The world of Instagram is heating up.
More and more people are jumping online and using social media platforms like Instagram to grow and promote their branding. Heck, you can even start a brand entirely from scratch through the power of Instagram, and if people like what you see, you could just end up experiencing what it’s like to be Instagram Famous.
There’s a lot of competition out there, however, so you’ve got to have your finger on the pulse of what’s working and what’s not working. The most successful Instagrammers know exactly how to attract more followers to their page, and what’s more, they know how to keep them around, too. If you’re serious about maintaining a beautiful, attractive Instagram account that people are going to want to visit, then you need to know how to do this.
Let’s check out what it takes to grow your Instagram account successfully.
1. Use Organic Growth Services
There are a couple of different routes you can take when it comes to growing your Instagram. Of course, there’s a natural way, which we’ll cover considerably. There is, however, another way as well that can be worth doing, especially if you’ve got the budget to outsource a bit of your engagement.
An organic growth service is an online company that will take over your Instagram for you in all the right ways. You know all those engagement activities you know you have to do but don’t want to? An organic growth service will do them for you. This includes following, liking, commenting, and direct messaging, plus many more. The great thing about an organic growth service is just that – it’s natural.
This means that these companies employ real people to be in charge of your account.
A great example of one is Social Steeze.
When you sign up to Social Steeze, you are given a case manager who works exclusively with you on your account and is in charge of all the engagement you pay them to do on your behalf. This is an excellent tool if you’re somebody who just doesn’t have the time to be focusing on all the boring bits – there’s only so many hours in the day.
2. Use an Instagram Bot
Another option that is down the route of outsourcing automatic activity is using an Instagram bot. Instagram bots have gotten a bit of press in the last couple of years because Instagram has come down on them, and even managed to get some shut down (such as Instagress). This is because a lot of bots go outside the strict terms and conditions that Instagram has for automated activity.
However, if you’re happy to leave your page’s engagement in the hands of a computerized system, go ahead. A great option within this market is Follow Adder.
Follow Adder comes with all the basic features of an automated Instagram bot – along with a few bonus ones, too. Plus, it’s very affordable for what it can do for you – potentially the most affordable of the bots available right now.
It will take all the necessary steps to make sure that your automated activity is done well and on schedule, in keeping with your page and what you want to get out of a bot. This is a great option if, again, you lack the time to do these things yourself and just want to leave it in the capable hands of an automated system. For further details, you can read our Follow Adder Review.
3. Use Automatic Liking Services
The third and final outsourcing option in this category is an automatic liking service. The most popular one in this genre is LikeSocial.
LikeSocial is a system that automatically ensures your posts get likes. In layman’s terms, you are buying likes for your posts. They say that these are organic likes and that you will not get banned from Instagram for using them.
While you can sit back and relax while they do the automatic work for you, they also offer customer support that is available 24/7, so if you have any concerns around this kind of automation, they’re there to help.
You are given a representative when you sign up with them that is primarily in charge of your account. You can choose the number of engagements you want to see on each post, which then reflects a different price point.
They use a system that detects when you upload a new post, and as soon as you have, you will start to see people liking this post. They pride themselves on being confidential which means that nobody will know you’re using an automatic liking service for your post’s engagement.
4. Choose a Niche
When someone is visiting your Instagram for the first time, it should be obvious where your areas of interest lie. They should be able to figure out what niche you’ve chosen to best represent your brand by scrolling through the first two or three photos. Your existing followers need to be able to easily recognize your pictures as they scroll through their feed, so you want to stand out and be consistent by keeping to the niche that you’ve chosen. You can stretch the boundaries a bit and experiment with other niches, but always remember to come back to the original niche that exemplifies your account the best. Remember, your followers clicked that follow button for a reason, so if you want to keep them around give them a reason to do so. When choosing your niche, make sure it’s as close to portraying your theme as possible, so that potential followers can quickly get on board and support it.
5. Maintain an Attractive, Consistent Feed
Beauty isn’t everything, and your key to success doesn’t necessarily lie in posting beautiful photos on Instagram all the time – but it certainly helps. If you’re going to be posting consistently and trying to build something, especially for your brand, why not put the time and effort into making it look pretty? There are a lot of ways you can achieve this – making it beautiful doesn’t just mean one way. It could be light or dark themed, colorful, or muted. The crux of this tip is to find a look and stick to it. Make sure you use the same color palettes in most if not all of your photos, and when you’re editing them, make sure you use the same techniques, so they give off the same look and feel each time. Choosing the same favorite filter and using this on all your photos is another key. This will help to make your photos instantly recognizable to your followers when they’re going through their feed.
