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Instagram has evolved from a social image sharing platform to a powerful marketing channel for brands and businesses. An increasing number of brands are beginning to utilize Instagram as a business tool, and getting more followers on Instagram is a great way to attract potential customers.

Many people ask our social media experts what the true benefits of having a larger Instagram following are. To put things simply, having a larger audience means that your content will be seen by more people. Being able to showcase your product or services to a larger audience means that you will have a greater opportunity to generate more leads and genuine interest for your business.

In addition to having a larger audience, having a large number of followers can add to the overall credibility of your business. Think of it this way, if you are evaluating different businesses to purchase a product or service from, would you rather use the business with 72 followers or the one with 5,000 followers? Most people would believe that the one with the larger following would be a more credible business.

A while ago, we talked about several popular Instagram strategies that could kill your account if they were abused, so here are some safe Instagram strategies that you should try out in order to get more followers on Instagram!

Instagram Ads

Instagram allows you to run sponsored ads. While Facebook offers ad services as well, Facebook as a platform tends to cater to older generations as opposed to Instagram. If you’re looking to target some of the younger generations (Millennials, Generation Z, etc.), Instagram Ads are the way to go.

Instagram Ads are a great way to achieve targeted exposure. Are you a restaurant owner? You can target your Instagram ads at people who are within the area. Are you a blogger? With Instagram Ads, you can target your ads to show to people who are interested in your niche.

When users click on your Instagram Ad, they can either be directed to a landing page or your feed. If you have a strong profile and great content, running Instagram Ads that are promoting your Instagram profile views can be a powerful tactic to pick up some new followers as well!

As a caveat to this, keep in mind that people on Instagram scroll through their feed quickly and have a short attention span. If you want them to stop and take a look at your post, make sure that it stands out.

Don’t forget to include a strong call to action on the posts that you plan to run Instagram Ads on. The call to action is what will drive real engagement from the users that see your ad and will improve the clickthrough rate and overall ROI of the ad campaign.

Instagram Stories and Highlights

People are more receptive to those who share a bit of their personal lives. It gives a personal touch to your feed that can create more engagement. Instagram stories are perfect for showing off your authentic self. People want to relate to you and see what’s going on behind the scenes.

If you run a business account, your potential customers are more likely to trust you if they can put a face to your Instagram account.

Instagram Story Highlights

Just like most other forms of short-lived or “ephemeral” content, Instagram stories only last 24 hours. If you’re looking to keep your story alive, use Instagram highlights!

Instagram highlights are a great way to organize your related Instagram story content into groups. For example, check out our Instagram highlight called “Office Life.” It’s a collection of posts about our company culture and the people that work at Konstruct.

In addition to being a great way to create a collection of posts and immortalize otherwise temporary story content, they make an excellent opportunity to improve the overall aesthetics of your Instagram account with icons that represent your brand. You can add a custom cover to each story highlight that will give your brand a professional look and feel.

Potential customers will also have better insights as to what your company culture is like. If you are able to express your values and culture with your stories in a way that people can identify with, people will be more likely to follow you.

Using Hashtags & Location Tags

Hashtags and location tags can also be added to your story content. These make your stories discoverable when people search for locations and hashtags on Instagram.

This is beneficial as it can sometimes be difficult to get into the “top posts” for a particular location or hashtag. Adding hashtags or location tags to your stories is a great way to be featured on a particular topic’s story for that day which will make your account discoverable to new users that have not seen your content before.

The $1.80 Strategy

This is a strategy that was coined by Gary Vaynerchuk in 2017 but still works great to this day. It is one of the most effective Instagram strategies to date.

The method is this:

  • Find 10 hashtags that are relevant to your brand
  • Go to the top 9 posts on each hashtag
  • On each post, leave a meaningful comment and leave your two cents behind.

The idea behind this is to build engagement with other accounts. The way to win on social media is to be social. The ‘catch’ here is that you can’t leave spammy, bot-like comments.

You have to give value to the post. Be part of the community, build and grow your own community through engagement. Not only that, Instagram loves genuine engagement and can give you a boost in its algorithms.

While this strategy gives you high-quality Instagram followers, the drawback is that it can be extremely time-consuming.

There are ways to automate this process using various automation tools, but you have to ensure that you create a list of automated comments that sound fake or spammy. The goal is to make your comments seem as authentic as possible.

Instagram Influencers

Instagram influencer marketing is becoming one of the most powerful ways to market your business. Instagram influencers have a loyal following that will take their opinions seriously.

There are different ways to get Instagram Influencers to work with you. The easiest way is to pay them or reward them with something when they give your account a shoutout.

Another method is to collaborate with an Instagram influencer and build a relationship with them. For example, if you are a photographer, you could work with a model that has a big follower count, offer them a free photoshoot and have them share your work on their account.

Once the relationship is established, you could be posted and featured on their account multiple times and depending on the size of their account; you could see a ton of new followers.

Branded Instagram Hashtags

There are two main ways to use Instagram branded hashtags:

On Instagram, there are a ton of ‘repost’ accounts. One way to gain followers on Instagram that are genuinely interested in your content is to be “featured” or have your post reposted by a repost account in your niche. If their followers like your post, they’ll check out your Instagram account and give you a follow.

