How to Get More Followers on Instagram: Active Engagement


(Select a Topic to Jump to Section)


How to Get More Instagram Followers: Passive Methods


(Select a Topic to Jump to Section)


Instagram is Always Changing

Casual users have probably noticed the many new features on Instagram Stories like the addition of  music, GIF support, and Type Modes. If you’re a business, brand, or influencer, you’ve probably noticed more crucial changes, like the engagement on your posts. With the new Instagram algorithm in play, you may have noticed engagement rates on your photos keep dropping. How do you fix this?

Every time you post something new on Instagram it will initially be shown to a small percentage of your followers. Depending on the engagement (views, likes, comments, shares, saves) your new post receives initially, will determine how many more people will receive the post on their current feed. Less engagement means it could get buried further down everyone’s feeds.

And you don’t want that.

So, what should you do to make sure your audience engages with your content, it gets viewed by more eyes and in turn helps grow your online reach? In the article below we will details both active and passive methods to get more followers on instagram, increas your post engagement and define your brand.



Get More Followers on Instagram: Like & Follow Strategies

Like for Like

The most straight-forward and simple approach to getting more followers on Instagram is called the "Like for Like" strategy. With only a few simple steps, the "Like for Like" strategy will help you increase your Instagram following, though the yield is fairly low compared to other methods. In order for a "Like for Like" method to be employed successfully and to maximum effect, it's recommended to be used in conjunction with other follower growth strategies.

  • Step #1: Identify the general topic/niche that best represents the content on your Instagram feed. For instance, if your IG feed is primarily made of of vacation photos, your niche may be travel, or if your feed is mostly outfit pics, you niche may be fashion.

  • Step #2: Use the Instagram search function to find a relatively popular hashtag related to your niche. Choose a hashtag with more than a million posts, but less than 50 million posts, as you want to find a nice middle ground hashtag with enough search popularity to bring your post interactions exposure, but not so much that your likes get lost in the weeds. Using the fashion niche as an example, choose a hashtag like #fashiontrends (~4 million posts) instead of the more general, #fashion (500 million posts).

  • Step #3: Once you identified a target hashtag, enter it into the Instagram search tool to navigate to a results page showing both the top 9 posts that use your chosen hashtag, as well as the rest of the posts (ordered by post date) employing your tag.

  • Step #4: "Like" every single post you can before Instagram temporarily blocks your actions. In order to deter the use of bots or automation scripts, Instagram detects when an account is repeating the same action over and over, and temporarily restricts the accounts ability to like, comment or share posts (This restriction can last anywhere from 1 hour to 1 day).

  • Step #5: Repeat steps 1-4 with multiple niche hashtags.

Once the process is complete (or temporarily restricted by Instagram), your engagement action, i.e liking photos in a similar niche to your own, will begann to yeild results. By liking photos, your account name will be listed in the "Likes" section of the posts you engaged, where other users (read: potential followers) will not only see it, but also take a peek at your profile. If the imagery on your account is high quality and similar/directly related to the niche you identified, other users are likely to follow your account for access to content they're interested in.



Follow for Follow

The "Follow for Follow" strategy for follower growth is nearly identical to the "Like for Like" strategy, involving only one extra step. In the early days of Instagram, maintaining a positive follower to following ratio was an important, though a hardly measurable, metric of popularity. This led many early users to boost their ratio by feigning genuine interest in others' content and following as many accounts as possible to solicit a follow back, and upon receiving the follow back immediately unfollowing. This helped to grow their follower base and maintain a positive ratio. These days the "Follow for Follow" practice is still employed by many, but the emphasis on positive follower to following ratios as an indicator of celebrity has faded.

It's recommended that this strategy be used in tandem with the "Like for Like" method to maximize follower growth, and since positive ratios no longer carry the same influence, you don't have to immediately unfollow others after soliciting a follow back. Follow the steps below for a detailed, step by step breakdown of the "Follow for Follow" follower growth strategy

  • Step #1: Identify the general topic/niche that best represents the content on your Instagram feed. For instance, if your IG feed is primarily made of of vacation photos, your niche may be travel, or if your feed is mostly outfit pics, you niche may be fashion.

  • Step #2: Use the Instagram search function to find a relatively popular hashtag related to your niche. Choose a hashtag with more than a million posts, but less than 50 million posts, as you want to find a nice middle ground hashtag with enough search popularity to bring your post interactions exposure, but not so much that your likes get lost in the weeds. Using the fashion niche as an example, choose a hashtag like #fashiontrends (~4 million posts) instead of the more general, #fashion (500 million posts).

  • Step #3: Once you identified a target hashtag, enter it into the Instagram search tool to navigate to a results page showing both the top 9 posts that use your chosen hashtag, as well as the rest of the posts (ordered by post date) employing your tag.

  • Step #4: Navigate to each tagged post and follow the posters account.

  • Step #5: Rinse. Repeat until Instagram temporarily suspends your actions.

It's important to note that despite their guarantee for growth, the "Like for Like" and "Follow for Follow" strategy success rates are directly related to how often you perform them and have a definite efficacy plateau. If your growth timeline is unreasonably quick, then employing these strategies effectively can become incredibly time consuming. That's why it's essential that you determine a balanced schedule for maximizing your follower acquisition, while minimizing effort. This time/effort balance is unique to each individual, and differs depending on your target niche, the quality of your content and the intangible - social media trends.



