Instagram Growth Hacks: Boost Your Fanbase With These Tips

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Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | May 16, 2024

Want More Real Instagram Followers?

There are many ways to reel in new followers and potential customers on Instagram. Some people pour energy into painstakingly making high-quality content and wait patiently for growth. Others might pay money to buy followers or invest in growth services. But if you want to grow your page in a fast and sustainable way, try out Instagram growth hacks.

But what are these hacks? How do they help increase your follower count and grow your page? Keep reading to learn our favorite ones to add to your growth strategy!

A hand-drawn line graph showing immense growth from the past to the future.

What Is Instagram Growth Hacking?

You’ve heard of creating elaborate content strategies and launching big campaigns to reel in more new followers. But what is Instagram growth hacking, and how does it work?

Growth “hacks” refer to small but strategic and impactful techniques to help you get more followers on Instagram. Figuratively, the point of these growth strategies is to “hack” the algorithm and get to the top of the feed. From there, you’ll get maximum visibility and tons of new followers.

Although “hacking” may sound unethical, growth hacks are the farthest thing from that. Despite the naughty nickname for these Instagram tips, growth hacks are sustainable and don’t go against community guidelines.

Which Are Better: Paid Ads or Instagram Hacks for Organic Growth?

Instagram ads are paid promotional content that allows brands to push out their content to a specific target audience. Targeted content is super important on Instagram, especially since there are billions of monthly active users on the platform. You need to ensure you’re reaching the right ones.

While ads offer quick, accurate results, targeted reach, and analytics reports to boot, are they better than organic growth hacks? The simple answer is—not all the time, no.

Instagram hacks for organic growth are a lot more cost-effective and, therefore, sustainable than ads. Plus, by using organic growth hacks instead of paid promotion, you can avoid ad fatigue. This happens when a specific audience sees the same ad again and again. 

Organic growth hacks reward your page with authentic engagement. The likes, comments, and shares on your content aren’t there because they were targeted by paid content. They are there because people organically found your relevant content somewhere in the algorithm and actively chose to engage with it.

A small plant sprouting from a pile of coins.

How to Get More Followers on Instagram: 6 Hacks for an Uptick in Your Fanbase

Now, let’s get into the good stuff—the hacks that will help you grow your page fast. Ready to gain more fans and potential customers? Here’s how to get more followers on Instagram in six easy, sustainable hacks:

1. Use Relevant Hashtags in Your Post Captions

One of the easiest ways to grow on Instagram is by including relevant hashtags in your captions

Each Instagram hashtag has something like a homepage of sorts. On this tag page, you’ll see all of the recent top posts that used that hashtag in their captions. That means if people visit this tag, there’s a high chance they’ll stumble upon your content and discover your brand.

Some people also make it a habit to follow hashtags under their favorite topics. Travel lovers, for example, might follow the popular tags #wanderlust or #travelbug. The Instagram algorithm pushes out engaging content that uses these tags to the feeds of people who follow them. That’s another way using hashtags can help boost your visibility and discoverability.

The key to using tags properly is to choose hashtags that are relevant to your target audience. It’s all about hashtag strategy. Don’t use just any cute-sounding tag. Do your due diligence and research the tags, trends, and topics your niche audience is interested in. 

The tag #LoveOneAnother written with chalk on concrete.

2. Follow and Interact With Big Accounts in Your Niche

Our next hack is one that most people don’t realize can help them grow their page. If you follow and engage with big, popular accounts within your niche, you can reel in tons of followers.

There are many reasons why this can help you grow. For one, by following popular influencers and brands within your space, you can expand your network. If you’re lucky, the big accounts you follow may check out your page and give you a follow back. You’ll increase your contacts in the industry and make a few friends along the way.

Another reason this hack helps with growth is that you can learn from more successful brands within your niche. You’ll be exposed to the kind of content they put out every day. Make mental notes as to what kinds of posts drive the most engagement. Then, consider incorporating those themes into your content strategy. 

Even simple interactions with these popular accounts—like commenting on their posts—can boost your exposure to their followers. People will see your handle in the comments section of posts by that account. There’s a huge chance they’ll check out your page and give it a follow if it piques their interest.

