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How to get free Instagram followers

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Instagram features over 1 billion active users per month. With such a big outreach and the second largest ROI among social channels, Instagram is a very attractive platform for marketing and promotion. To get ahead of the competition, it’s crucial to reach out to as many potential customers as possible. One way to do it is to get free Instagram followers. In this post, we’ll share the best and proven strategies to increase your following without pay.

Write a captivating bio

The bio is the section below your username to share important details about you or your company, as well as to link to relevant pages. 

Leverage it so that people can easily understand what you do and whether they are in the right place. Here are a few tips:

  1. Choose a high-quality profile picture. The better the image, the higher the chances that users will notice you in the search results or among recommendations. For example, Aga Travel profile picture perfectly reflects the brand and helps attract the target audience.
  1. Think over the name. The shorter, the better. It will be easier for users to remember. It should also be unique, catchy, and descriptive of what you do.
  1. Write a captivating description. In the bio, you have up to 150 characters to present yourself. To come up with a nice description, try to answer the following questions: 
    1. What’s so special about my business?
    2. Why do I need this account?
    3. Why should the user subscribe?
    4. How do I stand out from the competition?
  1. Add contact information. This will give you credibility and allow users to contact you in a convenient way. If there is not enough space, use the Taplink service. It allows you to create a separate page and upload as much information as you need, including links to other sites, product catalog, etc.

Write attractive captions

Instagram is now not only about photos. Writing posts under the picture is the new trend to get free followers on Instagram. According to research, captions have doubled in size since 2016 and contain 400 characters on average (up tp 2,200 characters max). How can you attract the audience with a caption?

  • Write an appealing first sentence. Instagram shows the first three lines of your caption, followed by the link “More”, by clicking on which, users will see the rest of the text. Some bloggers use only a few words as a headline for their post. 
  • Use the carousel for long texts. Captions allow for up to 2,200 characters, so if your text exceeds this limit, leverage the carousel. You can upload up to 10 photos, which can be screenshots of your text. 
  • Share personal experience. Tell how difficult it was to take that selfie on the iceberg and not fall into the Arctic Ocean. Or how you managed to get from Bangkok Airport to Phi Phi Islands for free, seeing all the attractions. Personal experience is always authentic and interesting to read, especially when you share hands-on tips.
  • Get creative. If you recommend to follow a certain route, why not come up with a quest with mini-treasures for those who decide to take it? Or, instead of showing yourself on a picture, “send” a hero on a journey. It can be anything: from your pet to a toy, just like The Traveling Mr. Fox with 36 years of experience on the road.

Use hashtags

Hashtags help arrange photos and videos on Instagram. Use them to identify and filter content on a specific topic because hashtags let the users find your content in the endless ocean of posts.

Mix hashtag sizes

Naturally, short hashtags are used more often, but it’s harder to rank for them. Alternatively, longer hashtags are more specific and used less often, so it’s easier to reach the target audience. To increase your outreach and get free followers on Instagram, use both short and long hashtags. 

For better results, it is important to mix high-frequency and low-frequency hashtags. 

  • High-frequency hashtags — more than 100,000 requests
  • Mid-frequency hashtags — 100–50,000 requests
  • Low-frequency hashtags — up to 50,000 requests

Rotate hashtags

Misuse of hashtags can lead to Instagram ban. To avoid this, follow the guidelines:

  • Use maximum 30 hashtags under the same photo (it is better to use 5–10 so as not to get into the shadow ban).
  • Change hashtags under each new post. If the topic is mainly the same, you can create hashtag groups, and alternate them.
  • Do not make hashtags too long as they are difficult to perceive, for example, #burning ticketstoItalyfromCanada. If you need to use a long hashtag, separate its parts with underscores #tickets_Italy_Canada.

Do it regularly

In the struggle for high reach, first place goes to bloggers and brands that not only produce quality content, but do so regularly. The best frequency for posting in the feed is one-two times a day. The number of Stories is more: 2–5 per day. Thus, you’ll keep in constant contact with your readers, get support from the platform algorithms, and boost Instagram followers. 

Share interesting content

Content is king, so the first thing you need to boost Instagram followers is to deliver quality content. Here are a few suggestions on how to increase your following for free.

Personal life

More and more users want to see real people instead of models, life scenarios instead of staged photos. If there is a part of your life that might be interesting for followers, why not share it? For example, backstage photos of your working process, portraits of your company’s employees, clients’ happy pictures, etc. If they don’t look glossy enough, share them in Stories.

