Want to attract a bigger audience on Instagram? Wondering if it’s a good idea to pay for Instagram followers?
In this article, you’ll find out why buying followers is a bad idea and how to get more followers on Instagram naturally.
Should You Buy Instagram Followers?
In short, no. Under no circumstances should you buy Instagram followers. That means you should avoid using apps that let you purchase a certain number of followers for a set price. You shouldn’t pay for a service (or a bot) that follows and unfollows accounts for you based on your target audience’s demographics either.
In theory, paying for likes could boost your audience numbers quickly. But there are countless downsides to buying followers. Here are just a few reasons to avoid this practice.
Instagram Doesn’t Allow It
Most importantly, buying followers goes against Instagram Community Guidelines. The platform’s terms prohibit spam, including “artificially collecting likes, followers, or shares.” Instagram also cautions, “don’t offer money … in exchange for likes, followers, comments, or other engagement.”
If Instagram determines that you’ve purchased followers, your account could be disabled or deleted. You could also face other restrictions, all of which would waste your investment and compromise your ability to use Instagram as a marketing platform.
Your Engagement Rates Won’t Look Great
The thing about buying followers is that the accounts aren’t run by real people with a genuine interest in your business. So while they may artificially inflate your audience numbers, they won’t engage with your content. That means your engagement rate won’t align with your account size.
Anyone who may be interested in working with you—investors, influencers, or other businesses in your niche—won’t partner with you based on your account size alone. Most also check engagement rates and audience quality, among other things. The abnormally low engagement rates make it easy to spot when an account has fake followers.
Fake Followers Won’t Buy From Your Business
In most cases, simply having a big Instagram account won’t help you achieve your goals. Instead, you need followers to enter your sales funnel, buy from your business, and become loyal customers.
Fake followers can’t help you accomplish any of these goals. That means buying followers ends up costing you money without giving you opportunities to build your customer list or generate revenue.
How to Get More Followers on Instagram in 2022: 10 Tactics That Work
Since buying followers is off the table, what should you do instead? Use the Instagram growth tactics below to build your account and make progress toward your marketing goals.
#1: Optimize Your Instagram Profile for Instagram Search and Explore
Potential followers have tons of options for discovering your brand on Instagram, starting with finding your account via search. Instagram search has improved dramatically over the past year or so, and adding relevant keywords to your profile can help your account pop up in search.
To optimize your Instagram bio for search, naturally add the keywords your ideal customer is likely to type into the app. For example, the @testkitchen Instagram bio features keywords like “cooks” and “recipes,” as well as the brand’s name, America’s Test Kitchen.
Potential followers may also discover your business via content on the Explore page, the Reels tab, or several other places in the app. No matter where they spot your business, they’re likely to visit your profile before deciding whether to follow your account.
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To encourage new users to follow, it’s helpful to feature all of your most compelling content on your profile. Here are a few aspects to include:
- Instagram story highlights that introduce your business and make people eager to see more content
- Branded hashtags that showcase user-generated content, which provides social proof
- A bio link that helps people find key resources or prompts them to shop your posts
The @testkitchen profile above includes several story highlights that provide tips, highlight events, and share gift guides. The profile also includes a branded hashtag (#atkgrams) that fans can add to content that features the brand. Pictured below, the hashtag page for #atkgrams features over 54,000 posts, many of which are fan-made.
#2: Prioritize Creating Original Instagram Content
Sharing memes and reposting other accounts’ content (with permission) isn’t against Instagram guidelines. But this kind of content may no longer help you grow your account. In April 2022, Head of Instagram Adam Mosseri announced that the platform would begin ranking content for originality.
Mosseri didn’t delve into how the platform intends to define original content. Even so, it’s helpful to prioritize creating Instagram content that’s completely unique to your business. By boosting this ranking signal, you may be able to increase your chances of landing on the Explore page, which is a great way to attract new followers.
Not sure what kind of original content to publish? Reviewing your Instagram follower demographics can help you refine your customer persona and create content that resonates with your customers.
#3: Focus on Publishing Instagram Reels and Video Content
As you plan your content mix, it’s a good idea to prioritize videos over photos. In December 2021, Mosseri announced Instagram’s shift toward Reels and short-form video. Since then, the platform has given Reels prominent placements in the Suggested feed, the Explore page, and a dedicated tab in the main menu.
By creating Instagram reels, you can make your business easier to discover and improve the likelihood your content will appear in any of these placements. If you’re new to short-form video, Meta Business Suite makes it a little easier to get started.
Open Business Suite and navigate to the Planner tab. Scroll through some of the holidays featured to the right of the calendar. Click the Template button under any holiday to get templates to help you plan all kinds of content, including reels.
You can use the search bar to find a template for any occasion or use the guided template feature to get one that’s ideal for your business. Either way, you can make a short-form video in just a few minutes and then download it to publish to Instagram.
#4: Allow People to Remix Your Instagram Video Content
Instagram hasn’t always made it easy to share other accounts’ content directly within the app. But Reels works a little differently. With Reels, you can now allow remixing, which lets other people use your videos as inspiration.
To enable remixing, go into settings and toggle the Remix switch. Then focus on creating video content that inspires your ideal audience to create. Anything from a dance challenge to meal prep to outfit styling to business advice is fair game.
When another account remixes your reel, your Instagram handle automatically appears in the new reel. That means remixing can improve your account’s visibility, which can help you attract more followers.
