Instagram recently surpassed 1 Billion users across the globe, with almost half of them using Instagram every single day.
The once so-called photo sharing platform has evolved in such an astounding way that it has taken the marketing world by storm.
With such widespread popularity, it has almost become certain that Instagram is not just for personal use anymore.
Brands have started to take Instagram marketing very seriously.
Looking for ways on how to get followers on Instagram.
Who Am I?
My name is Akram, and I am a Social Media Expert. In this article I will show you how I grew my account from 0k to 97k+, showing you how to get followers on Instagram organically.
With the methods I am about to talk, you can grow your account from 0k to 100k within a few months.
How Is This Different?
You may have read many articles about how to get more followers on Instagram, but most of them talk about spammy methods like automation, follow/unfollow and buying bots.
In this article, we won’t talk about any spammy methods, but only organic ways to grow your Instagram account.
Why Instagram Is Turning Out To Be A Killer For Brands?
The reason why brands cherish Instagram so much is that users are so engaging on Instagram.
According to Forrester, Brands enjoy around 4% engagement on their Instagram channel as compared to Twitter’s and Facebook’s only 0.1%.
The high engagement rates have usually been linked to influencing buying decisions on the platform.
Engaging with the posts of the brand signifies that the followers feel connected to the brand, thereby trusting them to the point of buying from them when they have something to offer.
And the reason why you need to take your Instagram marketing strategies seriously is that not only it is the fastest growing platform, but also it hasn’t been consolidated yet.
What’s Going Wrong In Your Instagram Marketing Strategies?
The mistake that most businesses make is that they think their marketing goals on Instagram will be reached just by posting some nicely clicked pictures on their feed, which proves to be far from it.
Disappointment creeps in when these so-called result-oriented strategies don’t seem to work out.
Just posting pictures is something that everyone seems to be doing on Instagram, be it personal pages or accounts of brands. A little understanding of the Instagram algorithm can give you the competitive edge over others.
Successful Instagram marketing is surely a mixture of a lot of elements, and when all of them are put together, Instagram can deliver huge results for your business.
Creating An Instagram Business Account
This would seem pretty basic for many of us, make no mistake people actually sometimes make blunders in a simple task like this as well.
When you are signing up for Instagram, it usually asks you to enter your desired username.
Try to keep usernames as short and as simple as possible.
The shorter the username, the better it will be for people to remember it.
Avoid using numbers, dot or dash in your usernames, until you feel it’s extremely necessary.
Optimizing Your Account
After you have signed up for your Instagram account, now it’s time to set a good profile picture.
You should get yourself a professional logo which represents your brand.
After adding your logo, you need to start optimizing your bio, which very briefly describes your brand.
Having optimized your account, you need to switch your profile from a personal one to a business profile.
There are obvious reasons for having a business profile:
- Instagram lets you add your email address to your profile, where your followers can reach out to you.
- You can see the insights of your account, where you can see the reach, impressions, website clicks, email clicks, etc.
This is very powerful for further strengthening your marketing strategies.
Understanding the Instagram Algorithm
We have spent countless hours studying the Instagram Algorithm trying to figure out, what it exactly takes to build a following on Instagram, that eventually buys from us.
Always looking for ways on how to get followers on Instagram, but with no luck, until we found about the importance of Instagram’s Explore Page.
The Power of Instagram’s Explore Page:
The explore page is the page that you see when you tap the search button.
Instagram’s explore page seems pretty obvious until you realize, how powerful it can be for your marketing efforts.
The main goal of Instagram is to keep its users on the platform for as long as possible. It achieves this goal by only showing relevant content to its users.
For example, if someone has an interest in cars, he will be shown car pictures in his explore page.
Now, the question arises, how does Instagram get to know what’s relevant to you?
Well, Instagram is smarter than you actually think it to be.
Instagram’s algorithm tracks every single activity of its users.
What type of accounts do they search for?
A person who searches for cars will be shown car pictures on his explore page.
What type of accounts do you follow?
Following a type of niche gives clear indications about your interests.
What type of accounts you regularly interact with?
It could be accounts you Direct Message, or share likes and comments with.
How much is generally spent viewing a particular type of post?
