11 Ways to Get More (Real!) Instagram Followers


Instagram quickly outgrew its first impression as a fun app for kids and has become a serious content marketing, networking and audience building tool for individuals and brands. It's one of the most popular social networking sites on the planet, with over 200 million active monthly members sharing 60 million images and 1.6 billion likes per day.

Just how awesome is it? Engagement rates for brands on most social networks are less than 0.1%, but Instagram blows them all away. The average Instagram engagement rate for brands in a 2014 Forrester study was an epic 58 times higher than on Facebook.

instagram vs facebook engagement

You can't argue with numbers like that. But that's just average. And as I advocate across all manners of online marketing, you don't want to be average! It's not a dream or a goal.

Sure, 58 times greater engagement than Facebook sounds great, but you can do so much better than that on Instagram. Whether you're a big brand or maybe just wondering how to become Instagram famous, I don't want you to strive for average; I want you to reach for the stars and become an Instagram unicorn. A digital unicorn is that magical, rare creature that outperforms all others by orders of magnitude.

And you're going to accomplish this by working these eleven amazing Instagram hacks into your social strategy. Check out these attention-getting ideas for your Instagram captions, hashtags, profile, and more, and see what to post on Instagram to get more followers and way more visibility and engagement too.


Get more Instagram Followers

1. Cross-promote your dedicated hashtag. 

That's nice that you created a #joesgarage hashtag for your company, but who knows to use it to share content about you? Make sure it's in your profile, but take the game offline and have it printed on your receipts, in print ads, on signage in your store and at relevant events.

11 hacks to become Instagram famous Project Runway billboard

If you're on radio and TV, direct people to use your hashtag. Integrate online and offline campaigns by ensuring it's listed on your other social profiles, on your website, and in your email blasts. Don't just hope people will find it.

2.  Get creative with hashtagging.

When it comes to Instagram caption ideas, you need to look beyond the one-word, obvious hashtags. Sure, you want to use those, too, but mix it up and use hashtags to tell part of your story. Be funny, ironic, or outrageous--just don't be BORING. Collaborative workspace company WeWork is great at this, and they include a fun mix of Instagram content, too.

11 hacks to become Instagram famous WeWork hashtag examples

3.  Participate in massively popular conversations. 

For every post, use a mix of topically relevant hashtags such as #woodworking for a carpentry company, for example, as well as trending, super-popular hashtags wherever you can.

11 hacks to become Instagram famous woodworking hashtag

The really specific hashtags are like long-tail keywords in that they show more intent and help you find the right people, but the universally trending hashtags like #instagood, #tbt, #photooftheday or even plain old #fun get you in front of more people in general. You need both to make it on a social network as big and noisy as Instagram.

4.  Make the most of your bio URL. 

It's prime real estate on your Instagram profile... do you really want your bio to only link to your website homepage, now and forever? Yawn. Change it up at least bi-weekly and use that clickable link in your bio to drive traffic to your newest or most popular content.

5.  Get descriptive with your captions. 

A picture is worth a thousand words, but you can't skip the words entirely. National Geographic is fantastic at using storytelling alongside their Instagram photos to generate engagement and sharing. While traditional media brands have dropped like flies, NatGeo has thrived across digital and become one of the top brands on Instagram, with over 50 million followers.

11 hacks to become Instagram famous National Geographic Instagram 

Like the other Instagram hacks I've included here, this is something you'll want to commit to working into your strategy over time, so don't worry if it feels weird at first. Your writing will improve as you find your brand's Instagram voice.

6.  Go all in on influencer marketing. 

Visit the profiles of each person you've identified as an influencer in your space (AKA a person who influences the people you want to get in front of) and "Turn On Post Notifications" to be notified every time they share new content. You can then interact with them regularly and become one of their favorite people or brands.

 11 hacks to become Instagram famous Instagram turn on post notifications

7.  Remove unwanted tagged photos of you from your profile. 

If you only want to feature the best user-generated content about you or your brand on your Instagram profile, you can. Now, you can't remove the tagged photos from the site entirely, by choosing "Edit Tags," selecting the ones you want to remove and choosing "Hide from Profile" (you may need to confirm). It does the trick.

