Are you struggling to grow on Instagram?
Well, you’re not alone.
As more and more people get on the platform, it will be even more difficult to grow on it.
Unless you have some evergreen tips which will never go out of fashion.
In this actionable article, we put together a list of 10 best practices that will help you GROW ON INSTAGRAM organically and authentically.
10 ways to get more followers on Instagram
1. Optimise Your Profile
Let’s assume you post awesome content.
- High-quality videos.
- High-quality pictures.
- Engaging carousels.
Everything is top-notch. But, you miss out on optimizing your profile.
Do you know what happens because of that?
People click out. They don’t press that juicy blue button you so dearly want them to click.
So, optimising your profile is the first most important thing you must do. Your Instagram bio tells potential followers who you are, what you’re about, and what action you hope people will take after visiting your profile.
What should your ideal profile include?
- A sleek, clear profile image
- A clear description of what the account is about
- A call-to-action (contact-info, read more, shop)
- A link(very important)
Think of your bio as the “homepage” for your account: it should immediately communicate to your audience that this is your brand’s real, authentic account.
In a nutshell, make the most of your bio.
Here are some more examples of famous creators you can look at:
1. Gary Vaynerchuk (@garyvee)
2. Joe Rogan (@joerogan)
Both, Gary and Joe have clearly mentioned who they are in their bio.
Both of them have sleek and clear profile pictures.
And, both of them have provided their followers with a call-to-action.
2. Post Consistently
You must have already heard this a lot of times. But, look – the algorithm doesn’t reward the inconsistent. In these times, where attention spans are getting lower and lower, you need to stay relevant.
And how do you stay relevant?
– By posting consistently
The theory here is pretty simple: the more content you post, the more opportunities you have to be shared and discovered. This does not mean that you should prioritize quantity over quality. However, this means that you should post enough quality content that potential followers see that you’re active on the platform.
According to a recent Tailwind Study, profiles that post regularly gain Instagram followers faster than those that post irregularly.
Okay, all that is fine. But, how many times a week should I post?
It really depends on you.
There are some creators who post once every day. That means, they post 7 times a week.
Some creators don’t have a schedule for posting. Sometimes they post multiple times a day, and sometimes they post only once.
There are people who also believe that posting multiple times a day is bad.
Because it doesn’t give your content the necessary time to breathe.
So, the advice for you will be – post at least once a day and experiment with posting multiple times a day. And do more what brings you great results.
3. Encourage conversations and respond to comments
Engagement is super essential for growth on Instagram.
People fuss a lot about the number of likes, but really, they should focus on the “comments”.
If you want to grow on Instagram, you need to engage your followers in conversations.
So, firstly you should encourage comments.
- Ask questions
- Post stuff that people can’t resist commenting on
- Post stuff that is controversial only if it is an anonymous account (go easy on this)
To encourage even more people to comment, pin top comments on your posts.
Now, you should respond to each and every comment. Every comment is an opportunity to gain a new follower (or keep a current one), so it’s in your interest to respond to each comment you receive.
Here are some types of comments and how you should respond to them:
– Compliment Your Post:
These are the most common types of comments you’ll receive on your posts. People may appreciate the beauty of the image, the artistic composition of the photo, the value of the quote, or some other aspect.
If the person is genuinely complimenting your post, respond in a thankful manner. Something as simple as “Thank you!” or “Thanks!” or “Glad you liked this one!” will make them feel included. If they called out specifics or got detailed in their comments, responding with a similar level of personalization is the way to go. In these situations, the extra step makes you more genuine and relatable.
– Respond to Your Question:
Have you asked your audience a question? Or have you asked them to tag people or perform some action on your post?
If you did, you should respond to them and thank them for their response. And possibly you could ask questions about the reasons for their answers.
I cannot particularly tell you the exact way you should respond since that depends on the question you asked. But, something like “I hadn’t tried that yet” or “What a clever suggestion” or “I really like that idea” in response to their comment is a good way to acknowledge their comment.
That is the point of asking questions in your Posts and Captions. And that’s the ‘social’ part of social media.
If someone asked you a question regarding anything, you MUST respond to it as you see fit. If you think the question is genuine and within your scope of addressing, you should respond with an answer.
If the question requires a more personalised approach that you don’t want to publicly address in your post, reply to their comment saying that you’ll take the conversations forward in the DMs.
4. Publish Stories
Instagram is not only about publishing posts. It’s also about so many other features it offers.
One of which is Instagram Stories.
Stories strike a benefit that’s two-fold. By regularly publishing them, you not only “jump the line” of your followers’ feeds by showing up on their homepage every time you post a new Story, but you also depict that you regularly post content.
