Instagram is always changing.

Casual users have probably noticed the new features on Instagram Stories like GIF support and Type Modes. If you’re a business, brand, or influencer, you’ve probably noticed more crucial changes, like 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? Check out below for tips on how to grow Instagram followers.

1. Time your posts well.

Time Your Instagram Posts

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 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 an 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.

2. Post content that adds value for your audience.

While it’s fun to follow Instagram trends, you have to consider if these trends are something your audience will respond to. Instead of looking at what other accounts are doing, make use of your own Instagram insights to see what kind of post works for your followers. You always want to provide some type of value to your followers, so utilizing your caption space for each photo is vital. Ask yourself, how can you better relate to your audience? What knowledge can you share to them/with them? What message are you trying to share? As great as having a big following is, it means nothing if your audience doesn't choose to stick around

3. Let your personality shine through your content.

Influencers do better on Instagram than businesses and brands because they’re full of personality. Even if you’re a business, you can infuse personality to your content and encourage interaction. Always test different types of content to tailor your Instagram posts to what your followers want. It's also important to utilize Instagram Stories when establishing a brand presence online. Although a beautifully curated feed is nice to look at, being able to have a more personal connection with your audience by utilizing Instagram Stories is vital. Show your followers behind the scenes, random tid-bits of your day, and use the fun features like POLLS to gather a better understanding of what your audience wants to see more of.

Following these simple steps will definitely help you garner likes + comments on your photos, bot how do you increase your audience size? Check out the tips below for how to grow Instagram followers.

4. Pick an aesthetic, and stick to it!

View this post on Instagram

the perfect glow

A post shared by ₉₅| B.A ★✰ (@brittaileen) on

When new people discover your account, they won’t just see one or two posts, they will see your profile and the first several rows of your feed. A consistent, curated aesthetic will likely encourage people to hit the follow button, than a collection of random photos. Learn how to craft beautiful content for your social media platforms with the Instasize App by checking out our other article: How to Curate Content for Social Media

5. Make the most out of Stories Highlights.

Instagram Stories Highlights

Maintaining a curated feed takes a little more thought that we'd like to admit. We often forget to show our audiences the authenticity of the everyday. Give your followers a more personal (not curated) look at what goes on behind the scenes of your Instagram feed via Stories, that you can then save under different Highlights. Some influencers and brands have used Highlights to feature their behind the scenes, and even a “trailer” of the kind of content people can expect by following.

6. Use geo-tags and hashtags.

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.

7. Engage with others’ posts.

Engage with Others Posts

If you want to get other people interested in what you post, you should express the same interest in theirs. Social media isn’t just made for posting about yourself, it’s about communication. Make use of the comments section! After all, what’s a more enjoyable follow? The account that just posts and posts, or one that takes the time to respond to what people say? Seek out individuals who have the same interests as you and connect with them, and that’ll be one of your main solutions to the challenge of how to increase Instagram engagement. Find like-minded users via checking hashtags in the search function.

Put into practice, social media expert Gary Vaynerchuk proposes what he calls the $1.80 Instagram Strategy. He recommends that you give your “two cents” on the top 9 trending Instagram posts for 10 different hashtags relevant to your brand each day. Just search the tags, pop into the comments section of the trending posts that interest you, and leave your thoughts. But wait! Isn’t that a recipe for tumbling down a slippery slope towards looking spammy? Not if you do it the right way. Despite how tempting it may be, don’t use these comments for self-promotion, whether it’s your products and services or visiting your account and tossing you a like back. Leave an honest thought, even if it’s as simple as “I think this photo looks great.”

8. Reach out to influencers.

Reach Out to Influencers

We’ve written about how important influencer marketing is before, but it bears repeating. In one recent study, 94% of the marketers surveyed who have used the strategy agree it’s effective. It seems to deliver up to 11x higher ROI than more traditional forms of digital marketing, making it always worth looking into, especially as most of them spend their time on Instagram. In fact, a whole culture’s been built around the Instagram influencer, attesting to their impact and visibility in social media culture. So, how to grow your Instagram following: build relationships with these influencers who’ve developed large followings of their own.

The most important thing about choosing which influencers to work with is that you need to research thoroughly about their values and their reputation. You want these people to be a good fit for your brand, and even if they’re already a fan of and use your products you should still delve into their post history. Do they upload consistently? What tone do they use when writing captions? Do they seem like they’d be good to work with? Are most of their followers real or do they not get enough engagement in proportion to their follower count? Consider the answers to all these questions before contacting them!

9. Be flexible with the URL in your bio.

You only get one clickable hyperlink on your profile, so make it count. General rule of thumb is to link your official website in this space. While you don’t have any other ongoing campaigns or promotions you want to push significantly, keep the website link. Here’s where the flexibility comes in: change it up once in a while according to the occasion. For example, if you’ve just started a long-term marketing campaign and have a dedicated space for it on your website, link directly to the landing page for it instead of the homepage.

Encourage users to visit by writing call-to-action phrases in your profile and in posts mentioning it. A simple “link in bio” inserted into photo captions reminds them where they need to go if they want more information on what you offer. You can also put a more entertaining twist on these messages by using emojis (arrows and pointing fingers are popular).

10. Watch your image.

Watch Your Image

It’s very easy for others to tag your account in photos, and these appear when you select the “tagged photos” option in a profile. As a brand, however, you don’t want just anything appearing in that section—after all, you can’t regulate what others post about you. There’s a chance that images there might be spam, embarrassing, or not quite safe for work. As part of your own reputation management, approve photo tags before they appear on your page. Under the “Options” menu of Instagram, select “Photos of You” and switch this to “Add Manually.”

Keep this section up to date so you can find who’s talking about you or using your products. Who knows? You might find your next partner influencer or brand ambassador through here!

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. Looking for more tips on growing your Instagram Audience? Check out our Tips for Growing Instagram Engagement.