How to Grow Instagram Account

Ever since Facebook changed their policy for businesses, Instagram is the new hub for gaining visibility in the virtual world. From a local, family-run businesses to large global brands, everyone is growing their Instagram account.

How to Grow Instagram Account. There are more than 500 million active users on Instagram every day. Out of this, 80% of accounts follow at least one business. So it’s only natural that marketers want to make money off their Instagram accounts.

But for that, you first need to form a strong community of followers. You need more views on your posts, and you need to get your audience engaged. So how can you grow your Instagram fan base? We’ve got some tips to help you get started.

Disclosure: This content has a few affiliate links, which means if you click on them, I will get a commission (without any extra cost to you).

How to Grow Instagram Account: 10 Proven Tips

Before I start explaining the tips, I want to explain the importance of growth-hacking your Instagram account.

No doubt, large follower counts look impressive on social media. But more than that, you can actually monetize your followership by advertising for brands or for yourself. If you have substantial reach and influence, you can pitch to relevant brands with collaboration and affiliation proposals.

With your proposals, you’ll need to quote the price per sponsored post you plan to charge for promotion. Your asking price will depend on your engagement rate, which can be calculated using the calculator below.

Even if you haven’t reached the stature of an influencer yet, you can check out the rates that influencers in your niche are demanding. Simply type their username in the calculator and find their estimated post price.

Instagram Engagement & Money Calculator

The tool enables you to get a better idea of how much you should quote or pay for a sponsored post. Enter any Instagram handle below to find out the estimated post price and their engagement rate.

Enter Your Username(Without @) Submit

How to Grow Your Instagram Account in 2021 [Free Tool Inside]

Kim Kardashian

@kimkardashianEngagement EvaluationGoodEngagement Rate5%Estimated Earnings Per Post$383,920 – $546,987Following5KFollowers3KLikes23KComments5KLikes to comment ratio0.15%The average number of likes per post1 mil-1.5 milThe average number of comments per post180k-210kGrowth Chart

Audience Interests

  • 90% Cinema & Actors/Actress
  • 74% Cinema & Actors/Actress
  • 24% Cinema & Actors/Actress
  • 46% Cinema & Actors/Actress
  • 13% Cinema & Actors/Actress
  • 33% Cinema & Actors/Actress

AQS (Audience Quality Score)

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66 of 100Good

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View Full Report Note: The above Instagram Engagement Money Calculator is provided by HypeAuditor. The results are generated based on their computer vision machine-learning algorithm. Shane Barker does not guarantee the accuracy of these results. If you have questions regarding them, you can reach out to them directly.

Now that you know your earning potential, I’m sure you’re even more motivated to grow your Instagram account. Here are some quick and effective ways to do just that:

1. Post Creative Content

There is no substitute for creative content. If your content is great, people are going to like and comment on your posts. Instagram is all about great visuals.

There are numerous types of posts that you can create on the platform. These include photo posts, video posts, Instagram Stories, and even IGTV videos. So include vivid colors and frame your photos well.

Instead of just posting about your products and promoting them, you could create stories around them.

Airbnb does a great job of weaving stories in their niche. They want to promote traveling and want people to discover different cities around the world by staying with locals.

So to create curiosity among users, they posts snippets of the lives of their hosts from around the globe.

How to Grow Your Instagram Account in 2021 [Free Tool Inside]

Image via Instagram

Their caption talks about the host’s interests or what sort of an experience they can provide to travelers. Along with this, they also showcase different travel destinations. They connect with users through real-life stories. So users don’t feel like they are only looking at promotional content.

2. Use the Right Hashtags

The purpose of hashtags is to reach out to an audience that isn’t following you. It’s important to use the right hashtags if you want to get noticed by the right crowd.

Let’s say you’re creating content related to a FIFA match, you shouldn’t just use #football because the term is too broad. Instead, use #FIFA, #FIFA2018, #FIFAWorldCup, or #FIFAWorldCup2018. To find the most relevant hashtags, you can use tools like HashtagsForLikes. With the power of hashtags, you can grow your organic following on social media. This tool gives you a list of the best hashtags to give your account maximum exposure on Instagram. All you need to do is copy-paste the list of hashtags and use them in your Instagram posts.

If you want to create content about an event or festival, you should try to look for trending hashtags relevant to that event. During such events, everyone is searching for posts related to the trending hashtags. So, you have a great opportunity to cash in on the opportunity.

