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11 Ways to Get Followers on Instagram for Blogs and Small Businesses

Social media has changed the way businesses approach marketing and advertising. However, using each one of these platforms can require differing methods. What you post on Facebook should not be the same as what you post on Twitter or Instagram. Facebook works great for long-form communication, Twitter works for quick updates, and Instagram is where you go to make it visual! Instagram currently has over 500 million active users as of June 2016. That’s a big audience you could potentially reach if you’re willing to put in the effort to grow your Instagram presence. Let’s explore ways to get followers on Instagram and to reach a wider audience.

Get Instagram Followers step 1: Know your market

No matter what you are trying to promote through Instagram, there will always be competition. Instagram has 500 million users, with the majority using the platform to upload posts that vie for your audience’s attention. As such there isn’t one-size-fits-all strategy to grow a following. What works for one page may not work for another one. As you begin to grow your profile, you need to be creative and come up with something original to offer your audience.

Over 90% of Instagram’s daily users are under the age of 35, which makes it very popular for apparel, media, entertainment and lifestyle brands. Because the majority of users are millennials, brands that target this market tend to do best on Instagram. Food and lifestyle bloggers also can be very successful because their brands are based off visuals. Food bloggers do well posting pictures of delicious meals. Lifestyle brands have success because they post pictures depicting a certain style that you can attain if you buy their new apparel, for example.

Some businesses that may not fare as well on Instagram are specific service businesses like a marketing firm. They may do amazing work, but it is hard to portray that through a post. Some digital marketing firms have had success because they were able to feature beautiful graphic design projects, but it is generally difficult to catch the eye of the average reader scrolling their feed. It all depends on the content. Is it visually inspiring and captivating? If not, you may want to think about placing it on another platform.

Create your community

Surely you have come across an Instagram page and wondered how they became so successful. You may wonder: what do they know about Instagram that I don’t? Chances are, they have built a strong, engaged following by first fostering a community around their Instagram account. Whether it is a business brand, or a personal account, these Instagram users know why their community is following them.

If you’re a food blogger, your community is people who love to see the picture of that coconut cream pancake you just made. If you’re a shoe brand, your community is sneaker heads who crave posts about a new pair of shoes that just hit the market. Get involved with them! People love talking with others who share their interests.
See how flower delivery brand Bloom and Wild stages their pictures beautifully, as both a pretty image and an ad informing followers of their latest product:

A photo posted by Bloom & Wild (@bloomandwild) on

Leverage Hashtags

Using hashtags is a surefire way to reach a greater audience. Once you have done your research and start posting with the right hashtags, you’ll see growth right away in the number of followers and engagements you pick up. To decide which hashtags to use, you will need to find out what other influential profile in your industry are tagging.

Even better, you can search a hashtag that relates to your brand and then like and comment on posts that you find in your search. This will show up as notifications for other users who may repay the compliment by giving you a follow.

Many of the top hashtags are general and may not relate to a specific brand. To narrow your niche, you can search specific keywords such as #freshfoods, #fitnessaddict or #makeupmafia. Using applications like Iconosquare, you can find the most relevant hashtags to use on your photos.

You can see in the image below how lifestyle blogger Pretty Peach Blossom makes effective use of beauty-related hashtags to draw attention and engagement to her post:

Tag a friend

To use this tactic, add captions to your posts with captions such as, “Tag a friend who would do this” or “Tag a friend who loves these” will generally pick up more than a couple engagements and followers. That’s because your current followers will likely tag a friend who isn’t already a follower, and that person will either think the content is true, funny, or inspirational and check out your profile because of it. People love to be the first one to show something to their friends.

Connect Instagram to other social media accounts

This one is a no-brainer for picking up Instagram traffic. Link to your Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and any other social media accounts you have. When you post an image on Instagram, you have the option to automatically post to your other feeds where users will find their way to your Instagram page.

Hold contests

Contests work great for gaining follower for your brand. For example, if you’re a clothing brand, hold a contest where you promise to feature the best photo a user sends in of them wearing an apparel item of yours. This creates incentive and excitement for users to think about your brand and ways to photograph themselves using it.
In the example below, see how traveler Chelsea Kauai teams up with other brands to give away two travel backpacks of the same model she uses. For this contest, followers were asked to tag a friend and tell a story, which both grew her following and helped her foster a community with shared tales of traveling.

