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How to get real Instagram followers

Accordind to Justin M. Bienio, Increasing your following organically is a long, arduous process. It’s not necessarily “challenging”, but you have to work for it. There is no magic bullet to gaining followers other than having an influencer tell their following to follow your account. That’s like winning the Instagram lottery. It’s not a viable solution for success.

So what should you do instead of “buying followers”?

1. Set Up Your Account Properly
  • Figure out your niche and STICK TO IT. The more focused it is, the better chance you’ll have of developing a following.

  • Fill out your profile completely. If you have a blog, add the website. Use emojis (sparingly) to accent the description.

  • Don’t refer to yourself as an “influencer” unless you have at least 10k followers (really it should be more like 100k) and they’re highly engaged.

2. Content Creation
  • Post GREAT content. No blurry, boring, or poorly composed photos. If you post great content, you will build a following.

  • Post great content CONSISTENTLY. It doesn’t really matter if you post once a day or twelve times a day. Just be consistent. I’d suggest 3–4 times per day until you build up your following. You don’t want to spam your followers’ feeds.

  • Utilize stories effectively. The fastest way to get someone to swipe off your story is to make it boring. Think of it as the B team to your posts. You post your best posts in your gallery. The photos and videos that you post in your stories should speak to your gallery. They should support it by following a similar theme.

  • Use the location tag in your posts. This will help other people find your profile when searching for the same/similar locations.

  • Tag brands, organizations, and other accounts that are RELEVANT to your post. If I’m running a travel-specific account, it doesn’t make much sense to tag Good Housekeeping type, does it?

3. Captions
  • Give your captions PERSONALITY! Make your captions interesting. The photo will capture their eye, the caption will capture their heart (so to speak). You want to build a following of engaged followers. Captions are how you speak to them. If you’re just mentioning the place you’re at and the camera you used, they’ll lose interest quickly.

  • Include a Call to Action (CTA) in your posts. A CTA tells your followers to do something (i.e. perform an action). People are used to being told what to do; so this is a surprisingly effective technique. Depending on your caption, CTAs can be put at the beginning or end of it. You can use multiple CTAs, but they need to make sense or it’ll come across as spammy like a late-night infomercial.

4. Hashtags 

  • Without hashtags, nobody is going to find your photos other than your current followers. The struggle with hashtags is that they’re easily misunderstood by so many IG users.

  • Use a mix of hashtags to reach more people who will may be interested in following your account.

  • Broad Appeal - these are the big ones that will reach more people, but not as likely to turn into clients/followers as below (use #s that are between 150k-250k uses)

  • Niche Appeal - the sweet spot, these will reach an array of people with average results (50k-150k uses)

  • Highly Specific Appeal - will reach a small number of people, but more likely to be converted (15k-50k uses)
You can use up to 30 hashtags, just do so wisely with a good mix of the above. Using a bunch of #love or #travel that have like 100M uses will get your photos lost on those explore pages almost instantly. Conversely, using too many highly specific will leave you pitching to too small of an audience.

5. Identify & Follow GOOD Accounts 

  • Use hashtags to find accounts in your niche and try to get them to follow you. Once you’ve identified an account that is relevant and “might” follow you back, use the following points to determine whether or not it’s a GOOD account for you to follow. 

  • Have under 5-10k followers
They’re likely to be trying to build their following
As accounts get more followers, they’re less likely to follow back (i.e. The Rock)

  • Post regularly
-- If they go several days or weeks without posting, don’t bother
-- If they haven’t posted in the past month, don’t bother
-- Follow a reasonable number of accounts
This varies by size - smaller accounts just starting out will likely be following more accounts than they have followers
For larger accounts, look for ones that follow about 25-50% of their follower count
For smaller accounts, look for ones that follow about 50-200% of their follower count
For very small accounts, look for ones that simply don’t look absurd (i.e. 50 followers and follow 2,000 accounts)

Example 1: Accounts that have 3,000 followers and follow 3,000+ accounts aren’t necessarily highly engaged accounts -- they are likely just the follow-for-follow type of account

Example 2: Accounts that have 1,000 followers and follow 200 accounts are unlikely to follow back because they’re either elitist (want to keep their number very low to look desirable) or simply want to keep their feed uncluttered and are very picky with who they choose to follow

Example 3: Accounts that have 200 followers and follow 450 accounts are likely trying to build their following and are good accounts to target

6. Engage with their followers
Look at the comment section on a few accounts and see if they respond to comments
No responses = not an engaged account and are unlikely to engage with you
Consistent Responses = a highly engaged account
Post good content
If you don’t like the content they post, don’t follow the account
If the photos are bad, don’t follow the account -- you don’t need blurry, poorly composed photos clogging up your feed

Are not “cheating” accounts
If an account has 35 posts and 14k followers, it’s a good chance their either famous and brand new at IG or are using a follow/unfollow bot application

Like > Comment > Follow 

Now that you’ve decided the account you’ve found is a good one to follow, you have to engage with it by doing the following:

1. Like the most recent post
2. Like at least 3-5 additional posts, but don’t go overboard
3. When you rapidly like 10+ photos in a row, it comes across as spammy
4. Mix it up with a couple recent posts and some older posts (weeks to months old)
5. Comment on 1-3 posts
Ideally, you’d comment on the most recent post, but that’s not always the case
6. Make your comments insightful, not just “amazing shot” or “love this” or a bunch of emojis
7. DON’T ask them to check out your profile and/or follow you…that just reeks of desperation
8. You want to create a conversation, not a one-and-done statement
9. Ask a question about the image or caption
10. Share a personal connection to the post

Follow the account!
DO NOT, FOLLOW-UNFOLLOW. That’s a shitty tactic that people use to keep their follower/following ratio down and it’s not a good practice. If, over time, the account becomes one that posts content you’re no longer interested in, then go ahead an unfollow.

Everything I just mentioned is a good way to get you started. Without putting in the work, you won’t build a following. As Instagram evolves, you need to evolve with it. Good luck!

Do you have more ideas? Share in comments below

This post first appeared on Ceelia, please read the originial post: here

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How to get real Instagram followers


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