Looking to grow your following on Instagram? Use these 21 proven tips to attract more followers, including using hashtags, contests, and what to post.
Looking to grow your following on Instagram?
Use these 21 proven tips to attract more followers.
1. Create an Editorial Calendar for Instagram
When we write content, we labor over ideas, delivery, and optimization.
It should be no different when we share photos and videos on a business or brand’s Instagram account.
Take the time to brainstorm clever content ideas that align with seasons, holidays, your business’ upcoming events, and, most importantly, your overall traffic and sales goals.
You can still be flexible and post spontaneously as ideas come to you, but having a library of ideas and a (tentative) schedule will keep you ahead of the game instead of scrambling for something to post.
Depending on your business, you could potentially post several times a day or several times a week.
Make a realistic goal and stick to it.
2. Use Crystal Clear Photos
Only use high-quality photos and videos when posting to Instagram.
By high quality, I mean crystal clear, unpixelated shots.
Instagram, above all else, is a visual platform.
There’s no room for blurry photos.
Low-quality content won’t get any engagement.
It might even cost you some followers.
3. Test Different Filters & Dimensions
Just because you’re a business doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with filters and use different dimensions.
On the contrary, you should use filters on your content!
The more creative, original, and captivating your photos are, the more likely people are to share and follow your account – so bring on the filters!
You can go one step further and download photo editing apps to touch up your photos even more.
As far as dimensions go, don’t feel relegated to the square – make use of the landscape and portrait options, as well.
In fact, the portrait outperformed both the landscape and square in terms of engagement, according to a recent study.
Test out the dimensions yourself and see what performs best for you.
4. Get Key Insights Out of Instagram Analytics
With an Instagram business account (which is free), you’ll have access to analytics that shows when your audience is most active.
Use that data to optimize your posting schedule.
Instagram also gives you insights into the age, gender, and location breakdown of your audience, which can be a starting point doing persona research.
5. Tag Relevant Accounts in Your Photos
Another way to be discovered by people who aren’t following you is to tag relevant accounts so that you show up in their tagged feed.
Tag individual people who interact with your business.
If you own a fitness studio and you take a group shot after a Zumba class, tag every single one of those people in the photo. It will populate into all of their tagged feeds.
Their followers (some of who likely have similar interests) will see the post, and discover your studio.
This strategy also applies to other brands and business accounts.
For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, a best practice is to tag the vendors from a wedding in your photos.
A photo of the reception, for example, could potentially tag a DJ, cake baker, wedding planner, and wedding venue tagged all in the same photo.
It’s good for all the businesses involved: each gets additional exposure, and leads to more discovery as brides-to-be search for vendors – chances are if someone is looking through Instagram for a wedding venue, they probably are looking for a photographer and a lot of other related vendors, too.
If you can share the spotlight and tag others, do so – it’ll circle back to bring you more Instagram followers and leads, as well.
6. Complete & Optimize Your Instagram Bio
Your bio should be used to feature a call-to-action, branded hashtags, and a link, which is a big deal in the quest for new Instagram users.
It’s this section where users will discover who you or your brand are and whether they will follow you.
Don’t, however, plead, sound desperate or come across as spammy.
For example, do not include “Follow People Who Follow Me!” in your bio.
You want to let users know who you are and why they should follow you. Make sure this section is updated when needed.
If you were running a contest, you could mention that piece of information in your Bio.
7. Include CTAs and/or Questions in Your Posts
At the end of each post, include a clear call-to-action or a question aimed at boosting engagement.
CTAs include things like:
Learn more – link in bio!
Double-tap if you want to see more videos like this!
Follow us so you’ll never miss an update.
You can also post questions.
Let’s say, for example, you own a yoga studio and you post a quick video where a teacher demonstrates how to go into a certain pose.
At the end of your caption, you could write something like “Tell us what poses you’d like to see demonstrated in future videos in the comments!”
This will keep your audience engaged, show that you actually care what your audience wants to see, and give you ideas for what to post in the future.
8. Point to Instagram from Your Website & Relevant Channels
Make sure existing clients and customers find your Instagram by adding an Instagram icon to your social links, or embedding Instagram content on your site.
You can also link to your brand’s Instagram account from your email signature.
You can also use a plugin to feed your latest Instagram posts directly to your website.
This can be a great way to promote your new account to people who regularly visit your site, building your following of clients.
9. Cross-post Your Instagram Content to Facebook & Twitter
Cross-posting Instagram content to Facebook and Twitter can drive users back to your Instagram profile.
Users that didn’t know you’re on Instagram and following you on other platforms will then discover that you’re on Instagram, too, since the post will note it was shared from Instagram.
You can adjust your settings for every post to cross-post automatically, or you can do it manually for select posts.
10. Run Contests
Once you’ve started growing a follower base, you can hold contests and campaigns that can attract more users to your page.
For example, you can drive traffic to your website or sell your product by running a contest.
You can either ask users to like, comment, use a specific hashtag, or ask your followers to tag a friend.
When you ask users to tag a friend, it exposes your brand and page to more Instagram users online.
It is an effective way to increase your brand awareness and reach, and a key hack for how to get more Instagram followers.
11. Research Your Competitors
Another best practice for how to get followers on Instagram is to take a look at what your competitors are doing and learn from it.
Researching their accounts might reveal hashtags you haven’t thought of, influencers you haven’t reached out to, or other strategies that can inform your own.
