How to Organically Grow Instagram Followers

by Sarah Hayes on February 15, 2017

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There are a lot of things you can't do to win more Instagram profiles. You can't use bots, or buy followers directly – that looks bad for your business, and hurts more than it helps (what do you think all those fake or ignorant followers will actually do for you?). You can't veer your Instagram straight out into pop culture, because that doesn't actually help your brand. So what can you do to organically grow Instagram followers...preferably without waiting a couple years? Yes! There is! Here are the top ways to get started with your next Instagram post.

1. Tag People

You can tag other people you know or are following in your Instagram tags section, which messages your new post right to them. It's a great way to engage other companies and businesses, a friendly but professional way to say, "Hey, check this out, we think you in particular might like it." The people you call out are then more likely to share and comment on the post, which exposes it to their followers, and then nets you more interested organic followers of your own. Of course, don't do this too often, or with Instagrammers you don't know very well – that's crossing the line.

2. Participate in Instagram Conversations Around Your Industry

You don't have to follow every Instagram feed in your industry, but it's a very good idea to keep an eye on the competitors and suppliers in your region. If conversations start on their Instagram posts, don't be afraid to jump in with your own perspective, opinion or advice (keep it polite and casual, of course). Your goal here is to get every potential follower nearby to notice that you too have an Instagram profile, and that you seem to know what you're talking about. It's a great tactic for B2B companies looking for new opportunities.

3. Tie and Tag Images to Popular Events

Take important news in your industry, or in the wider world, and create an Instagram post tying it back to your company or products. Make sure you tag the image with the correct terms, and make it broad enough to appeal to a variety of people. Throw in a little humor if you can, too. Doing this around once a week will help you safely expose your Instagram account to wider crowds. Cast this net, and you can pick up followers tangentially related to your business that might have never noticed you anyway. Yes, you may also pick up largely worthless followers that don't even know what you do, but it's a small price to pay.

4. Don't Just Thrown in Hashtags – Use Them Strategically

Instead of using whatever hashtag comes to mind, study hashtags and pick those that are the most accurate and will have the greatest impact. Instagram tends to be more hashtag-friendly than other platforms, so you can go a little wild here. Include both very broad hashtags (#marketing, #advice) and very specific hashtags (#21handshaketips, #instagramtips).

5. Create Images That Partners Can Use

Remember how we just suggested that you comment on other Instagram feeds in your industry? Well, those businesses are watching you, too. It's a good idea to occasionally create a post that appeals to them, to encourage them to share it on their own feed. Maybe the owner of a site you're working on will want to repost. Maybe a software tech that you're partnering with will show their program on your device. Maybe a supplier will want to share a pic of their delivery. You get the idea - this is a great way to grow Instagram followers!

6. Ask Followers for Some Help

Occasionally, send your followers a message asking for shares and follows. You can even use some consumer-oriented hashtags like #followme if you want. Do this very sparingly, because it's a cheap move and won't look professional if you repeat it – but at the right moment, it can have a strong impact.

7. Post Something Instructional

Instagram allows for pics and short videos, so consider taking a "Pinterest" approach and posting something that you can use to provide tips, advice, or instructions. Make these related to your industry but also as universal as possible. When followers see something helpful, they're more likely to share it. 


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Sarah Hayes

Project Manager at 21 Handshake, a strategic marketing company, driven to grow relationship-driven businesses. A self described life long learner that thrives on detail, I love bringing these skills to the table to help others succeed.

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