grow instagram following

How to Grow an Instagram Following Organically

Reading Time: 5 minutes

Growing an Instagram account to 10K followers is no easy feat. 

While posting to Instagram is pretty much straight forward, there is a whole lot more to Instagram than that! 

From Social Media Managers we hear this question over and over:

How can I organically grow an Instagram following? 

It’s not as simple as it seems yet it’s not as hard as it looks!

In order to grow an Instagram account you need to work for it. There are no shortcuts to building up an engaged Instagram account organically. 

Things like Instagram pods, like-for-like ladders and O-M-G dare I say it,  buying followers, are all short-term tactics that will ultimately destroy your engagement rate, your reach and can get your account suspended! Yes, suspended. 

Let’s look at how social media managers grow an Instagram following organically!

13 Tips To Grow Your Instagram Account Following Organically

Here are 13 things to do today, to start growing your Instagram account following organically. No paid ads needed to do this! 

Just time and effort aka elbow grease!  

1) Optimize Your Bio

What does it mean to optimize your bio?

It means to make the most out of your bio by updating it to

~ speak to your audience
~ be found in search for the right keywords
~ have a personality
~ be clear and concise  

In other words, if you can’t be easily found on Instagram, your following won’t grow.

Besides beautiful content (more on that soon), you will also need to have a unique bio that stands out.

Here are some practical ways to optimize your bio. 

  • Use keywords in the name of your account
  • Have fun with emojis; show your personality
  • Create a landing page on your website to host multiple links

An optimized bio attracts attention and thus increases your following.

2) Create Stunning Content

Your Instagram content should invite immediate action

Your content should be so good it ‘stops the scroll’! 

It should be so good it will make your audience take action;

  • like
  • comment
  • check your bio
  • click the link in your bio
  • like more images
  • watch your stories
  • watch stories highlights. 

Stunning content means that it’s different than most other content.

Make your Instagram content unique, different, inviting, fun, beautiful, high-quality.  Use apps to add filters and touch up photos if needed.

Stunning content attracts more followers! 

3) Share User Generated Content

Another way to grow an Instagram following organically is to share… your audience’s content!

Yes, sharing user generated content is another great way to grow a following. Use the tagging feature to thank your audience for the images or the tag (if they tagged you). Share their images, the ones you are tagged in, in your stories!

Instagram users love seeing their content shared; sharing and tagging increases your following.

4) Post Consistently

To build an audience you have to gain trust. 

Trust is gained by showing up on Instagram, day after day after day! You should post consistently and be sure to check analytics to check for the most optimal time to post. 

Think long term Instagram strategy when posting; create some sort of posting schedule and stick with it!

Using Creator Studio or a third party to schedule out your Instagram content is a sure way to stay consistent, even if life gets in the way of posting. 

When you show up consistently, your audience will start to trust you. Trust builds relationships. Relationships build communities. That is how you grow your following. 

5) Use the Feed, Stories, Story Highlights and IGTV

Use all the organic ways to get more eyeballs on your content with the goal of increasing engagement and growing a targeted audience. 

Create a content calendar with a mix of Instagram stories, videos for IGTV, some feed images and pick the best stories for highlights! 

When you are seen everywhere on Instagram and you show up on IGTV, in stories as well as in the feed, that creates familiarity. People follow people they know, like and trust!

6) Add Call To Actions 

Add a call to action, asking your audience to take action! 

  • Click the link in bio
  • Learn more!
  • Tag a friend
  • Double tap
  • Buy now
  • Call us
  • Shop!
  • Tag us in your picture
  • Watch the video!

Invite your audience to take action and be as specific as you can; tell them exactly what you want them to do!

When you invite someone to take action, you invite them to come into the fold of your community. 

Make sure that the action you invite them to take makes sense and gets them what they need or want! (more information!)

This is how you grow a following – deliver the goods! 

7) Check-in Using the Location Tag 

Never under-estimate the location tag. A great way to increase your following is to use location tags. For example; A store in the mall can use the mall as their location tag, but can also create a location tag for their own store. People looking for the mall might see that you tagged yourself!

This is yet another way to grow your following – with one caveat -be sure the tag makes sense and doesn't offer false advertising! 

8) Research and Use Relevant Hashtags 

What would Instagram conversations be like without hashtags

Pretty darn boring and nearly impossible to be discovered!

Hashtags are a way to find and engage with new content. Using the right hashtags will allow you to be discovered by new Instagram profile users over and over and will increase your overall Instagram engagement. 

Research hashtags for your industry, product or service, location and brand. Use them to be discovered and grow your Instagram following. 

9) Check and Learn from Analytics

Instagram analytics only show up in an Instagram business account, therefore we highly recommend anyone looking to grow an Instagram following have a business account vs a personal account. Check analytics to find out when your audience is online, active and engaged.

Posting when your audience is ready to receive and engage with your posts makes for better overall engagement rates and will help you gain more followers. 

10) Cross Promote Across Platforms

Another way to organically grow an Instagram following is to cross promote your account to your audiences on your other social networks!

That includes the audience that reads your blog posts, your Facebook community, the Pinterest followers, your Twitter connections and your LinkedIn followers; every once in a while invite them to follow you on Instagram. Don’t forget to give them a reason ‘why’. 

If you can express what you share on Instagram and how that is different from all other platforms, you will most likely have success at getting them over to Instagram, increasing your following.

11) Engage on Instagram

It seems so simple yet many people miss it; you need to not only engage with your own audience, you should also engage on other people’s post to get in front of their audience and be seen…!  

Let me state that again!

Engage with other people’s content to be seen as an industry leader an expert and to tap into a broader audience to grow your own following.

12) Run Contests and Special Promos

While technically giving away something isn’t free, I do not see contest and promotion as ‘paid’ or ‘advertising’.

When done correctly, running contests can be fun, create a boost in engagement rates and will help you gain more followers. 

13) Work with Brand Ambassadors

Last but not least, lucky number 13!

Growing organically can also be done by working with brand ambassadors who are big fans of your product or service and in return for some perks are willing to help promote you and your brand across Instagram.

On an ongoing basis.

This is different from working with an Instagram Influencer on a one-time promotion deal, with most often is a paid promotion for a new product or service.

Instead brand ambassadors help you amplify your marketing message to their online audience and help you grow your audience in a natural way! 

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