Another idea is to leverage failure moments in your trip or work such as missing a plane, losing documents, and the like. Such posts will look authentic and naturally generate audience’s interest. More and more bloggers are now choosing to be real rather than glamorous, so why not follow this trend?

Product and reviews

Show how your product can help your followers solve their problems. Many brands use Instagram to educate their audience about their product advantages:

  • Product benefits
  • New product announcements
  • Customer feedback
  • Comparison of your product and ones of competitors
  • Frequently asked questions

Motivate customers to write reviews, share photos and give tips. User-generated content (UGC) tends to build more trust with the audience because it is created by real users. To encourage UGC, offer customers a gift or discount in exchange for their feedback. You can also arrange a contest for the best photo with the product and collect ideas for several posts.

Inside view of your business

Present the inner workings of your company. This approach humanizes and personalizes the brand, especially if you share your team’s photos. 

Here is what you can do:

  • Present the team values
  • Present each employee individually
  • Show how the team uses the product
  • Show the office life: meetings, parties, etc
  • Show behind the scenes pictures

There’s no need to do a professional photo shoot, sharing regular photos looks even more authentic. Use your smartphone camera, take live shots of routine moments and the question of how to get more followers on Instagram for free will be on the wane.

Entertaining content

Even business accounts can use fun and entertaining content from time to time. It can be memes, funny pictures of your employees or yourself, and the like. Such content will help draw attention to your account and won’t annoy your followers with constant sales. 

Try to create viral content that your followers will want to share. Keep track of trending topics and fit them into your content. Nevertheless, it’s still better to avoid joking about nationality, politics, religion, gender, or physical disabilities. You never fully know your audience. While safe-irony is always safe. 

Guides and instructions

Sharing the best practices of using the product with your audience will also help attract free Instagram followers instantly. This can be a how-to post, video or photo guide, personal advice,  checklist, and so on. 

It doesn’t only have to be about your product, targeting related issues will also do the trick. Here are some ideas:

  • How to get the best seat on the plane?
  • Should you fly low-cost?
  • How much money should you take on a trip?
  • New types of tourism fraud
  • How to not get sick in a new climate

You can go one step further and write these types of posts in a unified style so that users can immediately recognize them in the feed. 

Promo

Use Instagram to announce new product launches, discounts, and upcoming events such as assortment updates, new webinars, expert interviews, and the like. You can also post every time there is a new article in your company’s blog. Thus, you will warm up the interest of the audience and create a demand. 

It might be better to share promo in Stories. You can do it several times, to make sure that as many followers as possible have seen your feed.

Infographics

Make infographics when you want to share statistics or data. People perceive graphic information faster and easier, so your followers will be more likely to look through your numbers. In addition, graphic content isn’t used very often so it attracts attention in the feed. 

Here are some ideas:

  • Breaking down travel expenses for a particular destination
  • Presenting a product in numbers
  • Comparing your product advantages with competitors

You don’t have to be a designer to create graphic content. Leverage the best infographic tools and make visual content within a few minutes.

Contests

Contests promise gifts, and people like freebies. That’s why contests boost engagement and help increase Instagram followers. Think of what you need most, like, get more like, subscribers, comments and draft the contest rules. Then, choose an appealing gift. It can be a free trial, monthly subscription, product sample, a shoutout, or even things from other brands if you do a cross promotion.

Increase community engagement

Many bloggers ask themselves how to get more followers on Instagram, but they forget about the engagement level. It doesn’t really matter how many people follow you, but how active they are. To involve people, use one of the following tricks:

  1. Leave the first comment yourself to engage the audience and show that the activity is very welcome.
  2. Ask your friends to be active in your account, especially if it is new. Thus, new followers will be inspired by their example and follow it.
  3. Answer all the comments and do it as quickly as possible. It’s also important that your response contains at least four or five words. 
  4. Try different content formats: Stories, IGTV, etc. Organize a live broadcast during which your employees or you will answer users’ questions and share insights. Invite partners and conduct joint live broadcasts. 
  5. Ask questions, make quizzes, conduct surveys, and offer to end the sentence. If you are not asking your reader, why should they comment?

Share Stories every day

Instagram Stories features over 400 million active users per day, one of every five Stories receives a response in Direct, so it’s a great tool to boost your following.

While regular posts stay in your feed, Stories are active within 24 hours. Such format implies that the content you upload is news, announcements, updates, daily life matters, and the like. It’s great to share:

  • News about upcoming events
  • Product launches
  • New post updates
  • Contests and giveaways
  • Your daily life
  • News at the company
  • Results of surveys
  • Talks with employees
  • Question and answer sections

Here are some more helpful tips on how to publish Stories:

  • Share two to five Stories daily on average
  • Make text contrast with the background and be sure it doesn’t scatter users’ attention
  • When placing a link via @, remember that it should be noticeable and easy to click
  • Use emoji and gifs to make your text more attractive
  • If you speak on video, add short captions, as some users do not turn on the sound in Stories
  • Do not place important items close to the edge of the screen. It will be inconvenient to scroll.

