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Instagram is in our opinion the top social media platform to build your brand as a creator or business. But in the little over a decade since it’s creation, Instagram’s algorithms have changed drastically. Not only that, but then there’s all the growth of users to over a billion and constant new features released. All of this combined makes Instagram growth seem like an impossible achievement for those who are starting out. You might look at the followings of your peers and competitors and can only dream of gaining even half those numbers.  However the bright side of things is that even the most seasoned social media managers and influencers are also seeing big changes to their insights. Not only are they not gaining followers at rates they once used too, but their engagement is down too.

So, what can you do to adapt? Is there even a way to beat the algorithm and get it to work to help with your Instagram growth? The short answer thankfully is yes. There are many tips and elements that you can incorporate into your strategy to drive results. However one thing you want to keep in mind is that Instagram’s algorithm is not something that is static. Meaning, it’s constantly being evolved and updated in some way. This may make you think it’s impossible to crack but as long as you keep a flexible strategy in mind you can take advantage of it.

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Now there are some that will say that you should just take the easy route and buy your followers. Many brands, celebrities and even influencers do this as a way to create an “in demand” appearance. No one wants to follow someone who doesn’t have a lot of followers especially if they are unknown. There is power in numbers. But one thing is for sure that nothing beats authentic Instagram growth.

What Defines Authentic Instagram Growth?

Like we mentioned, you can get a quick fix by purchasing followers. However the thing you want to keep in mind with buying followers is that 98% of the time you are buying fake followers. Either inactive bot accounts, or ghost accounts. And that is what defines authentic Instagram growth. Anytime your follower numbers are growing is a good thing. But if your engagement isn’t going up with it those followers aren’t much helpful. These days to get exposure on Instagram, your follower count holds the least weight in the grand scheme of things. Part of that requires captivating content, but the rest of it requires authentic Instagram growth.

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Now there are services out there that can help you gain nothing but real followers. At Wolf Global, for example, we offer our Organic Instagram Growth which is a targeted method we use to build a real following. When it comes to buying followers our advice is fairly simple: there is a lot of snake oil salesmen out there, so generally speaking when looking into buying followers generally assume that they’re fake. While we do also offer “for show” options like our Female Followers, we’re always transparent between the differences in the services we offer.

Instagram Growth Tips

Even though there are the obvious Instagram growth tips like using key hashtags and posting at prime times, these days that just isn’t enough. We researched what our clients and social media experts alike are saying about gaining followers in 2021. Here are some of the best kept secrets we just had to share!

Find a Niche, and Perfect It

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Particularly for creators and influencers, the number one tip we always hear is that you need to find your niche. It’s hard to build a core base of loyal followers if your content themes are all over the place. This is because generally you’re followed because that person is interested in the category your content falls under. For example if you’re into fitness and health you should start by sharing workouts and fitness tips. After some time of steady Instagram growth you could then expand your content to health meals and nutrition advice. Some niches somewhat go hand in hand and can be combined into one like fashion and beauty.

Be Consistent with Your Activity

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Some will tell you to post multiple times a day, everyday when you’re just starting out. And while saturating Instagram with content isn’t necessarily a bad idea it can backfire. Your followers might get annoyed with the overload and unfollow you, working against you with the algorithm. Or worst, Instagram might flag your account as spam. Ideally you want to create a regular schedule for posting that is consistent and that you can commit too. Whether it’s once daily, or every other day that’s up to you. Whatever you decide the more you’re consistent with being active, the more Instagram will reward you.

Keep in mind being active also includes posting on your Stories daily and bonus points for engaging with other content on Instagram. It’s actually a little known secret that Instagram rewards users who are active when it comes to time spent on the app.

Use Instagram Reels

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Long gone are the days that you can simply post a photo and go. If you’re not using Instagram Reels you’re missing a big chance for exposure. And we all know exposure equals Instagram growth. It’s no secret that Reels have taken a huge role on the platform for Instagram itself and creators alike. A couple tricks to keep in mind to help boost your exposure even more is to use trending audio in your content, or participate in the latest challenge or dance. The more eyes on a particular trend, the better for your Instagram growth.

Invest in Authentic Content

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It’s really important that if you want your content to attract followers that you invest in your content. Your latest Reel or post can go as viral as you want, if it’s not eye catching to some degree you can forget about getting a profile view, let a lone a follow. It’s also not a bad idea to be as authentic and relatable as you can on the app. Today people would rather follow someone they can feel connected too over those who feel somewhat unattainable.

Create Your Own Filter

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A creative way to try to gain some ground with Instagram growth is to create your own filter. Filters have become staple on Instagram stories whether it’s a slight colour enhancement or an interactive filter. You gain exposure when you or others use your filter for their Story content. This is a great idea for brands who are looking to build their identity and influencers who want to share their creativity.

Start an IGTV Series

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Reels might have taken over Instagram, but IGTV is still a great medium to share content. Thanks to 2020 and the year of the pandemic Instagram has become a hub of entertainment and resources. A unique way to entertain your followers while appealing to a wider audience is with an IGTV Series. You can create one or several different series you host on IGTV, seeing as there are so many fun themes you can build on. Travel influencers might consider hosting a series on travel tips for specific cities, or how to pack based on your destinations.

Avoid Hosting Giveaways

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One tip that might surprise you on this list is when it comes to Instagram growth, avoid giveaways at all costs. Whether it’s a loop giveaway or a solo contest you’re hosting on your own, they come with a set of consequences. First of all, the followers you will gain are only following you to win the prize. Majority of those will more or likely unfollow you once the giveaway is over. That’s on top of all the inactive giveaway accounts that may stick around but will never engage.

The other downside to giveaways is that they typically create a huge spike in your engagement and follower average for a short period of time. Once the giveaway is over your insights will drop to their usual numbers. Instagram will see this as you going from being extremely interesting to average, and it will impact your performance for a bit with the algorithm.

Now this is not to say do not host a giveaway. If it’s something you want to do to partner with a brand or reward your followers that’s more than fine. We just don’t recommend it as part of an Instagram growth strategy and it’s impacts should be noted ahead of time.