If there is a certain niche of content that you spend most of your time viewing (e.g., food), it tells the algorithm that the user finds the niche and those type of posts interesting, and then Instagram starts showing a similar type of content to the user in the future.
The last point is one of the major factors that determines what posts usually go viral on Instagram.
But, what is a “Viral” post or content?
A “Viral” post is a highly contagious post which spreads rapidly on the platform because of its nature of arousing certain types of emotions.
E.g., A picture that leaves people awestruck, something purely remarkable, a post that surprises people,
which eventually leads its users to spend more time seeing the picture.
Check out the picture below, which is a perfect example of a Viral Post.
All 3 images had been posted consecutively on one of our accounts, as you can see.
But the middle picture, which is of a certain tower, has way more engagement than the other two.
Around 9,439 likes as compared to 340 and 476 likes on the other two.
It’s simply because it’s a viral post.
How can you benefit from a “Viral Post”?
Instagram will reward your page if you can keep your followers and viewers glued to your pictures and eventually longer on the platform, which is the ultimate goal.
You can do it by posting “VIRAL” Content on your page specifically in your niche. The growth of your page is dependent on the type of posts you share, for your best of interest it should always be “VIRAL” Content.
As it’s an already proven picture or video which grabs people’s attention and spreads rapidly across the platform.
Now you must be wondering where in the hell do you find viral content?
How To Find Viral Content?
Firstly, find other accounts in the same niche as yours and make a list of those accounts.
Pick out some accounts which you see are growing well, checking it through socialblade.com.
Go through their feed and pick up 15 consecutive posts, starting from the recent posts.
Calculate the average likes these 15 posts have,
For example The average likes on the posts is around 5k.
Look out for posts within those 15 posts which have 40% more than the average likes, in this case, 7k likes.
Pick up all the posts in these 15 posts that have 7k likes or above.
These are usually viral posts that will perform better and will reach a wider audience when you repost them.
As time progresses, you will be able to recognize viral posts just by looking at them.
There are even posts that have double or triple the average engagement.
If 5k is average, posts having engagement 10k+, you should pick these posts instantly.
- Its recommended that you take the screenshot of the posts and then crop carefully without leaving any white lines at the top and bottom.
- Try posting square images because they tend to perform better than horizontal ones.
Keep a close eye on how your own researched posts perform; some will do better than the others. These are the type of viral posts you should give preference to when posting.
The above-mentioned information for was accounts that repost the content of others giving due credits to the original owner, but for businesses and brands that create their own content, the Instagram algorithm works the same.
Just that they should start understanding the elements that make a post go viral.
Keep an eye on account of your competitors and follow the same procedure as discussed above for finding their viral content.
Once you find some posts that have performed well on their accounts, try to imitate and click pictures in that similar fashion.
Importance of Networking On Instagram
Heard of the popular saying, “Your NetWork is Your NetWorth”!
The way it holds so true in the business space, the same way it holds equally true for your success on Instagram.
You need to build up your network on Instagram to be successful on Instagram.
There will be two types of accounts that you will find in your niche.
Influencers and Competitors.
The influencers will be the one’s who would have a pretty decent following with good engagement, from whom you will get an idea for your posts.
The competitors would be someone who would have a similar following as yours.
Networking with competitors plays a major role in growing your account.
Remember, how the Algorithm works?
It shows the relevant content to you that you would be interested in.
One of the deciding factors to show you such type of content is by analyzing the accounts you share likes and comments with.
How to leverage this factor?
By networking with your competitors and engaging with each other’s posts.
Sharing likes and comments.
As your competitor likes and comments on your post, Instagram sees that you both share a common interest, based on this fact Instagram shows your content to the active followers of his account.
So the more pages you network and interact with, the better it is for growth.
You will reach more targeted audiences using this method.
You can Engage with your Competitors in two ways:
DM groups mean Direct Message groups on Instagram
The biggest part of networking is to get into DM Groups or engagement groups.
A DM group can have a maximum of 30 Members.
By now, we know that the more pages we interact with in our niche, the more we grow.
So we can do so by being a part of as many DM groups in our niche as possible.
So being a part of a lot of DM groups will let us share our posts in those groups.
