In 2019, Instagram has become one of the biggest and most influential social media platforms in the world.
Clocking in at over one billion users strong, Instagram is at the top of the social media game.
Everyone and their grandmother is on Instagram—seriously, my grandmother’s on Instagram—and the chances that most of your friends are on Instagram right now are pretty high.
Whether you’re using Instagram as a personal account, setting up an Instagram for your business, or trying to break into the influencer game, getting more followers is essential.
Think about it… Would you follow an unknown account on Instagram who has only a couple hundred followers?
Chances are probably not.
Here’s where things get interesting.
There is an entire underground industry of buying and selling Instagram followers. Buying followers may be one of the fastest ways to grow your follower count, but it’s not the best way.
In this article, I’m about to show you some secret strategies you can implement to gain free followers, today.
Not only do these methods work, but they are also guaranteed to get you quality followers that like and engage with your Instagram posts, which is one of the baselines of Instagram popularity, along with your follower count.
1. Free Follower Tools
By far the easiest strategy to get free followers for your Instagram account is to use one of these simple tools to automatically increase your follower count.
These tools are websites where you enter in your Instagram handle, choose the number of followers you want, and then followers are sent to your account.
Sometimes there’s an extra step before your account gains the promised followers, but really, would you rather pay an exorbitant amount of money to another provider for the same amount of followers?
It can take anywhere from two hours to two weeks to deliver your desired amount of followers. This is to comply with the Instagram Terms of Service and avoid any suspicions that Instagram has of bot followers. Bot followers—that is, followers that aren’t exactly authentic human followers—can be quite the hassle to deal with, since Instagram is quite strict in their crackdown on bot activity.
These tools are completely safe for your account and are by far the easiest method for gaining thousands of free followers in 2020. These websites are run by businesses who heavily market your Instagram handle to thousands of people. While this is the easiest the easiest way to gain thousands of free Instagram followers, it’s not the only method.
I recommend using these tools when you’re first starting out just to give your account just that little bit of an extra push to make your profile look much better than just a fresh profile with nothing on it. If you’re using Instagram just for your personal social media needs, then a thousand followers are more than enough for you to seem incredibly popular among your friend group. Most normal people have somewhere between 50 and 300 followers, so having more than a thousand will automatically put you on top.
However, if you’re turning to Instagram to build a business or a brand, then a thousand followers is a good start, but nowhere near the numbers that you want to hit. If you want to be an Instagram influencer, you’ll need at least 50 thousand followers before you start getting asked about product sponsorships and deals.
Similarly, if you’re building an Instagram page for your business, you’ll want to have at least a couple of thousand followers to start with, in order to make your business look more enticing.
All in all, while these tools do work, you’ll generally only want to use them as a starting point to grow your Instagram account. Some of the people who will follow you from these tools will unfollow you eventually, but that’s nothing to worry about. You’ll want to grow most of your following yourself anyway, as this gives your profile more legitimacy, and your followers will be more likely to like and comment on your posts.
2. Post Regularly, Preferably Every Day
One of the main factors to getting followers on Instagram is the consistency with which you post. Most users will only follow accounts that are active and unfollow accounts that have not posted in a while. This is because everyone wants to browse through a fresh feed every time they pull up Instagram on their phones.
Instagram has one of the highest rates of interaction of any social media network ever, and for your followers to interact with you, you should give them things to react to. Instagram users are always looking to follow accounts and people that post consistently.
Not only should you post consistently, but you should post regularly, and preferably during peak hours for your audience. You’ll want your new posts to appear frequently on the top of your followers’ feeds, and that takes a little while to figure out. For example, if your audience is made of college students, you’ll want to post after their classes finish, at around 5-10 PM.
Above all, just posting every day and consistently will get you followers, as your activity will also affect Instagram’s algorithm and affect where you are placed on the Explore page. You’ll want to place as close to the top of the Explore page as possible, and posting each and every day affects that.
3. Use #Hashtags
Instagram is all about numbers. If you post a photo and it gets no likes, then what’s the use of having it up there in the first place? Especially if you’re trying to build a brand or a career as an influencer, you’ll need good engagement on your posts. The best way to do this is with the use of hashtags.
