How to get instagram followers for free: 35 tips that actually work

If you want to use Instagram effectively, you need a solid base of Instagram followers. Quite a few brands are faced with the question of how to accomplish this.

The days of quick and seemingly easy methods like buying followers or using bots are over. You may be able to increase the number of followers for a short time with tricks like this, but you won’t be doing yourself any favors in the long run.

That’s because the only truly valuable Instagram followers are real people who care about and interact with your brand. A fake follower count may boost your ego, but it won’t help you with your Instagram strategy.

Instead, click on the recommendations below to learn more, or keep scrolling for the complete list of our tips on how to gain followers on Instagram for free.

Bonus: Download a free checklist , which tells you in very precise steps how a lifestyle photographer without budget and expensive technical equipment on Instagram from 0 to 600.000 followers came.

Here’s how to get Instagram followers for free

1. Follow a well thought out Instagram strategy.

To use a social network effectively, you need a clear plan.

Striving for more Instagram followers is a pretty good goal to begin with. But followers alone won’t get you a successful Instagram account. Rather, gaining followers should be part of a broader plan that ties your business strategy to your social media marketing goals.

Think about why you actually want more Instagram followers. What do you hope to accomplish with it? You may want to:

  • Increase your brand awareness
  • sell more products
  • drive traffic to your website

If you focus on these business-oriented goals, it will be easier for you to maintain a consistent Instagram account. How to better tell a compelling brand story that will attract new profile visitors and help you find (and keep) loyal followers.

2. Determine your target audience.

  • How old are the members of your target audience?
  • Where they live?
  • What do you do for a living?
  • When and where do they use Instagram?
  • What are their pain points and problems?

Answering these questions will help create appropriate Instagram content to reach those users most likely to tap "follow". It also makes you more attuned to your target audience’s needs and allows you to consistently deliver content that motivates them to follow you long-term.

3. Create a consistent brand story and aesthetic.

You may want to satisfy users’ curiosity by showing how your product is made. Or, you may also want to showcase your business from an employee’s perspective to humanize your brand. And if you want to position your brand as something desirable, you could try showcasing your customers’ lifestyles and achievements.

Whatever you’re trying to achieve – very important here: to ensure and maintain a consistent brand personality and look and feel.

Your posts should be easily recognizable at first glance. Think of your Instagram grid as a cohesive unit. If you want to post content that doesn’t quite match the look and feel of your main feed, you can always turn to Instagram Stories.

Even if your products don’t all look the same, you can make the look and feel of your Instagram grid consistent with uniform styling – like @themillerswifecustomcookies, for example:

Instagram profile of The Millers Wife Custom Cookies

4. Use keywords that appear in search queries.

Before people can follow you on Instagram, they have to find you first. Of the text elements on Instagram, not many are searchable – only two fields contribute to search results: Name and Username.

Your username on Instagram should match the name you use on other social media networks to make it easier for users to find you. Use your brand name or a variation of your name that is most likely to be used in searches for your brand.

Your username can be up to 30 characters long and can be whatever you want it to be. Generally, it’s not recommended to stuff it full of keywords, but it can be useful to include your most important keyword in the name field to increase your discoverability in searches.

For example, travel writer Claudia Laroye (@thetravellingmom) incorporated the term "travel writer" into her Instagram name, increasing the chance that she would be found by all those users searching for travel content in general and travel writers in particular.

Instagram name keyword from The Travelling Mom

5. Use relevant hashtags to reach new users.

The text of your Instagram posts may not be searchable, but hashtags appear in Instagram searches. That said, thoughtful use of hashtags can be great for getting Instagram followers for free.

Including relevant hashtags can help users discover your content – either through search or by clicking on the hashtag of another relevant post. Instagram users can also follow hashtags, so your hashtagged content will show up in the feeds of users who don’t already follow your account.

You can include up to 30 hashtags in an Instagram post, but quality often counts more than quantity here. Experiment a bit to see how many hashtags work best for your account.

