Looking to grow your Instagram following but don't know where to start? Building a following on Instagram can be tough, especially if you don't have a clear strategy in place.
While it's true that many people give up before reaching 1k followers, you don't have to be one of them. With the right plan, you can create a thriving community of engaged followers.
In fact, we're here to help you succeed with our 10 proven steps for growing your Instagram following. Whether you're starting from scratch or looking to expand your current audience, this guide is for you.
1.What's Driving Your Instagram Growth Strategy?
If you're just starting out on Instagram, the first thing you need to do is figure out what you want to achieve on the platform.
Are you trying to boost your brand awareness and credibility? Maybe you're interested in becoming an influencer and making some money from your account. Or perhaps your goal is to drive more sales and traffic to your website?
Whatever it is, make sure you keep it in mind when you're creating your content. So start brainstorming some ideas, and let's make it happen!
Organic Vs. Paid Instagram marketing
Once you've figured out your goals, it's important to decide which marketing approach to take: organic or paid.
Let’s explain what we mean by organic marketing. This approach means that you create your content and engage with your audience without outsourcing your growth or paying for advertising.
Organic Instagram marketing:
• Free Instagram growth
• Can generate engagement
• Limited reach, may be hard to reach new target audiences
• Instagram algorithm changes can impact organic reach
Want to know how to grow fast on Instagram? Paid marketing might be a better option. It involves running Instagram ads or outsourcing your growth to an Instagram growth agency.
Paid Instagram Growth:
• Greater reach
• Can generate faster results
• Increased visibility and brand awareness
• Expensive, especially for small businesses or individuals
• Some might perceive it as less authentic
In this blog, we’ll talk about organic marketing approaches. However, if you're looking for a faster way to grow your Instagram presence and save time, consider using Social Boost. We're a British-based organic growth agency with over 140 Instagram managers. Our team uses a simple engagement strategy, including methods like follow/unfollow, liking and commenting, to boost your engagement and attract more followers. We also provide Content creation and paid ad management, so you can take your Instagram growth struggles off your shoulders anytime.
2.Start Exploring Your Target Market
Don't jump into the water without testing the depth. If you’re serious about Instagram growth, learn how to choose a target audience and do your market research.
First things first, let's talk about your existing audience. If you already have followers, Instagram insights is your go-to tool for analyzing your audience's behavior.
Instagram Insights is a built-in analytics tool that collects all sorts of data about people who engage with your content. Take a look at their age, gender, and location, you'll get a better idea of who your audience is and what they like. Plus, you can check out your most engaging posts, which is super helpful for figuring out what your target audience enjoys consuming the most.
The second step is to research your competitors. Don't worry, it's not about copying their content. Instead, it's about understanding what's working for them and what's not. Take a look at similar accounts in your niche and check out their content. Look at their engagement rate and the posts that got the most likes or comments. Don't forget to go through their followers and see what demographic they represent. This will help you create content that resonates with your target audience.
Finally, keep an eye on trends in your industry. Instagram's search function is a great place for finding out what's popular right now. Look up keywords and relevant hashtags to explore other popular content in your industry. This is most likely what your target audience wants to see, so it's a great source of inspiration for creating content that will resonate with them.
3.Perfect Your Instagram Profile
Let's talk about making your account look crispy and clear. We can start by working on your Instagram SEO. You might be wondering, "What's Instagram SEO?" Well, just like you can use certain keywords to get higher up on a Google search page, you can follow specific practices to grow on Instagram.
But why should you care about Instagram growth in the first place? It’s a great way to show up in different searched and recommended areas, such as:
• The Explore Page
• Search Terms
• The Search Bar
• The Reels Tab
• Suggested For You Tab
The more exposure you can get, better chances you have of growing your followers.
If you want to boost your follower growth, you need to give the algorithms something to work with! If you show Instagram who you are, what you post about, and who your content is for, you’ll help the algorithms understand your account and your target audience.
When you post content on Instagram, the algorithms will push it to this lookalike audience, helping you reach potential customers who might not have discovered you otherwise.
Here is how you optimize your profile:
Profile Picture and Username
Your profile picture is the first thing people will see when they come across your Instagram account, so it's essential to make it count. Choose a picture that's clear, visually appealing, and represents your brand or personality. It could be a logo or a high-quality headshot - just make sure it's easily recognizable, even in a small thumbnail.
As for your username, you want to use your brand name or something that represents your niche. Keep it short, sweet, and easy to spell. Avoid underscores, numbers, or special characters.
Your bio should be short, clear, and compelling. Make sure that your bio name is also related to your niche.
4.Use Industry Keywords in Your Captions and Posts
Using certain keywords in your captions can boost your discoverability and attract the right audience.
Use your primary keyword in the first sentence:
When writing your caption, choose a primary keyword that best represents it. Then, include that keyword in the first sentence of your caption. This helps Instagram understand what your post is about and makes it more likely to show up in search results.
For example, if you’re a realtor, you can use keywords such as:
• Home buying
• Housing market
• Property management
Here is a good example: “Home buying can be overwhelming, but we're here to help! Whether you're a first-time homebuyer or looking to upgrade, our team can guide you through the process from start to finish. Let us help you find your dream home today! 🏡💫 “
Use natural language:
While it's important to include your primary keyword in your caption, it's equally important to use natural language that engages your audience. Write your caption in a way that speaks to your followers and adds value to your content.
5.Avoid Super Popular Hashtags
Hashtags will help you reach a more targeted audience who will show interest in your content. This, in turn, can help you attract more followers who are likely to engage with your content.
But hold up, there's a catch. You don't want to go overboard with your hashtags. In fact, using too many can make your post look spammy and might even hurt your engagement. As a general rule of thumb, aim for 5-10 relevant hashtags per post.