Also, note which of their posts are performing the best – that can serve as another cue as to what can work on your own account.
12. Follow, Like & Comment on Others’ Content
Strategically engage with users who will potentially like your profile.
Practically, that means interacting with potential customers and brand allies by liking, following, and thoughtfully commenting on their posts.
Start with your hashtags: click on your frequently used, relevant hashtags to discover others who are posting similar content.
You can also toggle to the Discover section of the Instagram app to find relevant content.
Another good practice is interacting with those who are already following you – follow them back and like their content, as well.
The more you engage, the more you’ll show up in others’ feeds and get noticed.
Plus, it shows you’re an authentic, real account who believes in reciprocity!
13. Avoid Using Too Much Text on Your Photos
In general, you want to save the words for your captions.
People go to Instagram for visual content, and it’s outside the norm to post a lot of text in an image.
A short, positive quote or statement is perfectly fine, but don’t attempt to fit an entire product description or long message in the actual image.
If you’re looking for ways to add text to photos, Canva is a free tool that comes in very handy.
With professionally designed text formats and templates built for different social networks (including Instagram and more), Canva can help you create clean designs for those times you do want to add text to your photos.
14. Do Not Add Logos or Watermarks to Your Posts
Stamping your logo onto your Instagram post is disruptive to your content and your users’ experience.
People do not expect to see logos or watermarks on Instagram posts.
It’s like waving a giant flag that says “I’m a business trying to sell you something.”
While it’s not advised to put a logo on your content, you can include branding.
For example, if you’re a B2B company posting a behind-the-scenes shot of your employees, have them wear shirts with your logo.
Or, if you’re a fashion retailer, you could occasionally include a strategically placed bag in a photo that has your store’s name.
Keep it subtle, or you’ll risk being unfollowed.
15. Research Hashtags & Choose Them Strategically
Using hashtags will get you in front of new audiences who are searching for the type of content you’re posting, whether they’re following you or not.
For example, if you are selling bath supplies, tag a relevant photo with hashtags like #bathsupplies #bathtime and anything that relates to your products like #bubblebath, #bathbomb, etc.
If you have a local business, make sure to include local hashtags, as well.
Take the time to do hashtag research and find the best hashtags for your particular content.
It’s easy to identify which hashtags get the most traction.
When you start typing # and your word, Instagram pops up how many posts have been done around that word.
Hashtagify.me is also a great tool for finding hashtags that are getting a lot of traction – you can type in your primary hashtag and it will show you its reach as well as related hashtags and their reach, and all the hashtags related to those hashtags, and so on.
How Many Hashtags Should I Add to an Instagram Post?
It’s common practice to stick to five to seven to avoid looking spammy.
But you can add up to 30 hashtags.
Where Should I Add the Hashtags on an Instagram Post?
You can add them directly to the post or in a separate comment immediately after posting – it’s really an aesthetic choice.
Some users prefer to add single periods separated by line breaks after their caption, and then add the hashtags.
Whatever you choose to do is fine, but keep it consistent across posts so you have a streamlined professional look.
16. Geotag Your Content
Another way to get found in by users who aren’t already following you is to geotag your content – but not necessarily with your store location.
Try using your city or a nearby (relevant) landmark that gets a lot of searches.
When people are searching for that nearby location, they can now come across your content.
If your content is doing particularly well, it can even be featured at the top of the search.
17. Don’t Add Links in Your Instagram Photo’s Caption
Any link you include in an Instagram post will not turn into a clickable link – instead, it will just serve as an annoying and bad experience as your audience tries (and fails) to open it.
Rather an including an unclickable link, direct people to click the link in your bio.
They can easily click that and head to your site to check out all you have to offer.
Be sure to put your link in the “link” section when you edit your bio and mention that in your post.
And, because space is limited, use a link shortener like Bit.ly to save room.
You can even optimize the link further by customizing the link so it’s not a random string of characters, but a meaningful word or two.
18. Tag Products in Images & Videos
If you’re selling a product, take advantage of Instagram’s tagging feature.
Businesses can tag photos or videos with product links.
To use this feature, you must have a business page on Facebook complete with a product catalog.
It’s a great user experience for users, and it’s a huge win for businesses looking to drive conversions seamlessly.
19. Create a Branded Hashtag at Your Events
Create a branded hashtag for your next event.
Not only will it give your brand exposure, but it will also curate a unique stream of all the content from your event and allow others to connect and engage with your brand and other people at the event.
Leading up to the event you can use your branded hashtag to promote the event, and after the fact, you can use it to post follow-up content.
20. Repost Content You’re Tagged In
Whenever a user tags your business or brand, make sure to get extra traction from it by reposting it directly to your feed.
Showcasing positive reviews and mentions is a great use of Instagram for business.
Most likely, the user will agree.
You can repost manually, or use an app like Repost for Instagram.
Either way, remember to credit the original poster in the caption and tag them in the photo.
21. Consider Using Instagram Ads
Consider devoting ad spend to promoting Instagram profile.
You can create effective carousel ads through Facebook’s Power Editor and promote your content.
If you’re running a specific contest or marketing campaign, you can use Facebook advertising to push the content in front of more audiences.
With the ability to target your customers based on their interest and behaviors in Power Editor, you can ensure that your posts will be viewed by Instagram users that will be interested in your business.
While some of these strategies may work better than others, find the ones that work well with your business or yourself.