How to Get More Instagram Followers in 2021?
You may have known that Instagram now has over one billion users with sky-high user engagement levels.
And with 80% of accounts following at least one business on Instagram, there’s no wonder that brands are flocking to the channel to take advantage of this growing popularity. Whether you are showing off an amazing office gadget, an employee image, or a delicious meal, Instagram is a good way to connect with audiences who are hungry for straightforward, energetic, and visually engaging stories.
Like any social media platform out there, followers - active, attentive, and real - are the cornerstone of success. But not all companies can find out the best tactics to get more ‘true’ followers on Instagram.
So, in this article, we will show you how to use Instagram effectively to boost engagement, and grow a massive following over time - one that is full of real fans, not inactive fake accounts.
Ready to explore? Let’s start right now!
Table of contents
- 5 benefits of having more Instagram followers
- 16 actionable tactics to get more followers on Instagram
- 1. Plan a thoughtful Instagram strategy
- 2. Define your target audience
- 3. Create a great bio and profile
- 4. Use the right hashtags
- 5. Use geotags for local discoverability
- 6. Post at the right time
- 7. Share engaging content
- 8. Hop on trends
- 9. Engage your followers
- 10. Share your Instagram account in other communications
- 11. Promote your Instagram profile on other social networks
- 12. Follow other relevant users
- 13. Explore influencer marketing
- 14. Consider Instagram advertising
- 15. Run giveaways and contests
- 16. Learn from Instagram Insights
- The bottom line
5 benefits of having more Instagram followers
No matter if you are using Instagram for individual or business purposes, the platform has proven to be an immensely powerful marketing tool. If your business hasn’t spoken up on Instagram, here’s why you might want to get your brand on the platform immediately.
- Target (and retarget) your audiences more efficiently. We know that targeting the right customers is vital to the success of your ads. Some of the Instagram targeting features, including location, demographics, behaviors, interests, and more, can give you a head start to sales generation.
- Create a high engagement rate. Over 500 million Instagram users browse the channel every day, making it home to some of the most engaged audiences around.
- Make money directly from Instagram. There is now a greater emphasis on making money through product placement. Shoppable posts are created for businesses to add links that include a product description, price, and the ability to “Shop Now,” which will lead users to your online shop.
- Contribute to Instagram verification. While there is no particular requirement for the number of followers to get verified on Instagram, you will become more outstanding with a huge follower base. So, to increase the chance of having the blue tick, you should keep on extending your reach and promoting your engaged audiences.
- Build your brand. More real followers mean more people knowing your brand. By humanizing your brand, as well as showing your authenticity, you can build trust that leads to long-term customer relationships.
16 actionable tactics to get more followers on Instagram
1. Plan a thoughtful Instagram strategy
Before posting a product or promoting a service on Instagram, you should start by thinking about your strategy first and foremost. Using any social media network without a clear plan is just like going blindly into the dark.
As you are reading this guide, you’re clearly targeting to get more followers on Instagram. It is a great goal to start with, but you need to be more specific. Brainstorm about why you want to attract more followers. Maybe you want to:
- Raise brand awareness
- Boost product/ service sales
- Drive traffic to your website
Being focused on these business-oriented goals will help keep your Instagram account consistent. Then you can tell your compelling brand story that appeals to every new profile visitor and helps build a loyal following.
2. Define your target audience
You don’t necessarily have to reinvent the wheel. In case your business has already had targeted buyer personas, it will often make sense to reuse the same information to define your Instagram target audiences.
Have a clear insight of what your typical customer looks like. You can ask yourself some following questions about who you are trying to reach:
- How old are they?
- Are they male, female, or LGBT?
- What do they do for work?
- When are they most active on Instagram?
- What are their pain points and challenges?
Finding answers to these questions will help you craft the right kind of content to deliver to your target audiences.
For instance, the underlying reason why Beats by Dre can dominate the headphone industry is that they can identify and understand their target audience. They not only aim for music lovers but also a particular group - hip-hop music lovers.
From product name (Beats) to the co-founder name (Dr. Dre), it is all about hip-hop when thinking of Beats by Dre. And they know how to present this on Instagram.
