How To Get Instagram Followers: The Ultimate Guide
Do you want to grow your Instagram following?
Well, you are in good hands because in this action-packed guide you are going to learn step by step how to grow your Instagram following the right way.
Ready? Let’s do this.
How The Instagram Algorithm Works
Over the years we have heard of stories about the Instagram algorithm and recently they went on record to explain exactly how the Instagram algorithm works and affects your Instagram experience.
Here are the 3 most important factors for Instagram:
Instagram is working out what types of posts you are interested in. This is huge and very similar to how YouTube’s algorithm works by suggesting what videos to watch next.
No shock here, but the idea when you log onto Instagram is that you see recent content, so how often you post is going to be key to growing a following.
If your audience is ‘liking’ and commenting on your posts then they will see more of your posts.
And those really are the most important factors that you need to know about.
There are however a second set of factors that are nice to know about.
This is all about how often you open your Instagram app, as they will try and show you the best posts since you last tapped the icon on your phone.
It stands to reason that if you follow a huge amount of people you can only see so much in your feed from one person. So, the amount of people your audience is following is key.
Are you using Instagram for hours or minutes? The longer you scroll, the more you will see of the people you follow.
So, depth matters.
Now that you understand how the platform actually works it is time to get cracking on growing your Instagram following the right way.
The first stage is to set up your account for success from day 1.
Here is how you do it:
Step 1: Create a Keyword-Rich Bio and Profile Name
One of the best ‘tricks’ is to think of Instagram as a search engine.
Yes, it is very similar to Google because people want to ‘discover’ more of the things that they like.
As we can see in this example, Smoothiebowl, which has over 280,000 followers, has the keyword Smoothie Bowl as its profile name, and a further 3 times in its bio description.
And what about this page about Gin:
As we can see they have 14,300 followers from just 406 posts.
They use the word gin in their bio and in their username repeatedly.
So, how do you do this?
First head over to Instagram and type in your subject matter and look for the most popular hashtags.
Let’s say that you want to create a page about running. Head over and type in the keyword running:
Sure enough there are loads of great hashtags, but one that gets searched for is #runningquotes.
With over 57,466 posts it might be a great match for you.
So, you could take that and create an Instagram profile called Running Quotes. And as we can see, someone has done just that:
This account has a 1972 follower count from just 11 posts, showing how powerful this strategy can be.
Of course, as stated it is not only about the profile name but the bio as well.
There is no known ‘keyword spamming’ penalty in Instagram, so feel free to drop your chosen keyword into your bio at least 3 times.
We will cover the ‘art of writing a great bio next’ in more detail, but for now realize that being found on Instagram matters so don’t be afraid of helping the algorithm find you.
Step 2: Crafting An Expert Bio To Gain Clicks
As great and fun as it is to ‘produce content’ all day, you need it to lead somewhere.
The internet is full of people with huge follower counts and no income, and to avoid that trap you need to get ‘clicks’ on your bio link to take people to your business page.
To do that you need to craft a bio that matters.
The social media master and guru Gary Vaynerchuk uses his Instagram bio to send people elsewhere.
First he shows how to spell his name, which is great because people get it wrong. Next up he breaks his text by using emojis.
He links to his company’s Instagram accounts and even tells people to message his Facebook page to join his #firstinline message systems.
Finally he asks them to check out his new interview by clicking the link. If you think about how you interact with Instagram this really does work.
You scroll down your feed and find something you like:
And then you click on the profile:
From here you will either follow and then quickly discover more by hitting the link. Again, as we see with this profile, the use of emojis breaks up the text.
But you can do so much more than just use emojis if you understand how to use ‘power words’.
Power words are words that encourage action and create an emotional response. The good news is that there is an abundance of these in the English language that people rarely use.
You can find a full list here, but a few examples are:
Jumpstart, stunning, Inspiring, healthy, adorable, genius, unforgettable, sexy etc. You get the idea.
But adding power words in your bio will help you to stand out from the crowd.
A great example is Goalcast:
As you can see, they use words such as ‘inspiration, motivated, success and inspiring’.
Asking For Them To Do Something
In all of the examples we have seen, there is a strong call to action. Gary Vee asks them to listen to his latest interview.
