Under the influence

Increasing followers on Instagram — The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Whether you’re a marketeer looking to grow your brand or just wondering how to become Instagram famous, here are the good, the bad and the ugly methods for increasing followers on Instagram. 

Influencer Marketing is here to stay. What seemed like a ‘fleeting trend’ has now evolved into a sophisticated technique with its own rules, processes and metrics for evaluation. 

However,  the market is still on a journey to reach its full potential. 

Some Instagram users keep turning to vanity metrics, such as the followers tracker, to justify the relevance of a profile.  Which, to be fair, makes sense: a large count of adherents will certainly bring an Instagram profile the benefit of social approval, a higher status, and, chances are, will lead to bigger payrolls. 

Whether you’re a marketeer looking to grow your brand or just wondering how to become Instagram famous, here are the good, the bad and the ugly methods to increase followers on Instagram. 

From the strategies that will help you attract a large audience that is genuinely interested in your content, to the ones that will transform you into (magic!) a walking ripoff.

Just bear in mind: the number of followers in the counter is the sparkling jacket that you rock at a party. It helps to get people’s attention, but then you have to master conversations that won’t scare your prospects away.

Organic Growth – You are legit!

Organic growth is derived from the influencer’s ‘own efforts’ – meaning that the growth strategy didn’t include any payment to reach a certain audience. 

Today’s social landscape has made it harder than ever to grow the follower counter without having to drip the wallet, particularly for businesses. Nevertheless, there are some key principles that, if taken into account, may guarantee a sweet and smooth boost in your fan base. 

If we were to summarize the key to organic growth in one single word, that would be ‘content’. Being content-centric doesn’t simply mean you should be creating high quality posts, but this is a good place to start from. 

Main strategies for organic growth include producing unique high quality content, paying attention to post frequency and consistency, as well as using trendy hashtags in order to attract new followers.

Other must-do’s for organic growth include engaging with your current and potential audience and producing content outside of Instagram that generates traffic to your account. Stay tuned for the 6 steps to Instagram organic growth.

Paid Growth – Tell me more…

Paid growth on Instagram refers to an account owner paying to boost its follower base – both through activities implemented inside or outside the platform. 

📣 A legit paid growth strategy must never include fake followers.

The most recurring method for paid growth is to promote content and/or accounts using the Instagram Promotion feature. This will bring you the possibility of reaching a specific audience outside of your current follower base. Paid posts are often a technique used to amplify the reach of content that has already had proven organic success.

Hosting giveaways is another recurring paid growth activity. The term ‘paid’ is relative in such cases, since often the object of the raffle has been gifted by a brand to an influencer. In a classic giveaway, users are asked to tag friends and follow an account, leading to a peak in interaction and following. 

The key to success with this strategy is paying special attention to the prize, as this will determine the interest of the new audience. However, this kind of growth is not always easy to maintain. That is, a lot of people follow an account because of the giveaway, but after a few days they realize that the content is not interesting and, therefore, unfollow. It is important to implement a strategy of “came for the prize, stayed for the contents”. 

The key to success with this strategy is paying special attention to the prize, as this will determine the interest of the new audience.

Anderson from @196sonhos -who is currently pursuing the Guinness World Record of ‘Youngest person to travel to every country on earth’- used a giveaway inside his growth strategy. He hosted an Iphone giveaway as a growth booster, attracting 6000 new followers. Learn more about his growth strategy as a travel influencer.

Other less common techniques that involve opening the wallet to boost Instagram followers are: paying influencers with similar target audiences for shoutouts on their profiles or paid press coverage. Some influencers may seek professional consultancy by hiring a growth agency.

But wait: organic growth and paid growth are not an impossible match. They are two different strategies that – if carefully combined – can lead to an engaged follower base in a faster and more efficient manner. Paid growth is sometimes the only alternative due to the limitations for organic growth that the current Instagram algorithm has.

Increading followers on Instagram – Boom effect

Social Climbing – We are all a big connected family

Social Climbing on instagram refers to creating partnerships with other influencers, or entities, to scale both your influence and audience. 

These partnerships lead to an organic follower exchange, since they are opening a window of consideration to their audiences. Social climbing on instagram can also affect the position of an influencer or brand. Reputation is contagious, and social climbing lays on this principle of relational marketing. 

This phenomenon may happen through buying shoutouts from influencers in the same industry, but it can also come naturally, by belonging to an influential circle – see Chiara’s squad – or through genuine synergies.

When choosing a climbing alley, there is a bliss point to be found:

📣 Choose someone who has a different audience to yours -so that there is territory to be gained-, yet similar interests.

Hypothetically speaking, Tara, an american beauty guru who wants to work with UK brands, may want to collaborate with well-known UK makeup artists, Josh. This will ultimately help her gain exposure to beauty enthusiasts across Britain. 

Follow for Follow – Smells funny

Also known as ‘F4F’, the follow for follow strategy consists of following an account in hopes of being followed back.  

Although there’s a high chance of attracting legitimate accounts with this technique, there is little proof that the audience acquired through this process will be highly engaged. 

‘F4F’ is a very exploitable method since different solutions have appeared to automate this process, such as bots. These types of activities are likely to cost the user a shadow banning from Instagram.

The concept ‘Follow for Follow’ has now evolved to be ‘Follow Unfollow’, since most of the followed accounts return to their original state. The reason being that Instagram users seek to maintain a reasonable ratio between ‘Followers’ and ‘Following’.

Buying Followers – Exit the building

There are many websites where any Instagram user can pay and see their Instagram grow, both in followers or interactions. 

Common services will just unload the wanted amount of followers all at once into your account while others, more sophisticated ones, will inject followers in batches to arouse less suspicion.

Most of the fake followers are bots that try to impersonate real users through automated behavior, such as regular publications, crafted bios, and other features that make them look like real accounts. 

Instagram has tried to address the fake followers issue time and time again, yet fake accounts make up a significant amount of Instagram’s total population.

We support the fair game

In an unpredictable social media sphere that is dominated by algorithms, users are becoming increasingly more creative in their efforts to optimize their digital opportunities. As influencer marketing professionals, Primetag supports the fair game and develops technology for real influencers, helping them by backing their work with real data.

Jone Conde

As a PR & Media Specialist at Primetag, I am responsible for enhancing the company's voice in both online and offline channels. From working at the Guggenheim Museum in New York to launching my own beer brand, I waste no opportunity for exploration.

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