Instagram has today released two major updates to their product: Instagram live video and disappearing photos and videos for groups and friends in Instagram Direct.
I am asked for Instagram advice on a regular basis. People want to know how to get more Instagram followers, but specifically, how I quickly grew my personal Instagram followers from 5227 to 11406 in just over four months. It’s a fairly simple process, but it’s going to take a bit of effort on your part. I tell people to plan about an hour a day broke into smaller segments to quickly grow their following. Now, I know how it worked for me, but before I shared my tips and tricks I had some other people use my technique to see if it would work for them.
I was on a press trip with @Bob.Sessions. He was fairly new to Instagram and only had 75 followers. He asked for some advice on what to do so I shared my technique with him and in less than four months he exceeded 10k Instagram followers.
Another friend, @TravelingCoachKim, had around 180 followers and I took over her account and grew it to 2000 in two weeks.
There are countless other success stories I could share, but what you need to know is that these tips to grow your Instagram followers work!
A disclaimer, these techniques are not for everyone. Some people will completely disagree with me and that is fine. Pick and choose what works for you and do it well.
First, a couple notes before we get started.
Make sure your profile is completely filled out and you have a profile image. Not having a profile image is kind of like being an egghead on twitter. An pic is a must! Also, be sure to add a link to your blog and an email address in the profile so people can easily find you and email you.
Once you have your profile looking good you are ready to start building your Instagram followers.
7 Simple Ways to Get More Instagram Followers
1. POST DAILY
Post one to three images every day and post be sure to post them more than 2 hours apart. I know, I know. You have a lot of photos you want to share, but reign it in and stay strategically focused with a max of three images a day. Study upon study has been done on this subject and the word on the street is that one to three is the perfect amount of updates.
2. ONLY POST YOUR BEST IMAGES
Yes, you have 500 photos of little Johnny playing or 300 images of the same flower from different angles that you are positive the world needs to see. Here’s the thing, you need to think about Instagram as your art gallery. You only want to showcase the best of the best of the best on your IG feed. Let IG become your portfolio of your top notch work. The best advice a photographer ever gave me is that I’m only as good as my worst image. Best. advice. ever.
Additionally, ask yourself the question why. WHY will your followers/audience be interested in the photo? Will it inspire? Will it share a helpful tip? Will it make someone want to purchase a product, visit a destination, etc? If you can’t answer the question why with a solid answer DO NOT post the image. This is truly one of the best tips for how to get more Instagram followers. Self-editing is very important.
3. USE HASHTAGS
Many images are found by hashtags on Instagram so you want to make sure you are using them to help get more Instagram followers. Place two to three hashtags in the content about your image and then in the first comment copy/paste 20-25 hashtags.
If you are blogger building your Instagram followers because you want to leverage the account to work with brands watch the hashtags that you have included with your image. If your image lands in the “top posts” category screenshot and add to your media kit. I had four images land on the #VisitArkansas ‘top posts’ hashtag page during a recent trip. Not too shabby.
I add hashtags to the notepad on my smartphone and then simply copy/paste the hashtags into the first comment. I break the hashtags up into categories so I can easily pull for travel, food, midwest, etc.
Another word on hashtags if you are building a brand. Consider creating a hashtag just for your brand and include it in the content of every, single image.
4. AGGRESSIVELY FOLLOW
This is where people usually disagree with me, but this is my main technique to get more Instagram followers. You have to aggressively follow people each and every day. You are limited to following a maximum of 80 people in an hour. Do that a couple times a day so that you are following around 200 people each and every day.
To find people to follow go to accounts that you follow or like and follow their followers or the people they are following. Look for people that have similar interest and photos as you. You will have more success following followers if your images are in the same niche as the account the person is already following.
For example, I post mostly travel images so I will find travel instagrammers and follower their followers. Their followers already like travel images so it’s a pretty good bet that they’ll like my images as well. I’m probably not going to follow someones followers that only post truck images. People that are liking truck images probably won’t like my travel images. Make sense?
Find your niche and follow those audiences.
If you are focused on the travel niche here are some great Instagrammers. Go to their followers or following list and follow away.
Note…1,082 like and 38 comments within a day, THAT is good engagement. (Bob has 11.6k followers giving him a 10% + engagement rate which is fantastic!)
I will harp on this endlessly. If you don’t have engagement your account is pointless from a brand point of view. I stumble across many, many accounts that have 50k-100k+ followers and end up with 30 likes on an image and no comments. Um, there is a serious disconnect if people are not interacting with you. If you aren’t leveraging your account to build a brand this tip probably isn’t important, but if your end goal is to make money, review items, or take trips than you need to pay attention to this one.
Five or six times a day jump onto Instagram for 5 -10minutes. Go through your Instagram feed and like the last 30 minutes to an hour of photos. Basically, do what you can in five minutes. There really isn’t a hard and fast rule. I want to keep it simple enough that you feel like you can follow through and that building your Instagram followers isn’t sucking all your time.
While you are liking photos stop and comment on the images that really speak to you. Something as simple as “beautiful images” or “what was your favorite things to do in XYZ?” can help build engagement on your own page plus you might just find a kindred spirit or two.
My understanding is that the industry standard for engagement rate is right around 3%. For each image you post you’ll want to work to get 3% of your followers number to like or comment.
While you are working on engagement it’s a really good time to clean up who you are following. I automatically unfollow anyone that is selling wraps, oils or any other annoying product on Instagram. Too many photos in a row? I’m unfollowing you. Bad photography? Gone. In essence, I want my Instagram stream to be filled with lovely, inspiring images, everything else has to go. Of course, it will be different for you. I don’t want you to feel bad because you are unfollowing someone. It’s your account, make it what you want.
6. SEARCH HASHTAGS
Search the same hashtags that your are using in your images. When the hashtag pages opens up click on the first image in recent posts and scroll through the stream liking images, leaving comments, and following people. You don’t have to like all the images you see. I tend to skip selfies, but pretty images get likes, gorgeous images get comments and both of those usually get a follow. It’s a great way to find others on Instagram that are outside your immediate circle.
7. USE CROWDFIRE
Crowdfire is a free app that helps with the aggressively unfollowing portion of my technique. Download it to your phone and/or computer and link it to your Instagram account.
Three or four days after you start using the above tips go in and sync your account. It might take up to 5 minutes to completely load. Once it does, scroll to the very bottom of the unfollower list and start unfollowing the people that are not following you back.
If there is someone that you still want to follow even though they don’t follow you just tap on their name and “whitelist” them. Whitelisting them will keep them off the unfollow list.
It’s important to do this because Instagram limits you to a total of 7500 followers. You want to follow people that will engage, like, and comment on your images.
This isn’t tied into how to get more Instagram followers, but is very exciting for people that manage multiple accounts. Instagram just rolled out a brand new feature that allows you to be logged into multiple accounts at the same time. This is fantastic news for those of us that manage other accounts. There is no more logging out of one account and logging into another, we can simply toggle back and forth between accounts. There may have been some celebrating going on in my house when that happened! Look for the feature at the bottom of the setting screen where it says Add Account. Add up to three accounts.