How To Get More Instagram Followers In 2021: The Definitive Guide

How To Get More Followers On Instagram

Want to know how to get more Instagram followers? You’re not the only one!

With over 1.4 billion people using the app, growing your following can be a challenge, and getting noticed on the platform can sometimes feel impossible.

However, by following Instagram best practices and using specialized tools you can get more Instagram followers in no time.

In this article, you will find over 30 tips, tricks, and hacks that you can use to learn how to get more real Instagram followers.

Ready? Let’s jump into the list.

The best ways to get more Instagram followers

1. Publish more content

Social media is a numbers game and Instagram is no exception. The more content you publish, the more likely you are to gain traction, which is why it’s so important to post regularly with consistency.

To stay on top of your Instagram posting and ensure you get to still have a life and not spend all of your time publishing content, you can plan your content ahead of time using an Instagram scheduling tool such as Pallyy.

Instagram followers tip 1 - publish more content

Instead of being constantly chained to your mobile phone, you can schedule content quickly and easily in batches, to be published automatically at dates and times you choose.

By scheduling your content in this way, you can post as many feed posts as you like each week, and still have time left to share Story posts, and create content for Reels.

2. Run an Instagram giveaway

Instagram giveaways are a great way to get people to like and share your content and follow your account. The key with giveaways is to make sure you are clear to your followers about what they need to do in order to be entered into the giveaway. If you’re keen to reach new followers, here are some types of giveaways you can use:

  • Like-and-share giveaways – Followers have to like and share your post to be entered
  • Tag-a-friend giveaways – Followers have to tag a friend to enter.
  • Follow-to-win giveaways – By following your account users are entered into the giveaway

You can also create content-based giveaways such as caption contests and photo contests which can be good for generating user content that you can repurpose and share.

Instagram followers tip 2 - run a giveaway

Once you’ve chosen a price, and created the content for your giveaway, be sure to share it far and wide to get as much attention as possible.

Choose an appropriate hashtag for your giveaway so that it reaches new Instagram users and share it across all your social channels. You can even embed a giveaway widget on your blog or website to encourage more entries using a tool like SweepWidget.

If you’re keen to learn more about running Instagram giveaways, check out our full guide here or our article on IG giveaway ideas.

3. Find what content works and post more of it

When planning what sort of content to create, it doesn’t have to be based on guesswork. You can use powerful analytics insights to find out what your followers and other Instagram users like to see.

When you have an Instagram business account you can access some profile insights directly through the app, but if you want to gain a deeper understanding of what sort of content performs best, then you’re best using an Instagram analytics tool like Pallyy or Agorapulse.

Instagram followers tip 3 - subsections in analytics dashboard

You can use these tools to gain insights to inform your ongoing content strategy and test everything from what type of posts perform best, right down to which captions your followers engage with the most.

4. Optimize your bio and profile

When a new user clicks on your profile, the first thing that they’re going to see is your Instagram bio. What you write in your bio, and how eye-catching it is could mean the difference between them hitting the follow button or moving on, which is why it’s so important to get it right.

Instagram followers tip 4 - optimize your bio and profile

The limited space you have in your bio should be used to tell users who you are, and what your brand is all about. You can also make your bio more visually appealing by adding brand-relevant emojis.

Although there is space for a link in the bio section, you should try to make this as neat and tidy as possible so that users are comfortable clicking the link, and don’t get distracted by long, confusing URLs. To do this, you can try using a link in bio tool to shorten and optimize links.

5. Experiment with posting times

Timing is key when it comes to posting on Instagram. However, working out the right time to post can be a challenge.

There are tons of ‘studies’ online that will claim to have the answer about when is the best time to post, but the truth is, the right time is completely different for everyone. It all depends on where your followers are located and when they are the most active.

However, by experimenting and analyzing your own Instagram data, you can work out some optimal posting times for your specific account. Using tools like Pallyy, you can track post-performance and run tests to decide the best time to post feed posts, Stories, and more.

6. Cross-promote your Instagram on other social platforms

If you’ve already got a following on a different social platform like Facebook or Twitter, don’t be afraid to promote your Instagram to these followers. No matter how small your following is, it’s well worth sharing links to your Instagram account on a regular basis.

When sharing your Instagram profile, you can consider incentivizing your followers to check your Instagram out. You can do this by sharing exclusive coupon codes and running Instagram-specific giveaways.

7. Include popular hashtags in your posts

Hashtags are essential if you want to make it easy for new users to discover your profile. Using the popular and relevant hashtags will help you to get featured on the Explore and it will make it more likely that your content will reach IG users in your target audience.