3. Create a great bio and profile
Well, your brand page is the public face and backbone of your presence on Instagram - and there’s a lot of things to do with your bio and profile.
Two-thirds of business profile visits are from non-followers, so your profile needs to prompt them to click the follow button. They will not do so if your profile is incomplete, unclear, and unappealing.
Your profile should include:
- Name. Up to 30 characters, and included in the search box; hence, you may want to add a keyword.
- Username. Try to make it the same as your other social media channels. This can make it easy for users to identify and find your brand.
- Bio. Up to 150 characters to convey your brand identity and show new visitors why they should follow you.
- Contact details. You should also add some vital contact options, such as “call,” “email,” and “directions.” These will show up as clickable buttons on your profile.
Many Instagram pages are half-complete or abandoned after being set up, littering the web with junk. Don’t be that person!
4. Use the right hashtags
Your goal is to engage your current audience on a regular basis while also growing the number of real followers on Instagram. Posting the latest, interesting, and engaging photos will satisfy the first requirement. However, to begin growing, you’ll find using the right hashtags extremely crucial.
Before applying hashtags to attract more Instagram followers, make sure you know the below DOs and DON’Ts.
DO: Find and use popular hashtags
Just like on Twitter and other social sites, users on Instagram use certain hashtags in their posts. By using popular Instagram hashtags, you are much more likely to expose your image to a broad and targeted audience.
Below are the current top 15 hashtags on Instagram for your reference:
- #love (1,807,764,514)
- #instagood (1,131,387,157)
- #fashion (799,007,827)
- #photooftheday (784,248,471)
- #beautiful (652,733,812)
- #art (633,113,921)
- #happy (573,470,715)
- #picoftheday (564,517,173)
- #cute (562,420,909)
- #followme (523,576,578)
- #like4like (513,936,088)
- #repost (465,193,486)
- #summer (450,247,162)
- #instadaily (437,894,685)
- #selfie (420,047,708)
The most popular hashtags do change from time to time, so you should keep an eye on the latest stats.
DO: Use relevant hashtags
Using popular hashtags is one thing, but using the relevant and right hashtags is an entirely different thing. This means conducting the proper research to ensure you are using hashtags that not only describe exactly your brand but are also being looked for on Instagram.
You can combine both popular hashtags and specific hashtags that are specific to your photo, product, or business. For instance, if you are targeting to the men’s products, you can add these hashtags within your posts: #yourbrandname #fashion #instafashion #mensfashion #menaccessories #mensgoods #mensstyle #menswear
With many free online tools, such as IconoSquare, Websta to start, Display Purpose, Focalmark, and Autohash, you can quickly get relevant and quality hashtags for your Instagram posts.
DON’T: Go overboard
Using too many hashtags can confuse and distract your audiences and dilute your brand message. It can also come off as desperate, or worse, spammy.
DON’T: Forget to use hashtags in Stories
By doing that, your stories on Instagram have a chance to be seen by both users who are following that hashtag and anyone just checking it out.
5. Use geotags for local discoverability
Apart from hashtags, you can also make your posts and Stories discoverable by tagging your location, either the city you are in or the venue where the image or video was taken.
Many studies found that Instagram posts with both hashtags and a location tag can get the highest average engagement. So, any time there is a definite location element in your post or Story, it’s worth adding a location tag.
If your company has a physical location, make sure to tag it, and encourage your audiences to do the same. By clicking on that location, users can see all photos and Stories posted from your office, store, and restaurant. This can help enhance your brand and Instagram account to more and more people.
6. Post at the right time
As a matter of fact, there is not a universal best time to post on Instagram. Instead, every brand and industry has its own best times to post. You have yours, too!
So, the possible best time for you to post on Instagram is when your followers are most active and engaged. You can read this guide to find more information about your best posting times, as well as how to schedule your posts to get the highest engagement rate.
Besides, we also recommend that you should start testing various times and measuring results. For example, if you are a retail brand, you might want to test posting on the weekends and during commute times when people are not at work.
