Seeing how many incredible and engaged accounts there are on Instagram right now can leave you feeling defeated when you try to stand out. But it’s important to remember that there are so many excellent accounts on Instagram because the social platform is one of the hottest places to be on the internet right now — and it doesn’t look like that trend will slow down any time soon.
As of 2020, more than one billion global users visit Instagram monthly. By 2023, eMarketer estimates that number to grow to about 1.18 billion users.
But growing your Instagram base requires a clear strategy, especially to stand apart from the masses and foster a genuine following. Fortunately, several techniques can result in steady, organic growth to continue building your following for years to come.
How to Grow Your Instagram Followers in 2022
Try the following tried-and-true tips to grow your Instagram followers in the upcoming year and beyond.
Optimize Your Account
Screenshot via @fashionjunkeedotcom on Instagram
First things first: Optimize your account so that it’s easy for people to find you and understand exactly what you’re about when they visit your profile. Your profile image and bio should match you or your brand’s story, and your bio should make it clear what you do.
And then there’s that pesky one-link rule. Because you only get one link in your bio, you need to make it count. Link it to your website where people can learn more about you or use a linking service, like Linktree or Campsite, to add multiple links to a landing page.
Post at the Right Times (and Do It Regularly)
Some days and times are better than others to post on Instagram, and each industry typically has its own set of best days and times. To find out when your best options are, look to your account’s analytics. The data will show you when your best engagement slots are and when your audience uses Instagram the most.
And, whenever you decide to post, do it consistently. Create a regular posting schedule so that your followers know when to expect new stuff from you and to keep Instagram’s algorithm happy.
Tell Stories in Captions
Screenshot via @selmablair on Instagram
Instagram favors long captions that are more like short blog posts than captions with a couple of sentences. Long captions can increase engagement because Instagram has become more of a storytelling place than simply a photo-sharing platform.
Why? Audiences on Instagram want to learn more about the people they follow. Longer captions help grow and build an audience that feels like they know you personally, making you feel more real to your community and, in turn, potentially sparking engagement.
Don’t Forget Keywords
Like blog posts and articles on websites, Instagram can benefit from using keywords. It’s the same basic idea as search engine optimization (SEO) that draws traffic organically to your profile. However, it’s not your posts that need keywords; it’s your profile.
Your Instagram bio is searchable, so using keywords in it is a good idea to help people find you if they’re searching for relevant keywords. For instance, Instagrammers looking for pet bloggers to follow might search phrases like dog blogger or pet expert. If your bio contains these phrases, you could send those searchers right into your follower count.
Use IGTV, Reels, and Lives
Screenshot via @langehair on Instagram
Instagram offers several ways for users to boost their following beyond their feeds. IGTV, Reels, and Lives are video-based options that create a more interactive and engaging Instagram. Here’s how to use them:
- IGTV: Kind of like YouTube for Instagram, IGTV is a great place to start a series or post longer content. IGTV allows up to 60 minutes per video.
- Reels: These are similar to TikTok videos, meant to grab attention and invoke engagement. Reels can go viral quickly, too.
- Lives: Lives have the most potential for engagement because your followers can join in to comment in real-time. Back-and-forth interaction between you and your followers can garner lots of views and comments.
Make Your Instagram Interactive
Speaking of interactivity, Stories can also do the trick. Stories show your followers a behind-the-scenes look at your account. Users post photos and videos from their day, polls, questions, and other highly engaging and interactive content. Instagram even says that Instagram users respond to about one in three Instagram Stories via direct message.
Host a Contest
It’s almost impossible to browse Instagram without finding a contest in your feed. Contests and giveaways can grow your account rapidly because they tend to get a lot of engagement. Often, contest-holders require people to follow their accounts, tag friends, and like the post to qualify for an entry to win. All three tasks can lead to growth.
Engage with Other Accounts
When you like and comment on other accounts’ posts, you’ll boost the chances of increasing your engagement, too. Not only will the Instagrammer see that you’ve liked and commented and possibly do the same for you, but their followers can also see that. Engage with Instagrammers who have similar audiences to yours, and their followers could also become yours.
Participate in Collabs
As you grow, you might gain opportunities to collaborate with brands on Instagram. When you do, you’ll usually need to post branded content to your account, but the brand may also repost your content to its account. Brands who do it correctly will tag you in their collab posts, hopefully getting you lots of new followers.
Organic growth is essential on Instagram. Add the Instagram follow button to your website to let those who love your content follow along on Instagram (with just a single click).