6. Take High-Quality Photos
You don’t necessarily have to own a camera that cost you thousands of dollars to produce high-quality photos. Having an iPhone is more than enough – but remember, it’s all about how you use it. If you are using an iPhone you need to make sure that you are taking your photos in bright, natural light – they won’t look good in artificial light. While a DSLR does have its advantages, a lot of people are opting for just using their iPhone for Instagram, because it can end up translating better. Whatever photos you are trying to take and whatever look you are trying to achieve, make sure you put a bit of time and effort into the execution. You are competing with so many other photos on Instagram which means that only the very best are going to stand out and attract enough attention. This is one of your best chances at growing a successful Instagram account.
Hashtags are one of your best chances of getting your photos seen by people who aren’t already following you. It’s all about knowing your hashtags – you don’t want to go with generic, overused ones that are too broad to fit into your niche. You’ll want to do your research and find hashtags that relate directly to your brand and its niche. Take a look at your idols and at other accounts within your niche – what hashtags are they using? Through these hashtags, you can find the ones that relate to these the most.
Before you know it, you’ll have compiled a succinct list of hashtags to use on all of your posts. Another way you can make hashtags work for your exposure is to make your own. After all, you’re building your brand – why not create a hashtag that is entirely original and all about your branding? Doing this will also get you miles ahead if anybody reposts your photo. People will see your hashtag and want to know more.
8. Find Your Community
Instagram is a social network. This means that if you want to get ahead on it, you have to be social. Make a point of reaching out and connecting with other people in your community. When you come across someone and fall in love with their page, make sure to check out the other pages that Instagram recommends for you from this visit. You can even use hashtags to do this – look up those hashtags that you have carefully chosen and scroll through recent posts that have used these for their photo. Then: engage. Like and comment on any photo that you find interesting or cool.
Make sure to follow accounts that you like. If you make an extra effort to engage with someone and leave them a comment beyond just the generic “good stuff,” chances are they will take the time in return to check out your page. If they like it, they might even give you a follow. This is where taking the time to engage with smaller accounts will be worth it – they are more likely to engage with your page in return.
9. Engage with those you Follow
When you’ve found your community, and you’re hard at work engaging with them, don’t forget those who are already committed to you. Remember, your followers are the reason that your photos are being put up nearer the top with Instagram’s new algorithm. The more engagement you have with your photos, the further up you’ll sit on people’s feeds and the longer they will be exposed to your picture.
This means that you have to take care of your existing followers with as much effort as you put into trying to get new ones. Your current followers will be more likely to comment on your photos if you take the time to engage with them, which will boost your popularity and in turn make you more attractive to those who haven’t followed you yet. The rule of thumb to remember is that engagement creates engagement. It’s a tit for tat system, so the more you put out there in both directions, the more you’re likely to get in return.
10. Respond to Comments
When you engage with people, this doesn’t just mean on their feeds with their posts. Engage with the people that have reached out to your photos by responding to their comments.
If somebody has taken the time to leave you a comment that is authentic and well-meaning, take the time to respond to them and show how much you appreciate their support. If they leave a question on your post about something to do with the content, take the time to get back to them with an answer.
It’s not plausible to respond to every single comment, especially if your account is starting to get bigger and the volume of comments is becoming too high, but it’s an excellent way to start out. Instagram now has a “like” feature on comments which is a great alternative to having to respond to each one – instead, try to show your appreciation by liking as many as you can.
11. Don’t Stop Working on your Photos
It can be tempting to sit back and relax once you’ve found the right lighting, filter, theme, and content to use consistently throughout all your posts. But if you want to improve and get better at running a successful Instagram account over time, you’ve got to learn new things and try them out.
Figure out which types of photos your posting are popular and which ones aren’t. Figure out the statistics around when it’s the best time to post. This will be one of the best things you do towards your Instagram feed – posting at the right time can mean the difference between quite a few likes on a post and hundreds, if not thousands. Take time out now and then to keep up with your idols and see what they’re trying out – then try it on your page.
Looking for different and new ways to connect and engage with your followers will mix it up, keep it fresh and bring new people in to check out what you’ve got on offer. While the basic things need to be kept the same, there’s some wriggle room within this.
12. Be Wary of the Business Account
While you might think that switching your account from personal to business is your best bet at boosting your branding and communicating how professional you intend to be, it’s not all it’s cracked up to be.
Rumor has it that Instagram is going to start implementing tools that Facebook already has – which means that soon you could very well find yourself paying for your photos to be seen at all.
You’ll see a steady decline in engagement with a business account, and this is because Instagram is using its algorithms to determine how often your photo should be viewed. They take power out of your hands and leave it up to themselves to decide which pictures should be popular and which shouldn’t be. Sticking with a personal account will help you to avoid this problem and put more of the power into your hands.
