Do you want to know how to get more followers on Instagram in 2020?

Even though there was a reported drop in user growth, Instagram still retains its position as the second most used social networking channel (in the U.S.) behind Facebook.

The Instagram app is the second most popular app for the iPhone (after YouTube).

Out of a billion monthly Instagram users, 63% (about 63 million) log in every day for an average of 28 minutes.

Out of 500 million people viewing Instagram stories every day, a third of those are from businesses.

For a brand wanting to reach or increase engagement with their audience, there’s a lot of users in one place waiting to meet you.

Do you need any more reasons to use Instagram for a business?

But, like all social media, you have to find the right tone of voice.

Or, risk looking like your dad crashing a festival and trying to dance with your friends.

Nobody wants to see that.

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So, to get more followers on Instagram and increase engagement here are 22 steps for your brand to succeed.

Hold onto your Instagram stories, posts, feed, bio, and hashtags.

1. Have a Plan & Create a Content Calendar Full of Great Ideas

When we write content, we labor over ideas, delivery, and optimization.

It should be no different when we share photos and videos on a business or brand’s Instagram account.

Take the time to brainstorm clever content ideas that align with seasons, holidays, your business’ upcoming events, and (most importantly) your overall traffic and sales goals.

You can still be flexible and post spontaneously as ideas come to you.

But having a library of ideas and a (tentative) schedule will keep you ahead of the game instead of scrambling for something to post.

Depending on your business, you could potentially post several times a day or several times a week.

Make an Instagram content plan and stick to it.

2. Only Post Well-Composed Images & Videos + Make Sure They’re in Focus

How to get Instagram followers

How to get Instagram followers

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Only use high-quality photos and videos when posting to Instagram.

By high quality, I mean crystal clear, unpixelated shots.

Instagram, above all else, is a visual platform.

There’s no room for blurry photos.

Or images that have part of the image cut off.

OK, it doesn’t need to be to a BBC or National Geographic standard. But it must be in focus.

Low-quality content won’t get any engagement.

It might even cost you some followers.

3. Experiment with Different Filters & Dimensions

Just because you’re a business doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with filters and use different dimensions.

On the contrary, you should use filters on your content.

The more creative, original and captivating your photos are, the more likely people are to share and follow your account.

You can go one step further and download photo editing apps to touch up your photos even more.

As far as dimensions go, don’t feel relegated to the square – make use of the landscape and portrait options, as well.

Test out the dimensions yourself and see what performs best for you.

4. Use Instagram Analytics to Feed Your Persona Research

With an Instagram business account (which is free), you’ll have access to analytics that shows when your audience is most active.

Use that data to optimize your posting schedule.

Instagram also gives you insights into the age, gender, and location breakdown of your audience, which can be a starting point doing persona research.

5. Tag People in Your Photos Who Interact with Your Brand

Another way to be discovered by people who aren’t following you is to tag relevant accounts so that you show up in their tagged feed.

If you own a fitness studio and you take a group shot after a Zumba class, tag every single one of those people in the photo. It will populate into all of their tagged feeds.

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Their followers (some of who likely have similar interests) will see the post, and discover your studio.

This strategy also applies to other brand and business accounts.

For example, if you’re a wedding photographer, a best practice is to tag the vendors from a wedding in your photos.

A photo of the reception, for example, could potentially tag a DJ, cake baker, wedding planner, and wedding venue tagged all in the same photo.

It’s good for all the businesses involved: each gets additional exposure, and leads to more discovery as brides-to-be search for vendors – chances are if someone is looking through Instagram for a wedding venue, they are probably also looking for a photographer and a lot of other related vendors.

If you can share the spotlight and tag others, do so.

It’ll circle back to bring you more Instagram followers and leads, as well.

6. Optimize Your Instagram Bio with Branded Hashtags & CTAs

How to get Instagram Followers

How to get Instagram FollowersYour bio should be used to feature a call-to-action, branded hashtags, and a link, which is a big deal in the quest for new Instagram users.

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It’s this section where users will discover who you or your brand are and whether they will follow you.

Don’t, however, plead, sound desperate, or come across as spammy.

For example, do not include “Follow People Who Follow Me!” in your bio.

You want to let users know who you are and why they should follow you.

Make sure this section is updated when needed.

If you were running a contest, you could mention that piece of information in your Bio.

7. Ask Questions in Your Posts & Include CTAs

How to get Instagram Followers

How to get Instagram Followers

At the end of each post, include a clear call-to-action or a question aimed at boosting engagement.

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CTAs include things like:

  • Learn more – link in bio!
  • Double-tap if you want to see more videos like this!
  • Follow us so you’ll never miss an update.

You can also post questions.

Let’s say, for example, you own a yoga studio and you post a quick video where a teacher demonstrates how to go into a certain pose.