8.  Approve photo tags before the content shows on your profile. 

Speaking of giving you greater control over which tagged photos appear on your profile, you can change your Instagram setting so tagged photos won't show unless you approve them first. You'll find this under "Options," "Photos of You," and "Add Manually."

 11 hacks to become Instagram famous add photo manually

I'm trying to think of a reason why any company would NOT want to do this... Nope. I've got nothing. You should absolutely set this up to avoid potentially embarrassing situations.

9.  Develop your own Instagram style.

It's human nature to want to fit in, but on Instagram, you want to stand out. Indian beverage brand Frooti has developed such a unique visual content style, it's instantly recognizable every time a user sees a Frooti post in their newsfeed. Check it out:

11 hacks to become Instagram famous Frooti Instagram

10.  Get local. 

See what's going on in a specific area (say, your neighborhood, a city you're targeting in ads, or even an event in a certain location) by going to the search page and choosing the Places tab. Then, type in the name of the place to see all geotagged posts for that location. 

11 hacks to become Instagram famous location tagging 

11 hacks to become Instagram famous location tagging

Check out more big trends in local social marketing here.

11.  Remember your calls to action! 

Instagram, like other social networks, is a conversation, not a broadcasting platform. What action do you want people to take on your post? If you don't know that, start over and figure it out. Staples is great at generating engagement by letting people know exactly what they expect them to do with their posts (bonus points if you make it sound fun). Often, that call to action cleverly gets people to share or virally spread Staples' content.

How to Get More Followers on Instagram [Summary]

To get more followers on Instagram do the following things:

  1. Promote your dedicated hashtag on your other social profiles, on your website, and your email blast.
  2. Get creative with your hashtags. Be funny, ironic, or outrageous – but never boring!
  3. Watch topically relevant and trending hashtags. Join these conversations to get in front of more people.
  4. Use your bio link to drive traffic to your newest or most popular content.
  5. Write descriptive captions. Storytelling will help generate engagement and sharing.
  6. Interact with top influencers in your space and try to become one of their favorite people or brands.
  7. Don't want a tagged photo of you or your brand on your profile? Edit Tags to hide images from your profile.
  8. Adjust your settings so any potentially embarrassing tagged photos won't show without your approval.
  9. Develop your own unique, recognizable visual style. Figure out how you want to stand out and make it so!
  10. Visit the Places tab to see what's happening locally - your neighborhood, a city you're targeting in ads, or an event in a certain location.
  11. Use a call to action to tell people what you want them to do with your posts. Find clever ways to get people to share your content.

Are you marketing your business on Instagram? Do you have a favorite Instagram hack or trick to share? Leave yours in the comments below!

This article was originally published at Inc.com. It is republished here with permission.

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Md Sagar Ali
Oct 19, 2016

nice technics, Thanks..

Sarah Soulo
Oct 22, 2016

It is interesting to witness the demise of Facebook and the rise of Instagram. However, I feel that people don't want to write much on Instagram rather they want to post images so, writing detail description against images might backfire.

Fireside Sports
Nov 18, 2017

It's difficult to find experienced people in this particular topic,
but you sound like you know what you're talking about!

Riya Sharma
Oct 24, 2016

Commendable ideas...
Effective in increasing engagement rates of a brand and promoting the business
Thanks !

josh kurucz
Oct 25, 2016

Great post! Interesting read for sure. I myself believe the use of instagram hashtags are crucial when trying to reach your target audience. I recently wrote and article highlighting the top instagram hashtags to use for maximum engagements, take a look if you'd like :)

Abegail Smith
Dec 05, 2016

Nice! and interesting! Thanks

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May 01, 2017

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Jan 09, 2017

Thanks for sharing some helpful tips! :)

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Jan 10, 2017

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Jan 26, 2017

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Sheena Mathieson
Feb 07, 2017

Great content and interesting to read. Gonna apply this tips. Thanks for providing us great ideas.

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Feb 23, 2017

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May 12, 2017

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Aug 24, 2017

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John Burrows
Mar 15, 2017

Hey really nice article very informational.

