Instagram has come a long way from the simple mobile photo-sharing app it was. It is now a marketers' hub, content creators' paradise and brands' perfect playground.

Although Instagram has millions of brands, content creators and influencers working in hundreds of different niches, they all have a common goal: to get more Instagram followers.

And for that, many people resort to methods, such as buying followers, building fake accounts to increase follower count and baiting people to follow them.

While this method may seem excellent at first glance –you are getting followers in a few days –it can really hurt you in the long run.

So if you are looking to gain followers on Instagram, keep in mind that there’s no short-cut to it; and read this blog post to get the followers you deserve!

Instagram Search Feature

That little magnifying glass-like symbol at the bottom of your Instagram app might be one of the most excellent features Instagram has to offer. It allows Instagram users to find pages, people and their content that relates to your interest. And what does that lead to? More followers!

Let's look at how you can use it to increase your following on Instagram!

1. Use a search-friendly Name and Username:

Your name and username on Instagram is searchable. And when something is searchable, it also means it's optimizable for those searches.

In order to do that, think of what your Instagram account is about and make sure the relevant keyword is present in your name and username. For example, when searching for the word “bakery”, the following accounts appear in suggestions.

You can see that most of the searches have a bakery in their names and usernames, deeming them most relevant to the said search.

What happens is that it puts you in the position to appear in daily Instagram searches and in front of people deliberately searching for content/products directly related to you, increasing your chances of getting more followers on Instagram.

Another thing to note is that the users don't really have to search the "people" category specifically in order for your page to appear. If your username is short, search-friendly and contains the right keywords, you will appear in the top searches.

Say hello to tons of new followers!

2. Optimize Your Bio

You have created a compelling name and username -now what?

This was merely the first step towards gaining Instagram followers organically. Next in line is your Instagram bio.

The simplest and quickest way to optimize your bio for Instagram is by putting together a compelling one-liner that includes the keyword you are aiming to rank for, a useful link, and any other information you think should be on your bio.

Such a carefully put together Instagram bio not only increases your chances of organically appearing in search bar suggestions but also ensures that the visitors don't leave your Instagram account without hitting the follow button.

For further details on how to create the ultimate Instagram bio, check out this article!

3. Use Hashtags

Hashtags are the easiest method of putting yourself in front of an audience that’s already looking for you.

Using hashtags in Instagram captions allow your posts to appear in the hashtags pages (a catalogue where all the content related to the hashtags is present).

For example, if you are a brand, you can use location hashtags to appear in the searches of people near you. Such people are relatively more interested in you than those sitting far away from you (although there are exceptions!) and will be more inclined to give you a follow.

Stories with popular hashtags also appear on the hashtags' pages in the top left corner.

People post a gigantic amount of stories daily (500 million). And so, Instagram does not show all of them on the hashtag page. Only the most relevant ones appear there, but if you get ranked, you are golden! Instagram placing you in front of thousands of people you have never interacted with before can surely help you gain followers on Instagram.

Note: Story Rankings on the Hashtags’ pages are not available worldwide yet.

4. Use Keywords in Instagram Captions

Instagram recently updated its keyword search feature. For the time being, it's only available in a handful of regions, but it looks like it'll soon be worldwide.

What we need to do is start preparing for it!

The update has now made it possible for people to search for individual posts using a keyword. And that provides us with a fairly simple way to increase our Instagram followers organically.

To make the most out of this new update, try using relatively longer captions instead of one-liners, with carefully placed keywords. It will let your targeted audience find you and if they like what you are doing, follow you.

This feature, no doubt, is going to let emerging Instagram accounts get the followers they deserve.

Instagram Content

On Instagram, high-quality, relevant and targeted content works wonder. If you are not using it intelligently to get a humble hub of followers, you are letting so much potential go to waste!

Here’s how your followers and Instagram content creation relate with each other:

5. Post Targeted Content

Targeted content means posting according to the age group, interests and liking of your audience.

If you are a baby-care store, your content should focus on mothers. If you are a stationery store, your content should target students, art enthusiasts and writers.

What targeted content does is that it ensures that the maximum number of people visiting your page convert into followers. And once they do, they stay your followers.

Consider this: you curated a respectable number of followers that are interested in baby-care products. And then, you suddenly start posting about young adult novels! There went all your followers.

You not only need to gain followers on Instagram, but you also need to retain them in order for your follower count to increase significantly. And targeted, focused, and niche-specified content does the deed excellently!

6. Post Frequently

Keeping your Instagram profile up-to-date is crucial to get more followers.

When people land on your Instagram handle organically, seeing posts that are weeks old will work as a real turn-off.  You need to post frequently so the visitors can see that you are active on Instagram and that following you will give them regular content that they want to see.

