How to Organically Grow Your Instagram Followers: 8 Steps
February 3, 2020 by Rafaella Aguiar
Last Updated: February 24, 2020
If you’re looking for handy ways on how to organically grow your Instagram followers, you’re in the right place. While Instagram is one of the best places to communicate your brand visually and connect with your audience, it’s no longer just a social network.
Since the launch of Instagram Ads, Instagram TV, and Instagram Business Accounts, it has transformed into a playing field for influencers, marketers, and businesses to promote themselves. Today, many internet users are using Instagram not only to connect with their friends, but also to connect with their favorite brands and shop online.
Studies have found that the majority of consumers use Instagram to search for a brand, and 90 percent of them follow at least one brand on Instagram.
In this article, we’ll go through the step-by-step process of how to organically grow your Instagram followers in 8 steps.
Instagram Followers: How Important Are They and Why Should You Care?
Even if Instagram ranks third for the most popular social media, its engagement rate is the highest among others.
Yotpo, eCommerce marketing platform, measured the average time on site from visitors coming from social media platforms and found that Instagram brings the most engaged traffic.
Look at the chart below:
Users spend more time on Instagram compared to other social channels. With the high rate of engagement, Instagram opens the door for you to build a connection with other users.
How do you take advantage of this high engagement rate? This is where Instagram followers become a necessity.
If we put it simply: having a larger following on Instagram means more sales for your business, more traffic to your website, and an engaged community for your brand.
That’s why having organic followers allows you to build an authentic audience that’s more likely to help you develop and optimize an Instagram profile more cost-effectively.
Are you ready to dive into 8 steps on how to organically grow your Instagram followers?
Want to organically grow your Instagram and gain real followers?
#1. Create More Engaging Content
In case you forget: content is king. That’s Bill Gates’ words, not ours. Instagram users love to share and comment on photos and videos that they think are good.
In order to catch your audience’s attention on Instagram, the first rule is to create engaging content– the more engaging your content is, the more likely people will share it.
Here are some tips on creating engaging content and boosting your engagement rate on Instagram:
- Upload more video content because posts with videos are proven to get 38 percent more engagement than posts containing images. If you don’t want to hire a professional video agency, you can create your own video using these video marketing tools and platforms.
- Create content that your audience can relate to. The best content will depend upon your audience, so you need a clear understanding of who they’re first and foremost.
- Post about viral topics from other channels. Keep it up on what’s hot on other social channels like Twitter, Facebook, and YouTube. This gives you the opportunity to spread your content out, so more users start seeing it.
#2. Find the Best Hours to Post Your Content
After you’ve gathered fresh and engaging content, the next step is to schedule your posts for one week to one month—depending on how far out you like to plan.
By scheduling your Instagram posts, you can streamline your marketing efforts. So, the key here is posting at the right time.
Now the question is: what is the “right” time?
To get you more insights when to post your content on Instagram, here are the best times to post on Instagram:
#3. Follow Related Accounts Within Your Niche
The next step is to compile a list of all competitors and major accounts on Instagram within your niche.
For example, if you’re in the food and beverage industry, you might compile a list of all significant food bloggers and restaurants that speak to the same audience as you.
Start by getting to know these accounts to understand better what you should publish. As you compare the brands, ask yourself:
- What topics does their audience engage with?
- Which posts are getting the most likes?
- How often do they post?
With all the notes in your hand, use your competitors’ accounts to build your following too.
#4. List Your Competitors and Follow Their Followers
After you have your list of the accounts, the next step is to follow their followers one by one. Those people are your target market because they already follow your competitors, which means that they’re interested in your industry and likely what you’re sharing as well.
Pro Tip: You can streamline steps #3 and #4 by using budget-friendly tools, like Kicksta.
Kicksta provides you with real followers (yes, all of them have real eyeballs) that you can use to help your Instagram marketing strategy for the long-haul.
When you sign up, you list targets accounts whose followers you’d like to follow you. These targets can be your competitors, complementary brands, influencers in your niche, etc. Once you have your targets in place, Kicksta does all the work for you, by liking posts of the followers of those target accounts that you’ve provided. Those profiles will come check out your page and decide whether to follow you back, giving you maximum exposure, organic growth, and real Instagram followers.
#5. Build Your Community by Joining an Engagement Group
An Instagram Engagement Group is a community of Instagram users who help each other in gaining more engagement and followers.
