Instagram followers are more than just numbers – they're members of your online community.
That said, growing on Instagram can help you increase traffic to your site, make more sales, or even turn you into a trendsetting influencer.
In this guide, we're sharing 14 ways to get more Instagram followers – without the spam accounts or bots.
How to Get More Instagram Followers on Instagram in 2022
If you want to get more Instagram followers this year, here are 14 proven strategies to try on your account:
Tap into Instagram Reels
Optimize your post captions for search
Curate your profile for a strong first impression
Invest in your hashtag strategy
Host an Instagram giveaway
Collaborate with influencers and brands
Create highly-shareable content (including memes)
Have a clear value proposition
Cross-promote your account on different channels
Create an Instagram challenge
Encourage user-generated content (UGC) with a branded hashtag
Make your content accessible to all audiences
Add keywords to your bio's name field
Ready to jump into the details? Get the low-down by watching this video — or read the full blog post below.
#1: Tap Into Instagram Reels
If you’re not sharing Instagram Reels yet, you could be missing out on a huge opportunity to grow your follower count.
Reels, Instagram’s short-form, looping video feature, is still one of the most effective ways to reach new audiences on the app.
Unlike most of the Instagram experience, viewers in the Reels feed are served high interest content from both users they follow, and users they don’t.
This means the Reels you create can easily reach far 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
Use trending sounds
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)
Even if your brand or business doesn’t feel like an obvious fit for Reels, there are still ways to see success.
Experiment with popular trends, take followers behind-the-scenes, or even share a before and after of your product.
New to the world of Instagram Reels? Find out how to create next-level videos that super-charge your reach in our blog post: 15 Instagram Reels Ideas to Post Today
#2: Optimize Your Post Captions for Search
Optimizing your Instagram posts for search is a major Instagram hack for growing your following.
Following a recent update from Instagram, English-speaking users in 6 countries are now able to search Instagram using keywords.
According to an Instagram spokesperson via The Verge, the team considers a number of factors, including the “type of content, captions, when it was posted,” and more to surface relevant results.
It also uses machine learning to “find the highest quality content that’s relevant to you.” For now, only grid posts will show up.
TIP: Write your post captions in advance, on desktop, with Later’s free social media scheduling platform.
You can write all of your post captions in one focused power hour, and then set them to go live at your best time to post.
Plus, you can save multiple caption templates with Later’s Saved Captions feature – that you can add to your posts in two taps. It makes creating great Instagram captions easier than ever.
#3: Curate Your Profile for a Strong First Impression
Having a well planned Instagram feed, that clearly showcases your niche, is key for converting profile visitors into followers.
When someone lands on your profile, you want them to instantly understand what your account is all about.
To create a consistent aesthetic that supports your brand, use a visual planner tool to curate your Instagram grid before you post.
Consider how your posts look together as a whole, and what impression they give when someone lands on your profile for the first time.
#4: Invest in a Hashtag Strategy
Instagram hashtags are one of the biggest tools for growth at your disposal, and shouldn’t be overlooked.
After looking at over 18M Instagram feed posts, we discovered that reach rate increases by 11% (from 24% to 35%) as the number of hashtags grows from one to 30.
To put that in perspective, for an account with 20K followers, that’s an additional 2.2K accounts reached per post.
If you need inspiration on which hashtags to use, check out Later’s Hashtag Suggestion tool – it provides 30 associated hashtags sorted by relevance that you can add to your post captions.
TIP: Use Later’s Saved Captions feature to curate and save lists of top-performing hashtags that you can quickly add to your captions in two taps.
#5: Host 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 that shares your target audience.
Which brings us onto our next strategy to get more Instagram followers...
#6: Collaborate with Influencers and Brands
Collaborating with likeminded influencers and brands is a major win-win. You'll be able to benefit from brand association and tap into a new pool of potential followers.
The best news? Collaborations don’t have to break the bank. Some of the most effective partnerships are simple and mutually beneficial.
For example, beauty retailer SpaceNK partnered with a luxury retreat destination to offer their community the opportunity to win an exclusive getaway.
Similarly, you don’t have to work with supersize influencers to make an impact. Nano and Micro influencers typically have higher engagement rates than Macro influencers, and typically have a lower rate card 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.
