Growing a social media following organically

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Growing a following organically on Instagram can seem like a daunting task, especially with quick fix solutions like buying followers available. But if you’re buying followers how do you know that your message is reaching the right people? Do they even care? It may take a little more work, but growing your audience base of qualified followers will yield better results in the long run. 

We’ve compiled 10 tips on how to expand your followers without spending a dime:


Hashtags, hashtags, hashtags

You know you should be including hashtags with your posts but do you know there’s a right and wrong way to go about using them? With Instagram, aim for around 15 relevant hashtags per post. You’ll also want to keep an eye on how frequently the hashtag you’re using is used on the social platform. More than a million? Your post will probably get lost in a sea of other posts using the same hashtag. Fewer than 1,000? Don’t count on it being seen by many people. For more information on hashtag use, check out our previous blog post about it here.


Tag your location

Don’t forget to Geotag your posts! Make your posts more visible to your local audience by tagging the town or region you’re located. Plus, get your community involved by using the Focus on Local approach.

Make sure to tag locations whenever possible on social media.



Tag collaborators or other relevant influencers in posts and stories! When you tag them, it becomes re-postable to them so they can share with their audience, increasing your exposure. Pro-tip: Use a tool like Tailwind to help you curate and re-post content easily. 


Lights, camera, action

When influencers were asked what increased their qualified followers the most, the answer was video! IGTV videos appear four times larger than photos on the Explore section of the platform and video typically sees higher engagement than still photos which brings us to number five…

Our friend Emily from By A Thread Boutique creates engaging IGTV videos as an influencer.


It’s called social media for a reason

Engage with your followers! Engage with potential followers! Engage with 

like-industry accounts! Engage with other local businesses! Use interactive functions in your instagram stories! The more you chat with other users, the more likely your posts are to be seen which drives traffic back to your account.


Consistency is key

Posting consistently keeps viewers coming back for more. We recommend posting 

5 times per week, minimum, in your feed. Up viewership by scheduling instagram stories for specific days to keep viewers coming back for more each week. If posting everyday feels like a major hassle, try out a scheduling app. We love and use Tailwind! You can find it here.

Tools like Tailwind can help you stay consistent on social media.


Follow who you want to follow you

Just like you should be engaging with like-minded or like-industry accounts, you should be following them, too! You’re more likely to show up under the “who should I follow” section when people browse for new accounts to follow.


Quality photography

This doesn’t mean you have to run out and by the most expensive equipment. You can take great photos using your smartphone’s camera! A quick run through a photo editing app (we love A Color Story) greatly improves the overall look of your photos – just be sure to stick with one filter or preset and stick with it!

Smartphones are powerful photography tools.


Check your analytics

Make sure you’re periodically going in and checking out how your posts are performing. If you’re hashtag game is strong, you’re posting consistently with high-quality images and engaging captions and still not gaining any traction, play around with when you’re posting. Typically post earlier in the day? Try a post in the evening hours and see how it performs – you may be surprised.


Be you!

One of the most important things you can do on social media is be yourself! People 

are more drawn to authenticity. Don’t be afraid to be vulnerable and show followers the not-so-perfect, non-Instagram ready things. Stories are a great place to show more behind-the-scenes content that makes you more approachable and relatable to your potential followers.


About the Author:

Amanda Williams is a social media manager at Hello Social Co. When she can be pulled away from bingeing shows on Netflix, she can be found adding Old Bay to *all* the snacks, making weekend treks to area craft breweries or perusing the shops of Downtown Frederick, MD.

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