So you want to grow your Instagram organically without paying for a ton of ads, yeah, we all do!

I’ve done the research and learned the hard way along my journey and have found a few proven ways to consistantly grow your following and engagement on Instagram and I will share my top six tips with you now:

 

1. Write a Compelling Bio

The first thing anyone sees when they visit your profile is your bio and therefore it is a crucial part of making the first impression on your audience. You need to write a compelling Instagram bio to encourage people to follow you.

Apart from the basics like adding your contact details and website link, you should also tell your brand’s story in an engaging way. Simply saying what kind of business you have won’t make you stand out. You need to give people a reason to connect with your brand and follow you.

Here’s an example of a good Instagram bio from adventure gear brand, Yeti.

Image Source: Instagram

2. Develop and Maintain a Unique Instagram Brand Personality

Your Instagram feed is the next thing that a person who visits your profile will see after your bio. And, the impression that a user gets by looking at your feed is important in determining whether they like your brand or not.

It is also important to maintain consistency in colours, types of posts, tone of voice, etc. as these are what determine your brand’s personality. And, it should be such that if anyone sees your post, they should immediately associate it with your brand.

Here’s an example of a soft drink brand that maintains a clear and distinct brand personality.

 

Image Source: Instagram

3. Use Relevant Hashtags

Using hashtags is a tried and tested way to reach more people and gain more Instagram followers. You need to research which hashtags are trending in your niche and which are relevant for your brand and content. Then use a mix of these hashtags for all your Instagram content to reach people who follow those hashtags. I have found that using hashtags that have less than 800k posts on them do MUCH better, and that is due to the larger and more popular hashtags are diluted with posts and the second you post your photo, it will get push down the list by others posting with that same hashtag. Use something more unique you’ll have a much better chance of getting it on the top posts page for that specific hashtag, then it really takes off!

Also, remember to mix it up a bit and use popular industry-level hashtags, as well as niche ones for which you can actually stand out. Instagram allows you to add up to 30 hashtags for each post and you should utilize this feature to your advantage.

4. Engage With Your Captions

The captions of your Instagram posts give you a chance to engage your current audience and even encourage them to refer you to their friends. So, why not use that opportunity to your advantage? There’s a lot that you can do with your Instagram captions like tag people, ask questions, start conversations, etc. The more you encourage your audience to comment, the more likely it is that they will invite their friends to join in on the discussion.

You can also provide discounts or offers and ask your followers to tag their friends and promote that offer. Also, remember to tell the story behind the picture or video that you’re sharing as that will get more engagement.

 

5. Add CTAs Everywhere

Instagram provides several options for you to add “calls-to-action”, or CTAs, in your content and you should utilize all of them. Whether it is a simple link on your Stories or “shop now,” CTAs can help you get your audience to take the desired action. If nothing else, you can add a CTA to your captions by requesting that people share your content, visit your profile, or whatever action you want them to take.

So how do you gain an audience’s attention, pique their interest, and get them buying what you’re selling? Here are some tips that will help you think from the target audience’s perspective and write in a way that will speak to them.

Identify the audience’s desires. What would motivate them to follow through on your ad or look at your content in the first place?

Connect your CTA to fulfilling those desires. Craft your message in a way that speaks to them.

Use words that inspire enthusiasm. Instead of “Take a tour of our property,” it’s “Find your dream home today.” Instead of “Pitch in to prevent cruelty against animals,” it’s “Join the millions who are fighting to protect our furry friends.”

Make the next step easy. Clicking a button. Sharing a link. Typing an email address (but not necessarily full account information—even that amount of effort can scare people away). The easier the action, the more likely your audience will feel motivated enough to take it.

 

Example CTAs

Here are spiced-up versions of the CTAs you saw earlier in the article. Each example could be accompanied by text saying “Buy now,” “Sign up,” or “Get a free trial.” The trick is in the section leading up to that action and making sure it provides the motivation and the rationale for the audience to take the next step.

Original: Read this book.

New and improved: See why thousands of readers are talking about the latest page-turner from this bestselling author.

Why it works: By mentioning “thousands of readers,” this copy makes the audience want to be part of the crowd. The words “page-turner” and “bestselling author” lend credibility to the claim that the book is worth reading.

Original: Stop using plastic water bottles.

New and improved: When you drink from plastic water bottles, you risk consuming microplastics and contributing to plastic pollution of the ocean. Get a glass or metal water bottle instead of a plastic one.

Why it works: The good ol’ “scare ‘em” trick. There’s nothing wrong with a little fear-mongering in advertising. By stating that plastic water bottles are bad for individual health and the environment, this sentence plays on the audience’s fears and suggests an easy solution: stop using plastic water bottles.

 

Original: Use correct grammar.

New and improved: Speaking and writing grammatically helps you become a better communicator and makes people more likely to listen to you, agree with you, and respect your opinions. Make sure you use correct grammar.

Why it works: This copy gives a straightforward reason for responding to the call to action, and one that is likely to resonate with many professionals. An example CTA to follow the sentence: Get the free Grammarly browser extension today.

The tactics used in these examples can be modified for a call to action in any genre. No matter what your mission is, you’ll benefit from the ability to capture your audience’s attention and persuade them to follow up.

You made it to the end! You may not have a free car, but you now have the tools to write a successful, effective CTA.

 

6. Stay Consistent and Time Your Posts

You’re growing a following of people, people have routines, they have schedules. When people are at work they check their phones from time to time, but it’s generally during lunch or breaks so why not capitalize on that and always post during that window? I always make sure to post EVERYDAY between the hours of 11am CST and 1pm CST. That is my window when engagement is at it’s highest, based on studying my insights and following, now you may live overseas so just always take into account the time difference for the area you are trying to reach.

Best thing you can do is consistently post and have a template format for your posting’s caption but adjust it for the post. You don’t want to get on IG’s radar for spamming by using the same hashtags over and over, so change it up with each post and hit some different ones that are under 800k posts.