Instagram is one of the top platforms for personal use and business use alike; with a monthly active user count of one billion, it’s no surprise that users are tripping over themselves to find ways to optimal Instagram growth.
After all, if there aren’t eyes viewing and engaging with your content, it makes it pretty difficult to get the results you’re looking for.
But, what’s the best way to grow Instagram followers? In this article, we’re going to break down how to grow your Instagram: what to do, what not to do, and what are some smart strategies that you can employ to build a healthy and thriving Instagram community.
Of course, we recommend using these steps alongside a growth service such as Growthoid when has been proven to get you more followers for your Instagram.
Let’s start connecting with our audience!
How to Grow Your Instagram in 10 Steps
- Post Consistently
- Post at Optimal Times
- Use Hashtags
- Target Competitor Followers
- Engage Your Followers
- Use Instagram Stories and Highlights
- Share User-Generated Content (UGC)
- Collaborate and Run Giveaways
- Go Live on Instagram
- Use Analytics
Pro Step 1: Post Consistently
When you first set up your Instagram account as a business profile, it will run you through 3 steps to optimize your results. The first two have to do with making sure that all of your profile information is set up correctly and that people can reach you.
The third step that Instagram recommends is to post at least 3 times within your first week of setting up your profile. It recommends this with the message that accounts with more posts in their first week do better than those that don’t post at least 3 times.
Why is that?
Posts that have a consistent post frequency perform better than those that don’t. Not only that, but the consistency of your posts also has a lot to do with the performance of them, not simply the frequency itself.
Create a posting plan. This is to say that if your goal is to post once a day on Instagram, plan out your content and make sure it’s posted at or around the same time. Follow a schedule and make sure that you stick to it instead of just randomly posting whatever, whenever.
Your followers should be able to go to your page consistently and know when your content will be there and that they can count on new content showing up. They may not be consciously thinking, “Okay, it’s 12:30 on a Wednesday and x account’s content should be up!” But they will definitely notice if they aren’t seeing you on their feed, or if you have gone radio silent.
In addition to consistency with frequency, make sure that your content holds a thread of consistency as well. Keep it aligned with your brand and your image; the more engagement your posts get, the more likely you will be boosted to appear in the feed per the Instagram algorithm.
If a user frequently checks out or engages with your content, it will be more likely to appear at the top of their feed. Posting consistently, frequently, with consistent content is a key pillar in Instagram growth.
2. Post at Optimal Times
Now that we know consistency matters, we need to map out a posting plan. This helps us to stay consistent, but not at times when we aren’t getting much exposure. It’s key to test your content and draw conclusions about when it’s getting the best performance. Once you identify this, you can create a posting schedule that maximizes on exposure and performance to grow your Instagram followers.
All in all, there is no one best posting time for Instagram; it varies and depends on many factors, such as your target audience and their usage habits. That’s why it’s important to use Instagram analytics to determine this. You can use a third-party analytics tool to help you do this, or you can do some testing using your Instagram insights, and make your own conclusions.
If you don’t have Instagram insights, it means that you aren’t using a business profile. You’ll have to change your account to a professional account (either business or creator,) which we highly recommend doing if you want to grow your Instagram followers. You don’t have to display that you have a professional profile to your followers if you don’t want to, there’s a setting for that.
In essence, there’s no reason why you shouldn’t be using a professional profile setting if your goal is Instagram growth.
Having access to these insights are vital in identifying how people engage with your content and when your posts rack up more views and engagements.
Test your content, and set your posting schedule when it performs best. There are some general guidelines as to when content performs well on Instagram, but, remember, there are many variables, including location, target audience, and user habits.
3. Use Hashtags
While all of the steps are golden rules in how to grow your Instagram followers, using hashtags is probably the step that offers itself to the most Instagram growth.
If you don’t use hashtags, it’s unlikely that you’re going to reach any new followers; your content won’t appear in any hashtag feeds or reachable places, and therefore you’ll be extremely limited on who is viewing your content.
That said, understanding hashtags can be a bit tricky. The first thing that’s important to know about hashtags is that you should choose ones that are popular, but not overly popular.
For example, if you decide to use the hashtag #love on Instagram, you might get little to no views. Why? This is one of the most popularly used hashtags on Instagram; because there are so many posts being uploaded with this hashtag, content gets pushed down the feed extremely quickly. Thus, there are fewer chances for users to see your content unless they scroll way down in the hashtag feed.
#Love is really general, and can be used in any niche or to describe pretty much anything. So, how to make a better strategy? You’ll probably get better, more targeted results if you use a more specific hashtag that is connected to your niche.
