Instagram followers are more than just a number — they're members of your community.
That said, if your main goal is to grow on Instagram, you could see an increase in traffic, sales, and engagement.
In this guide, we're sharing 18 ways to get more Instagram followers — plus the best social media management platform for planning, scheduling, and analyzing your posts.
Table of Contents
- 1. Don’t Buy Instagram Followers
- 2. Have a Strong Personal Brand and Value Proposition
- 3. Create a Cohesive Instagram Feed
- 4. Optimize Your Instagram Bio
- 5. Write Your Captions for Instagram SEO
- 6. Find the Best Hashtags for Your Followers
- 7. Create a Consistent Instagram Posting Schedule
- 8. Find Your Best Time to Post
- 9. Make Sure Your Instagram Content is Accessible
- 10. Work With Other Brands, Creators, and Influencers
- 11. Create More Instagram Reels
- 12. Optimize Your Instagram Stories Highlights
- 13. Create Memes and Other Shareable Content
- 14. Lean Into User-generated Content
- 15. Run an Instagram Giveaway
- 16. Cross-promote Your Instagram Through Other Channels
- 17. Analyze High-performing Content
- 18. Connect With Your Community
1. Don’t Buy Instagram Followers
When it comes to growth on Instagram — unless Taylor Swift has mentioned you in a song — it doesn’t happen overnight.
But shortcuts like buying followers or bots aren’t the answer.
Why? Because Instagram frequently weeds out phony engagement and fake accounts — and you could find yourself shadowbanned.
It might take some time but attracting quality followers who’ll actually engage with your content and stick around is worth the wait.
2. Have a Strong Personal Brand and Value Proposition
Would you walk into a shop if you had no idea what it sold? Probably not.
Well, the same principle applies to your Instagram account.
Having a clear value proposition (whether it’s styling tips, inspirational quotes, or cooking content) is essential for converting visitors into followers.
However, this doesn't mean all your content has to be exactly the same.
For more branding tips, watch our free course: How to Get Your First 1K Instagram Followers
3. Create a Cohesive Instagram Feed
Nowadays, your Instagram page is pretty much a resume, portfolio, and website all wrapped up in one.
And while it doesn't have to be picture-perfect, first impressions still matter.
With just seconds to introduce yourself and convey your brand personality, a strong Instagram aesthetic could be the difference between a visitor hitting follow or tapping away.
To create a visual identity that supports your brand’s look and feel, use an Instagram feed planner like Later's Visual Planner:
This way you can see how your posts look as a whole, and what impression they make when someone lands on your profile — it’s the perfect recipe for growth on the platform!
4. Optimize Your Instagram Bio
Your Instagram bio is often the first touch point for new visitors, making it the perfect opportunity to communicate who you are, and what you offer, straight from the jump.
And with only 150 characters to set the stage, it's important to make sure your bio is short, informative, and includes relevant keywords to make your account more discoverable.
For example, rather than simply using “chef”, creator Lauren Toyota includes “vegan chef” in the name field:
Your Instagram bio also only allows one external link, so it’s important to be strategic about how you use it.
With Later's Linkin.bio, you'll get a customizable link in bio tool that lets you create a landing page with button links and a clickable version of your Instagram feed:
This makes it easier to direct followers to specific web pages referenced in your posts, without having to frequently update the URL in your Instagram bio.
Work smarter, not harder — sign up today!
7. Create a Consistent Instagram Posting Schedule
When it comes to growing on Instagram, consistency is the name of the game.
“The more consistent your posts, the more your audience will get to know you — which in turn builds trust. They’ll also know what to expect from you, giving them a reason to follow and engage with your content,” says Later’s Social Media Manager, Christine Colling.
However, creating quality content that drives real value for your audience should always trump quantity.
8. Find Your Best Time to Post
As mentioned above, creating consistent content on Instagram matters.
And to get more eyes on your content, posting at the right time, can lead to a spike in traffic, and new audiences.
In a Later study, we found that users across the board tend to interact with content posted in the early hours of the day — more than any other time slot.
In other words: the early bird gets the worm.
However, it's important to find your unique best time to post. With Later's best time to post tool, you'll get suggestions for your best time to post for optimal engagement.
9. Make Sure Your Instagram Content is Accessible
According to the World Health Organization (WHO), an estimated 2.2B people have a vision impairment or experience blindness.
So, if you’re not prioritizing accessibility in your social media strategy, you could be keeping potential clients, customers, or connections from engaging in your content.
