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I get so many readers slipping into my DMs asking how they can grow their Instagram following.
First, that is WAY too big of a question to answer in 3-5 sentences, and second, the truth is, there is no magic bullet for creating an audience (especially an engaged one).
Although I can’t give you a step by step recipe, I can share with you how I’ve slowly but surely grown my Instagram following over the last three years.
Strategies NOT to Use
I’m very proud of the fact that I’ve never used a bot, paid for followers or used a follow/unfollow strategy. If you are unfamiliar with any of these dirty growth techniques, heres a quick run down:
Bots are apps that use fake accounts to help you grow Instagram account. Bots use fake Instagram accounts to inflate your likes, follow/unfollow accounts, and leave spam comments on other accounts.
Paying for Followers
If you want to get right to it, you can just fork over some cash for fake Instagram followers. A bot app or marketing service will have a bunch of fake accounts follow you & artificially inflate your follower number.
Lastly, the old follow/unfollow method. This is where you manually follow a bunch of people in hopes that they will follow you back, and then a few days later, you go back and unfollow them. RUDE right?!
I’ve worked with clients who previously used these types of growth hacks and their accounts had absolutely terrible engagement. Moreover, their accounts experienced a “withdrawal” causing them to lose hundreds of followers very rapidly after coming “off” of the services.
If you have used these types of growth strategies, it’s okay. You are still welcome here, but please, please, please QUIT being shady. Short cuts will give you short lived results. Simple as that. I’m trying to build an impactful and inspirational business here, NOT a massive Instagram following.
Now that we got that out of the way, let’s talk about how to create an authentic, engaged, organic Instagram following.
Create Captivating Content
If you are serious about growing you Instagram account, you HAVE to produce high quality content. Content can include your bio, photographs, graphics, captions, videos, highlights, stories, etc.
Your bio is a profile viewers first impression, so make it a good one!
Optimize your bio to include:
- What you do
- How you serve your audience
- Where you are located
- How to contact you (especially important for connecting with brands).
Instagram is a visual platform. It’s essential to create a curated, aesthetically pleasing feed. Here are a few tips:
- Try to avoid a feed with 80% selfies! Ask someone to snap pics for you.
- Use a consistent filter or preset to create uniformity. I love Lightroom!
- You can purchase very affordable presets for Lightroom, too.
- Batch work taking photos vs. trying to get a good photo every day.
- Use 30 relevant, niche hashtags (hashtags between 50k-400k uses) on every post.
For graphics, like quotes, story templates and highlight covers, I use Canva. It’s a free, user friendly software for creating ANY kind of design you can think of from Facebook covers to presentations. Make sure you stick to your brand colors and theme when creating graphics for your feed or stores.
Daily Organic Engagement
Once your profile is set up to convert visitors into followers, it’s time to think about engagement. Engaging with other accounts on Instagram is imperative to growth. You can have the best bio and prettiest pictures, but if you aren’t willing to put in the time to do the online networking, you aren’t going to grow.
A few tactical ways to engage:
- Go to a hashtag that is relevant to your niche. Like and comment on photos for 15 minutes straight (per day).
- Search by location and look for profiles that look like a good fit for your account. Go to their profile & like their 3 last photos + leave a comment.
- Go to an account that would service your ideal follower. For me, that might be a trendy, vintage shop. Click on their followers, go to each one, like 3 of their photos + leave a comment.
- Watch Instagram stories & reply to them.
- Follow hashtags that your ideal audience would be using. Posts using that hashtag will start showing up in your home feed so you can easily interact with them.
- Reach out to other bloggers to host a group giveaway. Ensure the giveaway entry requires following you.
- Reach out to other bloggers and prose a story shout-out/share. You each share each other’s accounts in your stories on the same day & time.
I’m not saying you need to follow these bullet points to a “T,” but they are a great place to start when it comes to intentionally engaging with accounts to grow your following. By now, you might be realizing how much time & work it takes to grow an Instagram following!
Consistency is Key
This is where I see most aspiring influencers fail. Consistency is KEY. How often should you be showing up on the platform? Every. Single. Day. Especially if you are just starting out and trying to grow.
I recommend a minimum of one feed post a day & at least 6 Instagram stories spread throughout the day. Every day you show up on Instagram is a new opportunity to be seen by the perfect brand partner or ideal follower.
I highly encourage you to schedule out your content. For me, I plan at least a week of photos at time. I upload them into Later, my post scheduler, and organize them into a visually appealing order.
This takes away the daily stress of figuring out what to post and if it will look good in my feed! If I didn’t do this, there is absolutely no way I could post every single day.
Some days might feel slower than others, but I encourage you to KEEP showing up day in and day out. You never know when you might get a big break (like a feed post feature on a major account or a story share by a huge influencer). If you don’t post consistantly, that opportunity isn’t going to be on the table!
In conclusion, if you want to grow your Instagram following, create captivating content, engage daily, and keep showing up!
These three thing combined make for some serious social media magic! I hope these Instagram tips helped you wrap your head around how to grow an engaged following.