However, with so many different hashtags to choose from, it can be hard to decide which ones are best for your promoting your posts.

Instagram followers tip 7 - include popular hashtags

Thankfully, there are tools available that can help you to plan your hashtag strategy. Tools like HashTagsForLikes can help you to identify hashtags that are trending and suitable for your niche. You can also use it to find out what hashtags your competitors are using which can help to inform your own strategy.

8. Make sure your Instagram grid looks the part

When a new potential follower reaches your profile, they’re likely to do is scroll down and look at your post grid. Therefore, it’s important that your grid is well organized, aesthetically pleasing, and representative of your brand.

Instagram followers tip 8 - Instagram grid look

Many Instagrammers spend a lot of time planning their grid so that all the images are consistent when it comes to color schemes and phototypes. Here are some examples of what we mean:

The profiles above have gone above and beyond to ensure that their grids are consistent and appealing to users, and this is something every creator should aspire to when attempting to grow a following.

However, if your content is more varied it may not be easy to keep your grid looking amazing all the time.

As a general rule of thumb, try to avoid posting any unedited posts in a prominent position on your grid, and try to achieve some consistency and you should be good to go.

9. Make the most of captions

Although the visual elements of a post are the main priority on Instagram, the written captions also play a big role in deciding how successful your posts will be.

By making your captions lengthy and interesting you can encourage people to engage more with your post, which will, in turn, lead to your post reaching more users. Some ways you can use your caption to increase engagement include:

  • Asking questions – asking your followers questions encourages them to leave a comment.
  • Ask people to tag a friend – Encouraging followers to tag a friend will increase engagement, and get your post shared with new users
  • Use emojis – Using emojis can also make your captions more eye-catching and interesting

Captions on Instagram can be as long as 2200 characters, so it’s worth experimenting with longer and shorter captions, to see which one works best for you.

10. Use Instagram’s location tagging features

When you make a post about a specific place, you should always add a location tag. This will make your post more easily discoverable for Instagram users interested in content relating to that area.

You can use a location tag for just about any post whether you want to share the location of a popular hiking spot, list the address of your favorite stores, or let IG users know about events that you’re attending.

Instagram followers tip 10 - location tagging

Tagging your location can help you to reach audiences that wouldn’t usually see your content, and this can lead to gaining new followers.

Also, if you run a business, and you want to reach Instagram users in your local area, be sure to tag the location of your business on every post, so people know where to find the products or services they see in your post.

11. Get involved in trending conversations

Want to get noticed on Instagram? Then don’t be afraid to have your say when new topics are trending. Whether it’s a political event or a hot new fashion craze, be sure to get involved and share your thoughts with the IG community.

Sharing comments, posts, or Stories relating to trending topics can get your account featured on the Explore page and if your contributions to the conversations are compelling, your content may even get shared by high-profile influencers.

When posting content relating to trends, be sure to use the hashtags that are associated with the topic so that your post can be easily found.

12. Pin comments to increase engagement

Pinned comments are a little-known but extremely useful feature that can help you increase engagement on your posts. On each post, you can pin up to 3 comments so that they stay at the top of the comment feed.

We recommend pinning comments from followers that are inspiring conversation or debate. Then, when new users see the post, they’ll immediately see the discussion on the pinned comment thread and be more likely to get involved.

Increased engagement helps posts to reach more users on the platform and this can lead to an increase in followers.

Another way you can use pinned comments is to pin your own comments as a way of extending your post caption. If you find that your followers find long captions to be more compelling than short ones, then using the pin feature in this way could also help to increase engagement on your posts.

13. Follow other accounts in your niche

If you want to grow your Instagram following, it’s important to be an active user and engage with other creators and Instagram users. You can’t just sit back and wait for people to find your profile. You need to get involved in communities within your niche and connect with people that will be interested in your content.

One way to do this is to follow other accounts in your niche. Following other successful creators in your niche is a great way to connect with followers that are interested in the type of content you create, and it can even be a way to connect with influencers for future collaborations.

To get started with this strategy, try following five successful creators in your niche. Be sure to leave comments on their posts, interact and engage with other followers, and tell others about your content. Before you know it, you’ll gain engaged followers on your own account.

14. Collaborate with other Instagram creators

Instagram collaborations are a great way to reach new users and gain followers. To get started with an Instagram collaboration, you’ll first need to connect with other influencers in your niche. Get chatting and make a connection before you talk to them about collaborating.

Once you’re on good terms, suggest a collaboration, and present some ideas of the kind of content you’d like to create together.

If you have a similar amount of followers to the other influencer, then an Instagram collab can have a positive impact on both your follower counts and your current followers are sure to like it too.

