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These days, having an Instagram account to compliment your blog or business and get your content seen is a must. But the Insta world, with over one billion active users per month, can often feel overwhelming to those trying to attract, grow and keep followers.
But have no fear! You’ve come to the right place! This post offers an easy list of 10, practical things you can do to grow real Instagram followers who will stick around and interact with your account.
The opinions and advice offered in this post are solely those of the author’s. This post is not sponsored or endorsed by Instagram in any way. You can read my full disclosure.
Grow Your Instagram Following
1. Register for a Business account
There are a few reasons to have a public, business account rather than a personal one.
First of all, it allows people to find and follow you more easily.
With a business account, Instagram will suggest you as someone to follow for other bloggers or business owners with similar accounts.
Second, it gives you access to Instagram’s insights or analytics.
If you want to know your more about who is following you, when they are active on Instagram and what type of content and stories they are liking and engaging with the most, then you will want access to these Instagram analytics. Below are a few screenshots taken from my page’s insights.
Third, if you have an interest in paying even a small amount to advertise a product or post, then you must have a business account to create a promotion.
If you’d like more information on how to transition your account to a business one, check out Instagram’s Help Center.
2. Post regularly.
Successful Instagram accounts are posting 1-3 times a day. You don’t want people to forget who you are, right? So make sure you show your “face” or feed consistently.
I recently took several months off around the holidays and my Instagram following suffered. Once I started back up, posting once or twice per day, it has grown by about 100 new followers each month.
3. Know YOUR audience.
Post relevant content that appeals to your existing followers or the people who you would want to follow you.
Not sure who that might be?
Ask yourself, who am I trying to talk to and appeal to? Is it moms? Dads? Millennials? Those trying to eat healthy and lose weight? People who love to knit? Whoever it is, make sure your posts are relevant to your niche.
For me and my feed, the answer to that question is clearly moms.
Also, you can register for a business account (see #1) and use Instagram’s Insights to help you learn more about your current followers.
If you look at some of my screen shots above you will see that my followers are between the ages of 25 and 44 and 88% of them are women.
Still have no idea what to post? Read my 15 Content ideas for Instagram when you don’t know what to post.
4. Be present.
Don’t post and Ghost.
Check in regularly and spend some time on the platform each day or a few times throughout the day. Nothing too crazy but 10 minutes here and 10 minutes there when you can squeeze it in.
It’s important to interact with other accounts rather than just expecting followers to only comment on and like your content.
Other accounts are much less likely to unfollow you if you are present and active, engaging with their accounts and sharing the love.
Like, comment, share and give shout outs to people and products you like in your feed or story. Tag them!
Also, make sure to respond as quickly as possible to comments and messages. Ideally, response time should be within the first 24 hours but ASAP is best.
5. Update you Instagram Story
Add to your Stories daily and utilize the Instagram story polls, questions, stickers, hashtags and mentions to get more eyes on your content and stimulate even more engagement.
6. Make captions creative and eye-catching.
A caption is the little blurb you can add along with the image you are posting to give your followers more info on what they are seeing.
In my opinion, captions don’t always need to be long to be awesome.
Short, direct captions that stir up emotions, provoke a laugh, make people do a double-take or entice them to read more are best.
It’s hard to know exactly what to write. To see examples and get some ideas, follow some really successful Instagramers in your niche to see what they’re doing.
7. Use Hashtags
Use hashtags to get more eyes on your posts. Instagram will let you use 30. If you exceed that, your comment or caption will not be posted.
If you need a visual, below is a recent picture I posted as well as a screen shot of the caption and hashtags I used.
You can see I put most of the hashtags in the first comment of the post rather than in the caption. You can do either but putting them in the first comment just hides them and makes things look a bit cleaner.
Instagram users can search for hashtags. That means that if someone searches #parentinghumor then the photos posted with that hashtag in the caption or comments will pop up.
Because #parentinghumor is so widely used, I had to scroll but found a recent meme I made and posted with that hashtag.
People can also follow hashtags. Thus, if someone follows #parentinghumor then the top performing posts with the #parentinghumor hashtag will periodically show up on their home page.
8. Make your feed attractive.
Do your best here.
I personally feel that it does not have to be picture perfect to be follow-worthy. You do not need to pay big bucks to have your photos taken by a professional or have an outside company makeover your feed with the same filter/color scheme.
Do try, however, to make it consistent and clean with bright, well-lit photos. Dark pictures don’t do great on the gram.
In my feed I have chosen to do a grid pattern of picture, picture, meme. It is more pleasing to the eye to have all the non-photo images on my feed line up vertically in one column.
9. Tag others often
People and products love to be recognized! If you really enjoy something, then talk about it! Even if you’re not getting paid to do so.
Or, if someone posts something you want to re-share then do so in your feed or story but make sure you tag them. Maybe even invite your followers to follow them.
They will greatly appreciate it and, who knows, maybe it will lead them to tag you in something of theirs later on down the road.
What’s more, tagging others gets more eyes on YOUR content. How? When you tag someone or a brand, it will show up in the tagged photos section on their profile page. Tagged photos pop up when you click on the icon seen below.
10. Call followers to act
Always include a call to action in your caption. A call to action can be asking your followers a question, inviting them to tag a friend or enticing them to comment with their opinion on a certain topic. Below is an example from my feed.
What’s the point? Calls to action provoke people to comment, engage and have conversations over and about your content.
The Instagram algorithm LOOOOOOOOVES this. And when the Instagram algorithm loves something, it will put priority on your content, allowing more eyes to see it and attracting more potential followers.
Good luck everyone! I know it can be frustrating and overwhelming at times but keep at it! Experiment with a few things and check your insights to see which posts get the most engagement and followers. Those are the posts you want to be consistently sharing.
You got this!