13. Be in your Photos
You are one of your biggest assets. You are what makes your page unique – after all, you’re the one thing that you have, and nobody else does. So use this to your advantage. This might be a hard concept to grasp if you’re camera shy, but it will be worth doing if you want to grow your Instagram account.
Based on Instagram’s history and statistics, people are curious creatures – they want to see the person that’s on the account. Your products might look great, but people want to see you using your products. What this doesn’t mean, however, is that you should post selfies all the time.
Photos that include you from far away work a lot better, and don’t come across as vain. The more natural you can make the photo look, the better. While this isn’t necessary for every niche out there, it does get the majority vote. But, just to be sure, check in with your niche first.
While Instagram is all about the visuals, you are still able to write words that go with these visuals. This is just another channel of communication that’s going to either make or break your posts.
A good caption can take your photo to a level it couldn’t have reached without it. Some of the best performing posts out there are photos that have excellent captions accompanying them. Some things to remember when thinking about your caption – make it witty but honest, and from the heart.
You want it to be funny but not trying too hard. You want it to be honest but not cringe, and you want your followers to know that this is your passion – you’re not just doing this because you have to. Put in a little bit of effort and see how much you can get out of it.
15. Post Everyday
It seems excessive. Working at making sure you’re posting to that extent can seem a bit much, especially when you’re running a business and have plenty of other things you could be working on. However, you get as much out of it as you put into it, so the more you put into this Instagram account, the more popular it will become.
The other thing to remember about being consistent is that this will keep your engagement up where you want it to be. If you fall behind and interrupt the regularity of your posts, you could very well see your engagement take a hit. This is all thanks to Instagram now deciding who sees your photos, so, unfortunately, you don’t have too many options when it comes to keeping up appearances. Taking a day or two out is okay, but don’t risk any more than this – it could jeopardize your engagement.
16. Post your Best Content
You’ve got to be in it to win it. Having just talked about posting on a consistent basis, which comes with the problem of having to produce award-winning content incredibly often. This will help you decide just how passionate you are about building your brand online – because it’s worth it.
Even not posting a photo for a day or two is better than posting a picture that is average. That’s how important it is that you only choose the best content to publish. If you’re looking at a photo and you don’t like it, then there’s a good chance that your followers won’t either. When you post an average picture, there’s a good chance that some people will unfollow you.
It’s a fickle business and bizarre that people can judge an entire Instagram page off of one photo, but that’s the name of the game. So, remember: never post out of desperation. Only post when you have the images you know are going to do well.
17. Repost your Best Content
This is one of the stranger concepts of running an Instagram account that is doing well. Surely, people don’t want to see the same content twice, right? Wrong.
People do like resurfacing their favorite material, and if it’s been long enough, it won’t matter anyway. There’s no harm in reposting those photos that did well the first time – you’re more than likely guaranteed for them to do well a second time.
There’s also an excellent chance that your followers won’t even recognize it from a few months back. Yours isn’t the only page their following, so they’re highly unlikely to remember every photo you post. Another way of looking at it is that you would have gained followers in that one to two-month time-frame that would have never seen that picture before – so it’s new to some of them.
18. Try out a Photo Series
There is an alternative to reposting your old photos, especially if you’re a little paranoid and don’t feel right about it all the way. Instead, you can create a photo series around your most popular photos.
Keeping the photos consistent in this series will help each photo do better than the last one. Make sure to use the same location, positioning and color palette so that you get the same look across the board.
You could even take it a step further and create your hashtag as the title for the photo series, making it even more unique and eye-catching. Photo series is a great way to revive those old photos that you can’t help but post again but want to get more creative than just publishing them on your feed.
People like something that has running themes and connecting the dots when it comes to similar photos, so if you’re thinking of reposting but don’t want to do it the boring way, a photo series is a perfect option.
19. Use Boomerang and Video
We all know that Instagram is the king of visuals, and those visuals are traditionally found within a photo. However, videos are becoming more popular on the gram – Instagram stories have really taken off, and while you don’t necessarily have to post a video to do a story, most people opt for the video option.
It seems as if a video is the future when it comes to social media and sharing. Instagram has encouraged people to use the medium of video by extended the time limit to a minute. They also implemented the boomerang feature, and you can now stream live through video too. When you hit the explore tab, videos will be one of the first things that come up so, needless to say, Instagram is trying to steer everyone in the direction of using videos more.
While you might be hesitant to embrace this medium completely, it’s worth trying out and seeing if you like it – you never know, it might be the key to your Instagram growth success.