#7: Create Highly-shareable Content (Including Memes)
When it comes to organically reaching new audiences, creating shareworthy content is a great place to start.
Inspirational quotes, informative carousel posts, and on-trend memes are all tried-and-tested formats – and it only takes one viral post to reach thousands of people.
Memes in particular are huge for generating viral reach – especially when they tap into something that’s trending in popular culture. They’re often funny or clever, and they typically feature a combination of text and imagery (a photo, GIF, or video).
To create a super successful meme, try to find the balance between the trending visuals you’re working with, the sentiment of your target audience, and your brand’s niche.
On Later’s Instagram account for example, we typically create memes that are relevant to social media managers:
The more your meme resonates with members of your community, the more likely it will be shared far and wide.
#8: Have a Clear Value Proposition
Would you walk into a shop if you had no idea what it sold? Probably not, right?
Well, the same principle applies to your Instagram account.
Having a clear value proposition (whether it’s styling tips, inspirational quotes, or lifestyle content) is essential for converting visitors to your profile into followers.
However, this doesn't mean all of your content has to be exactly the same.
Need help establishing your content pillars? Find out How to Use Content Pillars for Your Social Media Strategy in this blog post.
#9: Cross-promote Your Instagram Account on Different 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.
TikTok is a major platform for cross-promoting your Instagram account.
On TikTok, one of the first things you can do to ensure Instagram traffic is by connecting your Instagram account to your TikTok.
You can 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.
#10: Create an Instagram Challenge
Instagram challenges have always been popular (remember the ice bucket challenge in 2014?), and now they're appearing more frequently on Instagram Reels.
Creating a successful Instagram challenge can catapult your account into the zeitgeist – reaching thousands, or even millions, of potential followers.
For the best results, make sure that participation is as easy as possible, create a branded hashtag to tie the challenge back to your brand, and think about what people will enjoy participating in.
#11: Encourage User-generated Content (UGC) With a Branded Hashtag
Encouraging your community to share user-generated content (UGC) is an awesome way to raise brand awareness and grow your Instagram following.
And sharing UGC is super easy! Followers can either use your branded hashtag or tag your brand.
The result? Anyone who sees a user-generated picture has an easy route to discover the Birdy Grey Instagram account.
TIP: With Later’s Collect features, you can review all of the posts you’ve been tagged in, or search for posts that contain a specific hashtag. Once you find the perfect post, you can save it to your Media Library. Later will maintain the original quality of the post and add the handle of the original creator.
NOTE: You should also ask permission from the original creator — even if they tagged it with your specific UGC-focused hashtag.
#12: Make Your Content Accessible
Here are four simple ways to make your Instagram account more accessible and inclusive today:
Add subtitles or text overlays to video content (including Instagram Videos, Stories, and Reels)
Manually 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 to read them aloud properly
TIP: Instagram recently released auto-generated captions in 16 languages for stories, so it’s easier than ever to make your content more accessible.
#13: Post More Consistently
When it comes to growing on Instagram, consistency is the name of the game.
Later recently analyzed over 81M feed posts (excluding Reels) to discover how posting frequency impacts average reach and engagement rates.
One of the key takeaways was that accounts that post more frequently typically have more followers:
However, creating quality content that drives real value for your audience should always usurp quantity.
#14: Add Keywords to Your Bio's Name Field
Did you know: the words you include in the Name Field of your Instagram bio are searchable?
For example, if your brand specializes in custom artwork, you may want to include keywords like “Art,” or “Artwork” in your Name Field.
“Think about what your niche is, which industry you’re in, who you target, and what solution you offer,” recommends Instagram expert, Elise Darma. “When in doubt, pop that term into the search bar on Instagram and see what appears.”
TIP: Find out how to get your first 1000 followers in our free course with Elise Darma.
Growing your Instagram account can seem like a uphill battle, but if you follow the right techniques and strategies, you can definitely get more Instagram followers.
It’s a combination of posting creative content, targeting the right audiences, and tapping into Instagram's new features and trends.
So, are you ready to grow your Instagram following? Sign up for Later to plan, schedule, and post to Instagram.