Instagram followers are more than just a number — they're members of your community.
That said, growing your Instagram community is key to boosting traffic and even increasing sales.
In this guide, we're sharing 18 tried-and-tested ways to get more Instagram followers — spam and bot accounts need not apply.
Table of Contents
- 1. Don’t Buy Instagram Followers
- 2. Have a Strong Personal Brand and Value Proposition
- 3. Create an Aesthetic 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. Start Creating 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 Lizzo 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’s algorithm has become so whip-smart, and it frequently weeds out phony engagement and fake accounts.
That said, when it comes to investing in your audience count, growing organically is the way to go.
It might take some time but attracting quality followers who’ll actually engage with your content and stick around is worth the wait.
Starting from scratch? Take our How to Get Your First 1,000 Instagram Followers workshop and learn how to grow from 0 to 1,000 followers (for free).
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.
Content creator Christina Galbato recommends focusing on 3-5 content pillars that are related to your niche — so you can add variety without diluting your core value.
Need help establishing your content pillars? Find out How to Use Content Pillars for Your Social Media Strategy.
3. Create an Aesthetic 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!
Preview your feed before you post with Later’s Visual Instagram Planner 🎉 Sign up for free today:
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, the greats keep their bios short, sweet, and most importantly, informative.
Check out how the Black in Fashion Council account communicates what they’re all about in one concise sentence:
Use this space to speak directly to your target audience through targeted keywords that’ll reach even more users as they search — improving your visibility on the app.
For example, check out how content creator Lauren Toyota uses the name field to reveal more about her page:
Rather than simply using “chef”, Lauren includes the keywords, “vegan chef” to open up a world of discovery for her account.
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.
Later recently analyzed over 22M Instagram feed posts (images, videos, carousels, and Reels) to discover how posting frequency impacts average reach and engagement rates.
One of the key takeaways?
If you want to reach new audiences, posting more Reels — paired with an effective hashtag and keyword strategy — is always a good idea.
However, creating quality content that drives real value for your audience should always trump quantity.
P. S. Using a social media scheduler, like Later, to plan and share your content is the best way to ensure a consistent posting cadence. Create a free account today:
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 2023, the overall best time to post on Instagram is 4 AM (calculated in local time across time zones).
To find this data, Later analyzed over 11M global image, video, carousel, and Instagram Reels posts.
From Monday to Sunday, we found that users across the board 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.
By posting earlier, accounts benefit from less competition, while also tapping into traffic from users during their first scroll of the day — even if it’s a few hours after the post was shared.
If you want to cash-in on those early time slots without sacrificing your REM cycle, scheduling your IG content based on your best time to post is the way to go:
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.
For example, beauty brand Glossier partnered with content creator and dancer, Patricia Zhou on a Reel to test drive and create hype around their latest product drop:
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.
However, you will have to work with more Nano or Micro influencers to reach the same audience size as a Macro influencer — so the right strategy will depend on your bandwidth and budget requirements.
11. Start Creating 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 high-interest content from both users you follow, and users you don’t, leading to increased engagement.
This means the Reels you create can easily reach beyond your follower list — helping 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
Keep your Reels short and snappy 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)
PS: With Later, you can schedule your Instagram Reels in advance — saving you tons of time. Sign up today:
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.
Don't sleep on your Instagram Stories Highlight strategy — they're the perfect way to introduce your brand to new followers. ⚡— Later (@latermedia) February 12, 2022
Check out how Sephora uses their Instagram Stories Highlights to showcase current offers and resources:
Creating high-quality highlights can help you increase brand awareness, attract new followers, and showcase your most valuable Instagram Stories content to new visitors.
So, what are you waiting for? Start scheduling your Instagram Stories in advance with Later today — available on all paid plans.
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.
Plus, finding UGC is super easy! Followers can either use your branded hashtag or tag your brand.
Take Knix, for example. The brand collects UGC images and videos from their customers and saves them to an Instagram Stories Highlight called #YouInYourKnix:
The result? Anyone who sees a user-generated picture has an easy route to discover Knix’s Instagram account!
NOTE: You should always ask permission from the original creator — even if they tagged it with your specific UGC-focused hashtag.
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 like TikTok is a great place to start.
First, connect your Instagram account to your TikTok.
Then, create a few TikToks that encourage viewers to click through to your Instagram profile.
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? Was the CTA (call-to-action) in your caption optimized for engagement? Did you publish when your audience was most engaged? Was there anything different about the type of images you shared?
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:
Ready to start tracking your performance more efficiently? Sign up to Later and explore the Instagram Analytics dashboard today!
18. Connect With Your Community
One of the easiest 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:
As you engage, the relationship with your community will grow stronger.
And, when you have people who trust and believe in what you’re posting, they’ll share your content with their own followers too.
So while there’s no such thing as overnight success when it comes to getting more Instagram followers, by following the above 18 tips and strategies, you’ll be well on your way to building an engaged community.
Ready to grow your Instagram following? Sign up for Later to plan, schedule, and post to Instagram.