For every content strategy and branding tactic to work it requires an audience! Instagram has proved to be the most effective platform for marketing thanks to its large user base. Well, one thing that most brands tend to struggle with is FOLLOWERS.
How do I get more followers?
Why am I not getting any followers even after posting good content?
Why are my followers unfollowing me?
Why are my promotions not getting me any new followers?
Should I buy Instagram followers?
Will free Instagram followers solve the problem?
These questions sound familiar? Well, getting followers on Instagram is still a difficult nut to crack but is not impossible.
People are often lured into implementing shady tactics for increasing their followers but these tricks are of no use for the long run. One just needs to apply the right amount of creativity and strategies to get going.
In this blog, we’ll give you some practical and simple ways to attract more followers on Instagram but first let’’s understand why in the first place you need followers.
Moreover, we will also shed a light on relying on free Instagram followers and what it means to buy Instagram followers.
But first, let’s understand why in the first place you need followers.
Why You Need More Followers on Instagram
There is a lot of talk about gaining followers on Instagram but what good does it do to your brand presence? Instagram has scaled up from being a filter-oriented picture sharing platform to a complete marketing channel. This transformation itself means that you need to have an audience on the platform.
Broadly, having more followers on the platform can get you better results for your Instagram marketing strategies. However, there are some other reasons too which imply that you need to have a good follower base on Instagram.
More followers = More reach
Your content is of no use if it doesn’t reach your target audience. More followers on your account means that your content will have more reach and this is good for your brand!
Helps attract passive consumers
Having a consistent and a large follower base can also help in targeting passive consumers. Make sure your content is shareable and user-centric for the same!
Brands having a large number of followers often impress the buyers. This also reflects in their sales. Consumers on Instagram often make their buying decisions based on the brand’s followers and client testimonials and this helps in improving the brand image too.
Carve an authority in your niche
This heavily relies on the content you post. If your content makes the audience want to follow you that means you are well-versed with your niche and this can help you race ahead of your competitors.
Helps increase traffic to your website
Instagram allows links on its stories and bio and a large follower base will help you garner traffic to the landing pages you put up. Brands launching their new collection, products or services can make use of this effectively. Further, this can also be used for increasing your blog traffic!
Here are 25 tips to grow Instagram followers, without having to pay for ads
1. Focus on Your Profile and Bio
The first thing a user sees on your account is your bio. It’s probably the only space on Instagram that can tell the users what your account is all about apart from your content. See to it that your bio has a link to the page you want users to land on. See to it that the username is properly framed and your profile has an image too.
It is best to stick to your brand name when choosing a username. Anything complicated can end up confusing the users. Here are a few profiles that have aced their bio game.
2. Plan Your Content Well in Advance
Your followers are following you for what you post on your page and this will also decide if you will get more followers. Every page is created for a specific purpose and that purpose should reflect on what you post. Be it text, images or videos, your content should be anything but vague. A fitness brand should focus on health tips, exercises, diet food, instead of random scenic pictures! Apart from curating engaging content, it is also necessary to be consistent. See to it that your content is
- Useful to an extent
- In line with the trend
3. Work on Your Captions
For young profiles, it is very important to have a clear message about who they are, and captions will help you accomplish that. The captions should complement your post, convey the message and initiate conversation and engagement. They should be the correct length to put forward the story without the viewer thinking of it as a waste of time. Be sure to incorporate hashtags.
4. Use Hashtags Wisely
Hashtags are another easy way to reach the correct type of people for your posts. Do some research to find which are the most relevant hashtags for your content, see how many posts they have and start experimenting. Do not use the most common ones, or your post will get buried amidst many others. Throw dirt enough and some will stick.
Most brand account holders think adding multiple hashtags to their posts will give them more followers. However, that’s not the case. Just like keywords even hashtags need to be well-researched. If you choose random hashtags you are likely to get random followers. It is necessary to use hashtags that actually relate to the content you post.
For instance, if your post is about travel, don’t include hashtags related to food and fashion, keep it travel-centric only. This way you can target relevant users and get relevant followers. See which hashtags suit your content, filter out which hashtags your competitors are using in their posts, check whether your caption and hashtags are within limits! (Instagram won’t let you post more than 30 hashtags, we say you stick to 5 or 8 hashtags)
5. Geotag Your Posts
Adding a location to your posts gives you a chance at getting featured for when someone clicks on the location or searches for it. This works like hashtags in a way, to gain the views of people for something specific. You can also get creative with custom locations and not actual places, to give your posts an edge. I mean, who wouldn’t want to see a Pizza post at ‘in your belly?’
