Instagram can be a highly-targeted, visual marketing channel for your brand and an opportunity to build a loyal audience that grows with your business.
In fact, over 500 million Instagram users browse the app every day, making it home to some of the most engaged audiences around.
But like any social network out there, there are right ways to use it, wrong ways to use it, and clever ways to use it.
In this post, we will show you how to most effectively use Instagram to increase engagement and grow a massive following over time—one that’s full of real fans, not inactive fake accounts.
How to Get More Followers on Instagram
There are 13 tactics that will help you reliably get more followers on Instagram:
- Use the right hashtags
- Use the right filters
- Post at the right time
- Steal your competitor’s followers
- Pay for sponsored posts and product reviews
- Use geotags to boost local discovery
- Organize your Stories into Highlights on your profile
- Ask new users who engage with you to follow you
- Be consistent
- Hop on trends
- Run a giveaway
- Monitor your following closely over time
- Use the Instagram tools at your disposal
Let’s dive deeper into how to implement each tactic.
Use the right Instagram hashtags
Your goal on Instagram is to engage your current audience while also growing your following. Posting new, interesting and engaging photos will satisfy the first requirement, but to begin growing you’ll find hashtagging your photos to be extremely important.
So which hashtags should you use?
Just like with Twitter and other social sites, users on Instagram use certain hashtags over others. If you use the right hashtags within your photos, you’re much more likely to reach new users and be discovered.
Here are the current top 20 hashtags on Instagram according to Websta:
- #love (1,271,692,015)
- #instagood (742,795,562)
- #photooftheday (507,358,504)
- #fashion (487,010,088)
- #beautiful (463,668,566)
- #happy (427,528,663)
- #cute (418,686,470)
- #like4like (417,887,839)
- #tbt (413,049,020)
- #followme (392,011,012)
- #picoftheday (380,504,677)
- #follow (371,102,705)
- #me (348,193,980)
- #art (343,874,151)
- #selfie (337,204,715)
- #summer (324,498,110)
- #instadaily (323,307,593)
- #repost (309,603,537)
- #friends (307,567,075)
- #nature (303,040,276)
If you looked at the list above and said, “But none of those apply to my products or brand”, you’re likely correct.
Using hashtags is one thing, using the right tags is a completely different thing.
Popular tags like the ones listed above will likely net you additional engagement and likes, however they will not lead to increased long-term engagement, new interested followers, and most importantly, sales.
If you want to tag your photos properly, you’ll need to find and use the most relevant hashtags. This means doing the appropriate research to make sure you’re using hashtags that not only describe your brand, but are also being searched for on Instagram.
Using hashtags in Instagram Stories
Hashtagging on Instagram posts are a given, but you should also be using hashtags in your Stories for the chance to be seen by users who follow that specific hashtag.
You can use Hashtag Stickers (which can be found in the Stickers menu when creating a Story) or just hashtag directly in your captions for a chance to be featured in a Hashtag Story.
Now that users can follow hashtags, your Stories have a chance to be seen by both people who are following that hashtag and anyone who’s just checking it out.
Use the right filters on Instagram
Keyword hashtags aren’t the only thing you should pay attention to. The Instagram community responds to certain photo filters more favorably than others. Using these preferred filters can have an impact on your engagement.
Here are the 10 current most popular filters on Instagram according to Iconosquare:
- Normal (No Filter)
- X-Pro II
Post on Instagram at the right times
Beyond adding the appropriate hashtags and using the best filters, you should also be considering the timing of your posts.
A targeted approach is to analyze what has and has not worked for you in the past. By visiting IconoSquare’s optimization section, you can get a detailed analysis of your posting history vs. engagement. This report will also highlight the best times of the day and days of the week to post.
The dark circles indicate when you usually post media. The light gray circles shows when your community has been interacting. The biggest light gray circles represent the best times for you to post.
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Author, Founder of Gegapedia.
Co-founder of purchasium.