Think of Instagram as a war. Everyone is fighting and competing with each other to be seen and heard, and you are no exception. If you are a warrior, and your posts are your weapons, then hashtags are your ammunition. You can use up to thirty hashtags on every post, and you should make each one of them count.
You’ll want to include hashtags that are relevant to the content that you post, and are relevant to your followers, and people who might want to follow you in the future. Hashtags are how most Instagram users discover other Instagram accounts and are the most important thing in your post, excluding the picture or video itself.
Depending on your audience, the hashtags you’ll want to use may be fairly obvious or obscure. To find out which hashtags are the best to use to engage with your audience, you’ll need to do some hashtag research. Look for accounts and posts that are in the same niche as you with a lot of followers, and use the same hashtags that they use in their posts. You should also keep on the lookout for trending hashtags, and use them as much as you can.
The right hashtags give your account and posts some much-needed visibility, and you’ll start getting followers really fast. Creativity also works wonders. If you use funny, ironic, or witty hashtags, then more people will engage with your content. You can also create branded hashtags, or hashtags that are unique to your account.
4. Post Relevant Content For Your Audience
Once you start an Instagram profile, you’ll obviously be posting photos and other content. However, you shouldn’t be just posting whatever you want willy nilly. If you post photos and content randomly and without having your posts relate to each other, then your followers won’t be as happy that they followed you.
You’ll want to keep your posts following a general theme, especially if you’re building an Instagram account for a business or an interest page. A good thing to keep in mind is that people follow Instagram profiles to see the content that is posted on them, so if you’re posting content that your followers don’t want to see, then they’re more likely to unfollow you.
At the end of the day, your audience will want content that is relevant to them, and knowing what your followers want and expect from you is key to gaining new followers as well as keeping your audience engaged. How do you know what content your followers want? Thankfully, there are a number of ways to find this out so you don’t have to guess.
To know what your audience wants is a simple task. You just need to follow other big accounts in your niche and see what they’re posting as well as how well their audience interacts with their posts. You’ll want to take note of which posts get a lot of engagement from their followers and try to post that kind of content also.
5. Try Posting Other Forms Of Media
Instagram started out as a photo sharing platform, but in 2019, Instagram has grown to be so much more. You can now post short videos, use Instagram Stories, and even IGTV to post longer videos and live stream. A huge part of gaining new followers is knowing which of these types of content work, other than your regular picture posts.
Instagram Stories are a type of content that disappears after a day, so this makes it a prime type of content that users regularly engage with. IG stories are extremely useful for posting things that your audience is encouraged to view.
Since stories aren’t permanent, they don’t share the same feed as regular Instagram posts. Stories are great for posting smaller thing, like video snippets or photos that don’t really fit into the desired aesthetic of your feed, but you still want to post.
Another great feature is that you get to know exactly who watches your stories, giving you an opportunity to cater your content to your audience.
You can also now post short videos onto your main Instagram page. This is good news because videos are one of the forms of content that are engaged with the most. Short, attention-grabbing videos are amazing for getting likes and comments, as well as getting new followers. Most Instagram users will pause scrolling and watch a video on their feed, so this kind of post does well, especially if your video content is relevant to your followers.
IGTV is another different kind of content that is difficult to plan around and use but reaps so many benefits when done correctly. You can build your brand and let your audience know what you’re all about, while at the same time attracting new followers who stumble across your IGTV videos. If you manage to put out IGTV content, then you’re much better off.
Ultimately, mastering all these kinds of content that Instagram has to offer is another fantastic tool in your arsenal that will help you gain a lot of followers.
6. Engage And Interact With Your Audience
At its core, Instagram is a social media platform. You can’t use social media without being social, so I encourage you to actually interact and engage with your audience instead of just posting pictures and videos. This is fairly simple to do as well but reaps a lot of rewards.
Whenever a follower comments on a post of yours, respond to their comment. It doesn’t even have to be a direct response to their comment; a simple “Thank you!” or leaving a like on their comment will suffice.
