How to Get Followers on Instagram: A Marketing Guide for Brands
This post was originally published on October 19th 2017, and was last updated on December 13th 2017.
Instagram can be an incredibly powerful tool to elevate your brand and engage your audience. That is, provided you actually have an audience to speak to and aren’t just sending posts into the abyss.
It’s that very hurdle that stops many brands in their tracks.
They know all of the best practices and things they should be doing for their actual posts.
However, when it comes to growing their audience, they find themselves stuck.
How can they organically grow an Instagram following that’s genuinely interested in their posts?
There’s no sugarcoating it—this can be challenging.
And, Instagram’s ever-evolving algorithm makes it that much tougher.
But, rest assured, there are things you can do in order to get more Instagram followers for your brand—without buying them.
If you ever wondered how to get followers on Instagram, here are 7 sure-fire strategies you can implement today.
How to Get Followers on Instagram: Post Great Content
Are you rolling your eyes?
We know—this first tip seems painfully obvious. But, it’s crucial if you’re eager to get more followers on Instagram.
After all, people typically aren’t ready and willing to follow an account that only shares mediocre content.
While settling on an aesthetic and creating and curating a beautiful feed is important, it’s even more critical to zone in on the types of content that your ideal followers are actually interested in seeing.
“The first step to getting more followers on Instagram is to generate the right content.
This might seem obvious, but we always see it getting neglected,” explains Nathan Chan in an article for Foundr Magazine, “Find out what your customers enjoy seeing on Instagram or what themes resonate with them, and populate your account with relevant images.”
Obviously, you can’t read your customers’ minds. But, there are a few different ways that you can identify the type of content they really want to see, including:
- Looking at what your competitors are posting.
- Observing what influencers in your niche are posting.
- Reflecting on your most popular posts so far.
Although you want to narrow your focus to the types of content that will resonate best with your audience, that doesn’t mean you need to pigeonhole yourself.
Think of your Instagram content as an umbrella—there are likely numerous different topics and types of content that would fit underneath it.
And make sure you use quality photo editing software like Sked Social (formerly Schedugram) in-app image editor so you can tweak your pictures to make them as professional-looking and attention-grabbing as possible.
Our image editor lets you add filters, stickers, text, frames, and other special effects easily, before scheduling your post to publish automatically.
How to Get Followers on Instagram: Post Consistently
This isn’t new information—you’ve likely already read tons of pieces of advice that warn you about the importance of a consistent posting schedule on Instagram. But, we’re here to remind you about it one more time.
Posting regularly on Instagram is important for a variety of reasons, including but not limited to:
- Engaging your followers and empowering them to know what to expect.
- Demonstrating that you’re active on the platform—people don’t want to follow an account that’s only collecting cobwebs.
- Leveraging the Instagram algorithm to your advantage.
“Brands that get in a regular flow with Instagram posts tend to see the best results,” shares Courtney Seiter in a blog post for Buffer.
“Instagram is rolling out a Facebook-like algorithm based timeline and consistency feels like a key element to getting your posts seen and appearing at the top of the timeline,” Seiter continues, “If your posts are shared on a regular basis and picking up good engagement, then our hunch is Instagram’s algorithm may then determine this post should appear near the top of your follower’s feeds.”
And, the more your post appears? The higher the likelihood that your followers will tag friends and share your content—exposing you to more potential followers.
This all likely leaves you with one more major question: Just how often should you be posting on Instagram? There isn’t necessarily one best practice that works for everybody. But, many studies recommend posting between once and twice each day.
TIP: That’s a lot of content to keep up with.
Fortunately, a scheduling tool like Sked Social makes sticking to a consistent schedule far easier. When you schedule a post using our app, you have two options.
The first is to add it to your queue. This is where you set up pre-determined time slots and when one of your slots comes up, Sked Social grabs the top post in your queue and publishes it.
You can even set up email notifications to tell you when your queue is empty.
To try it out, log in to your account and click on Setup Queue (see below).
Next, select your account.
Then, turn on the Enable queue for your account switch (green arrow below), select the time zone you want to use (red arrow), and click on the add button on the days you want to publish and enter the times you prefer (blue arrow). You can set up any combination and frequency you like.
Now your queue is set up, go back to the app’s homepage and click on Upload Posts.
Then, select your account and upload an image or video from one of the options in the drop-down list (see below). If you’re going to schedule more than one post, upload all your images in bulk to save doing them individually.
Next, add your caption and first comment, along with your tags and hashtags, then click on add to queue (see below).
Another way to schedule your posts is to click on the Time/Date option instead (see below).
Next, select the date and time you want your post to publish and click OK.
Then, once you’ve either queued or scheduled your content, scroll up, click on Submit and Sked Social will take care of the rest!
How to Get Followers on Instagram: Leverage Hashtags
When it comes to learning how to get more followers on Instagram, getting your content and your account in front of new people, nothing can beat the power of hashtags. They’re one of the best ways to get found by new users.
So, how does this work?
Plenty of people explore feeds related to specific hashtags. And, they don’t need to be following your account in order to see your photo displayed there.
“If you’re using relevant hashtags that are related to your product or business, you’ll find the people who see your photos are people who might be interested in your brand,” explains Carlo Pacis in a post for the Wishpond blog.
