If you’re looking for instant results, you should probably run to paid Instagram ads. But if you’re interested in growing your fanbase and seeing the fruits of your labor, this article is just for you. I’ll cover some of my favorite strategies to help grow your account without paying a dime.

  1. Be yourself.

This might seem like a no-brainer, but it’s something you need to take seriously. I’m sure that you have seen people on Instagram with a bunch of followers who try too hard and their image is kind of awkward or forced to say the least. Social media is all about being authentic, so don’t try too hard at it. Be yourself – the people will follow!

  1. Interact with your followers.

I can’t stress how important it is to interact with your followers. Yes, I know you’re saying “I already follow them and they don’t follow back”, but it doesn’t change how powerful this is. You should interact with your followers whenever you can, and it doesn’t even have to be very long or too many words. Just a quick/nice emoji or an encouraging comment here and there go a long way towards growing your account.

  1. Turn on Instagram stories.

Instagram’s newest feature – Instagram Stories, was just released about a week ago and has since been one of my favorite new features on the platform. A lot of brands have been using this platform to advertise to their followers, but you don’t necessarily need to do that. You can use the feature as a great way to build a connection with your followers by posting little memories/behind the scenes photos and videos throughout your day.

This is a great way for people to get to know you on a more personal level and fall for your brand even more. I’m sure there are plenty of ways that you can use the feature, but Instagram itself is going through some growing pains with it so I’ll keep it short and sweet here.

  1. Engage in the comments!

Here’s a fun fact – Instagram has a feature that allows you to ‘reply’ to comments on posts from your followers! I know that it’s not the most exciting or easy thing in the world to do, but it’s worth doing. People love knowing that you care about their opinions and they will love interacting with you more because of it. Just think of all of the wonderful comments you can leave people if they like your post! I’ve had my posts boosted by Instagram countless times because I’ve left some sweet comments on other people’s photos. So give it a try!

  1. Tap into your community/influencers for growth.

It’s always important to leverage the power of influencers in your industry, but I feel like Instagram is less about direct growth and more about indirect building-off of each other. If you’re looking to grow your account, reaching out to people that have similar accounts or brands in your area/industry is a great way to grow.

Remember, you’re not asking them to promote/boost one of your photos – just send them a message that asks them if they’d be down to take a photo with you. People love to be asked questions about their profession/hobby, so it’ll be a win-win!

  1. Use geotags on your photos for local growth.

If you’re looking to grow your account locally, geotagging your location in each of your posts is a great way to do that. I’m even going to go so far as saying that you should always do that if you post from any location other than your home – especially when traveling. It makes for really fun and interesting photos because of the uniqueness of the location + it gives people who live there an opportunity to follow you. And who doesn’t want more followers?

  1. Choose one style and use it consistently.

Somewhat related to being yourself, you need to stick to one specific style and use it consistently. It’s hard to grow your account when you’re trying to be someone else – your followers will see through it and they will abandon ship. Try different things if you’d like, but always keep an eye out for an opportunity/trend that you can jump on and run with. Take a look at how brands like Coca-Cola have a specific way that they present themselves, whether it be color scheme or consistency in imagery. There are endless opportunities for your brand on Instagram, so just focus on one thing and build off of that.

  1. Use hashtags to find potential customers.

I can’t stress enough just how important it is to use hashtags for your posts and use them consistently! If you’re not using hashtags, then how are people going to find you? Use hashtags that relate to the products/motivations that you sell and I dare say, they won’t be able to resist liking your photos.

  1. Use Instagram stories to build more connections.

Whether you’re a business owner who is looking to grow their account, or a personal brand account that wants to build your followers – using Instagram stories is an essential part of growing your account. The posts are much more visual based than a simple photo post and the platform utilizes powerful face filters that really capture the attention of people visiting your page. Take a look at the Instagram stories playlists that are being used by brands like Nike, Coca-Cola and even Adidas. There’s no doubt that these companies are able to build their brand with these plays.

  1. Explore new hashtags on a weekly basis.

If you’re not using any hashtags, then it’s important to learn how to use them. Using them consistently is a great way to build your brand, but you need to be patient. The best way to use hashtags is to explore new ones and find the ones that fit your content the best. You can do this by searching through the top posts of the day/week and then looking at which hashtags they are using. If you’re consistently using that hashtag, you’ll hopefully get more likes because more people will be able to find you!

Bonus Make use of location tags in captions.

Using location tags in captions is a great way to grow your account locally – whether you’re trying to grow it for personal or business purposes.