Whenever we post we will send our post to the DM group, where each member of the group will receive a notification about our post, they can then instantly engage with our post.
Same way when some other member posts we will engage with their post along with other remaining members of the group.
So the purpose of a DM group is to form a community of similar niche pages and help each other grow by sharing likes and comments.
Its very simple to send your post to the DM group, just click on the arrow button and select the groups you want to send the post to.
In a recent update made by Instagram, it is now possible for us to send our posts to multiple DM groups at one go, a big time saver.
You can either form your own DM group and invite pages to join your DM group or ask for pages in your niche( your competitors) to add you to their DM group.
Making your own DM groups:
If you are just starting out, you can reach out to accounts of sizes (0k-5k) saying,
“Hey, I am creating an Active DM Group in our Niche.
Would you like to join?”
If they are skeptical about how it works, explain to them how engaging and sharing like and comments push the post to the Explore Page and helps in growing.
They would be interested in joining your group because they will also benefit from the group, you have already done the hard work of reaching out to other accounts all they have to do is to join where they will get 29 other pages liking and commenting on their posts.
It is advisable that you leave 3-4 spots vacant in your DM group, make a DM group by adding 25 or 26 accounts only instead of 14.
You can use these vacant spots for exchanging DM groups with your competitors.
For example, You make 1 group with 26 members.
Reach out to your competitors and ask them to add you to their DM groups and in return tell them you will do the same.
So in a single group of yours with 3 vacant spots, you can exchange them for 3 more DM groups.
Now you have 4 DM groups.
You can multiply your groups using this strategy.
The goal is to enter as many DM groups as you can.
How To Get Into DM Groups Even When You Have Little Or No Followers?
You might be wondering how would you get into DM groups when you have very little or No followers.
Here’s a simple trick and strategy that you can apply to get into as many DM groups as you want.
- Search for some big accounts in your niche and check their comments on Recent posts.
- If they are getting lots of comments from different pages, it means that they are in a lot of DM groups.
- DM, that particular account saying,
“ Hey, Can you add me to some Active DM groups of yours?
Ready to Pay!”
You can easily get into good DM groups just by paying a few bucks, which shouldn’t be a big deal as the value you would get from those groups would be insane.
Another way to engage with your competitors apart from DM Groups is 1v1 engagement.
Which is basically when you and your competitor invite each other to like and comment on each other’s recent post and updating each other to do so over Direct Message(DM).
E.g., DM them saying,
Like + Comment (@youraccountusername)
This is just one style of crafting your own 1v1 Direct Message.
You can use your own Template, the goal is to let your competitor know that you want to exchange likes and comments
So that both of you can Grow.
Now what we have generally seen is, when showing them that you have already liked and commented on their post, it makes them feel responsible for them to return on your post, so we generally recommended liking and commenting first on their post and mentioning that you have already done your part.
1v1 type of networking is more prominent in niches like fashion, fitness, food, etc.
It is a very effective way to engage because here you are building personal relationships with your competitors, and when as time goes on you both become more loyal to engaging in each other’s account.
Importance Of Hashtags
Hashtags are undoubtedly the most talked about topic for Instagram marketing and growth.
Hashtags help in the categorization of your account, telling the Instagram Algorithm about your niche and the type of content you post, letting the algorithm distribute your content once it starts getting good engagement.
On a brand new page, the Instagram algorithm tries to categorize the page in a particular niche by analyzing all information it can get through the recent activities on the account.
E.g. what type of content is being searched for, who is being followed, what type of posts are being engaged with.
One of the very important factors is the type of hashtags being used on the posts.
In a recent update that Instagram made wherein one can follow the hashtags they like, and they will be shown top content being posted for that particular hashtag, has increased the importance of hashtags even more.
But using only the hashtags which are right for your account will bring followers and a ton of engagement.
Now you must be wondering,
What Are The Right Hashtags?
The right hashtags for a brand new account are surely not the popular hashtags.
You should not be using popular hashtags on your posts when you are just starting out.
Some examples of Popular hashtags are:
#love #car #amazing #good #instamood #igers #beautiful #photooftheday #follow.
These are the hashtags that have been used way too many times, a couple more than 100 million times and they are way too crowded.
