Instagram has 1.2 billion active users as of 2022 and is still growing. The social networking platform focuses on image and video and has become a more competitive place to make your voice heard and get the followers needed to grow your business, show off your brand, or share your cause.
Some Instagram users are also seeking more followers to find more like-minded people who share similar interests and aren’t necessarily looking for business growth. Get your Instagram app and some creative ideas ready and we can help you connect to your audience using some of Instagram’s new features.
We also discuss a few easy methods to make connections and make yourself easier to find. Although you can buy Instagram followers from us, we’ll discuss 14 free ways to grow your Instagram audience in this guide.
1. Using Instagram Reels
Imagine being able to make a commercial about yourself or your brand for everyone on Instagram to see. Instagram recently introduced a new feature that offers users the ability to share up to 30-second videos with music using the Instagram music library.
Where Are Reels?
The Reels feature sits prominently in the mobile app as the center button and is sure to draw the attention of new users. All users see Reels, not just your existing followers. By showing your Reels to all users, Reels can go viral quickly using your creativity and existing music.
Make something catchy and unique and you will find yourself in front of the eyes of people who could soon be your followers.
Like our upcoming section on IGTV, Reels are found with your profile, so new and existing followers can find the specific, short content from Reels quite easily.
A short Instagram reel can also be an effective way to build up to a larger video. Since Reels are presented to people interested in similar content, and not necessarily just your followers, you can create a sneak peek to a longer video that can lead to an Instagram user becoming your follower. We also recommend to buy Instagram views to further improve your chances of reaching the Explore feed.
As described above, here is an example
- Create a short video about a topic. Don’t reveal much detail. Tell them to check out our profile/channel
- Post the video as a reel.
- Instagram users who are not your current followers see the video
- They hopefully follow you!
- Read the next step about making your own IGTV series
Make Your Own IGTV Series
Making an Instagram TV series allows you to gain new followers by making a series for your followers. More people are currently relying on social media platforms like Instagram for entertainment during recent lockdowns.
Providing a series of videos about something you care about gives IG users a reason to follow you. Videos also earn more engagement on Instagram and will likely lead new followers to your profile.
One could make a cooking or fashion series, showing their abilities on how to make and cook pasta or create a series of videos to replicate the outfit of your favorite celebrity using more frugal brands.
Want to educate followers about wine? Make a series about doing taste tests and share your knowledge of vineyards, dates, and grapes. The possibilities are endless and up to your own imagination.
IGTV is also very easy to find with your profile with its own Instagram TV tab. Your users will easily find new content from your IGTV channel.
2. Be Inclusive and Diverse
Including everyone on Instagram is both very useful and easy. Some users have hearing and visual disabilities. Facebook also reports that 85% of video and sound content is played on mute. Closed caption your videos automatically in IGTV – they offer 16 languages!
How your followers watch videos
Users will more likely watch a video when they can scan your closed captions with their eyes, especially if they are in the workplace or otherwise don’t want to disrupt the silence of others. It’s also important to speak clearly so your captions are clear and understandable. Your voice doesn’t always literally have to be heard, you can make sure it’s at least read!
Making these changes is a very simple and easy way to include people who may have previously had difficulty accessing your video.
Diversity also includes standing for your opinion on any number of social causes. Standing for a cause you believe in helps you connect with similar communities and increases loyalty to your brands just by letting people know your opinions about social subjects.
Talk about charities and places where people can volunteer, take action, or make a donation, amongst other calls to action.
Civic Example – The NFL
For example, make a statement about voting on general and midterm elections. Tell followers about the importance of being able to help pick representatives. You don’t have to say who you are voting for. Much like major brands like the NFL, encourage preparation and registration.
Social Standings are the Norm
Nearly three-quarters of Instagram and social users expect big companies to take a stand on important issues, and you could easily align your stances with major companies to spread the word about yourself and your beliefs.
3. Work with Micro Influencers
Some of your favorite influencers have millions of followers. They also don’t have much incentive to help promote you and are less likely to interact.
What’s a Micro Influencer?
Micro influencers are people with 10,000 to 100,000 followers and often offer better engagement than larger influencers. Micro influencers often offer specific interests and take more time to engage with both you, and bring their own audiences that can follow yours.
What should I ask for?
Ask to share a post that interests both your users and theirs, then take advantage of the more significant engagement offered by a micro influencer who isn’t trying to keep up with millions of followers.
Simply stated, you have a better chance at connecting with more micro influencers than much larger influencers, and they often discuss similar topics, their connections can provide more followers for you.
4. Create Authentic Shareable Content
Authentic content is quite simply opening up to your followers. Share your thoughts, whether they are positive, negative, quirks, or detailed interests – share your emotions and actual feelings with your followers. They will know you are a human too and appreciate your transparency.
