7 (Free) Ways to Get More Instagram Followers

Taryn Williams

Growing your Instagram following is essential to building customer relationships, driving website traffic, and boosting sales. It’s better to focus on specific tactics than stumble from one to the next, so be a strategist - not a generalist - with our 7 tips to grow your IG audience (oh, and they’re 100% free).

Your Instagram followers aren’t numbers.

They’re brand advocates who drive traffic to your website, generate valuable social buzz, and help you land more sales.

But growing an Instagram audience is hard (and buying followers is never worth it), so here are our top 7 tips to help you get more followers on IG this year. Best of all, these growth strategies won’t cost you a cent.

#1 - Know your value proposition

Would you eat at a restaurant if the menu changed every day? Probably not.

You want consistency so you know what to expect. If you’re looking for vegetarian food but suddenly you’re reading a steakhouse menu, you’re not going to stick around. Your Instagram followers want the same consistency and finding your value proposition is how you maintain consistent content.

Your value proposition is what you offer to your IG audience.

Remember, becoming a follower may be one small click of a button, but it’s much more than that. People follow brands on IG because they want to be inspired, educated, or entertained. Following a brand means inviting content into your feed - and that’s a measure of trust you need to respect.

Figuring out the value you offer to your followers ensures you deliver the content your followers expect when they hit the ‘Follow’ button. And maintaining a consistent content output is how you convert more visitors into followers.

Does this mean ALL of your content needs to be identical? No!!!

Instead, try focusing on 3 to 5 content pillars related to your niche to provide variety while still sticking to your value proposition. Check out the table below to see a few examples of how you can break your brand down into various content types that stay true to your value proposition.

Fashion Brand

  • Emerging Fashion Trends
  • Body Positivity
  • Beauty Hacks
  • Healthy Mindset Tips

Fitness Brand

  • Daily Workout Tips
  • Activewear Trends
  • Exercise Video Tutorials
  • Nutrition Ideas

The more focused you are on your value pillars, the easier it is to showcase your value proposition. People are more likely to follow you when they see how much value your content brings to their lives, so stay on track with your content.

#2 - Curate your profile grid

You’ve started posting awesome content for your followers, but are you making sure your entire feed is as aesthetically pleasing as each individual post?

It’s easy to ignore your feed when you put so much effort into each post, but new followers will often check out your grid to see what type of content you share and what vibe your brand expresses. If your grid is a random assortment of colours and filters, you’ll end up pushing people away.

A well-planned Instagram grid will help people understand what your brand is about and make it easy for people to go from curious onlookers to excited followers. You can use visual planning tools like Later or Plann to curate your ideal Instagram grid before publishing a post.

Credit: @miejscaimiejscowki

#3 - Publish regularly

Brands that publish once every few weeks on Instagram are the online equivalent of shops that open at random hours. You don’t want to visit these shops if they’re closed. You’d rather spend your time visiting a store that you know will be open when you need it.

The worst mistake you can make when getting more followers on Instagram is to publish randomly. This approach has two drawbacks. The first is that you’ll make your existing followers forget they follow you in the first place. The second is that you won’t make a splash on IG to attract new followers.

To help build followers over time, find your publishing schedule and stick to it. Don’t stress about the “best times to post” or waking up at 3 am to publish content for your overseas followers. The key to building an audience is consistency. If your audience expects you to post on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays, stick to it.

Remember, roughly 200 million Instagram users check out at least one business profile each day, so you’ll need to publish enough to be seen and heard.

#4 - Embrace Instagram Reels

Long gone are the days when Instagram was a photo-sharing app only. As video content has exploded in popularity, there are four ways to embrace video content on IG (Reels, Live, Stories, and Instagram Video). Each video form offers an exciting way to attract new followers, but we’re focusing on Instagram Reels for the best results.

A short-form, looping feature, Instagram Reel videos are shown to both users who follow you and users who don’t. This means your Reels can go beyond your current follower count and help you reach more accounts.

If you’re new to the world of Reels, try the following tips to get more likes, comments, and plays:

  • Use relevant keywords and #hashtags in your Reels caption that describes your video content
  • Keep your Reels short and sharp to maintain attention and keep viewers hooked (you can create videos up to 60 seconds in length)
  • Try to create 100% original content where possible (it’s OK to follow a trend, but make sure you put your brand spin on it).
  • Included on-screen subtitles for people watching without sound (which 85% of social media users do)
  • Upload high-quality video footage that shows the style and professionalism of your brand

Even if you feel like your brand isn’t a natural fit for Reels, there’s a way to make it work. You can share behind-the-scenes footage, share a before and after of your product, or jump on board the latest trends. Take inspo from brands in your niche to see what’s popular and don’t be afraid to pull out your smartphone and start creating your own video content.

#5 - Don’t buy fake followers

Buying followers sounds like the quickest and easiest way to boost your follower count because you can literally wake up to 10,000 new followers tomorrow...but buyer beware.

Why?

Most of the accounts you’re paying for will be inactive or bots. This means they’ll never engage with your posts, never leave a positive comment, and never click through to your website. You’re paying for a number (a.k.a vanity metric), but you’re not paying for engagement. Without engagement, your content won’t appear on the Explore Pages. You’ll soon find your existing engagement starts to taper off as your content is shown to an inactive, inauthentic audience instead of the real people who matter.

Worst of all, having 10,000 followers (or more) but only a handful of likes or comments per post is a red flag that IG users can spot from a mile away. No one wants to follow an account that’s mainly followed by bots, so you’ll end up hurting your credibility and missing out on new followers.

#6 - Collaborate with influencers

Collaborating with influencers who share your brand values is a winning strategy to grow your follower count. You benefit from a positive brand association and by choosing influencers aligned with your values, their followers are more likely to resonate with your message and become YOUR followers.

OK...OK...we know what you’re thinking right now (“you said these tips were all 100% free!”), and you’re right because influencer marketing doesn’t need to break the bank.

With #gifted, you can create a gifting campaign to share your products and experiences with influencers who genuinely love your brand in return for reviews and recommendations. Not only will you boost your chance of adding new followers, but you’ll be driving sales. All without an influencer fee on top.

Win-win.

#gifted tip: You don’t need the most popular influencers to enjoy the most significant impact. Micro-influencers deliver the highest engagement rates of all influencer tiers. This can help you connect with highly impressionable followers looking for product recommendations and new brands to follow.

Looking to learn more about micro-influencers? Find out everything you need to know about working with micro-influencers here.

#7 - Create content that people love

The best growth strategies are also the simplest. When you create high-quality and highly-shareable content, people will come to you. That’s why creating high-quality and share-worthy content is the most critical step of all.

Creating great content is always easier said than done, so it’s helpful to treat your IG feed as an ongoing test. Tracking each post’s engagement and analytics will show you what your audience likes and what doesn’t land (don’t worry, not every post will be a winner).

From captions to filters and posting times, small details can significantly effect your engagement. So stay on top of your analytics to keep improving your content and giving people what they want.

What are you doing to grow your Instagram following?

There’s no shortcut to growing your audience on Instagram. Instagram isn’t a platform waiting to be “hacked”, but a place where you can build genuine connections and showcase what your brand is all about.

These tips to attract more IG followers aren’t groundbreaking. They’re strong fundamentals of audience-building that apply to all brands and industries - and that’s why they work.

When you look at Instagram as a place to build a loyal community and provide value at every touchpoint - from your profile to your posts - you can increase your follower count knowing people are excited to join you on the journey.

At #gifted, we’re passionate about helping you kick your brand goals. From increasing your follower count to promoting your next product launch, it’s never been easier to grow.

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