Last Updated on July 21, 2023
The Complete Guide to Increasing Real Instagram Followers Without Following in 2023: 13 Instagram Followers Growth Hacks
What do the aforenamed personalities and brands have in common?
They follow no one; but have millions of followers.
Read on to learn how to get followers on Instagram without following anyone in return.
The Follow-to-Follow Loop
The follow-unfollow tactic to gain followers on Instagram is an evergreen solution relying on the concept of reciprocity. It is easy to execute, effective, and works for all account types.
The trick is to follow accounts in your niche (or share similar interests) and are naturally more likely to follow back. If an account does not follow back, you simply unfollow them without hassle.
Limitations and the Better Alternative
For all its notable pros however, the technique does have a few drawbacks.
- Instagram institutes a following limit. You can follow no more than 7500 accounts.
- Instagram aggressively enforces an hourly and daily follow limit.
An action block will be placed on your account should you cross this ‘arbitrary’ figure.
- The strategy lowers your follower-to-following ratio.
Instagrammers use the follow ratio for back-of-the-envelope assessment of an account’s quality, credibility, and authority. Higher is better.
- Engagement numbers for followers gained through this method can be poor.
- The time commitment to find the right accounts to follow, clean up your following list, and avoid penalties add up.
These may not be dealbreakers, especially for influencers and businesses in the early stages of building their social presence.
Nonetheless, there are better ways to add followers passively for sustainable account growth. Notably, without these downsides.
Ramp Up Visibility and Reach
To gain followers without following others, you have to meet two key objectives.
Firstly, be discoverable.
Through conduits like Feed, the Explore Page, Search Results, Reels Tab, and Tagged Tab; the Instagram algorithm showcases superlative content to people that are most likely to be interested in them.
Your end goal should be to get the algorithm to work for you by organically revealing your content to as many Instagrammers as possible.
Raise Conversion Rate
What happens when you succeed in getting new sets of eyeballs on your content?
Will they be compelled to tap the follow button?
It is not enough to optimize your content to be highly visible and shareworthy. The visitors they draw should become enamored enough to want to join your community or fandom.
Always bear this in mind. Whether you are editing a photo, about to go Live, or adding new Highlights.
13 Surefire Ways to Get Instagram Followers Without Following Others
1. Craft an impactful, search-friendly Instagram profile page
Your Instagram profile should be your first port of call.
Optimize your account to make a strong first impression to visitors who happen upon your profile as well as improve exposure in Search Results.
a. Adopt an identifiable and searchable username
Pick a username or handle that is simple, memorable, and easy to find.
Businesses can use their names. Influencers and professionals can opt to use their personal names, widely-known aliases, a branded handle, or a keyword-rich handle.
We recommend you use the same or similar handles as on your other social media accounts.
Avoid complex word combinations and using multiple symbols or digits.
If your desired handle is not available, perform keyword research or add a modifier to settle on an alternative. SMM platform Later uses the handle @latermedia. Lifestyle brand KonMari used its web link @konmari.co.
b. Add relevant keywords to your Instagram name
Capture search traffic and stand out by strategically placing search-heavy keywords in the Name or Headline field.
The keyword may be a descriptor of your product, service, or occupation. Say, you are an author or graphic designer. Tack that to your brand or personal name.
If there is room, add related keywords or location. A tattoo shop can add ‘piercing’. A wedding planner can add ‘event’. If you’re in New York, add ‘NYC’.
This account search result for ‘Raleigh Photographer’ throws up a list of photographers in Raleigh, North Carolina, with optimized display names.
@Vyond describes its product—Animation Software.
Additionally, you could designate a category. Vyond picked ‘Business Service’.
@ralphlauren went with ‘Clothing (Brand)’.
c. Use a recognizable, on-brand profile photo
A business may opt for its logo. While an influencer or personality could go for a high-res, bright personal picture.
Turn things up to 11 and captivate visitors by refreshing your profile image with Insta-driven, campaign-specific, seasonal, or trendy variations and designs.
Update as appropriate, such as with a pink edit, when it’s October—the designated month for Breast Cancer Awareness.