Here are five ways to make your Instagram account more accessible and inclusive:
Add subtitles or text overlays to video content (including Instagram Stories and Reels)
Write descriptive alt text for your Instagram posts
Verbalize visual details during stories and videos
Capitalize each word in Instagram hashtags. This helps screen-readers read them aloud properly
Create content that’s screen-reader friendly by limiting the use of emojis in captions and text overlay
After all, inclusive content means that more people can access and consume it, which can result in higher engagement, new followers, and an overall better experience for everyone on Instagram.
10. Work With Other Brands, Creators & Influencers
Partnering with like-minded influencers and brands is a major growth hack.
You'll be able to benefit from brand association and tap into a new pool of potential followers.
The best news? Partnerships don’t have to break the bank. Some of the most effective ones are simple and mutually beneficial.
Similarly, you don’t have to work with supersized influencers to make an impact.
Nano and Micro influencers typically have higher engagement rates than Macro influencers and have lower rates for sponsored posts.
11. Create More Instagram Reels
Instagram Reels are still one of the most effective ways to reach new audiences on the app.
Unlike other types of Instagram posts (e.g. carousels), Reels have a designated spot on the Explore page and their tab on the home feed navigation bar, making them super discoverable.
Much like TikTok’s For You page, the Reels feed serves users high-interest content, making it easier to increase your visibility and grow your follower count.
For the best results:
Use keywords and hashtags in your Reels captions that accurately describe your video content
Use trending sounds on Instagram Reels (when relevant to your brand!)
Keep your Reels short to encourage repeat views
Create original content
Add on-screen text for viewers watching without sound
Aim for high-quality video footage (rather than uploading content with a TikTok watermark)
12. Optimize your Instagram Stories Highlights
Even though stories disappear after 24 hours, you can keep them alive by saving them to your Instagram Story Highlights.
Creating high-quality highlights can help you increase brand awareness, attract new followers, and showcase your most valuable Instagram Stories content to new visitors.
14. Lean Into User-generated Content
Encouraging your community to share user-generated content (UGC) is a great way to raise brand awareness and grow your Instagram following.
Take Knix, for example.
The result? Anyone who sees a user-generated picture has an easy route to discover Knix’s Instagram account.
NOTE: Before re-sharing UGC, you should always ask permission from the original creator — even if they tagged you.
15. Run an Instagram Giveaway
If you want to grow your following fast, hosting an Instagram giveaway can be one of the most effective tactics.
With the right strategy, you can reach thousands of potential new followers, all while building a stronger sense of community around your brand:
Make sure you set clear entry requirements that support your growth goals, such as tagging a friend in the comments, sharing to Instagram Stories, and following your account.
Instagram giveaways can be especially beneficial when hosted in partnership with a creator or brand with a similar target audience.
16. Cross-promote Your Instagram Through Other Channels
If you’re looking for extra ways to grow your Instagram following, cross-promoting your account on other platforms is a great place to start.
For example, you can connect your Instagram account to your TikTok to encourage viewers to click-through to your Instagram profile too.
Or, if TikTok isn’t part of your marketing strategy, you can direct people to your Instagram via your website, email newsletter, podcast, or another social platform.
17. Analyze High-performing Content
When it comes to monitoring your brand’s performance on Instagram, reach is one of the most important metrics to take into account.
Reach shows how many unique accounts have seen your post, and therefore how much awareness and value you’re gaining.
If a post receives higher (or lower) reach than usual, you can use those results as insight for future posts.
What hashtags did you use? What type of content did you share? Was the CTA (call-to-action) in your caption optimized for engagement?
One of the easiest ways to keep track of your reach — and all other metrics — is with Later’s Instagram Analytics:
It gives you a visual overview of how your posts, stories, and Reels are performing — in an easy-to-use dashboard.
Create an account and track the performance of your posts with Later's tools today.
18. Connect With Your Community
One of the best ways to grow your account?
Connect with your followers and build an engaged Instagram community.
Whether you’re a creator or a brand, ask yourself:
How often are you replying to DMs and comments?
Do you set time aside to engage in real-time via Instagram Stories or Lives?
For example, content creator Alexandra Nikolajev often uses Stories for Q&As — allowing her to connect with her community on a deeper level:
The takeaway? When you have people who trust and believe in what you post, they’re more likely to share your content with their own followers too.
So there you have it — while getting more Instagram followers won't automatically happen overnight, by following the above 18 tips and strategies, you’ll be well on your way.
Ready to grow your Instagram following? Sign up for Later to plan, schedule, and post to Instagram.