How to Grow Your Instagram Followers: 20 Techniques, Strategies & Tips

How do I get more Instagram followers?

It’s a question I get asked all the time. Though followers aren’t everything, they do represent the number of people who are interested in your brand or business - and that matters.

Unfortunately, it can be tough to move that needle sometimes. Posting the greatest content in the world isn’t enough, by itself, to grow your Instagram followers.

In this article I’ve put together 20 proven tips that will teach you how to grow your Instagram followers, featuring examples from some of the most successful Instagram accounts out there.

Here we go!

How to Grow Your Instagram Followers Tip #1. Leverage other social platforms

If you’re looking to build a following on Instagram, you’ve probably put some effort into building your business’ presence on other social networks. If your social following is strong on platforms like Facebook and Twitter, you can direct your fans from these channels to your Instagram profile.

Create a post on these other platforms with a preview of your Instagram feed (like a screenshot or a photo you’ve recently posted), along with a CTA like “follow us on Instagram for the latest and greatest on our newest products!”

How to Grow Your Instagram Followers Tip #2. Instagram Ads

Instagram Ads are a great tool to help boost your presence and performance on the social platform. Because they’re particularly helpful at helping you reach people in your target market who could be interested in your products, Instagram Ads are a prime way to help you grow your Instagram followers.

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Because they’re so precise, you can target your posts directly at the people who will be interested in particular types of content, maximizing the chance that they’ll click through to your profile and follow you on Instagram.

How to Grow Your Instagram Followers Tip #3. Create a theme

This is a strategy that’s particularly important on Instagram. Think of someone’s Instagram feed - you don’t see just their most recent post, you see many of them in a grid. That’s why it’s important to create a cohesive theme that makes your Instagram feed look and feel like a visual marketing platform that’s linked and on-brand.

how to grow your instagram followers

The best way to achieve this is by remaining consistent in your photo composition. The first thing that affects this is the photo itself - what the subject is and how it’s framed. The next is the way you edit it - using the same set of two or three filters for your posts will help you create a consistent visual theme, making your profile much more enticing to potential followers.

How to Grow Your Instagram Followers Tip #4. Behind-the-scenes content

Instagram is a great place to share photos that add personality to your brand, and one of the best of these content types is behind-the-scenes content. Whether that’s giving your Instagram profile visitors a sneak peek at new products or highlighting a typical day in the life of one of your employees, behind-the-scenes content is particularly engaging because it’s a unique look into what your business is like beyond your products.

how to grow your instagram followers

This strategy helps to create emotional connections with potential followers, increasing the chances that they’ll follow you.

How to Grow Your Instagram Followers Tip #5. Quotes

One of the best ways to pad your Instagram content calendar is by posting quotes. Quotes are easy for users to engage with - they stand out among other types of photos, and they’re easy to put together with a tool like Photoshop or Canva.

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Finding quotes that are relevant to the people in your target market can be a great way to establish your business’ image and personality. If they find they relate to the quotes you post, you’ll find they follow you because they can relate to the things you post. Posting content that resonates with your target market is the key to growing your Instagram followers.

Pinterest is actually a great resource for finding quotes relevant to your business and target market.

How to Grow Your Instagram Followers Tip #6. Videos

Instagram’s change to allow minute-long video gives your business a great opportunity to create engaging videos about your products and business. Some awesome ideas for creative videos include how-to videos or a video showcasing one of your happy customers and their experience.

how to grow your instagram followers

Video’s awesome because it’s more dynamic than a simple image - it’s eye-catching, because it animates when people see it on their feeds. Creating video content that’s exciting and engaging is a great way to grow your instagram followers..

How to Grow Your Instagram Followers Tip #7. Post to your Story

Whether or not you’re a Snapchat diehard, there’s no denying Instagram Stories is becoming another must-use platform for your social media efforts. Updating your Instagram Story often to share the latest news about your products or fun updates from your retail location is another form of content that’s great for engaging potential customers.

how to grow your instagram followers

One great way to ensure new Story watchers become followers is by posting flash discounts to your Story, with a CTA saying “follow us to stay up-to-date with the latest discount and promotions!”

How to Grow Your Instagram Followers Tip #8. Tag influential accounts

One strategy I’ve seen people use often to grow their Instagram followers is to tag influencers or relevant accounts in their photos. However, this isn't about notifying them or drawing their attention to your photo. Instead, it increases the chances people who follow them will see your photo on their explore feed, as Instagram’s algorithm is more likely to deem your photos more relevant to their interests.

how to grow your instagram followers

If you’ve got a great content strategy, people who see your photos will be likely to follow you, as long as they love the things you’re posting. On top of that, your photos can show in influencers’ tagged photos, increasing the chance that their followers will see your profile.

How to Grow Your Instagram Followers Tip #9. User-generated content

One of the great trends that’s risen with the advent of social media is the generation of content from fans and followers. This type of content (aptly named “user-generated content”) is awesome because it’s genuine media that’s related to your brand. It’s like a visual testimonial for your business.

how to grow your instagram followers

Reposting UGC shows your customers you care - and in a selfish way, it encourages other fans and followers to post their own content featuring your brand in the hopes of getting featured. This helps spread your brand and business to other people within your target market, helping you grow your Instagram followers.

How to Grow Your Instagram Followers Tip #10. Tag a friend posts

A social media trend that’s becoming more and more common as shareable content increases in prominence is “tag a friend”-type content. Posting videos or photos that followers can relate to is a great way to connect with people in your target market.

Though it’s pretty much a giant wave of memes that’s taking social media by storm, there’s other types of content you can post to drive engagement from potential customers. Posting attractive photos of your product with a caption like “tag a friend who would love this!” is an awesome way to boost interactions on social media while spreading the word about your products.

