There are a few strategies to boost your Instagram followers that are specific to Instagram itself, and a few alternate strategies that don't involve using your account directly. Every Instagram strategy mentioned below has been affected by Instagram's new algorithm – so growth with any strategy is now slower.
If you're a new blog / business then you'd likely need a dedicated full time Instagram person to manage your account and get more followers. If you're an established business, you could get by with just one person who does ALL of your social media accounts. This is because you will already have natural organic growth. When you are small/new, this does not yet exist for you. We recommend for small/new places to start with Facebook instead.
Target accounts that are likely to have the same type of followers that you want to get. Look at their followers individually and like their photos and make legitimate comments (even if only a few words - but, answer their questions if they are asking them or make sure that what you say corresponds with what they've actually posted.) This is not an automated/bot-method and takes a lot of time.
This did work quite well, and still does fairly well. Get a few "sets" of hashtags - consisting of 20-30 in each "set" and save them in your Notes App or something easy to access later (for copy/paste). We started with 3, but then increased to about 20 sets of 30.
Never put hashtags in the main post when using this method, always put them in the comments section (it's just easier and saves time because Instagram only allows 30 per post). If you're using 30, they should all be relatively generic tags that you could use for any of your posts. If you're using 20, then those 20 can be generic and you could use 10 separately to be more specific to your post.
But, for initial growth, reaching more people seems to work better so we recommend 30 generic ones. What you'll do is this : every 4 days you will cycle through each of your posts and delete the old hashtag "set" and replace it with a different "set".
Make sure that each "set" gets used only once per day. This way if you have 5 "sets" you can do 5 per day. Also because you can only switch them every 4 days then you'd be able to do this with your most recent 20 posts (4 X 5) and keep busy. Your old hashtags should say "4 days ago" or longer before you replace them.
3. Follow more accounts
This works for rapid growth initially, but the percentage of people who stick with you in this method (in the long run) is much lower. We recommend only following accounts with the "blue checkmark" - the verified accounts - because they are easy to recognize so you can unfollow later.
It works like this: when you follow them, new people show up at the top of their follower list. Thus, any time someone wants to follow their followers they will pick you. But - for big high traffic accounts - you are only at the top for a day or two. So, you can play the unfollow-follow game (different than the follow-unfollow thing) so you end up at the top of their list again.
We use the big verified accounts simply to bring more visibility to us. If they are not in our realm (I.e. Following an athlete when we are a travel niche) then we eventually unfollow them and move onto another account. Don't do this "unfollow -follow" method any more than a few times a week either, but realize that only about 10% of the people who follow you in this method will remain in the long run.
4. Look authentic
You do not want to follow any more than about 30% of the number of accounts that are following you. So, if you have 1000 followers, people are less likely to follow you if you are following 4000 accounts; moderately likely to follow you if you are following 1000 as well, but even more likely to follow you if you are following only 300 accounts. You simply don't want to look like a spammer account.
Go through your daily feed and (almost literally) "feed" your own followers. This does nothing for you per se, but in reality it helps keep your current followers around longer (better relationships). This is where you like and comment on pictures and videos that come up in your own feed of accounts that you already follow.
We recommend “following” only accounts that greatly impact your business/page and which you’d be happy to receive some of the followers that they have if they end up reading your comments. Additionally, follow the hashtags that you would typically use (but not too many!) and comment on the posts that show up in your feed. This will encourage new people to check out your account as well!
A new high-quality image at least daily. Some places recommend 1 every couple hours, but we've found that this can overwhelm your current followers. We recommend 1-3 per day with at least 4-6 hours in between each post.
ALWAYS share your post to your Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr accounts if you have them. This will help you automatically grow your other social media accounts while you work on Instagram!
Okay, so there you have it. A full time job revolving around increasing followers on Instagram. Additionally, the returns on your full time effort will still only moderately grow your account. There is no more super growth these days with Instagram's new algorithm. If you're a small / new business or account, it might just make sense not to do any of those methods, except #5 and #6. This way your account will only grow very slowly but with true, organic followers.
The non-Instagram method involves using Public Relations to boost traffic. Sign up with HARO, receive questions from publishers via email, answer those questions religiously. Occasionally, your answers will get used and their audience will be told "Guy Humphrey from... recommends... (follow Guy on Instagram at @yourinstahandle ...)" And this will draw their audience to your account. This method still works for rapid growth.
Please feel free to follow us as we continue to travel the world and help others do the same! Let us know if the Instagram growth strategies we mention work for you and if you’ve tried any other methods in the comments.
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