Alternatively, you could create a hashtag for your business. Take a look at #curiocitycalgary for example. It’s a popular hashtag for Calgarians, and they use that hashtag in their posts in order to be recognized by the account.

Creating a unique branded hashtag strategy for your business is a great way to build brand recognition and generate more awareness. In this case, users posting content and using #curiocitycalgary is creating more brand awareness for the page. At the time this blog post was written, the tag has over 73,000 posts. Think about the amount of awareness your business would gain from having users view 73,000 posts that are using your hashtag.

Instagram Post Timing

When it comes to the timing of your posts, the goal is for the majority of your followers to see your post when it is posted. It’s important to take into account which timezone your audience is in. You need to determine when your audience will be awake and the most active on Instagram to ensure your post is seen by as many eyes as possible.

Who does your audience consist of? Are they mostly high school students or people that work full-time jobs? You need to consider what their lives are like, and when they have a bit of downtime to check their Instagram feeds.

If you post too early, your post may be flooded out by other posts in their Instagram feed before they have a chance to see your content and interact with it. If you post too late, you’ll have to hope they come across your Instagram post the next time they open up their phones.

If you post on Instagram at the right time, you’ll increase the potential reach of your new post, leading to more engagement and hashtag visibility. That means more users that are not currently following you will be viewing your posts. It might seem like a no brainer, but getting the attention of people that aren’t currently following you is the best way to pick up new followers.

Instagram Theme and Aesthetics

Depending on the type of account you have, your audience might be paying attention to the aesthetics of your overall Instagram feed as well. Are you a photographer, design agency, or something in that niche? You’re going to want to keep a consistent theme that ties into your business’ branding and design.

Keeping a consistent Instagram theme won’t directly help increase your reach, but could increase your conversion rate for getting new followers, or potential leads. Seeing a recurring theme gives people an incentive to follow your account and consistently check your feed.

Instagram Post Aspect Ratio

Your post content might not always fit into the traditional “square” post format. That being said, Instagram supports a range of different aspect ratios to showcase your content in different forms.

A 16:9 ratio is the go-to for traditional wide format photography. It enables the user to post wide photos and displays them in a manner that fits on a vertically oriented phone screen. However, if you use a wide format aspect ratio, you won’t be taking full advantage of the vertical real estate that Instagram gives you to engage your audience.

A 1:1 square used to be the default aspect ratio for Instagram before they allowed 16:9, and it’s great because your post takes up more area when scrolling. When you take up more space on a users feed, you have a higher chance of them actually viewing your photo and engaging with your content.

Given that Instagram favours vertical content, the app now allows vertical posts with a 4:3 aspect ratio, taking up more space than a 1:1 square post. The less space you take up, the more likely people will miss your post when they scroll through their feed. You should always take full advantage of the vertical space available to capture the attention of your audience. Remember, the more likes you get, the bigger your organic reach, and the more likely you’ll get a new follower.


IGTV is still in its early stages. It differs from regular posts and stories because it allows you to upload content longer than the usual 15-second stories, or 1-minute video posts.

The motive behind IGTV is to make Instagram an all-in-one platform for mobile entertainment. If you’re browsing Instagram and you want to watch a video, you won’t have to leave the app to view the video content.

IGTV also wants users to focus on vertical video because it’s the natural way people hold their phones. Why rotate your phone to watch a fullscreen video when you can have vertical video?

If you go through the Instagram explore page’s feed, you’ll see that there are IGTV videos being featured there. Instagram is trying to get more people to use IGTV. If you create quality IGTV content that resonates with your audience, it will appear on the explore page’s feed and be discoverable to many new users. Having your content featured on the explore page is one of the most sought after features you can receive on Instagram.

Instagram Live Stories

Instagram’s live stories are a great way to get an extra boost in engagement. Instagram wants its users to create live video content, so the platform has ways of favouring it over regular story content.

When someone uploads an Instagram post or story, you typically don’t get a notification for it, unless you have the associated notifications turned on for that user. However, when someone goes live on Instagram, the app sends users that follow the account a push notification to prompt you to view the live video, and to leave a comment so that the user broadcasting the live video knows that you’re watching.

Given that the app notifies users that the live video is being recorded and that it encourages additional engagement, Instagram’s Live Stories tend to perform better than regular story content.

Remember, if your account has good engagement, the more organic reach you’ll have, and the higher the chance you’ll gain a new Instagram follower.

How to Get More Followers on Instagram?

Getting followers on Instagram isn’t something that you can do passively. Increasing your Instagram follower count takes work and commitment, and every action you do has to be with intent. No matter what strategies you decide to try out, you’ll only see the results when you put in the work.

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Matt Cox

Managing Partner

Partner at Konstruct Digital, where everyday we help our clients grow their businesses through the magic of inbound marketing. Developer by background, marketer by passion, I love working with customers to ideate innovative marketing solutions which deliver solid measurable results. I sit firmly in the interchange between left and right brained thoughts, and jump at any chance to leverage both my marketing and technical expertise.