@amazon uses a variation of its logo featuring only the signature arrow and an inverted color scheme.
d. Tighten up your bio [+Hashtag, CTA, Link, and Address]
Your bio textualizes the reasons why a profile viewer should follow you.
State who you are, what you do, and what action they should perform. Round up with a link and address, if necessary or space allows.
The formula for putting together a perfect bio isn’t set in stone. What matters is that the description is succinct, endearing, and informative.
Worthwhile elements you can add to your bio include:
- relevant keywords
- unique branded or niche hashtag
- emojis and symbols
- line breaks
- Instagram handles of other ventures or associations
Design platform, Canva, states who they are, what their product can do, and encourages use of its branded hashtag.
@jennakutcher reveals what she does, her book, podcast, and interests; with connotative emojis thrown in for good measure.
e. Cherry-pick illuminating Highlights
Instagram Highlights are a spectacular opportunity to expound on details you couldn’t add to your bio for brevity or incompatibility reasons.
Add highlights that persuade profile visitors to smash the blue follow button.
It could be a collage of FAQs, positive reviews from satisfied customers, personal appeal elucidating the benefits followers reap after joining your community, or a schedule of exclusive content you share.
f. Make a profound first impression with a unified, dazzling esthetic
Adopting a unifying esthetic across your entire Instagram account creates a striking impression on random viewers.
It boosts your credibility and boldly infers that you are brand-conscious, professional, and an authority in your industry. All of which make for compelling reasons to follow you.
Consistent theming also makes your content easy on the eyes, digestible, and dials up overall visual quality. Persuading users to tap the follow button for unimpeded access to future content releases from you.
@arizonastateuniversity uses its recognizable color palette primarily consisting of maroon, gold, white, and black across all of its content including images, videos, reels, highlights, and guides.
2. Make videos an integral component of your content plan
In the course of Instagram’s evolution, it has wholeheartedly embraced video sharing.
Failing to march in lockstep with this drive will place you in the crosshairs of the prodigious Instagram algorithm that dictates the extent of your organic reach and exposure.
Without organic visibility, your efforts to get more Instagram users, who possess shared interests, to view your content, check your profile, and ultimately follow you will suffer a catastrophic setback.
Start with in-feed videos or videos in Stories. It need only be a few seconds long and need not be of studio production quality. A montage of images you were to post as a carousel can be coalesced into a video or you can share a video of your product while in use.
This bite-sized, one-second video shared by @nicekicks is an excellent starter sample.
3. Post at peak times
Audiences are different, live in different time zones, and have varying lifestyles.
Take a crack at identifying when your audience throng Instagram and see to it that you upload your stills and clips at these times.
Bearing in mind that the algorithm also delivers your content to users who do not follow you, posting when your followers are online presents the best opportunity to reach non-followers who share similar interests and habits as your followers.
4. Strive for consistency
If you aren’t already posting regularly, endeavor to start immediately. If you are, make certain your activity on Instagram does not ebb.
Posting habitually on Instagram is a ranking signal used by the algorithm to determine how much exposure your content gets.
Unlike other social networks like Pinterest and YouTube, the most effective way to get found and gain more followers is to post new content as old content drop into the abyss of non-discovery.
Additionally, users who happen upon your content are more likely to join your follower base when you have a busy profile. A Tailwind study confirms as much.
5. Finetune your captions for search
Instagram users in six English-speaking countries can now search with keywords.
That adds one more vector to gain exposure in the search results beyond hashtags, location (places), or your username (and name).
Instagram clearly discloses that one of the factors used to surface relevant results is your caption. Consequently, seek to master the art of search engine optimization by dropping relevant keywords and key phrases.
A caption can and should be dual-hitting. Besides boosting visibility, a caption adds context and keeps a user transfixed on the content after the visuals had pique their attention.
This is your chance to convert users who are yet to join your train of followers. Aim to convert as you would with a bio. That entails leading with a spellbinding header, as Instagram only shows the first 1-2 lines. Follow that up with a succinct description that provides tangible value.
Wrap up with a call-to-action or CTA. A CTA is a polite request that users all too often accede to. Your CTA could be a direct solicitation to check out your bio or follow you and enable notification to receive by-the-minute updates.
