6 ways to get new Instagram followers in 2018 - Wildbloom

6 ways to get new Instagram followers in 2018

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Not a day goes by where I don’t see at least a single post blabbing on about Instagram comment pods, “shadow banning” or stories of people miraculously growing their Instagram following overnight. Whilst getting new Instagram followers is harder in 2018 than it was back in, say, 2014, there are some simple things you can do to grow your Instagram following.

Back in the day (aka. 2016), we didn’t have to use any hacks or cheats or tips to grow an engaged Instagram audience. All we had to do was (1) consistently post good content and (2) engage with our target audience in a non-spammy way.

I can guarantee that if you’re ever subscribing to any influencer’s course on how they grew their Instagram following in 12 months, this will be what they tell you. Simply because it was a different game back then.

So, how can you get more Instagram followers in 2018?

Step 1: Stop making it more complicated than it needs to be.

Step 2: Do the following…

1. Make the most of Facebook groups

There are a ton of Facebook groups out there for just about every single niche imaginable. I should know; I’m only a member of around 150. Hi, I’m Steph and I’m a Facebook group addict.

Anyway, these groups are one of the quickest ways to grow your Instagram following. Many of them have specific days of the week where you can post your Instagram account, or share a post, or just promote any of your platforms in general. It’s simple – join a few Facebook groups where people in your target audience hang out. Set a reminder for when these weekly sharing posts go live, so you can be one of the first to share your Instagram account.

But, don’t leave it there. Check out the other accounts people are sharing. Follow the ones with good content, genuinely engage and be social with them, and chances are they’ll engage back.

Think of Instagram as a party. You wouldn’t go up to someone you’ve never met before and say “nice shoes” and then turn around and walk away. At least, I hope you wouldn’t do that…

2. Write blog posts

This applies regardless of whether you’re trying to grow your Instagram following or not.

Blog posts are magic. Seriously. One of the start-ups I’ve worked with grew their website traffic from 0 to ~4k hits per week in under 2 months, simply by regularly posting good content and running strategic Facebook ads to it (with $0.01 cost per click, I might add). And they say content marketing is dead. Ha!

So, how does writing blog posts help with growing your Instagram following? You insert shameless plugs throughout your post. In a non-spammy way, obviously. Did you notice my little shameless plug earlier on in this post?

The other way to plug your Instagram throughout your post is by peppering your images throughout the post. A little something like this:

You’re probably bored to death hearing me say “marketing your business without a strategy is like going on a road trip without Google Maps” (I’ve only said it a few hundred times). ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ But, what does this mean when it comes to content? ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Here’s one super practical tip for ya. It’s so practical, you can procrastinate all your other tasks today and do this instead: ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Start by writing down your long term vision. I know it’s yucky and boring, but ya gotta do it. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Then, go through every single piece of content your business has put out there and ask yourself how it brings you closer to your vision. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ If it doesn’t, can it. Or re-jig it, or create new funnels. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Think of it as decluttering your content. ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Thanks @wordfetti for getting me thinking with your post yesterday about strategy 🤗 ⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀⠀ Via @mija_mija

A post shared by Wildbloom | Wellness Marketing (@wearewildbloom) on Mar 15, 2018 at 12:47pm PDT

Not only does that make people interact with that particular post, it also makes them curious to check out the rest of your feed (assuming that the post you shared is not complete and utter horse poo).

Don’t have an active audience? Share your blog posts to relevant Facebook groups and check out this blog post for 7 ways to promote your content. My number one source of traffic to these blog posts is from Facebook groups. If you’re reading this, chances are you came from a Facebook group.

Don’t have a blog? Ouch. I’m not going to embarrass you in public, but you should really fix that. In the meantime, reach out to guest post on other people’s blogs and link to your Instagram in your by-line/bio.

3. Get featured on “feature” accounts

Caveat: I don’t mean those spammy accounts with 100 million robot followers. I mean accounts like @darlingescapes that curate the best content in their niche.

(Warning: @darlingescapes may cause you to involuntarily pop over to Skyscanner and book a flight to somewhere your bank account doesn’t like).

The rules for getting featured varies from account to account. For most, all you have to do is tag them in your photo or use their brand-specific hashtag. It’s tough to get featured on some of these accounts as the bar is very high, but if you can then that opens up your account to SO many new potential followers.

