17 Proven Steps to Get More Real Instagram Followers in 2021

You’ve mastered Google Ads and your Facebook page has lots of likes and engagement, but still aren’t seeing the following you want? While both of those platforms are great for many reasons, more brands and companies are expanding their digital reach by utilizing Instagram. Yes, Instagram –– the app once known for its simple feed of filtered photos has blossomed into a dynamic platform capable of generating business leads and even revenue. 

If this all sounds too intimidating, don’t worry. The following tips are easy enough to implement in the here and now, yet robust enough to keep you working toward your goals in the long run. Here are 17 steps you can follow to take your Instagram followers and engagement to the next level.

1. Completely fill out your profile

instagram profile details and milk shake and linktree logos

It might seem obvious, but filling out all the profile fields is the first step in creating and maintaining a successful, engaging Instagram account. Don’t be shy; tell the world who you are!

  • Link to your website so your Instagram followers know where to find more information about you, your company, or your products and services. Instagram has a designated field specifically for a website link, so it’s clickable in your profile bio. However, if one link field is not enough, consider using a service like Linktree or Milkshake that allows you to optimize your “link in bio” possibilities.
  • Use up your profile description characters to tell people who you are and what you’re about — keep it informative, but not stuffy. This is social media after all.
  • Add a profile photo! If you’re a two toned gray silhouette, nobody’s going to take you seriously because they’ll assume you don’t know what you’re doing or that you’re a bot. Make sure whatever you choose is on-brand.
  • Add in contact info. Business accounts on Instagram get a Contact button right underneath the bio field. Include a phone number and an email address so your Instagram followers have a choice in how they get in touch with you.

2. Upgrade to a Business Account and analyze your Instagram Insights

When you upgrade to a Business Profile, Instagram provides you with demographic and user engagement data that can empower you to make more informed decisions about what kind of content to post and when. Knowing more about your Instagram followers means you will know how to better reach them.

3. Post content regularly

Your goal is to show the world who you are, so make sure you’re doing that frequently and regularly. Try to aim for at least 2-5 grid posts per week and 1-3 daily stories. Make sure the content is interesting and relevant to your followers. Take inspiration from what you see on your own feed and ask yourself if your posts should be pretty, informative, or calls to action. 

Instagram analytics for business accounts is your friend, so consult it regularly to inform your posting. Make sure you’re posting at times when users are most active and followers are most likely to see your content.

4. Use the right hashtags

typing "instagramtips" as a hashtag on instagram

Find relevant hashtags with the right amount of content associated with them. For example, if you use a hashtag that’s been used over 1 million times like #love or #foodstagram, your content will get lost in the sea of posts. 

You’re much better off finding and sticking to a few hashtags that have been used a few hundred or a few thousand times; another few that have been used between 20-100 thousand times; and a couple that have been used 150-300 thousand times.

5. Follow accounts similar to yours, then follow the accounts who follow them

Following is a two-way street. If you have lots of followers but don’t reciprocate and only follow a small handful of accounts, you could come across as elitist. 

Think about it like degrees of separation –– if you post about architecture, find other accounts that post about architecture. Then, follow the users who follow those accounts. If you post compelling, relevant, aesthetically pleasing content, there’s a chance they’ll take a look at your profile and give you a follow.

6. Follow relevant hashtags

Beyond just people and businesses, you can follow hashtags too. This is a great way to interact with, find, and follow accounts related to the topics about which you’re posting that you might not otherwise discover. 

Following hashtags is also a great strategy for staying on top of industry trends and news as well as diversifying whose content you’re seeing. Like the photos from this stream and maybe those profiles will return the favor.

7. Add to your Instagram Story

instagram story examples

Users spend a lot of time tapping through Instagram Stories, so it’s in your best interest to make yours stand out amongst the masses. You can share your feed posts there and other original content to mix things up. 

A great way to up your post engagement is to put a “new post” or “click here” sticker on top of your story-shared post to encourage users to click the post itself to view it rather than just viewing the thumbnail on your story.

8. Like photos in your feed regularly

Much like following, liking and commenting are also two-way streets. People appreciate likes and comments and will often return the favor. Additionally, you can expect your profile name to appear on other photos where it says “Liked by @YourInstaHandleHere and 351 others” which could generate even more profile views and follows for you. 

Upping your engagement on others’ posts gets your name out there more often, generates good vibes with those who you follow, and encourages others to comment on your posts. When your posts receive more comments, they will remain towards the top of the feed before newer posts takeover.

9. Don’t buy fake followers

Fake Instagram followers don’t offer much benefit because they won’t engage with your posts. Additionally, if a real person discovers your profile and sees that you have 30,000 Instagram followers, but your posts only receive a few hundred likes and no comments –– it’s going to look suspicious and your credibility will be called into question. Nobody likes bots or spam accounts!

10. Consider promoting your posts

promoting an instagram post

Rather than buying a bunch of fake Instagram followers who won’t engage with your posts, you can promote your page by spending a few dollars a day to reach accounts who don’t follow you already, but who you believe would be interested in your account based on their already established interests.

11. Use hashtags promoted by “feature” accounts

Some accounts exist purely to repost curated content related to a specific subject and they have TONS of Instagram followers. Find those accounts, use the hashtags they follow to find content, and hope to get featured on their profile. It’s a great way to get more eyes on all your hard work.

12. Don’t force it

If you seem needy or too sales-y, people will see through it and get turned off. People always say this, but just act natural. Your Instagram followers don’t want to interact with an awkward profile. Think about trying to attract Instagram followers who will follow you for the energy your posts radiate and the unique voice of your brand –– not just for the product or service you want them to buy.

13. Stay on brand

Like the kids these days say, “Stay in your lane.” Not only do you have to post interesting content regularly, but you have to post content that makes sense for your brand. If you’re a company that sells pet products, don’t add something to your story about furniture. Your Instagram followers will get confused about who you are.

14. Add alt text to your images

adding alt text to an instagram photo

A great way to make sure your gains more Instagram followers is to make sure it’s accessible to them! Alternative text allows you to add a description of your photo or graphic that gets read aloud to visually impaired users or others who use screen readers. 

Additionally, did you know that crawlers and indexers (the algorithms that find and catalogue content on the Internet) can’t read images? Alt text makes your visual content readable to them, too! This means your posts stand a chance to appear in Google Image search results which can lead to more Instagram followers.

15. Embed Instagram posts onto your website

If your website gets lots of traffic, you can do more than add a social icon link in your footer and header. You can add posts to your blogs and sprinkle them throughout important landing pages, if appropriate. This is another great way to give your profile more exposure and persuade Instagram followers to engage with you in a less formal way.

16. Tag your photos with a location

Location tagging is especially important if you’re a local business or you have a local audience of Instagram followers. Make sure to always add a location before posting your photos.

17. Share your Instagram profile everywhere

a phone with a connection signal towards people

If you have a Twitter account, tweet about your Instagram profile. Add a link to your profile on your website. Share photos from your Instagram to your Facebook page. Cross promotion can be incredibly powerful when done well. Like I mentioned earlier, a LinkTree or similar service can help you maximize the amount of links and other social media handles you can share from a single link.

Blackhawk’s Social Media Experts

With this list of Instagram tips in your back pocket, you’ll have no problem growing your online presence, gaining new Instagram followers, and keeping up with all the latest social media trends of 2021. Bring any of your wildest Instagram dreams to our social media expert here at Blackhawk. We will strategize, build, post, and track all content for your business.