Some of the most popular types of Instagram collaborations are story takeovers and funny reels, but you can really do whatever you like, as long as you both tag each other in the posts. 

15. Consider going Live

Like many other social platforms these days, Instagram has a feature that allows you to stream live videos. If you want to quickly and effortlessly engage with your followers and potentially reach new users, going Live can be a good way to do it.

To go live, simply head to the create tab and select live. You can add a title to your video and even schedule it ahead of time so that your users know to tune in. You can also add fundraising features if you want your followers to contribute to your stream.

Instagram followers tip 15 - going live

Going live can sometimes be nerve-wracking, so it’s well worth planning some content such as games or quizzes ahead of time. You can also do a Q&A live stream so that followers old and new can learn more about you.

16. Try making Reels

Reels are Instagram’s answer to TikTok, and if you haven’t made one yet – where have you been?

Since the Reels function was released, creators have been remarking on how effective they are for making your account more discoverable. Most people agree that Instagram’s algorithm pushes reels a lot, so if you’re trying to gain more followers, it’s well worth giving Reels a go.

Instagram followers tip 16 - making reels

If you’re unsure about where to start, spend some time watching the Reels feed and find out what’s trending. Jump on the bandwagon and use trending sounds and filters to maximize the discoverability of your clips.

17. Use your Instagram QR code

If you run a physical store or restaurant, then the Instagram QR code feature can help you to gain new followers by promoting your account offline.

People can scan your QR code on their smartphones and it will instantly take them to your Instagram account to hit follow.

You can display it in your physical locations, as well as add to business cards or present it on your own phone to be scanned by new connections at networking events and conferences.

Instagram followers tip 17 - Instagram QR code

It’s super easy to find your Instagram QR code, all you have to do is click the three lines at the top of your profile page, and click QR code. You can also send it to contacts on your phone, and share it on other social networks.

18. Don’t purchase fake followers

However tempting it may be to purchase followers from sites that offer 100,000 IG followers overnight, JUST DON’T DO IT. It’s a waste of money, and it can even cause your account to become less successful in the long run.

The ‘followers’ that you buy will have no ROI, they won’t interact with your posts, and they may cause new followers to doubt the authenticity of your account. Not only that but buying followers is against Instagram community guidelines and could result in an account ban or deactivation.

19. Mention and tag other users in your posts

Tagging is a great way to increase a post’s reach and encourage users to engage with it. If you’ve collaborated with a brand or influencer on a project, received products from a company, or want to engage with certain followers, then you can use tagging to link them to the relevant posts.

When you tag someone they are automatically notified about the post and are more likely to leave a comment or share it with their own Instagram following.

However, although tagging other IG users is a great way to get your content seen on the platform, you should only tag people that are linked to your posts in some way.

Tagging random people in posts and tagging lots of people on the same post is seen as bad form on Instagram so steer clear of doing this.

20. Encourage your followers to tag you

Whilst we’re on the topic of tagging, another great way to get more real Instagram followers is to encourage your current followers to tag you in their posts. This will help to get your name out there, as it will be seen by the followers of each person that tags you.

To encourage your users to tag you in posts or stories, you could run contests or competitions such as photo competitions.

Another great thing about asking users to tag you in their content is that you can also reshare their posts to populate your Stories, which will help you to save a little time on content creation.

21. Like and comment on other posts

One of the most organic ways to gain new followers is to interact directly with people and tell them about the content you create. In order to do this, you need to interact with other users’ posts by liking and commenting.

Every day, try to like and comment on posts from your favorite creators, and get involved in conversations in the comment section.

Don’t be afraid to mention your own account when it’s relevant, but you should steer clear of leaving spammy, irrelevant comments where you can. To gain followers this way, all you really have to do is interact with other users in a natural and authentic way.

22. Make the most of Instagram Stories

Instagram Stories are a great way to connect with your audience on an authentic level, and when used correctly they can help boost engagement on your account and gain more followers.

Stories don’t have to be super exciting or edited, they can instead be used to share updates and start conversations with your followers.

Instagram followers tip 22 - Instagram stories

I like to use Stories as an alternative to Instagram posts, particularly when I just need to share a quick update to my followers.

To boost engagement through your Stories, try using the poll or ask me anything stickers to encourage your followers to get involved and talk to you directly. You can also add hashtags and location tags to your Stories so that they can be found by users that don’t already follow you.

23. Create your own AR filters

AR filters are super popular on Instagram, and they are a great way to gain exposure for your profile. By using a tool like Spark AR Studio, you can design your own Instagram filters and make them available for people to use on the platform.

