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How To Get Followers on Instagram, for Free and for Real: 3 Tricks

With just about 1 billion people on Instagram in 2020, it’s a huge feat to outshine other accounts and grow a real following. Both individuals and brands are constantly trying to figure out how to get followers on Instagram, for free, for real, and fast. 

Nearly a decade ago, it was effective to use Instagram hashtags and be noticed and found that way. Now, any common hashtag will have hundreds of thousands of posts attached to it that most people do not have the time to scroll through. Posting consistently is important, but it alone is not enough to gain a following. The funny thing about brands using social media is that many of them forget to be social with their customers and followers. Here’s how to get followers on Instagram by properly engaging with your audience!

1. How to Get Followers on Instagram: Get Local

People are likely to notice brands that are very local to them, especially if those brands make themselves known within that community. Outside of Instagram, 46% of Google searches are related to local services. The geotagging feature on Instagram is a super effective and free way to find those people who are in your area, and may be in your target audience. Before engaging using geo-locations, make sure you’re good in these areas:

  • You know what your target audience is, and who would be interested in your brand.
  • Know what city or cities to target. If your company is in a very popular tourist area (like New York City, for example), you’ll want to do a little more research to find people who live there or frequently visit, rather than people who are on a quick, one-time trip.

Here’s how to get followers on Instagram by engaging with your local community:

Head to the Instagram search bar and type in the city you’re targeting, and hit “places” on the top bar. From there, you can see all of the public posts with that location tagged. If you like what someone posted, and it could be relevant to your company, go ahead and leave a like and/or a nice comment on their post. Don’t take this as an opportunity to make a sales pitch or make it about your brand. Make thoughtful and encouraging comments focused on their posts!

How to get followers on Instagram by taking advantage of the geo-location feature.

Spreading positivity to your local community will get your brand noticed by real people who are attracted to your product or service, as well as the proximity. In fact, more than 8 out of 10 customers, 82%, are patrons of local businesses, and 48% plan to support more local businesses in the upcoming year.

Not everyone will feel inclined to engage with you, and that’s totally okay. It’s worth it to spread some love and show your commitment to your brand’s hometown!

2. How To Get Followers on Instagram: Connect with Industry Leaders

When learning how to get followers on Instagram, it’s important to take notes from the booming brands in your niche. It’s also important to take note of their followers’ responses.

How to get followers on instagram by finding Industry Leaders with content to engage with.
  • Make sure you’re following some industry leaders. A great way to find them is by using the suggested accounts feature when visiting a brand’s profile.
  • Stay updated on every post, so you can start engaging!

When you’re surfing industry leader posts, join in on the conversation in the comments section. Of course, you do not want to plug yourself at all when you’re doing this. See what their followers are saying, and if you have anything thoughtful to add, go ahead and do it! Focus on the value and insight of your comments. However, if it’s a meme you’re reacting to, and you have a good, lighthearted joke to make, by all means: go for it.

How to get followers on instagram by engaging in thoughtful conversation.

Make thoughtful conversation.

One thing to take note of is that 60% of people say they no longer trust social media. Make sure that when you engage with others on Instagram, you are respecting their privacy and communicating human-to-human. Don’t do anything that you would not trust if you were on the receiving end.

3. How to Get Followers on Instagram: Get Specific with Instagram Hashtags

You don’t have to put a million hashtags on your post to gain a following, but you can utilize Instagram hashtags in a creative way to engage with your target audience. This is a similar tactic to the geo-location one, so you’ll want to have similar things on lock:

  • Know your target audience!
  • Make a list of specific hashtags that appeal to your target audience. For example, if your product or service benefits busy moms, hashtags like #workingmama, #mamahood, and more will be great to target.

Go ahead and search the hashtags you want to target and follow them if you’d like to see them appear on your home feed. Again, just like the geo-location trick, find the posts that you’d like to engage with and spread some love! Again, no self-promotion – positive and thoughtful comments only! The great thing about this tactic is that you can pick tons of different hashtags and target them. There are thousands of posts to engage with!


How to get followers on Instagram, the authentic way, is by spreading some love and light. Even if your following is on the smaller side, if your followers are real and truly interested in your brand, they are more likely to engage with your posts. Having a high and healthy engagement rate always beats having lots of followers but no engagement. The average brand engagement rate is 1.9%, and Influencer accounts with less than 1,000 followers average an amazing 8% engagement rate, often because their small following is loyal and genuine.

While you’re working on gaining followers, don’t forget to engage and get in a positive dialogue with the followers you already have. 56% of customers say they will unfollow a brand if they demonstrate bad customer service on social media. 51% will unfollow if they see irrelevant content to the niche, and 78% will unfollow if there are too many ads and promo posts. Make your brand’s social media page a positive place for your audience, and a celebration of your niche and community.

Here’s your challenge: try these 3 tricks every single day for a month. Track your growth, using the analytics you can access as an Instagram business account. Watch the results roll in, and smile, knowing it’s all free! 🐢

Check out our Instagram for more tidbits on smart marketing strategies 😁

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