The Instagram algorithm prefers posts with lots of engagement, and a heartfelt post is an easy, real way to find yourself on a page like Explore, for your content to be discovered by new users. You can also buy Instagram likes from us to help improve your chances of reaching the Explore feed.
5. Be Human
Since users also want to interact with the human, transparent posts you make, be sure to be available to answer to some direct messages and replies to encourage connections. Direct interaction tells users you care and can lead to more followers, even amongst those watching your public interaction.
Share struggles that most anyone understands. You could talk about the frustrations of cooking a healthy meal, the positives about someone else in your life, or thoughts about the future. Most anything goes.
Just be real. You could also connect your struggles with other Instagram users who offer solutions to some struggles so both your brands gain followers.
6. Promote Instagram Content on Other Platforms
Some of your social networks connect and can be used to gain more followers on Instagram. Making accounts with the popular and ever growing TikTok and Pinterest networks can lead to more followers.
TikTok and Pinterest make it easy to connect your Instagram account to find like-minded people on multiple social networks and grow your audience. Use posts within TikTok and Pinterest to tease exclusive and otherwise special content on your Instagram page.
You have many tools
Use every method of communication you have – from email to your own website to connect people to your Instagram and find more followers no matter which channel they came through.
Multiple Accounts, Multiple Networks
Many people use multiple social networks and may not have found you on other networks for whatever reason. Simply linking other profiles to your Instagram – and the other way around, can grow all your networks.
7. Write Detailed Captions
While images and videos are obviously very important on Instagram, writing detailed captions also attracts more followers. Caption length has doubled on Instagram in recent years. As the subject of sharing personal feelings, detailed captions can be anything from the process for your DIY project to your extended feelings on a subject.
Connect details to causes
Detailed captions also connect well with social and political causes. Connect a simple phrase like “It takes all of us” to a personal connection about a social justice issue while presenting stats or other info. Include your opinion and feelings about a subject. If possible, tell a story from your own life about the situation.
Tell users why you feel the way you feel, and they will feel more connected and more likely to follow you. A caption might feel long, but that’s ok. Given the recent increase in the size of the average caption, a long, well written caption can be totally worth reading for the user.
Descriptions help you in search
Longer, more detailed captions also make you more searchable. Simply using more meaningful keywords in your captions allows Instagram users to find your content and products easier while using Instagram. For example, one could describe a pair of shoes using many adjectives and specifics, ranging from the color and style, and telling users how comfortable the shoes feel.
8. Make your Profile More Searchable
Instagram, like Google, works like a search engine and your profile works as a website. Search engines are powered by keywords, which are relevant, common words users enter to try to find subjects. Like Google, the most relevant words to your user’s search will come up first and more often. Simply including keywords in your name and bio can lead to more followers who are seeking certain terms, and a better ranking within Instagram’s algorithm.
Treat your Instagram profile like a website
A very simple method is to understand which words and terms are related to your niche is to search Instagram for your expertise. Find similar words to your topic and use them in your profile. If you are a family photographer, you could use terms like “camera,” “family photos,” and “memories,” just to begin and dive deeper into anything more specific you want to express about yourself.
Users Search – Make Yourself Findable
When users search for your topic, you will be more likely to gain new followers because you have placed specific keywords in your profile related to their search.
One expert’s favorite method is to include relevant info about your niche in your username and name field. Both fields are searchable and readily visible to incoming followers and should be utilized for their free and easy exposure. Like Google, these methods of simply optimizing your profile can lead you to the top of the Instagram search results by just adding relevant words.
Making small changes to your profile is one of the easiest ways to take advantage of Instagram’s search and algorithms. Optimization does not even require making new content.
9. Go Live!
Instagram offers many capabilities and lots of attention when seeking new followers. Live allows you to post a live, unedited stream of video, complete with live comments and interactions. You can offer a product demo, demonstrate a skill, or talk about your favorite cause in an authentic way while your audience interacts immediately.
Use Live to Sell
You can also sell products via Live by using Instagram Checkout and a Facebook shop to allow users to purchase right away. Show your enthusiasm for your products and brand while demonstrating how great your newly developed mascara looks while selling it real time to your followers quickly through a live video.
You can answer questions on the fly while you explain details like how it lasts longer and is more environmentally friendly. Sell them through Instagram Live Shopping while they are fully engaged by your video and live with them – like QVC with someone who is willing to respond right away.
Live is Easy
A live video still doesn’t require much technical expertise. Raw video of you demonstrating your knowledge makes you more human and can add a degree of spontaneity, even when they are well planned.
10. Make a Challenge or Game – Something Interactive
Challenges allow brands and Instagram users to create unique ways to spread both their brand a unique idea. Most recently, the Bathtub Challenge encouraged users to dress up and sit in an empty bathtub while taking a selfie.
