Grow Instagram followers organically

1. List 5-10 direct competitors and note their instagram accounts and number of followers.

2. Research these competitors and make a note of their approaches.

Copy the link of their best post. Copy the hashtags used in their post. Make note of the format (e.g. video, photography, illustration, typography). Note the tone (e.g. funny, curious, opinionated).

3. When analysing their hashtags organise them into three groups based on the number of followers these hashtags have.

A small group between 10,000 – 20,000, a medium group of 20,000 – 200,000 followers and a large group of over 200,000 followers. Take note of the name of the hashtag and the number of posts per hashtag. Look at your competitors or related accounts and note their most-used hashtags.

4. Take these popular hashtags and add variations of the hashtags with less followers.

For example, if a hashtag your competitor is using is #recipes you could target #veganrecipes as well. These will be easier to rank well on as they will have less competition.

5. Create three Hashtag Groups based on your research of hashtags

Create a group of 5 popular hashtags with between 1000 and 20,000 followers). Create a group of 10 popular hashtags with between 20,000 and 200,000 followers). Create a group of 3 popular hashtags with over 200,000 followers).

6. From each group, start targetting the most popular hashtag.

Start by reviewing the top six images for each hashtag. Post content that has a similar tone and format to the six images you have identified. Look at the comments for each of the six images and note the profiles of those who comment. Visit each profile, follow their account, like some of their images and comment where appropriate. Repeat the process for the next set of hashtags.

7. As you begin to identify trends in the kinds of content that ranks well start creating regular posts of your own.

Use tools like Later, Buffer, or Hootsuite to schedule a regular stream of quality content based on your research. Don’t forget to add between 10-15 hashtags that you researched and relate to your posts. Ensure you dedicate regular time to scheduling and reviewing your posts. Also respond to all comments daily.

8. Use Instagram stories to create a narrative beyond individual posts.

Copy images to your phone and post three or more images each time to share a story. Use Instagram story functions like hashtags, location tags, or polls in your story to expand your reach. Each interaction people have with your story function will increase the visibility of your story on the explore page.

9. Create a spreadsheet where you list the number of engagement activities you perform every day. How many activities to perform daily and for how long.

Keep track of your actions daily by crossing off every action as you complete it. Include any posts, account interactions, types of accounts you followed, and the hashtags used to interact with potential followers.