Instagram made a huge announcement in November, 2018. “We will begin removing inauthentic likes, follows and comments from accounts that use third-party apps to boost their popularity.” Instagram’s bid to banish Instagram bots has been a long time coming. But, now with the advancements of machine learning, they’re really cracking down. And it’s never been more important to know key ways to organically grow your Instagram following. How To Grow Your Instagram Following Without Instagram Bots Maybe you’ve fallen victim to buying fake likes, comments and follows for an Instagram account in the past. As a business owner, agency or social media manager, we’ll admit it’s tempting. The only problem is, bots are bad news for any social media strategy. Why? They’re inauthentic, spammy and generally, pretty annoying. If you’re using bots, it’s time to learn how to grow your Instagram organically. Now with Instagram’s latest announcement, frustrating Instagram bots will be a thing of the past. But, as an agency, business or social media manager, you might notice a drop in followers. Here we’ll run through how to grow your Instagram followers. All without Instagram bots. To ultimately build a following made up of people who actually care about your brand’s content. What You’ll Find in this Article: What is an Instagram Bot? Why are Bots Bad? How To Organically Grow Your Instagram Following Grow Your Instagram Following By Posting Consistently Schedule Posts at Peak Times with Sked Social Authentically Engage with Your Audience Use all of Instagram’s Features Interact with Complementary Businesses Collaborations and Giveaways What Is An Instagram Bot? Let’s kick off this ‘How to Grow Your Instagram’ tutorial with a primer on bots. The purpose of Instagram bots is simple. To boost an Instagram account’s engagement activities with others through automated interactions. The main types of Instagram bots are: Instagram like bots Instagram follow unfollow bots Instagram comment bots Instagram bots complete tasks on your behalf. You don’t need to lift a finger. Simply sit back and let them do the hard work for you. The only problem is, they’re pretty icky, often awkward and you can spot one from two cities away. Now that Instagram bots are being terminated (à la ‘Men in Black’ scene), let’s see why they were never a good idea for growing your following. Instagram Story Metrics Made Easy Grab our ebook Your Guide to Instagram Stories: Measuring What Matters to take Your Instagram Stories game up a notch! Why Are Bots Bad? As a business, agency or social media manager, you’ll know that Instagram isn’t the beginning, middle and end of your sales funnel. When learning how to grow your Instagram, remember that follower counts really aren’t the aim of the game. Instead, connecting with people who will one day buy from you is key to growing a meaningful Instagram following. By automating interactions, there’s no telling whether bots are connecting with your target audience. Nor can they engage in a conversation. And without two-way conversation, these engagements are essentially pointless. When growing your Instagram followers, it’s important to keep in mind why we want more followers in the first place. This will include things like: To connect with a wider, targeted audience To drive more traffic to your website To utilize the platform for promotions, trust, and familiarity To learn about your ideal client or customer Fake Followers Decrease Your Engagement Score If you’re going to learn how to grow your Instagram the right way, you’ll need a lesson in the almighty engagement score. Instagram engagement scores are a cross-section of likes, followers and comments. Calculate your Instagram account’s engagement rate using Sked Social’s robust Instagram Analytics Dashboard. Having a large number of fake followers who don’t genuinely interact with your content will negatively affect your engagement rate. Instagram regards your engagement rate to be extremely important. And a low one will affect important elements like your positioning in the feed. Following and Unfollowing People Doesn’t Affect Your Bottom Line Social Media is essentially a top-of-funnel marketing exercise. It’s your chance to connect with people who may potentially buy from you. The follow unfollow craze works to attract anyone an Instagram bot follows. Then unfollow them to make the account appear more popular. When you think about it, this completely misses the mark on which metrics actually matter. Because Instagram follows shouldn’t be a game, they should be a targeted marketing tactic. Metrics we recommend focussing on are: Engagement Website Clicks Calls Emails Get Directions Likes Don’t Pay The Rent Instagram liking bots go around spamming other accounts with likes on their posts. But likes don’t pay the rent. And while it’s important to share the love around and like other people’s posts, what’s more important is: Developing authentic connections Building relationships with your ideal customer or client Fostering existing connections and discovering new accounts that fit your ideal customer profile How To Grow Your Instagram Following Organically With Instagram pushing for authentic follower growth techniques, it’s the best time to up your ante in this area. Here we’ll cover how to grow your Instagram following without using Instagram bots. Meet Sked - The most powerful Instagram scheduling platform A place to plan & schedule your Instagram posts, Stories, videos and more. Tag locations, users and products and manage all your hashtags