Avoid hashtag games like #likeforlike, #tagforline or #followiemir. This may give you a temporary boost in followers, but they are likely to be bots – or people who are only after followers themselves. You can’t build a meaningful, engaged community on Instagram with methods like this.
Instead, focus on using hashtags that specifically relate to your photo, product or business – like stylist Dee Campling in her #homeoffice image.

6. Perfect your bio and profile.

Two-thirds of visits to Instagram business profiles come from non-followers. All of these new visitors are potential new Instagram followers at no cost to you – but only if your bio and profile convince them to tap "follow". However, if your profile is ambiguous, incomplete, or unlikable, they won’t do it.

In addition to the fields for your name and username mentioned above, you can include your (clickable) website and bio in your profile.

Make the most of the 150 characters for your bio to convey your brand identity and show new visitors why they should follow you. What kind of content can they expect from you?

This bio from @abstractaerialart sums up the purpose and expected content of the account quickly and easily:

Instagram bio of Abstract Aerial Art

If you run a professional account (business or creator), you can also include additional details in your profile, such as contact information, your industry, and your location. Use all the fields that are relevant to your business so that new visitors get all the information they need to make a decision to follow you.

7. Share engaging, high-quality content.

This point seems almost obvious, but should never be underestimated if you want to gain followers on Instagram. Every post on your Instagram grid should be of high quality and visually appealing.

When a new user visits your profile, the content should make them want to see more. In fact, it is this very desire that then leads him to tap "follow".

High-quality content also motivates visitors and followers to like, comment, and share your posts. This engagement makes you move higher in the Instagram algorithm, which in turn increases your reach and the chance of getting more followers.

And of course, posting good content consistently ensures that your Instagram followers will want to keep following you.

8. Write compelling captions.

While Instagram is a visually-oriented platform, writing great Instagram captions goes a long way in increasing your reach and engagement. As we have already seen, these two points play an important role in attracting free Instagram followers.

Key strategies to keep in mind include the following:

  • Put the most important words at the beginning. If the caption is longer than 125 characters, users need to tap "More" to see the full text. So make the beginning of your caption attractive enough to motivate them to type it.
  • Ask a question. This makes it easy for your target audience to leave a comment. And this engagement helps make your account visible to more people.
  • Try emojis. Emojis can help grab the reader’s attention and are suitable for most accounts on this visual social media network.
  • Try out different caption lengths. On Instagram, captions that include up to 2.200 characters in length possible. So you can also work with more in-depth text if your post lends itself to it. But even ultra-short captions can work, as long as the visual layer speaks for itself.

Will Tang of Going Awesome Places posts great photos with detailed captions telling the backstory to each image. Since his Instagram bio describes him as a "creator of absurdly detailed travel itineraries and guides," the captions also fit his brand well.

9. Fix your best comments.

One of the newest Instagram features is the ability to pin up to three comments for each post.

Today we’re rolling out pinned comments everywhere. &

That means you can pin a few comments to the top of your feed post and better manage the conversation.

— Instagram (@instagram) July 7, 2020

You can use this new feature in several ways for your plan to increase your follower count on Instagram.

One way is to use fixed comments to make your caption exceed the maximum allowed 2.Extend 200 characters out by continuing to share the story in the comments. This will allow you to make the story more detailed and in-depth, which is good for some account types.

Another option: fix your favorite comments from other users – especially if they inspire high engagement.

However you use this new feature, it can help you manage the conversation in your posts, creating more opportunities for engagement and contacts.

10. Promote your Instagram account on other networks.

You’re most likely to get new followers on Instagram for free if you make it easy for people to find you.

Your Instagram profile should be easy to find. If you already have followers on another social network, let them know about your Instagram account.

Share a link to your Instagram profile and also give your existing social media followers a reason to follow that link (z. B. An Instagram-exclusive discount code, event or contest).

When BlogHer invited host Jameela Jamil for an Instagram Live event, it was of course promoted on BlogHer’s Facebook page.

If you’ve just opened your Instagram account, you should post some content before promoting the account elsewhere – aim for at least twelve posts.

You could highlight some of your best Instagram posts on your other social media channels as well. Consider boosting these posts with paid advertising to ensure that more of your social media followers on Twitter, Facebook and other networks find and follow you on Instagram as well.

