We’ve all seen the accounts that have thousands and thousands of followers, are always posting new and exciting content, that get re-shared over and over. What is it that makes these accounts so popular? What does it take to get my account to that same level of popularity and attention? The good news is, anyone can have an account with thousands and thousands of followers!
For those who strive to have a large following, or be considered a “Social Media Influencer”, and potentially make money, will need to grow their following. Sounds simple enough, but how do you actually begin to grow your following? There is a proven method behind it, with steps and ideas to help your following grow and for you to begin to reap the rewards of all your hard work.
Instagram is a widely popular social media platform that is continuing to grow in popularity. With its easy to use interface, stories, and live streaming, it is possible to have a large following, but it will take time to get there. Chances are it won’t happen overnight, but the important thing is to not give up! Work hard, be consistent and before you know it, you’ll have new followers constantly joining liking and following your Instagram to get more of the content that you share.
A lot of the steps that we’ll discuss in this article are applicable to other social media sites (Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and Pinterest), but we’ll specifically be focusing on Instagram here. By the end of this article, you’ll be set up for success, growing an authentic Instagram following that you’ll be proud of. So, if you’re ready to grow your Instagram following keep reading.
Optimize Your Instagram Account
Every Instagram account has a bio, think of this as your own personal “About Me” page. This gives you the opportunity for current and prospective followers to get to know you and your brand a little bit more and connect your brand with your account.
To fully optimize and take advantage of Instagram, be sure that your bio includes your picture or logo, a proper username (i.e., your brand name), and a link to your blog or website. The link that you include in your bio, will prove to be important as it can drive Instagram traffic to your blog or website.
Make the most of the character limits you have to creatively convey who you are and what you do within your bio. This is an additional opportunity you have to explain why non-followers should follow your account. Give an idea of what they can expect from your content. This can be done by simply using a single word or two that shows what you are all about. For example, if you are a health and fitness enthusiast you could include words, such as, “Health”, “Exercise”, “Nutrition”, “At Home Workouts”, etc. to convey what type of content you post.
Arguably one of the most important things that you can do when trying to grow your following is to stick to a consistent and regular posting schedule. It doesn’t do you much good to gain a bunch of followers in the beginning, only to have them forget they ever followed you due to your lack of consistently posting new content.
Find out what time of day, the majority of your followers are online and strive to post during that time period. This will help to get your content in front of the most followers possible. It is okay to post a few different times a day to reach a larger audience, but try not to post more than 2-3 times a day to avoid spamming your followers and becoming a nuisance.
Having a regular posting schedule will keep your followers updated and in the know with what you are posting. It will also keep them engaged, and likely to recommend your page to their friends, family, and followers.
If you’re worried that you might not remember to post every day or need time to come up with the perfect caption, try utilizing a post scheduling software, where you are able to create and schedule your post in advance.
Use Relevant Hashtags
One of the easiest ways to be discovered is through the use of hashtags. Therefore, it is advisable that you use thoughtful, relevant, and searchable hashtags in your post. When you use good hashtags, you are utilizing and taking full advantage of an easy way to advertise your content and gain new followers, who are already looking at and following similar content on Instagram.
Instagram allows you to include up to 30 hashtags per post. Although you can use quite a few, it is often going to be more beneficial for you to use quality hashtags rather than quantity. Spend some time doing some research to find out what hashtags are popular when it comes to your specific post, and find the ones that will work the best for you to get the most followers as a result.
Be mindful of not using hashtag gimmicks, such as, “#likeforlike”, #tagsforlikes”, or “#followme”. These cheesy hashtags may in fact get you more followers, but they aren’t going to be genuine followers that are going to be around for the long-haul. Oftentimes those who fall for these gimmicks and start following accounts who use them are looking for likes themselves. Instead, use relevant hashtags that pertain to your post, and will bring in genuine, organic followers. It might be slower using this method, but you’re more likely to get followers who will stick with you indefinitely.
Share Engaging, High-Quality Content and Captions
Every post that you make on Instagram needs to be thoughtful and engaging. A lot of users make the mistake of thinking that so long as they post something, thoughtful or not, they will grow their following. Unfortunately, that isn’t necessarily true. A lot of followers are looking for thoughtful and engaging content that will leave them wanting to see more. It is this wanting more feeling that people get from your content that grows your following.
Great content that is consistently shared, encourages comments, likes, and shares. Increased levels of engagement are viewed highly among Instagram’s algorithms, which in turn boost your reach, ultimately resulting in an increase in new followers. As mentioned earlier, when you post high-quality, engaging content, on a consistent basis, you’re encouraging all your new and veteran followers to stick with you and continue to follow you for the great content that you post.
