10 Ways to Grow Your Instagram Following in 2024

In Creator success, Grow your following by Danielle Pederson January 31, 2024

If you’ve never been initiated into the world of Instagram and/or are unaware of its significance, let us put this in perspective: 80% of businesses report that they use the platform to promote their businesses and/or products! That’s one way to know what’s working in the marketplace! If it works for big businesses, it can work for you, too! But first, you need an audience to market to. 

So how can you grow your following in a relatively short amount of time?

Here are 10 tips on how to grow your Instagram following so that you have a solid, loyal and engaged audience in 2024 that can help you earn more as a creator. 

1. Start Posting Reels 

In the beginning, Instagram was just a photo sharing app. But it quickly realized the value of video and launched its Stories feature: a way to post short vertical-videos viewable only to followers, visitors to your page, and friends. 

Enter Reels. These are public-facing, meaning everyone can watch it (and it opens the door to going viral). Reels should be in your Instagram strategy due to their high engagement rates, as opposed to Instagram posts. 

Check out this one by Don Marshall where he promotes his LOTR calendar!

@donmarshall72 – 131K IG followers

Reels get 42% more likes than posts, and four times the number of shares. It’s a quick way to gain more followers AND increase merch sales.

Here are some tips when comes to Reels:

  • Follow trends but be unique. You want to put your own spin on trends that are hot on TikTok, Instagram and across the web. 
  • Provide valuable information. Product hacks and lifestyle tips are always popular. Find that sweet spot between education and entertainment, whether it’s industry info, funny takes on trends, product demos, tips, how-to videos, etc.

When making your reels, don’t try to overtly sell your products. Get people emotionally engaged with your content so they will want to follow you to see more. Then they’ll discover your products (and be more inclined to buy).

2. Optimize Your IG Profile

New users will first find you from a post that pops up in their feed (or on the Explore page – more on that below). If they like your content, the next step is for them to click on your profile. Here is where you can gain or lose a follower. 

Make sure your profile represents you and your content. You need a unified vision. If someone finds you from a Cat video, but your profile is all about football…you’re not clearly communicating what you’re about. It is for this reason that your brand should show up in the same way on your profile that it would on any other social channels, your Spring store, and product designs. Think of all of it as the billboard for your brand. 

Check out this creator, @Jimmyandclarence for inspo:

Merch store: https://www.kingclarence.com

💡Tip: You can use Instagram’s native scheduling feature to plan and schedule Instagram posts and Reels to create the overall look and layout of your feed. 

3. Collaborate With Other Creators

The sad (or awesome, depending on your situation) truth is that when an influencer or celebrity tells someone to use a product through their words or actions, they just reached a new stratosphere of the customer base. 

In fact, 61% of consumers say they trust influencer recommendations. When someone we know (or know of) endorses something, we’re more likely to trust them than someone who may have a better product (but we don’t know who they are or if their product is good). 

Look for creators in your niche that have something in common with you and your brand (and make sure they have a good following). It’s a chance for both of you to broaden your fan base.

4. Implement a Hashtag Strategy

Using hashtags is a great way to show up in search results when users search for content similar to yours.

A common strategy is using hashtags that users often search up or a current trend that’s exploding online. These hashtags, however, tend to be saturated. 

One way around it could be to pick popular hashtags that are close to your niche.

Here are the top 10 hashtags on Instagram so far in 2024:

  • #love
  • #instagood
  • #photooftheday
  • #tbt
  • #selfie
  • #art
  • #friends
  • #repost
  • #nature
  • #style

Maybe pick some of those and put your own spin on it. Also check out other creators in your niche to see how they are tagging their posts and hop on that train. The goal is to capture a broader audience, and since most people don’t put a limit on who they follow, go after every niche you can.

Use hashtags in Reels and Stories, too! In Stories, you can use hashtag stickers (which can be found in the Instagram Stickers menu when creating a Story) or just hashtag directly in your post captions. Since users can also follow hashtags, your Stories have a chance to be seen by those who are following that hashtag—not just your followers. 

Hashtags in Reels are added in the third stage of the Reel-creation process. Add and edit your video before proceeding to a screen where you can add account tags, location tags, and hashtags.

💡Tip: To bump old content, add hashtags to comments or use the edit feature on Instagram to add them to the captions after posting. 

5. Time Your Posts

When are IG users most active? You want to post at high traffic times, not during the dead zone when your target audience is offline. 

We’re not here to endorse one over another, but there are multiple social media scheduling tools that will help you determine when the best time to post is based on your target audience.

If you’re curious about a basic guideline, see below for some general “best times”, but if you sell tees and hoodies about night life to a target audience that wakes up at 3 in the afternoon…you get the idea. 

