I bet everyone who’s reading this wants to grow their followers, but haven’t found the secret behind it yet. Having a strong Instagram following is important for brands these days, especially if you want to scale your business and reach more people. But it’s also true that the social media platform is getting more and more saturated, and followers are getting harder to get and retain. So what are some Instagram growth hacks that you can implement to help grow your follower numbers?

And just in case you’re wondering, no, we’re not going to suggest buying followers.

1. Get clear on your target audience 

Your target audience is who you are creating your content and products for. Who are they? What do they do for work? What kind of income do they bring in? How old are they? What are their desires, and what will they spend their money on? 

The more specific you can get with the image of your target audience, the more you can create content that will be attractive to them. It will help you get clear on your direction, and ensure that everything you put out fits that image. 

2. Create high quality content

Instagram users love seeing high quality content, be it photos or videos. It’s 2021, and nobody likes low-res content. Having high quality content also helps to build your Instagram aesthetic, and users are more inclined to follow aesthetically pleasing accounts!

High quality content can also mean content that sets you apart from the crowd. To find out how you can approach Instagram from a unique angle, conduct some research into your competitors. What kind of content are they putting out? Which ones tend to get the most likes and comments? Do they create videos, reels or IGTV? If so, what is it about? When analyzing other brands’ accounts, look out for gaps that you can fill or unique points of view you can present.

3. Make use of hashtags

One of the effective Instagram growth hacks is to use relevant hashtags. Research shows that brands that uses hashtags get more likes and follows! You can use up to 30 hashtags for every post. Make sure that they’re relevant to your content and brand – nobody likes to click on #singapore but see another country instead. 

However, you should take note that Instagram has a list of hashtags that they do not want users to use, and they will restrict that post so it won’t show up on your followers’ feeds, or on any of the pages on your other hashtags. For example, #snapchat is one of them. Others are less obvious, like #pushups, #kansas, and #elevator. Even #beautyblogger is a banned hashtag! Check out the full list here.

Banned hashtags aside, you should definitely consider creating a branded hashtag – a hashtag that’s unique to your brand. Doing so will help increase brand awareness, and you can also use it to find user-generated content to share… More on this next!

4. Encourage user-generated content

You can encourage users to share content relevant to your brand by building it into your products. For example, if you sell physical products, consider adding a thank you card that has your Instagram handle, and leave a note encouraging them to share a photo or video of your product using your branded hashtag.

If you have a brick-and-mortar business, consider adding an Instagram wall where customers can take photos or share the experience in your store. Some bars and cafes are already making great use of this, with a specific area or branded space that is made for customers to share. 

Another wonderful way to boost user-generated content is to host giveaways where participants has to share your post, tag you and use your branded hashtag. In fact, this is one of the easiest ways to get a whole lot of attention within a short amount of time! 

5. Engage with other accounts on Instagram

To get engagement, you should also give engagement! A big part of Instagram’s algorithm is that it looks at your relationships. This means that it looks at the posts that you like, as well as the accounts that you interact with. The more active you are on someone else’s content, the more it will show your content to other accounts like yours. 

So give a like and leave a genuine comment on posts from other accounts. Especially if they’re your follower, people that you’d like to be your followers, or even brands similar to yours! A little support and collaboration can sometimes go a long way in helping you gain attention. You can look around and see – some of the most successful brands out there are applying such Instagram growth hacks!

You should also reciprocate whenever someone mentions you or leave a comment, even if it’s just a simple ‘thank you!’ Not only will it build your relationship with them, but chances are, they will remember you going forward. 

6. Help your audience get to know you

Many times, it helps to have users be able to put a face (or faces) to the brand. You can introduce yourself and your team, or offer insights into your day-to-day operations. Share about who’s birthday is coming up, your latest business achievements, or even your difficulties! Appealing to your audience’s emotions is great way to build long-term relationships and for them to feel connected to you.

Users are also much more inclined to follow a brand with a personal touch and one that they can relate to, as compared to another that’s more ‘robotic’ and is all about selling their products or services. So don’t be afraid to put yourself out there – people love it!