Before using a hashtag, also check out the search volume for it. You risk getting lost in the flurry of posts if your hashtags have search volumes that go into the millions. Also, analyze which hashtags are giving your posts more engagement, and try to use them more often.

How to Grow Your Instagram Account in 2021 [Free Tool Inside]

Image via SproutSocial

Instagram allows usage of upto 30 hashtags in one post, but it is advisable to use only nine per post. SproutSocial found in a study that posts with nine hashtags got the highest engagement rates.

The exact number of hashtags to be used has often divided digital marketers. But everyone agrees that overusing hashtags isn’t a good strategy.

3. Post at Regular Intervals

A 2017 study  conducted by visual marketing tool, Tailwind, showed that consistent posting is key to growing your Instagram outreach. They analyzed over 100,000 Instagram posts for a three-month period.

The study found out that the social media handles who posted more often saw a significant increase in engagement rate. Additionally, their follower growth rates also increased.

How to Grow Your Instagram Account in 2021 [Free Tool Inside]

Image via Tailwind

So it’s a good idea to post at least once every day on your Instagram account. Do not expect results right away; you will have to be patient.

4. Encourage Your Followers to Create Content

Posting consistently can leave you dry with content ideas if you haven’t planned it well in advance. But even if that is the case, you can use it to your advantage.

Instead of giving your audience content to consume, get them involved in the content creation process. Your followers’ content can help you grow your Instagram account.

Encourage your followers to create videos, photos, and GIFs with your products. Create a branded hashtag that can showcase all user-generated content for your brand.

This way you are increasing your brand awareness and also getting more content. This is a smart way to get your followers to become advertisers for you too.

Buffer’s Instagram account saw an incredible growth of 400% by using user-generated content. They posted relevant photos that their followers had clicked along with their Instagram handles.

How to Grow Your Instagram Account in 2021 [Free Tool Inside]

Image via Instagram

This shifts the focus from the brand onto the followers, which actually encourages users to post more for the brand.

5. Organize Contests

To grow your Instagram account, organize contests and give out some freebies. Getting free stuff is a great motivating factor for users to engage more with your brand.

You can easily create and run social media contests using a tool like ShortStack. It provides you the option to create hashtag, comment, and retweeting contests so that you can leverage them to grow your brand on social media platforms.

You can get as creative as you want with your contest ideas.

You could ask users to repost an image that you have posted previously. Along with it, ask them to mention your Instagram handle in the caption section to increase visibility.

Another way is to create a hashtag and give your users a specific theme to post images on.

How to Grow Your Instagram Account in 2021 [Free Tool Inside]

Image via Instagram

Earthpix used a similar strategy to get more people hooked on to their content. They encouraged users to like and share their content with their friends.

By doing so, they could get a chance to win a free trip to Fiji. The post got an overwhelming response. There were over 10,000 comments on the post.

6. Collaborate with Influencers

If you want to grow your Instagram account quickly, you should get the right influencers to endorse you. Reach out to influencers in your niche who have a massive fan following. If you can get featured on their page, you will reach out to all of their fans at once.

Get social media influencers to try out your products and encourage them to post about them.

Getting tagged in their posts can work wonders for you. Additionally, you could also give them promo codes or discount coupons that they can feature in their caption. This way, influencers can redirect their followers to your Instagram account or website.

Even if your own Instagram account doesn’t have many followers, you can reach out to a wider audience. Influencers can connect you with their loyal fanbase.

How to Grow Your Instagram Account in 2021 [Free Tool Inside]

Image via Instagram

My First Years, a company that specializes in personalized gifts for babies, used this strategy to their advantage.

For their range of Father’s Day clothes, they collaborated with fashion blogger Fleur de Force. Her Instagram post showcasing their products got more than 10,000 likes in just two days.

7. Post Content at the Optimal Time

Posting your content at different times during the day can impact your engagement levels.

Sprout Social conducted a study to find out the best time to post content on Instagram. They found that posts should be published from Tuesday through Friday. And they should be published between 9 am and 6 pm to maximize engagement.

It also showed that posts published on Thursdays received the most engagement in the week.

According to the study, on Thursdays, 5 am, 11 am, and 3 pm to 4 pm are all suitable timings to post content on Instagram. For Wednesdays, the recommended posting time was at 3 pm, while on Friday, it was at 5 am.

