The 12 Best Strategies To Increase Followers On Instagram

By Matthew Pittman , January 1st 1970
6 minutes read

Growing followers on Instagram can be incredibly important, especially if you're looking to expand your reach and influence. When you have a larger follower base, it increases the likelihood that your content will be seen and shared, helping to amplify your message or brand. It's not just about numbers; it's about building a community of engaged individuals who resonate with what you post. As your follower count grows, so does your potential for networking opportunities, collaborations, and even financial gains through sponsorships or advertising. For businesses and individuals aiming to establish a strong online presence, Instagram serves as a powerful tool. By consistently engaging with your audience and sharing quality content, you can turn this platform into a significant asset for your personal or professional growth.

The key is to follow each strategy diligently while modifying your approaches based on metrics and recent findings. Here, we’ll examine some of the best practices to follow if you want to increase followers on Instagram.

12 Strategic Ways to Increase Followers On Instagram

Instagram remains one of the most profitable social media platforms. In 2023, the photo-sharing app had a whopping 1.35 billion followers. It’s no surprise that marketers rely heavily on it to establish their brand presence and grow their list of brand followers. Here are 12 strategies to increase followers on Instagram. 

1.) Use Relevant Hashtags

Using relevant hashtags regularly can help expose your Instagram channel to new audiences who haven’t interacted with your brand. When used strategically, they help your content show up in the feeds of users who’ve viewed and engaged with similar content. 

However, avoid adding immensely popular hashtags that are irrelevant to your brand or content. Instead, opt for hashtags that are trendy and niche-specific. If you own a business account, you can use Instagram Insights to determine which hashtags were most helpful in generating the highest impressions. Here are seven tips for using hashtags most effectively:

  1. Research and Use Trending Hashtags: Stay updated with trending hashtags in your niche. Use tools like Hashtagify or Instagram’s search feature to find popular hashtags. For instance, if you're in the fashion industry, #FashionTrends might be a good pick.
  2. Blend Popular and Niche-Specific Hashtags: Combine widely-used hashtags with more specific ones. Popular hashtags increase visibility, while niche ones attract a targeted audience. For a coffee shop, you might use #CoffeeLover (popular) and #ArtisanCoffee (niche).
  3. Create and Promote Brand-Specific Hashtags: Develop a unique hashtag for your brand. Encourage customers to use it in their posts. This builds community and helps in tracking engagement. For example, a brand named “NatureWalks” might use #NatureWalksWithUs.
  4. Monitor Competitors and Industry Influencers: Keep an eye on the hashtags used by competitors and influencers. This can provide insights into what's working in your sector. If you're in fitness, watch for hashtags used by popular fitness influencers.
  5. Avoid Overloading Hashtags: Using too many hashtags can appear spammy. Aim for 5-10 relevant hashtags per post. This makes your post more focused and appealing.
  6. Regularly Refresh Your Hashtag Strategy: Hashtag effectiveness can vary over time. Regularly review and update your hashtags to ensure they remain relevant and effective.
  7. Analyze and Adapt Based on Performance: Use Instagram’s analytics to track which hashtags bring the most engagement and adjust your strategy accordingly.


By strategically using these tips, you can effectively leverage hashtags to enhance your brand's presence on Instagram, attracting more followers who are interested in your content and offerings.

2.) Use Geotags to Increase Local Visibility

Geo-tagging on Instagram plays a crucial role in enhancing the visibility and engagement of your posts, especially for businesses and individuals looking to target specific geographical locations. When you geo-tag your posts, you're essentially pinning them to a specific location, making them more discoverable to users interested in or browsing content from that area. This feature is particularly beneficial for local businesses or events, as it helps attract local customers or attendees who are more likely to engage with content relevant to their region.

Plus, geo-tagging can significantly contribute to building a sense of community and belonging among users. For instance, if you're a café in San Francisco and consistently geo-tag your posts with your location, you not only attract locals and tourists searching for cafés in the area but also start building a community around your brand. This can lead to increased word-of-mouth marketing as visitors who share their experiences at your café and use the same geo-tag, further promoting your location. It also provides valuable insights into the demographics of your audience, which can be instrumental in tailoring your marketing strategies and content to better suit the preferences of your local audience. In essence, geo-tagging is a powerful tool that, when used effectively, can significantly amplify your reach, foster community engagement, and provide crucial data for targeted marketing efforts on Instagram.