Mar 21, 2017

Well, you can also use special services. It will allow you to find more real people who possibly want to follow you. For example use zen-promo, but you can also do it without any help.

Luis Hayden
May 06, 2017

My two favorite Instagram marketing automation tools are listed below

1. the first and easiest one is https://instajool.com and, it is fantastic plus compared to similar software on the market it is very competitive starting at a very low monthly cost.

2. Instazood is and another good online Instagram tool. You can manage & Get more real followers ,likes ,comments on Instagram with this too.

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May 10, 2017

Tnx :)

May 21, 2017

Useful tips!
I have been doing it all and I have started to gain followers each and everyday.

Thanks and make sure you follow me too! :p

Instagram: simgeart

Dec 07, 2017

I'm really enjoying the design and layout of your site.
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Cameron Kinney
May 24, 2017

Great tips. I have realized that there are endless ways to grow your Instagram following. However it seems like most people are being lazy and using bots which is super risky right now. I have been using relaxedsocial.com and they are killin it with growth. I'd definately look into an alternative because of how many bots instagram is banning currently.

Celeste West
Jun 02, 2017

Its a beautiful page thanks we liked it.

Mar 15, 2018

Awesome article.

Utsav Srinet
Jun 08, 2017

Excellent article! You used great examples that are easy to understand, thank you!

Anna Laria
Jun 14, 2017

Building your online presence builds massive trust both online and offline. Having only a few followers can create the wrong impression when users land on your profile.

Khurram Zulfiqar
Jun 19, 2017

Great post! A good spin on the traditional way people get followers by posting regularly and interacting with other people. Also a better strategy for getting the most return on your time and commitment. Thanks for the ideas.

Jun 27, 2017

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Oct 01, 2017

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Jul 06, 2017

#hashtags plays a great role and let u reach to the potential audience worldwide. awsome post with new techniques for instagram users.

Aug 06, 2017

It's worth reading. Thank you so much

Andy Thompson
Aug 10, 2017

Such a good read! Perfect for Social Media Management! I'd like to use this as a reference. Keep it up!

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Oct 01, 2017

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Pallav Gogoi
Aug 14, 2017

Great ideas to increase Instagram followers naturally. Surprisingly, it's the newfound safe haven for Poets. Poetry has surely transformed over ages. Now it's going completely visual. #NewPoetry

Samuel Roy
Aug 16, 2017

These tips are more effective to get more Instagram followers.

Martina Zola
Aug 18, 2017

Awesome list for increasing Instagram Followers!

Akshat Gupta
Aug 29, 2017

it's helpful :) Thanks for sharing !!

Oct 03, 2017

very interesting

Cameron Kinney
Oct 13, 2017

Great post and awesome examples. It's great to see a bunch of graphics with each point. I made the mistake of buying followers way back when and it really hurt my account for a while. I tried a company called Relaxed Social a couple months ago and they have helped me gain a ton of engaged followers. There are lots of non-sketchy ways to get help if you don't have time to do everything on your own.

Oct 16, 2017

Very interesting and cool technics. Thanks for sharing!

Oct 17, 2017

Thank you for sharing this with us.

Steve Howe
Oct 18, 2017

As someone new to Instagram, I really appreciate these tips. Thank you!

harshal patil
Oct 19, 2017

Hi Larry ,
I was in search of how to increase Instagram and after reading your article my search is over.

Oct 22, 2017

Awesome post very help full i like it Thanks for sharing

Oct 22, 2017

Valuable information i must say and thanks for bringing this to light.

Sara Taylor
Oct 24, 2017

Astonishing Examples. This article is too good for those who want to boost their followers on Instagram. I am using Hashtags for my followers and hashtags are the best thing to increase your Instagram followers.

Nov 19, 2017

too good..

Neha sharma
Oct 29, 2017

Nice article, but sometimes by using some of this methods initially my followers are increased and later on, they start reducing. What is that problem?

Elijah James Logan
Feb 22, 2018

I read this post completely regarding the comparison of newest and preceding technologies,
it's remarkable article.

Nov 13, 2017

Thanks for sharing the great ideas.


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