In August of 2017, I embarked on a mission to get more followers for my Instagram account where I mainly post travel pictures from my vacations and business get-aways. I set a goal to get 1000 more followers in 3 months, using $0 as my campaign budget and having only engaged followers and using no cheats during the growth period.
What followed blew me away: over the course of 4 months, I managed to gather more than 4.000 followers, so 10x the amount of the original follower’s number, while spending zero dollars on ads and using no funny business sites and other gimmicks.
I decided to share my 7 tips and rules that I implemented on my own profile in order to gain the new followers and make them stick with me for the long run because loyalty is key when building any new audience.
1. Follow engaged followers
The best trick in the book is to constantly follow other people that are engaging and liking/commenting on other peoples’ photos, especially influencers. You do this by simply going to an influencer for your domain -> clicking on his last post -> clicking on the “Likes” button -> follow those persons that liked the post.
This very simple trick will enable you to get a HUGE AMOUNT of new followers daily if you have decent and constant content and are determined to do it on a daily basis. Only follow people that liked the pictures of these influencers that you follow, as it gives you a better chance for them to be following you back.
I firstly used to go ahead and just follow the people that followed my favourite influencers, but that returned a lot fewer followers for me, so I stuck to the “last photo attack” move for my 4 months growth.
2. Make following/unfollowing part of your day
Now that you have a base to work with, you need to make it regular. You can’t go anywhere if you’re not willing to put in the time and effort to follow new people and unfollow the ones that don’t follow you back. And no, having great content is not enough. It has never been.
In order to do great with this technique, use a timer. Set the timer to 11 minutes before you follow 40 people that just liked the last picture that your favourite influencer posted. Instagram allows for 40 new follows every 10 minutes (1 minute extra for security reasons) so when the timer ends, hit the stopwatch and follow 40 more.
You can do this 10 times per day, so assuming you have a morning working schedule of 4 hours, a lunch break and then 3–4 more hours in the afternoon, you can get 5 of the 10 sets done in each of the two working schedules. That sums up 400 new followed people each day, the maximum allowed. At the end of the week, usually on Friday or Saturday, after following about 2.000 new people per week, you unfollow the people that don’t follow you back.
I use the “Unfollowers&Followers Analytics for Instagram” app to unfollow the people that don’t follow me back by the end of the week. You can unfollow 1.000 people every day, with a maximum of 200 per hour. Set the timer for 1:01 after your first batch and get it done in five batches. It takes about 3 minutes for each batch and costs zero dollars.
Repeat the process for as long as you need, or for as long as you are under your desired followers count and that’s it. No money, no boots, no hacks. It works and that’s the most important thing, and you pay zero dollars for it.
3. Post once a day in your growth period
During my 4 months growing period, I posted one picture every single day with very few misses. Of course, I wasn’t able to travel and post pictures on the go as a real traveller, but I had tons of pictures from my previous travels and I took advantage of that, edited one every day and just posted it.
Posting one picture every single day shows to your new potential followers that you are engaging and consistent, which is what we all look for when we decide to go ahead and follow someone new. We need good quality content delivered daily, so we usually follow the people that do that. Simple Psychology logic, nothing more.
4. Good quality content and #hashtags are key
You’ll never grow a good following if your content is lacking. Your S4 is not a good camera to be used for your Instagram posts. Yes, you may post on #instastories with it, but that’s about it. If you want to gather a good following, you need to put some work into your photos.
Use a DSLR camera for your Instagram, never a phone. No matter how good it might be, you can always tell the difference between the two, and that’s important in the long run. You will eventually want to attract some clients that will pay you for a post, and that’s only achievable through great content, as no company will even consider you if your content is dubious.
Besides great content, as in beautiful photos that are edited, but not over-edited, you need to make sure that you find the best 30 #hashtags for each and every photo that you post. You can’t go without them #hashtags if you want to do good in searches, as people search for what they’re interested in using them. Another thing to keep in mind is to always tag the location of your photo, as that might also bring you a lot of new followers.
5. Like, comment, post on #instastory
Being engaged with the people that you follow and that follow you back is extremely important. Especially with your new followers, take some time to like the first 8–10 pictures on their profiles, comment on one of them and even DM them and congratulate them on their pictures. There’s no easier way to gain a loyal follower than interacting with him the minute he or she follows you. Trust me, I know… times 4.000!
Another thing that I do is I post daily on my #instastory. That’s like Snapchat, but for Instagram. Whether it’s just your breakfast, a walk in the park, a drive or a favourite picture with a shoutout, #instastories are very well known for inciting your followers in liking and commenting on your posts. Have good posts on your Stories and more engagement will follow.
6. Share your Instagram everywhere
Do you have a personal website? A blog? Sure you have a blog, who doesn’t? We’re all bloggers in a blogging world, right? I even linked my Instagram account to my business website, and guess what? I’m a writer, which has nothing to do with photography!
My point is if you’re doing an Instagram growth month or over a larger period of time, make sure that you share your profile everywhere you can. Do it once every week on Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and so on, as that’s more than enough, and enjoy the following stream.
7. Stay consistent
This is the most important step towards gaining a good amount of new followers. If you implement each one of the above steps for some time, but not all of them consistently, then you’ll never see good results. You will see some results, but not the best that you can.
For example, it’s useless to follow and unfollow people daily, as explained in steps 1 and 2, if you’re not willing to post good content, as described in step 4 and do it consistently, as in step 3. These guidelines, or rules, or whatever they are, they work in bulk, never individually, because Instagram works on a very tight and demanding algorithm that takes into account each and every one of the things listed above.
Do your homework, get ready and go for it. And of course, if you really want to get successful on Instagram, follow me right away!
Thank you for your time!
If you want an article like the one above for your blog or website, or any type of content for that matter, you can reach me on my content creator page HERE and we can come up with the best writing piece for you and your business!
My name is Gabriel Iosa, I’m a 25 years old travel enthusiast, food lover, Psychology student, Full-time Freelancer, writer and Instagram fanatic. You can follow me @gabrieliosa, and if you liked this post, give it exactly 45 claps!
I’m on a mission to write 365 articles in 2018. This is definitely the biggest writing challenge of my life so far. If you’d like to be part of the journey, please follow me here on Medium.com for the daily posts!