Fast Ways to Gain Instant Instagram Followers

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Mar 21, 2018
Social media is no different than a video game. There are rules to each platform, and the whole goal is to figure out how you can use those limits to your advantage. The people who struggle (in video games and with growing their social-media platforms) are the ones who stop asking the question Why? That's the secret. You have to ask Why, over and over and over again, until you discover the tiny tweak that moves the needle.

Here are a few growth hacks I discovered that will help you grow your Instagram audience.

1. Hashtags

Let's start with the obvious one. Hashtags are like buckets. Whenever you put a hashtag in your post, your photo is then archived under that hashtag--meaning when someone searches #beaches, since you used #beaches on a post, you now appear within that bucket.

What people don't realize is that hashtags are also like keywords. Some hashtags are really, really popular, and the bucket is so saturated that nobody will ever find your post. Other hashtags are only used a handful of times, and never pick up in popularity.

Similar to how SEO works on a website, it's important that you choose a few hashtags that are really popular, a few that are moderately popular, and then a few that have a small audience size.

Instagram's limit per post is 30 hashtags. Some people take the route of creating a stock list of 30 popular hashtags and then copying and pasting them into the end of each caption. The issue with this is it makes your page look very unprofessional--almost like it's "trying too hard." One way around this is to take that list of 30 hashtags and paste it in the comments of a photo you posted weeks and weeks ago. Reason being: Since it has already been posted, it won't appear in your audience's feed, however, the new hashtags will recirculate the photo into hashtag buckets where people can find it--and ultimately find your page.

You can do this with 30 hashtags or a small handful. Either way, I find it to be better than just pasting your list at the end of each post on the day that you post it.

2. Tagging Influencers

When you post a photo, you have the option of tagging people (not in the caption, but in the photo itself). One growth hack I've seen is when people tag other influencers in their photos, because if one of those influencers "Likes" their photo, then that influencer's audience will see, and some will convert into followers.

This is a great growth strategy, but should be used sparingly. Only tag influencers in posts where it makes sense, and do not "spam" the same people over and over again. I've had this done to me and it's terribly annoying.

3. Shout-Outs

Shout-Outs can work in a few different ways.

The best way to grow your Instagram page is to have a popular account feature you and your content. Some popular pages charge you for this exposure (from around $50 to $100 per post, depending on the size of the account). Other pages ask for what is called a "shout for shout." This means that they want access to your audience just like you want access to their audience. So you both post each other's content, "shout" each other out in the caption, and as a result, some followers from their page convert into followers of your own--and vice versa.

In order to do this, find popular pages within your niche and reach out to them, asking if they'd be interested in either featuring you or, if you have a decent-sized audience yourself, doing a "shout for shout."

4. Collaborations

A more refined version of the "shout for shout" method, in-person collaborations are the single best way to grow your Instagram account, period.

Whatever your niche is, find other influencers or brands within that niche and reach out to collaborate. If you are chefs, cook a crazy dish together. If you are models, do a shoot together. If you are photographers, go explore the city together. If you are bodybuilders, catch a lift together. Then, take a photo together, post it on each other's page, tag each other in the caption, tell a story of what it was like to collaborate, and then hit post.

Watch the followers come flooding in.

5. Like, Like, Like, Comment

If you are interested in the "nitty-gritty" growth hacks, you should read this article about Instagram.

The "Like" strategy is simple: Search hashtags relevant to your niche and "Like" hundreds of photos every single day. If you want to take this a step further, comment on lots and lots of photos.

Reason being, think of this as a manual ad. When you "Like" or comment on someone's photo, it appears in their notifications. Chances are, they will be interested to see who you are and what you do, so they'll check out your page. The more people who check out your page, the more exposure you get to new users--and the hope is that a certain percentage of them will convert into followers.

Instagram has a few caps set in place with this, so you can't go and "Like" 8,000 photos in a row. But you can do a few hundred in a day. It's tedious, but it works.

6. Follow/Unfollow

Ah, the most beloved and yet hated tactic of them all: Follow/Unfollow.

The truth is, this is the best way to build your first 1,000 Followers. Gaining traction is hardest in the beginning, since nobody really wants to follow a page with 49 Followers. Whether we want to admit it or not, your Follower count is usually your first badge of "credibility."

Similar to the "Like" strategy, find people within your niche and follow them. Referencing the growth hacking article above, more people convert into followers if you both follow and "Like" a few of their photos.

This is the exposure you need in the beginning to get your page started. Let the people you've followed sit for a few days, maybe a week, and then go back through the list and unfollow them--unless you genuinely want to continue following them. The reason this is important is because it looks bad if you have 1,000 Followers but are Following 6,000 people. You always want to keep your Followers to Following ratio as low as possible.

I've found that using this strategy, about 30 percent of users end up following you back and/or stay following you. Again, tedious, but it works.

7. Publication Features

If you have a killer Instagram page where you are providing real value to people, the next step is to reach out to publications and tell your story. Explain how you engage your audience, what you share with them, how you yourself provide value within your niche, and I promise there are publications that want to post about you--and in turn, promote your page.


Because you are then teaching others in your niche how to succeed as well--and there is tremendous value in that.

8. YouTube Shows, Podcast Features, etc.

And finally, you should be laddering your success on Instagram to as many other opportunities as possible. Once you pass a certain threshold and become a thought leader, the doors will open and you will have access to so many more opportunities. Reach out to people--even in other industries--and ask to speak about your expertise on their podcasts, their YouTube shows, their blogs, etc.

Congrats. You are now a thought leader in your industry.