22 Winning Strategies to Get Instagram Followers

May 6, 2024
May 6, 2024
16 min
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Get Instagram followers

Wondering how to grow an Instagram account? Here are 22 strategies to get Instagram followers ASAP. Consider this blog your cheat code 👇

Ever wonder why some brands effortlessly attract droves of Instagram followers while others struggle to gain traction? The answer lies in strategy. 

Get ready to discover 22 powerful tactics for increasing your follower count and deepening the connection with your target audience. I’ll even include tips on how to get followers on Instagram for free.

Lean in

1. Steer clear of fake Instagram Followers

Now, I know this is a quick win for the impatient. You want to quickly increase your numbers for your brand to look good, so taking shortcuts is tempting. 

However, one strategy savvy business owners and marketers should avoid at all costs is buying fake followers. Plus, you can get real IG followers on Instagram for free.

Instagram fake followers example

These are often bots or inactive accounts that artificially inflate your follower numbers. While it might seem like a quick win, it can harm your brand’s credibility in the long run. Authentic engagement and genuine connections matter far more than sheer numbers. 

Since 2018, Instagram has regularly purged fake accounts, threatening to cut Instagram access for accounts tied to sketchy third-party growth-hacking apps. It’s not worth putting your Instagram account on the line for low-quality instant gratification. Besides, I’m going to cover some ways to earn free followers.

Instagram removing fake followers
Image source: Instagram

Plus, fake followers won’t engage with your content, won’t convert into customers, and won’t contribute to your brand’s success. So what's the point? 

2. Build a solid personal brand

Creating a solid personal brand is crucial because it shapes how others perceive you professionally. Consider it your professional reputation—the sum of your expertise, values, and unique qualities. 

A well-crafted personal brand establishes trust, credibility, and recognition among your peers, potential clients, and employers. It differentiates you from competitors, opens doors to opportunities, and allows you to leave a lasting impact. 

Examples of good personal branding: 

Billionaires branding
Image source: Fantastic Studio

Oprah Winfrey, the empathetic influencer: It’s hard to disassociate Oprah Winfrey from generosity and empowerment. Her profound ability to connect with people emotionally has facilitated the construction of a media empire.

Richard Branson, the adventurous entrepreneur: Branson has curated a personal brand that intertwines entrepreneurship with daring exploits. His reputation is built not only on audacious adventures, like his attempt to circumnavigate the globe in a hot air balloon but also on his fearless approach to business risks.

Elon Musk, the visionary: Musk is known for his association with innovation, risk-taking, and futuristic visions. His ambitious ventures, from SpaceX to Tesla and Neuralink, exemplify a brand deeply rooted in pioneering technological progress.

Now, let’s look at the key steps to create an effective personal brand that makes people want to follow you on Instagram:

  1. Discover yourself: Begin by introspecting. Understand your values, strengths, and unique qualities. What makes you stand out from other IG accounts in your industry? 
  2. Build a digital identity: Create and curate a cohesive online persona or brand presence across various digital platforms. Expanding to multiple social media platforms allows you to drive traffic from these channels to your Instagram profile, facilitating more significant exposure to your target audience.
  3. Tell a story: Your brand is more than a social media bio; it’s your essence. Create a narrative that encapsulates who you are, what you stand for, and how you bring value to your community.
  4. Find your target audience: Define your niche and understand who you want to connect with. Tailor your brand message to resonate with this specific audience. A solid personal brand should thread seamlessly through your ads, website, social media profiles, and more.
  5. Establish credibility: Share your expertise and be the go-to person in your industry. Create valuable content like blog articles, videos, or social media posts to showcase your knowledge. 
  6. Focus on consistency and quality. Consistency reinforces your brand. Use the same tone, style, and visual elements across platforms. Quality matters, whether it’s the content you produce or   interactions with your audience.

3. Optimize your Instagram bio

Optimize your Instagram bio with targeted keywords to improve discoverability. Like Google, Instagram functions as a search engine, striving to deliver relevant content to users through the Explore page, account recommendations, or search.

Look at how the 'Italy Explores' Instagram account maximized its bio space by prioritizing keywords over the official page name. By focusing on keywords like Italy, travel, hotels, food, and tips, it optimized its bio for relevance to its content.

Example of an optimized Instagram account

@home strategically enhanced its Instagram profile by incorporating keywords such as ‘homeware’ and ‘furniture’ into its bio. Notably, they used ‘homewarestore’ as their Instagram handle, prioritizing ownership of the ‘homewarestore’ keyword. This strategy ensures that when users search for ‘homeware,’ @home is a top result.