How to Grow Your Instagram Followers Tip #11. Respond to comments

If you’re going to be on social media, you can’t treat it like a traditional advertising platform. It’s the opposite - it encouraged two-way communication between brands and customers. When Instagram users comment and engage on your photos, make sure you take some time and respond, especially if they show an interest in your products.

how to grow your instagram followers

This is a great way to gain some Instagram brownie points, and hopefully, a follow. Make sure you reply directly to people who leave comments by @mentioning them. If you take some time to check out their profile and like or comment on their photos - or even follow them - you’ll drastically increase the chance they’ll follow you.

How to Grow Your Instagram Followers Tip #12. Influencer takeover

This is a strategy that really found its footing on Instagram, and has since spread to other platforms like Snapchat. Basically, your business connects with an Instagram figure that’s prominent within your industry - for example, if you’re promoting your gym apparel you might connect with a fitness model or vlogger.

how to grow your instagram followers

This introduces your business to the influencer’s target market (have them announce the takeover in the days leading up to it) and switches up your content strategy in an exciting way. Showing people in the industry you’re operating in that you offer unique, engaging content is sure to help you grow your Instagram followers.

How to Grow Your Instagram Followers Tip #13. Partnered posts

Much like a takeover, partnered posts involve connecting with an Instagram influencer and getting them to feature your product on their page. Think of it as a superpowered testimonial - because these figures are highly respected within your industry, their opinion carries a lot of weight and can be what you need to drive new customers to your business.

how to grow your instagram followers

Best practices for partnered posts include having the influencer:

  • Take a photo with your product
  • Write a short blurb about why they enjoy your product
  • Tag your business in the photo and the caption
  • Present a discount code (that you create) urging people to buy your product

How to Grow Your Instagram Followers Tip #14. CTAs in captions

Sometimes, all you need to do is ask. Add CTAs to your photo captions making new profile visitors aware of the value your account offers can be an easy way to turn photo visitors into followers with almost no effort required.

After your actual photo caption, include some text that says something like “make sure to follow us for the latest updates, discounts, and promotions!” It’s a simple way to communicate the benefit a follower could get if they chose to follow your account, increasing the chances that they’ll do so.

How to Grow Your Instagram Followers Tip #15. Hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to reach new people, as people who browse their explore feed or search by hashtag don’t need to be following you to see your photos. If you’re using relevant hashtags that are related to your product or business, you’ll find the people who see your photos are people who might be interested in your brand.

how to grow your instagram followers

Though more general hashtags (#fitness, #food, etc.) are great, I find hashtags work particularly well if you’re a local business. Local hashtags dedicated to influential local accounts tend to attract a lot of attention, and can even get your business featured on one of these accounts.

How to Grow Your Instagram Followers Tip #16. Schedule your content

We don’t need to pretend that social media marketing can’t be a burden sometimes. In the midst of all of your other digital marketing tasks - running ads, creating landing pages, or what have you - creating content to post on Instagram every day can be time-consuming.

To get around this, employ a tool like Later or Buffer to plan your posts days or even weeks in advance, including all of your edits and captions so you can publish them at a later date. Maintaining a post schedule is one of the best ways to make sure your Instagram followers continue to grow, as it shows them you’re consistently posting.

How to Grow Your Instagram Followers Tip #17. Analytics tool

One way to monitor your success on Instagram more closely is to invest in a tool that provides information on Instagram analytics, such as Iconosquare or Crowdfire. This gives you a wealth information about the people you follow, the people that follow you, and the people you should be following.

how to grow your instagram followers

This allows you to identify follower influencer, track your performance against competitors, and see how you can maximize follower growth, allowing you to strive towards your Instagram potential in a way that’s a little more scientific than, “I think this is right”.

How to Grow Your Instagram Followers Tip #18. Co-promotions

Sharing is caring! Look for influential brands within your industry with products that complement yours (think a coffee company and a company selling novelty mugs) Create a co-promotion - this could be a partnered discount or promotion, or better yet, a contest featuring a prize package with both of your products.

how to grow your instagram followers

This serves the purpose of introducing your products to your partner’s target market, and vice versa. This is great because their target market is comprised of people who likely fall into your target market as well, based on their interests. It’s a way for you to reach a previously untapped portion of your target segment.

How to Grow Your Instagram Followers Tip #19. Giveaway

Giveaways are probably the most prominent type of marketing on Instagram nowadays. It’s simple to put together and highly engaging, giving businesses an easy way to increase their reach and spread awareness of their products to potential customers.

how to grow your instagram followers

To do this, post an attractive image of the product you’re giving away and outline simple rules - I suggest requiring people to follow you and leave a comment tagging two of their friends. This helps you grow your Instagram followers and spreads the contest to other people who are likely to enter as well - a great way to grow your Instagram followers.

How to Grow Your Instagram Followers Tip #20. Contest

Let’s end on a bang. Putting it bluntly, running a contest on Instagram is not only a great way to increase your followers, it’s also one of the only ways you can drive real results for your business through Instagram. Why? Running a contest using a third-party app like Wishpond allows you to collect emails from contest entrants, meaning you can market to them in the future through email marketing.

You can run different types of contests: sweepstakes, photo contests, hashtag contests, and more. These are much more engaging than a simple giveaway on Instagram, and we’ve seen businesses succeed time and time again through a well-planned contest effort.

Wrapping it up

There’s 20 awesome ways to help you grow your Instagram followers. Though it can feel great to watch your social media following increase day by day, remember that what’s really important is driving the traffic you generate on social media to your sales channels so you can turn interested fans into happy customers.

Best of luck!

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Written by Carlo Pacis

Carlo is a Content Marketer at Wishpond who lives and breathes all things social media. He also has an obsession with music, sneakers, and coffee. Follow him on Twitter or Instagram @carlonathan.