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It’s no secret that Instagram followers are one of the most valuable assets any business can have in today’s social media marketing climate. But if you find yourself struggling to grow your Instagram following, it may seem like an impossible task with all the spam accounts, bots, and people trying to make a quick buck off tricks that simply don’t work anymore. However, it doesn’t have to be that way!

Instagram has over 400 million monthly active users, and 60% of those are daily active users, making it one of the most popular social media sites out there today. This popularity has created many opportunities for businesses looking to get in front of potential customers, but that opportunity also means fierce competition from other businesses vying for the same audience you want to attract. With that in mind, I’m going to walk you through how to grow your Instagram followers organically in 10 different ways so you can still build an engaged following despite this competition.

Over the past few years, Instagram has become one of the most popular social media platforms in the world, with over 800 million active users and counting. But despite its wide reach, even many business owners don’t know how to make the most of this growing platform, especially when it comes to using Instagram to grow their following and increase engagement with their brand and products. Here are 10 different ways you can use Instagram to gain followers organically as well as engage your current followers more effectively so that your account grows in an organic way.

01. Optimize your Instagram account

Optimizing your account involves making sure that your username, bio, and photos are all search-friendly. This means doing things like making sure you have a business name and not just a username, getting as many relevant hashtags as possible, and adding an accurate location tag (i.e., use city + state). Keywords are everything on social media, so you want to make sure that when people search for Instagram accounts of New York photographers, they can find yours. Make it easy for them by naming your account accordingly! You also want to optimize your username so that it is both search-friendly and something you’re okay with being searched for. If your business name is fairly long or difficult to spell, consider using a nickname or abbreviation instead. For example, if your business name is Holly’s Photography, you might go with holly photography as your username. Lastly, optimize your profile photo by making sure it’s clear and high quality; some businesses will even hire a professional photographer to take their profile photo if they don’t feel comfortable taking one themselves.


02. Post engaging content

Although your competitors are important, you should be more concerned with what followers want. In order to gain followers organically, you need to post engaging content. The difference between boring and engaging content is based on your unique point of view. If there’s no difference between you and your competitors, followers will flock to those who stand out. What makes you unique? You should use that as a guiding force when posting photos. You don’t necessarily have to fill all of your posts with original pictures; take advantage of trending topics that others post so that people can see just how original your commentary is. Don’t forget to engage followers with questions, comments, or polls either. Even though it may seem counterintuitive, asking followers for their opinions can actually make them feel more connected to you and draw them into wanting to learn more about your brand. To stay ahead of trends while still being unique requires research into competitors’ tactics—and patience—but if done right it can help lead followers straight into your arms!


03. Promote your Instagram account

If you want to grow your following organically, start with a strategy. That means you should use a few of these ten tactics every day. Choose a social media service that allows you to cross-promote your account across multiple platforms; for example, Twitter and Facebook work well together. You can also invest time in an online community—many influencers have created closed Facebook groups for their followers. Cross-promoting on Facebook is another effective tactic; look for business pages or groups related to your niche, and engage with people there. Paid promotion is not recommended, but if you’re struggling with low engagement rates and need fast results, it might be worth it—if only as a last resort. To make sure you aren’t overspending, research average costs per post in your industry before investing. The cost will vary depending on what types of posts you’re paying for (video versus photo) and how much competition there is in your space. For example, small businesses typically pay more than big brands. However, keep in mind that paid promotion isn’t guaranteed to bring organic growth overnight—it’s just one part of a larger marketing strategy. So once you’ve reached a plateau after several months of paid promotions, try some other methods listed here instead!


04. Creating an email list of subscribers

Although many people might think of an email list as a place to offer discounts or coupons, it’s much more valuable than that. Rather than just offering your business promotions and sales, you can use email newsletters as a way to build relationships with your customers. On top of building trust, subscribers will feel more compelled to become loyal customers if they feel like they’re part of your journey—and not just getting spam emails. By sending out a newsletter at least once per month (preferably more), you’ll be able to let subscribers know what’s going on at your business and offer exclusive content they won’t find anywhere else. It also gives you a chance to remind them about upcoming events and offers.

In addition to all of that, email newsletters are one of the best ways to grow your following organically on social media platforms like Instagram because they allow you to create valuable content without having to actually post anything yourself. You can simply send out emails with helpful tips for users who may want help growing their own accounts, which makes them more likely to follow yours back when they see how helpful you’ve been! Analytics is another important factor when it comes to growing your following organically on social media platforms because it helps you figure out where most of your followers are coming from so that you can tailor future campaigns accordingly. For example, maybe most of your followers come from Facebook but Twitter is where most conversions happen.