6. Post Consistently
We all love to try and create the most beautiful pieces, but that should not slow down how often you upload. Consistency in uploading can prove to be the fastest way to grow. Another smaller advantage that comes along with this is that you can diversify your content if you are posting multiple times a week, or even better, multiple times a day.
7. Do NOT cross post
Instagram gives you an option to also share the image with the caption on Facebook, Twitter and other places, in the last step of uploading. This may seem like an easy step to have it shared in various places, but you can not forget that each platform is unique it can turn out to be counter-intuitive. Understand the context of the platform and change your storytelling accordingly. No one likes to see an image on Facebook with 25 hashtags in the caption.
8. Make Content that is Shareable
How cool would it be if your Instagram followers help in gaining new followers! Try to make content that is very shareable in nature, enjoyable, strong on emotions, funny etc. Content that is quick to understand resonates with views faster. With the ability to send a post to your friends in a single click, means you can easily increase your reach manifold. Example: learning how to make ice cream in less than a minute.
9. Develop Your Style
Getting people to see your content is just the beginning. How you get them to check out your profile and actually hit Follow is the second step. That is why your feed and the entire profile should be top-notch.
Try to have a consistent theme with your profile that clearly states what your profile is about, and what sort of content a person can expect from you in the future. Don’t forget about the bio and the links, while you are revamping your profile.
If you want to take it to the next level, you can try to follow a colour scheme, and grade your photos in a similar way. Might not be applicable for every type of profile, but look undeniably cool.
10. Embed Posts on Your Website
Did you know that you can have your Instagram posts directly accessible from your blog, without making the viewer click on a link and leave the website? All Content Management Systems (WordPress, Wix etc) have an option to embed posts to make them directly view-able. The method varies a little for each platform but starts with clicking on the 3 dot menu of a post, selecting Embed, and copy-pasting the code in your blog post. If you happen to have a sizable audience on your website, this will come in handy to easily send them to your Instagram. They can like and comment n the post without having to leave your website!
11. Let People Know You are Active on Instagram
Try and share your Instagram handle on other platforms so that people can follow you. Along with the stated, you can also share your Instagram content on other channels to gain more attention. If your content is powerful and engaging users will purposely want to follow you on Instagram.
Suppose you have a blog make sure you have social media buttons on the same and Instagram is a part of it! Your Instagram handle can also be a part of your email marketing campaign.
Quora is a good platform to bring more followers to your Instagram account. Answer relevant questions users are asking & link them to your Instagram account.
12. Don’t Ignore Highlights
The highlight feature on Instagram is more important than you think. It can help your brand in several ways. Right from telling the people about the new line you just launched to displaying the client reviews, these highlights can be used for several things. It helps you categorise important aspects of your page in a systematic way. Get creative with your highlight titles and classify them smartly depending on what you want to highlight.
13. Instagram Stories for Getting Explored
Instagram Stories can also be directly sent to anyone via DMs, with a single click. Stories also get featured on Hashtags and Locations. So the rules for posts are also applicable here. Try to make stories that encourage sharing, add a clear call to action, add Hashtags and Location stickers to get featured. You can also share posts in your Stories, to bring those viewers to your profile.
14. Engage with Hashtags
Once you have identified the prominent hashtags for your type of content, go and check them out. Leave a comment posts that are relevant to your brand, have conversations, and interact with other users. Looking at the top 9 posts for each hashtag will also teach you what posts are more enjoyed, which you can use as inspiration. Try to bring value to the other commenters on these posts, and see your account grow! This is one of the best ways to grow Instagram followers and reach the correct people.
15. Interact with the community
Take out time to respond to as many people as you can, who took the effort to leave a comment on your post. Not only does this increase the number of comments on the post, but also make the commenters feel more welcome, thus increasing their affection towards you.
16. Encourage User Participation
The best way to grow your follower base on Instagram is to have user participation through your posts. Make sure you use your Instagram stories for this purpose. Host online contests, giveaways, etc. to let your followers know that they are a part of your brand. Take a look at these online posts and stories that need user involvement.
17. Stories Takeover
Instagram Stories has added a whole new dimension of possibilities. Still not very prominent, but stories takeover allows you to spice things up for a day. Get a customer or a friend to take over your Instagram stories and share their perspective of the whole thing. Ask them to announce the takeover on their profile too, to bring in their followers to you. Example: Profiles of Travel destinations are known to invite creators and influencers to take over their stories, and share their experiences during the stay.