Goalcast asks you to turn on the notifications.
Foundr asks people to check out their new course.
Give your audience one clear thing that you want them to do when they visit your bio and you will get more clicks onto your page.
Step 3: Research Top-Performing Content
When you start off with Instagram you will have no followers (we will talk about how to gain your first followers later).
As such, you need to have a ‘welcome mat’ of content that tells the audience exactly what you are all about.
Let us say that you picked a niche such as fitness.
Sure, that is a big niche, but it is also a big-demand niche too. Each day thousands of people want to consume fitness-related content.
But they want to consume ‘the best’ fitness related content, and as such you are going to need to see what type of content does well on the platform.
The first thing to do is search posts based on the #hashtag.
Scroll down and have a look at the content, then see what does well and make a note.
Next, scroll down the search box and look for the top page
Once you have done that, make a list of 30 posts that have done well on Instagram from the big pages.
Now here comes the tricky part.
You want to be able to place these posts into ‘types’ and this will give you a huge advantage over the competition.
By ‘types’ I don’t just mean the style of the photo; what I am referring to is the ‘deeper context of the photo’.
So here are some examples.
On Instagram in the diet and fitness niche, images of transformation are incredibly powerful. Such as this positive transformation image.
But when we examine this we see a range of other types of images that do well.
Escapism works amazingly well on Instagram with photos of stunning locations doing really well.
Like it or not, Instagram is a visual platform and as such looks do matter.
Awe is a very interesting concept for the platform as it does not have to take the form of a person in great shape (although it often does); it can also take the form of an activity.
The image above is an example of awe in the physical body sense and that gained 2717 likes.
But here is another example of awe:
This video (more on videos later) is of 2 people surfing down a concrete spillway and gained 173,820 views.
This term might not be familiar to you (the science part anyway), but you will already know exactly what it is.
Baby Schema is:
“a set of infantile physical features such as the large head, round face and big eyes that is perceived as cute and motivates caretaking behavior in other individuals, with the evolutionary function of enhancing offspring survival.”
Every wondered why we all like ‘cute things’?
Well, it turns out that it is hardwired into human psychology (just look at any Disney cartoon and you will see baby schema at work).
So, you can use baby schema to create content that people love.
Here is another example:
As you can see this bunny gained a whopping 1157 likes.
Utility is a huge factor causing things to go viral because we love things that help us in life. In basic terms utility = useful.
And that is the general rule of thumb for your post.
Is the object in the photo useful?
Here is an example:
This great-looking photo shows a ‘Swell bottle’ (a designer drinks bottle brand).
Simple yet effective.
People love to be educated and if you can use Instagram to do this you are onto a winner. Jordan Syatt is the master of this with his educational fitness posts.
They take a lot of work but the results are amazing:
As you can see, if you put the effort into your posts you will soon see results.
Our last ‘post type’ is perhaps the most powerful we have and you can use it with great success.
Primal = sex, food, faces & danger.
These are the core things that humans crave and if you think about it this makes sense:
Sex: the need to reproduce as a species.
Food: we need it to survive.
Faces: we need to be able to recognize people we know, and as such we are hardwired to pay attention to faces.
Danger: we need to recognize danger so we can avoid it.
If you can tap into these ‘emotional triggers’ your posts can be supercharged.
Take a look at how ‘sex and faces’ combined works with a huge 45,012 likes for this swimming pool post.
And let us not forget food:
By using emotional triggers you can really up your Instagram results with less effort.
Ok, so what do you do now you have researched all the top accounts in your niche?
You need to start to create content that matches what your audience wants.
This is a major issue with those who start out on Instagram and are struggling for growth; the content doesn’t match the audience expectations.
Build a swipe file of all the best images in your niche and look to see if you can ‘recreate’ (not steal) the style of the post.
Once you have 30 or so posts ‘pre-made’, you are ready to grow your Instagram account to epic levels.
And now we get to the part which you have been waiting for – ‘growth tactics’.
Step 4: Powerful Growth Tactics To Supercharge Your Account
Having a huge Instagram account is a dream for many, and it is super possible but takes dedication (unless you use a service like ours).
