The Essential Do’s and Don’ts of Increasing Your Instagram Follower Count

May 21, 2020 by Rafaella Aguiar

Last Updated: May 29, 2020

Are you struggling to increase your Instagram follower count? Having as many high-quality followers as possible is a must for brands who market on Instagram. The more followers you have, the more people who can get to know your brand and hopefully become customers.

However, not all brands go about getting Instagram followers the right way. Save yourself time by increasing your Instagram followers using smart, proven methods that can up your Instagram follower count and your engagement. Here are the do’s and don’ts of getting more Instagram followers.

Scheduling Your Posts

The time of day you share posts and stories on Instagram has a lot to do with how quickly and steadily your account grows. Here are the do’s and don’ts of scheduling your posts as it pertains to Instagram follower count.

Scheduling Do’s

Do find the optimal time to post based on your analytics and audience. The “right” time of day to post on Instagram is going to look different for each brand, so you’ll need to do your own research before making a decision. 

Use your Instagram Insights (found on your profile under the tab at the top right corner) to see when your audience is most active. Those are the times of day you’ll want to post. Find what works best by posting at a few different times and seeing which posts get more engagement or gain you followers. 

The other essential must-do when it comes to scheduling posts is to post consistently. Sharing regular posts on Instagram will help you gain more followers as you post high-quality content with lots of hashtags. When people visit your Instagram profile, they’ll be more likely to follow if it’s evident that you regularly post on Instagram.

Scheduling Don’ts

While it’s important to post consistently, there’s a fine line — posting multiple times a day is too much. This can come across as spammy; IG users don’t want to be overwhelmed with posts from any one brand. Find the right balance for yours by posting once a day to begin with and then making further decisions based on how that goes. 

Although you don’t want to share more than one post per day in your feed, it’s completely okay to share multiple Instagram Stories a day. Every time you update your story, it will jump back to the beginning of your follower’s feeds, creating more opportunities to get eyes on your content.

Posting more than once on Instagram Stories is also okay because the nature of the content you share in Stories is different than that of posts in your feed. If you’re sharing a day-in-the-life feature or conducting an interactive game or poll with your followers, that kind of content is impossible to condense into just one six-second story. So while you’ll want to reign in your Instagram posts, Instagram Stories are a green light for multiple posts a day.

Using Instagram Growth Tools

Instagram growth tools can be a powerful tool to help grow Instagram followers — but only if you select a reputable company that approaches growth in the right way. Here’s what to look for.

IG Growth Tool Do’s

Use a safe growth tool that can help you get high-quality followers. Tools like Kicksta focus on organic growth, getting you real followers and not bots. There’s no point in growing your Instagram follower count if all of your new followers are fake. Kicksta finds real users who are genuinely interested in what you have to share.

Kicksta gets you followers who find your profile without boosted distribution. And we’re honest about how the process works — the tool uses your account to like photos from other users, hoping they’ll come back and check out your profile.

A high-quality growth tool like Kicksta will save you time and increase your Instagram follower count. 

Want to attract real followers to your Instagram?

IG Growth Tool Don’ts

Don’t use sketchy growth tools. How can you tell if a growth platform is a poor choice? Any platform that promises a specific number of new followers or wants you to buy followers is a bad idea. Accounts like these are often spammy, which could result in Instagram shadowbanning your account. You definitely don’t want that! Stick with growth tools that use safe methods and promise organic growth.

What You Need To Know About Hashtags

Hashtags are a great way to increase your Instagram follower count. Use these do’s and don’ts to guide your hashtag strategy. 

Hashtag Do’s

Always use hashtags that are relevant to your content. There’s no point in including hashtags that don’t relate. Hashtags can be relevant to both your overall industry and the specific post you’re sharing. If you aren’t sure where to start, check out some other businesses in your industry and get a feel for the hashtags they use on a regular basis. For example, this post from Adeline Boutique in Texas includes not only general hashtags that describe what the business does as a whole (#clothing) but also specific hashtags describing the product in the photo (#romper).

View this post on Instagram

We only have a FEW LEFT! 🤩Available in white.

A post shared by Adeline Boutique (@adelineshops) on

Use 30 hashtags on every post you share. There’s no reason to use fewer when you could use all 30 and up your Instagram follower count! The more different hashtags you use, the more opportunities you’ll have to get new eyes on your content. 

