Since its inception just 10 years ago, Instagram has turned into an immensely valuable platform for businesses, marketers, content creators, and influencers alike – So, how do you organically grow your Instagram account?
Well, there’s much more to it than posting beautiful images.
Thanks to an ever-fluctuating algorithm, growing your profile has turned into a never-ending guessing game. But growth on Instagram is possible; you just have to understand the algorithm.
In this article, we’ve partnered with The Futur, to share four top tips to help you organically grow your account. By the time you’re finished reading, you’ll have a tried-and-true strategy to grow your audience, know exactly what to post, and stand out on Instagram.
Who is The Futur?
They’re new here, so first, let’s introduce them! The Futur, are an online education platform helping creative entrepreneurs, freelancers, and students make money doing what they love.
Their founder and CEO, Chris Do, is an author, Emmy award-winning designer, director, speaker, and educator—but more importantly, the man behind the Instagram method they have shared with us.
In fact, these exact four principles are what helped Chris grow his personal Instagram from 50,000 to 350,000 in under a year. (That’s about 10,000 followers per week.)
Ready to do the same? Let’s get into it.
Four top tips to Help you Organically Grow Your Instagram Account
1. Get On the Algorithm’s Radar
There are so many social media platforms to choose from today, each of them helping you to achieve a different goal. Though they all serve different purposes, they have one thing in common: they are fighting for our time and attention. The more time we give them, the more leverage they gain.
With Instagram specifically, one of the most effective ways to get users to spend even more time on the platform is through their carousel feature.
This is where the algorithm comes into play. Almost all platform algorithms value the time users spend on a platform. If users are continually swiping through your carousels, that’s the algorithm’s cue to favor your content to keep users online and engaged. However, if you are posting using the carousel feature, you want to make sure your content is something that makes your audience keep swiping – it has to be value-adding. So, when it comes to creating your carousel posts, think about what kind of information your audience expects from you, as well as what kind of content they respond to and engage with. The more your audience responds, the more likely it is for your content to gain impressions and reach, and therefore the more likely it is for you to organically grow your Instagram account.
Pro tip: any time a new feature is rolled out, don’t ignore it. The algorithm doesn’t just want more of our time—it wants us to adopt the new features. Learn them, use them, and get on the algorithm’s good side.
2. Know Your Audience and Serve Them
Your followers are not followers. They’re not customers, and they’re not leads. They are your audience. Once you make this distinction, you’ve instantly increased your leverage.
The content you publish isn’t just for you (unless you’re on your personal profile). If you want to grow your account, you need to readjust your mindset, and realise that the content you are creating is for your audience.
So think about them – who are they? What can they learn, gain, or be entertained by? Why should they follow you? It’s important to provide value to your audience with your content. That way, they’ll keep coming back to your profile, and organically share your content with others – without you even having to ask.
If you’re unsure of what to post to find your people, try this simple exercise to develop a content strategy that serves them:
- Recognize your skills and strengths
- Determine who your audience is, and what they may need or want
- Find out what gaps you could fill with your content
It’s also beneficial to draw up profiles, which a lot of marketing teams start with when they are building their strategy. Draw up audience profiles (we have a template here) in order to learn about who your target follower really is. You can also look at accounts in a similar space to yours, to see what their audience responds to. Also, think about talking to your existing followers – their opinions and the information they provide can be invaluable in directing your content strategy and building your account. Plus, if you show that you really hear their interests and what they are suggesting, you will inevitably build better relationships.
3. Grab Their Attention, and Hold on to it
A common acronym in the marketing world is AIDA, meaning: Attention, Interest, Details, and Action. You should spread this acronym throughout all of your content if you want to up your strategy.
The first photo should grab your target followers’ attention right away. Maybe even get them to do a double-take. It should instantly pique their curiosity and reel them in to learn more. Your goal is to have new eyes on your content to be interested enough to click through to your profile, so it is important that the first tile of your carousel or the first few seconds of your video really stands out. When you create your content, really consider this, and whether it is something that would make you click, double tap or want to learn more.
Then, following the next letter in the acronym, create interest throughout the rest of that content (whether it’s your caption, next few slides of your carousel or the rest of your video). Tease as much of the juicy information as you can, and give them the most valuable details as you get into it. Finally, prompt an action they can take within your call to action. This can be a like, follow, share, or directions to click a link in your bio.
Pro Tip: You have to get your followers to go beyond the third slide in your carousels and swipe to the end. Otherwise, your engagement will take a hit, and the algorithm will leave you behind.
4. Hashtag the Right Way
Gaining more followers requires a mixture of ingredients. First, you have to post frequently and consistently. You also need to engage and interact with your audience—this is critical. Reciprocate the attention they give your profile, and form a relationship with them.
You also have to know what hashtags to, well…hashtag. Hashtags are one of the best ways to organically grow your Instagram account. We suggest including 30 hashtags (the maximum) to increase the potential reach of your posts. The hashtags you use should be related to your content, industry, and profile. After all, people search using hashtags on Instagram, therefore, they are looking for a specific kind of content when they use them. So, you want to make sure the hashtags you use line up with the content you post – moreover that the content you post is ‘searchable’ within those hashtags. The other essential element to consider in your hashtag research, is how competitive it is in relation to your account. But, what do we mean by competitive?
You are more likely to rank on a hashtag if the posts ranking (or performing well) in that hashtag have similar engagement levels to yours – because this gives you a better chance of competing. It’s hard to compete in the ‘#love’ for example because of a) the amount of posts in that hashtag and b) the types of accounts you are competing with (which may have a higher following or engagements in comparison to you). These are just the basic fundamentals, but if you want to learn how to optimize your strategy, click here or to make things easier, try Flick for free.
Get Ready to Grow Your Instagram Profile
We hope you’ve got a few more tricks up your sleeve to befriend the algorithm, expand your audience, and sustain consistent growth on Instagram.
To learn a bit more from the snippets we’ve shared and learn Chris from The Futur’s full story, watch the full-length, uncut livestream where Chris shares even more about how he gained 10,000 followers a week on Instagram.
If you’re looking for a bit more hands-on guidance to create high-performing carousels, Chris is also hosting an exclusive online workshop on Aug 13th.
In this workshop, you’ll get a crash course in design to create visually interesting carousels that’ll earn swipe after swipe. You’ll learn how to turn your ideas into content people will want to engage with, build loyalty to your brand, and so much more.
We hope you have gained something from the four tips we’ve shared, and have learnt more about how to organically grow your Instagram account!