Gaining an Instagram Following: 5 Actionable Tips

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We’ve talked about why Instagram is an integral part of social media marketing and we hope you’ve taken our advice and have set up a profile for your business! If you haven’t, read this first 😉 Now comes the next step: How does one gain a massive following on Instagram? Well, here are a few Instagram growth tactics that’ll hopefully help you along the way! 

1. Be consistent

Routine! But, like, in a fun way

A study by Union Metrics shows that brands post on Instagram an average of 1.5 times-per-day. In the same study, certain brands posted once an hour throughout the day and saw above-average engagement rates on almost all of their content.

Now, we aren’t saying you should post everyday to gain an Instagram following – unless your job encompasses nothing BUT Instagram, that rule might be a little difficult to follow – but you definitely should keep to a regular posting schedule. 

Look for a happy medium between quantity and quality, and ensure that one isn’t sacrificed for the other. For example, if you decide that you’re able to post quality content 5 times a day, that’s great! But it’s important that you stick to a similar posting schedule thereafter (We did the math and that means an average of 144 posts per month, so if that’s a path you’ve chosen… good luck 😉).

Personally, our Instagram sticks to a schedule of 3 posts a week! If even that seems too time-consuming, consider hiring a digital marketing agency to help your brand out. 

2. Use the right filters

Visit any online influencer’s Instagram profile and you’ll notice one thing in common – all the photos have an added filter. You might ask yourself: Is using a photo filter really important? Do I have to pretend everything in my life is overexposed? The answer is a resounding yes! Choosing the right filter can actually lead to more views and engagement.

Instagram: @lrnchfl

Researchers from Georgia Tech and Yahoo Labs analyzed millions of photos and corresponding data on how frequently they were viewed and commented upon to determine that filtered photos are 21% more likely to be viewed and 45% more likely to be commented on than unfiltered ones. 

So what makes a good filter? After careful research – aka following hundreds of “hipster” Instagram accounts – here are some general rules when applying filters to your images:

  • High exposure
  • Low saturation
  • Warm temperatures
  • Higher contrast

Downloading the appropriate apps

Of course, Instagram has their own filters you could use, but if you’d like to take your Instagram game one level up, here are a few other apps that offer great photo filters for your images:

– VSCOcam (Free, iOS and Android) is the current favourite for most online influencers and has the best filters. Some popular favourites include the Aesthetic series and the Hype Beast series (the filter HB2 comes highly recommended. From us. Or, rather, author of current blog post.)

– Afterlight ($0.99, iOS and Android) has super user friendly editing tools. It also lets you add pretty, analog effects like “light leaks” and “dust”. If a vintage aesthetic is what you’re going for, this is the app for you!

– Litely (Free, iOS) filters photos in a really subtle way. This is the app for bringing out the best in already-beautiful photos.

3. Curate a gorgeous Instagram feed

Your Instagram feed is the first thing people look at when visiting your profile, and as in life, you want to make a good impression. With the way Instagram is progressing, simply having beautifully edited photos isn’t enough: now you have to have a beautiful feed too!

Choose an Instagram aesthetic

Instagram: @nguan

Instead of choosing a theme for your Instagram, settle on a common aesthetic that ties all your photos together. Choosing an aesthetic gives you more freedom with your feed, because as long as your photo fits the general look of your Instagram, you can post about pretty much anything. You can do this by, for example, consistently using the same filter for all your photos, posting only colourful images, or posting only black and white images – all you have to do is choose an aesthetic and stick to it!

4. Share user generated content

Sharing user generated content is one of the best ways to get your audience to engage with your brand. Regramming content from other users gives your brand fresh material to share with your audience. Furthermore, the practice encourages increased engagement by motivating followers to post content worthy of being reshared!

“The easiest way to think about user generated content is this: brands taking the best-of-the-best user content from around the web and featuring it on their own social media or other platforms while giving credit to the original creator.”


Buffer, for example, does this by encouraging their users to share unique stories using the hashtag #BufferStories and then regramming the stories/images. One pro tip when regramming: Always give proper credit!

5. Utilize (the right) hashtags

We’d firstly recommend getting the word hashtag right, though.

Hashtags are especially important on Instagram because the right hashtag can expose your image to a targeted audience. In order to make the most out of the hashtag, consider a phrase that will be easy-to-read, especially as spaces are omitted in the text. Do your research and keep abreast of what terms are trending in a particular country, industry, or worldwide, observing what is popular and what people are talking about!

Moving Forward

Now that you have these tips, you can go ahead and grow your brand’s Instagram following like a pro! Building a loyal, engaged following on any channel isn’t easy, but with the right approach and enough experimenting, we hope you’ll find a great fit for your brand!

Lisa Tan

Lisa Tan

Lisa wears multiple hats at Appiloque - digital strategy, agency operations, and content marketing. To keep herself sane, her favourite form of entertainment is free and involves reframing reality, changing it up to something ridiculous and playing out imaginative scenarios. No, she's not mad. Yet.

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