If one member of the group uploads a new post on Instagram, the whole group will help by liking, sharing, and leaving comments on the posts. Most groups also have rules that you have to follow to participate in making sure everyone gets the most out of each post. The bigger the group is, the faster you’ll grow your followers.
The idea is simple: you introduce yourself in the comments, and then everyone follows one another for a follow back. All the accounts are real and authentic, making this an easy way to increase followers, even up to 60 to 100 new followers in one day.
This example below shows you how joining an engagement group can increase your followers that share your interests:
#6. Use Instagram Stories With Hashtag and Location
Instagram Stories are another essential tool that could be the key to how to organically grow your Instagram followers.
Once you add hashtags or a location on your Story, it has the opportunity to show up on that specific hashtag and location’s Story– making it much easier for users to discover your posts. The exciting part is when they’re interested, they might tap into your profile and follow you right away.
That’s why adding hashtags or locations in your Stories is crucial for you to reach thousands of other users in your region, within your industry, or across the globe.
Interestingly, you can also save your Stories and make them static posts in “Highlights”, even after they disappear. It’s a smart way to convince your potential followers who just landed on your profile– considering that you have a short span of time to convince them to follow you.
Here’s a highlight example from Nike:
#7. Actively Interact With Your Followers
Instagram is a social network. So why waste time not interacting with other users or your followers?
Interacting with followers is the best way to get them involved so that they’re engaged and sticking around your profile. The more you engage with your followers, the more visible your profile becomes, and the more engagement you’ll get from visitors to your profile.
Want to organically grow your Instagram and gain real followers?
To do that, you can start by using captions to prompt discussion and spark your followers’ ideas. In this matter, many users still place more emphasis on the quality of the photos, while the caption serves only as an afterthought. However, adding an interactive caption is also part of the piece of your photo, to enhance the message you want to deliver.
Look at this example from @chrisburkard below:
As you can see from the post above, the caption about littering, subtly but powerfully evokes the followers’ emotions– making them listen, engage, and act.
Or you can create a poll on Stories to hear directly from your followers. The polls allow you to know your followers’ preferences. In this case, you’d be able to create content that resonates with your followers even more.
Take a look at the example of creating polling to communicate with your followers below:
As you look at the example above, now you know that Instagram polls provide a level of interaction and engagement that you often can’t get with regular Stories. It lets your existing and potential followers directly feel included in the decision-making process of your current biz brainstorm, and gather the necessary information for your next content strategy.
Another way to interact with your followers is by keeping the conversation going in the comment section. The way that the Instagram algorithm works is that the more engagement you create, the higher the chance you have to get other users seeing your posts. In this matter, you need to respond to any comment that your followers leave on your posts.
Besides, liking your followers’ comments and replying to them is also a great way to make them feel appreciated, and more than just a number. The conversations you have on your feed shows that you care about your followers and let them know that you’re there for them.
The more you interact with your followers and continuously ask for their opinions, the more useful data you can collect to make your followers connected and interested in your content.
#8. Pay Attention to Which Type of Posts Perform Best
You can’t improve your Instagram performance and gain followers unless you know how well your profile and posts are performing. That’s why it’s important to track your progress.
By using engagement data such as likes, comments, or clicks, you’ll be able to tell which type of posts perform best so you know what you should be posting more of to attract more new followers. It’s a bit like dipping your toes into the water, finding out which post works best and which doesn’t.
In this matter, you can use analytics tools, such as Instagram Insights, to help you understand your followers’ wants, improve your content, and ultimately gaining more new followers.
Continually exploring how to organically grow your Instagram followers and pinpointing what works best for you, is a wise way to level-up your Instagram account more cost-effectively. It makes it easier for you to develop strategies that really resonate with your followers. If you know what type of post attracts more new followers, you can get more serious and optimize it.
Now that you know your rhythm and set your own rules, it’s easier for you to focus on the tips that work best to grow your followers organically.
Start Organically Growing Your Followers Today
There you have it. Now you have a complete 8 steps on how to organically grow your Instagram followers. By gaining followers organically, you can save your marketing budget while also curating a high-quality audience that will connect with your brand, and ideally convert into a customer or client.
Andre Oentoro is the founder of Breadnbeyond, an award-winning explainer video company. He helps businesses increase conversion rates, close more sales, and get positive ROI from explainer videos.
Instagram Growth Hacks
Join over 10,000+ marketers and influencers who get the latest Instagram tips & tricks sent to their inbox every week