13 Ways To Gain Instagram Followers (Without Following Back)
It’s not getting any easier to grow your Instagram account or to stand out among your competitors’ accounts. Like your account, there are many more. Many people have seen the same content repeatedly, and content fatigue has become a real issue in 2022.
We’ve seen it all before and you really have to be on top of your Insta-game to (continue to) attract the attention of your current and potential followers and to be favored by the algorithm.
Nevertheless, with the right tips and tricks, growing your account and gaining more followers on Instagram is still possible!
In this blog, I’ll explain exactly how to gain Instagram followers this year and the next.
1. Stop focusing on your number of followers
Let me get straight to the point: the number of followers you have has very little to do with the overall success of your account. I understand that you may have clicked on this article expecting to find a fool-proof method of gaining a large number of followers in a very short amount of time. However, that should not be your goal.
Obviously, you need followers, or else your content won’t be noticed. But it is most important to have engagement on your posts. Engagement is the ratio between the number of followers and the number of likes, comments, and shares you receive on your posts and stories.
If you already have a large following, but very little interaction with your content, this means that your engagement score is extremely low. And when your engagement rate is low, Instagram will show your posts to other users less often. Which is the exact opposite of what you want to achieve on Instagram.
Of course, it’s great if you have acquired 10K of genuinely interested followers, but in reality, unfortunately, that’s never the case. Instead of focusing on gaining more followers, I actually recommend that you remove followers that aren’t seriously interested every once in a while.
Say what? Yes, you read that right! You need to remove followers that aren’t engaging with your content in order to improve your engagement rate.
It may not be the best for your ego, but it’s much healthier for your Instagram account.
2. Make sure your branding is on point
Developing a unique brand identity will help your followers distinguish your content on Instagram. Your feed does not need to be aesthetically flawless, just ensure that your posts are recognizable by using similar colors and fonts in your posts, for instance.
A well-branded social media profile conveys professionalism and credibility.
3. Create a strategy
Think about the topics you want to cover on your Instagram account in advance and come up with a plan. For example, you could post content based on a theme on a weekly or monthly basis. You could also opt to categorize your posts so that your followers are aware of the type of content they can expect from you.
I switch up the following types of feed posts, for example:
Instagram feed posts by category idea
- Interactive posts: Posts that I know will generate a lot of engagement, such as my “drop your blog” posts.
- Quotes: Sharing quotes in your Insta-feed is a great way to increase engagement! People like to save and share them.
- A quick blog/Pinterest tip: Create an Instagram feed post with a tip that is already shown on the image itself. It is essential to ensure that the text accompanying an image is readable and concise, as this stimulates engagement and encourages readers to save the post.
- Misc.: Sometimes I have an idea that doesn’t exactly fit into one of these categories. These posts then fit into this category.
- Infographics/statistics: People are often very visual and respond well to infographics and statistics. Often, this type of content is saved and shared in Stories.
- Blogs: As a blogger, I naturally want my blog posts to be read. Therefore, I include one out of every three posts as a sort of “preview” to engage my followers and direct them to the full blog post.
- Pictures: One in three of my posts is a picture of myself. Not because I think I’m so great, but because your followers want to see you. Photos of yourself usually perform the best. Just take a look in your home feed (click on the search icon) to see which posts are highlighted. Almost all of them are pictures of people! I even started posting two pictures for every three posts a week ago to see if I can make even more of an impact!
4. Leverage all content types
On Instagram, you can present yourself in many different ways. If you’re looking to gain more followers, it’s important to make the most of it. Reels, collaborations and video content are doing really well at the moment.
- Go live with a colleague;
- Make reels showing who you are and what you do;
- Talk on your Instagram stories. This doesn’t always have to be related to your business. People just like to see who you are.
5. Make real connections with other Instagrammers
One of the great things about Instagram is that you can build a network of connections that will be beneficial to you for years to come, and – if you’re open to it – friendships could develop from them.
You naturally want your content, products, and services to be seen, but this also applies to other entrepreneurs. Instagram is a platform on which you can help each other grow by occasionally promoting and responding to each other’s content.
I have gathered a group of loyal followers who always take the time to show my content some love when they have the time and energy to do so. That is so valuable to me!
