Almost everyone I meet makes this FATAL mistake when building their brand on Instagram…

… they assume more means more.

  • They obsess about getting more followers…
  • They follow as many people as they can…
  • Unfortunately, they use black-hat tactics that DO NOT work!!

Look… more doesn’t mean more. 

I have 100k+ Instagram followers, but I’ve never focused on the number. 

Having a large Instagram following is important, but unless it’s ENGAGED, it means little!

So, when people ask, “Gini… how do I get as many Instagram followers as you?”

How To Get More Instagram Followers (and Keep Them Engaged)

I tell them to stop looking at “JUST” the number and instead focus on how they will engage their followers.

But hey… we’ll come to that in a second (I have some killer Instagram Growth Tips for you)…

First, you may be wondering what impact having an engaged audience of 100k+ followers has?

It’s pretty huge, and I’ve seen how powerful this is both through my own business and by working with clients like the BBC, NASDAQ and Universal Studios…

  • Lead Generation: first off, Instagram is a great platform for bringing free leads into your funnel…
  • Customer Service: this is an overlooked benefit, as most of our customer service takes place over Instagram (it’s a great way to speak directly with your audience for free) …
  • Credibility + Trust: through Live Video and Instagram Stories, you can build trust with your followers, invite them into your world and include them in your story…
  • SALES: after working with Gini.TV one of our clients had a 15% sales spike (and 33% spike in traffic) …

Like I say, BIG results! But here’s the thing…

These benefits ONLY happen if you focus on building an ENGAGED Instagram following.

If all you want is a large number, this article isn’t for you.

But if you are a Social Media Manager (either on the front line for your own brand, or actively working with clients to build theirs) read on because I have 4 tips that will help you build a large, engaged, and active Instagram audience.

1: Find and Use The RIGHT Hashtags

The first thing you need to get right when building your brand on Instagram is to find and use the “RIGHT” hashtags!

It’s NOT about how many hashtags you use (or using the biggest hashtag).

This is a big mistake I see a lot of people making.

The key to success is to use hashtags that relate to the image or video you’re posting, AND that gets used daily (at a level appropriate to your audience size).

So if you have 1,000 followers, don’t add twenty hashtags that get used millions of times each day.

Use smaller ones, as this means you will actually show up in searches. 

Once you reach 10k… 100k… 500k followers, you can start to use some bigger, more popular hashtags. 

But it takes time. If you jump to these mega-hashtags from the get-go, you’ll get lost in the masses and build ZERO engagement with your audience.

2: Be YOU and Post Beautiful, High-Quality Content

There are one billion people on Instagram, so there’s always someone doing what you’re doing. 

However…

That isn’t to say you can’t do something unique or come at it from a different angle.

There’s ALWAYS a way to add a personal touch to a topic. Your story is unique and yours to own, so don’t try and replicate other people or be like everyone else.

Be so YOU that you either magnetize or repel people – people who try to be everything to everyone get nowhere on Instagram.

And then, back this up by posting beautiful, high-quality content (ALWAYS)!

How To Get More Instagram Followers (and Keep Them Engaged)

Once you combine your unique style with high-quality professionalism, you’ll quickly grow both your follower count and engagement levels.

Seriously… the bar is set so low!

Most people on Instagram try to copy everyone else, and they settle for low quality and uninspiring videos and images. They don’t edit their photos. They don’t hold themselves to a standard.

The moment YOU do, you will stand out from the crowd.

3: Create Personal Relationships

If I were to sum up the single biggest reason I’ve grown such a large and engaged Instagram following, I would put it down to this… RELATIONSHIPS!

I cannot tell you how many relationships I’ve nurtured using Instagram.

How To Get More Instagram Followers (and Keep Them Engaged)

It drives me insane how so many people obsess over growing their audience, but then never reply to comments or have conversations with their followers.

They don’t update their Instagram stories, they don’t do Live Video, and they don’t engage via DM…

I don’t get it!

Anyone can post ten images each morning and then leave their Instagram account idle until the following day. Please DO NOT do this. If you want an engaged audience, earn their trust.

Speak to them inside your messages. Reply to the messages they send you. Do this manually, but also take them on a unique experience using an amazing tool like Direct Heroes.

My friend, Jeff MacPherson, created this because he saw too many people build big followings only to never engage them. There’s no excuse for this, especially when you use a tool like this one!

4: Give Massive Value

This is arguably the most important tip of all, because the only way to build an engaged, loyal following is to give massive value on a regular basis!

If you want to build traction on any platform (especially Instagram), you have to give VALUE! 

That means you cannot ONLY share photos of you living your life. It’s important to share images and videos like this, for sure… but you cannot only share them.

Ask yourself… how can I help my followers?

  • What do they expect from me?
  • What do they need help with?
  • Why do they follow me in the first place?

How To Get More Instagram Followers (and Keep Them Engaged)

Whether you share value through motivational videos, educational tips, or by providing escapism or humour (pranks, interviews, comedy…), you have to give massive value.

If you don’t, you will not build an engaged following.

They may follow you, but they won’t stick around (and remember, if you don’t have an engaged audience, you don’t have an audience).

Follow these 4 tips and YOU WILL get more Instagram followers, but, more importantly, you will keep them engaged. This is the difference between success and a whole lot of wasted time and money!Opinions expressed here by Contributors are their own.

Virginia Salas Kastilio is the founder of “Gini.TV”, a disruptive media firm that helps businesses build influence and online awareness and CMO of Socrates Coin. A “third culture kid” who went to over a dozen different schools and managed over a billion dollars at Apple and Oracle without a degree, Virginia decided to start from scratch and build an online following. She has been named the #1 female snapchat business influencer in the world and the hired gun behind organizations like the BBC, NASDAQ, Universal Studios and other.