*Method as of 06/2021* If you are new to instagram and want to increase your following, this is the post for you! This method got me to grow my Instagram following to 1,000 followers in about 3 months. I had no idea what I was doing before I started doing this method. This is what got me my first 1,000 followers. Some of these tips you may already be doing and some of them may be new to you! This is what works best for me, and may not work at the same rate for you for how to get more followers on instagram. But it may work even better for you than me if you are consistent enough! This will give you some ideas though for how to boost your instagram engagement, especially if you are just starting out.
Connect with others
Can you believe I had a food account on Instagram and only followed those who followed me back? That means I was not seeking out people to inspire me. I was only following the 100 people that found me first. This means I was not getting inspiration from ANYWHERE. I was just doing my own thing. I did not know how to utilize a bio, how to make highlights, NOTHING, so I was doing everything blindly! Now that I know how to get more followers on instagram, this is what I suggest:
How to get more followers on Instagram by connecting with others: Follow 8 new people a week, and turn on their notifications.
No I don't mean follow just anyone, follow people you want to be like, and follow people who you think would want to follow you. Your ideal follower is yourself. So follow people that are similar to you like age, demographic, region of the world, etc. Since they are similar to you, you probably have similar interests as each other which would result in them following you back. You also need to follow people that inspire you so you have someone to draw inspiration from.
If you do not follow anyone else, you will not see what people post within your niche, how they write their bios, what they use as a profile pic, etc. That is all important stuff to know because every niche is different.
My method is to write down which 8 new people you chose to follow that week. I did not write mine down the first week and thought I would be able to remember them all. I did not. Write them down and turn on their notifications and interact with them for 1 week. At the end of the week, you can decide if you still want their notifications on or not. Just pick a new 8 people on the same day each week (I chose Wednesdays) and reevalute the previous 8 people you chose. I did this for about 10 weeks and averaged 90 new followers per week.
8 people may be a weird number to pick, but I view 5 as not enough and 10 as too many to keep up with. The more accounts you have the notifications on for, the more you have to check your phone.
Go through the hashtags
Spend at least 5 minutes a day liking and commenting on recent posts within your favorite hashtags. This will help you connect with new accounts you have not connected with before. Sometimes I will even reply to their stories so that they notice that I am a new person viewing their content. This will make them want to check out my account to see who I am. This may result in some follow for follows.
Respond to those who like and comment on your pictures
When someone leaves a comment on your post, the least you can do is say thank you! I did not do this for about 6 months because I was in my own little world on Instagram. You need to reply to interaction and engage in the community in order to join! Joining the niche community will definitely help you get more followers on Instagram.
If someone comments on your picture, reply to their comment! Start a conversation with them in the comments. This is a great way to ask questions and get to know your audience. If someone comments on my post, I try to leave a comment on their post as well. This makes it so their audience can read that comment and discover your account. This is a great way of getting more followers, but is also a great way to seek out your 8 new people to follow for the week.
If someone likes a few of your pictures, like few of theirs in return! This can help build a connection with them by showing that you love their posts. Sometimes I even do shoutouts on my story if someone likes my pictures. Or is someone gives me a shoutout, then I give them a shoutout as well.
My method of liking and commenting in return
I usually post every other day. Before I post, I comment back on everyone's comment from my most recent post, and try to comment back on their recent posts as well. After I post, I go through my feed for about 30 minutes or so, giving people time to like and comment on my new post. After 30 minutes, I go to the picture I just posted, and comment back on all those comments, and leave a comment on their most recent post when applicable. I only do this for the comments posted within those 30 minutes though. Then, I usually go back through my feed for another 15 minutes or so.
Since I only post every other day, I give likes for likes on my non-posting days. These are the days where I go through my 2nd most recent post likes (not the one I just posted), and leave likes on their pictures. If you are just starting out, you probably would be able to like everyone's pictures in return within 15 minutes. If you are generating a hundred likes though, I would recommend only liking people's pictures in return if they DO NOT follow you.
Chances are if you follow them you already have seen their most recent post in your feed, and do not need to go to their profile to see it. If a nonfollower liked your post, liking and commenting on their posts (if they are your ideal follower), gets them to notice that you returned the favor. This might make them put more interest in you.
Caption with a question
Since I started posting a question as the intro line of my post, I have seen a giant jump in comments, simply because they answered the question. This is a great way to get to know your audience too and it helps get more followers on Instagram. For example, I now know who and how many followers I have that own an airfryer, how often they use their slow cooker, if they put jam on the monte cristo sandwiches, etc. If not that many people say they use their slow cooker and don't own an air fryer yet (maybe you can convince them to get one), then posting mostly slow cooker and air fryer recipes might not be the best choice. Or it means you need to seek out more ideal followers during your connecting with others strategy as seen in tip #1.
Post for your ideal follower
Your ideal follower is yourself. So think of people in your age group, region of the world, education level, etc and think what they would like to see. After you post a bunch, you'll be able to see what people like and do not like. If your dessert recipes get way less likes than your pasta recipes, then you know that you should be posting more pasta recipes for more engagement instead.