To grow your following, you can also remix other accounts’ reels. Find a reel to respond to and tap the three dots in the lower-right corner. Select Remix this Reel and film your take or add your insight. When you publish, the videos will appear side by side in a single post.
#5: Use Relevant Hashtags
Technically, you can add up to 30 Instagram hashtags to any feed post. But in a March 2022 Instagram story, Mosseri announced that adding hashtags to your Instagram content won’t help much with views. However, hashtags can help your account appear in search.
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So should you bother with hashtags? It’s always a good idea to add at least three to five hashtags, which is the number Instagram officially recommends. It’s also helpful to establish a branded hashtag and ask followers to use it when they post about your products and services.
If your customers’ content appears on the Explore page or other suggested spots, new followers can easily see your branded hashtag, like the @testkitchen example above shows. Then they can tap through to visit your branded hashtag page or check out your profile and potentially decide to follow.
#6: Geotag Instagram Content to Reach People in or Around Your Location
If your business has physical stores, offices, or headquarters, then geotagging content can also help you connect with followers in your local area. The biggest benefit of geotagging is that it gives users another opportunity to find and learn about your business.
After all, your business isn’t the only account that can use your geotag. When customers and fans feature your brand in their Instagram content, they can apply your geotag. Anyone searching for your business or keywords related to your brand can find your geotag on the Places tab in search. Then they can tap to see all of the content with your geotag.
When it’s relevant, you can add other geotags to your content instead. For example, if you’re posting content from a trade show or a conference, then tagging the location or the event helps get more eyes on your posts.
In some cases, it makes sense to geotag a larger area. For example, you might tag the town or city where your business is based. Or you might geotag the location where your ideal followers are based. Either way, geotags can improve your visibility and help you connect with people interested in local businesses.
In the Instagram post below, @valleycruisepress has geotagged Austin, Texas. Adding this geotag can help the design brand connect with more customers and attract new followers in the local area.
#7: Collaborate With Complementary Brands and Influencers to Reach New People
Growing your audience completely independently can be slow going. Fortunately, partnering with influencers and brands can give your account’s visibility an added boost. When you partner with influencers or brands, you can tag each other’s accounts in the content or caption. With Instagram’s collaboration tools, you can also feature both accounts as creators.
If an influential account mentions you or features your products, you may gain a few followers. But you’re more likely to gain followers quickly if there’s something in it for them. Giveaways can be particularly effective for growing accounts, especially if you co-host them with brands that have similar target audiences.
For instance, the @drinkkoia Instagram post below highlights a co-branded giveaway featuring a chocolate-themed prize. The giveaway terms require users to follow all three accounts, which has the potential to boost each brand’s following significantly.
#8: Engage With Other Accounts Your Instagram Audience Follows
Interacting with other accounts can put you on more people’s radar, which can help you grow your audience. To use engagement to get followers, create a list of key accounts in your space including influencers and other brands. Add them to your Close Friends list so you can easily view content from their feeds.
Then view your Close Friends feed and make a point of engaging with the content they post. Write meaningful comments that resonate with other followers, help you build real relationships, and attract more followers.
#9: Run Instagram Ads to a Cold Audience of People With Traits Similar to Your Target Audience
Achieving organic Instagram growth can take a lot of time. If you’re in a hurry to build an audience on a short timeline, there is a legitimate way to speed up the process. You can run ads to your Instagram account to grow your following faster.
To get more followers, run an ad from your Instagram account. First, publish an organic post that you’d like to promote with a paid campaign. Once you publish the post, open it in the Instagram app and tap the Boost Post button.
For a goal, select Profile Visits. For an audience, you can allow Instagram to target people who are similar to your followers. Alternatively, you can build your own audience using Instagram’s demographic- and interest-based targeting.
Then set a budget and a duration for the campaign. Before publishing your campaign, preview it in the feed, in Stories, and on Explore. Instagram automatically adds a Visit Instagram Profile call-to-action button to drive people to your profile and encourage them to follow. Once the ad begins running, you can start looking forward to more followers.
Can’t decide which organic post is most likely to get the most followers? Go to your company’s Instagram profile and tap Ad Tools. The app automatically recommends a top post that has already performed well with your audience, making it a great place to start.
#10: Publish Consistently to Retain New and Existing Followers
Posting on a specific schedule may not help new followers find you the first time. But once they do follow you, a consistent publishing schedule can help them see and engage with your content more reliably. It can also help you retain followers and prevent them from leaving, which decreases your follower count.
To find the best time to post on the platform, navigate to your account’s Instagram Insights. On the overview page, tap Total Followers. Then scroll to the bottom of the page to find when they’re most active. You can toggle between days and hours to find the optimal times to post.
Other Meta tools offer more nuanced insights. For example, the Business Suite planner suggests specific times to post based on Instagram follower activity. You can click to upload and schedule posts and stories at recommended times, right from Business Suite. Note that this tool suggests one time slot at a time so it’s best for scheduling content gradually rather than in bulk.
You can also use Creator Studio to find the best times of day to post. Navigate to your Instagram profile and open the Insights tab. Click Audience and view activity by the hour. You can see the number of followers typically active at any time, which can help you identify the best time to schedule content.
Whether you’d prefer organic growth or you want to accelerate results with ads, you have plenty of options for growing your audience on Instagram. Avoid buying fake followers and use the tips above to attract an audience and build your brand.
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