7. Share engaging content
Rather than a chronological feed, Instagram uses an algorithm to enhance the way we engage with content. Instagram figures out how ‘good’ content is based on user engagement and prioritizes it to audiences who are likely to engage with it.
So, everything you post must be interesting and exciting to keep your target audience stay and read. Here are some small but powerful tips for you to keep in mind:
- Place the most important words upfront. Remember that captions in users’ feeds cut off after a few lines of text, so deliver the most appealing information right off the top.
- Try emoji. Emoji is a good choice to help draw the user’s eye and can work well for most types of accounts on this visual social platform.
- Ask a question. This makes room for your audiences to leave a comment. The more they engage in, the more visible your account will become.
- Try various caption lengths. Instagram allows long-form captions; hence, you can test out some in-depth storytelling if your post warrants it. Short-form captions can also work very well when the visuals speak for themselves.
- Find high-quality stock images. Although stock images have got a bit of a bad rep recently, that’s not to say you shouldn’t be using them! In fact, they can grab audience attention and boost customer engagement.
- Spice things up with video content. Engagement is experiencing a faster growth for videos than for images. In addition to posting pre-recorded videos, don’t forget to utilize Instagram Live video. Nothing can say “authenticity” like live video, which can create trust among your followers.
8. Hop on trends
When the opportunity comes to your brand, aligning your content with trending topics or hashtags can dramatically improve engagement and discoverability.
For instance, you can follow the wave of a trending topic or event in a relevant way to boost your reach and engagement. Or you can participate in popular hashtag holidays that exist, such as #InternationalWomensDay (falling on March 8th every year). You can mark relevant events in your calendar so that you can prepare relevant content in advance.
Make sure to join the conversation in a meaningful way, and if, in doubt, you should ask yourself if your target audiences would actually pay attention to the trend.
9. Engage your followers
As stated above, according to the Instagram algorithm, engagement is one of the most significant considerations (perhaps the top!) when determining how many users to show a post to.
Remember that the more engagement a post has, the more people will see it in their newsfeed. If your post’s performance is good enough, chances are it can appear on the “Explore” page, reach even more people, and gain more followers.
The best practice to engage your followers is by liking, replying, or reacting to their comments in your posts. When done with a personal touch, it becomes amazingly effective. Out of 100 contacts, you might find nearly one third will follow you back.
You can learn this tactic from Chipotle, an American fast-casual restaurant chain that serves Mexican-inspired food. Instead of relying much on traditional media, Chipotle marketing strategies circle a significant online and social media presence.
The brand is truly ‘social’ as they know how to create a personal bond with their fans on Instagram. Their posts speak a genuine millennial voice, which seems like your best friend, rather than a $5.6 billion revenue burrito chain.
Chipotle really understands that each customer is an individual with a specific personality behind, and the brand tries to engage with them in friendly and interactive conversations.
10. Share your Instagram account in other communications
Whether online or offline, all communication tools give you an opportunity to direct people to your Instagram account.
So, make sure to add links to your Instagram account on your website, in your online newsletters, and your email signature. This will help people who are already in contact with your brand to find you easily on other channels.
If you are promoting your new Instagram account, a quick email blast highlighting some amazing posts is a great way to get Instagram followers quickly. However, don’t spam too much, or chances are readers will move your email to the trash right before they read it!
11. Promote your Instagram profile on other social networks
Cross-posting your content to other social media channels is a no-brainer to get even more of an ROI (Return on Investment) out of your Instagram presence. In other words, you should make your Instagram profile easily discoverable.
If you have already built the following base on other social networks, let your followers know about your Instagram account. Share a link and give them an appealing reason to check it out. (e.g., an Instagram-exclusive coupon code.)
For instance, the major automotive and industrial supplier Schaeffler Group has more than 150,000 followers on LinkedIn. And when they launched their Instagram account, they obviously chose to promote it to that existing group of potential followers.
If you are just creating your Instagram account, make sure to post something before you promote the account elsewhere. Aim for 12 posts, at least.
