How to Get More Instagram Followers

Growing an Instagram followership can be a daunting and challenging task; you can’t just post pictures from time to time and call it a day. Besides, such an easy approach is tedious and not at all effective.

But what's even worse is when your hard work doesn’t get enough response - people don’t like or comment on your posts, which might be confusing and frustrating. This is why growing your Instagram followers takes a lot of time and effort.

It goes without saying that before actually growing your Instagram account, you should determine your goals, build a marketing plan, and research your competitors to realize if you need Instagram as a marketing platform at all.

If you have done all of the above, you can now take the next step: growing your followers.

In this guide, you will learn 14 ways how to get more Instagram followers and make them interact with your content.

In a nutshell, here’s what you should do in 2021 and beyond to increase your followers on Instagram:

  1. Optimize your Instagram account.
  2. Use the right hashtags.
  3. Use a content calendar.
  4. Leverage IGTV.
  5. Use influencer marketing.
  6. Cross-promote your content on other platforms.
  7. Use AR masks.
  8. Communicate.
  9. Write lengthy captions.
  10. Build your own Instagram aesthetics.
  11. Use locations.
  12. Post at the right times.
  13. Reach your competitors’ audience.
  14. Be creative with content.

Now, let’s take a closer look at how you can get more Instagram followers in 2021 and beyond.

Optimize Your Instagram Account

Instagram is a social media platform, but who said SEO optimization couldn’t be helpful there? In fact, when you leverage your SEO skills for your Instagram profile, you have higher chances of getting discovered by your potential clients.

To optimize your Instagram account, you need to focus on your nickname, hashtags, location tags, bio keywords, captions keywords and the Alt Text function.

Example of an IG account

Let’s start with a username. Your Instagram handle should be short, clear and easy to remember. Ideally, if it also has a major keyword reflecting your business, for example, @flowershop_nyc or it can be your brand name.

Avoid including irrelevant symbols and numbers in your username; otherwise, it will be hard for others to understand what you implied

Try to make your username sound like a search query of your typical target customer.

Hashtags, locations, and captions are what we will talk about below but now let’s dig deeper into your bio.

Your Instagram bio is the right place to put relevant keywords — both primary and secondary. But don’t include too many keywords, and keep it easy-to-digest. Your profile bio helps your potential clients discover you on Instagram.

If you optimize it properly, your page will appear on the top search results.

Not many Instagram users know about a handy SEO feature Instagram has - Alt Text. This feature was initially created to let visually impaired people enjoy Instagram content. Marketers now use it for optimization.

Alt Text option

To find this tool, start posting a new publication and scroll down the screen on the page with a caption. At the bottom of the page, you’ll see Advanced Settings. Press it and head over to the bottom of the page until you find Write Alt Text. Click on it and create a brief description of what’s in your image.

Start the automatic IG Stories viewing. Click the round button with the Instagram Stories logo at the bottom of the Users window.

Along with this step, don’t forget to publish sharp and high-quality pictures so that the Instagram algorithm can identify what your image depicts. It’s vital since Instagram will suggest the content to people who search for similar posts.

Use Right Hashtags

It goes without saying that you should use only those hashtags that are relevant to your business. On social media, hashtags are search queries, so you want to make sure that your hashtags will help your potential customers find you.

If you spam and use hashtags that have nothing to do with your post, you will hardly grow followership using them.

That being said, your content is just not what people expect to see when looking for posts by this particular hashtag. That’s why it’s essential to use hashtags that are relevant to your post.

Check what hashtags your competitors or accounts with similar content use. Don’t choose popular tags — those with over 100,000 posts. Otherwise, your content will disappear in the content feed.

Before choosing which hashtags to use in your posts, do some research. Combin Growth will help you find the exact hashtags which suit your business. With Combin Growth, you can also discover which hashtags your competitors use.

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To help people navigate through your content and share user-generated content, you can use branded hashtags. Thus you’ll create a loyal community around your brand and help new customers discover you on Instagram.

But avoid adding banned or hidden hashtags. Otherwise, you might get shadowbanned.

Use Content Calendar

To attract more followers, you need to understand that your Instagram page should look appealing and cohesive. But this can’t be achieved overnight. The best way to make your Instagram grid and content more consistent is to create a content calendar.