Best times to post on Instagram (regardless of time zone)

  • Weekdays 7AM – 9AM (catch users after they wake up and before work)
  • Mondays, Tuesdays, Thursdays 6PM – 8PM (catch the “I’m almost off work” crowd)
  • Fridays 4PM (TGIF)
  • Saturdays & Sundays after 4PM (the daytime is slower than weekdays, but picks up toward evening)

6. Sell Branded Products to Build UGC (User-Generated Content)

User-generated content (UGC), whether it be photos, videos, written reviews, audio, and more—is content that is created about a brand by a customer, fan, or follower. 

This is invaluable when you have users out there doing your job for you! At some point, your brand could actually be running itself. Not really, but isn’t it nice to know someone else is helping to carry the load? UGC gives your brand credibility but also further reach (by all of that user’s followers) which ultimately means more followers for you.

When you design custom merch, you are inviting fans into your brand by letting it now be part of their life. When they post on social media, you now have a chance for your brand to reach new users. So ask your customers to post when they purchase!

Check out this IG post from a fan wearing merch by our creator @Indeimaus!

@hexxbite wearing @indeimaus merch.

Strategies to get more UGC:

  • Create a branded hashtag feed where customers can post images after they purchase your product.
  • Add a call to action in your Instagram bio to purchase and post.
  • Run a contest; ask for video or photo reviews of your products as entries. 
  • Reach out to smaller influencers and offer them free products for an honest review.

7. Organize Your IG Stories Into Highlights

Instagram Stories disappear after 24 hours. That’s why you want to organize your Stories into Story Highlights. What this does is increase the chances for new visitors to your page to get a taste of your past content. 

When you use Highlights, Stories can be grouped into collections. Yesterday’s Story could lead to today’s new follower x100.

You can organize Stories a number of ways. Here are a few: 

  • Create trailers that tease what your brand is about.
  • Organize your Stories into seasons, themes, product collections, or content type (product launches, DIYs, behind the scenes, etc.).
  • To stay fresh and relevant, create a new highlight each time you launch a new product or collection.
  • Accumulate user-generated content into one Highlight to honor and celebrate your loyal customers. 

💡Tip: Nudge your followers to become subscribers. Instagram Subscriptions allow you to offer exclusive content to paying subscribers—one of the easiest ways to make money on Instagram. 

8. Throw a Giveaway

One of the best incentives for someone to follow you is when following = chance to get free stuff. So throw a Giveaway! Pick some merch and offer it up. 

Usually, creators ask users to complete one or some of these actions in order to enter:

  • Follow your account (and accounts of collaborators, if any)
  • Like the contest post 
  • Tag one of more friends
  • Leave a comment
  • Click out to an entry form on your brand’s website (this also helps you build an email list) 

The great thing about tags is they bring you a potential new follower from a trusted recommendation. Engagements are favorable to the algorithm on Instagram, meaning you get more reach with your post. 

9. Use Instagram Live

You can broadcast live video to your followers with Instagram Live. Besides being live, the main difference between Reels/Stories and Live is it has interactive features that allow you to engage directly with fans, monetize your content with Instagram badges, and save previous Live feeds to use in a collection. 

Here are a few tips for using Instagram Live to get exposure to new groups of followers:

  • Host influencer account takeovers (this gets you exposure to a ton of new potential followers)
  • Host an interactive Q & A or AMA (Ask Me Anything)
  • Tease an update or product launch, or give live viewers exclusive access
  • Increase reach by going live in a “room” with up to three other accounts (triple the potential followers!)
  • Go behind the scenes to humanize your brand
  • Answer questions in real time while running a how-to or product tutorial
  • Interview other compatible creators to promote in advance across both accounts 

10. Try Instagram Ads

Look, we know not everyone has a budget. We’ve given you 9 solid tactics to help gain more followers on Instagram. But if you do have a budget, paid promotion is a great way to gain followers quickly.

Instagram Ads are available through a self-serve platform that allows you to set your own budgets and goals. The ads can help you reach users in your preferred locations or with matching interests (your target audience). A paid promotion on your Instagram is a powerful sales channel. 

Honorable Mention: Ask For Followers

There’s no shame in straight-up asking for the follow. Have you seen every other successful creator and influencer asking people to “smash” that like or “hit” that subscribe button? We all do it. If you ask, they may not do it or they might. But if you don’t ask, they most likely won’t. 

You can ask for followers in captions or just asking yourself in your video content. Maybe let the audience know what’s in it for them with an incentive. Or tell them why they should follow you, what’s coming up, tease future giveaways and product launches.

To wrap up

The goal of gaining followers is to get IGs algorithm to give you more preferential treatment. Getting on the IG Explore page is the social media equivalent of striking gold, because this is where you can expand your reach and get discovered by users. If you don’t know where it is, tap the spyglass icon. On this page you can search but also go down the rabbit hole of public content. 

How to get on the Explore page? Start following the tactics above! Post relevant content (as often as possible), use those hashtags and start building your niche.

Note: you want to keep tabs on all the features available on Instagram as they will update and/or evolve from time to time. 

We made it to the end! Now you have the tools to help you grow your followers. Happy 2024 and Happy Selling!