At the end of your caption, you could write something like “Tell us what poses you’d like to see demonstrated in future videos in the comments!”

This will keep your audience engaged, show that you actually care what your audience wants to see, and give you ideas for what to post in the future.

8. Add a Link to Instagram in Your Website & Email

Make sure existing clients and customers find your Instagram by adding an Instagram icon to your social links, or embedding Instagram content on your site.

You can also link to your brand’s Instagram account from your email signature.

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And use a plugin to feed your latest Instagram posts directly to your website.

This can be a great way to promote your new account to people who regularly visit your site, building your following of clients.

9. Cross-Post Your Instagram Content to Facebook & Twitter

Cross-posting Instagram content to Facebook and Twitter can drive users back to your Instagram profile.

Users who didn’t know you’re on Instagram and following you on other platforms will then discover that you’re on Instagram, too, since the post will note it was shared from Instagram.

You can adjust your settings for every post to cross-post automatically, or you can do it manually for select posts.

10. Run Contests & Campaigns to Increase Brand Reach

How to get Instagram Followers

How to get Instagram Followers

Once you’ve started growing a follower base, you can hold contests and campaigns that can attract more users to your page.

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For example, you can drive traffic to your website or sell your product by running an inspiring Instagram contest.

You can either ask users to like, comment, use a specific hashtag, or ask your followers to tag a friend.

When you ask users to tag a friend, it exposes your brand and page to more Instagram users online.

It is an effective way to increase your brand awareness and reach, and a key hack for how to get more Instagram followers.

11. Look At What Your Competitors Are Doing

Another best practice for how to get followers on Instagram is to take a look at what your competitors are doing and learn from it.

Researching their accounts might reveal hashtags you haven’t thought of, influencers you haven’t reached out to, or other strategies that can inform your own.

Also, note which of their posts are performing the best – that can serve as another clue as to what can work on your own account.

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12. Interact Across Instagram (Follow, Like & Comment on Other Posts)

Strategically engage with users who will potentially like your profile.

Practically, that means interacting with potential customers and brand allies by liking, following, and thoughtfully commenting on their posts.

Start with your hashtags: click on your frequently used, relevant hashtags to discover others who are posting similar content.

You can also toggle to the Discover section of the Instagram app to find relevant content.

Another good practice is interacting with those who are already following you.

Follow them back and like their content, as well.

The more you engage, the more you’ll show up in others’ feeds and get noticed.

Plus, it shows you’re an authentic, real account who believes in reciprocity!

13. Don’t Use Too Much Text in Your Photos

How to get Instagram Followers

How to get Instagram Followers

In general, you want to save the words for your captions.

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People go to Instagram for visual content.

It’s outside the norm to post a lot of text in an image.

A short, positive quote or statement is perfectly fine, but don’t attempt to fit an entire product description or long message in the actual image.

If you’re looking for ways to add text to photos, Canva is a free tool that comes in handy.

With professionally designed text formats and templates built for different social networks (including Instagram and more), Canva can help you create clean designs for those times you do want to add text to your photos.

14. Logos & Watermarks Should Never Be Used on Your Images

Stamping your logo onto your Instagram post is disruptive to your content and your users’ experience.

People do not expect to see logos or watermarks on Instagram posts.

It’s like waving a giant flag that says “I’m a business trying to sell you something.”

While it’s not advised to put a logo on your content, you can include branding.

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For example, if you’re a B2B company posting a behind-the-scenes shot of your employees, have them wear shirts with your logo.

Or, if you’re a fashion retailer, you could occasionally include a strategically placed bag in a photo that has your store’s name.

Keep it subtle, or you’ll risk being unfollowed.

15. Using the Right Hashtags Will Help You to Capture New Audiences

How to get Instagram Followers

How to get Instagram Followers

Using hashtags will get you in front of new audiences who are searching for the type of content you’re posting, whether they’re following you or not.

For example, if you are selling bath supplies, tag a relevant photo with hashtags like #bathsupplies #bathtime and anything that relates to your products like #bubblebath, #bathbomb, etc.

If you have a local business, make sure to include local hashtags, as well.

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Take the time to do hashtag research and find the best hashtags for your particular content.

It’s easy to identify which hashtags get the most traction.

When you start typing # and your word, Instagram shows up how many posts have been done around that word.

Hashtagify.me is also a great tool for finding hashtags that are getting a lot of traction.

You can type in your primary hashtag and it will show you its reach as well as related hashtags and their reach, and all the hashtags related to those hashtags, and so on.

How Many Hashtags Should I Add to an Instagram Post?

It’s common practice to stick to five to seven to avoid looking spammy.

But you can add up to 30 hashtags.

Where Should I Add the Hashtags on an Instagram Post?

You can add them directly to the post or in a separate comment immediately after posting – it’s really an aesthetic choice.

