Are you struggling to grow your Instagram following? #beenthere 🙋♀️ The struggle was real for me for YEARS! It took forever for me to finally figure out how to get free Instagram followers.
I first started my @Next.Destination.Unknown Instagram account back in 2014 when we set out on our full-time RV adventure. And my very first IG post was on May 13th, 2014.
Fast forward to March of 2019. I only had 1,855 followers. That might seem like a decent amount. But after nearly 5 years since starting my Instagram account, having less than 2,000 followers was just embarrassing.
I should have had a much higher following, especially with how many posts I had. Granted, I took some time off and didn’t post anything for a little over a year between April 2016 and June 2017. Regardless, I really had no idea what I was doing.
After properly setting up my Instagram account, I tried to post nice photos and use the right hashtags. But I still wasn’t getting anywhere with my Instagram followers. And that’s because I didn’t have an Instagram growth strategy.
Let’s face it… I didn’t even know where to start. So I gave up any hopes of becoming an Instagram Influencer and decided to focus on revamping my blog instead.
But while I was researching how to become a successful blogger, I randomly stumbled upon another blogger’s post about how to get 1,000 followers on Instagram (more on that below).
I was curious. Even though I already had more than 1,000 followers, I wondered if her strategy could work for me to continue to grow my Instagram following even more. Could I reach the elusive 10k Instagram followers???
More followers mean more social proof, which translates into more opportunities. So I figured it was worth a shot. And guess what…
It totally paid off!
So now I want to pay it forward and share this top-secret Instagram growth strategy for how to get free Instagram followers with you.
My Experience With Gaining Instagram Followers (Over 500 in Just 1 Week!)
I’ve gotta give some props to Liz over at BlueandHazel.com. 🙌 Her post 1,000 Free Followers on Instagram: Best Way to Grow a Following Fast was what got me on track for growing my Instagram following.
In Liz’s post, she shares several methods for ways to grow your Instagram followers. To be honest, I didn’t bother with the first strategy she mentions – Follow for Follow loops (#followforfollow).
The strategy I found to work the best for me and decided to focus on was her “Action Plan Phase 1, Finding Instagram Accounts who will follow you back.”
Then I combined it with an additional step to take it even further. I’ll describe this approach with my exact strategy for how to get free Instagram followers in the next section.
But first, I want to share my success (over 500 new followers in just 1 week!) as proof that this Instagram growth strategy works. Here’s what I experienced when I first began using this action plan…
NOTE #1: I actually started with 1,855 followers on 3/3/19 in the afternoon (I made a note of it but forgot to take a “Before” photo. 🤦♀️ So I’m using the first screenshot I took later that evening after already gaining 100 new Instagram followers in a matter of hours.
NOTE #2: You might notice in the “After” photo above that my “following” count is much higher than my “follower” count, which isn’t ideal. But keep in mind that this is before I started unfollowing people who didn’t follow me back. More on that below.
It was the afternoon of March 3rd back in 2019 (I know, I know… this post is LONG overdue). I started at 1,855 followers with a goal of reaching 2,500. So I would need 645 new followers to hit that number.
Before going to bed that night, I was already up to 1,976 – more than 120 new followers in a matter of hours! When I woke up the next morning, I was up to 1,982. And then before noon, I reached 1,993. In less than 24 hours, I had gained over 135 new followers (138 to be exact, but who’s counting?).
A week later on March 10th, I woke up to 2,434 followers (579 new followers so far). And by the time I went to bed that day, I had 2,488 (up 633 followers and just 12 away from my goal of 2,500!).
That’s over 600 new followers in just 1 week! WHOAH! And guess what? By the next day on March 11th, I had reached my goal of 2,500 followers! WOO HOO!!!
I’ve used this strategy numerous times since then and usually do it every few months or so for a nice boost in followers. At the time of writing this, I now have over 6,400 Instagram followers and counting! No, I don’t have 10k followers… yet. But I’m working on it. It’s good to have goals, right?
Even being below 10k followers, I’ve already started to get some collaboration and paid sponsorship possibilities. So that’s a start. But 10k Instagram followers is where it’s at! That’s when the clouds part, the light shines down, and the golden gates of opportunity open.
So use the secret Instagram growth strategy below, be consistent, and you’ll be on your way to 10k followers!
The Secret Strategy for How To Get Free Instagram Followers
So how exactly do you grow your Instagram followers to eventually reach 10k?
I’m going to tell you the exact strategy for not only how to grow your Instagram following, but also how to get free Instagram followers.
And these aren’t going to just be random people on Instagram that aren’t going to care about what you post and have to say. These are going to be your people, your future Instagram community!
I’ll be honest. The strategy I used is a bit time-consuming. But… it pays off! Think of your time spent as your ROI (return on investment). Your time is the investment you’re making in your Instagram growth. You’ll get out of it what you put into it.
These are the actual steps I used to grow my Instagram by more than 500 new Instagram followers in just 1 week! There are actually only 3 steps. Let me break them down for you…
1. Find Other People to Follow
First, you need to start by finding other people to follow. An effective way to do this is by looking at other Instagram accounts that are similar to yours (your “competitors”).