You can also boost your engagement through Stories. Include polls, or ask questions through your stories – when people react to these actions, you are getting engagement.
Now, what should you post stories about?
Post about where you are.
Post about what you’re doing.
Post about what interests you.
And most importantly –
It’s called ‘Stories’ for a reason.
Bonus: Put your posts on Stories to get more engagement. (Instagram Stories have a much higher rate of getting viewed than the posts)
5. Niche down early and then expand out
Early on, you will be recognised by your niche. People will follow you because you post on a specific topic. So, keep doing that until you have a decent following when you can experiment with expanding your niche.
Post enough content on one topic that people recognise you by the topic. Then expand.
What exactly does that mean?
Let’s say you like to create content on a lot of topics – Marketing, Psychology, Startups, Finance and a lot of other things.
But, should you create content about all of them early on.
Stick to one thing first. Let’s pick Marketing.
Start posting content only about marketing.
After you reach 10k or 50k – start posting about other stuff.
The journey from 0 – 10k is difficult. But, don’t keep second-guessing yourself about the niche of content you’re creating. Stick with it.
Look at the bubble above.
The niche content you’re creating early on is the bubble. The bubble is your world for now.
Once you cross a certain threshold of followers, burst the bubble.
Suddenly, now you the whole world is yours to talk about.
6. Take inspiration from other creators in your niche
Look, when you try to reinvent the wheel, you’re known by it. But, it also takes a lot of time.
So, if you don’t have a lot of time at hand, go seek inspiration from what others are doing and post stuff that is already working.
This way you will have a higher chance of growing quicker.
Austin Kleon famously said, “Nothing is original.”
So, why are you feeling ashamed of taking inspiration from others’ content?
Go do it.
You won’t be the first person to do it, nor will you be the last.
7. Use hashtags
First of all, why do you need them?
- Hashtags make your content easier to find.
- Hashtags encourage audience interactions.
- Hashtags give you industry insights.
How should you use them?
Let’s say you’re posting content about “Marketing”.
When you post, include some popular and general hashtags in the caption. Suppose you post a Reel – you could include hashtags like #reels or # reelitfeelit or #explore or #trending.
Then in the first comment, you should include hashtags that relate to your Reel. In your case, that would be #marketing or #digitalmarketing or #branding and on the list goes. But, make sure it doesn’t look spammy. We all know what spam looks like – so think from the other perspective there.
8. Experiment with different types of content
Instagram has become so much more than photos. There are Reels, there is IGTV, there are Carousel Posts. There’s so much variety right at the base that it becomes easy to experiment with content.
Hence, don’t just stick to one format. Try out different features.
If you’ve never made a Reel, make it.
If you’ve never made a Carousel Post, make it.
If you’ve never made an IGTV Video, make it.
And this doesn’t only concern with the format, but the content as well. Experiment with different content. For example, if you post about marketing – try creating content about psychology. If you’re not entirely sure, ask your audience. The loyal ones will respond, So, now cater to the content people asked you to make.
Mixing up your Instagram content allows you to reach people with different preferences, and that extended reach helps you boost your Instagram followers.
According to an article by Sprout Social, here is the type of content consumers want to engage with.
9. Write nice captions
Remember: Most people follow you because they want to engage with your content in some way.
Therefore, spend time writing compelling captions.
Write captions that:
- Ask a question
- Tell a story
- Answer questions
Anything that drives activity on your posts, is welcome, right?
So, start with writing great captions. NOW.
Look at what GoPro does:
They run a campaign called “Photo of the Day” and they post a lot under this campaign.
The photo draws in the reader, but the caption encourages engagement and gives more personality to the brand. The phrase “Land’s end”’ appeals to the reader’s sense of adventure and the desire to explore this sensational planet.
Relatability or craziness determines how your content performs from the engagement point of view. Here, exploring beautiful but dangerous places is craziness for most people. That is why this post increases the chance of people engaging with GoPro’s content and also positions the brand as a lifestyle instead of just a camera.
10. Analyse your results
This is very important – in life as well as anywhere else.
So, in order for you to grow on Instagram and get new followers, it’s important to monitor what your current followers respond to.
Conquer the existing followers, then go and win new ones.
And, don’t obsess over vanity metrics that are irrelevant. If you developed a strategy to reach a certain audience that is currently not following you, don’t obsess over the likes you get on that post. Why? Because it’s not made for people who are currently following you, yeah? The reach and the new followers are useful metrics here.
Watch for patterns. If a certain kind of post gets more impressions or engagement, post more of those posts and see how your followers respond to them. If certain hashtags garner you more new followers, use those hashtags often.
That’s how you grow.
Analyse what’s performing the best → Do more of it → Try something new.