Organic Followers: Get Authentic Fans With These Growth Tips

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Karen Lin

Instagram 101 | May 22, 2024

Want More Real Instagram Followers?

Getting thousands of Instagram followers is no easy feat. That’s why many content creators turn to running expensive ads or buying followers online to grow their page. But you don’t always have to burn a hole in your pocket to get followers. In fact, it’s much better to try and attract organic followers who are genuinely interested in your content.

There are many organic growth strategies you can incorporate into your Instagram plans to gain real, authentic followers for free. They might not provide instantaneous results like paying to get followers fast. But if you play the long game, you’ll find that the organic methods are the more sustainable route for growth.

Do you want to entice real followers into your community without blowing your brand’s marketing budget? Keep reading for our tried-and-tested tips on organically gaining more social media followers, specifically on Instagram.

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What Are Organic Followers?

Now, if you’re not fluent in Instagram jargon, your first question might be, “What are organic followers anyway?” These followers are exactly how they sound—real, authentic fans who follow a page without the involvement of paid methods.

Organic social media followers aren’t paid or incentivized to follow certain pages. They aren’t driven to those profiles through any sort of paid promotions or ads, either. Instead, they might have discovered brands they love organically through the Explore page, hashtags, word-of-mouth, and more. Then, they loved what they saw and were genuinely interested in the content, so they decided to follow that page.

On the other side of the coin, we have paid followers. These follows can sometimes refer to fake followers since many of them were purchased online from third-party websites. This is something some influencers do to blow up their follower count artificially. While it boosts vanity metrics on their page, it has dire consequences (but more on those later!).

But paid followers aren’t always bad. The term also refers to legitimate followers a brand gains through paid promotion, like Instagram ads. These users discover a brand through an ad campaign. If they follow the page, they are considered a paid follower—someone who was won over through a marketing investment.

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Organic Instagram Growth Is Always Better Than Buying Fake Followers

It might be tempting to buy followers online if you sense that your Instagram page isn’t growing quickly. But you may just regret doing so in the end, especially if you buy followers from a sketchy site. No matter how you look at it, organic Instagram growth is always better and more ethical than buying fake followers.

Sure, organic growth takes so much more time and effort than buying followers. But it’s also what will be more sustainable since it allows you to gain more fans without breaking the bank. With the right techniques, you can boost brand awareness among your target audience. Your fans will love interacting with your content, which will boost your engagement rates, too.

Now, we can’t say the same about buying fake followers online. There are plenty of consequences you may deal with if you resort to this.

First, your engagement will be whack. You’ll have plenty of fans in your follower count, sure. But it won’t translate into authentic engagement in the form of likes, comments, and post shares. Many of these sites selling followers will end up delivering ghost followers. So, your engagement rate will ultimately plummet, decreasing your posts’ visibility on the feed.

Another negative effect of buying fake followers is that you won’t have a real community to promote your brand. With so many fakes and bots in your fanbase, your marketing efforts to your followers will become useless and ineffective.

And lastly, buying followers online is against Instagram’s terms of use. If the platform detects inauthentic activity from your profile, you could face temporary bans and other limitations.

Trust us—these risks and consequences aren’t worth getting followers fast by paying for them. If it’s long-term success that you’re gunning for, organic growth methods are the way to go.

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How To Grow Organic Followers on Instagram: 6 Effective Growth Techniques

There are plenty of effective, ethical, and sustainable ways to get more followers without hurting your wallet. You just have to be willing to commit to these strategies to see the best results.

Are you ready to try your luck at driving organic growth and winning the hearts of potential followers? Here are six of our best tips for how to grow organic followers on Instagram.

1. Come Out With High-Quality, Valuable, Impactful Content

Instagram is a social media platform known for its visually stunning, aesthetic content. But if you want to get more followers, pretty posts aren’t going to cut it. Your content needs to be valuable and useful enough to make an impact in your potential followers’ lives.

Valuable content includes tips and tricks related to your niche, tutorial videos, entertaining content that lifts the spirits, and more. According to a 2023 survey, 68% of users follow brands on Instagram to get information about their products and services. So, if you have a business, post engaging content highlighting the unique, useful features of your offerings, too.

The more helpful and impactful the content you post, the more people will likely follow your page. It also helps retain these followers that you gain since there’s always something valuable they can get from your posts.

These types of posts also drive authentic, meaningful engagement. You might get comments asking questions about your post or sharing your own stories, as well as more inquiries about your business. These high engagement rates are always good for boosting your visibility on the platform.

A female food influencer recording a step-by-step recipe video in the kitchen with her phone and tripod.

2. Include Various Creative Formats in Your Content Mix

Another way to grow organically on Instagram is by mixing up the type of content you put out. Instead of posting solely photos or videos, diversify your content mix and publish both regularly. Experiment with a mix of photo carousels, Instagram Reels, regular image posts, and more.

Posting different types of content allows you to reach audiences with different preferences as to the media they consume. Some users stay on the main feed, while a bunch might look through their Explore page. Others, on the other hand, might be more inclined to scroll through their Reels tab. By posting content across all these formats, there’s a chance to reach all these varying users.

Just remember to spread them evenly throughout the weeks or months. Consider posting a Reel post one day, a carousel on the next, and then going back to video content and so forth.

