8 Ways To Grow Your Instagram Following

Written by Phil Birss: Group CEO.
· 4 minute read

Instagram is one of the most influential social media platforms out there for personal and business use. It quickly stopped being an app for teenagers and has become a major influence on audience building and marketing. A larger following on Instagram is now more vital than ever before as it results in an increase of sales for your business, more views on your personal website or blog and a stronger community for you and your brand. Instagram currently has over 14,000,000 in the Uk, with a total of over 500,000,000 worldwide and 80 million photos shared a day! That’s a massive amount of people not to be targeting!

If you are a business there are easy ways you can interact with your prospective clients. By having more followers it invites users to window shop by giving them a taste of the products on offer. There is also the key opportunity to make your business more personal by showing the other side to the company, the staff, the making of the products or behind the scenes of the service.

So, here are a few things to consider for your Instagram to increase your following:

1. Hashtags

Use hashtags, they are great! They increase your visibility expanding the chances for users to come across your content and they also categorise this content.

Though you have to use hashtags wisely. A lot of sites will say to use the most popular hashtags like #happy #photooftheday #instadaily but this is more than likely not whats right for your target audience. To find the hashtags your audience might be using, do a little research on relevant hashtags in your niche or industry. The easiest way to do this research is in the Instagram app itself, in the “explore” tab (i.e. the magnifying glass icon). When you search for one hashtag, it’ll show you a list of related hashtags at the top of your screen. For example, if you put in ‘Design’, it will list design related tags you could add too.

Tip: Create a branded hashtag, that is completely your own. This encourages your followers to engage with your brand and increases your visibility.

2. Consistent Instagram Aesthetic

Pick a theme for your account, and stick to it. Whether that might be a certain colour, food pictures, bright, moody and dark, or colourful, just don’t confuse your audience with inconsistent messages. Uniformity is crucial, giving the overall look a sophisticated and professional appeal will make more people want to follow.

Tip: When creating this Instagram aesthetic make sure the photos you use are of good quality. A good photo editing service like Snapseed or VSCO can increase the quality massively.  Using the same filters is an easy way that keeps that consistency.

3. Be Original With Your Content

Going that extra mile and thinking about a different layout that you haven’t seen thousands of times is the best way to gain a potential follower’s attention.  Remember that quality beats quantity. Edit your account to leave only the best images that you are proud of.

4. Competitions

A great way for businesses to quickly gain a lot of followers is to run competitions. People might not know about a brand or a business until they have heard about it through social media platforms that their friends have shared or tagged them in. One of the easiest ways to do this with Instagram is to post an image promoting the contest and then ask people to comment, follow and tag a friend they want to share the prize with. Hence for everyone that enters it increases your visibility.

5. Stories

Instagram Stories are another key element to growing your following. Stories can appear on the explore page, targeting thousands more users. When people open the Instagram app, the first things they see in their news feed are the Instagram stories by accounts they follow, so its probably the first thing people click on.

Ways to get more people to see your stories include adding a hashtag to your story or a location to gain local exposure.  Other ways you can use stories to the maximum potential is by promoting a sale, which might include offer codes. Or by engaging the audience. For example, Hello Fresh gives their followers the opportunity to direct message them for their opinions or to swipe up for recipes.

6. Use The insights

The insights page is a great little feature which helps you target your audience more effectively. It tells you which gender followers your page the most, the age range and which locations they are in. Along with a vital bit of information about what times/days your followers are most active. Therefore giving you key times when you should be most active as well with stories and posts.

7. Post At The Right Times / Days

There’s no point posting when most of your followers are in bed right? So look at your insights to find out when is best to post. According to the Marketing Platform for Instagram Later the best time to post is around 7-9pm as its when most users are active. Along with lunchtime from 11 am to 1 pm. Though this might not be right for your certain audience so always check before you post.

The worst thing you can do to get more Instagram followers is to irregularly post content. If you start to get more followers and then go weeks without posting you are likely to get a quick unfollow. A way to combat this is too always post at least 2-3 times a week if not every day and to keep followers engaged by stories/posts that users interact with.

Tip: Its always good to post on special days in the year too. For example Christmas, Easter and Bank holidays when people are off work and will have more time on their phone. Other days worth posting on are days like Shrove Tuesday and Valentines day.

8. Be active!

Make sure you stay active with your current followers, like and comment on their posts to keep them engaged. Following potential customers can stimulate curiosity within the users and can lead them to your profile, giving a high chance they will follow back.

Tip: Look at your competitors and follow or like their followers as if you are in the same field they are more likely to respond back.

That’s it. Hopefully, that sounds simple and not too gruelling. If you’re still stuck on what to focus on, look at your posts. Which ones have the highest engagement? The ones with the most engagement start focusing on them and see where it takes you!