How to Grow Your Instagram Account in 2021 [Free Tool Inside]

Image via SproutSocial

You should schedule your Instagram posts to suit the optimal timings suggested. Use the findings from this study to your advantage to grow your Instagram account. Also, make use of a scheduling tool like Combin that can automatically post your content according to your schedule.

8. Advertise on Instagram

Advertisements on Instagram don’t really look very different from regular Instagram posts. So your followers won’t really feel like you are bombarding them with promotions.

You can choose from four basic formats for advertising: Photo ads, video ads, carousel ads, and slideshow ads.

Photo ads and video ads are exactly like your normal Instagram posts. The only addition is the “Sponsored” label that you can see above the photo.

How to Grow Your Instagram Account in 2021 [Free Tool Inside]

Carousel ads allow you to organize a number of related posts into a single carousel. You get to showcase your product from more than one perspective in these ads.

Recently, Instagram even extended the features for Stories. Brands like Gap are already using the feature to highlight more about their campaigns by posting multiple videos together.

In their post for the Logo Remix campaign, Gap even used features like pinning and drawing tools.

How to Grow Your Instagram Account in 2021 [Free Tool Inside]

Image via Adweek

Slideshow ads allow you to tell a story by combining up to 10 images into a sequence of animation. You can also background music to your slideshow ads to weave an engaging video from your static images. These ads are lightweight, so they are easier to load compared to video ads.

Instagram has a wide range of ad formats that enable you to get creative with content. You can even add leads and target audiences for your Instagram ads.

To grow your Instagram outreach, use a mix of these ads. It’ll give you publicity, and also allow you to analyze the demographics of your audience.

9. Geo-Tag Your Posts

Geo-tagging lets your followers know about the location from where you are posting a particular photo. Its main purpose is to let anyone looking for events or photos from a particular region, reach your post.

You can either just include the name of your city or even pin down the specific location that you are at.

It’s a simple feature that can grow your Instagram engagement rates as well. Simply Measured found out that posts that used geo-tagging got 79% more engagement than those than did not.

How to Grow Your Instagram Account in 2021 [Free Tool Inside]

Image via Simply Measured

If you have a brick-and-mortar location for your business, you should use it to get more publicity too.

Encourage your customers to post pictures and videos from your store or office and ask them to geotag the location. This strategy can be especially helpful to create buzz around a product launch or a store opening.

10. Engage with Your Followers

Your content should draw eyeballs, but your caption should prompt them to engage with you.

Your caption provides a valuable space that lets you tell stories and promote your partners. If you write it well, you can even use it to get further engagement on your posts.

In general, using open-ended questions and using emojis can encourage your followers to engage with you.

You could ask how the day has been for your followers or what are their plans for the weekend. It could be anything, really. When you encourage your followers to share their experiences with you, you make them feel valued.

The Cheesecake Factory does a great job with this. For most occasions, they post photos of what their celebrations look like. At the end, they ask their users to share their plans too.

How to Grow Your Instagram Account in 2021 [Free Tool Inside]

Image via Instagram

It sets the tone for you to connect with your followers. Additionally, once you start getting comments or personal messages, make it a habit to respond to them.

Many businesses try to go with automated messages, especially when it comes to reviews and feedback. But that’s not what you should be doing.

How to Grow Your Instagram Account in 2021 [Free Tool Inside]

Appreciate the enthusiasm of each follower, and genuinely try to have a conversation with them. If they appreciate your posts, saying a simple “thank you” can also help your brand image.

Even if you’ve received criticism, be polite and try to keep the tone of the conversation courteous, yet casual. You could also offer some freebies if you find that there were some shortcomings from your side.

By responding courteously to comments, you can set a friendly tone for your brand. You need to make yourself look approachable. Only if you do that, you can grow your Instagram followers and gain more loyalty.

A study by Sprout Social found that 83% social media users wanted brands to engage with them. The study found that being perceived as honest, helpful, and friendly helped in boosting engagement for brands. So make sure you create a brand image that has these traits.

You should not limit yourself to engaging only with your followers. You can use tools like Ingramer and Kicksta that auto-engage with your target audience on Instagram and get you more followers.

Note: Want to try Ingramer? Use the coupon code “SHANEBARKER” to get a 10% discount on all their paid tools.


Q1. How do I grow my Instagram followers in 2021?

A. To grow your Instagram follower count in 2021, follow a mix of the strategies mentioned above. Additionally, you should also focus on creating more Reels.