3.) Store Your Stories in Instagram Highlights

Highlights are groups of expired stories that show up on your profile.  Storing your Instagram stories in highlights is a strategic practice that offers several key advantages, especially for enhancing your profile's appeal and engagement. Here are some best practices and reasons why it's important:

  1. Extended Life of Content: Normally, Instagram stories disappear after 24 hours. By saving them to highlights, you extend the life of your content indefinitely. This allows new and existing followers to view your stories long after they've originally been posted.
  2. Organize and Showcase Key Themes: You can organize stories into themed highlights, such as Events, Behind the Scenes, or Customer Reviews. This categorization makes it easy for visitors to your profile to find content that interests them and provides a more comprehensive understanding of your brand, products, or services. Brands like Ponto and Patagonia do a good job of using highlights effectively.
  3. Enhance Profile Aesthetics: Customized highlight covers can greatly improve the visual appeal of your profile. A cohesive and attractive set of highlight covers can make your profile look more professional and inviting.
  4. Feature Promotions and Announcements: Highlights are an excellent place to store important announcements, promotions, or offers that you want your audience to easily find and refer back to.
  5. Share Testimonials and User-Generated Content: Saving stories that feature customer testimonials or user-generated content in a highlight reel can act as a trust signal for potential customers. It shows real people engaging with and appreciating your brand.
  6. Provide Evergreen Content: Use highlights to store evergreen content that remains relevant over time, such as FAQs, how-to guides, or product demonstrations. This turns your profile into a valuable resource hub for your audience.
  7. Track Performance: Instagram provides insights for stories, even when they're saved in highlights. By reviewing these, you can understand what types of content resonate most with your audience and adjust your content strategy accordingly.

By effectively utilizing Instagram story highlights, you not only maximize the impact of your stories but also create a dynamic, engaging, and informative profile that captures the essence of your brand and keeps your audience coming back for more.

4.) Share User-Generated Content

User-generated content (UGC) is incredibly valuable because it adds authenticity, boosting your brand’s reputation. It also reinforces your credibility in a specific niche, whether that’s makeup tutorials or instructional videos on car maintenance. 

By featuring brand content that other customers created and shared, you can reinforce brand loyalty and increase audience engagement rates, resulting in more followers. Take this strategy up a notch with a hashtag feed that users can use to post brand-related images. UGC acts as a form of social proof, showcasing real people using and enjoying your products or services, which can significantly boost credibility and attract new followers. Here are a few tips on leveraging UGC:

  1. Build Community Trust: When potential followers see that existing customers are happy and engaged, it builds trust. UGC serves as authentic testimonials, more relatable than traditional advertising.
  2. Increase Engagement: Featuring UGC encourages more users to share their experiences with your brand in hopes of being featured, thus creating a cycle of engagement and content generation.
  3. Showcase Diversity of Use: UGC often highlights diverse ways your products or services are used, appealing to a broader audience. This diversity can attract followers with varying interests.

Real-world examples of brands excelling in sharing UGC include:

These brands have effectively used UGC to not only enhance their social media presence but also to build a community that continuously contributes to and amplifies their brand narrative, attracting more followers and engagement.

5.) Use Paid Promotional Strategies

Using paid promotion strategies on Instagram can be an effective way to rapidly increase your follower base and amplify your brand's reach. Paid promotions, such as sponsored posts or Instagram ads, allow you to target specific demographics, including age, interests, location, and more, ensuring that your content is seen by users most likely to be interested in your brand. This targeted approach means your content reaches beyond your existing followers to a broader yet relevant audience. Additionally, Instagram's algorithm favors engagement, so as your sponsored content garners likes, comments, and shares, it increases the likelihood of appearing in potential followers' feeds organically. This blend of targeted reach and enhanced engagement can significantly accelerate your follower growth, making paid promotion a valuable tool in your Instagram marketing arsenal. To get started, you’ll need to:

The last point is critical. Advertising is a work in progress, and you’ll need to leverage performance data to modify existing ad creatives for greater clicks and engagement rates on Instagram. 

6.) Add Relevant Keywords to Improve Brand Visibility

One of the best ways to increase followers on Instagram is by adding relevant keywords to your profile. Specifically, you’ll want to incorporate targeted keywords in your: 

Instagram’s algorithms are constantly learning what users are searching for and will recommend relevant posts. This gives you a great opportunity to target the right industry terms to increase online brand visibility, bring in quality traffic, and produce higher click-through rates on your Instagram profile. The same principles for using hashtags apply here.

Plus, it will give you meaningful insights into your audience's intentions, allowing you to modify your Instagram marketing strategy. 

7.) Find the Best Time to Post for Optimal Engagement

The best time to post photos, videos, and other types of content is when your audience is online and actively engaged. However, there’s no universal consensus regarding the best time frames for posts. Several factors play a role in determining when your audience is online and whether they engage with your posts. 

Some examples of these factors include:

The good news is you can leverage Instagram insights to determine when your audience is online. Click on ‘insights’ on the top, right icon, then click on ‘total followers.’ Once you do, you’ll be taken to a page where you can click ‘Most active times’ and see the most popular hours and days for posts. 

To learn more about optimal posting times, check out our best time to post on Instagram with our blog or one of any number of guides

8.) Run a Giveaway Contest

Why run scheduled giveaway contests with your followers? They’re fun, interactive, and can give your profile the boost it needs to succeed organically. By running prize competitions with your followers, you can incentivize them to become regular customers while encouraging them to tag their friends.