By making a content plan, you will control which content you post, which time you choose for posting, which hashtags you use, captions you write and so on.

Such a calendar is quite helpful when you need to work with lots of content and need to structure it. Planning your Instagram posts and stories, you will manage the whole strategy and spend less time on content creation. Just think: with a content calendar, you can plan a month of posts in just 30 minutes!

It’s a lot easier to do with Combin Scheduler, a free Instagram content planner. With Combin Scheduler, you can create optimized captions, make different groups of hashtags and edit your current Instagram campaign — days and weeks before actual publication.

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To meet your business goals, publish as often as you can and maintain a consistent posting frequency. There is no ideal posting regularity and no perfect time to distribute the content, but you can find yours while testing various approaches.

Use IGTV

IGTV or Instagram TV is not a novelty already but still, not many brands and influencers leverage its full potential. What is known for sure is that IGTV isn’t going anywhere since Instagram keeps on developing it: monetization for creators and IGTV series are just some of the updates IGTV has had this year.

People love watching videos. They are engaging and are a lot easier to digest than text content. So why not give it a try and start making videos for Instagram? Especially now, when IGTV has a special tab on the Explore page, meaning that users can discover your content just by browsing other videos.

If you want to take your content game to the next level, you can leverage the IGTV Series and create a series of episodes that your followers will tune in like they do watching shows on Netflix.

Leverage Influencer Marketing

Influencer marketing has been an absolute trend during the past couple of years. Indeed, with so many potentially relevant influencers from different niches, it’s now a lot easier for brands to reach their target audience of all ages.

Besides, influencer marketing is not always a pricey way of getting Instagram followers. Some influencers, such as nano-, micro- or local influencers don’t charge a fortune for sponsored posts and stories, so you will surely find some that suit your goal.

But before reaching out to influencers, you need to do thorough research on their content, the way they communicate with their followers and ask for their page stats.

You need to be sure that these influencers are relevant to your business, your goals, audience and values.

You don’t want to spend money on sponsored posts that will not resonate, so be sure the audience of an influencer you’ve chosen is your target one. Learn how to find influencers for your Instagram account with Combin Growth.

Cross-promote Your Content

If you’re active on other social media platforms apart from Instagram, have your website or a blog, you should definitely use these channels to grow your Instagram followers.

Whether it’d be a YouTube channel, TikTok account, a blog on Medium, email newsletter or just a website, don’t miss out on telling your customers that you now have an Instagram account as well.

To tell your website visitors about your new Instagram account, you can build your account grid into your website design or at least add social buttons.

Don’t forget to cross-promote your brand Instagram page on your personal account if you have one. This will not only attract more followers to your main account but will also look trustworthy because now your potential customers will see an actual face standing behind your brand.

Use AR Masks

Augmented reality or AR masks and filters are yet another social media trend that is not going anywhere. And though cute Snapchat-like AR masks are not new on Instagram, this year they’ve gained momentum since Instagram has made it possible for everyone to create such effects; brands, influencers and regular users included.

Now brands can create their own AR masks where an object can be not a face only, but their product as well. AR masks easily go viral, so even a no-name brand can get its audience thanks to them.

All you need to do for it is to have a little time and basic skills in Facebook’s Spark AR Studio. Some brands that have already jumped to the bandwagon are ASOS, Kylie Cosmetics, Gucci Beauty, Adidas, and others.

Communicate

This might sound obvious that brands should communicate with their audience on Instagram, but in reality, not all of them do it. By communicating, we mean not only answering questions asked by followers but also commenting on their posts, replying to their stories, responding to them in DM, posting stories with question stickers, have giveaways and so on.

Surely, commenting on every post of every of your followers is daunting and even impossible to do as the followership grows. Still, it’s an effective way to get several hundred followers at the very beginning.

That takes too much time to do manually, so Combin Growth can do it for you automatically. With the tool, you can send multiple different comments in-bulk just in a couple of clicks.

Multiple Comments

With a little time and effort invested at the beginning, you will grow a loyal community around your brand.

Write Longer Captions

Instagram is not all about visuals today. The quality of your visual content is still a must, but this year, we’ve seen a trend on lengthy Instagram captions that engage and tell a story.

Longer captions allow you to be open to your audience, be transparent about your brand, its goals, values and mission. So don’t forget to write lengthier captions to your Instagram posts. Yes, this can be quite challenging at times, but try to give your followers a bit more than just a fancy package from time to time.