11. Embed Instagram posts on your blog.

You’ve seen a few embedded Instagram posts on this blog as well. Each embedded post is clickable and takes the user directly to that post or the associated Instagram profile.

So embedding your own Instagram posts on your blog is an easy way to showcase your Instagram content and drive traffic to your Instagram profile. As mentioned earlier, every new visitor to your Instagram profile is a potential new Instagram follower.

For example, let’s say this blog post was about the LinkedIn. (It doesn’t, but of course we also have a blog post on the LinkedIn demographic.) In this case, we could include an infographic that shows key demographic details.

But we could also embed an Instagram post like this one:

If your blog is about visual content such as photos, charts, or infographics, continuously embedding Instagram posts with that content is a good idea.

12. Post content that should be shared.

When you’re thinking about content to illustrate your own blog posts, also think about content that other people might want to share.

Infographics, for example, are very popular. If someone embeds your Instagram posts on their blog, it will reach a whole new group of potential followers.

Also consider creating content that others will want to share in their Instagram Stories. In a story, anyone can share posts from your main feed. This shared content is also then clickable – if someone wants to know more, they can click through to your original post. This is another very easy way to expand your reach to new audiences and potential new followers.

For example, this is what the previously mentioned Hootsuite post on LinkedIn demographics looks like when I share it on my Instagram Story.

Source: Instagram

13. Share your Instagram account on your other communication channels as well.

Think beyond your social media channels if you want to make your Instagram account more popular.

You should also highlight your Instagram account on your website, in your email signature, and in your online newsletters. The link doesn’t have to be big at all, you can use a small Instagram icon for this purpose.

Small Instagram icon in an email signature

If you’re promoting a new Instagram account, a quick email blast with your best posts can help you find a few free followers.

You should not underestimate your offline materials either. You can have your Instagram username printed on coasters, posters, packing slips, business cards and packaging – bringing even more followers to your account.

14. Use the Instagram nametag.

Your Instagram nametag is a scannable code that helps Instagram users follow you instantly. As mentioned above: offline communication materials are also an opportunity to promote your Instagram account. The Instagram nametag is one of the ways that you can get people off packing slips, signs, etc. Directly direct them to your account.

Instagram nametag

[pictured: scan this nametag on Instagram to follow ckjnewberry.] Source: Instagram Your nametag can also help you find new followers in real time at networking events and conferences. People you connect with in person can scan your code to follow you without typing your username first. So print out your nametag and put it in your nametag holder so you always have it at hand.

Your Instagram nametag can be found by tapping the icon with the three lines in the top right corner of your Instagram profile and selecting "Nametag".

15. Try to land in feature accounts.

Feature accounts are simply Instagram accounts that curate and share content from other users via hashtags or tagging. Some of these accounts have a lot of followers. Getting them to share one of your posts (complete with username) can get you lots of new followers.

There’s a feature account on Instagram for virtually every niche and interest. You will discover them over time if you research hashtags as recommended in tip 5. Some of these accounts can be quite specialized.

The account @damngoodstitch, for example, shares posts of embroidery work – and has more than 145.000 followers.

16. Try to get on the Explore page.

You can get to see the Discover/Explore page by tapping the magnifying glass icon at the bottom of the Instagram app. According to Instagram, it’s the place that "recommends photos and videos you might like – from pages you don’t already follow".

The Explore page showcases Instagram posts, Instagram Stories and IGTV posts. As a user, you first see a grid of content selected by the algorithm. With the help of the topic channels at the top of the screen, you can then delve deeper into specific topics.

Half of all Instagram accounts visit the Explore page at least once a month. For brands looking to grow their audience, this represents a great opportunity.

So how do you get your content to show up on Explore? It’s not easy to do. Luckily, we have a whole article to help you figure it out.

You can also pay for your presence on the Explore page by selecting "Instagram Explore" as an ad placement.

Bonus: Download a free checklist that tells you in very precise steps how a lifestyle photographer can go from 0 to 600 on Instagram without a budget or expensive technical equipment.000 followers came.

The Explore feed for Instagram followers

17. Tag your location.

As soon as your post or Instagram story mentions a unique location, it’s also worth tagging it. Being tagged in this way also helps people find your content on Instagram.