Interacting with your audience makes you Instagram profile seem more genuine, and encourages others to interact with you as well, bumping up your numbers in the long run. This can bring in a lot of new followers if they feel like they have a chance to interact with you.
Answering DMs and having conversations with your followers is also essential and does wonders for your audience engagement. In general, engaging with your audience helps build deeper relationships with your followers, and they become more likely to engage with more of your content, thereby exposing you to all of their followers, potentially giving you many more followers for free.
Being social does not stop there, however. You can also browse through other Instagram profiles on your Explore page and leave a like or comment on their posts. This encourages them to check out your profile as well, and hopefully click on that follow button.
7. Follow People
One of the most tried and tested ways of getting someone to take a look at your Instagram profile is to follow them. Once they see that notification that you are following them, they feel compelled to check out your own profile. Many of the people that you follow this way will follow you back but do take note that there is no guarantee that everyone will follow you, especially if you do not have interesting content.
In general, though, most people are open to following you back, especially if you ask them to. Once you DM someone you just followed and ask politely if they would check out your profile and follow you back, most people will graciously click on that magical follow button. If they don’t, you are free to unfollow them if you wish.
There are limits to how many people you can follow a day. There is no officially released number according to Instagram, but extensive user testing reveals this number to be between 100 and 240 follows per day before you get follow blocked. I recommend following at least 100 people per day, and see how many follow you back after 24 hours. Those who haven’t followed you back, you can simply unfollow, so as not to inflate your following number.
But how do you know which people to follow, you ask? Once again, very simple. Just go to an Instagram account in your niche that has a lot of followers and start following people who follow them. It’s that easy! If you have similar content to the account that you targeted, there’s a high chance that their followers will also start to follow you.
Be careful, though, as Instagram is constantly on the lookout for people abusing this. Don’t follow too many people at a time, and remember to keep your actions realistic for a human. If you’re careful, you’ll be just fine. However, if you abuse this method, Instagram may flag your account for spam, and may eventually ban your account, which is an outcome that nobody wants.
8. Work Together With Other Instagram Accounts
Once you get a few thousand followers, you are ready to collaborate with other Instagram accounts to promote and grow both of your accounts at the same time. This process is fairly simple: DM an Instagram account similar to yours and ask if they want to do a “Share for share.” This is basically posting one of their posts on your account and tagging their account in the description, while they do the same for you.
Share for shares increase the audience exposure of both you and the account you’re working with. Your profile is exposed to their followers, and their profile is exposed to your followers. That’s a win-win situation. You can do this every day, or even several times a day to achieve great results. Just don’t overdo it, or your followers will get bored with these posts and may stop paying attention and engaging with your content.
Searching for the right influencer to partner up with isn’t hard at all. Once again, you just need to look for another account in your niche that has a different follower base. They can be based in a different location, focus on a different aspect form you, or they can even be doing the exact opposite of what you’re doing! The trick is casting a wide net, and DMing as many of these accounts as you can. If you DM as many people as you can, at least one of them will say yes and will be happy to work with you.
Followers are the lifeblood of an Instagram account, and the more you have, the better off you are. Many people pay for followers, but the best ways to gain followers are free, much like the best things in life.
Getting engaging followers is a reward in and of itself and increases the value of your Instagram account. Of course, you’ll actually have to attract people and convince them to follow your account, but you will want exactly those people to follow you.
Yes, it does take time and effort to successfully run an Instagram account and gain followers, but once you master the hows and whys of getting followers, you’ll be watching your follower count skyrocket. I can mention all the tips and tricks that I know of to get thousands of free followers, but if you aren’t willing to go through all that trouble to build your Instagram following, then you’re much better off using the tools I mentioned in the first method.
Whether you just want to look popular online or you’re building a business, getting free Instagram followers are a huge step in achieving your goal. Hopefully, you’ve learned a lot of methods to do so in this article, and you put the knowledge to use.
Remember, it takes more than just wanting something to make it happen. You need to take action. Start getting your free Instagram followers today.
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