This question of how to increase Instagram followers has been around since Instagram was created. A lot of people and businesses want to use Instagram to get clients, sell products, sell their services. 

But before you can do that, you need to build a solid base of followers. And it’s not as easy as it sounds or looks when you see big accounts with millions of followers. 

Back in the day, people used to buy followers or used bots to gain followers. But those days are over. The IG algorithm is so advanced today that you will get blocked pretty fast if you do those shady things. 

But don’t worry, we will explain how to increase your account’s followers and also how to NOT get banned for life by Instagram while growing your account.

Why Isn’t My Account Growing?

how to increase instagram followers

There are 2 types of people who need to read this guide on how to increase Instagram followers.

The ones that just created an account and want to grow it OR the opposite – the ones who have an Instagram account, but it isn’t growing. 

To understand why you don’t grow, you have to understand how the IG algorithm works. Every time IG updates its algorithm it gets harder and harder to get noticed on IG. 

It knows exactly what you like, what niche(s) you like, and what your interests are. The same goes for your potential followers. If no one sees you, probably you share and post things from so many niches that IG doesn’t understand which is your main niche, and the algorithm just decides to not show you to multiple people at all. 

The IG algorithm also checks how much time people stay on your page, and how they engage. Here is a list of things you should look for: 

  • 15mins -1st hour: If your post doesn’t get enough engagement in this time period of uploading your post, there is a big chance that your account is slowly dying. No engagement means fewer followers. 
  • Ghosting: Maybe you are ghosting your followers. You don’t answer comments, you don’t reply to DM’s (Yes, IG algorithm sees that), you don’t post stories or videos. 
  • Niche: Maybe you are in the wrong niche. Because there are too many accounts in that niche and the big ones just outcompete you.
  • Flagged Account: You did something too much, too much post liking, commenting, or anything like that. So they flagged your account for a while. This can last for a couple of days, weeks, or even a couple of months. 
  • You are using the wrong hashtags, or not using them at all.

Ok then, now think about what you are missing or doing wrong. So, let’s see how to increase Instagram followers!

Fix Your Profile First

To be able to grow your IG profile, you need to do some simple things in order to show people that you are serious about your niche and intentions. 

Also, if you are here with a new profile that has 0 followers, forget about selling products or services until you have at least 7000 followers. If you have fewer, no one will take you seriously. 

  1. Delete – If you have an account already, which his followers and all sorts of random stuff posted, you must decide the niche you want to be in. Then DELETE everything in your profile that’s not related to that niche. 
  2. Business account – Create a business account. If you don’t know how to, Google it or just use this article here.
  3. Instagram Insights – Learn how to use them. Check Google and go through what they are and how to use them.
  4. More Content – We will talk about this in the next topics, but in general keep adding new content. You were not expecting that you will have tons of followers before you have content, right? 

Content Is King

Like I mentioned before if you have no content, no substance, don’t expect that people will start following your page just because you have a nice profile picture and a description on your profile.

Content is the main thing that will attract those customers. But you have to know how to post it right. 

What Should I Post?

First, you have to focus on what already works. But don’t use posts that are older than 4 weeks. 

To find posts that work, just search Instagram for your niche pages, and look at the engagement. Which posts have lots of likes, comments, and such things? That way you will see what kind of content in your niche is working and what is not. 

But you have to have your own brand, your own way to post. Definitely do not just copy and repost other posts! 

Here is what I mean – in the picture below is a good account. It has its own colors for text, the design and has a clear strategy on how to post. You see that the first 2 posts are text-based with valuable lessons, and the 3rd one is a video with some funny quote or valuable lesson, that kind of thing – you get the picture. 

how to increase instagram followers

Here is an example of a not-so-good account. There are lots of one-type posts, with pictures, no brand coloring, no consistency on what is being posted. 

how to increase instagram followers

So you see the difference now? 

Be Consistent

To make sure your posts get the best organic results and gain followers, you have to post regularly. 

And by that I mean: 

  1. Post at least 3x a day
  2. If you’re really pushed for time, then at least 2x a day

If you miss one day of posting, the world will not end, everything is fine, but if you miss 2-3 days, that can affect your post reach and engagement. The lower reach and engagement, the lower amount of followers you gain.

