How to Get More Followers on Instagram Without Buying Them

Profile photo of Karen Lin, author

Karen Lin

Instagram Tips | May 16, 2024

Want More Real Instagram Followers?

Buying followers to grow on Instagram is becoming increasingly rampant on the social media platform. Whether you see it in spam mail or get bombarded by ads, you’re often exposed to these services. And while it used to be extremely taboo, today, it’s more of a known reality. Many users—possibly even popular influencers—purchase followers to “buy” their fame. But in the long run, it’s not a sustainable way to maintain your prominence on the platform. So today, we’re covering how to get more followers on Instagram without buying them.

If you’re an Instagram purist, you’re likely opposed to buying fake followers to grow your account. And it’s great that you think that way. A more sustainable way to gain potential followers is by focusing on growth through content and audience engagement strategies. And aside from increasing your follower count, focusing on these boosts engagement rates, too.

Buying followers may be easy, but it’s far from the best way to grow on Instagram. Today, we’re sharing our top tips on how to grow your account without even entertaining the thought of buying followers. Whether you’re a business owner, influencer, or a personal account, you’ll find many of these tips useful. Keep reading to see them!

Someone making a heart sign with their hands in the middle of a crowd of fans.

How to Get Instagram Followers Overnight—Is It Even Possible?

Anyone wondering how to get Instagram followers overnight arrives at the same conclusion—buying followers is the way. Unless some of your content goes viral, it’s essentially the only way to get famous overnight.

But we’re entering dangerous territory here. While buying followers online is tempting because it gives instant results, it’s bad for your page in the long run. Let’s get into these negative consequences.

First, buying Instagram followers can result in low-quality, inactive, fake followers. These include bot accounts that just spam you in the DMs or ghost followers that their owners abandoned. This usually happens when you buy followers for cheap instead of buying premium follower packages from renowned, established websites.

The issue with these kinds of followers is that they don’t engage with your content in any authentic, meaningful way. They’re just kind of there, adding to your follower count but never contributing to anything else.

Having fake, inactive followers plummets your engagement rate in the long run. This has negative effects on your visibility on the platform since Instagram’s algorithm prioritizes engaging content. That means stellar content may not reach people’s feeds or Explore pages.

Buying fake followers can also cause an audience mismatch. Instead of gaining followers within your target audience, you get random followers to whom your content isn’t relevant. So, even if they’re real users, they might not feel compelled to engage with your posts.

Lastly, buying followers might alert Instagram that you’re using third-party tools to generate inauthentic activity on the platform. According to their community guidelines, this is a huge no-no and can ultimately lead to a shadowban.

When Instagram shadowbans you, it deprioritizes your content, pushing you further down the feed. This lessens visibility and engagement, essentially “killing” your page for some time.

Why Is It Important To Nail a Sustainable Instagram Growth Strategy?

Every brand or creator needs a solid Instagram growth strategy to succeed on the social media platform. This strategy is your overall game plan for gaining more followers and growing bigger online. Without it, you might find yourself struggling and unsure of what your Instagram goals are and how to achieve them.

Your Instagram growth strategy is your way of ensuring your visibility on the platform. If you craft and execute your strategy well in your content, you’ll reach many users. And finding ways to reach your target audience is the key to growing on Instagram.

Your growth strategy isn’t all about content, either. It also incorporates audience engagement plans that allow you to forge relationships with your current and potential followers. Having these strong bonds with users can also help you grow your community of loyal fans and followers.

Tons of opportunities start to arise when you execute your growth strategy properly. The bigger your account gets, the more chances you have to monetize your content. Brands might tap you for collaborations and sponsorships, and Instagram itself might pay you for your viral content. Not only that, but you’ll have a band of loyal followers who look up to you and love your content. And for many Instagram users, all of the above is synonymous with succeeding on the platform.

4 Major Tips for Your Organic Growth Strategy

Big brands with huge pockets typically craft paid growth strategies. These involve running big ad campaigns or collaborating with celebrity accounts to promote their pages and gain more followers.

But organic growth strategies are just as effective—maybe even more so. When you don’t pay to play on Instagram, you know that all the engagement you drive is authentic. You’re not growing because you pay for it. You’re growing because your target audience loves your brand and the content it has to offer.

