With its colossal 1 billion+ monthly active users, Instagram is one of the only 6 social media platforms in the world to surpass that 1-billion milestone.

Instagram’s popularity skyrocketed because users can share their visual narratives mainly through photos and videos. This enticed marketers and sellers to use Instagram also as a visual marketing channel to further elevate their brands and build a loyal following.

But, how do you exactly get more Instagram followers? In today’s post, you will learn simple but effective ways on how to grow a massive Instagram following — ones that don’t require you to pay someone to get more Instagram followers which may not even be real, active or the right audience for you.

Ready to get more real and loyal Instagram followers? Let’s go!

1 – Use relevant hashtags

The use of hashtags is mainly to increase the discoverability of someone’s post. Say, if a gym goer searches for a water bottle and you manufacture water bottles designed for gym use, then you should be using #watterbottle together with #gym in your posts.

Using relevant hashtags will help you reach a new audience or get exposure to a broader crowd which may be interested in your brand. Hashtags are a free way for people to find your posts. The easier for them to discover you, the more possible for you to convince them to follow you. Plus, hashtags can now be followed just like how you follow a regular Instagram account.

Instagram also uses hashtags to send notifications to users if they liked posts with the same hashtags for consecutive times. Here’s a sample:

Hastag

Here are simple ways to get more Instagram followers using hashtags:

  • Find the popular hashtags that are right for you

Don’t use the top hashtags just because they’re popular. This will leave you with a bunch of low-quality followers that don’t really resonate to your brand. Find relevant hashtags by simply using free Instagram analytics tools like Websta.

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For example, I just typed in ‘sneakers’ to discover all the popular hashtags associated with it. I was able to get this list of keyword hashtags alongside their popularity level

Alternatively, you can use Instagram itself to discover popular and relevant hashtags for you. Using the search bar, just input your chosen hashtag and then it will list down all the most popular hashtags and the number of times they’ve been used.

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  • Mix and match hashtags, don’t use them over and over

Instagram has a limit of 30 hashtags per post. Maximize the allocation but don’t overkill it. Limit your use to 4-5 hashtags per post. Do not use the same hashtags for every single post, Instagram might trigger this as spammy behavior.

  • Choose hashtags with a clear objective in mind

Instead of using generic hashtags like  #joyful or #loved, select the ones that best reflect the objective or purpose of the post. You can also narrow down your hashtags using location or the type of audience you’re engaging with.

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For example, Casa India, a Mexican resto in downtown Los Angeles, use location-specific, audience and product-related hashtags, like #downtownLA, #tacos, #foodporn.

  • Include hashtags in your bio

Earlier this year, Instagram already allows you to include hashtags in your profile bio. Whether you’re an #italianrestaurant or a #foodblogger, now you have the flexibility to link any hashtag you want.

2 – Use geotagging on Instagram for fast local discoverability

Aside from using hashtags, make sure that you tag your location on your Instagram posts and Stories. You can do geotagging by using either of the following:

  • The city/place of your business.
  • The place where the video or photo was captured.

Locations are important when growing your Instagram followers because they have a specific search feed on Instagram. Besides that, a certain location also has a dedicated Story just like how hashtags work so make sure to add a location sticker in your Stories.

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Local businesses, especially online stores with a local target audience, can take advantage of location tagging because they can get easily discovered by potential buyers who are physically in their local vicinity.

3 – Hack Your Instagram Stories to Get More Followers

Instagram Story is another breed that should be managed separately. With more than 400 million daily active Stories, Story pushed Instagram even further as one of the social media superpowers.

Instagram Stories can help you get more Instagram followers because it has a separate area located on top of Instagram’s search results page. This means that even if people don’t follow you, the moment they search on Instagram, they can still find and watch your shared Stories.

Here are ways to get more Instagram followers from your Instagram Stories:

  • Add hashtags in Instagram Stories

You can use the hashtag stickers found on your Story setting to add the relevant caption. Once added, you can get featured on the Story search results of that particular hashtag.