in one place to save 5+ hours every week. Grow Your Instagram Following By Consistently Posting Since Instagram has the most impressive interaction levels of all social media platforms, it pays to be present. And with 80% of Instagrammers following business accounts, posting consistently will pay off. Post Consistently To Your Instagram Page Posting regularly, consistently and predictably is key to growing your Instagram following. This way your audience will become comfortable with your posting frequencies. They’ll also be more likely to see your posts after interacting with them. Squeezing in post creation between busy day-to-day tasks isn’t ideal. So time-efficiency will be your best friend when putting together posts. Sked Social allows you to draft, schedule and publish posts all in the same place. Instead of posting on the run, schedule in all of your posts ahead of time. This way, you’ll feel confident that you’re consistently serving your audience valuable content. Post Consistently to your Instagram Stories By staying active on Instagram stories, your audience will be more likely to interact with your page. Instagram users love interacting with the people behind brands. And Instagram stories will help to grow your Instagram following by showcasing behind the scenes insights. Use Instagram stories to grow your following by: Tagging the location to increase chances of featuring Adding up to 10 hashtags for discoverability Sharing posts to stories Tagging other accounts who may repost the story Schedule Posts at Peak Times with Sked Social Our biggest tip for growing an organic social media following is to post at peak times. There’s no use in posting when all that’s on the other end is crickets. Scheduling your posts ensures your meeting or unexpected phone call won’t interfere with your client’s content. Instead, you’ll be posting at the right time, every time. Not only does this increase your chances of engagement on the posts, but it also shows the brand’s audience you care. Sked users can easily set their peak posting times using the all-in-one scheduling platform’s Queue feature. Whether your followers are global or local, queueing your posts ensures consistent posting of content at times chosen by you. And it’ll save you so much time, too! Authentically Engage With Your Audience Sure, it can be tempting to seek out your ideal customer, follow them, leave a comment and disappear. But the real sweet spot is strengthening those relationships. Genuinely engaging with your ideal client or customer over time will work to build trust and ultimately organically grow your Instagram following. Engage mindfully by: Following Liking Commenting to begin conversations Replying to stories Tuning into lives Sending private messages Then returning to targeted accounts you’ve engaged with before and continuing the conversation. Use All of Instagram’s Features Instagram loves it when you use all of its features. And luckily for us, they have made it easier than ever to grow Instagram followers by embracing them. Instagram Stories Adding hashtags in stories will increase your chance of featuring Adding a location in stories will increase your chance of featuring Tagging other people in stories increases your chance of others sharing your content Instagram Page Using hashtags in your posts increases your chance of featuring Tagging other people in posts increases your chance of discoverability Tagging your location increases your chance of featuring Tagging your location increases engagement by 29% Learn about your audience through the Instagram stories poll and questions features. Stories analytics within Instagram for business is extremely useful in discovering what type of content your audience likes. This information acts as a handy resource to discover which types of content is performing well. Take note of top performing content, give the people more of what they want and watch your Instagram following grow. You may also like: Instagram is tackling automatic (fake) engagement apps – here’s what that means for you How To Add Music To Instagram And All Of Your Social Content Introducing Sked Social, The Brand New Schedugram Facebook And Pinterest Page Scheduling Arrive To Sked Social Interact with Complementary Businesses When talking about how to organically grow your Instagram following, this one is a little sneaky. But as sneaky as it may be, it is effective. Spend time interacting with other businesses in complementary fields. For instance, if you’re a swimwear company, interact with a faux tan company. Leave meaningful, interesting and engaging comments on their posts. This will increase the likelihood of their audience going over and checking out your account. And since they already fit your ideal customer profile, you’re one step ahead to winning them over. Collaborations and Giveaways Instagram giveaways and collaborations are great ways to grow your Instagram following without Instagram bots. Choose to collaborate with complementary businesses, then leverage their audience. An easy giveaway entry involves asking entrants to follow each page involved and like each post. Since these Instagram users have shown interest in your account, it’s a good idea to go in and engage with them, strengthen your relationships and ultimately grow your Instagram following organically. Over To You Sked Social makes it easy to organically grow your Instagram following by taking away the stress of on-the-fly content creation. Now that you know how to grow your Instagram, start your free trial today!