Invite other people/brands in your genre to come together and create content for your page. This brings in variety for your content, and also exposes you to a whole new set of audience. This is beneficial for both the parties. Have an influencer come and talk about their experiences. Have a guest contributor for a day. Start ideating!
19. Get Featured
This one is like a hack for Social media growth. There are profiles for each genre that curate content from all over Instagram and share it on their feeds. Yes, it is not easy to reach there, but putting in that effort towards making content worth sharing will always come handy. Profiles that participate in this usually have the hashtag mentioned in their bio. This acts as an easy way to gain access to a lot of new viewers.
20. Crowd-sourced Content and Stories
Going hand in hand with the previous point, you can also use media from your community for your feed. Depending on the size of your following, it can range from requesting a fan for a photo, to even hosting contests for an opportunity to get featured. Decide on an easy-to-remember hashtag that you want to associate all your content with, and want people to submit their posts with. This goes a long way to help people recognise your posts and engage with them. Get creative with this one. People are likely to share a post if they are mentioned in it, or credited for.
This is a great way to make your page feel more human. Think about it, how do you make your page feel more human? Get humans to vouch for it! Talk to your past customers/top fans, get to know what they like, and what they appreciate. Viewers will enjoy hearing about you from someone who is not you.
22. Check Your Instagram Insights
Just posting content on your account won’t help you need to know whether that content is getting any results. Instagram insights are available for business accounts and are extremely beneficial to gauge the performance of your content. Instagram insights will give you data on the following parameters-
- Interactions (Profile visits, website clicks, email clicks)
- Reach and impressions
- Audience( location, age, gender, the average hours and days your followers are active)
These insights will help you figure out what to post and when to post. Along with the stated, it also gives you an understanding of what is being liked by your audience! Even when framing content strategies you need to keep these insights in mind.
23. Go for an Instagram Analytics Tool
The significance of Instagram for marketing purposes has given rise to many tools. Unbox Social is one of the most comprehensive tools for Instagram analytics. It provides you with the following in-depth analysis for Instagram-
- Post and story performance insights
- Audience demographics
- Competition analysis (Know about your competitor’s posts, hashtags, tone of the content)
- Brand sentiment analysis (Helps you know your brand impression on the platform as compared to your competitors)
- Share of voice (Gives you information on what your competitors are posting about and the reactions their posts are getting)
All these insights will help you understand where your content strategy is lacking and what is the pulse of your target audience.
24. Collaborate with Instagram Influencers
Instagram is the backbone of most influencer marketing campaigns. This strategy can also be used to increase followers. Collaborating with influencers can help your brand reach a large audience. Choosing the right influencers is crucial to get desired results. It is best to rely on influencer marketing platforms for the same. Choose influencers based on your niche and increase your brand presence.
Unbox Social helps brands discover influencers. Additionally, our tool also helps in influencer evaluation and influencer listening.
25. Content for the Future
On the subject of planning out your content, keep an eye on all upcoming events or activities of interest.
For example, if your content is for the Indian audience, you can have posts planned out for upcoming festivals. Adaptive content like this more likely to be enjoyed by your audience, or even shared. Be opportunistic.
Has the thought of buying free Instagram followers ever crossed your mind? Let’s understand what it means to buy Instagram followers for your brands.
REALITY CHECK: Why Not To Buy Instagram Followers
The sight of having thousands of followers is surely delightful but the competition on Instagram makes this difficult to achieve. The lack of regulations has given rise to tactics that let you buy Instagram followers. But this unethical move can do you more harm than good.
When you buy Instagram followers it does not reflect in your post performance statistics because these accounts are inactive and are just there to improve the display of your follower account!
Let’s understand why buying free Instagram followers should not be a part of your strategy!
1. With free Instagram followers, there won’t be any significant change in your performance statistics
Like we mentioned before, these are inactive free accounts that can bring no change in the statistics of your content performance. This simply means that buying free Instagram followers cannot impact any of the metrics even in the long run.
2. The ‘buy Instagram followers’ technique will not benefit the engagement rate
The Instagram algorithm relies on several metrics which also includes engagement rate. In most cases, free Instagram followers are inactive and fake accounts that bring no engagement to any of your posts. This means that even if your follower count looks impressive your posts may not get any engagement. This can also put a dent in your brand’s credibility.