By engagement I mean: 

  1. Post comments
  2. Likes
  3. And also your replies to comments (yes, you need to engage too!).

The best intervals to post are these: 

  1. The first post at around 7 am EST – At this time you will post for your Asian audience (yourUS audience is sleeping still)
  2. Second post at 10 am EST – This is the most active Instagram time some people are eating breakfast, others are taking a break from the morning work
  3. Third post at 1 pm EST – you should post your most valuable post at this time of the day because it’s lunchtime and a lot of people will see it. 

If you want to focus only on the US audience then these times are best for you to post

  1. 10 am EST – the first post 
  2. 1 pm EST – second post 
  3. And 4 pm EST – 3rd post

To determine which one is for you, check your Instagram insights to see where your main audience is. 

How Many Stories I Should Post?

You need to post consistently not only feed posts but also stories. 

  1. Min stories a day – 5
  2. Maximum – 10
  3. Optimal would be around 8 stories a day
  4. 2-3h interval between stories

Why so often? Because that way the value of your stories rises. After a while when you have tons of followers you will be able to sell shout-outs for a higher price. 

So here is the story strategy: 

  • The first story post in the morning should be a relevant quote or a video from a well-known person in the world. Of course, in your niche. Some inspirational video – or something like that – to get people motivated during the day.
  • Always engage with your followers. Add a question for them so they can answer your story – anything to encourage a reaction.
  • The second story – something popular from other pages 
  • The third story – again engage with your followers, add a poll, YES/NO polls are effective. Anything that comes into your mind. 
  • Fourth story – a shout out from other pages (We will talk about this later on).

How To Increase Instagram Followers With Fresh Content

Important: Never DELETE your posts, archive them. In that way, you won’t lose your engagement rating. IG will still take into consideration your archived post likes and comments.

This is how you should maintain your account: 

Followers Posts
0-5000 0-50
5000-50 000 50-120
50 000-unlimited 120-400

Don’t have 400 posts if you have  as few as 3,000 followers. IG will really not like that and think that you are a spammer! 

How To Use Hashtags

Now that you have fixed your profile and you have posts ready to be published, let’s dive into hashtags.

All together under one post, you are allowed to post 30 hashtags – but never use all 30 spots.

The best way to use them is to use 18-24 spots, not more. 

So which ones should I use?

Of course, the first answer is – the ones in your niche, but you probably already know that. Because that’s obvious, right?

But not only that. 

There are 3 categories of hashtags. Small, Middle, and Large:

Category Posts Count In That Category
Small 50 000
Middle 50 000- 300 000
Large 300 000 – unlimited

While you are only growing your account you have to use 70% of ONLY the small category hashtags. 

If you use a large category at this early stage, then no-one will find you. No-one will see your posts and the IG algorithm just will not feature you in those hashtags. 

The reason you won’t be seen is that your page isn’t popular enough to be worth showing and there are just too many posts. 

So here is how to use them: 

  1. 70% small category hashtags
  2. 20% middle category hashtags
  3. And only 10% large category

Never use the same layout for your hashtags. Change their places, which ones go first and which go at the end. If you just copy-paste the same layout under all of your posts, you will get banned!

Change not only places but also hashtags. Delete some of them, find new ones instead. Do this all the time.

How To Find Good Hashtags

One of the most important things in how to increase Instagram followers is hashtags.

The first thing you can do is go to the Instagram search bar, click on it, and then click on tags. 

how to increase instagram followers

Start writing your niche keyword, for example, “marketing” and you will start to see the “marketing” hashtag post count and lots of different suggested hashtags. 

how to increase instagram followers

And you see here the post count. All of these suggested hashtags are in the “Large” category. Remember that you should use only 10% of them. 

But if you change a bit what you are looking for, then here you can see that there are now fewer posts per hashtag. For example “digital marketing”:

how to increase instagram followers

This is not the only way to find the small category hashtags. 

Here is another way to find them. Now read carefully. You take the same word “marketing”, but this time add one letter at the end. Like in the example below, I added the letter “s” at the end of the word. 

how to increase instagram followers

And now it gives me lots of hashtags with a low post count and different ideas that start with the letter “s”

Pretty cool, right? 

But it get’s even better! You can find hashtags even faster than doing it manually! 

Hashtag Generator – Ingramer

I was using that manual strategy before I found out about hashtag generators, but not every FREE tool was good. So then I found about Ingramer.com

You can use it for FREE, but there are limited searches, so I would suggest getting a membership for at least 2 weeks. It costs $12 for a two-week membership and imagine how many hashtags you could generate in 2 weeks! 