For instance, if you’re a digital content creator and share a lot of your graphic art, you could use something like #lovedigitalart. This is going to be a lot more specific, and would also pull people who are interested in digital art, too. Much more effective than using general hashtags.
You can also take a look at similar accounts; take a look at your competitors that perform well and see which hashtags they’re using. If they get a lot of engagement with their content, it’s probably safe to say that their strategy is working. You can model your hashtag strategy to also see Instagram growth.
The question that most people ask is, “How many hashtags should I use?” And the answer, similar to Instagram posting times, is that there is no one-size-fits-all number. You’ll have to test similarly, but you should be at least using one, with the maximum at 30.
If you feel like your captions are drowning with hashtags, you can space them out so the hashtags appear after a user hits “more” to read more of your caption.
Alternatively, you can post hashtags in the first comment of your posts so that they won’t appear as directly as if they were listed directly in the comment.
Important: Keep in mind that your hashtag use will be limited if your account is private. Only accounts that are public will appear in hashtag feeds to other users who don’t already follow you. If you feel that your Instagram growth has been limited or stagnant, it may be a good idea to take your profile off of the “private” setting and go public.
4. Target Competitor Followers
Hashtags aren’t the only thing that you can borrow from your competitors. It’s not a bad idea to take a look at their followers and work on engaging them and drawing them to your account.
What are some ways to draw competitor followers for Instagram growth?
It’s pretty simple: engagement techniques.
This user who followers your competitor already shows an interest in your niche, so they are pretty much an ideal part of your target audience. Through engaging with them, you can possibly snag them as a follower for yourself, as well! Remember, just because they follow you, doesn’t mean they are no longer following your competitor, so no harm no foul!
The best ways to engage for follower growth include:
- Liking photos: Head on over to the target user’s profile and like some of their photos. This will notify them, and they may check you out!
- Leaving comments: You can leave a comment on the target user’s photo, and they’ll receive a notification. They may even engage with you, or check out your profile.
- Follow a user: If the user is private, liking photos or leaving comments won’t be an option, so you could follow them. They may then follow you back. Even if the user isn’t private, you can still use this strategy. This is a widely used Instagram growth strategy called “follow/unfollow.” Usually, accounts trying to grow their Instagram will follow target audience users, and then later go through and unfollow them later (need to keep that follower ratio healthy).
- Send a direct message: another engagement strategy is to send a direct message inviting the user to come over to your profile and check it out; this can be done with both private and public accounts. If you feel that they’re a high match for liking your content, this can be a good strategy because they feel that you’re personalizing your engagement with them and going out of your way to invite them over.
If you find these items to be incredibly time-consuming, you might consider a service like Growthoid. Growthoid is a hand-tailored growth service that doesn’t hurt your account through bots or automation.
You get an account manager assigned to your account and they are in charge of doing these engagements to your target audience by hand. This is such a great alternative to using harmful bots if you find your workflow is interrupted by trying to grow your followers.
5. Engage Your Followers
Non-followers aren’t the only ones who need engagement; you should be engaging already with people who already follow your account! There are a variety of reasons engagement is important for your Instagram growth, and there are a few key strategies you can use to make sure you are doing engagement the right way:
- Create content with a call-to-action: a call to action makes your content engaging in the sense that it asks something of your followers. Maybe in your caption you asked them a question to respond to. Maybe your caption connects with your image and prompts users to tag a friend in the comments. Perhaps you ask users to share your posts, or post something on their feed using a specific hashtag. All of these are ways to get your followers to do something, and that generates engagement.
- Respond to comments: Staying active on your own platform encourages followers to do the same. If you are active in responding to users who comment on your photos or send you messages, it shows that you are part of the community and are interested in them. This builds a bond, and can lead to Instagram growth through loyalty or shared posts and referrals.
The more active you are with engagement, the more likely your followers will follow suit. This is a great strategy for building healthy Instagram growth.
6. Use Instagram Stories and Highlights
Content on your Instagram feed isn’t the only place that you can promote engagement. Using Instagram stories and highlights is a vital part of growing your Instagram.
Daily, 500+ million users engage with Instagram stories. So, if you’re not using this feature of Instagram, it’s a big loss in expanding your Instagram content and reach.
Instagram stories can be very valuable in the sense that there are more tools for direct engagement– you can ask your followers to respond to a question, you can have them rate something, participate in a poll, among others. Some accounts even have the access to “swipe up” which allows linking to external sites or e-commerce.
Stories can also be linked using hashtags so that you can expand reach.