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RA Store got featured in #fashionistas Story results by adding the hashtag to its post.

  • Add a location to your Instagram story

Tag your Stories with the location sticker on the menu to get you displayed on the search result of that location. Plus, when you use location stickers to tag an establishment or landmark on Instagram Stories, you can still get featured on the city or country that establishment or landmark is located. For example, if you tag your story from Eiffel Tower, your story could get featured in the Story for both Eiffel Tower as a landmark and Paris as a city.

4 – Collaborate with niche influencers who share similar audiences with you

Influencer marketing has gained popularity among Instagram advertisers because of its cost-effective way to help their brands reach new audiences and improve their brand awareness. While there could be Instagram influencers with a huge following, they may not always be suitable for your brand.

What you can do is to partner up with niche influencers who have the same target audience as you do. These niche influencers have relevant followers who are respected and admired by your target audience. For instance, if you’re an online fashion store, look for reputable fashion bloggers to cross-collaborate with.

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Seven Seas Perfect7 partnered with a beauty influencer to promote its supplement range for women.

5 – Run Instagram contests or host giveaways

Another simple but effective way to get more Instagram followers is to run Instagram contests or host a giveaway. Not only that you’re growing your following but you’re also increasing your engagement. For Instagram contests and giveaways to work, put simple mechanics, such as asking people to follow your account and drop a comment or like your contest photo in order for them to join.

Here are some ideas to run Instagram contests and giveaways which will help you gain more followers:

  • Ask to tag a friend or two

You can add to the contest or giveaway mechanics that for them to participate, they must comment on your post and tag their friends, families or anyone they know. This tactic is like a referral to get more people to see your contest and hope for them to join too.

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For example, Soap & Glory hosted a giveaway asking Instagram users to like their post, follow their account, and tag 3 friends.

  • Add user-generated content (UGC) element

You might also want to consider adding a UGC element to your contests and giveaways by asking people to share a photo on their own Instagram account using the hashtag of your contest or giveaway and then tagging your account. This way you’re getting more awareness through their followers.

6 – Team up with Another Brand

Did you know the saying, “two heads are better than one”? There are many brands out there who are willing to partner with other brands to increase their content and reach new audiences. Find another business, anyone but your direct competitor, that’s willing to team up for a joint promotion. Teaming up will help you extend your marketing budget.

Other brands are usually willing to post a content for you in exchange for a quality photo or video. For example, take a product of your own and a complementary product from another brand and create a product shoot or film a video showcasing those two products. You can ask the other brand to upload or re-post the content and credit your Instagram profile. This way you might end up getting a few new Instagram followers from their audience.

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Tasty is a brand which gets a partnership with other brands, like Johnnie Walker above, by creating viral videos for them which showcase the partner brand’s products.

7 – Steal your competitor’s Instagram followers

Another clever yet effective tactic to get more Instagram followers is taking advantage of your direct competitors’ Instagram followers. Your competitors’ Instagram followers are the same kind of audience that you want to target and engage with. In short, they are the type of followers that you want for your brand too because they’ve shown the same level of interest and preference for the kind of products that you sell.

So why not steal your closest competitors Instagram followers? How? The key is to engage with them directly. Here are types of engagement to get your competitors’ followers follow you back:

  • Follow your competitor’s most active commenters
  • Like two or three photos of your competitor’s most active likers
  • Comment on a post of your competitor’s followers

Remember to keep this at a minimum, possibly engage with 100 people a day, to avoid being tagged as a spam. There are brands who pay automation tool to do this but you can definitely do this in your spare time without the cost.

Insta Massive Following

More and more marketers and sellers don’t only look for ways to advertise on Instagram but they’ve seen Instagram itself as a platform to reach new audiences. This is why they’re looking for effective ways to get more Instagram followers.

But the truth is unless you’re famous, you can’t get that massive following on Instagram in an instant. You need to put in some hard work to get people to follow your brand. Luckily, our list of simple ways to get more Instagram followers will help you collect quality followers who are right for your brand. Take note, however, that the key is to engage and connect with the right people.

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