3. Free Instagram followers will not help you analyse what’s working for your brand
Buying these inactive accounts may get you views and maybe a few likes at the start but what about the long run. The gap between your followers’ range and other engagement metrics will still be there and will also impact your content analysis. Due to this disparity, you will never understand what content strategy is working for your brand.
4. You may enter in the bad books of Instagram if you buy Instagram followers
There have been many cases wherein Instagram has suspended accounts that were filled with fake followers. This is to keep the platform free from unethical accounts and to ensure the safety of other users. Moreover, this is against the community guidelines of Instagram and can impact your account negatively.
5. Get ready for useless comments when you buy Instagram followers
Haven’t you come across posts that have irrelevant comments that add no value to the post? This is what happens when you buy Instagram followers. Some free Instagram followers may also crowd your posts with back to back inappropriate comments which can negatively impact your real Instagram followers.
Decoding The Trap of Free Instagram Followers
Instagram is a crucial platform for all businesses but sadly, making a mark on this platform requires strong content that relates to the audience. Sometimes even after putting up well-curated content brands are unable to attract their audience. This is the phase wherein several brands fall for free Instagram followers.
Here are the points you must keep in mind when opting for free Instagram followers.
1. You are not getting the audience you want to target with free Instagram followers
Your real Instagram followers are the ones that are genuinely interested in your content and brand. Free Instagram followers will not contribute anything qualitative. Additionally, these free followers have no potential to be your clients too which makes all your content curation efforts futile.
2. Your brand content might never show up in your target audience’s feed
Thanks to the free Instagram followers your brand content might never show up in your target audiences’ feed because of low engagement (Blame the algorithm). This can also result in the loss of genuine followers. Low reach and falling engagement rate are alarming signs!
3. Your investment on Instagram ads will fetch no real results
The primary motive behind Instagram ads is to reach more of your audience on the platform. However, when most of your followers are inactive accounts you can never benefit from the ads too because these ads are now also reaching the FREE INSTAGRAM FOLLOWERS!
4. Your brand will never reach its campaign objective with free Instagram followers
Brands often come up with campaigns to engage their audience but if most of your followers are nothing but inactive accounts then the campaign will hardly have any effect. Free Instagram followers won’t participate in your campaigns and won’t even give any engagement. This means you will hardly get close to your campaign objective with the help of free Instagram followers.
Let’s look at how a visual style guide can help you retain and gain new followers.
Brands with a set visual style guide often attract followers because of how their page looks. Instagram has accounts from almost all niches and it is tough to set yourself apart from the rest. Having a visual style guide will make your brand look unique on the platform. Your visual style guide defines your brand and what it stands for. Instagram is a visual format and hence, it is necessary to focus on the design elements. Here are a few factors that shape your visual style guide.
Most brands have their signature colours, this can be a part of your page. Colours can make or break the overall look of your page so choose wisely. The idea here is to remain consistent with your choice. No rule book says you must stick with your brand colours, you can also experiment with a bunch of hues to set the tone of your page.
Use of Filters
Instagram offers 23 filters to enhance your posts. However, using all of them in different posts may not bring uniformity on your page. Choose two or three filters that best suit your content style and brand and try and use them often. This will bring a sense of consistency on your page and will improve the overall look of the account.
Composition is how the elements in your post are used and placed. This largely applies to photographs. Having a similar composition throughout your page can not only make the page look super attractive but can also set your brand’s visual tone.
Having a concept that is unique
Brands often replicate something that’s already viral. To be unique on the platform it is best to start a trend. Look at the FollowMeTo trend started by photographer Murad Osmann!
All of these above-mentioned factors depend on how your posts look on those squares. The grids dictate the visual presentation of your feed. A grid style is basically the structure of how your posts are placed on your page. Brands can get massively creative with this one!
Having a visual style guide adds character to your brand. See to it that you adapt to a style guide that you can easily follow!
With some research, planning and effort, you can leverage what Instagram has to offer and it’s potential to increase your followers.
Along with getting more followers on Instagram, your focus should be on improving engagement. Publishing your posts consistently can improve your engagement rate. However, your content needs to be up to the mark. Hosting Instagram live sessions and collaborating with relevant accounts can help you carve a name in your niche!
REMINDER- Refrain from relying on free Instagram followers and stay away from the ‘buy Instagram followers’ tactic!
All these efforts can bring you relevant followers on Instagram.
Track your Instagram content strategy with Unbox Social and boost your social media presence. Sign up now.
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