Then, don’t forget to check on these posts’ performance to see what formats your followers respond to the most. This may suggest the type of content people in your target audience gravitate to the most. Add more of this format to your context mix to attract similar audiences.

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3. Use Relevant Hashtags in Your Post Captions To Boost Reach

You can increase your chances of getting more followers organically if your post reaches more people. One way you can do that is by adding relevant hashtags to your captions.

Some people may think hashtags are overrated, but their ability to boost reach and visibility for content on Instagram is unmatched. Posts with hashtags become visible on that tag’s home page. If they get enough engagement, they could also show up on the feeds of people who follow that hashtag. People the algorithm determines are interested in the tags you use might also see your post on their Explore page.

Basically, hashtags let you reach people all over the platform who don’t follow you yet. If they stumble upon your content and love it, they might give you a follow.

To be extra strategic, include a combination of widely popular and more niche tags in your caption. That way, you have a chance to be visible on tags with lots of traffic and small, active communities. You can add up to 30 hashtags to your caption.

4. Encourage Loyal Fans To Make User-Generated Content About Your Brand

When customers are super happy with the products they buy from brands, they might post about it on social media. They’ll share photos or videos of them using the product or rave about the brand in a testimonial. This type of content is called user-generated content, or UGC.

UGC is a terrific form of word-of-mouth promotion. It’s seen as more genuine and authentic because it’s made by real people instead of brands. When people see others they trust talking about a brand online, they’ll be more likely to check out that brand. It serves as social proof that your business is trustworthy and worth following and buying from.

So, if you want to get more followers organically and without producing content of your own, encourage UGC among fans. Acknowledge their efforts, repost their content, and maybe even make a Story Highlight featuring everyone’s UGC. If you can, offer discount codes for customers who post photos with your products.

A young woman with curly hair recording a video of herself trying on some clothes.

5. Strengthen Your Expertise in a Specific Niche

More people will want to follow you if you come across as an established expert in a specific niche. It attracts potential followers who want to immerse themselves more in a newfound hobby or a topic they’re passionate about. So, find a topic to focus content on and work your way up to become an expert in that niche. Then, create content that will show off your expertise.

For example, if you’re a fashion influencer, create Reels with unique styling tips and capsule wardrobe ideas. Food influencers, on the other hand, can make content about kitchen tips or unlikely food pairings. The goal is to create the perception that you know your niche inside and out. Make people want to learn from you.

Of course, you can’t fake being an expert in a particular topic. Take the time to research your niche and check industry insights and trends religiously. Follow the accounts of other experts in your niche to learn from them, too. You could even take online courses to hone your skills in niches like art, photography, video editing, business, and more.

6. Run a Fun Giveaway With a Follow Component in the Mechanics

A fun way to attract potential followers to your page is by hosting a giveaway on Instagram. Announce on your page that a prize is up for grabs, and anyone who follows your page can participate. It’s a relatively easy task to perform to stand a chance at winning something cool. So, many people will be tempted to join—thus, you will have more followers!

Your prize doesn’t have to be anything big or expensive. Remember, the goal is to gain followers organically without breaking the bank. It can be something as simple as a gift card or free products from your business.

Avoiding Stagnancy: How To Grow IG Followers Consistently

The tricky thing about growing your Instagram page—even with organic strategies—is that it can always get stagnant. If you’re not consistent with applying those strategies in your content, you might stop gaining new followers just like that.

So, how do you stay consistent with executing all the strategies above? It’s Easy. The key to how to grow IG followers consistently is to plan. One of the best ways to do that is by creating a solid content calendar.

The tips we listed above aren’t one-time tactics for growing your brand’s page. They need to be done regularly to reap their most sustainable growth benefits. To ensure that all these strategies are incorporated into your posting schedules, organize them in a calendar.

Drafting a content calendar allows you to see how many posts are scheduled for which days of the month. Note what content format each post will be so you get an idea of your photo-to-video post ratio. Schedule which posts are brand-led and which are reposted user-generated content to ensure you have space for both. List down hashtags for each type of content bucket to help boost visibility. Spread out giveaways throughout the year. Basically, use the content calendar to see how your organic growth methods will play out all on one page.

By laying out all your plans in one calendar, it’s easier to stay on track with your content. You’ll be less prone to cramming at the last minute when you have nothing to post for the day. At the same time, you can easily review whether your content strategy contributes to getting followers organically.

We know—creating a content calendar is an additional step that takes extra time out of your day. But it’s an awesome, efficient strategy for sustainably and consistently gaining new followers.

A woman writing notes on a calendar grid for November.

Nothing Working? Time To Get Help From a Trusted Instagram Growth Service!

Building a solid online presence on Instagram and attracting authentic followers is a lot of hard work. You have to plan with content plans, define your niche, encourage user-generated content, research popular hashtags, and more.

But if you keep at it, you’ll be rewarded with a loyal fanbase of real followers who love your content. The best part? It’s all organic, so you don’t have to spend a dime on attracting these followers to your community.

Unfortunately, not everyone finds luck with pulling followers to their page, no matter how hard they try. If you’re still having trouble gaining organic followers after doing everything in this guide, it’s time for plan B. Maybe it’s time to enlist the help of an Instagram growth service like Path Social.

We at Path Social use a proprietary, AI-driven algorithm to promote your Instagram page to your key target audience. As a result, you’ll see your follower count blow up with authentic fans who love and engage with your content. Start growing your community of real followers with our help today!