If you’re struggling to come up with enough hashtags, use the following rule of thumb:

  • 10 popular hashtags
  • 10 mid-sized tags
  • 10 small niche tags

Dividing up your tags like this ensures you’ll have a good mixture of hashtag sizes. An example of a popular hashtag might be #marketing, while a marketing agency might also include #marketinagency for its mid-sized tag and #atlantamarketingagency as something that’s more niche.

Outside of using 30 hashtags on every post in your feed, don’t overlook hashtags for Instagram Stories, either. Stories can also be categorized by hashtags — when you open up a certain tag, you’ll see all of the Stories with that tag at the top of the page.

There are a few ways you can use hashtags on Instagram Stories. One method is to put the hashtag in a sticker. Another is through a location tag. You can also simply type out the hashtag in text. That’s what IKEA did here when adding a branded hashtag to a Story post. Using hashtags on Stories can help you get more Instagram followers.

Ikea Instagram story

It’s also important to include hashtags in your bio. These hashtags are clickable; a large brand with its own hashtag might want to add their branded hashtag so followers can easily visit the tag. IKEA does that, too, listing its tag #MyIKEAUSA in its bio. You can also include a call-to-action in your bio by typing a phrase such as “Tag [your branded hashtag] for a chance to be featured.” This is a great way to collect user-generated content. 

increase Instagram follower count with branded hashtags

If you still aren’t sure exactly which hashtags to use, find a hashtag generator to help. A hashtag generator like Kicksta’s will generate a list of potential hashtags for you. Just enter a basic word or phrase and the generator will come up with several tags that might do the trick for your brand.

Kicksta hashtag generator

Hashtag Don’ts

Now that you know what you should do to grow your Instagram followers with hashtags, it’s time to talk about what you shouldn’t. First up — don’t use spammy hashtags. Tags such as #likeforlikes or #instagood are frequently used by bots and spam accounts. By using these tags, your account might get flagged for spam, too. Stay away from these kinds of tags. 

It’s also a bad idea to use the same hashtags over and over. Mix things up so your account stays fresh! Find some general tags that work for your business and can be rotated out post by post. Then carefully consider each individual post and what hashtags would work best based on its content. This is where a hashtag generator can help if you’re struggling to come up with new ideas. 

Don’t use hashtags that have over a million uses. These tags are so big that your content is likely to get lost, making those tags just a waste of time. Try to stick with hashtags that have 500,000 posts or less. Using smaller niche tags can help, too. When someone searches an Instagram hashtag, the “Top Posts” show up first, and the rest of the posts are shown under the top posts in chronological order. By using a small, niche hashtag, you’re far more likely to get to that “Top Posts” section.

Video on Instagram

Video content on Instagram is becoming more and more popular. Here’s what you need to know.

Instagram Video Do’s

First of all, do make videos for Instagram! This should be a no-brainer, but some brands still aren’t taking advantage of this helpful strategy to grow Instagram followers. Millions of IG users watch videos on the platform every day, and with the advance of features such as IGTV, making videos becomes even easier.

Which leads into our next point: Make several different types of videos. Don’t rely solely on posting videos in your feed. Instagram Story videos and IGTV are essential, too, and a healthy Instagram marketing strategy will use all three of these formats. Take your cue from Under Armour, a brand that’s been focusing heavily on video content. Under Armour regularly shares Instagram Story videos in addition to posting IGTV videos in its feed. These at-home workout videos are popular among Under Armour’s audience and help the brand increase its reach.

Do create a static, high-quality thumbnail for your video. A custom-made thumbnail, or cover, for your video can make people more likely to click on it. Add text or stickers on your cover to help explain what the video is about. 

Want to attract real followers to your Instagram?

Finally, make sure your video is high quality. If you’re filming the video yourself, use a good camera and a good microphone. Your final file should be an MP4 with dimensions of 864 x 1080. High quality videos with good audio are more likely to get views from your audience.

Instagram Video Don’ts

One of the biggest mistakes brands make is taking too long to grab a user’s attention. You don’t have much time — if someone isn’t engaged in three to five seconds, they’re more likely going to click away. So any piece of video content you create needs to be immediately engaging. 

It’s also important to not make long videos. Remember, peoples’ attention spans are short! According to research conducted by HubSpot, the best length for an Instagram video is 30 seconds. For IGTV, videos can be a little longer, but videos under 10 minutes will still probably perform best. And with Instagram Stories, you’re already limited to sharing six-second clips at a time. This makes it easy to cater to the attention spans of your followers. 

