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Each month, over one billion people use Instagram, according to Hootsuite. So, there’s plenty of room to grow your following on the image-sharing platform. You can’t expect people to simply flock to your account though. Whether you’re a brand or an influencer, you’ll need to put in the effort to let fans know you’re online and introduce yourself to new audiences. Follow these tips to help you get more followers on Instagram.

How to get more followers on Instagram

Be Recognizable

Your Instagram page should be instantly recognizable that it’s yours to fans who may be visiting from other platforms. Here are three quick tips on accomplishing this:

  1. Fill out your bio section rather than leaving it blank. Make it easy to find your account by including relevant hashtags and keywords that are related to your niche.
  2. Select a username that best matches your actual brand name or matches your other social media handles. Again, this makes it easy for people to find your specific page, and visitors should have no doubt that this is your official account.
  3. Include your brand’s official logo or find a way to integrate your colors and style into your posts. You want this account to be aesthetically cohesive with your other accounts.

Don’t Neglect Captions

Imagery is the main draw to Instagram, but captions are vital too. Use short captions to add context to images. Use long captions for intriguing brand storytelling. Use questions to encourage followers to engage with your content. Use emojis to add personality.

Captions are also important for search purposes. The Instagram algorithm will consider captions when bringing up search results, according to Search Engine Journal.

Use Your Other Platforms to Cross-Promote Instagram Content

If you have other platforms, use them to direct traffic to your Instagram. The most simple way to do this is to add a link to your Instagram account in the profile section of your other social media accounts. You can do this on pretty much any channel, including Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, Twitch, LinkedIn and YouTube.

Don’t feel the need to limit your cross-promoting efforts to social networks though. Try embedding Instagram images in blog posts, on websites and in newsletters and emails. The images will add visual appeal and also make it easy for customers to find your Instagram account. Another option is to add a link to your account in your email signature. Have a podcast? Be sure to advertise your account on there too.

Create Content That Is Share-Worthy

Have you ever come across a post that’s so entertaining or informative that you immediately share it with friends? To gain engaged followers, focus on creating content that others will find worth sharing. Post content that’s authentic but appeals to your followers’ emotions. This might involve an inspirational story or funny meme. When it comes to humor, make sure you’re avoiding content that might turn away your audience.

Another option is to create content that’s as useful as possible to your followers. A fitness brand might share a how-to post for a new workout routine or a recipe for a healthy breakfast shake. A gardening shop could share an infographic about houseplant care. These kinds of posts are more valuable to your followers than content that simply pitches your brand’s products.

Don’t Be Shy

When people comment on your content, be sure to reply or simply like those posts. This makes your followers feel noticed and appreciated.

But don’t forget to expand your focus beyond your own Instagram account. Schedule in some time to engage with other accounts. This might involve liking other people’s posts or leaving a short, friendly comment. Don’t go overboard by leaving too many comments, but make it clear that your account is active and willing to engage with others.

Practice Your Timing

Create a content calendar and use automated posting tools to ensure your posts appear at a consistent time. What time should you schedule your posts to appear? That depends on your target audience. This will require a little research on your part, but doing so will help your posts appear at times in which potential followers are most active on Instagram.

Collaborate With Others in Your Niche

Working with popular influencers and other brands can help expose you to a broader audience within your niche. Influencers are trusted by their followers. So, if an influencer endorses your brand or mentions your account, you might benefit from a wave of new followers. The same goes for certain brands.

Before collaboration can begin, you’ll need to be willing to pitch a partnership. Here are just a few collaboration ideas:

  • Co-host a contest over social media.
  • Use Instagram Live to host a Q&A session or interview with an industry expert.
  • Work together to conduct research or create infographics.

Tease your collaboration with an Instagram Reel. This helps build the audience’s anticipation for the upcoming event.

Use Tags

When you’re trying to reach an audience in your local community, add location tags to your photos. A location tag will improve your visibility with people who are looking for content related to that area. In addition, when you’re collaborating or partnering with influencers or brands, be sure to tag those accounts.

Use UGC to Expand Your Reach

You can use your existing audience to broaden your reach even further. To do this, you’ll need to encourage your followers to create content that somehow relates to your account. A food brand might encourage followers to create food art with its products and share pictures of it.

You should also ask your followers to add a branded hashtag to user-generated content (UGC) for quick searchability. A branded hashtag is just what it sounds like — a specific hashtag that relates to your business or personal brand.

Don’t Hesitate to Experiment

Although you should aim to create a consistent and easy-to-recognize style, that goal shouldn’t keep you from searching for more effective content. On occasion, use your Instagram stories to try out new content formats or brand aesthetics. Keep an eye on your metrics to check how receptive your audience is to the new content. If any of your experimental posts seem exceptionally popular, consider incorporating that type of content into your daily posting schedule.

Even outside of Instagram stories, make a habit of reviewing your metrics. What content seems to be gaining traction? Which content isn’t? To grab attention, make an effort to create more content that matches your most popular posts.

Steer Clear of Fake Followers

Some Instagram accounts try to artificially inflate their audience size by buying fake followers. Although this tactic will increase your number of followers, it won’t boost your actual engagement. It also comes with two major consequences. The first is that it’s a violation of Instagram’s community guidelines, and moderators could penalize your account. The other is that you may lose trust with both potential and existing followers when they realize you’re relying on deceptive practices.

Rather than turn to fake followers for a quick “popularity” boost, use the aforementioned tips to grow your audience. Be patient and persistent, and keep an eye on your analytics to determine which tactics are paying off.