So How Do People Get So Many Instagram Followers, Anyways?

As someone who runs a business and trying to amp up my social media game, I have been doing research on the best ways to gain momentum on a social platform. After toying with Facebook for a few months, I’ve decided Instagram is my favorite route to take right now. I enjoy that its primary focus is photos with little to no words attached to each post and every day I find new and interesting accounts to follow. So now that my Instagram is set up, I am now working on gaining followers…but how?! And I am definitely not going the pay-for followers avenue that I see ads for all the time. My goal is to have more followers, but I also want quality over quantity; it doesn’t help my brand if 50% of my followers are men ( I sell women’s apparel) and hate yoga (it has a yoga vibe).


I’ve heard that it is smart for the account to have a theme – consistent postings of dogs, cats, nature, motorcycles, whatever it may be.  I am slowly starting to develop a theme and mood for my page, but it’s a work in progress. I usually take selfies of myself in my merchandise with a consistent filter, and then the other photos are of my dog (Frankie).

After doing some research, there about 7 basic rules to follow to attract more users to my account.  The first is to post often – but not too often, about once a day – and make it interesting. By posting cool photos and videos, the more apt people are to like it, and more likes equates to more followers.

Second, use the hashtags strategically. Instagram allows 30 hashtags per post that will allow me to target a specific audience that I want to see my brand.  One study discovered that interactions were highest when accounts used 11 or more hashtags on their post. There are about 15 hashtags that are considered to be the most popular, including #cute,  #girl, #beautiful, #love, and #tbt. Another tip is to add relevant hashtags to a photo, and then search those hashtags and see what others have also used for their tags.  Once you have a few more that are similar, add those to your post as well. One friend of mine (he has over 3,000 followers and is now in an Instagram partnership with L.L. Bean and Brooks Brothers) keeps his hashtags saved in a note on his phone so he can easily copy and paste them into each of his posts.


Third, posting user generated content is effective to gain followers. I have tried this one or twice with the repost app; and I have seen sales from it.  Friends of my user her generated the content would see their post and gain familiarity with my brand and subsequently make a purchase. Word of mouth has been a helpful way for me to gain customers.

Timing is also a big one.  One friend always posts at 9am, 12 pm, and 5 pm.  These times on the East Coast, people are most likely to be on their morning commute, out at lunch, and on their way home from work. 12 pm EST is 9 PST, in which people will also be on their way to work.

Fifth – Filters. According to one study, filtered photos are 21% more likely to be viewed and 45% more likely to be commented on than unfiltered ones ( The filters that increase views are ones that have high exposure, warm temperatures, and higher contrast. It is also recommend to use high amounts of light, a high amount of background space, and blue as the dominant color (vs red). It is also recommend to only have one single dominant color in the photo. Images with high levels of texture also generate up to 79% more likes than a smooth texture. And horrifyingly enough, “duck-face” selfies generate 1,112% more likes than a regular smile (WHY?!?!?!)


Number 6 – like other people’s posts (“sharing the love”).  According to one blog, for every 100 likes of other’s content, the blogger received about 22 likes per post and 6 more followers. Seems easy enough! Number 7 – Hos and/or take part in contests.  By hosting giveaways, photo contests, etc., ore users will be attracted to you account and will like and follow your account.

So with all these tips, it is time for me to get to work in gaining followers to Instagram. My goal is to post once a day and use atleast one of these tips per post to attract new fans. #

How to Gain a Massive Following on Instagram: 10 Proven Tactics To Grow Followers and Engagement

How To Increase Instagram Followers 2016



  1. Great tips! Of course, I’m not entirely convinced your goal is to get MORE instagram followers, but your goal is to sell more Yoga gear. More casual followers don’t necessarily translate into more buyers. What you want is more committed followers. Of course, that doesn’t take any of the value away from your great tips above (which would apply to both situations, at least in part).

  2. magicjohnshin1 · ·

    To be honest, I read this article to find a way to get more followers. I love how you took into consideration EST and PST. I always do this with my friends, always posting at the ‘prime time.’ Making sure that people are eating dinner while we are posting and such. I also really liked your numerical data throughout, especially the ‘share your love’ part of every 100 likes you give, you will receive 22 more likes and 6 more followers. Anyways, thanks for a great post and awesome advice. I’ll try these out and update you on the process. Look forward to reading more of your work, cheers!

  3. cattybradley · ·

    I like your tips! I never thought of commuting times being desirable gaining followers/likes but that makes so much sense as it is disposable time that is used by many to catch up on social media. In high school, my friends and I always observed how Sunday evenings were the prime time to post if you wanted likes. I would love to learn more about timing strategies and see if there is a benchmark of a certain number of followers that is needed to make the time of post insignificant. Also, I would love to hear more about your company.

  4. Great post! I’ve been curious as well as to how people are able to gain so many Instagram followers. One of my roommates has over 1000 followers and the other has over 7000. They mentioned using a ton of hashtags as well, and they also mentioned that they commented on a lot of other people’s post, and did a lot of follow for follows. One of them also mentioned that she interacts with her followers a lot as well, which may (or may not) have an impact on her gaining more followers. They both also mentioned that getting into specific communities helps with gaining followers as well. I did find what you said about the best times to post interesting! I did social media for a startup last year and had to play around a lot with finding the best times to post. We found that early morning was good because of morning commute, but didn’t realize that lunchtime and after work commute were good as well.

  5. mashamydear · ·

    In addition to all your great tips, I think the follow-for-follow route is something worth talking about too. I think getting over that chasm between being a regular Instagram account and one that has thousands of followers is incredibly difficult, but once you do start entering the thousands it’s much easier to gain committed followers that would be interested in your yoga products. I think Angela from 1950 Collective mentioned how she would do follow for follow in the company’s early days, and although it may not target the followers that would turn into customers right way, it definitely increases the numbers which I think is a sort of self-fulfilling prophecy. When I see Instagram accounts with many followers I assume they’re good, so I think the follow-for-follow method may have some merit in social media lift off. Nonetheless, I think hashtagging and posting at prime times are also of importance. Beyond that, Google Analytics can also help you get data about who is viewing your Instagram in terms of reoccurring viewers, their geographic location, session duration, and more.

  6. Interesting post! For some silly reason, I kind of always assumed that people with a lot of followers just had a certain allure about them…but now I know that they actually spend a lot of time and effort managing their Instagrams! I find it interesting that while you’re using Insta as a necessary marketing tool, others, such as students at BC, simply want more followers for the sake of more followers. They use the same tactics, like posting at peak hours and using a large amount of hashtags, to generate traffic to their accounts. I’m always amused that people have the discipline to do this kinda stuff to make themselves feel better.

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