The result? Greater brand exposure and more quality customer referrals. There are also plenty of ideas for a giveaway contest, including:

First, make sure your giveaway is easy to enter but also encourages actions that benefit your brand, such as following your account, liking the post, tagging friends, or sharing the post on their stories. These actions naturally increase your visibility and engagement. Second, your giveaway prize should be relevant to your brand and appealing to your target audience, ensuring that you attract genuine followers interested in your offerings. Third, clearly communicate the rules, duration, and how the winner will be chosen to maintain transparency and trust with your audience. Finally, promote your giveaway across all your social media platforms and consider partnering with influencers or other brands to reach a wider audience. Well-executed giveaways not only boost your follower count but also engage and energize your existing followers. Brands like Daniel Wellington and Gymshark have successfully used giveaways to significantly increase their Instagram presence, demonstrating the effectiveness of this approach when done correctly.

9.) Go Live 

Going live on Instagram establishes a sense of community and personal connection with followers. With live streaming, you interact with audiences directly in a real-time setting, boosting engagement rates. The best part? There are multiple ways to repurpose live streams. You can repurpose them as:

How popular are live videos? More than 100 million people watch Instagram live daily, and 80% of them would rather watch a live stream than read a blog post. Promoting products and services through live streams makes your audiences more likely to like, comment, and share your content with other followers. 

10.) Release Tutorial Videos

Tutorial videos transcend any industry and are incredibly valuable, no matter your niche. According to a global survey, 28% of respondents prefer how-to videos. You can use them to establish yourself as an authority figure in a specific niche while expanding your pool of potential brand loyalists on Instagram. 

For example, if your target audience consists of fitness junkies looking for high-quality fitness content, then tutorial videos on weightlifting will help position your brand as an industry leader in health and wellness. 

Several brands stand out for their exceptional use of tutorial videos, reels, and highlights on Instagram, effectively engaging their audience with informative and entertaining content. For example, Sephora excels at creating makeup tutorials and beauty tips, making it a go-to source for beauty enthusiasts seeking the latest trends and techniques. Tasty, Buzzfeed's food network, is renowned for its quick, easy-to-follow cooking videos that appeal to food lovers of all skill levels, showcasing everything from simple snacks to gourmet meals. Home Depot offers practical DIY home improvement tutorials, helping followers tackle projects with confidence. Each of these brands leverages Instagram's video capabilities to not only educate their audience but also to enhance brand loyalty and encourage interaction. By providing valuable content that resonates with their followers' interests and needs, these brands have successfully strengthened their online presence and community engagement.

By satisfying consumers with informed tutorials, you can convert them into regular followers and encourage them to promote your content. 

11.) Adjust Marketing Efforts Based on Analytics

This is what makes social media so wonderful-you can adjust stuff in real-time, on the fly, quickly adjusting to do more of what works and less of what doesn’t. Analytics can be exceptionally useful if you want to increase followers on Instagram. With Instagram analytics, you can assess:

With these insights, you can identify user trends and patterns affecting your marketing performance. More importantly, you can modify your social media strategy to drive audience reach and acquire more qualified leads for your brand.

12.) Use Instagram Reels

Reels are short-style videos that can be modified with visual and audio features. Their popularity knows no bounds either. Reels account for 30% of the time users spend on Instagram, making them useful for extending your reach beyond your current list of followers. Here are five tips for using Reels effectively:

  1. Leverage Trends and Audio: Keep an eye on current trends and popular audio tracks within the app. Creating content that aligns with these trends can increase your visibility and make your brand more relatable to a broader audience. However, ensure that the trends you choose to participate in are aligned with your brand's image and values.
  2. Create Educational Content: Share quick tips, how-tos, or industry insights relevant to your brand. Educational content adds value to your audience, encouraging shares and saves, which in turn boosts your visibility. For example, a fitness brand might share workout tips or nutrition advice.
  3. Showcase Your Products or Services in Action: Use Reels to demonstrate the benefits or unique features of your products or services. This not only informs potential customers but also showcases your offerings in a creative and engaging way.
  4. Engage with Your Audience: Encourage user interaction by asking questions or suggesting actions in your Reels. Engagement signals to Instagram's algorithm that your content is valuable, thereby increasing its reach. Also, respond to comments to foster a community around your brand.
  5. Collaborate with Influencers: Partner with influencers who resonate with your brand to create Reels. This can help you tap into their followers and gain visibility among a wider (but also targeted) audience. Ensure the collaboration feels authentic and offers mutual value to both parties and their audiences.

By incorporating these strategies into your Instagram Reels, you can create compelling content that not only engages your current followers but also attracts new ones, effectively growing your brand's presence on the platform.

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Growing followers on Instagram can be incredibly important, especially if you're looking to expand your reach and influence. When you have a larger follower base, it increases the likelihood that your content will be seen and shared, helping to amplify your message or brand. It's not just about numbers; it's about building a community of engaged individuals who resonate with what you post. As your follower count grows, so does your potential for networking opportunities, collaborations, and even financial gains through sponsorships or advertising. For businesses and individuals aiming to establish a strong online presence, Instagram serves as a powerful tool. By consistently engaging with your audience and sharing quality content, you can turn this platform into a significant asset for your personal or professional growth.