Today, brands use Instagram directly for selling products or do social selling & brand awareness activities. Your business goals often determine how you use Instagram, and from there, you need an Instagram growth plan.

How many Instagram followers do you need? Or, how fast you need to grow the account? These all depend on your business goals and for what purpose you use Instagram.

When it comes to social media best practices and especially how to grow Instagram following, I side with those social media experts who believe in there are no magic tricks!

For your Instagram growth, some methods are free, and you only need to use Instagram functionality. In contrast, there are some ways to broaden your Instagram follower count that you will have to spend some money.

Here are the five ways that we will take a closer look in this article:

1- Create & Post New Content
2- Engage with Profiles in Your Niche
3- Promote Your Content
4- Partner with Instagram Influencers
5- Use an Instagram Growth Tool or an Agency

Bonus Discussion: Buying Instagram Followers!

How to Grow Your Instagram Follower Count?

IG Content Creation

1- Create & Post New Content

What’s the basic functionality on Instagram? Take a photo or video and share it. Write some thoughts under it and segment it by using hashtags. Integrate friends & locations into the whole thing, and that’s about it. This doesn’t mean you can only post photos. You can create great text-based content and still live your life.

When you share new content like a new post or an Instagram story, that content is served to a certain amount of relevant people. This is called impressions. If people actually see that impression, we call that a reach. We could also call this organic reach.

When your content is in front of those new people, some will look at it without taking action, some will engage with it, and some of them will hopefully start to follow you.  So there is a funnel that goes like, impressions, reach, engagement, and finally, a follow.

So, frequently sharing relevant content at best times for your potential audience, inevitably increases your follower count organically.

How to grow IG following

2- Engage with Profiles in Your Niche

In my opinion, this is the best way to gain Instagram followers. This method involves finding people that speak the same language as you and proactively engaging with niche relevant content. You can go ahead and search for a hashtag that you use and start engaging in the content that’s appealing to you. The engagement can be liking, commenting, moreover sending a DM to the content sharer and discuss a few things.

This way, you can build real sector relations and personally gain followers. This type of the following growth is essential because when you apply this technique, the bond of the follower would be solid. Also, this kind of followers is going to mouth buzz about you digitally and in real life. And so, you are likely to gain more followers out of that person. When you consider the snowball effect of engaging with profiles, this activity must become a routine; for instance, you can spare 30 minutes per day.

There is also strong evidence that engaging with industry leader content or profiles just before or after you post new content is beneficial for extending your content’s reach. You can test this out and see if your posts are getting more impressions, reach, and therefore engagement.

Pro Tip: Create an Instagram giveaway campaign to get the attention of your target audience and their friends. This is a great way to boost engagement to your posts and to increase your reach to wider audiences without spending any money.

3- Promote Your Content

What I mean by promoting content is running digital ads. This is also called boosting posts or stories. In digital marketing, digital ads are one of the best weapons that you can use. And, you don’t have to be an expert to give a little push to your Instagram content by using post promotion. After posting your content on Instagram, you can click on the promote button, choose your targeting, and start showing that post as a sponsored post.

My experience with automatic targeting is not bad. And, it can’t be because when you choose automatic targeting, Instagram shows your post to people based on your current followers. Nevertheless, if you are picky with your digital advertising like me and know what you are doing, you can boost your posts using Facebook Ads manager. This way, you can laser-target audiences based on a variety of advanced factors.

If you are at the beginning with your Instagram follower growth, it’s crucial to figure out a potential core audience. That means, finding an audience that ensures you positive reactions all the time. For that reason, use ads manager and run A/B tests to find out the best audience for your Instagram profile.

Young female blogger recording content for videoblog.

4- Partner with Instagram Influencers

Influencer marketing is all about finding micro & macro-influencers relevant to your business and paying them to promote your brand. They can introduce you to their followers by sharing a post or a story. If you find the right guy for the job, the return on investment would be super high, and you can hit the jackpot.

I strongly recommend leveraging influencer marketing to grow your Instagram follower count. If you are short on time, focusing on your content creation and leaving the growth side to influencers is a solid plan. I wouldn’t suggest you do this right at the beginning of your growth efforts, but if you can push a lot of content and if you are ready to sell, why not?