Though cross-promotion is believed to be a smart move, bear in mind that each social channel has its own best practices. For instance, Instagram tends to go heavier on the visuals and hashtags while you might want to craft an entirely different description for content posted to Facebook. So, keep an eye on it while cross-promoting!
12. Follow other relevant users
When you follow a user on Instagram, there is a high possibility that they will check out your feed. If your profile is full of compelling content that is relevant to their interests, they are likely to return the favor.
However, you shouldn’t follow too many accounts at the same time, as your follower ratio is essential for credibility.
In addition, you can tag Instagram users in your posts with an @-mention in your caption or use the tagging functionality on Instagram. Tagging someone encourages them to engage with your post and share it with their own following.
Besides, when you tag someone on Instagram Stories, they can share that content to their own story with just a few clicks. If they do so, anyone who watches their Story can see your user name and click through to your account easily.
13. Explore influencer marketing
Optimizing all the posts is great, but if you really want to make a breakthrough, you need to make use of influencer marketing on Instagram, which can expose your brand to a broader audience.
Unlike the previous tactics to grow your account, this one usually is not free. However, if done well, it is worthwhile. Because influencers often have engaging followings, they have the power to send active and purchase-ready customers direct to your door.
So, to get started, you need to make a list of major accounts in your niche. For instance, if you sell skincare products, you will want to find large accounts from beauty bloggers.
There are two things to consider when you look for appropriate influencers for your brand. They should have:
- A large number of followers, usually from 20,000 to 200,000
- An email address attached in the profile.
If they have their email address in the profile, it usually means they are willing to sponsor posts or a shoutout in a sponsored Story. You will then want to email them and ask them about their sponsored post pricing.
In case you are selling an original and unique product, you may want to send them your product to review and post. The more natural and less advertisement-like the post, the higher engagement, and response will be.
14. Consider Instagram advertising
Instagram ads are an undoubtedly powerful way to reach more new followers by placing your content in front of audiences who would otherwise not see it. You can target your audience by location, demographics, key behaviors, and interests.
In fact, Instagram offers different ad formats, including photo, video, Stories, carousel, collection, explore, IGTV, and Instagram Shopping ads. You should choose the one that matches well with the message you want to deliver.
Take the French kitchenware company - Le Creuset as an example. When entering the Israeli market in 2016, Le Creuset wanted to build brand awareness and boost sales during the busy holiday period. By using Instagram ads, the brand reached 70% of its targeted Instagram audience within two months, and 100% of the in-store sales goal in only one month.
15. Run giveaways and contests
One of the most effective ways you can get more followers on any social media channels, not just Instagram, is asking your followers to comment and tag their friends. These comments significantly contribute to your engagement rate, which in turn makes it favorable to the Instagram algorithm. Besides, each tag brings you a new audience who arrives through a recommendation and who you are likely to win over as a follower.
For even greater reach, you can partner with another Instagram account on the giveaway or contest, and ask participants to follow both accounts. The Abbotsford Tulip Festival often cooperates with local businesses for giveaways, which increases exposure for both accounts.
Besides, make sure that your giveaways should follow Instagram’s promotion guidelines and any legal requirements for running contests that apply in your country of operation.
16. Learn from Instagram Insights
This Instagram analytics tool provides businesses all of the essential data about their account and how their posts perform. It gives you useful information about your followers to help you build a big picture of those who take an interest in you.
It presents your performance on Instagram over the last week, such as a change in followers, the number of posts, reach, website clicks, and email clicks. Then, it gives you demographics breakdowns of your followers, including their gender, ages, locations by cities and countries, and the time when they are most active.
From that, you can realize which areas need your adjustments and improvements to get more real followers for your brand.
The bottom line
And, you have reached the end of our guide! In this post, we’ve talked about the top 16 strategies to use Instagram to establish a targeted following. As with any network, the most effective tactic overall is to be social and authentic.
Of course, Instagram is not always suitable for every brand, but if you want to connect with the young, trendy, and ambitious, it should become an integral part of your social media strategy. A billion people out there are waiting for your next breathtaking photos and fascinating videos. So, don’t hesitate, just start right now!