Example of an optimized Instagram bio

4. Create an aesthetic Instagram Feed

Rhode Skin has also excelled in crafting an aesthetic Instagram feed, a strategic move that can significantly boost your Instagram following. 

Rhodes Beauty Instagram

With 70% of shoppers relying on Instagram for product discovery, it's essential to understand why aesthetic feed matters and explore practical tips for achieving it. 

As you can see, Rhode's Instagram has a nostalgic 2000s feel—it's like stepping into a time machine. Given how much people are obsessed with the 2000s lately, it's no wonder the brand is so popular at the moment.

OK, now let’s get into some tips to achieve your coveted aesthetic:

  1. Find your niche: Define your expertise and maintain a consistent theme to captivate and retain your audience's interest. Your followers should know what to expect when returning to your page.
  2. Target audience: Once you’ve defined your niche audience, you need to know their preferences and interests to tailor your content and aesthetic to attract potential customers and keep existing followers engaged.
  3. Maintain cohesiveness: Your aesthetic should align with your brand or personal identity. Consistency in color schemes, fonts, filters, and overall style helps users associate specific visual elements with you. You want to build a recognizable brand image.
  4. Manage fan tags: To maintain your aesthetic, utilize Instagram’s ‘Hide post’ feature. If a fan tags you in a post that doesn’t align with your brand, you can hide it from your tagged feed. This way, it won’t clutter your visual representation. Instagram can also notify you about every fan tag so you can review them before they appear in your feed. By doing so, you can ensure that only relevant content is associated with your brand.
  1. Story Highlights cover photos: Create Highlight covers to showcase your top Instagram Stories. These should compliment your Instagram feed aesthetic for consistency.

5. Leverage keywords to appear on Instagram searches

To boost your Instagram presence, leveraging keywords to appear prominently in Instagram searches is a strategic move. These are the ways to optimize your content for better discoverability:

  1. Captions with keywords: When writing captions for your posts, weave in relevant keywords. Descriptive captions engage your audience and enhance your visibility in search results.
  2. Hashtags as keywords: Treat hashtags as more than just trends—they should also contain keywords. 
  3. Instagram alt text: Don’t overlook the alt text feature. Describe your images using relevant keywords. Alt text not only makes your content accessible to visually impaired users but also contributes to your search visibility.

6. Integrate hashtags your audience uses

  • Research relevant hashtags: Use tools like Hootsuite to find the hashtags commonly used by influencers, competitors, and your target audience. 
  • Mix up the hashtags. Use a combination of broad, specific, and long-tail hashtags. Broad ones cast a wider net, while specific ones connect you with a more engaged audience.
  • Optimize your hashtags: Balance between popular and less popular ones. Trendy ones (#love, #instagood) might drown your content, while obscure ones won’t yield visibility.
  • Location-based hashtags: If your content is location-specific, include local hashtags (e.g., #NYCfoodie, #LondonFashion).
  • Branded hashtags: Create your own branded hashtag and encourage your followers to use it. This will foster community engagement and help you track user-generated content.

7. Discover the best time to post (audience-dependent!)

When it comes to maximizing your Instagram engagement, timing is everything. While there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, understanding your audience’s behavior and preferences is vital. Some things to consider before posting:

  1. Analyze your Instagram insights: If you haven’t already, switch to a business account. It unlocks valuable insights about your audience. You’ll be able to check when your followers are most active. Look for patterns—do they engage more during mornings, afternoons, or evenings?
  2. Time zones matter: Remember that your audience might span different time zones. For instance, if you have a significant following in New York, consider posting at times aligned with Eastern Time (ET).
  3. Weekday sweet spots: Different formats may excel at different times. Later suggests that posting an IG post anytime between 4 a.m. and around 7 a.m. is effective. Reels tend to perform best between 2 a.m. and 6 a.m., with another peak in late evening, starting around 9 p.m. 
Best time to post on Instagram - Infographic

9. Keep it Reel

  • Proven reach and engagement: Short-form Instagram video ads and content are viral. On average, Instagram Reels receive a 22.6% higher interaction rate than regular Instagram videos. Reels allows you to reach a cold audience that needs to become familiar with your account.
  • Instagram’s algorithm favors Reels. It loves short-form videos. Static photo posts rarely go viral, and even Stories struggle to gain massive engagement and get you more likes and followers on Instagram.

Check out the contrast below: The Reel scored 594 likes and 146 comments, while the feed post garnered 216 likes and 23 comments.