6. Take an Instagram course
Would you like to learn how to use Instagram for your business? I would highly recommend taking an Instagram course. In such a course you will be taught everything you need to know about the platform so that you can make the most out of it for your blog, webshop, or business.
Time-saving is one of the key benefits of taking a course, as you don’t have to put in the extra effort to research everything yourself. This free course from HubSpot is hugely beneficial for everyone who wants to learn how to build a solid Instagram strategy.
7. Be consistent
In order to be successful on Instagram, it is incredibly important to keep posting regularly. This way, your followers will know what to expect from you, and it builds trust.
You don’t need to write a new post every day. One or two new feed posts and/or Reels per week is enough to grow. Just make sure you’re also active in your Stories. You can post Stories more quickly and easily, which will help you stay active on Instagram every day.
8. Respond to dm’s and comments
It is of course very simple to post and then disappear again, but try to always answer all reactions and DM’s. I know it’s easier said than done, especially when you receive quite a few reactions and DM’s in response to a new post. But responding helps you build real connections and loyal followers!
It can be disheartening when you take the time to leave a reaction to something and there is no response back. On the other hand, it can be appreciated even more when people do take the time to respond. That way, you have interaction with the person from that account and that creates a bond immediately.
It means a lot to your followers when you take the time to respond to their comments and show that you value their feedback!
9. Get started with reels
Reels are currently performing the best on Instagram. If you can create video content in the form of Reels, if you can act a little bit and don’t mind appearing on camera, then use it to your benefit.
Instagram is the perfect platform for this, and Reels are currently being distributed very well. My Reels always get more impressions than my regular posts, even though I only make “tutorial Reels” without showing my face, they often do much better than my regular posts!
10. Follow other accounts
A smart way to get more followers on Instagram is to follow accounts yourself. Of course, it’s up to you to decide how many and what kind of accounts you want to follow. Some people follow almost everyone who follows them and other accounts only follow the ones they find really interesting.
There are pros and cons to both approaches – on the one hand, it is certainly easier to build up a nice base of followers when you also follow accounts in return. On the other hand, you quickly realize that your timeline is mostly filled with posts that aren’t that useful to you.
It’s not worth much if you only follow someone so they won’t unfollow you. That follower has no sincere interest in your content, and you aren’t interested in theirs either.
11. Follow hashtags and engage with posts from other accounts.
A common tactic that Instagrammers use to get their content in front of potential new followers is to like posts from other accounts that don’t already follow them. To find these accounts, you can follow hashtags that your future followers are likely to post on and search for posts.
You can look up a hashtag using the search function and then view and like the associated posts.
Keep it reasonable and only like posts that you find interesting because Instagram can quickly label your behavior as spammy and that’s something you obviously want to avoid.
The competition on Instagram is brutal, which means that it’s often difficult to stand out organically. And that’s a shame because your potential followers/customers are definitely looking for your content there.
Advertising your content ensures that it is shown to the target audience that you have in mind, and if someone follows your account as a result of an ad, you know they’re genuinely interested in your content.
Do not promote your campaign by clicking the Promote button, as this does not seem to generate the best results. Instead, create a campaign in the Facebook Ads manager.
13. Use the right hashtags
A key point to remember is to use hashtags. By utilizing hashtags, other users who do not follow you can find your posts when they search for a specific hashtag.
A hashtag is effectively a keyword. A user has an interest in a particular subject and inputs a search query. For example, #love. All posts where this hashtag is attached will then appear in the searcher’s feed. And of course, you want your posts to appear among the posts of relevant hashtags.
If your post is popular, it will also appear in the “Top” posts tab, making it more visible for a longer period of time.
Use hashtags that are relevant to your content, research hashtags, and focus on hashtags that are not too big or too small.
I hope that this post has given you a good understanding of how I gained my followers. To really learn about Instagram, I recommend taking the free HubSpot Instagram course. For now, I hope to have helped you get a head start.
And remember; followers are not everything on Instagram. Yes, they are certainly important, because without followers your posts obviously won’t be viewed. But followers come in all shapes and sizes and they are by no means all equal in terms of value for the growth of your account.
What’s more, an excess of non-valuable followers will actually do more harm than good to your account.