I get it:
Starting out as a beginner on Instagram can be a slow and frustrating process — Not to mention confusing!
I was a beginner once too — so today I’ve put together this guide with all my best tips and tricks on Instagram specifically tailored to beginners. So if you’re just getting started out on Instagram, I’ve got a few methods for you that will really help you to establish yourself and start gaining those followers.
Tell me if you’ve ever seen this:
Huge, popular Instagram accounts who effortlessly gain hundreds or thousands of new followers per day.
And then wondered to yourself:
“How do they do it? Do I need to already HAVE lots of followers to gain MORE followers? Did I join Instagram too late to succeed?”
Though there are some great growth strategies that work well if you already have a huge account, the good news is there are also several fantastic Instagram growth methods that work even if you’re starting from zero.
Today I’m going to walk you through the three BEST growth strategies on Instagram for beginners — and they’ll get you growing your follower count even if you’re just starting out.
As a bonus: they’re all completely free — you don’t have to spend money on ads or anything like that.
I myself was successful in growing my first Instagram account @lobotany to 30,000 followers within six months without spending a dime.
But if you can afford to try out some paid growth strategies, I want you to know that it’s possible to boost your growth rate even higher by doing so. It’s completely optional and not necessary, but I want you to know the option is out there is case you were thinking about it.
If you’re interested in spending a little bit of cash to see big hits in follower growth, check out my post on working with Instagram influencers to see how to do it.
If you are a beginner who is just getting started, I highly recommend signing up for my FREE eCourse Jumpstart Your Instagram (click for more info). Inside, I’ll walk your through the steps you’ll need to take in order to gain your first 1,000 followers on Instagram. Sign up below:
Ready to get started? Let’s dive in to the ultimate guide to Instagram for Beginners:
Strategy #1: Using Niche Specific Hashtags
Did you know: hashtags are Instagram’s version of a search tool? You can type a hashtag into the search bar and bring up all sorts of good content related to that hashtag.
Let me give you an example:
I recently went on a trip to Boston.
Having never been there before, I didn’t really know what sights there were to see or what cool things were happening, so I took to Instagram to find out. I searched a few Boston-related hashtags to see what people were doing around the city, and ended up finding some great attractions that I would have never stumbled upon on my own.
On Instagram, hashtags are a highly effective way to search for very specific content, and people can use them to find the great things you’re posting about.
Your audience is using hashtags to find the things they’re interested in, so to grow your account it’s important to take advantage of this!
The maximum number of hashtags you can use per post is 30.
I suggest saving a bunch of niche relevant hashtags somewhere convenient — like in the Notes app on your phone — so that you can copy and paste them every time you post to Instagram. This is a huge time saver.
I have a list of about 40-50 hashtags saved on my phone, and I select 30 or so of them for every post I publish to Instagram.
Instagram for Beginners Tip: Don’t post your hashtags in your caption.
A huge swarm of 30 hashtags isn’t very visually appealing, so it’s best to post them in a comment immediately after you publish your post.
Because once your post has received a few comments your hashtags will be hidden from view and will only show up when someone clicks on ‘View All Comments’.
That way you keep your caption nice and clean and free of distractions. Here’s how I’ve done it in one of my posts:
“What hashtags should I include in my set of 30?”
Selecting good hashtags to attract followers interested in your niche is critical to succeeding with this strategy. A great place to start is to see what your competitors are using – then copy them.
You should choose hashtags that aren’t too big, but aren’t too small either. If you have a small account with under 10k followers, your best bet is to aim for niche specific hashtags with under 1,000,000 posts. You’ll stand a chance of ranking in the ‘Top Posts’ section for these hashtags and they’ll bring you better results.
Strategy #2: Follow Your Target Audience
This strategy is simple: find accounts in a similar niche to yours, then head on over to their followers list. Open up their followers list and start following some of their followers — in the hopes that they’ll follow you back.
This strategy works because most people are very curious. A lot of the people you follow will, at the very least, check out an account that follows them.
The average person only has a hundred or so followers, most of which are friends and family members. When someone new follows them, they get a notification! And most people will go check out the account of whoever followed them.
If that somebody new posted similar content to another account that they were interested in, don’t you think they’d follow back?
I sure would, and a lot of people do.
By following people with an interest in your niche, you’re making them aware of your existence. And if they like what you have to offer you’ll have gained a new follower. If not, you haven’t done any harm.
Instagram doesn’t want spammers mass following and unfollowing, because it can ruin the Instagram experience. That’s why they’ve put some limits into place.
Start out slow, and don’t go on a spree following hundreds of people at once — this will only get you in trouble and you’ll likely get slapped with a temporary ban. Break the rules too frequently, and you might get banned for longer.
Err on the side of caution, and slowly increase the amount of people you follow each day if you’d like to rely on this strategy more.
Strategy #3: Engage With Your Target Audience
Since Instagram is a social media platform, why not get out there and socialize as a strategy to grow your account?
After all, Instagram has over 800 million monthly users at the time of this writing and you can leverage that to grow your own following.
The fourth way to grow your Instagram account is with engagement. Engagement includes any kind of interaction (likes + comments) with your followers and non-followers.
The best way to get this going is to start the conversation yourself!
Getting regular engagement on your posts and replying to your followers is great for your business as well. After all, who’s going to buy something from a silent, faceless entity who refuses to connect?
No one, that’s who.
People want to know who you are and what makes you tick, so get out there and let your personality shine!
If you have a small following, you probably notice when a user comments on your posts, likes your photos, or starts following you. And it’s likely you may like, comment, or follow that person back. This is true of other people too, so giving them a little bit of love can go a long way in enticing them to follow you.
That’s why engaging with individuals in your target audience on Instagram is a super effective way to both grow your following and build a strong relationship with your audience.
The more you engage with the people and their content, the more likely they are to engage with you and your content. An increase in likes and comments on your pictures acts as encouragement for other people to like and comment as well.
When your posts consistently have a large number of likes and comments, people will begin to see you as a legitimate contributor and leader in your niche.
Beyonce gets a TON of engagement.
Instagram for beginners: It doesn’t have to be hard…
Whether you choose to combine all three of the growth methods listed above or pick one or two that you really like, you’ll be able to boost your growth rate and start growing your following!
Growing your following is the first step in gaining recognition for your work, your business, and your brand. By using these strategies you’ve taken the first step towards building a tribe of like-minded, engaged followers who love what you have to offer.
Ready to take your Instagram to the next level?
Learn how to gain your first 1,000 Instagram followers in my FREE eCourse Jumpstart Your Instagram instead. Sign up below: