12 Best Tips on How to Get Real Followers on Instagram in 2021

It takes hours to plan and create content for Instagram. After you click “Share” everything is fine for a moment. You are confident that you have published something amazing.

Radio silence. You might get a few comments and likes from your followers. If you don’t publish great content, how can you increase your Instagram followers?

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Instagram growth is not a step-by-step process. There are some best practices that can help you reach more people and win new followers.

How to increase your Instagram followers

These 12 strategies will help you increase your Instagram followers.

1. Use the correct hashtags

Your goal on Instagram is to engage your current audience on a regular basis while also growing your number of real followers. The first requirement will be met by posting new, engaging, and interesting photos. However, to grow your following, hashtagging your photos is crucial. Hashtagging makes it easier for people to search for specific terms to locate your photos.

instagram hashtags EXAMPLE

Which hashtags should you choose? Instagram users choose specific hashtags to use, just like on Twitter and other social media sites. If you use popular Instagram hashtags within your photos, you’re much more likely to reach new users and be discovered.

These were the top 20 Instagram hashtags at the time this article was written.

  1. #love
  2. #instagood
  3. #photooftheday 
  4. #fashion 
  5. #beautiful 
  6. #happy 
  7. #cute 
  8. #like4like 
  9. #tbt
  10. #followme 
  11. #picoftheday
  12. #follow 
  13. #me
  14. #art
  15. #selfie 
  16. #summer 
  17. #instadaily 
  18. #repost
  19. #friends 
  20. #nature

You are likely to be right if you look at the list and say, “But none apply to my products/brand.”

2. Optimize your bio

Use those 150 characters to your advantage. Your Instagram bio tells your potential followers who and what you are.

bio instagram example

Include these words in your Instagram bio:

  • A concise description of your work
  • Your personality touches
  • A call to action (shop/read more/contact us etc.
  • A link

Your in-bio link will be your only clickable link to Instagram. Use it carefully. While some businesses provide a link to their website as a default, others update it frequently to reflect new posts. But if you want to make it easier on yourself, take advantage of link-in-bio tools such as Shop Grid that allow you to turn a single link into a catalog of links.

3. Find the best time to post on Instagram

Notice that we didn’t say “Find the best time to post on Instagram”. There is no one right time to post on Instagram. There are many ways to determine the best times for your followers.

To find out the time your audience is online, first use Instagram Insights. Tap the “Insights” button on your Instagram profile. Scroll to “Your Audience” and then tap “See All.” Scroll down to the bottom of the page to see your audience’s most active times.

Instagram Insights

It is important to consider the best times for your content to be most useful. A step-by-step video recipe might be more popular outside of work hours, as people are more likely than ever to be cooking. If people are feeling tired, a post about a coffee shop might be more popular around 2 p.m. Track engagement by trying different times of posting.

4. Make sure you use the correct filters

Keyword hashtags are not the only thing to pay attention to. Certain photo filters are more popular than others in the Instagram community. These filters can make a difference in your engagement.

instagram filters

These are the top 10 Instagram filters according to Iconosquare.

  1. Normal (No Filter).
  2. Clarendon
  3. Juno
  4. Lark
  5. Ludwig
  6. Gingham
  7. Valencia
  8. X-Pro II
  9. Lo-fi
  10. Amaro

TrackMaven conducted a study of Instagram accounts to determine how filters affect engagement. It found that Mayfair and Hefe drove the most interaction.

Your favorite filters are more important than those of the general Instagram community. This custom graph shows how filter usage correlates with engagement from my Instagram account.

5. Do not be boring

instagram funny

You need to think beyond the obvious, one-word hashtags when it comes to Instagram caption ideas. You can use them, of course, but you should also use hashtags to tell a part of your story. You can be funny, ironic or outrageous, but don’t be boring.

6. Followers of your competitors

Engaging with your competitors’ followers on Instagram is one of the best ways you can attract new followers. You can easily find these people by following your competitors and showing some interest in the products that you offer.

How can you steal the followers of your competitors? Engage with them. You can engage with Instagram users in many ways. The more you work, the more you will get followers and more repeat engagements.

These are the three types of engagement that Instagram allows:

  • Follow a user
  • As a photo
  • Comment on a photograph

Use emojis to give your text some personality.

7. Sponsored posts and product reviews can be paid

All this optimized posting to your account is great, but if you really want to increase Instagram followers, you need to take advantage of influencer marketing and expose your brand to a wider audience.

Sponsored posts

How do you do this? This strategy, unlike other strategies to increase Instagram followers, is usually not free. It can be a good investment if it is done right.