Post IGTV videos

Instagram TV or IGTV is a great way to share long videos. And videos are the format that users expect from brands, as a Hubspot study revealed that 54% of respondents prefer to learn about the product through video content instead of newsletters, pictures, blog posts, etc. 

IGTV allows mobile devices to upload videos up to 15 minutes in length, while desktop web browsers can upload videos up to 60 minutes in length. Thus, you can shoot videos and upload them right from your phone, without operator, installation, and processing costs. The main difference between IGTV and YouTube is that all videos on IGTV are full-screen and vertical, designed for viewing on a smartphone.

Network with other bloggers

To cover a bigger audience, establish authority and build partnerships, network with niche experts and bloggers. You can create and run a joint project, interview each other or do a shoutout. 

Shoutout for shoutout, or SFS, might be the best way to get more Instagram followers for free. Find an influencer whose audience you’d like to reach out to and run cross-promotion. Here are a few tips on how to make it successful:

  • Your account should look appealing to network with, as well as your partner’s page
  • Your audiences should be similar in terms of their interests and the number of subscribers and involvement
  • Do not use SFS too often to not lose your followers

Make your page style unified

Accounts with photos in a unified style look attractive and professional. Thus, consider developing your own style in terms of colors, fonts, photo filters, graphic elements, etc. Here are some examples of great Instagram travel accounts to check out. 

The account of Brendan Van Son, writer and photographer, pictures of nature and cities shot for well-known travel editions such as BBC, National Geographic Traveler and The Guardian.

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Murad Osman, Russian photographer and producer, is the author behind the “Follow me” photo series. All of the photos are in the same style, featuring a young girl against renowned landmarks.

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And here is the Instagram account of a deluxe London hotel. It is full of stylized images: from dapper men’s outfits to tasty dishes in a trendy restaurant. Bleached images create a cool vintage look. 

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These are just a few examples, but you can find more inspiration from other renowned travel influencers.

Follow your target audience

If you found yourself asking, “How do I get free Instagram followers?” Try the follow method. This means attracting new audiences by following them first. Here is what you can do:

  • Subscribe to followers of your competitors 
  • Subscribe to people within your geolocation
  • Subscribe to those who liked or commented your posts
  • Like and comment posts of other people who you think might be interested in your account
  • Unsubscribe from those who have not subscribed to your account

However, be careful about mass liking and following, because Instagram is becoming increasingly conscious about it. Just make sure it isn’t your only promotional strategy.

Leverage geolocation

According to research, 87% of millennial travelers base their choice of holiday destination on photos they found on social media, and 97% of interviewees post pictures during their trip. Both categories are highly likely to use geotags and hashtags in their search and posts, and so should you. 

If your post is about your business or product, add geotags for your company location. To reach more people, some bloggers also indicate popular places in their city (shopping and entertainment centers, places of cultural recreation, parks and squares, museums, etc.). If you present another destination, add a relevant geotag. If the search does not provide the desired geotag, you can add it via Facebook. Moreover, you can run targeted advertising to the target audience or use mass following with the help of geolocation.

Add call to action

To make money online, it’s important not only to provide valuable content but also to encourage followers to commit a desired action. Remember to add calls to action to your posts. For example, it can be something like “Don’t forget to like, share, and subscribe” under your posts.

When you need to pay for followers

If you need to quickly promote a product or expand the number of followers in general, consider the paid options of how to grow Instagram followers. It’s better to leverage paid advertising when your business has already been in the market for some time rather than at the very start. 

You can launch ads to make money on Instagram through a mobile app or in your Facebook account. Targeted advertising on Instagram involves the search for target audience by gender, age, country, region, and town. If the account has a linked Facebook page, the list of targeting options is expanding significantly! This also applies to the search for your target audience. If the user’s Instagram account is linked to the Facebook page, then you can use their interests and behavior for advertising. 

You can also pay other influencers to promote you, for example, make a post about your business or mention you in Stories. Make sure that your target audience is similar. 

How to get more followers on Instagram

With Instagram becoming one of the most popular social media platforms, it makes sense to build your presence there. The first step is to start posting content that will be interesting to your audience and then constantly expand your reach. With these simple tips, you can easily get free Instagram followers and speed up your promotion.