create a thoughtful, meaningful caption, you’ll be encouraging genuine engagement and responses from your audience. Luckily, it’s pretty easy to write a caption that does this, and all you have to do is keep a few things in mind.
28. Ask open-ended questions.
One good way to get people to comment on your post is to give them something specific to comment about. While this won’t necessarily always work, it’s definitely a good place to start—especially if you’ve already started to grow an engaging audience. The trick is to ask open-ended questions that inspire thought rather than just a quick, simple answer. Hopefully, this initiates a conversation.
With that said, you shouldn’t just ask any random question and pair it with a completely unrelated post. Your conversation starter should have something to do with the picture you’re posting, even if it’s a little bit of a stretch. You want someone to see the post, then the question, and feel that the progression makes sense.
29. Write longer captions.
You know how the saying goes—curiosity killed the cat. This can often be used to your advantage when it comes to your Instagram post captions. When your caption reaches a certain length (a little less than 140 characters), it cuts off and prompts the reader to click a “show more” link to read the rest of the caption. Not everyone will click, but curiosity will often make people at least click and skim the rest quickly before moving on.
Not every post should have a long caption, though. If you’re having trouble coming up with something to say, it probably means that that post wasn’t meant to have a long caption, anyway. You want your caption and post to tell a cohesive story, and everything you include in the caption should add to the message being delivered.
30. Make sure the first few words get the reader’s attention.
If your caption does end up being longer than around 140 characters, that first section needs to grab the reader’s attention and really make them want to read the rest. The first few words of your caption, long or short, need to tell the reader exactly what to expect from the rest of the post. It should tie into the photo you used in a way that makes cohesive sense to the reader.
If those first few words of your caption don’t grab your reader’s attention, you risk them moving on and not actually reading or engaging with your post past a simple like. Likes are a great way to show how well your post is doing, but they do nothing for developing an audience that will actually engage with your brand.
31. Collaborate with other users.
Once your profile looks like it’s been pretty established, the best way, by far, to grow your following is to collaborate with other users. There are so many different ways you could do this, but each way should definitely do well in promoting your account and getting your brand seen by a larger audience.
No matter what kind of collaboration you’re doing, you should make sure to work with others in your niche. This way, their audience is essentially already guaranteed to enjoy your content. Of course, nobody is obligated to enjoy your content just because they enjoy your niche, but it is definitely a good place to start.
32. Work with influencers for sponsored posts.
The most popular way to collaborate with other users, especially influencers, is to organize sponsored posts. This is where you sponsor somebody else to make a post about your brand on their own social media account. This is especially helpful if you have physical products that can be shown in photos or that can be worn by the influencer in photos.
It’s important to keep in mind that, depending on the influencer, these sponsored posts will likely cost you some money. Some influencers may be okay with doing the posts for free simply in exchange for the products being shown, but the posts will typically cost something on top of that. The price will usually depend on the size of the influencer’s account or their history of successful sponsored posts.
Bonus Tip: The best way to get sponsored posts is to simply reach out to influencers in your niche and ask them if they’d be interested. Some people may reach out to you in hopes of being sponsored, but you shouldn’t rely on this happening. You may want to start by reaching out to influencers with relatively smaller followings if your budget is small. Don’t underestimate what an account with only a couple thousand follows (or even just a couple hundred) can do for you, just as long as the audience they do have is engaged.
33. Have an influencer do a takeover on your account.
Similar to sponsored posts, you could also have an influencer in your niche do a takeover on your account. This is pretty much what the name suggests— they “take over” your account by posting for you in some capacity. These tend to do better if they take over your Stories for live content compared to just making simple posts since you could make posts with them in the picture on your own.
It’s important to note, however, that these may end up costing you more than simple sponsored posts might. In order to have a successful takeover, the influencer will need to advertise it on their own account for a couple of days (at the very least) so that their own followers can follow your account in the preparation of the takeover. Collaborations are typically charged based on how many posts are involved, so you could see how this might cost a bit more.
Bonus Tip: Takeovers might work best if they’re done for a specific purpose or event. For example, the influencer could show themselves at a convention or some event where your brand is being featured. Unless the influencer has a particularly large following, the live content they’re producing on your account should be enticing enough that people actually want to come over and watch it.
34. Coordinate partnered or sponsored giveaways.
Contests and giveaways are also great ways to grow a following on any social media platform, but they tend to do especially well on Instagram. These may sometimes count as sponsored posts, or they could be paired along with one. Usually, you’ll have the influencer host the giveaway on their own account and have one of the entry requirements be that the user should follow your account.