Once you post via Instagram stories, these go into an archive which you can later use to develop your highlights. The story highlights show up on your main profile page underneath your contact info; this can be a great way to have information readily available for followers and can also create a nice aesthetic for your main profile page.
7. Share User-Generated Content (UGC)
User-generated content can be described as content that you get from actual users of the platform; they send you a photo or share a photo of themselves using your product, hashtag, or other elements of your brand.
Once they share this content, you can feature it on your profile. This leads to huge Instagram growth; users love to be featured. This motivates other users to engage and share their own content with the hopes of being featured as well.
You can use it both in your stories as well as in your posts. It humanizes your brand, builds bonds with your followers, as well as creates authenticity and motivation to use your products or services. Great!
8. Collaborate and Run Giveaways
Another way to get great UGC is to use collaborations and run giveaways.
Collaborations can grow your Instagram followers in many ways. You gain exposure from other similar accounts that have followers in your target audience. This is valuable because the account you collaborate with already has their trusted following, and if you are featured in a collaboration with them, users in their audience are likely to follow you as well.
What’s more, it can give you a great opportunity to run a giveaway. Giveaways are a staple of how to grow your Instagram because users have to participate in some way in order to become eligible.
Some of the best things you can ask your followers to do when running a giveaway are:
- Tag 1-2 friends in your post. This immediately gets eyes on your post, profile, and also boosts engagement, which can help drive the algorithm.
- Share your post. This also gets eyes on your posts, and also shows initiative on the part of the follower; their followers will then see it, and be directed or motivated to check out your profile.
- Follow your account. If someone who isn’t already a follower comes across your profile and wants to enter, you will then have yourself a new follower.
These are some of the most common action items that users are asked to do when entering a giveaway. It’s not uncommon to see all three; when you work in collaboration to do a giveaway, the user would be prompted to follow both accounts in order to be entered.
If you have some really great stuff to giveaway that you know users will really be interested in, you’ve got a huge opportunity to grow Instagram followers at the same time.
9. Go Live on Instagram
Since so many people are using Instagram stories these days, going live on Instagram can hook in a lot of people and give them a real interest in your content.
Not only that, but you can also go live with other accounts or collaborators, so you can take collaborations to the next level and share followers in your target audience.
It’s also valuable to have the opportunity to engage with your followers in real-time, showing off who you are and making bonds and connections with them. They comment live and you can respond right then and there, acknowledging them and making them feel seen.
Users who follow you will get a notification when you’re going live, and a ring that says “live” will appear over your Instagram story in the feed. Once you finish, you can also upload these Instagram live videos to your story for 24 hours if you’d like.
At first it can be intimidating to go live and you may start out with a small audience. But keep working on it and be consistent. Some of the ways you can use Instagram live include:
- Q&A session
- Collaborative videos with other accounts
- Instagram takeovers
- Showing behind the scenes
- Taking users on a tour of somewhere you are
- Showing off your product or service
- Running tutorials
- Talking to clients
These are just a few of the ways to take advantage of the Instagram live feature for Instagram growth.
10. Use Analytics
After working hard on employing all of these strategies, don’t forget about the most important one– analyzing your results. It’s impossible to make any adjustments to your strategies and content output if you have no idea what’s working and what isn’t.
You should know at all times what your level of follower count is, how many followers you’ve gained, and how many followers you’ve lost. If you are growing followers but losing them at the same time, something’s not working, and you need to be aware of this in order to prevent it.
Using Instagram insights is a great way to track your own progress. You can view your posts and filter them by a variety of elements, such as reach, comments, likes, impressions, etc.
If you’re serious about Instagram growth, being aware of this information at all times and tracking your progress is essential.
Round Up: 10 Steps to Massive Instagram Growth
The top accounts on Instagram have so many followers, so much content, and such a great aesthetic that they make it look like it’s no work at all. The reality is that they are working diligently to make sure their content comes out seamlessly, they have a cohesive brand image, they engage with their followers, and look for strategies to grow Instagram followers.
None of this comes without hard work and detailed attention to how your account performs.
Following the ten steps that we’ve outlined in this article are all of the things you need to know for successful Instagram growth. Without incorporating these elements, you may find some success here and there, but if you consistently follow your plan and implement all of these steps, there’s no way you won’t see the Instagram growth you’re looking for.
It takes time, it takes strategy, and it takes patience, but you have the tools you need. Opinions expressed here are the opinions of the author. Influencive does not endorse or review brands mentioned; does not and can not investigate relationships with brands, products, and people mentioned and is up to the author to disclose. VIP Contributors and Contributors, amongst other accounts and articles, are professional fee-based.