How to Get More Followers on Instagram in 2018

Posted on February 22, 2018 by in Tips & Tricks | 20 comments

How to Get More Followers on Instagram in 2018

Love it or hate it, Instagram is a major force in marketing these days. It’s no longer a social network for just the cool kids. Instagram has hit the mainstream, and that’s excellent news for you. Like anything else going mainstream, coming in late can feel impossible. Playing catch-up is not fun or easy, but Instagram is one of those networks where you can get up-to-speed relatively quickly.

Knowing how to get followers on Instagram has never been easier since the network has so many tools and cliques and fun little corners to explore.

Use Hashtags

You’re sitting there thinking, “Seriously? That’s your advice?” But hear me out. Hashtags are still a major tool for Instagram users. Yes, Instagram has a reputation for vapid and self-indulgent hashtags like #nofilter#iwokeuplikethis, or #selfielove. But outside of the commonly mocked ones, there are tons that get used by people who are directly in your targeted demographic. In fact, some hashtags even have full communities built around them and almost function like little forums.

Finding the right ones isn’t nearly as hard it once was. Instagram has finally put in an autocomplete feature that offers suggestions whenever you type in #. The useful aspect of this is seeing the number of posts for each hashtag. You can finally see where users are spending their time.

how to get instagram followers

#UseThemWell

But just throwing any even remotely relevant hashtags into your posts may not necessarily be the best way to get exposure. You have to use hashtags that are truly pertinent to your brand or your specific audience.

Let’s say that you’re looking for followers to promote your new client’s handmade guitar website, you can absolutely use #music. But that’s too generic. It has a wide reach, and it has 181 million public posts as of this writing, but that’s a lot of competition. Too much noise to get noticed. You could use #guitar, but it~22 million posts, which is still a lot of noise. #guitars, on the other hand, has a slightly more manageable 1.9 million.

However, like SEO, the further you drill down, you will find the good stuff that really converts. Just using the autosuggest, the tags #guitarshop, #customguitar, #customguitars, #handmadeguitar, and #handmadeguitars showed up anywhere between 80k to 200k posts. This is where your target users are, so the more you make yourself a presence there, they more people who will follow you. It’s likely you can get some of the top posts in a niche area.

Let me mention again the communities that spring up around hashtags. You want to find where people hang out, like maybe #guitarplayers or #indierockalabama. These are the areas where tons of potential followers congregate and become friends.

And because these aren’t as jam-packed as #music, your posts will stay on top longer for more people to see you, follow you, and start to love you.

Adding Hashtags

The last two things you need to consider when using hashtags to fish for followers is how many to use and where you should include them. Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags per post, but you shouldn’t always use that many (it seems like spamming). Some case studies have shown that interaction often plateaus after 10 tags.

Adding that many hashtags to your post can seem spammy, too. You can get around that by putting 5 single dots on 5 single lines so that the post collapses in people’s feeds. Even better than that, you can add a comment to your own photo that’s nothing but hashtags, and IG will still index your photo with them. But it has to be the first comment and because of how the IG algorithms work, and you need to post that comment immediately upon publication. If not, you may lose some juice and miss out on some potential followers.

Oh, and you can add hashtags to Stories, too. So when you’re documenting your day or doing something silly or fun, put some hashtags in the text box. They’re searchable! They might not look great in your story’s composition, so you can shrink the hashtag box down and hide it behind a supersized emoji. Instant expanded audience (or is that Insta expanded audience?) who will see the real you and follow you — because your story proves that you’re too awesome not to follow.

how to get followers on Instagram

Be Social

Instagram is a social network. So you really need to be social. It can be really easy to shout into the night, but if you really want to learn how to get followers on Instagram, you have to be someone they want to follow.

  • Like other people’s photos and comments. That activity shows up to your followers, and it creates a circular network. You like their post, they click on yours and like it, someone else sees their activity and likes you enough to follow. This is a major way to get followers these days, but it means you have to be active on IG, not just scheduling posts and leaving. You can’t expect a zillion shares and retweets on IG like you can on other platforms. It takes work here. Sorry!
  • Comment and talk to people. When you get a comment on a post, reply to it! Start a conversation with people. Jump into a conversation on someone else’s photo. People really do read conversations in comments, and having followers doesn’t mean a lot if they’re not engaged. So engage them.
  • Tag people in posts and comments. Again, the circular nature of IG appears when you begin tagging people in either your posts or your comments. Doing so shows that you’re engaged with the community, and as you make friends and start getting to know them, you will either see or post things that you want them to see. Look at this awesome design I did with @elegantthemes’ Divi!, for instance. Whether it’s a brand or an individual, sometimes they will see that kind of thing and share it on their page (which can net a ton of followers and engagement for you).

how to get instagram followers

Embed Your Photos, Don’t Link to Them

People love sliders. You may love sliders. And image galleries. I’d bet $5 that you’ve Googled WordPress Instagram feed plugin or something similar, right? It’s a photo-centric network, so of course you want to show off your pretty, pretty pictures.

Those don’t tend to get you followers, though. They can, but they don’t necessarily link back to the original post in a very intuitive way. You can, however, embed your IG posts directly into your site’s posts and pages. If done correctly and placed within some of your highest-traffic posts in lieu of traditionally hosted images, you can passively grow your Instagram followers easily.