So, how can you find hashtags that are popular—yet still relevant to your brand or product?
By doing the same things that you did when you were considering what types of content to post: researching your competitors and influencers.
Take note of what hashtags they’re using, take a look at the type of content associated with that hashtag, and then identify the ones that are the best fits for your own content.
Looking for a way to wrangle all your hashtags? Stop wondering how to get more followers on Instagram and start using Sked Social’s hashtag manager! Our hashtag manager lets you store them in one place, divide them into groups, and add up to 30 of them to your captions or first comments in just a couple of clicks!
How to Get Followers on Instagram: Rely on Your Users
There’s another key thing that you should notice about the REI example used above: It’s not a photo that REI’s social team took themselves.
Instead, it was a photo taken by a different Instagram user who used the #OptOutside hashtag on their own post.
This is called user-generated content, and it can be an incredibly powerful tactic for growing and engaging your following on Instagram.
Not only does it fill your feed with beautiful photos (without you needing to do anything yourself!), but it also provides you the opportunity to give that follower a shoutout on your own feed, as REI did above.
Other users who see that could feel motivated to be featured on your page too—meaning they’ll engage with your account and perhaps even tag you in their own posts (which gets your brand in front of that person’s audience!). It’s like a ripple effect.
Additionally, user-generated content resonates well with your audience. One statistic explains that companies that have launched Facebook and Instagram ad campaigns using consumer-generated photos have seen up to a 50% increase in click through rate over those that used brand-created images, which also lead to a five times return on ad spend.
TIP: Generate a unique hashtag for your brand
This makes it easier to find user-generated content you could post to your own account. Take this further by using Sked Social to add just one unique hashtag to the first comment of your posts so it’s easy for your audience to find and use.
How to Get Followers on Instagram: Work with Influencers
Influencers may be the biggest key to learning how to get followers on Instagram.
When you don’t have a sizable audience of your own, it’s helpful when you can capitalize on someone else’s.
And, that’s exactly the opportunity that working with influencers provides.
Not only are your posts promoted to your existing followers, but that influencer likely promotes your posts to his or her own audience.
One thing that’s grown increasingly popular for brands is an “Instagram takeover”—where a chosen influencer literally takes over a brand’s Instagram account for a set amount of time.
If you aren’t quite ready to hand over the reins to your entire Instagram account quite yet, consider using influencers to post to your Instagram story.
TJ Maxx is one brand that employs this tactic well, by asking different influencers to participate in a challenge where they see how much they can get for $50 at their local TJ Maxx.
They then share their own experiences on TJ Maxx’s story—where they’re allowed to promote their own Instagram accounts as well.
It’s a great way to engage your followers and influencers in your niche, while growing your audience in the process!
How to Get Followers on Instagram: Post to Your Story
Speaking of Instagram stories, even if you don’t work with influencers in that regard, posting to your story is still important if you’re eager to attract some new followers to your Instagram account.
For example, check out your Explore feed.
Notice how many suggested stories you see?
Instagram selects these stories based on account you follow and posts you like, it also shows you Stories by popular accounts and Stories popular among the people you follow.
Similarly to using hashtags, getting your story featured on that Explore page is a great way to get the attention of people who have already expressed some sort of interest in your niche, brand, or type of content.
But, that won’t happen if you aren’t actively posting quality content to your own story. So, stop wondering how to get followers on Instagram and get posting—and post often!
“The Explore page is a crazy powerful feature on Instagram, and having one of your stories featured can set off a viral effect that gets you a ton of likes, comments, and, course, new followers for Instagram who choose to see more of your content,” Chacon adds.
How to Get Followers on Instagram: Include a Call-to-Action
Getting your Instagram account in front of potential new followers isn’t something that’s just going to happen. More often than not, you need to ask for it.
One of the most effective ways to do so? By including a call to action.
Arguably the best call to action to use is to ask your existing followers to tag a friend (or even multiple friends!) in the comment of a post.
Perhaps tagging a friend enters that user into a giveaway to potentially win some sort of prize or award.
Or maybe, like the above example, tagging a friend just gives that follower the chance to share a funny or relevant post with someone they’re close with.
Regardless of the end result, this strategy is a surefire way to get your content in front of people who aren’t already following you—and, thus, wouldn’t have seen your post on their own.
If they like what they’ve been tagged in? They might just become a follower of your account themselves.
Over to You
Learning how to get followers on Instagram can be a challenge for many brands.
And, we won’t lie—it can definitely be tough at times.
Fortunately, there are things you can do to get your content in front of more eyeballs and increase your number of followers.
While there are plenty of tactics you could employ, the ones we’ve covered in this post include:
- Posting great content
- Posting consistently
- Leveraging hashtags
- Utilizing user-generated content
- Working with influencers
- Posting to your story regularly
- Including a call to action
If you put all of those (or even a few!) to work on your brand’s Instagram account, you’re sure to see your audience continue to grow and expand. Good luck!
Now that you know how to get followers on Instagram, start carving out hours in your social media workflow by signing up a 7-day trial of Sked Social. Our all-in-one Instagram scheduler allows you to automatically post images, carousels, Stories, videos and more. Tag locations, users and products and manage all your hashtags in one place to save 5+ hours every week.