So this is how they should be added to the post: 

  1. The first ones (5-7 tags) go exactly to your niche and post-related tags. 
  2. Then the rest comes to those hashtags that are in your niche, but not so close to your post topic

For example, if you are posting something that Warren Buffett said or did, or anything related to him, then your hashtags would look something like this: 

#warrenbuffett, #warenbufet, #warrentbuffetquote,#warrenbuffettips, #warrenbuffetwisdom, and then comes tags that are related to the niche you are in, like –  #smallbusinesstips, #businessmindset, #businessowner, # howtostartbusiness, and so on. 

Now you get the idea. But remember, that was just an example, remember what we just learned about the small category tags. 

So here’s a recap of what to do: 

  1. Never use all 30 spots for hashtags, use only 18-24
  2. 70% of small category hashtags, 20 % mid ones, and 10-% large ones
  3. Don’t copy them all in the same order under each post or you’ll get banned

Power Of Posting Stories

As we all know, creating just posts on your feed may not be enough. And also, you have to make – and keep – your followers happy. So, you post stories more often than something on your feed. 

That’s how you keep them updated. 

And the question is, how many you should post: 

  • Minimum 5x a day
  • Optimal 8x a day
  • Maximum 10x a day
  • Upload every 2-3 hours

When we advise clients on growing instagram, we usually recommend this setup  – 8 am, 10am, 12 pm, 2 pm, 4pm, 6pm, 8pm, 10pm

Consistent stories are preferred by the IG algorithm. So it’s important to post consistent stories

If you post consistently, then your stories will also be shown when they are not the latest. For example, if someone uploads a story and you haven’t opened it yet, after a while the person uploads, during the day, 6 more stories, then his profile will show up as one of the first ones on your stories list. Because he was consistent. 

If someone has uploaded 1 story a day, his profile will not be on top of the list. 

This is also very important when you sell products on your instagram. You want your followers to see you at all times during the day.

Also if you are consistent, there is a 75% chance that people will re-post your stories and that’s a great way to gain followers. 

That I can promise you.

Shout-outs: Build A Network

You may think that this includes only paid shout-outs. But no. There is a way to get shout-outs for free to how to increase instagram followers. 

All you have to do is find a profile that is in your niche or something related to you, and exchange shout-outs. 

You post something about him and he posts something about you. 

But never give FEED shout-outs. Keep your feed free from something that is not your brand. Even if someone says that he will pay you – NEVER do it at the beginning. That way you will destroy your brand.

Do only story shout-outs. 

This is one of the best ways to get new followers. 

Don’t pay anyone for shout-outs at the beginning. Well if you are rich or your parents are rich then yeah, do it, that’s not a problem, but don’t use the money where you don’t’ need to use it when you start out. 

You will ask now how is it possible to get FREE shout-outs from such profiles. Well, don’t worry, I will tell you that.

Message at least 20 accounts per day using your DM script. 

Before you contact these profiles, choose at least 5 of the best out of 20 and repost their posts on your story timeline. (This will make sense a bit later- I will explain why)

To be able to get FREE shout-outs, use Reverse Psychology: 

  • Use compliments about his profile and followers and posts. 
  • Then ask a question – “By the way, I wanted to ask you a question – Can you give me a shout-out?”

So that means you need to make him comfortable with you before you ask for a shout-out. Make him like your friend, show him that you care. 

What would a perfect DM script look like? 

Hey, mate, what’s up? I have seen your posts quite often on the explore page and due to the fact that I am always reposting them in my stories, I just wanted to shoot you a message! Great job what you’re doing there. I was wondering if you would be up for some shout-outs though I guess you have a proper mindset and see IG as well as a true business. Would these days work for you?  Talk to you soon, looking forward! 

Build a shout-out connection. Schedule fixed shout outs weekly.

For example Monday you shout-out something from “Marketing Mentor”, on Wednesday you shout out something from the ”Entrepreneurshipfacts”, and so on. 

So people don’t get annoyed by shout-outs that are the same every week and every day. 

Here is an example of a shout-out you would do for someone: 

instagram strategy

Save these accounts that you have FREE partnership with. They can come in handy when you start to sell your products or services. 

And also, you can repeat shout-outs weekly with these accounts, so their followers see more and more of you and that way, they will start to think that you are a valuable asset. You will gain more followers. 

1,000 Followers Strategy

This is a strategy that’s only for small accounts. But that’s why you are here, right? 

Why do I call it the 1,000 followers strategy?

The answer is simple – because this is the way you get your first 1,000 followers. 