Partnering up with macro-influencers is a costly business. Therefore they are mostly preferred by big brands. For SME’s, micro-influencers are a suitable choice, as it’s easier to communicate with a micro-influencer. Also, micro Instagram influencers usually have closer ties with their followers, so their engagement rates and ROI would be higher.

Instagram Agency

5- Use an Instagram Growth Tool or an Agency

I saved this one for last because I’m a little skeptical about using Instagram growth tools. What do I mean by an Instagram growth tool? I mean tools that can automatically engage with your followers, such as auto likes, comments, check stories, and even DMs. I have given a good try to a couple of tools, and there are great tools out there. But Instagram is so strict with the use of these tools, and you will face problems with authorization and so on.

In terms of Instagram growth agencies, if you have the budget and don’t want to deal with Insta growth yourself, go ahead & give it a try. What they do is simple; they find relevant profiles or content and engage with them. Since they do this daily, you will get new followers. I will try to review a couple of Instagram agencies soon to save you the trouble and let you know which agency would work for you.

hand drawing a shortcut to a maze on a chalkboard

Buying Followers To Grow Instagram Following

Honestly, I like the idea of buying the first 10-20 thousand followers and get the social proofing at the very beginning of a project. Let’s be realistic: numbers count in the social media game. People judge you with the like and follower count.

Also, after 10K, you get to send people to a website by swiping up on the Instagram stories, that’s a pretty fancy feature, especially if you are in the e-commerce business. In terms of the cost of buying followers, they are not so costly.

Let’s continue with the downsides of buying IG followers. First of all, it’s a violation of the Instagram community guidelines, so your profile could be hit by a penalty. When that happens, your posts start not reaching anyone.

Secondly, bought followers usually decay over time. It depends on the provider and type of package you choose, but you end up losing the followers. There are refill guarantees, but you never know. I will have to investigate this further though, to be conclusive.

Last and the worst thing about buying followers is that you screw your Instagram insights and end up having a wrong sample for your promotion purposes. Remember the automatic targeting in the Instagram post boosting. You can get great results by instructing Instagram ads to find people like your followers. When you buy followers, guess what? You can’t use that feature anymore, because you messed with the sample.

IG growth - Chalk arrows leader

Instagram Following Growth – Final Thoughts

If you are in the B2C, doing e-commerce, or have a highly photographic brand, your business can’t skip having an Instagram growth plan. In fact, for most companies, a solid Instagram strategy would mean a lot since you can post directly to Facebook as well and have two channels flying just like that.

When you grow your brand in social media channels such as IG & FB, it has another valuable effect: it increases your brand keyword search on search engines. So in a way, social media growth has a positive effect on your search engine rankings as well.

When it comes to growing an IG following for your brand, we mentioned five essential methods:

1- Create & Post New Content
2- Engage with Profiles in Your Niche
3- Promote Your Content
4- Partner with Instagram Influencers
5- Use an Instagram Growth Tool or an Agency

You should start your IG growth by having a content plan in place. The type of content your target audience likes, the best time to share, and how frequently you post. The more meaningful content you post, the more followers you will get.

After the content creation, comes the engagement strategy. You should start strategically building connections on Instagram by interacting with your target audience and industry leaders. This would also bring substantial growth to your account as it would have a snowball effect.

You can then kick-off your Instagram ads strategy by promoting or boosting your individual posts. Especially if you have got the budget, go for it, as this is the most conventional way to grow your Instagram. If you are no stranger to digital ads, you can try to run your ads through Facebook ads manager.

Instagram influencer marketing, as the name suggests, can have a significant influence on your Instagram marketing. For SME’s, micro-influencers would be quiet useful. Search for local influencers, and when you do that, check if their engagement is for real. That’s where the money is, and you can invest in that influencer to boost your brand.

There are IG tools and IG agencies; you can try to grow your following as well. I don’t want to speak too conclusive about this and try them out with small budgets. If they work fine, that’s great. Lastly, about buying followers, I’m a little skeptical as that shortcut might cause more significant problems in the long run.

That’s all for now. Please, let me know if you have other questions regarding how to grow Instagram following in the comments section below.

 

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