Gaining more followers on Instagram can open many doors for you and your brand.
People with large Instagram followings have a better opportunity to market their products and services, raise brand awareness, and even make more money by posting sponsored ads.
But, the road to gaining more followers is not an easy one. You can’t just start requesting everyone and their mom to follow you and hope that they follow back.
Nope, in order to get real followers on Instagram, you need a plan.
What do you need to do?
Check out this guide to learn how to get real followers on Instagram.
1. Optimize Your Bio
First impressions mean everything. And in the world of Instagram, the aesthetic of your bio is definitely your first impression.
And, seeing as people only take a quick second to glance at your bio, you better make that first impression count.
How do you do this?
Headline and Keyword
It all starts with your headline and keyword. Below your Instagram handle, there’s a line for you to put your brand name. Next to this, you should also write a keyword that helps describe who you are. For example, something like “Fitness trainer”, “makeup artist to the stars”, or “skincare expert”.
It doesn’t need to be anything fancy or lengthy. Instead, it should just be a couple of quick words to let people know what you do.
The body section makes up the majority of your Instagram bio. However, it’s much different than the body section for a blog post. You want to keep it short and sweet.
The point of the body section is to clearly describe who you are and what you’re about, all while speaking in the voice of your brand.
Here’s what should be included in the body section:
Your about me section should include a condensed version of your mission statement. You only have 150 characters, so use them wisely.
That being said, don’t be afraid to add a bit of personality here with hashtags and emojis.
Call to Action With URL Link
We’ve all seen brands do Instagram posts that say “link in bio” in them. Well, this is a perfect example of a call to action.
Below your about me section, you should have a call to action that entices your audience to click on the URL link that goes back to your site. Something simple like, “Click now for 10 percent off today only”, is perfect.
Customers are all about social proof these days, so be sure to add a line that gives your brand some credibility.
Examples of credibility include a certification, a social cause your brand gives back to, or a feature in a publication.
To put all of this into motion, just check out Mark Cuban’s profile (below) and you will see how this can all come together nicely.
2. Get Crazy with the Hashtags
As you probably already know, Instagram now allows users to follow hashtags and not just profiles.
This provides a huge opportunity for those wanting to gain more followers, as the right hashtag can really boost your profile.
But, you want to make sure you’re playing the hashtag game smart. First of all, make sure you’re not just using one-word hashtags. While these are valuable, it’s still smart to mix it up with multi-word hashtags that are more nice and creative.
And, don’t worry about every single hashtag being directly related to your brand. The goal of hashtags isn’t just about getting more immediate followers, it’s also about showing your personality so your current followers stick with you.
For example, let’s say you’re a personal trainer. It would be pretty boring if all of your hashtags were things like #workoutday or #staymotivated. Instead, you should try to have a little fun with it. For example, if it’s a leg day you could say #gettingaleguponthecompetition or #cantmoveafterthisworkout.
Lastly, make sure hashtags aren’t taking up the majority of your copy, as that can make your captions difficult to read. A smart thing many people do is put the hashtags at the end of the copy.
3. Get Descriptive With Your Captions
A picture certainly does say a thousand words. However, this doesn’t mean you want all of your captions to be super short.
While it’s definitely good to have some posts with short captions, you definitely want to dive into detail with other posts.
By being descriptive with your captions and telling the story behind the picture, you will generate more interest in your posts and be able to grow your following.
Also, storytelling is a great way for your customers to get to know you, so if you’re a one man or woman show, don’t be afraid to get a little personal on there too.
Someone who has the Instagram caption game down is Kayla Itsines, a personal trainer turned fitness entrepreneur who gained most of her business through Instagram. While Kayla keeps some posts short and sweet with workout demos, other posts are much longer and go into great detail about what she does to stay so fit.
She also shares with her audience stories about her family, friends, and travels.
4. Tap Into Influencer Marketing
If you’re looking to gain more followers so you can build your brand and grow your business, then you need to tap into influencer marketing.
But, you need to be smart about how you play the influencer game. First of all, you need to find people who not only have a strong following, but who also align with your brand values.
An excellent tool for accomplishing this, is Kicksta. Though this Instagram-focused social media marketing tool, influencers and brands can grow their following by automating the engagement and commenting process on other Instagrammer accounts. This ultimately leads to 100% authentic and real likes, follows, and comments back to your own social account.
For example, let’s say you’re an organic food brand. It’s probably not a good idea to partner with an influencer who is constantly out partying and eating junk food. Instead, you should find influencers who focus on their health and fitness.
Once you’ve found a good number of influencers you’re interested in working with, start following them. And, be sure to turn on post notifications so you’ll get an alert every time they post something new. Whenever they post something new, be sure to interact with their profile. You can do this by liking their photos or by leaving comments.
Once you’ve started to develop a relationship with an influencer, you can finally reach out to see if they’d like to work with your brand.
But, the key is to not sound desperate. In other words, don’t say something like, “would you please post something about our product? We’ll pay you big money!” This is both unprofessional and spammy.
Instead, you should say something like, “Hey we really like your profile. Would you be interested in trying out some of our products?”
5. Get Local
When trying to build your following on Instagram, the smartest thing to do is to start local and to build your way up from there.
You should make frequent mention of where your business is headquartered. And, you should give shoutouts to your local community and point out local attractions.
For example, let’s say you’re a yoga apparel brand based in New York City. You could create a post about bringing your yoga mat to Central Park for the weekend and then ask your followers about their place in New York to do yoga.
Once you’ve tapped into the city market, that’s when you can start thinking about expanding to the whole state, then the whole country, and then the rest of the world.
6. Post Quality Photos
If you’re doing all the above and still not getting followers, then perhaps you need to look at the quality of your Instagram photos.
If you’re posting a bunch of dark and grainy photos that look like they were taken on an original iPhone, then it’s time to make a change.
Even if your business has nothing to do with photography, your photos should still look professional. Otherwise, people won’t take your brand seriously.
If you’re just starting out and you can’t afford a fancy camera or a professional photographer, don’t be afraid to use stock photos. Many of these are high quality, and you’d be surprised at the number of photos you can find that fit into your brand’s message.
Also, make sure you follow the 60/40 rule when posting photos. That is, 60 percent of your photos should be directly related to your product or service. The other 40 percent should be lifestyle shots. in other words, shots of your community, travel adventures, employees, or family. Or, they can also be quotes.
How to Get Real Followers on Instagram: Are You Ready?
Now that you know how to get real followers on Instagram, it’s time to put these steps into motion.
And just remember, a million followers won’t come overnight, so be patient with the game and take your time with each step. Pretty soon, those numbers will keep growing and growing.
If you have any questions about gaining real Instagram followers, please let us know in the comments below. And, don’t forget that Instagram is only one piece of the puzzle when it comes to building your brand.
Another major piece is your blog. Don’t know how to start a blog? Click here to learn in detail what you need to do.