Remember, you likely have a similar target audience with other brands within your niche. When you expose your brand to these accounts’ followers, you are likely targeting your ideal audience, too.

3. Encourage Current Fans To Post User-Generated Content About Your Products

User-generated content (UGC) is content promoting a brand made not by paid influencers or brands themselves but by its customers. 

This native word-of-mouth marketing is awesome for driving more purchase interest within your community. Because the people who make UGC aren’t paid to promote brands, it comes off as more credible, trustworthy, and believable. The users who post them are ordinary people living ordinary lives who happen to love a certain brand. 

Encourage your followers and current customer base to produce user-generated content featuring your brand. That way, their followers will see it, discover your brand, and hopefully follow your page if they like your content. You might even drive some sales from it since UGC is so influential.

There are many ways to entice current followers to post UGC about your brand. Regularly feature people who post and tag your brand in your Instagram Stories to recognize them. You can also incentivize users who post UGC with rewards like discounts, access to exclusive sales and freebies.

Someone taking an aesthetically pleasing food photo.

4. Come Up With a Fun Instagram Challenge for Your Brand

Social media users love a good internet challenge, and Instagram has its fair share of challenges. An Instagram challenge is a trend where people post content according to a specific task. These challenges are typically easy, like eating a certain snack or doing a trendy dance. But when they go viral, you’ll see them everywhere.

People love doing Instagram challenges because they’re super fun and engaging. According to the University of Pittsburgh’s SOVA Lab, these challenges create a sense of belonging in people. This is especially because after someone posts a challenge, they nominate friends and family to participate in it, too. This fosters a sense of community in the online space.

Because challenges have the potential to go viral, it’s a bright idea to attach your brand to one. It can be simple, like a photo challenge featuring your products or a Reel-making challenge incorporating your brand’s design elements. 

The more popular your challenge becomes, the more people might hear about your brand for the first time. This may boost brand awareness and page visibility, leading to a significant growth in followers.

A young woman filming a dance challenge using her phone on a tripod.

5. Use Instagram Live To Host Virtual Events Relevant to Your Target Audience

Instagram Live is typically used for casual conversation with fans or perhaps live-streaming a concert or other on-ground events. But you can take it a step further and use this platform to mount fully virtual events for your target audience.

Think about what kinds of digital events might be relevant to your niche and target audience. These can include educational workshops to teach people new skills, product demos, fitness or mindfulness classes, expert interviews, and more. If people hear about your event, join the Live, and love it, you could get an influx of new followers.

The key to making these virtual events successful is by promoting them like crazy. Post teasers and countdowns in the days leading up to the event. You can even work with influencers who can promote it to their fans if you have similar target audiences. The more you promote it, the more people will hear about it and attend the event. 

Someone holding a phone displaying the Instagram Live screen and start button.

6. Document a Personal Project in a Series of Instagram Reels

You can increase those invested in your page when you make a series of Reels documenting a project. This can be any kind of big, interesting, or unique project that shows off your creativity and skills. Post Reels sharing your progress and big milestones with your followers to show them the evolution of your work.

An example of the successful use of this growth hack is by Jenna Phipps. In February 2023, she posted a Reel documenting how she bought an abandoned house and was planning to renovate it. In just a little over two weeks, this Reel garnered over 28 million views.

Since then, she’s been posting updates about how she’s fixing up every room in the house. Jenna currently has over one million followers waiting for her updates on the abandoned house and the finished product.

Sharing your projects with people on Instagram can make people invested in you accomplishing the tasks at hand. It can also be motivation for people who want to do similar projects but don’t know where to start. If they come across one of your project’s Reels and want to see you finish it, they’ll follow your page. When you finally post the finished product, you and the community you’ve built will have a shared sense of satisfaction.

A man and woman painting a wall with a roller brush.

5 Instagram Story Hacks To Boost Reach and Engagement

Instagram Reels and regular photo and video posts on the feed are excellent channels for executing growth hacks. After all, they’re one of the first things people see when they open the Instagram app. But they’re not the only parts of the platform you can use to boost reach and engagement.