It's also essential to choose your hashtags carefully. Avoid using super popular hashtags that everyone else is using - they're too competitive, and your post will likely get lost in the sea of content.
Instead, do your research and look at your competitors. See what hashtags they're using and which ones are generating engagement. And don’t forget to stay relevant to your post's content.
6.Optimize your Settings
Have you ever felt like you're doing everything right on Instagram, but you're not seeing the growth or engagement you were hoping for? There is actually a way to double-check if your content is recommended to your target audience from your settings.
Go to your profile, open up your settings > account status > Recommendations guidelines & community guidelines.
Here, you learn if your content is breaking any community guidelines, and it will help you understand what you can do better to avoid getting shadowbanned.
The next step is Data usage, you can access this from your settings, and don’t forget to toggle on Upload at highest quality.
7.Turn Your Audience from Strangers to Fans
When it comes to growing your Instagram account organically, there are a few things to keep in mind. While SEO, engagement, and collaborations are all essential, the biggest contributor to your success is the content you put out there.
But how do you create content that works for your audience? Well, one thing you should know is that people interact differently depending on where they're at in their journey with your brand. Some folks are just browsing, while others are super fans. To create content that works for everyone, you need to be aware of these different stages and cater to them.
• For those just browsing, you want to create something visually appealing that catches their eye and stops their scroll.
• For those who are more engaged, you can create useful content that provides a quick win or something funny or entertaining that keeps them hooked.
• And for those who are already fans, you can build trust by positioning yourself as a thought leader in your industry.
With the right content strategy, you can take your audience from strangers to fans.
Build Your Content Pillars
Burnout is real, and it can be challenging to consistently come up with fresh ideas for your account. One way to avoid this and make content creation a breeze is by defining your content pillars or key themes.
Your content pillars should be based on your brand identity, your target audience's interests, or industry trends.
Let’s say you’re a travel enthusiast who wants to start growing an Instagram account. You may think that breathtaking pictures will be just enough, but having a strategy in place won’t hurt either.
Take no more than 4-5 content pillars and build your strategy around them. Here are some ideas:
• Destination Features: popular attractions, local culture.
• Adventure and Activities: lesser-known activities.
• Food and Drink: recommendations for the best restaurants, cafes, and bars.
• Accommodations: unique and interesting places to stay.
These outlines will help you stay consistent with your posting schedule.
8.Develop a Content Calendar
Create a spreadsheet listing what content you will post and when. While you do this, it’s important to mix up your content formats. Don’t just post Reels or single images.
There are also a lot of questions about posting frequency, and some like to ask, “ Should I post every day on Instagram to grow?” The competition on Instagram is growing day by day, and if you want to stand out and boost your organic growth, it’s necessary to post daily.
You can always readjust the posting days and times, but having a weekly or monthly calendar that looks something like this is a must:
|Single Image: a beautiful landscape
|Carousel: tell a story about a recent trip
|Reels: unique travel experience
|Single image: your selfie or photo
|Reels: helpful travel hacks or packing tips
|Reels: Hidden gems
|Single Image: post a quick tip or motivational quote
9.Create a Visual Style Guide
When it comes to creating an Instagram grid that's visually appealing and cohesive, it all starts with defining your brand's look and feel. Think about 3-4 colors, 1-2 fonts, and an overall aesthetic that represent your brand, and use them consistently across all of your posts.
Another great way to get started is by creating a mood board. This is just a collection of images, colors, and other visual elements that inspire you and align with your brand's identity. It can help you stay on track when it comes to creating content for your grid.
To really bring it all together, try using a planning tool to map out your grid layout in advance. This will help you see how your posts will look together and make everything visually appealing.
And don't forget to incorporate whitespace! This is just a fancy way of saying that you should leave some breathing room around your posts. It can help make your grid look clean and modern.
10.Analyze Your Performance
Analyzing your performance on Instagram is crucial for understanding what's working and what’s not.
Go through your content by the end of every week and see what resonated with your audience.
What were the main themes used in your content? What type of format did you use, and what hashtags worked the best?
Use these Instagram insights to plan and create a new content calendar.
Based on your number of followers, here is what your average rate should be:
Less than 1k - 8%
1k-10k - 4.4%
10-100k - 2.4%
1m - 0.7%
Bonus Tip: Prioritize Two Key Engagement strategies
If you want to increase your engagement with your existing followers, start by prioritizing two key actions: replying to your own comments and responding to at least 10 stories.
Replying to comments shows your audience that you care about their feedback, and it encourages them to comment more in the future. Responding to stories also builds relationships with other users, as well as increasing your visibility on Instagram.
If you want to get more engagement outside of your existing audience and attract more visitors, it’s best to build an engagement strategy using these tips:
Showing people that you're invested in their content and interested in what they have to say, you can help build deeper connections and grow a more engaged and active community.
But it’s always important to know your daily limit:
• Don’t perform more than 50 likes per hour
• 100 Follows an hour
• 20 comments per hour
Knowing this will help you avoid being flagged by the Instagram algorithm.
If you want to get more real Instagram followers, there are a few things you need to focus on. First off, you need to figure out what approach you're going to take. Will you use organic marketing hacks? Outsource your Instagram growth? Run ads? There are plenty of options, so figure out what works best for you and go from there.
Next, you need to create content that your target audience will love. That means figuring out what they're interested in and tailoring your posts to match. You also need to engage with your followers. Respond to their comments, like their posts, and show them that you care about them.
Finally, if you have a hard time staying consistent with your Instagram growth, you can always consider signing up for one of our organic growth packages.