Please know that you should NEVER pay to be featured on a curated content account. If someone ever offers you a feature in return for $X, run, Forrest, run! Almost all the accounts I’ve seen that are charging for features don’t have legit followers.

4. Get featured in the “suggestions for you” section of large accounts

“Suggestions for you” is the little list of users that Instagram suggests for you when you follow a new account. Go do it now and see what it recommends. Follow a smaller account and it will recommend you follow your Facebook friends. But, if you go and follow a larger account it will give you recommendations that are similar to that account.

Instagram hasn’t spilled the beans on how you can get into this spot. But, I’ve been there and it’s freaking awesome. My story goes something like this…

On my personal Instagram account, I noticed my following was increasing by around 200 followers a day – even on days when I wasn’t posting anything. I got SUPER curious as to where all these followers were coming from, so I reached out and messaged a few of them to ask how they’d found me. Turns out that my account had made it to number one of “Suggestions for you” section of a rather large (300k+) account in my niche. Anyone who followed this account was shown my account as a recommendation, and they followed me straight away.

How did I get there? I still don’t 100% know, but my best guess is that we shared a lot of similar followers. I had been consistently engaging with people in this niche for around 1-2 hours a day for about 6 months. It was a long, hard slog. But, it paid off as most of our sales came from Instagram and I didn’t want to risk damaging the brand by using an automation tool.

Now, I’m not saying you should go out and engage with all your competitor’s followers in the hopes they follow you back and you get featured in the “suggestions” for their account. But, you should go and engage with a few of your competitor’s followers. When I say engage, I don’t mean “Nice pic” – I mean “That’s an awesome snap of your smashed avo – are you a homeowner?”. See the difference?

5. Make the most of location and hashtag Stories

It was a total game changer when Instagram introduced location and hashtag Stories last year.

Hashtags have been a great way for strangers to discover your content for a while now, but it’s become a bit of a fight to get to the top of the most popular ones. Now, you can get featured in the Instagram Story for a certain hashtag simply by including that hashtag when you post the Story. Likewise for locations.

Give it a try – but make sure you’re posting content that makes people actually want to check out your feed.

6. Have different content to everyone else on Instagram

If you’ve been following my blog posts, you’ll know we’ve had this conversation before.

At risk of sounding like a scratched CD; every man and his labradoodle has a beautifully curated feed these days. That’s not enough to make someone follow you! You need to stand out somehow. You can do that by niching down into a really super-specific topic, or you can do it visually by making your feed grid look so completely different to anything anyone has ever seen before, which is what I did with the Wildbloom feed You can see what I mean by visiting it here (see what I did there?).

My last blog post gives you step-by-step instructions on how you can create an “across-the-grid” Instagram collage (also known as a Puzzle Feed).

So there you have it. 6 ways to get more Instagram followers that don’t involve bots, comment pods or paying ninjas to sneak into Insta HQ and add a few zeroes to your account.

  1. Mel

    August 16th, 2017 at 2:50 pm

    What a great article Steph. Thank you so much for sharing those amazing tips. I have to bookmark them!
    Do you have any particular strategy for finding suitable Facebook groups or just whatever works for you and where your target market hangs out?

  2. Leanne Brookes

    August 16th, 2017 at 6:06 pm

    This was such a refreshing read with tips I hadn’t thought of before! Your Instagram feed is beautiful! For me, Instagram is my favourite social network because I genuinely love using it, I think that also helps. Where as I’m not as into Twitter so it’s harder for me to be enthusiastic about growing on it. Thanks for the advice and the list! Leanne

  3. laura

    August 16th, 2017 at 7:12 pm

    Thank you, Steph! Really nice and useful reading! And yes, I am from Facebook, hah!

  4. Jane Dempster-Smith

    August 16th, 2017 at 9:20 pm

    Hi Steph
    Thanks for the great article. I have been watching our numbers drop on Instagram and was wondering what was a good way to get the numbers moving upwards. Thanks for the tips.