Share with your followers what you have in mind, and you’ll see that this will help you build stronger relationships with them, attract new fans and retain those who are already with you.

Build Your Own Instagram Aesthetics

Though now Instagram is not that visually-focused as it was when it first started, the visual aesthetics of your account will definitely do no harm. On the contrary, when your grid looks coherent and appealing, you will attract more followers to your page who will be glad to see your little masterpieces in their feed.

Users typically need just a couple of seconds to decide if they want to follow your account or not. And with appealing visual aesthetics, this decision will be made to your benefit.

And the good news is that you don’t have to be a professional designer to build a beautiful Instagram account. You only need to choose a color palette for your page and maintain the aesthetics of your page.

In free Combin Scheduler, you can style your Instagram grid layout and preview how the upcoming posts will look like together with those already published.

Grid Overview

If what you see is not to your liking, you can easily change the way posts are going to go live, edit them and then return to the grid preview.

Use Locations

If your business is geographically bound to a street, city or a country, we strongly recommend you tag locations in your posts. This will help you attract followers that live nearby and look for services or products you’re offering.

But even online businesses or those who offer international shipping shouldn’t disregard location tags. On the contrary, you should tag different locations from time to time to attract people from those areas. And if you want to have fun, you can create your own custom location and tag it.

Post at Right Times

When you only start growing your Instagram account, you don’t know when exactly to publish your posts, and that’s fine. You should assume when your target audience is more likely active.

When you already have followers, however, Instagram will give you insights when your followers are most active. To see those insights, you have to switch your Instagram account to Business or Creator.

Audience Statistics

If you know the time when your audience is active, you can assume when a similar target audience that doesn’t yet follow you is active as well. Then, if your followers engage with your post, it has all the chances to appear on the Explore Page and attract a new audience that will find your content interesting.

Speaking of the post frequency, it’s all up to you. Some businesses post up to three times a day but the following and engagement are low. Others publish three times a week and nail it with their content.

Though there are some general recommendations on when it’s best to post on Instagram, they might not work for your business and your audience, especially if your followers are from different cities, countries or even continents.

If your audience is diverse, you should be ready to post when it’s not entirely convenient for you. To help you publish content at the right time without a necessity being online 24/7, you can use Instagram content planners, such as free Combin Scheduler.

Reach Your Competitors’ Followers

If you don’t know where to start, begin with researching your competitors and their followers on Instagram. Find your competitors that have large followership. These followers are your potential customers, so it would be a crime not to reach them.

It’s a lot easier to do with Combin Growth. With the app, you can not only find followers of your competitors but to detect the most active ones - likers and commenters, and engage with them in-app.

When liking or commenting on these users’ posts, don’t be too pushy and try to sell your products right away. Just communicate with them: answer their questions, like and reply to their comments. Thus you’ll draw their attention and make them visit your profile. Who knows, maybe they will be your clients afterward?

Be Creative with Content!

Last but so not least. If you want to attract as many followers as possible, retain your current audience, and keep it engaged, don’t let them get bored. You need to experiment with content all the time and try different types that Instagram offers - feed posts, carousels, videos, stories, IGTV, stories stickers, Instagram Live, giveaways, etc.

Don’t forget to use Highlights and pin all relevant and useful information there so that your followers could easily find it.

Don’t be afraid to ask your followers what they want to see next: maybe, they want a story about how your brand started, Q&A session, live stream or a video guide.

Also, don’t be shy to ask followers to share their opinions and review on your products and mark such posts with your branded hashtag. Thus, you will have user-generated content stockpiled.

Analyse your content performance within Instagram insights: this will help you realize what posts worked best for your audience and which ones had no response at all.

How to Increase Instagram Followers: Don’ts

  • Don’t buy fake followers, bots, fake likes and comments.
  • Don’t let irrelevant people follow you: purge your Followers tab from time to time and remove ghost followers who are not your target audience or look like bots.
  • Don’t collaborate with irrelevant influencers and bloggers.
  • Don’t participate in engagement groups; Instagram easily detects such fraudulent activity.
  • Don’t host giveaways too much and don’t offer generic prizes, such as iPhones, cars and so on. Offer something business-specific instead.
  • Don’t spam with comments, posts and Direct messages.

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