Finally, don’t overlook subtitles and on-screen text. This an accessibility best practice, ensuring that people of all abilities can understand what’s going on. It’s also just smart marketing — 85% of videos on Facebook are watched without sound. Food Network does a great job of adding on-screen text to explain what’s happening in cooking videos.

Instagram Bio

Your Instagram bio is an essential element to help you increase your Instagram follower count. Here’s how to optimize it.

Instagram Bio Do’s

The first important “do” for your Instagram bio is to have a descriptive and searchable name. Your username (which is the first line of text in your Instagram bio) is searchable. So when people type a phrase into Instagram’s search tab, your account might pop up. Make good use of that space by selecting a descriptive name that will help people find you.

increase instagram follower count with optimized bio

One final Instagram bio best practice is to include a link that can take your followers to your website, blog, or anywhere else you want them to go. A tool such as url.bio allows you to add multiple links instead of just one. This is a smart way to get people off Instagram and onto your website, which is where most conversions take place.

Instagram Bio Don’t’s

Don’t forget the CTA! Your bio is a great place for a call-to-action, asking your followers to do something. Apple solicits user-generated content, encouraging readers to use the branded hashtag #ShotonoiPhone. Other brands might choose to say something like “Click below to learn more about us” or “Follow us for more great content.”

apple's Instagram bio

Second, don’t be scared of emojis. Just make sure to use them appropriately. The right emojis can say a lot about your brand’s personality, vision, and mission. This organic baby clothes company uses a green plant emoji to add a fresh feeling and indicate their commitment to going green. The company also uses the world emoji and peach emoji to explain that it ships worldwide from Atlanta.

bio with emojis

Finally, don’t get so busy adding fun elements like emojis that you overlook the basics. Your company’s physical address, email address, and phone number should all be part of your bio. Whips Desserts includes its physical address in plain sight. The company’s email and phone number can be easily found under the “Contact” tab. Adding your own information makes it easy for customers to get in touch and can help reassure them you’re legit.

instagram follower count tip: provide contact information for your business

Instagram Stories

With 500+ million users watching Instagram Stories on a daily basis, your brand can’t afford to overlook this feature. 

Instagram Story Do’s

Take advantage of everything Instagram Stories has to offer:

  • Stickers
  • Polls
  • Filters
  • Music
  • GIFs
  • Questions
  • Quiz
  • Countdown

These interactive features can make your Stories more engaging for your followers. Here, Anthropologie used a poll to let its followers vote on their favorite product.

increase Instagram follower count with interactive stories

Include a CTA asking viewers to take action. If you have over 10k followers, you can include a link to your website and ask users to swipe up. You could also invite people to DM you or respond to a poll. 

swipe up instagram story

Save your Instagram Stories as highlights on your profile like Ralph Lauren did here. This way, people can access them long after the 24-hour period is up. 

Instagram story highlights

Instagram Story Don’ts

When you’re designing your Instagram story, don’t put text or elements around the edges. If your text is too close to the edge, users might not be able to read it. Similarly, polls or buttons that are close to running off the page might not be able to be tapped. All text or interactive elements should be in the middle of the page.

It’s also important to not reuse content you’ve already posted. You can make related content to something you’ve already shared, but it still needs to be fresh, not a complete copy. 

Finally, although it’s a good idea to use features like stickers and polls, don’t use too many at a time. Stick to just a few elements on each story so the design isn’t overwhelming. When you selectively choose just a couple of features, they’ll really pop.

Promoting Your Instagram

Promoting Your IG Do’s

Do work on networking, tagging other brands so maybe you’ll receive a reciprocal shout-out. This is a tactic often employed by influencers like food blogger Maegan Brown, who tagged Trader Joe’s in a post showcasing some of the store’s products.

Which brings us to our next point: Do work with Instagram influencers. Influencer marketing is an awesome way to increase your Instagram follower account! Influencer marketing has a good ROI and is more popular on IG than other platforms. Here’s a good example of what influencer marketing done right looks like: Banking app Empower, a brand with 11 thousand followers, partnered with YouTuber Monica Church. Monica has 200 thousand followers. So for Empower, the partnership was a great way to expose the brand to more eyes.

Want to attract real followers to your Instagram?