G I V E A W A Y!⛺️ Win a new backpacking bag for you and a friend from @Gregorypacks and @GoalZero. These are the bags @TravisBurkePhotography and I have been using for the last few months to travel the world. (Can’t express my love for this backpack, feels like pillows snuggling my shoulders☁️). We’re super excited to give you two different ways to win these incredible packs! Travis is hosting a photo based contest or if you’re like me and love words leave a comment below using these guidelines- —TAG a friend below and tell me a story of why they deserve a new backpacking bag. The winning comment will receive a bag for both you and your friend! #getoutstayout #thetrailspeaks #GregoryXGoalZero

A photo posted by Chelsea Yamase • 👻chelseakauai (@chelseakauai) on

Portray all aspects of brands

Sites like Facebook and Twitter are easy to describe your message, but Instagram provides a platform for visuals. Posts don’t always have to be of a product or a brand on a shelf. Users like to see the product in action. If you’re a food blogger, photograph your favorite to-go dish while you eat it on the beach as the sun goes down. If your brand is geared toward the skater lifestyle, photograph a skateboarder in mid-air while wearing your kicks. Be creative and be different; that’s what Instagram is all about.

Tell a story to get followers

The human brain is wired to capture the world through the lens of narratives. Instagram is an incredible platform to grab users’ attention with a picture and keep with a story. Maybe it’s a story on how you got started, or a rough time in your life that you had to overcome. Others go for stories of their customers and a particular experience that they have lived through. An eye-opening picture with great writing is a 10/10 on the Instagram scale.
See how daily inspiration profile Dailymondo shares an inspiring story in an image:

Paid advertisements

All social media platforms have advertising opportunities. Instagram features paid promotions to help grow your following. Instagram is owned by Facebook so in order to run an ad, you will need a Facebook account. The budget is set by user limits and users are also able to customize and create their own ad, as long as it fits within the Instagram guidelines. Ads are created using Ad Creation, Power Editor or the Ads API.

Users can choose the purpose of the ad, so let’s say you decide to use promote your page as the goal. You can decide your target audience based on demographics, and use a popular photo as the visual. Once you have all the details filled out, you can place the order and Instagram has 24 hours to review your ad. If it gets approved, it will start running immediately and will bring followers to your page.

Find the best times to post

If you follow any major companies on Instagram, the majority of their posts are on the weekdays, because that is when the social media managers are working. The best time to post will ultimately depend on your community. Are they early risers going for a run every morning? Do they work full time? Test out posting at different times and see where you are able to attract the most engagement.

Learn what works and what doesn’t work for your page. Some pages will be more successful following a certain strategy than others. Take the time to learn Instagram as a social media platform and focus on posting quality content that relates to your message.

If you’re looking for a few suggestions for times to post, according to Hootsuite they are:

  • Posting between Monday and Thursday to capture maximum traffic
  • Early morning from 6am to 12pm generally have less competition and will garner more attention
  • Wednesday at 5pm is a good time to capture views when people get off of work

Bonus trick: buy Instagram followers

One trick you can use before you get big is to buy followers. While this isn’t a tactic that makes sense for everybody, if your goal is to go big, it’s a good first step. The reason that buying followers works isn’t because you’re buying real people to engage with your posts, but rather you’re making your audience think you’re already popular, which will change their perception of you. This will ripen conditions for accelerated organic growth.

However, you should be careful when buying Instagram followers online. That’s because there are a lot of jokers out there looking to make a quick buck but aren’t necessarily interested in offering a service that will help you meet your goals to. Your best bet is to research sellers before you make a purchase.

Interested in learning about where to buy Instagram followers? Don’t miss our reviews of the top 5 companies to buy Instagram followers from.

Conclusion: it’s all about engagement and consistency

Users on Instagram follow accounts to stay updated with what is happening. Some people will complain that coming up with new pictures and videos to post everyday when first starting out is a waste of time. However, every page had to start somewhere and you will not be able to find a successful Instagram page that isn’t posting at least a few times per week.

Quality content is the basis of your page. You can post all day long but if the content is not interesting or helpful, people are not going to care. Finding a good balance of content and overall quality is the challenge that users must figure out. Create conversations with your followers. Get them engaged about the topic you are trying to promote. When people feel that a page or a business genuinely cares and listens to their feedback, they are more likely to tell other people about that. Positive word of mouth is the strongest form of advertisement there is and is the one of the best ways to get followers on Instagram in the long run.