It’s the question that keeps every single Instagram content creator awake: how can I get more followers? With an algorithm that changes as much as Google’s, getting more and more complex with each update, Instagram growth is a bit of a mystery. Apart from that, you need a lot of creativity to create compelling social media content. Instagram’s captions are super important too, that’s why we’ve created an article about it.
Remember those good old days when all you needed to do was post a picture? Just a few filters involved, a caption, a post button and the likes would follow. But with the rise of the app, came more and more features that have made it an all-in-one app. Videos and reels have become essential for this app, we have an article about how to edit on your phone!
It may seem that paying is the only way to go with Instagram these days. Between advertising and people buying followers, it is certainly harder to grow on Instagram when you don’t want to spend. But there is still hope, as it is all a matter of balance.
Yes, advertising helps. No, you shouldn’t buy followers. But yes, you can get followers without paying. It may take a little longer, but it is a strategy especially small businesses go to. And if you are able to invest a few bucks on advertising, your efforts will for sure pay off.
1. Optimize your bio
You have 150 characters to explain what your account is about, so get creative! It may seem like it is not much, but there are some tricks to help you get the most out of your Instagram bio.
Your Instagram bio should include:
- A clear description of what you do with keywords
- Bits of you or your brand’s personality and voice
- A location, if possible (really helpful for businesses!)
- A call to action (like shop, read more, etc.)
- A link
Keep in mind that the link shouldn’t be inside the bio, therefore it doesn’t count among the 150 characters. You can add it to your Profile section, where you also edit your bio.
2. Be consistent
The whole basis of Instagram is sharing, so, we’ve got some news, you will need to share content in order to grow. There’s no magic recipe to do it, but you should do a minimum of three posts a week, and if you go up to five that’s even better.
With Instagram’s algorithmic timeline, consistency may be a key component to getting your posts seen. Let’s say that you are posting daily and picking up great engagement, this will help a lot with Instagram showing your post on the top of your user’s feed.
This doesn’t mean though that you should post anything just to comply with this not official rule. Instagram will always choose quality over quantity, so while you will want to post more, also you will have to post quality content. Finding the perfect balance is not easy, as generating constant quality content is a struggle but hey, no one said that being an Instagram influencer was easy.
Creating compelling social media content will be key to encourage users to interact and eventually follow.
3. Since you’re generating content, start experimenting!
As we said before, Instagram has become way more than photos so if you look on the bright side, this means that there are a lot of things to do and have some fun experimenting with content.
Mixing up different types of content will be helpful to reach different kinds of audiences. Let’s say a person usually watches and likes reels, then Instagram is more likely to show that person reels first. On the other hand, if someone interacts more with photos, then Instagram will show this type of content.
4. Use hashtags and keywords
This one is a bit of a no-brainer, but as most people know, hashtags really help with discovery. These hashtags should be somehow related to what your account is about, and we recommend you go with hashtags that have a high density of search but a low density of volume (meaning people that use them).
Now let’s explain that in English: use hashtags that not many other accounts use, but still have several other posts using them. In general, terms, stay with hashtags that have less than 20k publications in them. If a hashtag has a million posts using it, chances of people discovering yours will decrease.
But why hashtags? They are a great tool to help other people discover your account, as many users follow certain hashtags. But most importantly, as Instagram recently revealed on how Instagram search works, the algorithm prioritizes them when it comes to showing your account to people that have similar interests. So if someone tends to like a lot of posts from different accounts that have the same or similar hashtags, it is very likely that Instagram will suggest to them your account.
5. Understand Instagram’s algorithm
We’ve been mentioning the famous Instagram algorithm all this time, but what is it?
There are six factors that determine what shows up in each person’s timeline: interest, timeliness, relationship, frequency, following, and usage. This is based on an algorithm, which is basically the coding behind the app, like the functioning system of it. The algorithm is what makes Instagram work the way it does.
Let’s analyze each factor:
- Interest relates to how much Instagram predicts a user will care about the content. So if they usually interact with that type of content or subject, then it will show them earlier to them.
- Timeliness as Instagram prioritizes posts that were published recently.
- Relationship is all about the accounts the user interacts with.
- Frequency in relation to how often a user opens the app. If you open Instagram hourly, the app tries to show you the most relevant content you haven’t seen before. But if you open it once a day or every couple of days, it will show first the most relevant content for you in the past few days.
- Following relates to who a user follows. So users who follow a lot of accounts might see less from each individual account, while users who follow just a few select accounts are likely to see more from their closest friends or favorite accounts.
- Usage: how long a user spends on Instagram. If a user prefers short visits on Instagram, the algorithm shows the most relevant posts first, but, for users who spend longer time browsing, it will probably show fresh content each time.
6. Use Instagram SEO strategies
Just like Google, Instagram has its own way to position an account or posts. SEO, which stands for search engine optimization, involves different practices that you can do to improve your content and help it work better among the app.
For example, when you post something, always add the alternative text, which is a very helpful tool for people with visual impairments. As an accessible app, Instagram prioritizes content that includes the alternative text, so you should not only do it but also include keywords.
Even though it is not officially confirmed by Instagram, many experts say that the app’s algorithm really prioritizes video content as they are trying to position it. Since they released stories and reels, the app has constantly motivated users to post video content and the truth is, it is a great way to interact with your followers.
Oh, and since you will start experimenting with video on the app, be sure to musicalize them properly with some royalty free music. Our music library has some really cool tracks that will help you to avoid any copyright claims on Instagram! We have different licenses that can fit your needs! Choose HookSounds and access to our exclusive collection of music.
Other things you can do to help the SEO of your Instagram account, avoid editing your posts immediately after posting them and, of course, interact a lot with other accounts. This leads us to the next point.
7. Engage with your audience
Engagement is key on Instagram and, in fact, one of the main things that the app prioritizes. Interact with other accounts by liking, following and commenting, but most importantly encourage your followers to leave comments on your posts through your captions. And always answer to them, even if it’s with an emoji.
8. Find the best time to post
There is no universal answer on when is the best time to post on Instagram. Through Instagram Insights, you will be able to get some data regarding the times in which your followers are more active on the app. Use this as a guideline to find the best hours to post on Instagram.