Be creative with the way you run these, though. For example, you could work with other brands to host a partnered giveaway with a grand prize that includes products or services from all brands involved. The large prize works well in enticing people to enter, and more entries mean more followers.
35. Exchange shoutouts with other similar users.
Another way to collaborate with other users is to exchange shoutouts. This may not be as popular as a method as sponsored posts, but it can definitely still get the job done. This might even be easier to do when you’re first starting out because it’s more likely for this collaboration to be free compared to the others. Shoutouts are very simple promotions, and the idea of exchanging them could limit the cost.
Basically, you would just find another user in your niche and ask if they’d like to shout out your profile in exchange for you doing the same for them. It may help if you wait until the base of an engaged following is established, otherwise, the other person may not see much value in your shoutout.
36. Switch to a business account.
If you run a brand or business, you should definitely switch to a business account on Instagram. It unlocks new features that can help you present your brand more professionally and efficiently analyze your performance on the platform. Luckily, switching to a business account is a quick and simple process that shouldn’t take more than a couple of minutes.
37. Add your contact information.
A great feature of having a business account is that you can add contact information to your profile without taking up limited space inside your bio. You can add your email, phone number, and address as any relevant contact information you’d want your followers to have. Of course, you don’t have to add all three, but you do need at least one to be shown.
Once you’ve switched to a business account, you’re also able to add an action button to your profile. This allows you to add a button that directly links to another service your business utilized. For example, you could link to Acuity Scheduling for booking, Fandango for purchasing tickets, GrubHub for starting an order, or Yelp for reservations. While the possibilities aren’t necessarily endless (for now), the list that Instagram provides includes a wide enough range that there’s sure to be something you can use.
38. Invest in Instagram ads.
Perhaps the most useful feature of switching to a business account is being able to invest in Instagram ads and promoted posts. This allows you to put out ads that are shown to people across the platform—not just your followers. Generally speaking, these ads are pretty inexpensive and can do a lot for increasing your exposure and getting seen by people who may not have ever seen your posts otherwise.
When you’re creating your ads, keep in mind that people may be accustomed to simply scrolling past any post they see in their feed that’s marked as “promoted”. The image you use needs to grab their attention immediately. This either means that the visual needs to be absolutely stunning, or the image needs to include text that catches the user’s eye and hooks their interest. From there, they may feel intrigued enough to read the caption, which should explain why they should actually be interested in the ad. Be careful with your words. Explain everything thoroughly, but keep it to the point.
39. Start posting Stories frequently.
Stories may not be such a new feature anymore, but it seems that people still aren’t utilizing them as much as they should be. Stories can be very useful for engaging with your followers and creating content that feels a bit more personal. Your posts will normally follow a pretty strict structure, but your Stories can be a bit more free in the way they’re presented.
Unless your profile is private, anybody can see your stories by clicking on your profile picture while visiting your profile. Depending on how you optimize them, they could also be seen publicly in searches for hashtags or locations. Basically, it’s time to stop treating your Stories as something for just your followers. While your followers are certainly who will be seeing your stories the most, they’re not the only ones by any means.
40. Add hashtags or locations to your Stories to get them seen publicly.
As mentioned, your Stories can be seen publicly, depending on how you optimize them. Generally speaking, anyone who visits your profile, regardless of whether or not they’re following you (as long as your account is public), can see your Stories by tapping on your profile picture. However, you could get your Stories seen in searches, as well.
If you use hashtags or location tags in your Stories, there’s a chance they could be added to the search pages for those tags. You’ll need to have a good amount of people already viewing and engaging with your Stories, though, to get included on those pages. The way you can find Stories on these pages is to tap on the “profile picture” associated with the tag at the top of the page. You can tell that a tag has Stories associated with it because the “profile picture” will have a colored ring around it.
41. Do some promotion work outside of Instagram, too.
When it comes down to it, you can certainly make a lot of progress by working with what the internet provides, but relying on that won’t get you as far as you need to go. Social media and the internet may have come a long way, but face-to-face networking will never quite lose its touch. If you’re looking to grow on any social media platform, you’ll need to do some work outside of Instagram (and the internet, in general) to make that happen.
Whenever you go out and have a conversation with someone, mention your social media account. Don’t be pushy about it, but ask if they’d like to follow you. This is especially effective if you’re at some kind of event (especially one focused on networking). Just remember that you are the face of your brand or business, and you’ll need to represent yourself as such. Don’t say anything that would reflect poorly on your business.
There are a lot of other things you could do, depending on your budget and what you’re comfortable with. For example, some people have advertised their social media accounts on billboards. But if you’re not willing to go that big, having everything listed on your business cards and passing those out whenever you can do just as well.