20. Use Instagram Stories
Instagram stories are the latest way to communicate and engage with your followers. They are an excellent way to give them a glimpse into behind-the-scenes or everyday things that you get up to when you’re not posting on the gram.
The other thing to remember about Instagram stories is that they’re at the top of both your feed and the explore page, which means that people are likely to click on them first if they are interested in checking you out. This is prime real estate, so you want to make the most of it. For a lot of people, it’s going to be their first impression of you, so you are going to want to make it a good one and worth their while.
Once again, Instagram is in charge of this aspect, so the more you use this feature, the more likely your stories are to be featured. The flip side of this particular level of engagement is that you should dive right in, too – by watching other people’s stories.
If you want people to be interested in your stories, they’re probably going to want you to be involved in theirs too. This will win you brownie points with them and end up boosting your engagement in the long run.
21. Participate in a #hashtag
There are several variations when it comes to collage hashtags – #mancrushmonday, #followfriday, etc. – but the concept behind them all is the same. You team up with a group of like-minded Instagrammers and share a collage of their photos.
You ask your followers to check them out and give them a like if they feel so inclined. The number of accounts involved doesn’t matter, but if you care about aesthetics, then a grid of four tends to look quite nice on Instagram.
This technique can be a bit hit and miss sometimes – sometimes it brings engagement to your page, sometimes it doesn’t. If it doesn’t, that most likely means that the people seeing it already follow a lot of similar pages to the ones you’ve teamed up with, and don’t want to be saturated.
However, it doesn’t hurt to try it out, and it means you end up meeting other people within your niche which is always nice.
22. Take Over Someone Else’s Account
Taking over someone else’s account is especially beneficial for new followers and exposure to them. This is mainly the case when that person’s account is already pretty popular – it goes without saying that the more followers they have, the more significant the exposure you’ll get.
People like consistency but they also like change, and mixing it up by featuring on someone else’s page and interacting with their followers instead of yours will undoubtedly make some of them go and check out what you’re all about.
Some people have said that doing this has increased their followers more than anything else they’ve tried, so it works. You’ve just got to be savvy about which account you choose to do it with – you want to gain exposure to the right kind of people so choose wisely. Then it’s not a waste of time.
23. Tag Brands in your Photos
Being transparent about where you get your ideas from can go a long way. Tagging all the objects in your photos that have a source other than your brand gives you a chance of being featured on that brand’s page.
If that brand is big enough, this is a great way to get some free advertising – particularly with the names you love and look up to.
Another offshoot of this is that while the brand might not repost your photo, they could very well reach out to you and even get in touch with you to collaborate. Leveraging your page and branding on the back of another well-known brand is a great way to get known quickly.
24. Use a Comment Pod
A comment pod is Instagram user’s answer to the new algorithm that seems to be bringing everybody down.
Because posts are no longer published in chronological order but instead are published based on what Instagram thinks you want to see, lots of Instagram pages have taken hits in engagement.
Therefore, the people of Instagram have taken matters into their own hands and created comment pods where all the members commit to liking and commenting on one another’s posts at a specific time of the day.
However, take this one with a grain of salt – of course, the question has been raised as to whether this method of doing things is cheating the system or not. It does have its advantages, including getting the ball rolling on those photos that seem to be taking a little while to get off the ground. As long as you’re not overdoing it, there’s no harm in trying this way out.
25. Host a Giveaway
Using this technique has both its advantages and disadvantages. On the one hand, it’s beneficial in the short term because it gives you a quick spike in followers, but in the long-term, it’s not as helpful because a lot of those followers will just unfollow you once the giveaway is over with.
The key to getting around this drop of followers after the fact is to host giveaways on your page regularly, so your followers know to expect them. This way they won’t unfollow you because they’ll wait around for the next giveaway. A lot of people see giveaways more as a way to give back to their followers, but they can be beneficial with a little bit of initial engagement.
You’ve got to work out what it is people want for free, so once you’ve got this down and are doing it regularly, you can expect to see less fluctuation in your followers afterward.
26. Don’t Be Phased
Once you’ve started on the Instagram train, it can be hard to stop. You get a taste of what Instagram success is like, and you just want to go go go until you’ve beaten them all. If you’re like this, then it will be easy to feel disheartened when you come across some slower phases when people don’t seem to be as interested in your content.
This kind of thing happens to everybody – so it’s probably not something to take personally. It’s a good opportunity to analyze your posts and work out what’s working and what’s not. The better you know your content and branding and how to market it the best, the easier it will be to ride the slumps and get back up to the next influx of interest.
Instagram is cottoning onto people who don’t use Instagram for the most virtuous of reasons, which is resulting in the banning of specific hashtags.