Part of posting high-quality, engaging content is to also create compelling captions for each post. It can be a bit daunting to come up with compelling captions that include a call to action and encourage followers to interact with a particular post. Here are a few tips that can help you when creating new captions:
- Word Placement: place the most important words in your caption towards the beginning. Instagram allows for 125 characters to be viewed under a post before readers have to tap “read more” to see longer captions. Make sure that those first 125 characters compel readers to want to read the rest of the caption. This is the most valuable real estate in your caption, make it count!
- Ask Questions: One of the easiest ways to get followers to engage and interact with your post is to simply ask a question. This encourages viewers to leave a comment, and converse with other followers. Additionally, extra engagement makes your post more visible to more people.
- Incorporate Emojis: Try include an emoji or two into your caption as they are visually appealing and draw the eye in. Thankfully, emojis are appropriate for Instagram. Only include an emoji if it is appropriate for the post.
- Length of Caption: Instagram allows for up to 2,200 characters within a caption. That isn’t to say that you should use all 2,200 for every post, but experiment with different lengths and see how it goes. This gives you the opportunity to go into more detail, provide background information when necessary or short and to the point when the visuals speak for themselves.
Post Content that is Meant to be Re-Shared
When you create a post that resounds with others or illustrates an important topic, it is possible that others might want to re-share your post to their feed. This can be done by sharing your post to their stories, linking back to your original post. When this is done you are gaining more exposure, and more exposure means more potential followers.
Tag Your Location
There are a lot of different reasons as to why you might want to consider tagging your location in your Instagram post. This can be especially useful for those who have a physical location for their business and want to tag it when posting. For others who are attending an event or conference can tag their location to connect with others who are also in attendance. Regardless of the reason why you choose to tag your location, it exposes you to other like-minded individuals.
Tag Other Users
If you get inspired, find an idea from another Instagram account, or want to give a shout out, be sure to tag them! Not only are you giving them credit for the idea or inspiration that you received but it is also a great way for you to potentially get seen by a larger audience. When you tag another user, they will get a notification, which will show up in their “tagged-in” tab of their profile. In addition, once an account has been tagged, they can choose to re-share the post or story to their account, giving you even more exposure because their followers will be able to see your profile by simply clicking on the post!
While it might be tempting to tag other accounts with a significant number of followers, it is going to be beneficial to you to only tag those who are relevant to your post. This can include tagging those who are present in a photo that you share, or you are giving credit for an idea to, or are relevant to the content that you are sharing. These people can include:
- Colleagues or Employees
- Other Relevant Businesses
- Anyone Who Appears in a Photo
- Giving Credit to Someone who Gave You an Idea or Taught You a New Skill that You Shared in Your Post
Follow Relevant Accounts
While you should only tag relevant users in your post, you are free and able to follow any and all accounts that you want to follow. The nice thing about following other accounts is that once you begin to follow them, they are more inclined to follow you in return if your feed is full of compelling and relevant content.
Take a look at the list of accounts that Instagram suggests you follow in the “Suggested for You” based on their algorithm, or search for people you’d be interested in following. You can also discover other users, by navigating to your profile page, selecting the three lines in the top corner, and tapping on “Discover People”. Under the “Discover People” section you’ll be able to connect your Facebook profile and phone contacts to discover people you already know, but don’t yet follow on Instagram.
Be careful that you don’t follow too many accounts too quickly as that can appear to be spam. Additionally, you need to be mindful of the ratio of accounts you follow to how many people follow your account. This number will be important to validate your credibility. If it shows you follow a significant number of accounts, yet your actual followers are quite low, you might have a hard time getting followers to follow your account. Finally, don’t follow an account hoping for them to follow you in return, only to unfollow them once they do so. Follow accounts that you genuinely want to follow.
Collaborate with Other Accounts
Another really great way to get more exposure and hopefully get more followers is to collaborate with other accounts or popular brands. Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and see if there are other accounts or brands that would like to participate in a collaboration with you. The right type of collaboration could benefit both parties by increasing the number of followers for both. Try to be creative and find collaborations that will benefit you, your account, and your existing followers.
With a little bit of planning, dedication and hard work, you can begin to see the number of followers to your account increase. Try any combination of the different methods listed here to see what you can do to improve your content and attract more followers to your account.
In addition to the methods listed here in this article, there are many other methods that you can test and see how they work for you. Other things that you can try include: asking others to tag you, get brand partners and advocates to share your content, and do what you can to avoid fake followers. Try any combination of these different ideas to find the ones that work for you and begin to see your account grow.
Remember it can take time for the followers to come, even when you are following proven methods, but don’t’ give up! Be persistent, continue to create new content, and post it, the followers will come!
Author: Ashley Christensen