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How To Get More Followers On Instagram

by Nedim Talovic · Updated 13 Aug 2021 (1).png}}

Getting more followers on Instagram is almost everything that matters. Otherwise, user reach will be very low.

Of course, I’m talking about organic reach. Instagram is one of the most popular social networks. In fact, 700 million people use Instagram each month.

Furthermore, 250 million of them use Stories each day. According to globalwebindex, almost 50% Instagrammers say that they research products via social media.

Instagram and product research

These are all good reasons why you need to focus on Instagram besides other social networks.

In this blog post, I’ll show you 9 ways that you can leverage in order to increase the number of followers.

Let’s get started!

#1 Add Hashtags

According to Dan Zarrella, posts that include hashtags have much higher like-to-follower than those without hashtags.

Without hashtags vs with hashtags

Now, social media beginners might be thinking that they should add hundreds of hashtags. That’s partially true.

Instagram allows adding only 30 hashtags maximum per each post. Personally, I think that’s too much.

If you add 30 hashtags, it might look a bit spammy, don’t you agree? If you’re wondering how many hashtags you should add, there's a research that suggests exactly 7.

Likes per 100 posts based on number of hashtags

Of course, this is just a research, and I think everyone should test what works best for them. Here’s the list of the most popular hashtags in 2017:

  • #love
  • #instagood
  • #photooftheday
  • #tbt
  • #beautiful
  • #cute
  • #me
  • #happy
  • #fashion
  • #followme

These hashtags are obviously the most popular, but that doesn’t mean that they provide the best results.

For instance, maybe there are hashtags with lots of searches also, but not thousands of photos added each minute. HootSuite recommends before picking hashtags.

  • Check out your competitors
  • Use hashtags that influential people in the industry are using
  • Consider related hashtags
  • Use Instagram search’s function

Spying competitors is always good, especially those who are for years in the business.

They have probably figured out what works best for the business.

#2 Leverage Places

Tagging places in photos is great for businesses when they try to reach more people. There are two approaches:

  • Creating your own place
  • Tagging on popular places

Let’s explain both of them. Kentucky Fried Chicken, known as KFC, has created a place for their fast food restaurant in Vaci Street.

If you don’t know, Vaci Street is the most popular street in Budapest. Here’s how it looks when a visitor tags himself. 

KFC Instagram Place

Without any doubts, this lets them additionally to increase the number of views and of course, the number of followers.

It also lets people see products from a restaurant much better - at one place. Another way is tagging on very popular places.

Here are a few examples.

Instagram: Tag on popular places

Notice how big brands such as Nike and GUESS tag themselves on popular places. I’m pretty sure that they wanted to increase the reach on this way.

When I say “popular places” I mean on the following:

  • City
  • Square
  • Famous streets
  • Attractions

Here two additional examples.

Another example of tagging on popular places

Simply said, explore which places are popular in your area and grab a portion of traffic to your profile.

#3 Use Instagram Stories

At beginning of this blog post, I said that more than 250 million Instagram users use Stories each day. People definitely love this feature and that’s why you need to love it too.

Stories are actually created after Snapchat founders refused $3 billion worth offer acquisition from Facebook.

There are many ways how you can leverage Stories. Here’s how Starbucks does it.

Instagram StarBucks stories

Starbucks calls those who see a story to swipe up, which means a landing page with a form will appear. The greatest thing about this is capturing email addresses.

Once you capture an email address from Instagram users, you can use it for retargeting.

This way, you can get new followers. Keep in mind that Stories appear in Explore section as well. Tommy Hilfiger does something similar as well.

Tommy Hilfiger story swipe up

Next, you can use places just as GUESS does.

They tagged a story in Plaza Antara Polanco, which is actually a shopping center in Polanco (Mexico City).

Guess story

Dell uses places as well.

Here’s how they tagged themselves in Kendra Scott HQ.

Dell Story

These stories with locations are great since they appear in Explorer.

Simply said, everyone who’s not too far from the location has a good chance of seeing it.

#4 Advertise

Reaching more people organically usually isn’t enough. That’s why you should consider advertising on Instagram. Currently, there are four types of ads:

  • Photo ads
  • Video ads
  • Carousel ads
  • Stories ads

Each of these types is very simple and probably understandable, so I won’t explain them in details.

Instagram ad

Instead, I want to explain how to get started with Instagram ads, which is a fourth-step process. Firstly, you need to have a Facebook Page to run ads.

Also, you need to convert a personal Instagram profile to a business profile.

Secondly, you have to set up the ad by using Ads Manager, Power Editor, Instagram Partners, or promoting within the app which I don’t recommend.

As for targeting, Instagram allows targeting customers by the following criteria:

  • Location
  • Demographics
  • Interests
  • Behaviors
  • Custom Audience
  • Lookalike Audience
  • Automated Targeting

Thirdly, you need to determine a budget by selecting how much you’re willing to spend, how long your ad will last and so on.

It appears that Instagram is cheaper when it comes to CPM advertising. On the other side, Instagram is more expensive when you decide to pay per click.

Fourthly, hit publish and your ad will be served once they get approved.

#5 Run a Contest

People love contests. Contests will definitely skyrocket an engagement rate.

Specifically, contests make you 64x more comments and 3.5x many likes on average than regular posts.