Some users prefer to add single periods separated by line breaks after their caption, and then add the hashtags.

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Whatever you choose to do is fine, but keep it consistent across posts so you have a streamlined professional look.

16. Using Geotags Will Help You Reach Local Audiences

Another way to get found in by users who aren’t already following you is to geotag your content – but not necessarily with your store location.

Try using your city or a nearby (relevant) landmark that gets a lot of searches.

When people are searching for that nearby location, they can now come across your content.

If your content is doing particularly well, it can even be featured at the top of the search.

Using geotags is also a great way to promote a local business on Instagram.

17. Only Add Links to Your Bio (Links in Posts Are Unclickable)

Any link you include in an Instagram post will not turn into a clickable link – instead, it will just serve as an annoying and bad experience as your audience tries (and fails) to open it.

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Rather than including an unclickable link, direct people to click the link in your bio.

They can easily click that and head to your site to check out all you have to offer.

Be sure to put your link in the “link” section when you edit your bio, and mention that in your post.

And, because space is limited, use a link shortener like Bit.ly to save room.

You can even optimize the link further by customizing the link so it’s not a random string of characters, but a meaningful word or two.

18. Tagging Products in Images & Videos Will Help to Drive Conversions

If you’re selling a product, take advantage of Instagram’s tagging feature.

Businesses can tag photos or videos with product links.

To use this feature, you must have a business page on Facebook complete with a product catalog.

It’s a great user experience for users, and it’s a huge win for businesses looking to drive conversions seamlessly.

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19. Create a Branded Hashtag for Your Events

How to get Instagram followers

How to get Instagram followers

Create a branded hashtag for your next event.

Not only will it give your brand exposure, but it will also curate a unique stream of all the content from your event and allow others to connect and engage with your brand and other people at the event.

Leading up to the event you can use your branded hashtag to promote the event, and after the fact, you can use it to post follow-up content.

20. Repost When You Get Tagged to Showcase Positive Reviews

Whenever a user tags your business or brand, make sure to get extra traction from it by reposting it directly to your feed.

Showcasing positive reviews and mentions is a great use of Instagram for business.

Make sure to reach out to the user and thank them for their post, as well as ask if you can have permission to repost it (Instagram’s terms of use note that you should obtain written permission to repost a user’s content).

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Most likely, the user will agree.

You can repost manually, or use an app like Repost for Instagram.

Either way, remember to credit the original poster in the caption and tag them in the photo.

21. Instagram Ads Can Put You Directly in Front of Your Audience

Consider devoting ad spend to promoting your Instagram profile.

You can create effective carousel ads through Facebook’s Power Editor and promote your content.

If you’re running a specific contest or marketing campaign, you can use Facebook advertising to push the content in front of more audiences.

Although, be aware of the difference between ad spend on Instagram and Facebook.

With the ability to target your customers based on their interest and behaviors in Power Editor, you can ensure that your posts will be viewed by Instagram users that will be interested in your business.

While some of these strategies may work better than others, find the ones that work well with your business or yourself.

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22. Get Your Account Verified (The Blue Tick Shows Trust & Authenticity)

Getting verified on Instagram (or any other social media platform) never hurts your engagement.

The little blue tick gives your brand credibility, trust, and authenticity.

While not everyone will qualify for Instagram verification, it’s something to strive for.

Getting verified is one more way to stand out from your competition and deliver a trust signal that your business is real.

To be considered, your account must be:

  • Authentic (you must prove you are, in fact, the brand or business you claim to be).
  • Unique (only one account per brand can exist).
  • Public.
  • Complete (with a bio, profile photo, and at least one post).
  • Notable (Instagram must deem your brand “well-known” and “highly searched for”).

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To Sum Up

As a recap, the 22 tips that will help you to get more follower on Instagram to increase your brand engagement are:

  1. Create a content calendar
  2. Post well-composed images and videos
  3. Experiment with different filters and dimensions
  4. Review your Instagram analytics
  5. Tag people who interact with your brand
  6. Optimize your Instagram bio
  7. Ask questions in your posts and include CTAs
  8. Link to your Instagram account from your website and email
  9. Cross-post your Instagram content to Facebook and Twitter
  10. Contests and campaigns can increase brand reach
  11. Look at what your competitors are doing
  12. Interact across Instagram by following and liking other posts
  13. Don’t use too much text in your images
  14. Don’t add watermarks and logos to your images
  15. Use hashtags to capture new audiences
  16. Use geotags to reach local audiences
  17. Only include links in the bio
  18. Tag products in images and videos
  19. Create branded hashtags for your events
  20. Repost posts that tag you
  21. Try running Instagram ads
  22. Get your account verified

See you on Instagram.


Image Credits

All screenshots taken by author, May 2020