  5. Emma @ theweekendabroad.com

    August 17th, 2017 at 2:16 am

    I just read your post word for word from start to finish, which is not something I can say for all blog posts I click on. Thank you for a wonderful read, Steph! I’ve been feeling discouraged and frustrated with the common Instagram growth practices that have sprouted up this year (follow/unfollow and pods) and often wondered if these were the only way to grow these days. Thank you for being so encouraging. I cracked up at “run, Forrest, run”!

  6. Marta Raptis

    August 17th, 2017 at 2:28 am

    Very well written post, you go girl! I didn’t know that you can get featured in the Instagram Story for a certain hashtag simply by including that hashtag when you post the Story. Learned something new 🙂

  7. Nicola

    August 17th, 2017 at 4:39 am

    Thank you steph, that is really valuable!

  8. Christine

    August 17th, 2017 at 5:42 am

    Actually helpful tips girl! Thanks for sharing, will definitely be using some of these strategies.

  9. Tina

    August 17th, 2017 at 8:24 am

    This is a great post – I haven’t heard most of these tips before so these are some great ideas! I came here from the LMBDW Facebook group so it’s awesome that you are using your tip #1 to “growth hack” ????????????????????

  10. joie

    August 17th, 2017 at 12:21 pm

    This was a great read – very helpful, and what I’m currently looking into. And you are right, I found you on a group!

  11. taylor

    August 17th, 2017 at 2:12 pm

    these are great tips! also love that camera photo! cheers!

  12. Lorna Watkins

    August 17th, 2017 at 7:22 pm

    Interesting read Steph, thank you!

  13. Ann

    August 18th, 2017 at 9:04 am

    Great post! I just reached 400 Instagram followers in a few months, but am always looking for ways to increase that number. I will definitely look into some of your suggestions. Thank you for sharing!

  14. yolanda

    August 22nd, 2017 at 9:18 am

    awesome post Steph. I only recently opened my Instagram account and am trying to grow it so these tips are super helpful and I’m going to be trying them out! 🙂

  15. Mary Lee

    August 24th, 2017 at 3:44 pm

    Some people use apps to get more followers faster. It’s good for businesses like my brother does with instanobel.com as I remember. But they need to gain audience faster to start making money. My opinion is if you really want to get more followers as fast as possible such tips are pretty good for you

  16. Shann

    August 24th, 2017 at 5:56 pm

    Finally a post with tips that don’t just spout all the same things everyone else is saying! Thank you!

  17. Vicki

    October 14th, 2017 at 1:46 pm

    Great read! THANK YOU! Vicki

  18. Ashlea

    October 19th, 2017 at 9:38 pm

    Awesome tips! I like reading you are also in sunny QLD – it’s usually Sydney or Melbourne ☀️

  19. Karina

    November 13th, 2017 at 11:22 am

    Amazing! I’m in the beginning stages of really trying to grow my following with a new blog I’ve just started, and this was a great, straight-forward article! I love that you’ve put it out without all the “Register now for my free masterclass” stuff! I’m sure that can all be helpful at the right time, but sometimes you just want the information straight up!
    Thanks again!

  20. katie Smallmon

    November 13th, 2017 at 1:44 pm

    Fantastic info xxxxx

  21. Brittany

    November 16th, 2017 at 7:47 am

    Great article! Would love access to your master list of Instagram feature accounts and I echo Mel’s question…Do you have any particular strategy for finding suitable Facebook groups or just whatever works for you and where your target market hangs out?

  22. wildbloomcreative

    November 18th, 2017 at 7:41 pm

    Hey Brittany! Did you pop your details in the box above? Do that and we’ll send the master list to your inbox. With finding Facebook groups, it’s a lot easier than it used to be – now you can browse and find relevant ones. I don’t really have any strategy behind it, mostly just ones where your target audience is 🙂

  23. 6 business resolutions to make in 2018 ( + free content strategy template) - Wildbloom Creative

    January 13th, 2018 at 2:04 am

    […] you’re still asking “how can I grow my Instagram following?” then you’re asking the wrong […]

  24. Joie M Gahum

    February 12th, 2018 at 6:24 pm

    Do you think hashtag suggesting tools like Hashatory helps in building Instagram following?

  25. wildbloomcreative

    February 15th, 2018 at 9:02 am

    It might, but in general, hashtags are no longer as effective as they used to be.


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