But there are some steps to make sure you can grow your account quickly and these are among the best.
Embed this YouTube video:
The above YouTube video takes you step by step through growing a huge Instagram account with video ads.
The video is a look at how Superhuman Planet managed to grow to 100,000 fans in 48 hours.
But if you don’t have time to watch it, this is the basic process.
- Take other people’s high-performing content and repost it (giving credit to the source)
- Using a video advert to grow the channel.
What they did was take a montage of all the best content they had and create a video asking for people to follow the page:
This combined with a few ‘shoutouts’ from influencer pages skyrocketed their account. But what if you don’t have money?
This is a great technique:
We all know that #hashtags are important for Instagram, as they allow you to be discovered by people searching for your niche.
The issue however is that large hashtags are super competitive.
For example, let’s have a look at the fitness nic
We have 271 million posts using the fitness hashtag.
But if we scroll down we see far less competition:
This is called a ‘Hashtag ladder’.
When you add hashtags to your posts we know this helps, but the issue is that the large hashtags are often dominated by the huge accounts and you also go against masses of competition.
Instead, start using the hashtags that have less competition and then add one large use hashtag amongst them.
The goal here is to rank for the low competition hashtags and gain traction there and then. As a result of that success you will start to be seen in the bigger hashtag discovery thread.
Follow Me, Follow You:
The follow me, follow you strategy is very easy to implement but it comes with a warning.
The idea is simple – follow an account that has an audience you want to attract, comment on their posts and engage with that page for a few weeks and then ‘unfollow’ them.
This of course comes with the warning of 1. It is not what the platform is for and 2. You could get banned by Instagram if you over use this as they have an algorithm detection looking for spam.
So tread carefully and use this to follow about 10 to 20 accounts a week and do this naturally. If you do this the right way you will have achieved a great deal of followers over time.
The Gary Vee $1.80 Strategy:
Gary Vaynerchuk (who we looked at earlier) is a huge Instagram star with 3.4 million followers.
However, he created a strategy that he calls the $1.80 strategy which you can read in detail
But in simple terms here it is:
Step 1: Find the top 10 trending hashtagsStep 2: Identify the top 9 posts for the 10 hashtags
Step 3: Leave a comment and engage with the posts.
Repeat every day.
This is a manual growth method but the aim is that the accounts you comment on will start to check you out and also engage with/follow your posts.
Our last super tip for growth of your Instagram is to gain ‘shoutouts’ from other Instagram pages.
Essentially a shoutout is another Instagram page posting your content on their page with the goal of getting you more followers and/or sales.
Here are a few tips to get your first shoutout.
Start going through Instagram to find a page you want to connect with, and has an audience you would love to access.
In this case we have chosen Kettlebellkings, who have 64,000 plus followers.
Next up start to follow, comment and engage with their posts for a few weeks.
And finally, you can press the DM message button and send them a message:
The message should read something like this:
“Hi, my name is (insert name), I love your page. My page is similar and I would love to know if you do shoutouts. I am happy to do shoutouts for you as well, thanks in advance”.
You will notice that we have not mentioned money yet because not everyone is interested in charging for shoutouts and are happy to exchange audience value as a fee.
However, be prepared for them to come back at you with a price.
If this happens you need to put your ‘business head’ on and start to look at specifics.
Go through their posts and make a quick mental note of the days of the week that their channel gains the most engagement from.
If they are charging there is nothing wrong with that and also ask them what times they post.
If you are happy with the fee then go ahead and make the deal, then sit back and enjoy the benefits of the shoutout.
And there we have it, out complete guide to growing your Instagram following. So, let us go over the key aspects.
1. Set up a great profile name
2. Create a killer bio
3. Create content that gets engagement
4. Grow your channel
As you can see we believe in natural growth of your Instagram and that is key to avoiding penalties and getting your account banned.
But the issue with natural growth means that it comes at the cost of both time and effort because (as we have seen) a great deal of growth comes from engaging and promoting your content.
Our service takes the grief of this process from you so you can get back to the creation of killer content that will wow your audience.
Our 100% safe and natural Instagram growth process will start connecting with the right people growing your audience in the process.