If your business has a physical location, tag it and encourage your customers to do the same. Users can then click this location and see all the photos and stories posted from your store, restaurant or office. This will also make your brand (and Instagram account) accessible to more people.

For example, below is the result you get when you search for the location of Van Wonderen Stroopwafels in Amsterdam:

If you’re posting from a conference or event, adding your location makes it easier for other visitors to connect with you. Also in this way you can introduce your Instagram account to a select group of new potential followers.

18. Tag relevant users.

Instagram users who are featured in your photos can tag you with an @mention in your caption or by using Instagram’s tagging feature within the post. In both cases, the relevant person will receive a notification.

When someone is tagged, it motivates them to interact with your post and share it with their own followers. In addition, your post will also appear on the "Tagged in" button of the tagged person’s Instagram profile.

You can also tag relevant users in your Instagram Stories. They can then share your content in their own story with just a few taps. When they do, anyone viewing their story will see your username and can click through directly to your account.

You may have noticed that we only talked about relevant users. Tagging someone solely for the purpose of getting their attention is not a good idea. Only tag people who are in your photo or related to the content of your post.

Potentially relevant users you could tag include:

  • Customers
  • Vendors
  • other relevant companies
  • Colleagues or employees
  • Someone who taught you a skill or told you about something that appears in your post
  • Anyone who can be seen in the photo

19. Motivate others to tag you.

Another way to introduce your Instagram account to a new audience: Ask other Instagram users to tag you. If you are tagged in one of their posts, the other user’s audience will see your username and can tap on it if they want to learn more.

Your bio is especially good for asking others to tag you.

For example, Visit the USA asks Instagram users to tag them – to possibly be featured on their account.

Prompt for a tag on Visit The USA's Instagram profile

Source: @visittheusa On Instagram

20. Follow relevant accounts.

You should only tag other users in your Instagram posts if the content directly relates to them. But you can follow whoever you want. And if you follow a user on Instagram, there’s a chance they’ll check out your feed.

Then, if this feed is full of compelling content that is relevant to the other user’s interests, they will likely follow you as well.

Social listening is a proven way to find conversations that are relevant to your brand. You can use this to discover influential users (aka influencers) to follow very easily.Follow even the most important followers of these influencers.

Under the Instagram "Suggested Posts" section, you can also find relevant accounts to follow. Suggested posts show up between posts in your feed – or on the right side of the screen if you’re using Instagram from your computer.

You can access Instagram suggestions as well by going to your profile, then tapping the three bars in the top right corner and going to "Search and Discover". You can also find a list of popular Instagram accounts that the algorithm has chosen for you here.

Remember, though, not to follow too many accounts in quick succession. The follower/following ratio helps determine your credibility. This ratio indicates the number of users you follow compared to the number of users who follow you.

Don’t even get involved in trying to follow users to get their attention – and then unfollow them once they’ve become your followers. This gamble is hurting your reputation on Instagram.

21. Interact with existing communities.

As with all other social media networks, Instagram is all about the communities that have been created within it. You should get in touch with these communities.

Get involved by sharing, commenting and "liking" content from other credible users in your community. Avoid petty comments like "Good post!" that seem like they were written by a bot.

With the right approach, you can attract attention in two ways – and find potential new followers:

  1. Notifying users when you like their posts and when you comment on them; they may then look at your profile to return the like.
  2. Other people see your comments, find them thoughtful and interesting – and then reach out to your profile.

22. Work with influencers in your niche.

For those considering how to gain more followers on Instagram, consider this statistic: 60% of all consumers say they would follow a brand on Instagram if it was promoted by an influencer they trusted.

23. Collaborate with other brands.

Do not be afraid to contact other brands and seek collaboration on Instagram. The right collaboration can help everyone get more Instagram followers.

Consider brands or businesses you already partner with in other areas – like a local site community or shopping district. Now think about what collaboration on Instagram might look like.

People are happy to run a joint contest, for example, where they can win products from multiple companies – for example, the collaboration between Rocky Mountain Soap Company and Annika Mang of @borntobeadventurous.

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