Typically, whenever Instagram launches a feature, the platform gives it priority. The good part is that Reels have also been featuring in the Explore Section. This way, you can get more reach and engagement.

Q2. How can I grow my Instagram account for free?

A. Here are some strategies you can leverage to grow your Instagram account for free:

  • Use hashtags strategically.
  • Post content that will resonate with your target audience.
  • Organize giveaways and contests.
  • Geo-tag your Instagram posts.
  • Posts content when your followers are likely to be online.
  • Collaborate with influencers in exchange for goodies.
  • Encourage user-generated content.

Read the rest of this article for details on how to leverage the strategies mentioned above.

Q3. How can I grow my Instagram account overnight?

A. There is no secret formula that can help you grow your Instagram account overnight in an ethical manner. If you want to see sustainable growth, you have to be consistent in your approach.

One of the best ways to accelerate your growth is to work with relevant influencers in your field. Through an influencer collaboration, you can boost your reach and visibility considerably in a short period of time.

Q4. Why is my Instagram account not growing?

A. Some common reasons why your Instagram account may not be growing  include:

  • You may not be using the right hashtags.
  • Your content is not engaging and unique.
  • You aren’t posting content regularly.
  • You’re not optimizing your Instagram bio.

If you are seeing stagnation in your Instagram account growth, try using the strategies mentioned in this post.

Q5. How to grow your Instagram account organically from scratch?

A. Here is a quick rundown on some of the strategies that can help you grow your Instagram account organically from scratch:

  1. Post engaging content.
  2. Use hashtags strategically.
  3. Post consistently.
  4. Make the most of user-generated content.
  5. Host contests.
  6. Run influencer marketing campaigns.
  7. Publish content at the right times.
  8. Leverage Instagram ads.
  9. Use Instagram’s geo-tagging feature.
  10. Engage with your followers.

For a detailed explanation on how to use these strategies to grow your Instagram account, check out the full post.

Q6. How can you grow your personal Instagram account?

A. To grow your personal Instagram account, you can use the following tips:

  • Make your account public to make it more discoverable.
  • Write an optimized bio clearly stating your interests.
  • Post shareable content.
  • Tag brands in your posts and Stories.
  • Use the right hashtags.
  • Engage with other brands/influencers.
  • Set a consistent posting schedule.
  • Write witty captions.

Q7. Should I buy Instagram followers?

A. Everyone wants to get more followers on Instagram as soon as possible. Owing to the high demand, there are many third-party services and apps that claim that they can help you get more followers.

For low as $0.99, some of these apps promise to help you get thousands of followers. But if you care about your reputation, you should never buy Instagram followers. It is an unethical practice and can also make you susceptible to an Instagram shadowban.

Q8. Is it better to have a public or private Instagram account?

A. Depending on what your priorities are, you should choose whether you want to have a private or public Instagram account. Both public and private accounts have their own pros and cons.

Pros of Having a Private Instagram Account

  • You can approve who follows you.
  • You can purge trolls and spammy accounts.
  • You get more privacy.
  • It’s harder for others to steal your content.

Cons of Having a Private Instagram Account

  • You limit your reach.
  • Your posts won’t appear in hashtag search results.
  • Your posts won’t appear in geo-tag posts.
  • You will limit your engagement.
  • You can’t cross-post on other platforms.

Pros of Having a Public Instagram Account

  • You can reach a wider audience.
  • Your posts can appear on the Explore tab and in hashtag search results.
  • Your engagement will be higher.
  • You can easily post your content on other platforms.

Cons of Having a Public Instagram Account

  • Your content can be easily copied.
  • Trolls can harass you.

Now that you know the pros and cons of having public and private Instagram accounts, make an informed choice!

Ready to Grow Your Instagram Account?

Instagram is a great place for marketers. But just setting up a business account and posting content isn’t enough. You need to have a strong strategy in place to grow your Instagram account and get more followers.

It’s important to post creative content consistently with the right hashtags. This way you can get more visibility. To increase engagement, collaborate with influencers and organize contests for your followers.

Growing your Instagram outreach will require a lot of effort and patience. Results will take time to show, but in the meantime, keep up the good work consistently.

Need more advice on how to grow your Instagram account? Get in touch with me.

Disclosure: This content has a few affiliate links, which means if you click on them, I will get a commission (without any extra cost to you).

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