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Whether you want to grow your business or want to build your personal brand, one of the most crucial resources that will allow you to do this – especially on Instagram – is your followers. It seems like there are so many influencers and businesses out there that have plenty of followers – and have no trouble getting more – but it’s not always as easy to grow your following as they might make it seem.

Nonetheless, despite how difficult it is to go from 100 to 100,000 (or more) followers on Instagram, there are a few different tactics you can use to help grow your audience authentically.

Make Sure Your Profile is Public

Surveys have shown that approximately 91% of Americans feel that people have lost control over their personal information and how it is collected. While you may think that keeping your Instagram profile private is one of the few ways you have left to hang on to a bit of privacy—at least online—if you want to get more followers, you’re going to have to give that up.

Building an authentic following is hard to do if people aren’t able to find you and see your profile on posts—whether on purpose or by accident. By opening your Instagram account to the public eye, you make it easy for people to find your posts, get interested in what you’re sharing, and give you a follow – all of which increases your following organically.

Follow for Follow-Backs

If you’ve been looking for ways to increase your following on Instagram, then you’ve most likely heard about the tactic of following accounts, then going back and unfollowing anyone who didn’t follow you back (also known as ‘follow for follow-backs’).

People tend to reciprocate actions, so the theory behind the follow for follow-backs method is that if you follow as many people as possible, you’ll get a good number of follow-backs and can repeat the process until you start seeing the numbers you want to see.

But does this method actually work? Scott Ayres at Agorapulse put the theory to the test and showed that it really could be as effective as people claim.

Get Your Hashtags Right

Hashtags are fun and can be quite funny as well, but they go far beyond humor and adding a little extra flair to posts. When you get your hashtags right, they can actually help you grow your following and, if you’re a business, can increase brand awareness and improve your company’s bottom line. Studies have found that Instagram posts with at least one hashtag can get up to 12.6% more engagement than posts with no hashtags at all.

When you get your hashtags right, they won’t just help you increase engagement; using the right hashtags, such as hashtags that are trending and/or that are relevant to specific industries or niches, you can get more followers. Thanks to the hashtag search feature on Instagram, people who are interested in your niche and the topics you discuss can easily find you and give you a follow – helping you grow your audience authentically.

Use a Trustworthy Service

There are several tools out there that will claim to help you get real followers, but not all are what they seem to be. And, with Instagram starting to crack down on fake followers, you can’t afford to pay for a service that gets you followers if those followers aren’t real – especially because fake followers could end up getting your account banned – and that’s the last thing you need when you want to grow your Instagram followers.

However, there are trustworthy services out there that do a great job of getting you real followers and not bots. For instance, Hashtags for Likes helps you authentically grow your followers on Instagram. Increase your exposure using their suite of tools, and use the right (trending) hashtags to increase your exposure

Get In on the Conversation

Although it may not seem like the effort of growing your following would require you do a lot of talking, getting active on Instagram and getting in on hot conversations is a great way to increase your audience authentically. When you post about hot topics—especially topics within your niche—and you join threads and conversations, and even start discussions of your own, you can catch the interest of others who are following the conversation and gain more followers yourself. Not only does this grow your following, but it grows it in a way where the followers will want to stick with you since they’re legitimately interested in what you have to say.

Final Thoughts

Growing your Instagram following can seem like a slow, painstaking process, and although there may be tools and services that promise to help you get the numbers you want faster than you can blink, they may not always be getting you real followers. However, by using methods like the follow for follow-backs and using reliable tools like Magic Social, you can authentically grow your Instagram following for better long-term results.Opinions expressed here are the opinions of the author. Influencive does not endrose or review brands mentioned.

I am a women’s rights activist, running junkie, and eternal marketing student. I help companies market their brand to millennials and gen z. In my spare time, you’ll find playing with my golden retriever and reading the newest business books by my fire.