11 proven ways to get more followers on Instagram

Julia Moore
Cute or useful posts are not enough to attract a subscriber to an Instagram blog. Of course, high quality content is important. But at first, people should see them.
Reading time — 7 minutes

In this article we will tell you how to use Instagram algorithms to reach followers and encourage them to subscribe to your Instagram.

Paid methods

Targeted ads

Pros

Targeted advertisement is automated. You have to do rigorous work on the settings only once, then just adjust it. It makes reporting and analysis easy too.

Low price. Targeted ads’ cost starts from less than a dollar. You can experiment with several creatives and delete ineffective ones. 

Cons

Targeted ads require some skill and knowledge. The auditory to reach is more general in comparison to, for example, Facebook. It means a bigger risk of wasting money. 

Sometimes, the ads do meet all the terms of use, but are still denied by the social network. And approaching tech support is impossible - it just doesn’t answer. 

Bloggers

Pros

Bloggers from your field are the easiest way to reach your subscribers. Collaborating with them is good for promoting new, complicated and confusing for the majority products. Thus, you can explain the idea of a project and its importance to the relevant public. 

Bloggers have authority among their subscribers, people follow and emulate them. If a blogger gives a good review on your product and encourages using it - you can gain followers instantly and get more sales.

Cons

You need to search for bloggers yourself, check them for cheat subscribers or copy-pasted content, thoroughly work on the task specifications, monitor text’s tone in posts - you both might work in the same field, but exactly your product might be not suitable for him or her. 

Though, good preparation is not a guarantee for it going smoothly. A blogger may take the money and vanish, bail on the task, or delay the date of your campaign once or twice, and all the costs and expenses will be on you. 

There are more bloggers who are responsible and trustful, but you better get safe and make a contract. It’s not a 100% guarantee either, but it lowers the risks. 

And, of course, prices. A good big blogger is expensive, but if you do things right, the investment will pay off. If you don’t have a budget for it, approach smaller bloggers - they haven’t developed their pages enough to drive up the prices, but might have an engaged audience. If you do have money, request them anyway. Several small bloggers at 1,000 USD cost may do better than one blogger taking the same summ.

Influencers

Pros

Influencers are acclaimed experts in their field. For example, a recognized doctor in a city, or a stylist, or a teacher. Their opinions are valuable and considered right a priori. Influencers’ opinions are often even more significant than bloggers’. They care about their reputation and will not bail on you. There is also no need to check for cheat subscribers - their followers are conscious and active. 

For example, a professional model married to John Legend promoted BECCA Cosmetics.

Cons

Their ads may be very expensive. Besides, not all influencers promote products, and they will not promote what they can’t test themselves. And they won't advise stuff that stinks to their .

Discounts, contests and prizes

Pros

You can get more followers on Instagram instantly and in really big numbers. Add to that, a campaign may get viral, which means it drives traffic. 

There are lots of methods, some of them are:

  • Ask subscribers to tag their friends under your blog post as a part of a game. 
  • Ask followers to make a post (about your product or telling a story) on their pages and tag your profile to get a discount. 
  • Ask followers to repost your content in their Instagram Stories to take part in a contest. 

For example, give a monetary prize for the best question about money. One of the participation conditions is to add a tag and hashtag of the promo.

Cons

It implies a prize. If your goal is to gain new followers and increase sales out of your account, you have to pay bloggers and involve targeted ads. 

What more, among gained subscribers there will be a big percentage of spongers. The moment the contest is over, they unfollow you.

Free methods

Barter with bloggers

Pros

There are a lot of ways to barter. A blogger can recommend you in one of his posts and you repost it to your Stories. If you are mass-media and sell the relevant product -  a blogger can become your expert, create posts for you and tell about it in their Instagram accounts. Mutual exchange of followers and free content come about as its result. Small bloggers readily agree to collaborate. Big ones too, if you are a popular brand. 

Cons

You should check a blogger's reputation carefully. Some of them are reluctant to collaborate, and you have to spend a lot of time searching. Bloggers mess with the paid offers, even more with the free ones. You have to pay much more attention to the agreement's progress.

Mutual PR on Instagram

Pros

You can attract a relevant audience. For example, a real estate agent can cooperate with an interior designer. The idea is the same as in the bloggers case. 

Cons

It takes a lot of effort to find and make an agreement. The company may have its own perspective on barter ads and a whole host of demands for a post on Instagram. You have to check the reputation and the agreement in work regularly. If the company starts to mess up things, the raising negative on the Internet becomes your problem too. 

User-generated content and branded hashtags

Pros

You can post user-generated content in your Instagram profile, it motivates followers to post selfies with your product. It is free and beneficial. People use your product, take a photo and add hashtags in a post - the followers view, they like, and subscribe to your profile. 

For example, a hashtag #starbucks is used by the customers who like coffee. The trend of food and holiday spots was for the great benefit of the coffeshop chain.

Cons

It’s not an option for everyone. For some services it will be difficult to think up an idea for user-generated content but stay with the design concept of their profile. But there is a way out - you can repost clients' reviews in your Instagram Stories. And a branded hashtag may include posts of negative disgruntled clients. 

Viral content

Pros

This is the type of content people see in their Instagram feed, actively share, comment and recommend. Any Instagram content can become viral, even if you don’t place your bets on it. Videos, compilations, checklists and hot button posts are easy to get viral. Viral content helps to get followers and increase interest to your blog. 

Cons

You have to make up something new all the time. Sometimes it takes money, though it doesn’t mean the content will be viral. Do your best, but do not get your hopes up.

Topical tags

Pros

Your post with relevant hashtags can get in top and be seen by a lot of people interested in the topic. Even a weak post on Instagram will be seen as far as it is in the Recent tab. Thus, there is a possibility you will get new followers. Topical hashtags are similar to keywords, people use a topic using them. Mix urgent hashtags with narrow-topic and trendy ones to make the audience wider. 

Cons

You have to monitor new hashtags constantly. And more likely you won't gain many new followers. In a good case, their amount covers the unfollowers.

Geotags

Pros

Free followers and relevant geotags. It can raise engagement rate if you promote your Instagram account in a particular area or want to reach people from a specific place - restaurants, shops, etc. For example, you describe feelings about a new film - put a geotag of the cinema address.

Cons

Few Instagram users search geotags. You won’t gain many followers this way. Still, it’s free.

Commenting posts of your target audience 

Pros

It’s an opportunity to get more followers and increase trust to a brand. In relevant to a topic blog you can give expert answers to the subscribers. For example, if you are a specialist in your field - give advice under a post, answer a question, or, if necessary, politely correct. 

Cons

You’ll spend a lot of time searching for posts to answer, and it requires some skills. Besides, advice may anger people. Invading a user’s blog under a brand’s username can result in a reaction you don’t want.

A couple more words from the author

Every niche has its own specifications for marketing promotion, and some methods may not suit yours. For example, debates about what’s more effective - a blogger or targeted ads - often erupt on the Internet. But they both are effective, and the answer depends on your audience and the product you sell. Experiment and you get more followers on Instagram, if you don’t - approach specialists. 

Don’t forget to tell about your experience of gaining subscribers on Instagram - what worked and what didn’t.