This needs to be done in a full desktop browser, not on mobile. So go to your Instagram page (though it works from anyone’s, technically), pick the photo you want to embed, and expand it. Then click the ellipsis in the lower-right of the modal, hit embed, and it will bring up another modal where you can copy the embed code.

how to get instagram followers

After that, it’s just a quick trip to the WordPress dashboard and the post/page editor. Make sure you’re in the Text tab, not Visual. Paste in the embed code wherever you want to place it. (You can also use the Divi Code Module for this, too. Plus, you can embed a post into a sidebar or footer through any widget that accepts HTML.)

how to get instagram followers

When that’s done, you have given your readers the perfect opportunity to follow and engage with you. They can click the Follow button right there on the post, and they can even like and comment on it — or just read through the conversation that’s already there.

how to get followers on instagram

Embedding your posts is an amazing tactic to get followers on Instagram. But it shouldn’t be used for every image on your site. Each embed loads its own external scripts and extra CSS styling, which when used too much, can slow load times. You also won’t get the boost to SEO from images, alt text, and all that lovely stuff.

But when used correctly, you’ll really see a real boost to your Instagram followers.

Now You Know How to Get Followers on Instagram! Yay!

Unfortunately, the days of just tossing a few hashtags in and going about our business are behind us. With stories and a surge in users, getting followers on Instagram ain’t what it used to be. You can’t just shout into the night and expect people to find you, much less follow you. You have to have a strategy. And you basically already have to know how to get followers on Instagram, or you’re not going to get any. Or at least enough to make the platform work for you.

And now you know. You’ve got the strategies that are working for folks, and it’s time to go out there, hashtag your heart out, and make as many new internet friends as you can.

How do you get Instagram followers these days? Let’s share strategies in the comments!

Article featured image by Vas_artists

20 Comments

  1. Great points, BJ. I’ve seen a lot of instagram posts overusing hashtags and people following other accounts blindly. It’s still quality over quantity. 🙂

    • B.J. Keeton

      Yeah, it really is. I am doing a lot of experimenting on my own account right now to see how different ratios of hashtags and placement and timing affects engagement and that sort of thing. It’s interesting, but good golly is it more complicated than it used to be.

  2. Thanks for the tips Keeton! I haven’t been focusing in the social media side of things and its about time I offer this to clients too. Keep it up!

    • B.J. Keeton

      It’s always a tough call on when and to offer social to clients. When you get it right, the value you can add to packages and services you offer just skyrockets. Good luck with it! 🙂

  3. Are there any plans to add Instagram support to Monarch?

    • On that topic, I’d also like to know a suggestion for a good social media plugin that has Instagram in it. I’ve started using this one (Social Media Widget by Acurax) and really like the ease of setup and the designs but it doesn’t
      have Instagram.

      • B.J. Keeton

        Ian, I don’t know, personally. I know one of the limiting factors before was the Instagram API didn’t allow for sharing until super recently, and I haven’t heard of much Monarch stuff lately myself. If you’re looking for follow additions, there are some good plugins out there like Divi Booster that add Insta in different places, and we have this blog post to help ease some of that, too https://www.elegantthemes.com/blog/divi-resources/how-to-add-more-social-media-icons-divi

        And Karlopa, are you looking for a plugin that is more for sharing or for gaining followers?

        • B.J. Keeton

          Also, if you are using the Divi Builder, our Social Account module in the builder has Instagram in it, and I’ve used it a ton, myself. Here’s a pic: https://imgur.com/a/GsuZ0

  4. Thanks a lot for this post. I have never heard about the possibility to embed my IG post directly on my blog. It’s very useful option to be done, I think.

    • B.J. Keeton

      It’s turned out to be pretty useful for me. And you can always edit the dimensions in the generated code so you can size it how you want since it’s just HTML in there.

  5. Awesome post! The fact that Instagram suggests hashtags is really helpful, yet still not as easy as it is with Plann. The app allows you to organize your hashtags in sets and copy & paste them into your post. You can create multiple sets, on different topics. Plann also shows you how many times a hashtag has been used – plus, it’s easier to see which ones to avoid because they’re colored with red. 🙂

    • B.J. Keeton

      Oh, I am totally checking that out. 😀

  6. Nice Tips Sir… So far I do not know if imstagram is a great way to grow our business online. And maybe I am one of the late to know this.

    • B.J. Keeton

      It really can be if you commit to it. For instance in my town, there are multiple local businesses that started out selling their products on Instagram and taking orders through DMs, and they were eventually able to branch out into a storefront and an ecommerce store online.

      It takes effort as much as anything, and being successful there and growing a brand is different since it’s a social network than others (I don’t even begin to say I know the inner workings of how to start a store on there, etc.), but it’s definitely an option for folks who have that drive and business acumen.

  7. This is the best article i ever read about gaining followers on Instagram

    • B.J. Keeton

      Holy cow, that’s high praise! Thanks a bunch for that.

  8. Never buy them if you want long lasting engagement with your followers. I personally use hashtags when marketing products or services on Instagram. One of my favorite tools would be Hashatory. This hashtag suggesting tool helps me target a specific market by providing a group of related hashtags for my keyword on a search volume or tier that I preset. I find it very easy to use for both big and small campaigns.

    • B.J. Keeton

      Yes! This! So much this! I really don’t get why people buy followers if they want engagement. I gotta check out Hashatory, too because you seem to do exactly what I do for marketing that way. 🙂 Thanks, Kristel!

  9. wow ! its interesting ! good 🙂

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

500,591 Customers Are Already Building Amazing Websites With Divi. Join The Most Empowered WordPress Community On The Web

We offer a 30 Day Money Back Guarantee, so joining is Risk-Free!

Sign Up Today

Pin It on Pinterest