8 Tips to Grow Followers and Skyrocket Engagement on Instagram

by Tarlese Rideaux

Visual and mobile Marketing are HOT right now, and the best part about it is that they're nothing new. "A picture is worth a thousand words" has never rung more true.

Do you remember Show and Tell when you were younger? You couldn't wait to go to the front of the class and share whatever was new, fun, and exciting, right? I bet all the other children ooh'ed and aah'ed over it. This is exactly what Instagram is now offering.

I began marketing on Instagram as a complete accident, but in just a few short months, it turned into a personal goldmine; I currently manage six separate Instagram accounts with a following of just under 20,000 targeted followers.

I've realized as my account has grown and I continue to help others succeed with Instagram, there are a few crucial steps everyone needs to follow in order to be successful with this exciting new tool.

Here are 8 time-tested strategies that will help you to extend your reach and expand your followers on Instagram:

1. Your Bio Is Your Lifeline

Many people make the mistake of leaving their Instagram bio blank. This is a no-no.

Make sure you take the time to offer a few sentences about yourself and let visitors know where they can contact you and what you are all about. And add your web site link!

2. Share the Love

Give back to others. Don't just post to Instagram; search for others to follow and be sure to "like" others' photos. Join conversations in the comments section of photos as well. Showing interest toward others shows that you care.

3. Like and Follow Your Ideal Audience

Who is your target audience? What kinds of people are the best candidates to buy your product? Search for them on Instagram and see what they are posting and looking for/interested in. Are they stay-at-home moms? Entrepreneurs? Students? Find them and follow them.

4. Use Hashtags

In order to get more followers, you have to get in front of the right people. The easiest way to do that is through #hashtags. If you own a clothing line, for example, look for people using #hashtags such as #fashion, #models, or #style.

5. Watermark Your Photos with Your web Site

People like to "share" (aka 'steal') photos and use them for themselves. Since your pictures are going to get shared anyway, why not have your contact info on them? It doesn't have to take up the entire picture, just add it somewhere. I use the apps Phonto and Over on my iPhone to do this.

6. Connect Your Other Social Media Sites to Instagram:

There are several reasons to connect your additional social media sites—Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter—to your Instagram.

1. Allows you to increase your exposure.

2. Saves you time! This way you won't have to exit the Instagram app to hit several social media sites at once.

3. You can never assume that because someone is connected to you on one platform that they follow you on Instagram. Let them know!

7. Use Calls to Action

Never assume your followers know what to do. Give them a Call to Action. Examples: "Double tap this picture if..." (when you tap a picture twice, it will "like" the picture), "Tag a friend who motivates you."

8. Host a Contest on Your Instagram Account:

Offering a small prize as an incentive will drive tons of new users to participate and share with their friends. One contest has the ability to generate engagement and increase your number of followers in order to get your product or brand in front of many more people.


  • Ask followers to post a picture and tag your company with a specific #hashtag to be eligible.
  • Ask followers to forward a picture you've posted or share it with a friend to be eligible.

Prizes can include: gift cards, one- on-one consultations, samples of your product, blog feature, free "swag." The possibilities are endless.

Whether you are brand new to Instagram or a seasoned Instagram veteran, these 8 tips will help you grow your followers and skyrocket your engagement.

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