Instagram post vs Reels engagement
  • Creativity in promoting products: Reels allow brands to showcase their products creatively. They can use AR effects, speed controls, viral music, and dynamic transitions.
  • Budget-friendly: Unlike elaborate video productions, Reels (and even Stories) don’t require a big budget or extensive production efforts—You just need a mobile phone and time on your hands. For time-starved business owners, however, there are time-friendly creative production solutions like Madgicx’s Creative Workflow.

Madgicx’s Creative Workflow helps you constantly create winning ads for your brand with minimal effort from your side.

Madgicx Ad Library dashboard 2024

Once you’ve explored the best Meta ads in Madgicx’s Ad Library and saved the ones that inspire you, simply submit a quick brief via Sparkle. One of our designers will tackle your request ASAP and have the designs in your inbox in 48 hours.

Once you've given the designs the green light, they'll seamlessly integrate into your Meta Ads Manager for easy launch—or you can launch directly from within Madgicx. Why not try it for free for seven days? No commitment is needed.

10. Double down on user-generated content

Instagram Puma tagged photos

Don’t avoid using user-generated content. Incorporating it into your Instagram content plan can help attract quality followers. 

Here’s why:

  • User-generated content is authentic and relatable. When followers see real people using your products or engaging with your brand, it builds trust and makes them want to join the conversation. It’s been reported that 60% of consumers say UGC is the most authentic form of content. 
  • It celebrates your community. Your brand says, “We see you, appreciate you and want to share your content.” This celebration fosters a sense of belonging. When followers feel like part of a community, they’re more likely to follow your page and invite their friends to join.
  • You tap into the followers of the content creators. Their followers notice when someone’s post appears on your brand’s feed, which is like a word-of-mouth recommendation. Plus, UGC often gets shared beyond your immediate audience, expanding your reach organically.

11. Add your best Stories to the Story Highlights

Instagram Story Highlights allow you to curate themed collections of your top-performing Stories. Whether it’s product launches, tutorials, or event coverage, you can create Highlights that showcase your most engaging and valuable content.

Gilette Instagram Highlights

By featuring these Highlights on your profile, you give new visitors a glimpse of your brand’s essence. It’s like having a permanent showcase of your brand’s best moments, making it easier for potential followers to connect with your content.

12. Publish shareable content

Instagram saveable tips post

When you craft content that hits home with your audience, getting them to like, comment, and share, Instagram’s algorithm takes notice. It sees these interactions as a green light to show your posts to even more people, including those who haven't followed you yet.

And if your content is highly shareable, the kind of stuff people can't resist passing along, it can work wonders for your profile. When others share your posts on their Instagram Stories and tag you, their followers glimpse what you're about. If they're impressed, they might hit that follow button.

Some types of shareable content:

  • Infographics: Visual information presented in a concise and engaging format.
  • Quotes: Inspirational or relatable quotes resonate well and are often shared.
  • Tutorials and hacks: Share valuable knowledge or teach something useful.
  • Interactive content: Polls, quizzes, and Stories encourage engagement and sharing.

13. Learn from Instagram Insights

Instagram Insights gives you the inside scoop on your audience and reach. It dishes out details like who they are, where they're from, and how they behave on the platform. Armed with this info, you can fine-tune your content to match their tastes, which amplifies engagement and attracts fresh followers.

Plus, you can dive deep into which posts hit the sweet spot and spot trends, find the perfect times to post and nail down the most effective hashtags. It's like having a roadmap to what your audience loves. With that knowledge, you can create more great content and cut back on anything that doesn’t hit the mark.

Instagram Insights
Image source: Sprout Social

14. Promote your Instagram account on other channels

Don't wait for followers to appear magically – you must be proactive. One savvy strategy is promoting your Instagram account across your other channels.

Think about it: you've got a built-in audience on other platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, or even your blog. So why not leverage that existing fanbase to boost your Insta presence?

When you promote your Instagram on these other channels, you're casting a wider net. You're reaching people who might not have stumbled upon your profile otherwise. Plus, you're reaching people who love what you do – they're much more likely to hit that Instagram follow button.

Check out how Renault is making moves to connect across platforms. They've dropped their Instagram handle right into their Facebook bio. It's a simple but clever move—anyone checking out their Facebook Page can easily hop over to Insta.

Instagram social media in Renault Facebook bio

Link Instagram to Facebook, share your best IG posts on your other social accounts and give your followers a heads-up about any cool stuff happening on Instagram.

15. Run Instagram ads

Instagram ads
Image source: Big Commerce

Running Instagram ads isn't just about boosting your brand – it's also a strategy for racking those followers. Here's why:

First off, Instagram ads let you target your ideal audience with surgical precision. Be it based on demographics, interests, or behavior, you can hone in on the exact people you want following your account.