Instagram Stories can also help you grow on Instagram. These casual, candid, 24-hour posts can drive stellar reach, high engagement rates, and even significant conversions when they’re well-executed. Want to make your Stories more hardworking for your brand? Here are five cool Instagram Story hacks to boost visibility and engagement among your target audience:

1. Use Hashtags and Location Stickers To Boost Story Visibility

Typically, the only people who will see your Instagram Stories are those who follow your account. Those who don’t follow you will need to visit your page and click your profile photo to see Stories.

One hack to try if you want Stories to reach people who don’t follow you is using hashtags and geotags. Users can watch Stories tagged to specific hashtags and location tag stickers. So, when you use these tags in your Stories, people might discover them even without following your page.

Using hashtags is terrific for Stories that are relevant to specific interests and hobbies. Meanwhile, location tag stickers are great if you want your content to be seen by a local community.

2. Add Fun Interactive Stickers to Your Stories for Higher Engagement Rates

If you want to boost engagement rates for your Stories, add interactive stickers to them. Instead of just watching your Story posts, these stickers allow your followers to engage with them actively. Here are some cool stickers you might want to add to your Stories:

  • Poll stickers: Pose a question and let your followers vote for their answer among several options.
  • Quiz sticker: Ask a trivia question with a definite answer and let your followers guess the right one. This sticker shows each voter if their answer was right or wrong.
  • Emoji slider: Allow your followers to express their thoughts and opinions on something through an emoji scale.
  • Music sticker: Share your favorite beats with your fans.

The more people engage with your content, the higher the algorithm pushes it up on the feed. These stickers are fantastic for skyrocketing engagement rates and helping boost visibility for your future content. 

3. Showcase Positive Reviews in Your Story Highlights

Drive purchase interest in potential customers by showing off positive reviews from happy customers in your Story Highlights.

These reviews serve as social proof that your products are high-quality and legitimate. Consider it a form of word-of-mouth marketing. Because people rave about your products, your brand will look more trustworthy and credible.

Whenever a customer DMs you and gives a good review of your products, take a quick screenshot of it. Then, post the review on your Instagram Stories and add it to a Highlight on your page. Don’t forget to make a cute Story Highlight cover to make it enticing for people to click on and watch!

4. Host Q&A Sessions To Give Your Fans a Chance To Know You Better

Stories are a terrific avenue for hosting Q&A sessions that allow your followers to get to know you more. Using the question sticker, ask fans to send in their most pressing questions about your life. Then, answer your favorite ones in a series of Stories throughout the day. Tell them about your life, your work as a brand owner or influencer, and your plans for the future. 

This type of Story series strengthens the bond you have with your followers and can boost engagement rates. It also humanizes you as a public figure, making you look more authentic and trustworthy. And because you’re interacting directly with your fans and their questions, you also build a sense of community online.

A woman live-streaming with her phone, laptop, and ring light.

5. Use the Swipe-Up Feature To Drive Traffic to Your Brand’s Website

Our last Story hack is to maximize the swipe-up feature to get people to visit your websites. This is awesome for brands with e-commerce websites and influencers with personal blogs.

This feature is excellent for directly leading people to a product page, event, or blog post you want to promote. It eliminates the hassle of asking them to go to your page and click on the link in your bio. All they have to do is swipe up on your Story, and they’ll be led to the page instantly.

This is awesome for driving traffic to your brand website. Plus, it entices people to interact with your Stories, increasing your engagement rates. And as we’ve established earlier, good engagement equals higher visibility on the feed. This will help your brand become more discoverable, which can lead to more followers.

Note that only creators with over 10,000 can unlock the swipe-up feature on Instagram Stories.

Try the Instagram Growth Hacks Above To Boost Your Follower Count Today!

The growth hacks above are amazing for boosting reach and engagement on Instagram. That leads to more followers, which means more eyeballs on your content and more potential customers looking at your brand. 

Most—if not all—of the tips in this guide can help you drive organic growth. But if you have money to splurge on Instagram marketing, we have one more tip for you. One of the best Instagram growth hacks out there is to work with a reputable growth service like Path Social.

Path Social uses an advanced, AI-powered algorithm to help you niche down on your page’s ideal target audience. Then, we’ll push out your content for these people to see with our range of promotional strategies. This boosts your brand’s visibility to the people who matter—your potential customers and fans. In no time, you’ll see an uptick in your fanbase. Grow your page fast and easy with Path Social today!