05. Host giveaways

When you’re just starting out on social media, a giveaway is a great way to introduce yourself to potential new followers. You want your giveaways to be fun for both you and your audience—which means not being too strict about how people enter or what they have to do. All you really need is something that’s relatively easy for your fans and followers to participate in, with a giveaway goal that anyone can aim toward (that could be an action like following you, reposting one of your photos, or anything else that isn’t too difficult). Using a service like Rafflecopter (which connects directly with your Facebook and Twitter accounts) can help make sure everything goes smoothly on social media. Also, try to create some type of engagement after each giveaway by asking people questions about their experiences. If someone wins, ask them if they have any ideas for future giveaways; if someone doesn’t win, ask them what would motivate them to enter more often. This will help you get valuable insight into your audience so you can better tailor future promotions to their interests.


06. Schedule Instagram posts in advance

You’ve got tons of followers and are posting awesome, high-quality photos. Now what? Although you may have a huge following on social media, they aren’t always interacting with your posts. This is why scheduling posts via an app like Later or Instagress is so beneficial. These apps allow you to schedule your content for months down the road and build up a queue of pictures that are already ready for sharing. When people go to your page, they don’t just see random posts; instead, all of your images from previous days and weeks are lined up. They can easily scroll through months worth of photos (or even more) depending on how frequently you post!

That way, your audience will see every single one of your posts when they log onto your account. No need to worry about not having anything new posted because everything is already there! Not only does it make it easier for you to share consistently but it also increases engagement since users won’t be bombarded by new photos every time they open their feed. In fact, engagement rates increase by as much as 65% when using tools like these. As an added bonus, you can get comments on multiple posts at once without having to reply individually!


07. Avoid fake Instagram followers

As long as you are active on Instagram and engaging with others, your following will naturally grow. However, if you want a faster way to grow your following, there are two main ways that work well—getting a celebrity endorsement or purchasing fake followers from an agency. Celebrity endorsements can help kickstart your growth organically; most likely their fans will follow along as well. If you do decide to get fake followers, make sure they aren’t spam accounts; stick with agencies that use bots that allow them to retweet and comment on content while they post photos. They should be more like eggs than humans—that is, they have just enough activity so it looks authentic but not so much that they flood your feed with nonsense comments. A good ratio is one egg for every five real people.

Also, these accounts tend to disappear after six months to a year, so plan accordingly. Avoid those who offer Likes for cash. The same goes for retweets—if someone offers to pay you per retweet or charge per thousand retweets (MTR), don’t trust them! This tactic usually leads only to blocked accounts and wasted time. Instead of using shady services that promise thousands of likes and follows overnight, focus on posting quality content regularly—the organic growth might take longer, but it’s better for your brand reputation in the long run.


08. Give your visitors a reason to click on your bio

Making your bio clickable is an easy way to start gaining followers. Whether you include a free trial offer or a coupon code, giving people an incentive for clicking through will help you attract new readers. Not sure what kind of reward you should offer? Think about how much your audience values your content, and consider how adding even a small amount of value can entice people who might be on the fence about joining your following. If you’re still not sure how valuable your content is, try looking at follower count and engagement rates of other similar accounts; then use that information as a starting point for deciding what rewards are most effective for growing your following organically. The key here is to make it clear why someone would want to follow you, and how they’ll benefit from doing so. Make it worth their while! You don’t have to giveaway your entire product—even offering a small discount or exclusive access to certain posts is better than nothing.


09. Use hashtags in your captions

One of Instagram’s best features is its integration with hashtags. Hashtags act as searchable keywords for your posts, which means that using them effectively can be a huge boost for exposure. You don’t have to include any hashtags in your captions, but if you do choose to go with them, make sure they are optimized and relevant—don’t just spam popular hashtags hoping they’ll lead to traffic. In addition, if you do use more than one hashtag on a single post (which is not uncommon), use a separate line for each so users can tell which ones are related. This will ensure your captions remain easy to read and scannable when users browse through their feeds. Finally, it’s worth noting that many people like to use branded hashtags for their accounts; however, we recommend staying away from these at first until you’ve grown your following organically. Doing so allows other people to find your account by searching for generic terms associated with what you’re posting about. Once you’ve established yourself as an authority on whatever topic it is you’re posting about, then feel free to start adding branded hashtags into your mix—but only after doing proper research on whether or not they’re being used by anyone else in a similar industry or geographic area. There’s no point in wasting valuable real estate on an account name that nobody will ever see! As always, keep things simple and consistent throughout all of your posts and captions.


10. Make your Instagram followers happy

A lot of people think that if they just try really hard, they’ll succeed on social media. But if you want your followers to love and support you, you need to think about how your content will make them feel. Just posting any picture won’t earn you their love. You need a strategy for optimizing your Instagram content. That can mean combining things like good-quality images with a brand name or logo and an interesting or motivating caption (or both). An effective way to develop these skills is by creating an email newsletter that regularly informs people about what inspires and motivates you, what resources you recommend and what changes are occurring in your life as a result of social media—both positive and negative effects. This newsletter can be sent out once every two weeks, but it should always be short and sweet (no more than three paragraphs). And it should include links to your Instagram account so that people who aren’t already following you have a chance to check out what you do. If done right, newsletters help optimize Instagram engagement. They help create relationships between users and brands, building trust over time while making sure everyone stays engaged.

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