How to Grow Your Instagram Followers Organically

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Last updated: August 4, 2020

Many bloggers skip Instagram in favor of Facebook, Pinterest and Twitter. But with the right strategy and mindset, Instagram can do wonders for your blog’s brand awareness and also traffic.

For many bloggers though, Instagram is still a bit of a mysterious beast. It works fundamentally different from other social media channels, and figuring out how to get the most out of Instagram can be quite time consuming and overwhelming.

Growing Instagram followers organically is very rewarding, in the short term as well as in the long term. It really does pay off to keep things real and to not try and game the system, so you can get more genuine engagement on your account.

Need help managing your Instagram account and grow your following in an ethical and effective way? Tailwind is an app that helps with scheduling posts and finding the best hashtags, and comes with great analytics and monitoring tools.

You can try Tailwind out for free. And, if you like it, you can go for a paid plan which is only $9.99 per month. Cancel anytime, nothing to lose.

10 Tips to Grow Your Instagram Followers Organically

Growing your Instagram followers is perhaps not as easy as it is with Twitter, which is one of the reasons why so many Instagram users resort to dodgy tactics, such as the follow unfollow method, to increase their followers.

But if you stick with the following 10 habits, you will certainly be able to grow your followers on Instagram organically. It may take some time, but it will definitely happen. And those organic followers will get you much more engagement.

1. Start with Research

As a professional blogger or Internet marketer, you need to be prepared. Just like SEO takes time, and learning Pinterest takes time, and understanding WordPress takes time, getting your head around Instagram can also cause a few headaches.

So before you create an Instagram account, or before you starting posting things, it’s worth doing a bit of research. You need to work out who your competitors are and what kind of content they are posting. Create a list in Excel and keep track of those “competitors” and similar accounts.

How to organically grow your Instagram followers

You also need to work out who your projected audience is. Create a virtual profile of the person you want to target and create content with that profile in mind.

You can do this by analyzing competitors’ accounts and see what type of people engage with their content. See what they like most, what they comment on, what they’re saying, etc.

2. Publish Targeted and Relevant Content

Once you have a good idea of what your projected audience looks like and what kind of content generates the most interest, you can start planning ahead and publish targeted and relevant content.

Start publishing content that is laser targeted and super relevant. Don’t just post random stuff that has no connection with your blog, your brand or your audience. Only post stuff that your projected audience actually wants to see. Stuff that supports your blog or website.

That is the type of content that will generate the most engagement, and that will ultimately grow your Instagram followers, organically and steadily.

Instagram can be ruthless. If you publish content that isn’t relevant and doesn’t interest people, they will walk away. In Instagram terminology, that means they will unfollow you. Just like that. Goodbye.

3. Publish Consistently

It’s also important to publish that targeted and relevant content consistently. This can be 4 posts per day, or just 1 per week. As long as you’re consistent.

There is no point in going mental and start uploading a new image every 10 mins for a few days, followed by an extended social media break for five weeks. Again, Instagram is ruthless.

Instagram account followers and following stats

All those new followers that you accumulated when you were super active, a large portion of them will turn their back on you if they don’t see new cool stuff coming out of your corner.

Make a plan and stick to it. If you want to publish twice a week, put two weekly reminders in your diary and stick to it. Go ahead and publish that awesome content.

4. Use Hashtags Strategically

Hashtags… they are very, very important in the exciting world of Instagram. They can make your posts discoverable. It’s interesting though, because on some other social media platforms the excessive use of hashtags is frowned upon.

Don’t go mental though, there really is no need to add 20 or 25 hashtags to each post. It’s overkill. Instead, go for relevant hashtags that align well with the post you’re publishing. You shouldn’t have to add more than 10 hashtags.

The other thing you need to keep in mind is that Instagram really doesn’t like the use of unrelated hashtags. Some people try to be sneaky and add a popular or a trending hashtag to a post that is about something completely different. It’s best not to do that, it doesn’t work.

Hashtags on Instagram work like a search engine. And if you’re trying to game the algorithm by using irrelevant hashtags, not only will Instagram not like it, its users won’t appreciate it either.

5. Engage with Similar Accounts

Posting great content is crucial but engaging with others is also very important. It’s a great way to get your name out there, to get more exposure, and to ultimately grow your Instagram followers.

Instagram app on phone

But your likes and comments need to be genuine. Please, don’t pay for tools that do the liking and commenting for you. It’s not only lame, it’s also very fake. Random, irrelevant comments don’t work.

All you need is 20 minutes to go through your Instagram feed and engage with others. Add comments that actually add value, comments that trigger a potential response, comments that stand out. This is a great way to show your appreciation for other people’s content.

6. Showcase Your Instagram Account

This one may be obvious, but you need to make sure that you include your Instagram account in the list of social media accounts on your website.

Share your Instagram content on your other social media accounts. Facebook also lets you connect your page with your Instagram account, which is a great way to get more exposure.

Mention your Instagram account in your weekly newsletter, and perhaps ask your readers to give you a follow. Every little bit helps.

7. Use Instagram Stories

One of the strongest features in Instagram is the ability to create stories. Creating and publishing a story is not only very easy, it’s also a great way to add some spice to your account.

Instagram stories are meant to be spontaneous and fun, and they typically appeal to a lot of people. It’s a great way to attract a bigger audience, and to generate more engagement.

Please note that unless you add it as a highlight, Instagram stories disappear from feeds and from your profile after 24 hours.

If you’re new to Instagram Stories, the below video is an excellent tutorial for you:

8. Tag Others

A good way to grow Instagram followers organically and get more exposure, is by tagging other accounts. You can do this when you post something that you think will be of interest of certain accounts. Most likely they will appreciate the gesture, and perhaps even give you a follow or a mention.

And don’t be afraid to tag big accounts, as long as your content is relevant to them. You never know, they may share your content or give you a shout out of some kind.

I certainly appreciate it when someone tags me in a post that aligns well with the niche that my particular Instagram account is in.

9. Add a Location to Your Posts

If the image you’re uploading was taken in a certain location, be sure to use that location in Instagram. It’s another way to make your posts more discoverable.

Instagram travel photo

You can search for locations in Instagram, so your post may pop up in these search results. Especially if your photo is of high quality and gets a lot of engagement.

10. Use Branded Hashtags

Using branded hashtags are another powerful way to grow Instagram followers organically. A lot of big Instagram accounts have their own branded hashtags as part of their overall marketing campaign. Often they encourage others to use their hashtag to get more exposure.

This is especially true for accounts that mainly share other people’s content. So if you have an awesome image, use a popular branded hashtag and your post may get shared to a very large audience. Key here is to only do this when you have a top quality post.

It’s worth creating a list of brands and their hashtags, just so that you can quickly check if there is a suitable hashtag that you can use for a particular post. Don’t overdo it though, as this may quickly turn into a spamming exercise.

 

How to grow Instagram followers organically

 
AJ Mens

I am a corporate IT nerd turned digital marketing enthusiast, specializing in SEO and content strategy. I have been blogging since 2015, and my aim with Blog Pioneer is to help you achieve success online. Connect with me on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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