5 ways to grow your Instagram following without spending a dollar
By Steph Bercich
Want more followers on Instagram? And not spend a dollar? It’s possible.
Whether you’re growing your own personal account or your business’, here are Tonic’s tips to help you grow a bigger, more relevant audience on Instagram.
- Post at least once a day (but no more than three times)
Users that post regularly on Instagram tend to grow their following more quickly. Now that Instagram has rolled-out its new algorithm-based feed, posting more frequently increases the chances of your posts being seen. If your posts are getting good engagement, then they are more likely to be at the top of your follower’s feeds. Be wary though, you don’t want to spam your audience – that’s an #Instagramfail.
Knowing what time to post is also key. You need to know when your audience is most active. Here’s a great guide by Later Blog on how to research your community and find out the best times to post.
- Develop a theme for your feed
Instagram is all about looks. People want a visually appealing, well-thought-out Instagram feed so it’s important to create a cohesive look – this will make your profile much more enticing for potential followers.
To do this, use high-resolution images. Crop them all the same way, take photos of similar subject matter, and use a consistent filter.
@elixrr is an example of a Sydney food influencer who does this very well. You can see that she applies the same filter to all her posts, which in turn, creates a sense of familiarity.
Did you know: filtered photos are 21% more likely to be viewed and 45% more likely to be commented on than unfiltered ones? (Sourced from Buffer)
- Socialise with your audience
“Hang out” with your followers and create relationships. If a follower comments on your post, respond in a timely manner. For bonus points, respond with a question to continue the conversation. Like and comment on their posts too. It’s all about developing a relationship with your community and in turn, you and your posts will pop up on other’s Instagram feeds (and maybe even in the Discovery section!).
Expand this and socialise with brands you like or that are relevant to your business, industry or personal likes. To be seen, send a thoughtful comment or DM message. This will leave an impression and may even start a meaningful conversation between you and the user. Oh, and ditch the “nice pic” comments, #boring.
It’s all about encouraging that conversation and demanding attention from your audience.
- Tag influential and relevant accounts
Tag influencers, brands or relevant accounts in your photos. This increases the chance that people who follow those accounts will see your post. Instagram’s new algorithm is more likely to deem your photos more relevant to their interests, and in turn, your photo may pop up in the Discovery section – yay.
- Share user-generated content
If you’re a business, share content that is related to your brand. This shows your users that you care and encourages them to post about your brand with the hopes of being featured too.
If this is for your personal account, share posts that are popular from around the web and give credit to the original creator. Tag them in your post.
Here is an example from Tonic PR’s Instagram. You can see we’ve credited this beautiful photo by @anettveslberg. The reason we chose this post was because it is relevant to our audience (foodies) and received high engagement on her personal feed.
So, what are you waiting for? Get Instagramming and grow that following