8 Ways to (Authentically!) Get Instagram Followers in 2021
Wondering how to get Instagram followers — without paying for bots or other spam tactics?
While it’s not as easy as it once was, getting more followers on Instagram is still possible…you just have to know the right tactics! Let’s dive right in.
How to Get Instagram Followers Without Paying for Them
- Post Consistently
- Make a Strong First Impression
- Create Instagram Reels
- Nail Your Caption Strategy
- Partner with Like-minded Brands and Creators
- Promote Your Instagram Account on Your Website or Newsletter
- Actively Engage with Your Community
- Learn From Your Analytics
Tip 1: Post Consistently
There’s no denying the importance of consistency on Instagram.
By posting regularly, you’re essentially letting your followers know what to expect from you — whether it’s daily Instagram Stories, a bi-weekly Reel, or a few feed posts a week.
Posting more consistently can also help with your Instagram engagement. When your followers expect you to post, they’re more likely to interact and engage with your content.
That being said, keeping a consistent posting schedule isn’t always easy. When you’re juggling content creation, alongside other business duties, it can be time-consuming to manually post every single day.
For a quick solution, you could use a scheduling tool, like Later. With Later, you can easily schedule your photos, videos, carousel posts, and more with just a few clicks:
By planning and scheduling your Instagram posts in advance, you can get content out even when you’re super busy. It’s a massive time-saver!
TIP: Experiment with a posting frequency and see how your community responds. If you see an increase of followers and engagement from posting daily (or every other day) — do that!
Ready to plan and schedule your content in advance? Later makes it easy — get started today for free!
Tip 2: Make A Strong First Impression
According to researchers, within the first 7 seconds of meeting you, people will have a solid impression of who you are — and it can be even shorter online.
With that in mind, your Instagram bio and feed can seriously influence whether someone taps “follow.”
The first step is to have an Instagram bio that clearly explains what your brand does and who it’s for (aka your target audience).
If you have character space, you can also include your values or a fun tidbit about yourself to differentiate you from competitors in your industry.
Once you have a bio you’re happy with, creating a cohesive feed (or Instagram aesthetic) can help make a great first impression to anyone who finds your profile.
Whatever you decide, it’s important to be consistent. Having a feed that reflects your brand and is appealing to your target audience can be a surefire way to get them to follow you.
For more tips on making a good first impression, bookmark this post: How to Create the Perfect Instagram Bio.
Tip 3: Create Instagram Reels
Instagram Reels are a fun and creative way to get new followers on Instagram.
Why? They have incredible reach (you can get thousands of views) and if your account is public, they’re discoverable via the Reels tab.
There are plenty of ways to use Instagram Reels for your business — we’ve seen tips and tricks, how-to videos, behind-the-scenes content, and more.
And as Instagram recently announced that it’s no longer just “a photo-sharing app”, it’s a good idea to start incorporating more video content in your strategy.
If you’re in need of some Reels inspiration, check out this blog post: 15 Instagram Reels Ideas.
Tip 4: Nail Your Caption Strategy
Are your captions hookworthy with strong call-to-actions (CTAs)?
Having an effective caption strategy can help you increase engagement and get more Instagram followers.
Instagram educator Elise Darma recommends the following formula for creating engaging captions: headline, setup, share, bridge, and CTA.
For the headline, lead with something thought-provoking or exciting — what’s going to capture their attention right away? Instagram only shows the first 1-2 lines of your caption in the feed, so make it count.
For the setup, you’ll want to pull them in further. What’s the context they need to know?
Next, you’re going to share what you really want to say to your followers, whether it’s a story, answering FAQs, or a how-to tip. This is the “value” part of your caption, so feel free to use as much space as you need.
Then, use one or two bridge sentences to reiterate why your followers should care and what’s in it for them.
And finally, finish with a strong CTA. This can be as simple as leaving a comment on the post or clicking the link in your bio.
Want more help writing captions that convert? Check out our Ultimate Guide to Writing Good Instagram Captions.
Tip 5: Partner with Like-minded Brands and Creators
The power of a collaboration or a co-marketing campaign for your business is huge — it’s quickly becoming one of the most popular ways to get Instagram followers.
Teaming up with like-minded businesses and brands will introduce your profile to a new and engaged audience.
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And even better: co-marketing campaigns don’t have to be complicated or costly!
What’s more important is who you partner with. You want to make sure that you have a mutually beneficial partnership that will benefit both of your audiences.
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“Brand-by-brand collaborations can be incredibly powerful,” says Jess.
“In our experience, a brand-by-brand partnership can double your organic reach without any monetary spend. And they’re up to 25x less expensive than digital advertising!”
Tip 6: Promote Your Instagram Account on Your Website or Newsletter
Promoting your account on your website is another great way to get Instagram followers — and it’s also easy to do.
From plugins to code embeds, there are dozens of options when it comes to responsively embedding your Instagram feed on your website so it looks great on any device.
Many website builders even offer templates that come with customizable options for embedding your feed.
Similarly, if you have an engaged newsletter audience, you can encourage them to follow you on Instagram too for another way to connect — similar to what we do at Later:
Tip 7: Actively Engage with Your Community
One of the most effective ways to grow on Instagram? Engage with your community!
According to Sarah Nicole Landry, interacting and engaging with other accounts is incredibly important:
“In an 8-hour workday, I commit 4 hours every single day to community engagement. This includes commenting, replying to DMs, commenting on other people’s posts, replying on my own, and going and actively engaging on other pages similar to mine.”
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Sarah’s commitment to engaging with her community, coupled with creating authentic content, has allowed her to grow from 70K to over 1.7M followers in under two years.
“As you engage, the relationship with your community will grow stronger. And, when you have people truly who trust you and believe in what you’re saying, that’s when you’ll begin to see a greater ROI”, Sarah explains.
If you don’t have four hours to spend engaging on Instagram, be sure to check and answer your Instagram comments and DMs every day or every few days.
What’s important is that you incorporate this tip in a way that’s sustainable for you and your business.
TIP: Use Later’s Conversations feature to keep track of all your Instagram comments. You can reply from your computer instead of your phone, and even view your conversation history with a commenter.
Tip 8: Learn From Your Analytics
If you want to get new Instagram followers, taking a look at your analytics is a great place to start.
With analytics, you’ll be able to understand what type of content your community engages with most, where they live, and when they’re most active.
This level of insight is important for creating a content strategy that’ll increase your followers — without it, you’re essentially working in the dark.
Alongside Instagram’s native analytics, Later’s Instagram Analytics feature gives you a visual overview of how your posts and stories are performing – all in an easy-to-use dashboard.
With over 1B monthly active users on Instagram, it’s no surprise that getting more Instagram followers is a big priority for most businesses and creators.
However, quality is more important than quantity.
A smaller, more engaged community who loves your products and content is better than a large community who barely interacts with your posts.
As you grow, remember to nurture the relationships with your current followers to help strengthen brand trust and loyalty. And welcome your new followers with open arms!
Ready to get more Instagram followers? Sign up for a Later account and start visually planning and scheduling your content — for free.