How do you find your competitors though? You can use Instagram’s suggestions of accounts for you to follow.
But this is the better method you should use to find the most accounts as well as the ideal accounts to follow:
1. Search hashtags to find accounts that are using the same hashtags you are (this means they’re trying to target the same audience you are).
2. Look through those accounts to find ones with a similar niche and style as yours (or what you’re going for).
3. Also, check the number of people following them. If their follower count is close to yours, click through to their profile.
4. Once you’re in their profile, see if the number of people they’re following is more than (or at least the same as) the number of people following them. This is a good indicator that they’ll actually follow you back.
5. If their “Following” number is higher than or equal to their “Followers” number, follow them! You need roughly 70-75 people to follow you per day to reach 500 new followers in a week. So I tried to follow around 150 people per day (or as many as I had time for) because I figured if only half of them follow back, that goal could be reached.
It’s one thing to follow accounts in hopes that they’ll follow you back. It’s another thing to be strategic with who you follow.
By strategically following the right accounts, you can find your people, your community, your die-hard fans, the folks who will love your content and follow you to the moon and back.
And isn’t that what you want? It’s all about quality over quantity.
You want followers who are going to love your posts by giving them a double-tap, leaving a meaningful comment, and buying whatever you’re selling.
2. Engage with Their Posts
This next step is critical because it creates engagement. You need to engage with the new person you’re following on Instagram.
Once you’ve followed someone, try to like at least 3 of their posts as well as comment on 1 post of theirs. By following them, liking 3 posts, and commenting on 1 of their posts, you’ll show up in their notifications 5 times (without looking like a complete stalker).
It makes them curious to know who you are. “Who is this person that’s so interested in my account and loves my content?”
I’ll admit, commenting takes time. But if you can leave a comment, that’s the best thing you can do! Comments are a great way to get people engaging with you!
Start a conversation, get to know each other, or just show them that you actually read their post or gave their photo a second glance.
Growing your following is great. But growing a LOYAL following is KEY! And it’s all about engagement.
Several of the steps in her system involve engagement. And that’s the critical piece in growing your Instagram account.
Want to grow your Instagram followers to 10,000? Between Maria’s method and the one I mentioned above, you’re sure to get tons of free Instagram followers and reach 10k in no time! That’s your golden ticket.
You may also like: How To Easily Set Up Your Instagram Account for Business to Succeed
3. Unfollow People Who Aren’t Following You Back on Instagram
Unfortunately, the max amount of Instagram accounts anyone can follow is 7,500. So you can’t use the above method forever. But it’s a good way to get started and even give your following a boost now and then.
Since there’s a limit for how many people you can follow, you’re going to want to only follow people who follow you back.
That way you have room to follow more people who actually want to follow you too. That’s how to get free Instagram followers.
After all, isn’t that the whole point?
So if I follow someone and they don’t follow me back after a week or so, I unfollow them. I’d rather find new accounts to follow in hopes that they’ll return the favor and follow me back.
I use the InstaClean App to find and unfollow people who aren’t following me back. I can’t find it online or in the app store anymore.
But there are a slew of apps out there that you can use to find and unfollow people who aren’t following you in return. Just do a search in the app store, try a few out, and find the one you like best.
Or you can unfollow people manually (this can be time-consuming if you’re following a lot of people). Here’s how to find people you’re following who aren’t following you back:
1. From your profile, click on “Following” to see everyone you’re following
2. Click on each profile individually
3. Within each person’s profile, click on “Following” to see who they’re following
4. If they’re following you, you should see your profile listed at the top
5. If you’re not listed as one of the accounts they’re following, go back to their profile and click on “Unfollow”
Before you unfollow people who haven’t followed you back yet, I recommend waiting at least a few days to a week after you followed them. That way you can give them time to follow you back.
Try engaging with their account first by liking their posts, and more importantly, leaving comments. Feel free to also shoot them a DM (direct message) introducing yourself.
If you’ve done all of that and they still haven’t followed you back after a few weeks, chances are they aren’t going to. It’s a good call to unfollow them at that point.
BONUS TIP: The Best Way to Grow Your Instagram Followers
My biggest piece of advice… COMMENTS are where it’s at! By leaving comments on other people’s posts and replying to comments people have made on your posts, you’ll develop relationships.
You’re showing them that you took the time to read what they had to say. And don’t you want the same from people who see your posts? It’s the Golden Rule: treat others how you want to be treated.
The old saying “you reap what you sow” also applies. Put the effort in to engage with others, and in return, you’ll receive helpful engagement back.
By opening up a line of communication, you’re creating a foundation to build actual connections with people. This will turn your followers into true fans who care about what you have to say and will buy what you’re selling. And isn’t that the ultimate goal?
Wrapping Up How To Get Free Instagram Followers
So… are you ready to get free Instagram followers and grow your IG account like crazy? You can start using this Instagram growth strategy TODAY and start seeing immediate results!
And this doesn’t have to be a “one and done” deal. You can “wash and repeat” with the above steps. Use this method to give your Instagram followers a nice boost every so often. Try giving it a go once a month.
These strategies will grow your blog traffic and following!
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