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Ten tips to grow your Instagram following for free

Its not all about the money

By Spencer HawkenPublished 2 years ago 5 min read
Ten tips to grow your Instagram following for free
Photo by William Krause on Unsplash

For many the purpose of using Instagram is not to just share their life experiences with friend and family, it’s to raise their profile, whether it be to promote themselves, or a product or service. So how do you grow your following without turning posts into adverts by putting money behind them, or “buying followers or likes”? Here are ten keys to success.

1) Like your followers’ posts – Even if you don’t want to follow everyone that follows you, make a point of checking in on them so they don’t become an unfollower. If you don’t like what they are posting remove them from your followers list, dead or fake followers will damage your growth. Check out this article for information on "fake followers".

2) Use Hashtags – Always use Hashtags, it’s the only way people will find you. Don’t just think the elaborate, even though the more frequently used hashtags may bury your post eventually in the short-term, new users who are more likely to use simpler search terms, so don’t just think #pomeranian think #dog too. Remember while you can use up to 30 hashtags you don’t want to make it so unenjoyable that you hate posting, I tend to use 10-12 per post.

By FLOUFFY on Unsplash

3) Geo-tag your location - Always let people know where you are, it helps them to make informed choices. So whether its your business address, or a location you are at like a restaurant or tourist attraction. Let the world know where you are, be sure to make the location a Hastag too. Later in life this may help you, I’ve been both thanked by the location owners, but also been tipped in regards of product, or even a free dinner. Also people want to know where you are, if your uncertain and you took the photo via your phone the chances are when you click location your phone will tell you. Never ever leave the location empty, even if it means just naming the town or city. Remember above all things Instagram is about lifestyle, how can you sell a life when nobody knows where you are.

4) Check out your Hashtags – Once you have used a Hashtag and posted your post, go to it and click the Hashtags, see if anyone else is using it and like some posts. This is the best way to grow your following because anyone ese using the same hashtags is more than likely a potential liker and follower of your posts. If its your own exclusive Hashtag, its also a good way to see who is thinking or talking about your brand.

5) Don’t tag people inappropriately – When you want to be seen it’s a common mistake to continuously tag the account of the person or brand you want to see you. We’ve all been tagged in something we don’t really see the relevance in, that’s just how certain individuals or organisations will think of you. You have to be more strategic, yes by all means tag close personal friends, but use the brand or individuals approved Hashtags, Hashtags they use themselves. Therefore, if Louis Vuitton like your post, they’ll find it through Hashtags rather than them blocking you, because you annoyed them. Also the wonder again is that others with similar interests as you will find you through those all-important Hashtags.

By Kate Torline on Unsplash

6) Remove the deadwood – Again as with point 1, if you have a “dead follower” someone who follows you but does not like your posts, you need to remove them. Instagram works on algorithms and weighted movements. If an account with 500 followers is not getting 100 likes to a post (not a truly scientific study) for example, they will consider your posts less valuable than someone who does get 100 per 500 followers.

7) Respect your likes – Always take the time to look at those who do not follow you but like your posts, go onto their profile and like their posts and if appropriate comment on them. That feeling of connection will be enough for them to move from being someone who just likes your post, to growing to respect you. As a rule of thumb if someone likes a post on your Instagram you should go and like at least 3 of there’s. Also never leave a comment unanswered even if your just saying thankyou.

8) Never follow more than follow you – Another algorithm that will curb your growth is the amount of people you follow. Silly as it sounds but liking more people than follow you essentially tags you as “desperate” that’s not the Instagram term, but it’s the truth of the matter. By the same token don’t be the person who follows nobody, its fine if your Emma Stone but if you’re the average man or woman on the street (even if you think your not) it comes off as ignorant, it will also reduce your exposure as it shows you’re only interested in you, not creating “valuable content” and being a platform player.

9) Be genuine – If you’re going to brag about something, be humble, don’t tell lies it comes off as being insipid and some will instantly know your putting up a front. Be as genuine as you like, if you’ve gone somewhere fancy, don’t be afraid to say you were awe struck. This can benefit you in terms of both your following relationships, but also if it is about a location and you get good engagement you might hear from the venue, remember you’re a much better investment than a sponsored post or advert in the newspaper.

10) Try not to deviate – If you’re promoting a product, try to stay on target. Don’t suddenly post about other things that have no correlation. It’s fine if it’s a lifestyle page, so say for example your personal travelling. But if you’re promoting a product going off target could kill your following dead. So as an example, if you are selling a car polish, don’t suddenly start posting about an unrelated shoe product.

Following these key tips will ensure Instagram success, at 45 (some years ago) I generated over 30,000 followers in just 6 months by sticking to these strong key values and so can you.

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About the Creator

Spencer Hawken

I'm a fiftysomething guy with a passion for films, travel and gluten free food. I work in property management, have a history in television presentation and am a multi award wining filmmaker, even though my films are/were all trash.

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