Ahh Instagram. With over 1 billion monthly active users, it’s definitely a well-loved social media outlet (for comparison, the population of the US is over 325 million…!). Having a larger Instagram following can mean more sales for your business, more views on your blog, and a stronger community for your brand. But how in the world do some people have thousands of Instagram followers? Today, I’ve got 11 actionable tips to help you grow your Instagram followers.
1. Like photos in your niche.
I attended an online conference where Susan Petersen (CEO of Freshly Picked) talked about how she grew her Instagram to have almost 400,000 followers. (Today she has over 800,000!) She said that in the early days, she would spend hours liking other people’s photos each night. Her suggestion? Go through and like 5-10 photos on someone’s account. It would also help to leave a genuine comment and give them a follow. This helps to get your name out there and allows other users to discover you. I’d also suggest doing this primarily to users in your niche. How do ya find users in your niche? Check hashtags, or view the followers of your favorite Instagrammers. Overall, be authentic and not spammy — ain’t nobody got time fo’ spam.
2. Create a theme for your photos.
Cool, so if you followed #1, people will naturally start to notice your username and may check out your account…give them something to fall in love with! I’ve found that it really helps to create a theme for your Instagram. Write down a few words that you want people to associate with your account. For mine, I hope people glean that it’s bright, artistic, and full of love. Which words would you use for your account? Once you’ve settled on a theme, try your hardest to stick to it! A few accounts that are killin’ it? Studio DIY, Wonderforest, and Jessica Safko!
It ain’t called social media for nothin’! Respond to the comments you receive and leave comments of your own on others’ work. Rather than something stale like, “cute dress,” try to leave genuine comments and questions that encourage them to post more photos.
4. Create a hashtag and encourage others to use it, too.
This is a great way to build community and gain new content for your account. First of all, create a unique hashtag (make sure it’s not already being used!) and ask others to use it. It works best if the hashtag has a specific purpose. For example, A Beautiful Mess encourages followers to use #ABMLifeIsColorful on all of their colorful, happy photos. Once people start using your hashtag (and YOU use it, too!), then you can repost images from your followers (giving them proper credit, of course!). Not only does this build community by showing your followers that you appreciate their photos, but it also gives you content for your own account.
Hint hint: Wanna learn how to grow your Instagram followers with purpose?
Download my snazzy, FREE workbook and I’ll share my growth tracker, inspiring prompts to get ya thinking about your Insta’s vision and purpose, and strategies on finding better, killer hashtags. You know you want it. 🙂 Click the link below to grab the workbook!
5. Run a contest.
If you have something you’d like to give away, try running a contest. Some ideas? Have users repost a specific image and tag you in the caption. Ask them to follow you. Or invite them to use your hashtag on their own images. You could even try a loop giveaway, if you want to collaborate with other Instagrammers.
6. Use Instagram Stories!
Believe it or not, Instagram Stories are rapidly growing in popularity, to over 400 million daily users. Many users even report they love watching Stories more than the endless “scroll” of their feed 😉 Get creative with your Stories. Take your followers behind the scenes and show them the most interesting parts of your day. Ask questions. Use polls, quirky GIFs, and music. Play with filters and Boomerangs. This is an amazing way to start getting comfortable on video and connect with your followers in an even deeper way.
7. Encourage followers to take action.
As simple as it may sound, people are more likely to do something if you ask them to do it. Sharing a quote? Ask them to “like” your photo if they agree with it! Sharing something funny or relatable? Ask your followers to tag a friend! Ask open-ended questions! If you put the idea out there, it will encourage your followers to act accordingly.
8. Geotag your photos.
Posting a photo of that cool restaurant or city you recently visited? Geotag it! That way, other people who used the same geotag can see your photo and potentially follow you since you now have so much in common (like that french toast you both had last weekend). 😉 In case you’re confused, geotagging your photos means you tag it with a location.
9. Figure out what your audience likes.
Do a little research, yo. Go back through your photos and see which ones got the most likes and comments — and of course, the least. What clicks with your audience and why? How can you incorporate more photos like that into your feed?
10. Link your Instagram account to your other networks.
If you have a blog, Twitter, or Facebook, then you might assume your people are already following you on every platform. Hint: they probably aren’t! Share a quick tweet or Facebook post encouraging them to follow you on Instagram…it will reel in more followers than you think. This will help your followers on other networks discover your Instagram account — and proceed to follow you there, too!
Related: Here are 6 ways to grow your blog or business using Twitter.
11. Approach popular users to collaborate.
Think outside the box! Ask another Instagrammer in your niche if you can “take over their account” for the day as a guest contributor. Instagram Story takeovers are a blast and can dramatically grow your following fast. Or start an Instagram challenge with daily prompts. Ultimately, think of fun, creative ways to collaborate with other users.
How have you grown your number of Instagram followers? Share a story with your favorite Instagram tip and tag @melyssa_griffin so I can find it!