How to Grow Your Following on Instagram Organically


Instagram, although commonly defined as being an online photo sharing web service, nonetheless it has become a crucial measure of digital presence, a huge social media marketing platform, the ‘face’ of a business, and a lifestyle portfolio for many creative entrepreneurs.

According to Hootsuite, there are more than 700 million active monthly users on Instagram and it offers plenty of potential followers for businesses of all sizes. More than 80 percent of Instagram users follow at least one business, and every month over 120 million Instagrammers engage with brands in meaningful ways — like visiting their website, getting directions to a business location, or getting in touch directly by phone, email, or direct message.

If you manage a small to medium size business and you are new to Instagram, figuring this whole thing out on your own can be daunting and seem like a battle. However, fret not, our team is here to help you with some useful tips on how you can effectively grow your following in a way that is relevant to your creative business. We even have a few advice from local creatives who have grown their Instagram following organically all on their own, do read on to find out more!

1. Get the Basics in Place

Let’s start with the must-dos or non-negotiables, shall we? First, make sure your bio is complete, with relevant keywords and hashtags, and if you have a blog, website or Youtube channel, make sure to link it back to your page. Also, make sure your account is set to Public and not Private. Do not be spammy with your bio, keep it precise and concise and your page is sure to be found.

Next, being consistent in your posting at the right time can be of immense help in growing your followers. Research shows that posting between 9am to 9pm is one of the more favourable 12 hour time frame. Using scheduling apps like Later or Hootsuite can come in handy to keep you right on track.

instagram bioPicture via Huffington Post
later appPhoto via Later


2. Have A Killer Hashtag Strategy

Secondly, HASHTAG is life! Including hashtags in all your posts is a must to make your posts more discoverable, getting more likes, and increasing engagement. The right hashtag, or combination of hashtags, will expose your brand to large and targeted audiences, allowing your images to be found in the search.

Citing from Hootsuite, according to a TrackMaven study of Instagram accounts with 1,000 followers or fewer, posts containing four or five hashtags received an average of 22 interactions compared to 14 interactions on posts with zero hashtags. The trick here is to use intentional hashtags that will help you reach a broader audience and your ideal clients (not just your industry peers).

However, that does not mean you should tag every post with 30 hashtags (the maximum Instagram allows per post) to avoid diluting your message and make you appear desperate. Some examples of popular hashtags include #love, #ootd, #tbt,  #photooftheday #travel and so on. Check out the top 20 hashtags on Instagram you can possibly use according to Websta.

hashtag strategy

Image via French Girl Organics


3. Engage With Your Audience and Similar Pages

Liking and commenting on other users’ photos and similar pages is the other most natural way to gain new followers. Deriving from a very popular case study, Neil Patel has liked hundreds of random pictures from people in his target audience and found that for every 100 likes he did of random pictures, he received 6.1 more followers.

Of course we are not advising you to randomly like and comment on 100 pictures, following the advise of Sarah Jessica Parker and Glossier’s Emily Weiss, being authentic and intentional to engage with your followers, or people whom you want to follow you, can foster true relationships that can possibly lead to paid clients over time. Therefore, a little might go a long way with this one!

similar pagesImage via Later

4. Theme Your Instagram Posts

Having a theme to your Instagram posts and feed can be of tremendous help to your following. For instance, if you are in the cake business like our friend Li Ping who owns The Buttercake Factory, you would want to keep the content along the lines of cakes, cupcakes, birthdays, celebrations, pastel coloured backgrounds, etc. rather than posting about travel and outdoor adventures to keep things relevant to your business and target the right audience.

the buttercake factory

Pic credit to The Buttercake Factory

Another great local example of keeping to a theme is a profile like Walids’, he keeps his theme classy, dark and elegant, alongside a curated amount of amazing flatlays. Remember that quality beats quantity. Edit your account to leave only the best images to tell a story. No one wants to follow someone with thousands of pointless images of food or other random shots.

instagram profile

Image via Walids

 Instagram is a visual based platform therefore it is important to create a good content (with the balance of words and visual) that defines/describes your brand/product identity immediately at one look at your feed.

– Shia Lynn, Founder of The Artsy Craftsy (T.A.C)

My audience tend to like seeing homewares and interior decor on my feed and that’s what I gravitate towards. I find that if I post something different like makeup products, they seem less interested.
– Ivy, Founder of Oh Happy Gift 

ohhappygiftPic via Oh Happy Gift 


5. Utilise Insta Stories

Instagram Stories has become a huge hit since its introduction in August 2016, and it allows  you to post a series of ephemeral photos or videos that disappear after 24 hours. This feature is a fun and informal way of foster meaningful connections and parasocial relationships with your audience, it creates a connection where as if they know your business personally and are getting real time updates from you. Instagram may also show you Stories of accounts you follow have liked, or were liked by a large number of people.

Having stories always appear at the top of a follower’s feed helps your brand remain top-of-mind. We recommend leveraging on features like going Insta Stories Live, using Boomerang, filters and more to create variety and spice up your postings.

insta stories

Image from Instapage 

live on instagram

Pic credits to Hans Vivek via Unsplash 


6. To Buy or Not to Buy

It is common practice these days for business pages to boost individual or selected post to garner more eyeballs. The question of whether to boost your Instagram post or not, or to buy followers or not, it is all up to each individual’s discretion. We have garnered a few thoughts from our friends, listing out the pros and cons of doing this to help weigh out your options.

All my posts are organic without boosting. What I do is I try to post everyday, with a mix of things I have in store, some motivational quotes, gifts that we are working on and also decor ideas.

– Ivy, Founder of Oh Happy Gift 

I do boost my posts depending which post I want people to see or what’s the purpose. My followers are organic and I don’t buy followers because they are not permanent. You have to spend more to gain more followers or maintain that number. And it makes people obsessed with numbers and no longer about content creation, which is why I think companies or agencies should look into content first rather than numbers.

– Shia Lynn, Founder of The Artsy Craftsy (T.A.C)

the artsy craftsy

Image via The Artsy Craftsy

We hope this article was insightful for you, and we wish you all the best in growing your social media platform. For more business advise click here.

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