You will need to create a list with large accounts within your niche in order to get started. If you sell beauty products, for example, you will need to identify large accounts from beauty bloggers.

An email address on a profile usually indicates that the account is available for sponsored posts or shoutouts in a sponsored Story.

Ask for their pricing information by email. I’ve found that the average rate for sponsored posts is between $20 and $50 per post depending on how many are being used.

If you are selling an original and unique product, you might also consider sending it to the influencer for them to review and possibly post. The more natural and unadvertised the image is, the better the response and engagement.

To get more Instagram followers, you don’t necessarily have to have a large following. Instead, you can look for influencers who have a high engagement rate (likes or comments relative to follower counts). Many influencer marketplaces offer this service.

8. Try different types of content

Instagram is more than just photos. Instagram has added many new ways to share content over the years. Mixing different content types with your Instagram account is a great way to increase your followers. It allows you to connect with more people.

Remember that the algorithm considers interest and tries to show people the content they are most interested in. If one person comments and likes Instagram Reels more than any other post type, it’s likely that they will see more Reels on their Instagram feed. Conversely, someone who interacts with carousel posts more often will see more of this content type on their timeline.

Each content type has its advantages. Instagram Reels, for instance, have an advantage because they are the most recent content type. Instagram also constantly updates their features. Reels were launched in 2020 by Instagram. The app moved the Reels button to center in the menu bar, making them larger than the Explore page’s photo posts. Considering 200 million people check the Explore page every day, that additional visual real estate can make a big difference in how many people you reach.

Instagram Reels

Instagram TV (IGTV) videos also appear 4x larger than photos on the Explore page. This type of video is great for long-form video because IGTV videos can last up to 60 minutes.

IGTV

Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours, but they have their benefits as well. Fifty-seven percent of brands believe that Stories have been “somewhat effective” or “very effective” as a part of their social media strategy. You can also add Instagram Swipe Uplinks for Stories to drive traffic to specific pages if you have a verified Instagram account and at least 10,000 followers.

Instagram Stories example

Meanwhile, carousel posts–a series of up to 10 images/videos in a single post–boast the highest engagement rates of all post types. Carousels can be thought of as a teaser or mini-story to a longer-form piece, such as a blog. Text images, videos or a combination of both can be used in one thematic blog post.

9. Geotags can be used to increase local discovery

Instagram Geotags

You can make your Instagram Stories and posts searchable with hashtags. Tag your location, either the city or the place where you took the photo or video.

You can add to locations’ stories by using a location sticker.

Local businesses can reap the benefits of location tags by regularly posting to these feeds, and engaging with potential customers who are in the area.

10. Organize Your Stories into Highlights

You have a limited time window to convince potential followers to follow your business profile once they land on it.

One way to do this is by using the Highlights feature on your profile to organize your Instagram Stories in a way that communicates what your account is about.

Story Highlights instagram

Because Stories only last for 24 hours, Highlights can be used as a way to give them another life and to entice others into following you to ensure they never miss any more Stories.

To increase your Instagram followers, use Story Highlights

  • Create trailers that show off what your account is all about
  • For travel accounts, organize your stories into themes.
  • Using pictures and videos to explain your products
  • Promote your products with swipe-up links

11. Ask for more followers

Although it sounds obvious, it is important to remember: Ask your audience to sometimes follow you.

You can ask your viewers to follow you in the same way that YouTubers ask viewers to watch their videos at the end.

follow me instagram

People might enjoy your content on Instagram, but they may need some encouragement before they follow you.

You can also do this in your Instagram captions, work it into your content by pitching what your audience will get if they follow you or by hinting at content that’s coming up that they won’t want to miss.

12. Create great captions

Great Instagram captions will keep people’s attention with great photos. Captions allow you to give more context and details about the image or video that you are sharing. Plus, using keywords in captions can help you appear in search results on the app.

Instagram posts

Instagram captions can exceed 2,200 characters. Not every caption has to be written like a blog post. You can experiment with different lengths. Some photos look great with a simple caption and a few emojis. Others might be better off with something more thoughtful.

While Instagram captions are getting longer, most brands don’t exceed the 2,200 character limit. In 2020, the average was projected to be 405 characters, up from 142 in 2016.

To drive your business, create an Instagram growth strategy

This post focuses on the best ways to use Instagram to grow a targeted audience. However, it is not always about numbers. As with any social network, the most successful strategy overall is to be authentic, social, and know what to post on Instagram.

Instagram is a great place to showcase your products and brands if you are focused on engagement and not just following. This can help generate a steady stream of revenue for your online business.

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