Instagram contests get much more engagement than regular posts

However, you need to be careful about promotion guidelines because you’re responsible for the lawful operation of that promotion, including:

  • The official rules
  • Offer terms and eligibility requirements
  • Compliance with applicable rules governing the promotion and all prizes offered

That’s very important so I strongly suggest you to spend a couple of minutes on it.

As for the types of contests, here’s which contests you might perform:

  • Like-to-win contest
  • Hashtag contest
  • Selfie contest
  • Voting contest

The good thing about contests is that you can run them at a very low cost.

The prize doesn’t need to be worth thousands of dollars. However, more you offer, better results you get.

Now it’s time to see how PlaytexBaby did it. They offered a $1,000 worth gift card and $175 worth products.

PlaytextBaby: Contests on Instagram

Users had to share a favorite photo moment with the baby and tag them with #PlaytexBabyWIN hashtag.


There were 773 photos uploaded with that hashtag. That’s definitely high reach

#6 Promote On Other Channels

There are many sources that can increase traffic to your Instagram profile:

  • Website/blog
  • Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn
  • Email marketing
  • YouTube
  • Quora

However, there’s no better-promoting channel than your own website or blog. Reason? Independence.

On your website, you’re the boss. The following photo shows you how it looks to embed a photo.

Embeded photo

Also, you can promote your Instagram channel in the footer section.

Here’s how TechCrunch does it.

TechCrunch Footer

Shopify too.

Shopify Footer

Calling your email subscribers to follow you is also a big step in increasing the number of followers.

Email marketing is still one of the best marketing channels in the world because of its ROI.

Furthermore, every video you upload on YouTube should have an optimized description and also the exact URL to your Instagram profile.

That’s how you drive traffic to your profile and at the end of the day, increase the number of followers.

#7 Be Frequent

The number of posts each week you publish has a strong impact on the number of followers. Tailwind says that “the more you post to Instagram, the faster your following grows”.

The more you post to Instagram the faster your following grows

The photo suggests that you should post more than 7 posts per week, which isn’t too many. It’s only one post per day.

However, you can’t post too much because that will lead to unfollow. Posting too much is one of the top reasons why people unfollow a brand on social media.

Actions that make people unfollow a brand on social media

Also, take a look at fifth reason - they don’t reply to me.

Every Instagram social media manager must reply to questions followers ask. Engagement rate will definitely increase once you start posting more.

Instagram accounts that start posting more increase their engagement rate

Posting frequent isn’t enough. The next thing you need to worry about is the time when you publish new posts.

Choosing perfect hashtags or tagging in the right place might add no value if you post in wrong time.

According to CoSchedule research, Mondays and Thursdays are the best days to publish. It doesn’t mean too much to you because as you’ve already seen, you should publish +7 posts per week or one a day.

However, time matters and the research suggests 2 a.m., 8 - 9 a.m., 5 p.m. are best times.

Best times to post on Instagram

Finally, keep in mind that posting a video on Instagram at 9 p.m. gets 34% more interactions.

#8 Optimize Your Profile

The optimized profile is probably the most important when it comes to increasing the number of followers.

The first impression is very important when users visit your profile for the first time.

But not only that because optimized profile is also about increasing the leads, conversions, brand awareness, etc.

Here are three things that every Instagram profile must have:

  • One or two hashtags
  • CTA
  • URL

Hashtags are important because it lets users explore easier your products. For instance, ASOS promotes #AsSeenOnMe hashtag which enables everyone to see how ASOS products fit on other people.


 landing page on Instagram is also great.

Here’s how Jeff Bullas does it.

Jeff Bullas

He promotes an eBook which lets him capture lots of emails. Once he captures email addresses, he can use them to retarget you or even find users who are similar to the captured address.

You probably know about Lookalike audience feature. Another example is SEMrush which use Instagram to promote their new feature.

This way, SEMrush is trying to increase the number of customers.


Unfortunately, they aren’t picked a hashtag which is definitely a mistake.

FedEx is also promoting a hashtag - #FedEx. This is the classic example of increasing brand awareness.


Simply said, they’re interested in spreading the name of their company which is very good.

Furthermore, they are driving visitors to the home page.

#9 Start Engaging

The purpose of Instagram is a two-way communication. That’s other social networks’ purpose too. You can’t only share your photos and stories. You have to talk to your followers.

There are lots of tips on increasing an engagement rate. Here's some of them:

  • Include CTA
  • Answer on comments
  • Tag followers

Tag followers to start engaging

These two photos above are great examples of successful CTA leverage.

Both brands call their followers to tag their friends which will skyrocket an engagement rate of these blog posts.

Here’s another portion of examples. Each of these three has one thing in common: other followers are tagged.

Tag followers to start engaging

Posts that include another user will have more engagement by 56%, says Simply Measured.

Unfortunately, only 36% of all brand posts include at least one @mention.

Mentions increase engagement per post

Next, you should also answer on other comments.

Young people don’t like to call customer support by the phone.

Whenever they have a problem or question, they’ll use social media networks to reach you out. For this reason, you need to ask your social media manager to handle comments properly.


As you could see, getting more followers on Instagram isn’t an easy job, but it’s possible to do that. You only have to follow the best practices. In my opinion, here are top three things you need to have:

  • Optimized profile
  • Hashtags
  • Frequency

Never forget that everything starts with the optimized profile. Everything fails when there’s no good first impression.

Also, you need to be frequent and consistent. The more you post to Instagram, the faster your following grows.

Anyway, find a sweet spot because too many promotional messages can decrease the number of followers.