With over two billion monthly users, Instagram is among the most popular—and powerful—social media platforms available. Designed with tools that enable posting, chatting, and even selling, Instagram is a great way to carve an online presence.
That said, because there are literally billions of Instagram accounts out there, it can be hard to attract followers. If you want to grow your following without paying for Instagram ads, here are some ways that you can beat the algorithm and boost your followers:
1. Use the right hashtags
Hashtags aren’t just an extension of your caption. In reality, hashtags are a strategic tool that can extend your post’s reach. As outlined in our Instagram hashtag guide, this text can even be used to tap target markets, hijack trends, and analyze posts. To illustrate, if you’ve added a hashtag that says “#SummerStyle”, anyone who’s currently scrolling through other posts with this hashtag will be exposed to your post. Aside from this, you can also track how popular a hashtag is to see how well your post will perform. To make the most of hashtags, it’s important that you keep them short, clever, and catchy. The more memorable and relevant, the better. This way, it’s easy for followers to understand the hashtag and use it themselves later on.
2. Incorporate video content
Apart from having pleasing images on your feed, you should also put out high-quality video content. In fact, for many successful accounts, videos are becoming more important. This is primarily because Instagram Stories receive some of the highest viewer rates daily. According to SocialMediaToday.com, recent reports state that IG Stories are used by 500 million users daily. This is a huge percentage of Instagram users, who you can reach with Stories. As an added bonus, the more Stories you post, the more likely the Instagram algorithm will feature you on a follower’s feed. Aside from Stories, try to add a few videos on your feed itself. This way, when followers are scrolling, your account will seem more dynamic and engaging.
3. Connect with like-minded accounts
While getting inspiration from similar accounts is a great way to learn, you can take this a step further. Rather than just following these like-minded accounts, try personally connecting with them instead. As explained on AskMoney.com, an effective way to do this is via a shout-out strategy. This means, occasionally featuring each other’s content and encouraging your followers to support both accounts. In this way, you’re broadening your organic reach among people who may not otherwise find you. On top of this, by connecting with other niche accounts, you’re also improving your personal network. This is important if you later plan on taking part in brand sponsorship or creator projects. In the long run, this may even help you monetize your account.
4. Encourage audience engagement
As inspiring and pleasing as your content may be, what really inspires loyalty in an audience is reciprocation. Followers are much less likely to get bored of an account that actively engages with them. This will give them a feeling of community, which means they’ll feel more invested in your account. This is the reason why you’ll see many celebrities and brands respond to comments or repost user-generated content (UGC). According to Sprout Social, 52% of social media users want the accounts they follow to help them connect with different individuals. If you’re able to do this with your own community, you can expect that more followers will flock to you for this refuge.
5. Always post consistently
A report on Medium says that one of the top social media mistakes is inconsistent posting. When you post erratically, your followers will have a hard time finding you reliable. Many may even just choose to unfollow you. Therefore, in order to retain followers and encourage the support of more, you have to post regularly. As much as possible, try to post at least a couple of images to your feed and several Stories every day. In this way, you’ll never be out of sight and you seem more credible. To help you stay consistent, try preparing your posts ahead of time. If need be, you can even make a content calendar early on. Through this, you’re never too pressed for time to post good content.
Whether you’re an aspiring influencer, a budding business owner, or simply someone who wants to be popular online, Instagram is a fantastic platform. Making it big may take some time. But by practicing purposeful and targeted strategies, you can easily make Instagram work for you.