So here is what you do: 

  1. First, search for accounts in your niche up to 5,000 followers
    • Because if you take big accounts, there may be a chance that you get 10x fewer followers just because those people are following that big account just because they like the brand and they are long-term supporters, they just won’t care about you. 
  2. Ask for a paid shout-out to analyze the audience quality (You ask this just to get data out from him, not to actually pay for a shout-out. Just to see if his followers are engaging with his content. Ask for Instagram insights.)
    • What is their engagement?
    • Are they a real person?
    • Do they have a profile picture?
    • Do they engage with your content?
  3. Start to follow the person and leave a comment. Then like 2 pictures of their account. 
  4. So on what to focus on when your profile grows;
    • 0-1,000: Focus on accounts up to 5,000 followers
    • 1,000-2,000: Focus on up to 10,000 follower accounts
    • 2,000- 5,000: on up to 20,000 followers
  5. To not get blocked by Instagram, follow only 20-50 people every 120 minutes. Basically every 2 hours.
    • For example when you start out the first day, follow only 20 people every 2 hours, the next day 30 people every 2 hours, and so on. 
  6. Don’t be too afraid of getting blocked. That will probably happen, but that’s nothing, you will get unblocked, just don’t use the account for those day times when you used this strategy
  7. When you reach around 500-600 people, you can start to unfollow them after 2 days already. Don’t forget about the limits I told you previously. They apply also to unfollow. 

High Quality Audience – Targeted

A targeted audience is a person who has a high turnover value for your account. Let’s say an age from 18-35, who likes shopping, who likes business and things like that. 

Because, why would you need some follower that doesn’t make sense to your niche, for example, a guy who likes dogs follows a cat page. Well, he will never buy anything from you if you sell cat things but he likes dogs. 

This happens a lot with bought followers. Don’t ever buy followers! NEVER! 

So this means, you have to “steal” followers only from profiles that are in your niche. Don’t go running to the first profile you see with millions of followers. 

The question is  – How do you find successful accounts in your category? 

Here: 

  • Look in the top hashtags for the most successful posts within the small hashtags category (up to 5,000 posts)
  • Then search accounts by using the “similar accounts list”

You click on that post and then to the account that posted that. 

Then to find similar accounts see the picture: 

grow your instagram
get more instagram follows

These are the accounts that you look for. Your niche accounts! 

So what to do with these profiles? 

Engage with them. Comment under their posts, not some one or two-word sentences, but a normal comment like – “This is one of the best and truest posts that I have ever seen. Haven’t seen something that good for a while. Keep doing what you are doing, because all of this gives a lot of value to someone! Thanks! ”

That’s how you comment under these pages. 

Like those posts, share them, repost them. 

Do this every day under at least 10 posts and you will see how your follower count increases in no time.

IGTV Uploads

This strategy works fine only when you have at least 10,000 followers. With this amount of followers you have already shown IG that you have some respect around here. 

Know what I mean? 

At first, there was an option to upload videos up to 60 seconds. Now there is a chance to upload videos from 60 seconds up to 60 minutes (1h). 

Also by uploading videos there, you can gain not only followers but also money. 

Instagram has the same system as Youtube. They pay you based on how many views you have. And there are advertisements on the videos. 

So that’s where the money comes from. 

Let’s See How To Increase Instagram Followers From IGTV

There are some really important things you need to know when posting a video on IGTV. It’s like a different network from Instagram. 

If you post a video on IGTV none of your existing followers will see that…UNLESS  you do this – turn on “Post a preview” before uploading the video. 

insta followers

That means the preview of your video will also be posted on your feed, so your followers see it and can comment and share, and so on. 

You would ask – Why do I need that preview on my feed? 

So the strategy is: 

  1. Upload at least 1 video a day with “post a preview” on your feed. I do it around lunchtime when people are on their phones and scrolling while they eat;
  2. Then leave it for about 3h and turn off the “post a preview”. Don’t worry I will explain why.

If you leave that preview on your feed your account will look like a youtube account, spammed with videos. You don’t want that. 

From experience, people get annoyed by that. 

Conclusion

Basically there you have it. You’ve now learned some of the most simple but most effective strategies on how to grow your Instagram account. 

It’s not easy, you will have to do lots of work, but hey, nothing in life comes easy, right? 

Stay tuned, we will send some more amazing FREE guides on Facebook ads, on how to build a brand on Instagram, how to work with influencers, and many more amazing things. And all that – for FREE! Also, if you want us to help you increase your follower count, just contact us.