7. Stick to a Schedule

Some of you might argue that sticking to a schedule is more about engagements than getting more followers. But the truth is that most of the people who followed you need to remember why they followed you, or you'll never be able to get to a large number of followers on Instagram.

Posting according to a regular schedule keeps your current followers engaged, allows the new ones to see that you are constantly creating quality-content and hence, gives your following a boost.

Posting whenever you feel inspired is unappealing, unprofessional and can do more harm to your hard-earned engaged followers than good.

8. Create Highlights

Instagram story highlights appear right beneath your bio and unlike stories, stay there until you delete them yourself. They are a useful tool to turn visitors into followers.

You can use Instagram highlights to convey the information that doesn't go in the bio, but you think people should know, for example, your products, services, collaborations, etc. It's a way to divulge more about yourself or your brand so a stray visitor can get to know you better.

Furthermore, you can establish trust and a good reputation on Instagram by adding reviews, customer feedback and shout-outs to your highlights.

Already Present Followers

If you already have a few Instagram followers, you are in an excellent position to get more. Your first few Instagram followers are your advertisers, marketers and supporters all in one if you know what to do!

9. Create Relatable and Shareable Content

Not many people emphasize this, but the quickest way to gain followers on Instagram is by creating content relatable enough so that your already present followers will be compelled to put it on their stories.

The more shareable your content is, the more you are getting free advertisement from your followers. And that means you will get a lot more followers very quickly.

Furthermore, this process never stops. As long as you keep on creating content your audience would want to share, you would continue to grow.

But what does shareable content include?

Shareable content can be anything that resonates with your target audience. It's neither about your services/products nor has a detectable marketing tone. It's the content created entirely to make your followers share it on their profiles.

A few examples of such content are your take on hot issues, a quote, a piece of advice, an inspiring story or a motivational video.

10. Do a Contest Paired with an Ad

A contest paired up with an ad works great!

Customers who are interested in what you are offering join those contests when they see the ads and stay there to support you in your future journey.

You can also make following you essential for entering the contest. However, doing frequent contests often raise questions about whether you actually give out a prize to the winning entry.

So, make sure you ask the winning entries to give feedback about your products/services to put on your stories.

In this way, you will not only establish your reputation as a trustable brand or person but will also get a free shout-out and feedback from your winning entry. And all this can happen quite regularly if you have the finances, leading to many existing happy customers and many new followers in the hopes of becoming a winner.

And this does not mean your new followers are in any way fake. They entered your contest because they liked your products, and that means they are your future clients.

Blingspot.pk uses this model to get more followers, and it's working!

11. Post User-Generated Content

User-generated content is a tried and tested way of increasing followers and creating a happy audience. It’s the content your followers tag you in (for example, stories) or send you in DMs for featuring.

One thing user-generated content does is that it encourages people to promote you. Your followers love when you give them the spotlight. Once you repost their stories, more and more people will mention you in the hopes of getting featured as well.

Ensure that the content you are selecting to repost on the grid or stories matches your brand voice and that you have the permission to share it.

If you repost without asking, you might end up in trouble instead of a goldmine of followers.

Fellow Brands/ Partnerships/Influencers

Using fellow brands and influencers to put your Instagram page in front of a new and interested audience is an excellent way of gaining followers on Instagram.

12.  Ask a Fellow Brand to Review Your Products/Services

Customer reviews are good, but brand reviews are golden!

When an already established brand reviews your products/services, their followers are quick to trust you and leave you with a follow.

Moreover, it also increases your chances of reaching a higher audience, especially an audience that has never interacted with you before. And that’s the ultimate goal when you are trying to get more followers on Instagram: to reach as many unique people as possible.

13.  Collaborate, collaborate, and collaborate!

Collaborations are a sure-fire way to get popular very fast. And you don’t necessarily have to seek out well-established brands or influencers. Collaborating with small or emerging brands will still get you tons of unique followers.

However, your partner must make the collaborations known to their followers correctly.

Post each other’s stories, mention each other, ask your followers to engage with your partner’s posts and just send them back and forth to exchange followers.

Get Those Instagram Followers Now!

If you liked this blog post, there's one thing you are going to like even more –our E-Book! So, if you haven't already bought it, check it out here.

Remember, there are many illegitimate methods on the Internet to gain more followers on Instagram, but this is how you do it correctly. Following the techniques mentioned above will leave you with not only an increased following but a loyal audience as well. And that's the kind of audience that will benefit you in the long run.

If you liked this blog post, read the rest of our blog. We write about social media reach, reputation, tips and tricks and much more!