Gary V's $1.80 Instagram Strategy to Grow Your Brand

Just like the "Like for Like" and "Follow for Follow" methods detailed above, Gary Vaynerchuk's $1.80 Instagram strategy is predicated on reciprocal engagement.

Why is it called the $1.80 Instagram strategy?

leaving your personal .02 cents on the top 9 trending Instagram posts for 10 different hashtags that are relevant to your brand or business every single day. By the end, you haven’t just left your .02, but a full $1.80 of thoughts online in the specific category, niche or industry you want to become a part of.

Below is a heavily simplified, step by step process of how to implement the $1.80 Instagram strategy to get more followers on Instagram. For a more detailed description of the process, visit Gary V's original blog post: The $1.80 Instagram Strategy to Grow Your Business or Brand.

The $1.80 Instagram Strategy to Grow Your Business or Brand The $1.80 Instagram Strategy to Grow Your Business or Brand The $1.80 Instagram Strategy to Grow Your Business or Brand

Hashtag Search Identifying Top 9 Commenting


Get More Instagram Followers: Content Curation & Sharing

Content curation and sharing is the easiest and simplest method for acquiring new Instagram followers, despite its relatively low yield. Like all the other methodologies detailed in this post, content curation and sharing is most effective for follower growth when implemented concurrently with all the other strategies.

Here's how it works (it's really simple).

Anytime you see a popular Instagram story or feed post that falls within your niche, share it on your own story and tag the original author. This will not only notify the original poster of your appreciation of their content, but also increases your chances of reciprocal engagement, in turn increasing the likelihood the original posters followers will then choose to follow you.



Utilizing Your Instagram Bio for IG Follower Growth

Though not directly involved in Instagram follower growth, optimizing your IG account bio is an essential step in creating a cohesive brand narrative, and having a well-defined brand voice builds trust with users, in turn increasing the overall engagement with your content.

A good Instagram bio should include a brand/personal name, email contact information, associated social media account handles, and a branded avatar. Though not 100% necessary, but definitely helpful, IG story highlights allow you to save videos to your bio. Many brands use story highlights to give more detailed information of their products or to provide a humanizing story to their background. E-commerce brands should also consider adding a link tree to their bio, so potential customers have near-instant access to the product pages and info without having to leave the Instagram app. Optimizing your Instagram bio with these elements will not only lend to your brands' credibility, but also its perceived legitamacy and public awareness. Below are several examples of brands who have successfully leveraged their Instagram bio for follower growth.

Brand Building: Utilizing Your Instagram Bio Brand Building: Utilizing Your Instagram Bio Brand Building: Utilizing Your Instagram Bio

@madeonmade @bulletproof @madewell


Maintain a Consistent Instagram Aesthetic

Once your IG bio is properly optimized, the next step is to determine a consistent Instagram aesthetic for your feed. Like your bio, a consistent Instagram aesthetic helps to better define your brand voice and reputation. Similar to advertising, maintaining aesthetic harmony in your Instagram feed is paramount to building up your brand awareness and in turn your overall IG follower count.

Your Instagram aesthetic can be defined by using similar editing recipes, filters, or photo compositions for all of your content. If you aesthetic is consistent and visually unique, users will begin to unconsciously associate the style with your brand.

Below you'll find some examples of brands who have established a consistent Instagram aesthetic, evident throughout their feed.

Maintain a Consistent Instagram Aesthetic Maintain a Consistent Instagram Aesthetic Maintain a Consistent Instagram Aesthetic

@paigearminta @sugarbearhair @madebymary


Know the Best Time to Post on Instagram

The best time to post on Instagram is when your audience is most active on the app. For example, people usually check Instagram throughout the day, but they only really have time to leave a comment or like the picture when they are off working hours. You want to post when your audience has enough time to interact with your content, not just scroll through it. If you have a business account on Instagram (which you should if you're really trying to grow your audience) then your Instagram analytics will show you what days + times your audience is most active on the app. All you have to do is visit your analytics, click on the "see more" tab on your followers section, and scroll down to view the data.

Know the Best Time to Post on Instagram Know the Best Time to Post on Instagram Know the Best Time to Post on Instagram


Identify Top Instagram Hashtags & Geotags

This goes for both your main feed and Instagram Stories. You can get your content viewed by people that don’t even follow you by adding trending hashtags and locations to your posts. If people like what they see, they could view your profile and potentially give you a follow. A variety of websites provide hashtag generators that can help you choose up to 30 related hashtags to add to your post. Hashtag popularity vacillates wildly, but Instagram's search tool will show you the number of posts tagged with any particular hashtag at the time.

Identify Top Instagram Hashtags & Geotags Identify Top Instagram Hashtags & Geotags Identify Top Instagram Hashtags & Geotags

@irenejuncco @its_zina__ @gionicole


Instagram Follower Growth: Conclusion

Your favorite social media platforms are constantly going to be changing and it's up to you as a content creator to stay on top of those changes. It really boils down to consistently creating GREAT content that your audience loves-- something you’re already doing anyway. None of these strategies act to magically increase your following overnight. Regardless of what you do to drive views to your profile, if your content isn’t up to par, the engagement you want just won’t happen, which is why you still need to produce high quality visual content with the right editing tools. Make the most out of Instagram and it’s new features and you’ll be surprised how quickly your follower count and post likes will grow.