Using organic strategies to grow on the platform also makes your growth more sustainable. Brands and creators who use paid strategies might notice that follower growth slows down once their campaign or sponsorship ends. But for organic methods, it’s unlikely to see an abrupt stop in your growth. Sure, it takes more time to build a community organically. But the growth is more stable and continuous since you’re not relying on money and paid tactics to see it.

An organic growth strategy is typically centered on the creative content you put out. Do you want to know how to churn out awesome content that will get you noticed? Here are four tips for growing your page organically:

1. Have a Consistent Posting Schedule

Posting consistently means regularly showing up on your followers’ feeds. This gives them more opportunities to engage with your content, which helps skyrocket your profile’s overall engagement rate. When that happens, the algorithm increases the visibility of your content on the platform, allowing you to reach potential followers.

Consistently being active on Instagram also allows you to remain relevant in your followers’ lives. You don’t have to post every single day; you just have to do it regularly and consistently. If it will help you keep things more organized, consider writing out a monthly or weekly content calendar.

A handwritten calendar page on a planner.

2. Use Relevant Hashtags Aligned With Your Target Audience’s Interests

Adding hashtags to your captions is an easy way to push your content to people who don’t follow you yet. The algorithm serves content to people’s Explore pages according to their interests. So, try to include relevant hashtags that you think your target audience would be interested in.

Make sure to do proper research on trending topics and hashtags that you can add to your posts. It’s best to use a combination of popular hashtags and smaller, more niche tags that smaller communities use. That way, you can reach a mass audience and more targeted ones simultaneously.

A sticky note with a hashtag sign on a fridge with colorful magnets.

3. Post Different Types of Content Formats

Instagram has many types of content formats that you can use to populate your feed. There are regular photos and videos, carousel posts, and short-form content like Reels and Stories. Get creative about which type of content you post and when you post it to tell your brand’s story seamlessly.

It’s important to post diverse kinds of content so that you can appeal to different kinds of people. Think about it. Some people prefer taking one photo at a time, while others scroll through Reels like they’re nothing. By posting many content formats, you ensure that you have something attractive to every kind of Instagram user.

4. Share User-Generated Content Other People Post Featuring Your Brand

According to a consumer study by TurnTo Networks, 90% of consumers are highly influenced by user-generated content (UGC) when shopping. That makes it more effective than search engines, email marketing, and other popular promotional strategies. The same study found that 63% of consumers believe that UGC makes their shopping experience feel more authentic.

Needless to say, user-generated content helps make your brand look more attractive to potential customers. This type of word-of-mouth marketing also serves as social proof of your product’s quality and value. So, when a happy customer posts UGC featuring your brand and tags you, repost it on your Stories. This helps humanize your brand and lets potential customers see how much other people enjoy your products.

A woman recording a video of herself talking while showing a boot.

How to Get More Followers on Instagram Without Posting Anything

Sometimes, posting new content might not be feasible for you. Maybe you’re still racking up that content production budget or focusing on your business’s internal operations instead of social media. Or maybe you’re cooking up a big campaign to promote a new collection of products and don’t have filler content.

But just because you don’t post new content, it doesn’t mean you can’t grow on Instagram. You definitely still can! Instead of stressing about churning out posts, think of ways to build your network, engage audiences, and maximize current content.

Do you want to learn the secrets to growing your page even without new content? Here’s how to get more followers on Instagram without posting anything:

1. Engage With Your Followers in the Comments and DMs

There are many reasons why replying to comments and direct messages from your followers is a good thing. For businesses, it addresses key concerns your customers might have. For creators, these conversations humanize them and strengthen their bond and “friendship” with their fans.

However, aside from that, it also creates positive sentiment around your brand. Nobody likes brands that are snooty and don’t reply to their followers. The more you engage with your followers, the more likely they are to keep commenting on your posts. This, in turn, boosts your engagement rate on content, increasing visibility and discoverability all over the platform.

2. Follow and Interact With Other Popular Accounts in Your Niche Topic

Following leading influencers and brands in your industry allows you to learn from the best of the best. Check out the type of content these accounts consistently put out. Learn from what makes their page tick and try it out in your content strategy. Who knows—maybe getting inspired by their content is just what you need to shine on Instagram, too.

But don’t stop following these accounts. Be sure to interact with them as well by liking and commenting on their posts. This strengthens your relationship with them directly, possibly even opening the door for collaborations in the future. But it also indirectly exposes you to their audience. If people see your name interacting with their favorite accounts a lot, they might visit your page and follow you.