Even the most innocent looking hashtags, like #petite, can get banned. This is because unsavory, pornographic images can get leaked into even the most harmless hashtags, and Instagram has to continually be working to stay on top of these not being seen.
So how do you know if you’re using a banned hashtag? Check out both the “top” and “recent” categories of Instagram – if there are very few photos consisting of that hashtag, chances are it’s one that’s been censored by Instagram. You can also look it up too to see if it’s been banned.
28. Use Location Stickers on your Stories
The people of Instagram use locations more than you think to search up posts containing what’s going on in their local area. It’s a great way to capture the imagination of those who are looking up something specific and wanting to get creative at their chosen location.
The more information you share in posts and Instagram stories, the more people are interested – they like knowing what’s going on and being “involved” in your daily life. It has also become a habit of thousands of Instagram users to look up individual locations for the best restaurants, hotels, and events in that area.
So if you want your story to be seen by anybody who might be particularly interested in where you’re located, make sure to tag it in your Instagram stories.
This sounds counterintuitive – but there’s something in it. It can be tempting to just go for the most popular hashtags on Instagram, the ones that are usually generic words like #love and #puppy.
While it’s true that these hashtags are popular for a reason which means that they have millions of posts associated with them, it also means you’re swimming in a vast sea. This won’t do too much for the growth of your Instagram because the minute you associate these hashtags with your posts, you’ll start to drown.
Instead, take a bit of time to do your research and hunt down those hashtags that are associated with specific communities and super relevant to just your niche. This will help your brand by building more engagement.
There are even tools online that you can use to search the hashtags you want and find out just how popular they are. As a ballpark figure, try to remember that if your account is still small, don’t go for hashtags that have more than 50,000 posts associated with them.
30. Experiment with your Bio
You’ve probably heard this a million times, and it’s because it’s true – your bio is one of the first things people are going to see when they visit your page, which means it’s one of your only chances are impressing them to the point of following you and liking your content. You’ve got 160 characters available to you which means you need to make each one count.
So if you succeed in your goal of telling people who you are, what you do and what drives you to do what you do in this very limit word space, there’s an excellent chance that people will be drawn to your page and you’ll gain more followers.
Visit the pages of your idols and those that inspire and take a look at what they’ve written in their bio. You can use emojis as a part of your character count, but don’t go overboard – people want to hear about you, not look at 160 emojis that they have to try and interpret.
Have a play around and see what works and what doesn’t – if your engagement goes down for a bit, it could very well have something to do with your bio.
31. Choose your Name Carefully
When starting out on Instagram, there are some pretty important decisions to make. Especially if you are trying to build a brand, you’ve got to think very carefully about the kind of brand you want to be associated with.
Like your bio, your name – not your username, your page name – is a limited space that allows you to communicate precisely who and what you are to thousands of people. Your name is what people see before they even go on your page, so in theory, it’s even more critical than your bio – it’s what draws people in in the first place.
The general rule of thumb is not to use your real name – unless you’re famous. Instead, pick one or two keywords that closely resemble your brand, that you know people will be searching for. You want them to be unique and original but not so obscure that people can’t even find you. It’s all about balance – and remember, you can always change it if it’s not working for you.
33. Listen to Feedback
The online world is no stranger to everyone’s voice and opinion. People feel liberated to share their perspective online and won’t hold back if they think a certain way about something.
While it’s good to take other people’s opinions with a grain of salt, it’s also worth listening in too and seeing what you can take from comments people leave on your posts. After all, you’re wanting to create a page that reflects what your target audience is looking for, so let them be in control a little bit of what it looks like.
Listen to your audience and pay attention to what they have to say, especially earlier on when you’re just starting out. When someone takes the time to leave a comment, positive or negative, it’s worth taking it into account and seriously considering whether you need to change anything.
It’s also an excellent way to know which things to keep the same, too. Channeling your audience from the beginning will see a good level of growth on your Instagram.
You’ve got to be in it to win it, which means you’ve got to be committed to doing your research and eating a bit of humble pie.
You’re not going to know everything about building a successful account if you’ve just started out, and doing so actually requires a lot of know-how and hard work. For some aspects of your page, you can sit back and relax. If you choose to outsource some of your activity, you’ll lighten yourself of the workload.
But it’s still worth knowing all the tricks of the trade and making sure you’re well equipped to take on the exciting task of building and maintaining a success Instagram account. Consistency is the key to this kind of success, so don’t be afraid of a road that could potentially be long – especially in the beginning. Good things take time, and great things like big Instagram accounts can take a long time to develop. It’s worth it in the end, though.