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How to get free Instagram followers: 8 methods to use in 2021

Want to know how to get more followers on Instagram in a sustainable and consistent way without getting burnt out?

If so, this post is for you.

And no, we won’t be talking about methods like buying followers or using bots.

Those methods simply don’t work and if they do, they won’t work for very long and you’ll run the risk of your account getting suspended.

Today, you’ll learn 8 proven methods that result in a continuous stream of real Instagram followers for free.

  1. Optimize your profile for Instagram search
  2. Write keyword rich captions
  3. Use your Instagram posts in blog posts
  4. Host giveaways
  5. Post user generated content
  6. Post at the right times
  7. Post more of what is working
  8. Boost your posts

Ready to get started?

Ok, without further ado, here are the 8 ways to to get more followers on Instagram:

8 Ways to Get Free Instagram Followers

1. Optimize Your Profile For Instagram Search

In the same way people type keywords into Google to find relevant information, they also type keywords into Instagram to find related accounts.

get free instagram followers

And there are two fields within your Instagram profile that show up in the Instagram search.

Those fields are your username and your name.

So go ahead and add in 1-2 relevant keywords within your username and/or name to improve your chances of appearing in Instagram’s search results.

get free instagram followers

According to Instagram, the search results are based on a variety of factors.

This includes the people you follow, who you’re connected to, and what photos and videos you like on Instagram.

For example, let’s say you wanted to rank for “sunglasses,” you’d want to add the keyword “sunglasses” into both your username and name.

get free instagram followers

2. Write Keyword Rich Captions

Staying on the topic of Instagram search, Instagram recently announced that English-speaking users in six countries, including the UK and Canada, will be able to search using keywords.

This is a gamechanger for content discovery.

Previously, you could only search for hashtags and account usernames.

Now, posts that feature the keyword are showing up in search results.

According to an Instagram spokesperson, “a number of factors” including the type of content and captions used are being considered.

This means Instagram is using the keywords you use in your captions to determine relevance to a topic so be sure to use them within your captions.

3. Embed Your Instagram Posts Into Your Blog

Embed Instagram posts that are clickable and include links that take you directly to the account or post.

get free instagram followers

Placing them within your blog posts when relevant is not only an easy way to drive blog traffic to your Instagram profile and convert them into new followers but it’s also very easy to do.

Here are the steps to embed an Instagram post:

a. Go to your Instagram profile on a desktop computer and click on the Instagram post you want to embed.

embed Instagram post

b. Click the ellipsis icon and choose “Embed.”

c. Copy and paste the embed code into your website builder where you’d like the Instagram post to show.

4. Host More Giveaways

Here’s a fun fact for you:

Instagram accounts that run contests and giveaways grow 70% faster than those who don’t and yet only 2% of Instagram accounts host giveaways.

So, if you want to grow your Instagram fast, giveaways are a great way to do so.

To accomplish this with your own giveaway, make following your Instagram account a requirement of the giveaway.

Combine that requirement with another requirement such as tagging a friend in the comments for maximum exposure.

If you want an in-depth overview of Instagram Giveaways and Contest Ideas, check out this post we made on the entire subject.

5. Post User Generated Content

User Generated Content, also known as UGC, is any type of content created by others.

This can be in the form of photos, videos, reviews, etc.

User generated content is powerful because nine out of ten online consumers trust organic, UGC content over content created by brands.

It’s the modern version of word-of-mouth.

You might ask, “Ok, but how does that get me followers?” We’re glad you asked.

Two things happen when UGC is created:

When you post user generated content and give credit to the person who provided it, there is a very high chance they will repost the photo on their story or own account.

Who doesn’t love 15 minutes of fame?

This creates free advertising for your brand as the original creator shouts you out and their audience becomes aware of your brand

And then, they click through to your Instagram account.

Coca-Cola’s Share A Coke campaign is a perfect example of this strategy.

Coca-Cola replaced its name with one of the 250 most popular names in America.

The result? Over 500,000 pieces of user-generated content in the form of photos and video.

get free instagram followers

6. Post At The Best Time

If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?

The truth is that, the day and time you post will affect your engagement which will ultimately affect your growth.

This leads us to ask the question: what is the best time to post on Instagram?

The answer will depend on who you ask.

According to HubSpot, on average, the best time to post on Instagram is between 2pm and 3pm CDT.

On the other hand, according to Later, on average, the best overall time to post on Instagram is between 9am and 11am EST.

This leads us to our next question: why do different people get different best times to post?

The answer is that there is no definitive answer.

It truly depends on your specific business type, the type of content you post, and your specific Instagram following.

All of these things change from business to business.

So here’s how to find your specific best time to post on Instagram:

  1. Set up a posting schedule
  2. Study your analytics
  3. Set up a different posting schedule
  4. Study the analytics
  5. Repeat until you find the winning days of the week and times of day

Alternatively, most social media scheduling platforms such as Buffer can automate this for you.

These tools can also provide you with recommendations on when to post based on your own data.

instagram insights

7. Post More of What is Already Working

If you have a business account, Instagram provides you with analytics on your individual posts.

One of the metrics provided is “Follows” – the amount of followers you received from a particular post.

This is a goldmine as it helps you to understand exactly what post types bring you the most followers.

If you want to continue to grow your following, go back through your posts. 

Then, analyze your top performing posts in terms of followers, and pull out the factors that led to the success.

Is there a particular content type, color scheme, goal or pain point that is leading to success?

Once you find it, create similar content.

8. Boost Your Posts

When you boost a post on Instagram, you pay Instagram to amplify your post to your followers and/or a target audience of your choice

Doing so will help increase your reach.

We know we said we’re going over ways to get real followers on Instagram for free, but hear us out.

We just discussed looking at your post analytics to see what specific posts have garnered the most followers for you.

If you were to boost the posts historically known to increase your following organically, you would ultimately get free followers as well.

Here’s how:

A share that comes from a boosted post automatically increases the organic reach of that post.

This is because organic users start to see it and share, comment, and follow your page.

And this leads to other organic users seeing it and increased followers for your Instagram account.

This strategy will help you continue to reach more of your followers, introduce your brand to a new audience, and amplify your overall reach and number of followers.

Quick Recap

There you have it – 8 ways to get real followers on Instagram for free. As a recap, we went over the following strategies:

  1. Optimize your profile for Instagram search
  2. Write keyword rich captions
  3. Use your Instagram posts in blog posts
  4. Host giveaways
  5. Post user generated content
  6. Post at the right times
  7. Post more of what is working
  8. Boost your posts

There you go! The most effective and proven ways to get free Instagram followers.

In the coming year, be sure to include these strategies in your social media marketing plan. Also, you can ask for help from the experts.

Our team has the skills and experience in growing not only the Instagram following of businesses, but also their overall social media presence. Contact us today!

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