It need not be unidimensional however. You can encourage a user to share the post instead or ask a question to strike up a conversation. These boost visibility and engagement and indirectly expedites your concerted effort to snag more followers.
6. Give ear to crowdsourced recommendations, pain points, and feedback
Monitor conversations, interactions, and engagement with your audience.
Don’t just scan through. Digest what they’re communicating.
Are they asking for a live session? What was the result of a poll you ran about the optimum length or duration of your Stories? Did a user request a collection of templates?
Adjust your strategy and produce content consistent with the desires and needs of your audience. They’re your priority. Doing so will improve the capacity of your account and posts to resonate with non-followers and spur them to join your team.
7. Raise your hashtag game
Hashtags are the prime tool for discovery on Instagram.
On no account should you half-ass your hashtag selection. Be it for a post, Story, Video, or Reel.
Identify hashtags that your audience are likely to check. Use a mix of general, niche-specific, trending, and campaign-specific hashtags. Avoid hashtags that are irrelevant, old, banned, or problematic in any way.
Continually refine your hashtag selection by scouring through the performance data of the hashtags you’ve used to pick out the top performers.
8. Purchase authentic, low-cost Instagram followers
One of the earliest Instagram automated systems that continues to be fruitful is buying Instagram followers from a trusted, secure marketing service.
Granted, it is no substitute for organic follower growth, but when you do want to get a deluge of followers to elevate your marketing campaign, you can’t go wrong with a purchase at affordable rates.
You get the exact number you want (and then some) without endangering the health or compromising the security of your account.
What’s more, the followers you acquire will kickstart a bandwagon effect as profile visitors decide to follow you on account of your high follower count—using it as social proof.
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9. Organize contests, giveaways, and challenges
Few would turn down a chance to win a freebie.
Harness this by running a contest, giveaway, or challenge with a buzz-worthy reward; clear, easy-to-follow instructions; and transparent disbursement of the prize.
Set entry requirements that directly support your objective of gaining more followers.
For instance, a criterion could be to follow you and tag a friend or share to their Stories. The first half hikes your follower count directly, while the latter boosts exposure that should result in an additional trickle of new followers.
Co-produce exciting content with an influencer, a favorite creator, or a brand to reach a wider audience. It could be an AMA on Instagram Live or a video that highlights how well your products pair together.
In late 2021, Instagram launched a feature aptly called Collabs to fully realize the potential of this tactic. With Collabs, you can co-create a post or reel and the content will show on both your profiles automatically.
11. Apply cover photos to your videos
Boost the initial visual appeal of your video by adding a cover image.
A cover image helps convince a random scroller to watch your video, say by stating very clearly the topic of the video and a byline of a pain point the information in the video will resolve.
Additionally, adding a cover image is a nifty trick to get your video to stick to your prevailing brand esthetic thus eschewing professionalism and enhancing your brand image.
The little things do indeed matter and the use of quality cover images can be a factor in the decision of a viewer to tap the follow button.
12. Use analytics to eliminate second-guesses
What content format and type do your audience prefer?
How long should your video be? How many slides should be in your Stories?
How many times should you post a day and when?
The answers to these result-oriented questions (and more) can be found in your Instagram Insights data bank or third-party IG analytics tool.
The key to succeeding on Instagram is to post content your audience want. And the data captured will tell you exactly what those wants are.
As you refresh your content to match the desires of your audience, they’ll show their approval by liking, saving, and sharing with others. These improve your engagement rate which demonstrates to the Instagram algorithm that more users will benefit from viewing your content.
The end result is elevated exposure and consequent torrent of new followers.
13. Push your account wherever you are welcome
Provided you do not break any rules or violate etiquette, share your Instagram account and posts everywhere you can. For instance, you could add your handle with an @ to your business cards, flyers, and marketing materials.
In addition, consider creating Instagram-exclusive content, which you’ll link to or reference from your other social media accounts or online platforms. This would give audience members from other mediums a compelling reason to also follow you on Instagram.
Make no mistake, success on Instagram heavily rests on your ability to acquire more followers without necessarily following them.
Thankfully, the techniques that aid your ability to do just that are simple and effective and we’ve spent the better part of this guide outlaying the most effective of the bunch. We’ll like to know in the comments how well they worked for you and what other tricks you know of.
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