Someone tapping an Instagram photo on their phone to like it.

3. Boost an Existing Piece of Content To Turn It Into an Ad

Running paid content on Instagram doesn’t necessarily mean uploading new creative materials each time. On the contrary, you can run an ad while repurposing an old piece of content that performed well. How, you ask? By boosting a post, of course.

When you boost an Instagram post, you turn an old organic post into an ad. All you have to do is click “boost post” underneath your post of choice. Then, choose your target audience, budget, timelines, and all the other details related to running ad campaigns. And just like that, the algorithm works to push out your new ad to your target market. Note that the “boost post” button is only available for professional accounts.

4. Expand Your Instagram Network by Attending Industry Events

Networking is key if you want to land your dream Instagram collaborations that will put you on the map. To meet new people who might be willing to work with you, attend industry events, and form offline relationships. These events include influencer meet-ups, media events, industry conventions, and more.

When you attend these events, you boost awareness and visibility for your brand. It’s just that instead of doing it through viral content, you do it face-to-face with others. Hopefully, at these events, you will grow your network and maybe even land a few sponsorship offers from brands!

People talking and networking at an event at a café.

How to Get More Followers on Instagram Personal Account

Websites and Google searches will give you the same old tips for growing on Instagram for brands and creators. Post giveaways and contests, hold limited sales, and launch influencer marketing campaigns—you know the drill.

While all of these tips are awesome for boosting visibility for brands, they’re not universal tips for every Instagram user. If you have a personal account and don’t plan on being a huge influencer, how do you grow?

There are plenty of ways to attract like-minded users on Instagram and get more followers for your small personal page. Here’s how to get more followers on Instagram personal accounts:

1. Share About a Unique Hobby or Project You Have

Connect with people who share your niche hobbies and interests when you post about them on Instagram. From your love for bonsai plants to crocheting to collecting film photos, feel free to post about your passions. This attracts like-minded people to your page and boosts your follower count.

You can also document a personal project you’re working on through your posts. This can be anything from renovating your kid’s playroom to working on an artwork, stage by stage. If people get invested in and root for your project, they might follow you to see you finish it!

Someone crocheting with a purple hook and white yarn.

2. Create Highlight Reels To Share Your Favorite Moments With Others

Document milestones, trips, and other cute stories from your personal life through a Highlight Reel. These Reels are short video clips stitched together to create a “collage” of sorts that tells a special story. Highlight Reels are perfect for events like a girls’ trip, concerts, the stages of your relationship, and more.

Not only are these kinds of Reels trendy, but they also evoke a feeling of nostalgia. It helps you create a personal, emotional connection even with strangers online. If they like the Reels you put out, these users might follow your page for more.

3. Participate in Trending Instagram Challenges

Do you have a lighthearted, carefree, creative spirit and a penchant for viral trends? Join trending Instagram challenges and nominate others to take on the task, too!

Participating in challenges exposes your page to the entire community of users interested in that challenge. It allows others to discover your page and check out your content. If you’re lucky, you’ll get tons of followers out of this!

It also adds some variety to the type of content you post. This can make your page ten times more interesting to others, possibly increasing your follower count further.

A young woman being filmed by someone as she does a social media dance challenge.

And That’s How to Get More Followers on Instagram Without Buying Them!

Are you anxious to get more followers on Instagram? Don’t fall into the trap of thinking that buying followers online is the only way to grow your page fast. There are tons of ways to reach new audiences and grow your follower count organically.

If you want to grow your page in a genuine, sustainable way, focus on your creative content and engagement strategies. Put out fun, interesting, and unique content that your target audience will enjoy. Interact with your followers and other creators in your niche to grow your network. You can even boost some of your best-performing posts to reach more people if you have the budget for it!

Now that you know how to get more followers on Instagram without buying them, you’re set for success. And if you need extra help getting your foot in the door, Path Social is here for you.

Our proprietary targeting algorithm takes your high-quality content and pushes it out to your niche target audience. We have tons of promotional strategies to do that, from email marketing to tapping our partner influencers to help. This boosts your visibility to a real audience, allowing you to build a community of engaged users—never fake followers. Start gaining real followers today with the help of Path Social!