Provide the entertainment during harder times
During recent quarantines, Instagram users have offered online games along with predictions about winners to create challenges and interaction to gain new followers. One user offered interactive ping pong and quickly reached 100,000 viewers for a game.
A less recent example of the ice bucket challenge for ALS. The challenge was very simple: Make a donation to an ALS foundation or dump a bucket of ice cold water on your head while challenging several others to make the decision for themselves. The ALS foundation both raised significant awareness for their cause and raised money at the same time.
Make a hashtag or find a way to brand your event so that it’s immediately recognizable amongst your own followers. When your followers watch and share, your engagement goes up and you are more likely to find new followers as well.
Go think of a creative, easy idea for others to do and ask users to share your challenge. Do you have a game you made up that you play with friends and family? Make it Instagram friendly and visual and use it!
11. Make Your Own Hashtag
Many influencers and businesses use hashtags to create a memorable, brief way to be searched, remembered and interacted with. Create a hashtag that is unique to you and your business or niche. Encourage users to share your hashtag and offer a prize or feature them on your page.
A good example from Coke
While from a major brand, #ShareACoke is a well known and very successful example of creating a hashtag. While collaborating with other major stars and influencers, #ShareACoke drove brand awareness through printing personalized name label Coke bottles. Users learned of the program through #ShareACoke and could either purchase a bottle of Coke at a retailer or have their own printed. They could send a coke to a family or friend and “share” their bottle.
If someone creates interesting content using your hashtag, they will have helped you gain more followers.
12. Create Memes Your Audience Will Understand
Popular culture branded memes are a quick, effective way to produce product and brand interest. While the definition of a meme varies, it’s usually simply using a popular culture reference and editing it to describe a different purpose, like happiness or feelings about a person, product, or just a feeling.
It’s how we communicate
Most young users have used memes to communicate both via social media and with friends on a regular basis and understand the references behind most common images. Some common memes include when the meme expresses clear feelings, or when they use a paper or object you could readily add text to. Connecting to recent trending shows or idea can be especially helpful in finding more followers that you can make laugh, think – and make more aware of your Instagram presence.
Find people who are like you
Instagram users tend to follow memes because they offer insight to people with a similar sense of humor or interests. Meme generators are also available online on many websites to help you produce one. You don’t need photoshop skills to make an effective meme. Use another simple image maker app to add filters and colors that match your current brand so that people recognize the meme as yours.
13. Make Custom Filters
Filters have come a long way. Snapchat and Instagram offered simply filters to add cat ears or sunglasses, or a dog licking the screen. Now Instagram users can add their own filters to posts for others to enjoy, allowing new and existing followers to make creative content using your filters. Filters can be very simple, including backgrounds for other users to enjoy.
Your Brand on Display
The best part of filters is there’s no question who created them, as the brand and user who created the filter appears within the filter. Create a cool filter people want to use? Connect it with your brand and gain followers when others use it too.
Filters are an effective way of making something usable for your current and future followers. They can share their friends too and your name still appears on the filter!
Filters require little tech expertise to make and rely more on your creativity and ingenuity than your computer skills. Want to make a filter that shows a unique color you use for the dresses you make? Make it look like someone else is wearing it using a filter.
14. Connect with Brands
While you are trying to build your own Instagram and gain more followers, you can connect with other brands. Find brands that offer similar thoughts, ideas, and beliefs and you will find an audience similar to yours so that sharing a post can be beneficial to both you. Many brands already have engaged followers, like yours, and you will both gain followers.
It’s Much Less Expensive
Connecting with other brands is also more efficient and cheap. Rather than buying advertising or sponsored posts for what can amount to 25 times more, you could do your own creative promotion through a collaboration with a similar Instagram user and let your audience try your products so they too can promote you.
Get Some Help
Services are also offered outside of Instagram that connects your brand and followers with other similar brands and followers that might promote something else but can be connected through demographic interests. Some users will find this useful in establishing what kind of brand to connect with to become the most effective in finding new followers.
Think about what services or products would pair well. For example, a coffee shop might sell lip balm or accessories that might appeal to the same people.
Like all social media, Instagram is all about making connections while educating and entertaining other people on social media. You don’t need technical expertise to make filters, IGTV series, or make connections with businesses and brands.
The easiest way to gain more followers can be as simple as being creative and authentic while offering useful tips by way of videos and images. Presenting yourself as a human who wants connections can also be very helpful while preparing to interact with new and existing users who have something in common. Understanding what your users are looking for and matching those words and topics in your profile can also make you more searchable.
Also, look at new features within Instagram and how they help you share ideas and find yourself in front of new users more often. Simply combining your creativity and finding the right audience will grow your Instagram follower count quickly.
Instagram offers clear ways to find more followers using short videos to lead to longer term relationships with users. Get your camera and phone ready, take our tips, and get ready to connect with your new followers.