Promoting Your IG Don’ts

Don’t be too salesy. Remember, people buy experiences, not products. As Sprout Social explains, part of Instagram’s draw is that it’s a very human-centric platform. Share photos of people enjoying your products, and let the images speak for themselves without making a hard sell. 

Also, don’t forget to cross-promote. One of the best ways to get more Instagram followers is to connect with customers on other platforms — people who like your business, but might not realize you have an Instagram account. Can you add an IG icon in the footer of your emails? Talk about an Instagram giveaway on your Twitter? Share a link to recent posts in your blog? Mention your Instagram on other channels too so it will be as visible as possible. 

Content Creation

Sharing high-quality content is a great way to increase your Instagram follower count. 

Content Creation Do’s

Do create several different types of content. From posts to Stories to videos, each Instagram feature can be beneficial to your brand. Here are a few more ideas to use:

  • Behind-the-scenes content
  • Interactive content
  • Giveaways and contests
  • Customer testimonials
  • Promotional content
  • Video content 

As you create this content, do make sure it’s high-quality. There are a few different ways you can do this. You might want to use tools like Canva to give you a template to start from. Or you can reach out to customers and ask if you can repost their user-generated content. You might focus on producing great content in-house by hiring professional photographers and copywriters. However you create Instagram content, make sure the result is top of the line. 

Content Creation Don’ts

Don’t use stock photos. Too many Instagram users post the same photos from basic stock image websites. Don’t repeat what everyone else is doing — create your own unique content. When you take your own photos or design your own graphics, you also have the chance to make sure those images are perfectly on-brand.

Creating Captions

Your captions can make a big difference in whether or not you get more Instagram followers. Here are some captioning tips.

Caption Do’s

Do add some personality. Your captions represent your brand voice, so make sure everything you write is in line with your brand’s personality. Sophisticated B2B brands that create a tech product might have a more serious brand voice, while a brand that sells colorful toddler clothes could be more playful. Whatever your brand voice is, infuse your captions with that same personality. 

Emojis can be a great element to add to your captions. Just don’t overdo it! Rifle Paper Co adds one to three emojis in each of its captions. Many of the emojis are nature-based, including flowers, trees, and sunshines that match the colorful floral prints shown in the photos. Emojis can be a fun way to spice up your Instagram captions. Just choose relevant emojis and remember, less is more.

One other must that can help you grow Instagram followers is including a CTA. Almost every one of your captions should have a call to action, inviting users to like the photo, visit the link in your bio, or perform another action. Here, Target Style asks readers to visit one of its Instagram Story highlights.

Caption Don’ts

Don’t write long captions. Instagram is not the place to write a book. Short captions perform better. The best length for an Instagram caption is 138-150 characters. That comes out to about 70-75 words. You’ll notice that many large brands on Instagram, however, have captions that are even shorter. Shorter ones get more engagement and can help increase your Instagram follower count.

View this post on Instagram

It’s called art, look it up. Happy Moe Monday!

A post shared by Moe's Southwest Grill (@moessouthwestgrill) on

Pro Tip: Don’t type your captions directly into the Instagram app. This will mess up the spacing, and big blocks of text turn people away.

Instead, structure your captions on a third-party scheduler such as Later. Using Later or another scheduling platform will ensure your caption is spaced out and easy to scan. 

Audience Engagement

Getting more Instagram followers isn’t just about reaching new users. It’s also about retaining the followers you have. These do’s and don’ts of Instagram engagement can help.

Audience Engagement Do’s

Do be responsive to the DM’s and comments you receive. People are more likely to write a comment or send a message to a brand when they feel certain they’ll get a response. This is also a good way for you to get to know your customers more so you can continue posting the content that’s most relevant to them.

Do post consistently. While you don’t want to spam anyone, putting out regular posts is the best way to make sure you stay at the top of your followers’ minds. Consistent posts can help your Instagram follower count go up and help the followers you have stay more engaged. Try posting once a day and see what happens to your engagement rate.

Audience Engagement Don’ts

Don’t forget about geotags. Geotagging your posts, or adding a location tag, can help with audience engagement. New users might see your post under a location tag and come engage with your account. The Museum of Ice Cream has tagged recent posts at a hospital where company employees were giving back.

Increase Your Instagram Follower Count

Getting more Instagram followers is a must for any business, and by following these do’s and don’ts, you can get more followers the right way. These tips can help you increase your follower count and grow your business, too.

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