Plus, ads get prime real estate in users' feeds, making them hard to miss. That visibility can seriously amp up your profile views and, in turn, your follower count.

When done right, Instagram ads don't just attract followers – they attract the right followers who are genuinely interested in what you have to offer. And that's way more valuable than just racking up numbers.

16. Collaborate with creators and influencers

First, teaming up with influencers gives you access to their dedicated fanbase. These people are already plugged into your niche and hungry for content like yours. By joining forces, you're tapping into a pool of potential followers who are primed and ready to hit that follow button. 

Instagram paid partnership

But it's not just about reaching a wider audience—it's about reaching the right audience. When you partner with influencers who vibe with your brand, you connect with followers who are genuinely interested in what you do. That means higher engagement, more loyal followers, and more growth for your Insta account.

And remember cross-promotion. When you and your collaborators shout each other out on your respective platforms, you're doubling your brand awareness and attracting even more eyeballs to your content.

17. Get verified

Don't sleep on the power of that little blue tick. For starters, that badge of authenticity instantly boosts your credibility. It tells the world that you're the real deal. And with so many accounts vying for attention, that kind of trust can set you apart from the pack.

Instagram verified

Here’s another thing: Being verified doesn't just make you look good – it opens doors. You'll get access to exclusive features and opportunities that non-verified accounts can only dream of. From enhanced visibility in search results to account protection and priority support from Instagram, it's like getting a VIP pass to the inner circle.

If you’re serious about your brand's online presence, you should get verified on Instagram and Facebook.

18. Engage with your audience

When you respond to comments, messages, and tags, you show your followers that you're not just a faceless brand but a real person who cares about what they say. That personal connection builds trust and loyalty, turning casual followers into die-hard fans.

Take cues from Nando’s community manager and build an organic following by creating valuable content, engaging with your audience, and fostering genuine relationships. 

Nando's Instagram post

But it's not just about making your existing followers happy – it's also about attracting new ones. When people see that you're active and engaged on Instagram, they're more likely to follow you. After all, who wouldn't want to be part of a community where the conversation flows both ways?

And let's remember the algorithm. The more you interact with your audience, the more Instagram's algorithm notices. It sees all those likes, comments, and replies as signals that your content is worth promoting to a broader audience.

19. Utilize giveaways and contests

First off, who doesn't love free stuff? Giveaways give your followers a reason to engage with your content, and they give you a follower booster on Instagram. When you require participants to follow your account or tag their friends to enter, you're spreading the word about your profile far and wide. 

And since entrants will likely share the giveaway with their followers, you'll reach an even broader audience.

Instagram giveaway

Plus, giveaways and contests are among the best ways to collect user-generated content. This content is like gold for your brand, whether it's photos, videos, or testimonials. 

So, if you're looking to shake things up and attract new followers on Instagram, consider the power of a well-planned giveaway or contest. 

20. Go Live

Going live on Instagram isn't just about sharing what you're up to in real time – it's about putting a face to the name. 

Instagram Live

Going live on Instagram is more than just a real-time update. It's an opportunity for your followers to see the natural person behind the brand. Whether offering glimpses of your work process, hosting interactive Q&A sessions, or simply having a casual chat, going live humanizes your brand and fosters trust with your audience. 

When followers join in, they can ask questions, leave comments, and even participate in a virtual hangout. It's like having a face-to-face conversation with your audience, creating a personal connection that is truly invaluable. 

Plus, going live signals to Instagram's algorithm that you're producing engaging content, leading to increased visibility in users' feeds.

21. Use geo-tagging

Geo-tagging makes your Instagram posts more discoverable to people in the area you're tagging. Whether it's a famous landmark, a trendy neighborhood, or a local hotspot, adding a location to your posts can help you connect with like-minded users nearby.

Instagram geo-tagging

22. Try to reach the Explore page

Sticking to the 21 Instagram strategies we've covered sets you on the path to the Explore page. 

Instagram Explore feed

Keep consistently delivering top-notch, engaging content. Respond to comments and messages promptly. Collaborate with other accounts or influencers in your niche. Encourage your followers to create and share content related to your brand. 

Remember to leverage Instagram Insights to determine peak posting times and maximize your reach. Stay the course, and you'll be closer to that Explore page spotlight and gain followers on Instagram. 

Good luck with growing your Instagram! 💪

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May 6, 2024
May 6, 2024
Annette Nyembe

Digital copywriter with a passion for sculpting words that resonate in a digital age.

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