When you upload a filter, it will be listed under your profile name, and this may encourage people to check out your profile and hit follow.

When creating a filter, try to create something that is funny or engaging. This will give it more viral potential and if a trend emerges around your filter then you’re sure to gain a fair few followers in a short amount of time.

Instagram followers tip 23 - create AR filters

And it will allow you to add some creative flair to your Instagram Stories.

24. Create story highlights

Instagram Stories are only visible for 24 hours. However, you can make your content available permanently by creating Story highlights.

Story highlights are located between your bio and your post feed and they’re one of the first things that a potential new follower will see when they reach your page.

Story highlights can be a great way to introduce your account and show new followers what you are all about. When creating your Story highlight, be sure to use only the best and most relevant content from the archives.

You can create as many highlights as you like, so organize your Stories into neat categories that make it easier for new users and your old followers to find exactly what they’re looking for.

Instagram followers tip 24 - create story highlights

25. Consider running an Instagram ad campaign

If you have money to spend on promoting your Instagram account, one of the best things you can do is run an Instagram ad campaign.

Unlike purchasing fake followers from a third party, using Instagram ads is a legitimate and safe way that you can grow your following by investing money.

Instagram has an extensive ad structure that allows you to target your ads to specific users based on demographic information and location. You can also choose where you would like your ads to be featured, such as in Stories or on the Explore page.

Ads are most suitable for businesses that are selling products or services, but you can also use them as a way to share your content and encourage people to follow your account.

26. Share your Instagram profile on your blog

If you run a blog that gets visits, then you can convert the visitors to Instagram followers by promoting your Instagram page within your blogs. Things you can do to promote your Instagram page on your blog include:

  • Links to your social accounts in your blog’s footer
  • Embedding images from your Instagram account within blog posts
  • Pop-ups encouraging visitors to follow you
  • Follow-to-enter Contests and giveaways for blog readers
  • Link to your Instagram in emails to your subscribers

If your blog name and your Instagram handle are similar or the same, then it will be easier for your blog readers to find your profile. If not, be sure to plug the name of your Instagram at every opportunity to maximize the chances of converting your web visitors into followers.

This is a great way to get more eye-balls on your Instagram content.

27. Focus on creating interesting and unique content

When it comes to growing your Instagram following, you can try all the tips, tricks, and hacks in the book, but one of the most important factors is the quality of the content you produce.

If your Instagram content is boring, repetitive, or low quality, no amount of effort will encourage people to follow your account. This is why it’s so important to focus on creating unique and interesting content for your followers to enjoy.

When it comes to content planning, try to find your own style, and stick to it. Be unique and original and don’t be afraid to try new things. It’s also a good idea to vary your content types and make use of all of Instagram’s features like Reels, Live, and Stories as well as posting images to your feed.

Not sure what content your Instagram followers want to see? Start with creating a persona for your ideal audience.

28. Encourage people to follow you

One easy, but often overlooked way of getting new followers is asking people directly to follow your account. For example, if you’ve created a Reel or a Story that you think might perform well, don’t be afraid to caption it with CTA’s like ‘like and follow’.

It may seem like a basic technique, but this kind of thing lets people know that you’re actively trying to grow your account, and many users will appreciate your content and be keen to help you reach your goals.

29. Make your account public

Making your account public is an absolute must if you want to maximize the number of followers you get. When your account is public, users simply have to click follow and then they will start seeing your posts in their feed. However, when your account is private, users have to request to follow you and you will have to manually accept their request.

Although privacy is important, if you don’t have a specific reason to keep your account private then we highly recommend switching to a public one. Public accounts on Instagram are extremely common, and making your account public will make life easier for both you, and your new followers. To change your account to public go to Settings > Privacy > Private account.

How to get more Instagram followers (infographic)

Struggling to get more followers on Instagram? Here is an infographic with a list of tips to assist you.

Note: You’re more than welcome to share this infographic. But, if you publish it on your blog, be sure to include a credit link back to this post.

Definitive Guide To Growing Your Instagram Following Faster Infographic

Final thoughts

Now you know all the Instagram growth tactics you’ll need to increase your following.

There’s no denying that Instagram is a competitive platform, but there is still room for new creators to grow a large following. By following the methods in this article, you should be able to boost your follower count in no time.

If you’re keen to learn more about how to get more followers on Instagram, or how to run Instagram marketing campaigns, check out some of our other posts like 7 Ways To Use Instagram Stories To Outsmart The Instagram Algorithm and 5 Instagram Analytics Tips You Need To Know.


Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links. This means we may make a small commission if you make a purchase.

How To Get More Followers On Instagram
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