People have this myth that they should be using popular hashtags as they are the most searched ones.
But the thing is as soon as you post with these hashtags, your post disappears from the search page of these hashtags in a matter of seconds because at the same time that particular hashtag has been used by thousands of other posts rendering the use of these hashtags on your posts as useless.
You need to research hashtags for which your posts have a higher possibility of showing up on the page of that particular hashtag, this way you get a chance to be explored by people who would be searching up for that hashtag.
Look up for hashtags which have got around 100k posts done on them, when you are just starting out.
I would say even lesser, then you will have a higher possibility of getting featured for that particular hashtag.
Once you start getting good engagement on your posts, you should start pushing this number up and using a bit more popular hashtags then you were using currently.
Things To Keep In Mind When Building Your Brand On Instagram
Consistency Is Key
Instagram closely monitors how active a particular account is, the algorithm keeps track how consistent you are and rewards you for showing consistency.
Consistency is shown in two ways:
- The type of content you post: If you are a car page, post viral pictures in your car niche only.
However good a viral post maybe doing in a dog niche, your followers don’t care about it because they follow you for car pics, not cats or dogs.
Instagram doesn’t acknowledge this and can penalize you if you deviate from your content by lowering your reach.
- Consistency with posting: It’s highly recommended that you post consistently every day multiple times for fast growth.
Posting multiple times a day can quadruple your reach on Instagram overnight.
Suppose you currently post 1 time a day on your account and get around 10k Impressions per post.
If you start posting 4 times a day, on average you will get 40k impressions on all posts combined.
You reach 4 times more people now then you were previously.
One more importance of posting viral content multiple times a day is Instagram pushing your posts to wider audiences because you are regularly keeping Instagram’s subscribers glued to the platform which is the main goal of Instagram.
And as Instagram’s algorithm has already monitored it starts increasing your reach more.
Importance Of Posting Time
Posting time is extremely important if you are looking for a good engagement on your posts, which is pretty obvious.
You should be posting at times when your followers are most active.
You can check these stats by going in the Insights sections.
Try To Post Engaging Stories
Our Top story viewers are usually our top stalkers, i.e, people who scroll past our post without engaging with it.
Stories are the best way to make these people engage with us.
A recent feature Instagram released in Stories is the Poll Feature.
Poll feature not only engages your audience more, but it can also help you collect valuable information from your followers.
E.g., In the picture below, I posted a BMW F87 and asked my audience whether it looks menacing or not.
Answering in YES or NO.
Try To Use As Many Features Of Instagram As Possible
The more features you use, the more Instagram prefers your account over your competitor’s.
So any new feature that Instagram launches you should pounce over it to give it a try, giving Instagram an indication of how active you are.
- Try to reply to comments on your posts.
- Try replying to DMs.
Don’t delete your posts
Instagram’s Algorithm sees it as if you have lost a lot of likes instantly, making Instagram think that your posts are getting a negative response from the audience, putting a negative impact on your account.
Instead, if you want to get rid of some posts from your feed just archive them. Archiving them, they disappear from your feed.
Don’t delete comments made on your post by your followers, Instagram doesn’t like you doing this.
- Don’t use spammy links in your bio, using URL Shorteners is highly not recommended.
URL Shorteners and spammy links in bio have a very low click rate compared to proper links of websites.
It’s highly recommended that you buy a domain with the name of your account and use domain forwarding to forward the links address to your own domain name.
URL shorteners are usually considered as spam by Instagram and it affects your growth badly.
Don’t use automation software;
These are software that performs a wide variety of functions for you, ranging from auto posting at your desired time to auto engaging with other accounts.
The reason why they affect your growth very badly is that they are against the Terms Of Service of Instagram, and Instagram can spot almost instantaneously if you are using one for your account, it then penalizes your account heavily by limiting your reach.
Never change the niche of your page,
It is because your followers follow you for the content you have been posting as they have a deep interest in that particular niche, changing the niche all of a sudden is not well accepted by your followers leading to massive drops in engagement and once engagement lowers all of a sudden, its picked up by Instagram.
Don’t open unknown links from strange sources that demand you to log in using your Instagram credentials;
they are mostly phishing attempts to hack into your Instagram Account. Stay away from such links.