Instagram can be a highly targetable, visual marketing channel for your brand and an opportunity to build a loyal audience that grows with your business.

In fact, over 500 million Instagram users browse the app every day, making it home to some of the most engaged audiences around.

In this post, we’ll show you how to grow your Instagram profile and increase engagement with a massive following over time — one that’s full of real fans, not inactive fake followers.

followers on instagram

How to get more followers on Instagram

Optimize Your Instagram Account

As you’re trying to figure out how to gain followers on Instagram, the first step and one of the most important steps is to have your account fully optimized. How do I mean? Without a bio, image captions, a proper username or profile image, how will people know the account belongs to you or your brand?

It might seem silly, but many companies don’t fill out their bios or use a link to a landing page. This is your one spot to drive Instagram traffic to your site, so optimizing your account is essential. Also, keep your username as search-friendly as possible. If your business name is longer, shorten it to something your audience would recognize. Don’t add numbers or special characters to your username.

Keep Content Consistent

The worst thing you can do when trying to get followers on Instagram is to irregularly post content. If you’re lucky enough to get users following you in the beginning, the last thing you want to do is make them forget they followed you in the first place. To achieve this, keep to a regular posting schedule.

Typically, brands shouldn’t post more than a few times a day, but whatever your plan, keep it consistent. Sticking to a schedule will help you build a consistent experience for your followers and keep them in the know of your brand. But if you’re wondering how you’re going to remember to publish at these different times in the day, we’ve got you covered with Sprout’s scheduling and optimal times features.

Use the Right Hashtags

Your goal on Instagram is to engage your current audience on a regular basis while also growing your number of real followers. Posting new, interesting, and engaging photos will satisfy the first requirement, but to begin growing you’ll find hashtagging your photos extremely important.

Hashtagging makes it easy for people searching for specific terms to find your photos. So which hashtags should you use? Just like with Twitter and other social sites, users on Instagram choose certain hashtags over others. If you use popular Instagram hashtags within your photos, you’re much more likely to reach new users and be discovered.

Using hashtags is one thing, using the right tags is completely different. If you want to tag your photos properly, you’ll need to find and use the most relevant hashtags. This means doing the appropriate research to make sure you’re using hashtags that not only describe your brand but are also being searched for on Instagram. To find relevant hashtags, you’ll want to use a free online tool like IconoSquare or Webstagram to start.

Post at the Right Times:

Beyond adding the appropriate hashtags and using the best filters to get more Instagram followers, you should also consider the timing of your posts. A targeted approach involves analyzing what has and has not worked for you in the past.

By visiting IconoSquare’s optimization section, you can get a detailed analysis of your posting history vs. engagement. This report will also highlight the best times of the day and days of the week to post.

You can also get a lot of great insight for free from Instagram analytics for business accounts, found under the Followers section. You may want to consider using a social media scheduling tool to automatically publish your posts when your audience is the most engaged.

Organize your Stories into Highlight

Whenever a potential follower lands on your business profile, you have a short span of time to convince them to follow you. One way to do this is by using the Highlights feature on your profile to organize your Instagram Stories in a way that communicates what your account is about.

Since Stories have a 24-hour lifespan, Highlights can be used to give them a second life and entice others to follow you so they don’t miss out on more Stories in the future.

Use Story Highlights to grow Instagram followers by: creating trailers that tease what your account is about, organizing your Stories into themes (like countries you’ve visited, for travel accounts), explaining your products through pictures and videos, promoting your products using swipe-up links (you need at least 10K followers and a Instagram Business account to do this with your Stories).

Use Instagram Live

Live video is the key to running a successful marketing strategy on any social media platform. With Instagram, you can use Instagram Live to stream videos to your followers and engage with them in real-time. When your brand starts a live video stream, a ring encases your profile picture in Instagram Stories to tell followers they can check out the stream.

Followers also receive a notification when you start a live video. Once you finish your livestream, you can upload it to your Story for 24 hours. Remember that Instagram Live is interactive. Your followers will probably comment while you’re live, so try to acknowledge their comments and find ways to get them to participate. 

Some ways to gain more followers when using Instagram Live include: influencer takeovers, hosting an AMA (Ask Me Anything) or Q&A, teasing a product launch or update, hosting a talk show.

In this post we talked about the most effective ways to use Instagram to build a targeted following, but it’s not always a numbers game. As with any social network, the most successful strategy overall is to be authentic and social.

If you focus on engagement, not just followers, Instagram can be a great home for your products and brand and can lead to a healthy stream of revenue for your ecommerce business.

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