As stated in the previous how to get more followers on instagram tip, get to know your audience by posting a question, but then do not forget to use that knowledge you gained in that question later on. If you ask the question of "what is your favorite slow cooked soup?" and people said "tomato soup with tortellini" then try to post a picture of tomato soup with toretllini shortly after that question was answered.
By posting for your ideal follower, this is helpful to get more followers on Instagram as well. If you post for your ideal follower, chances are your ideal follower will not only stick around, but this can attract more ideal followers as well when you are targeting a specific audience.
Use 30 hashtags
Using 30 hashtags in the comments will help drive more traffic. Recently, I have been getting quite a few more views in the hashtags if I just post 1 stationary image. Do not post the hashtags within the caption itself or it can make your already long caption look a bit longer.
I find more helpful hashtags that I would not have thought of otherwise by using allhash.com. This is a free website where you can type in a keyword, and it generates random hashtags for it. I typically always cross check these suggestions by searching them up on instagram to see how popular the hashtag is. Sometimes the hashtags suggested by allhash are not very popular ones, so it is important to double check and only choose to use ones that are over 50k-800k in popularity.
I look at the popular posts within the hashtags as well. I note to myself, "Would my picture belong on this page with these images?" If the answer is no because #mustard is not the condiment, it is a pant color, then I know I need to not be using the #mustard on my sandwich picture.
When I was first starting out, I did not get that many story views, so I quit using it. I probably did not get many views because I posted a pic of a smoothie and said #smoothie, which was not going to get me anywhere. I tried to start posting 1 story a day on my non-posting days, just to keep engagement going, but that did not work either. Then, I realized if I show my face first and do a poll for the first story of the day, the views go up.
No, my views do not go up because I am a young female, but because people like to see who is posting. Since I normally just post pictures of my food, people don't actually know what I look like. If people could see what I looked like though, they can see I am more than just a food picture. It makes them feel like they are viewing a real person's account.
I try to post a series of stories a day (4-5) that all relate to on another. I start the first story with my face and a poll (sometimes), then usually I post pictures of food or whatever it is I want to talk about. Usually, I always try to end my story with a swipe up (for the recipe link). Unless you have 10,000 followers, you do not get the direct swipe up link feature snapchat has. If someone wants the recipe though, they can swipe up to your direct messages and say "I want" and you can send them the direct link that way. This increases your engagement as well. When you interact with people on direct messages, Instagram will show them and you more of each other's posts because it knows you are interacting in the DMs.
If someone stays until the end of your story, chances are they are going to be willing to take an extra step and ask you for the link to whatever site you are trying to drive traffic to. That is the purpose of putting the call to action at the end.
If you aren't getting many story views now, take 24 hours off, and then start posting again with a picture of your face and a poll question. This will drive traffic back to your stories again and let Instagram know that people still like your content.
Instagram does have a handsfree story feature that you can use! If you are doing a product unboxing, you are going to want to use both of your hands. Having the hands free feature is helpful for videoing something like that.
It is also important to always caption the video stories. This is essential to those people who do not have headphones or their audio on while viewing your story. They do not miss your content that way, and it helps your click through rate.
Some people also prefer video stories as well. This may help you get more followers on Instagram as well.
Always use the same fonts and colors for your story text as well. This will help people know it is you every time. I always do the same font in 1-2 colors in every story, and I have consistently been doing so for about a year now. This will also look consistent within your highlights if it is the same font and color every time.
Highlights are bascially stories you want people to view for longer than 24 hours. They can do so by clicking on the highlight. At first, I really did not know what to put for highlights. You should put your content pillars. So if you mainly talk about slow cooker recipes, air fryer recipes, and spicy food challenges, then put those as your highlights. You can also add fun stories you wish to see over and over again. For me this is my spicy ramen challenge. Some people put step by step recipes there. So within their posts, they caption "check out my highlight for the recipe." I have a website, so I do not direct people to my highlights.
Highlights are useful though for potential followers to gather more information about what type of stories you post before they follow you. If I was an ideal follower for myself, I could look at my highlights below and think to myself, "So if I were to follow her, I can expect to have the opportunity to ask her questions, view a ramen noodle challenge, answer survey questions, find some new ideas, and explore easy recipes that are not posted to her blog."
In the future, if I was going to add to my highlights, I would add a review highlight where I can post reviews of my upcoming cookbook, more behind the scenes, and update the current highlights I already have since it has been a while since I have done that. If I updated it, I would probably get more followers on Instagram.
Consistency is key when getting this method to work in the long term. This worked really well for me last summer. Once the school year starts again, I start slacking which decreases in my amount of follower growth consistency. If you work full time and have the same amount of time to devout year round, then you might not see a sudden decrease during the school year, and this method will work better for you. Just try to stay consistent with this method (or a variation of it) as much as possible as you will see growth!