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How To Increase Your Instagram Followers

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As an Etsy coach, I specialize in helping Etsy sellers turn their passion into profits. With my expertise in Etsy's marketplace, I guide Etsy sellers and develop a marketing strategy to increase their visibility and sales. 

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So you want to gain massive followers on Instagram? It will be a simple task once you finish reading this post! You’ll be able to get familiarize with Instagram and get this hot social media site to work for your business by attracting potential leads to your products/services.

Having over 500 million active users, Instagram is a great platform to grow your brand.  (Source:  In this post, I will explain how to increase your Instagram followers with out spending a dime. I will also discuss the different tactics that helped me go from zero to 15k Instagram followers and counting.

Before you proceed to read this post, please follow my account at @nancybadillo1

This post will be broken down into three sections:

  • The importance of optimizing your profile
  • Instagram limits and regulations
  • My guide from zero to 15k followers and counting

Optimize Your Profile

First and foremost before you start working on your followers, we need to make sure your profile is optimized. You’ve heard it before making the first impression is important and on social media, this is truer than ever. Instagram bio is the first thing people will look at after stumbling across your account.

It’s imperative to create a strong bio for those using Instagram to grow their business and gain new leads. The bio will determine if the potential lead will follow you / click on the link or not.

Things To Include In Bio:how-to-increase-your-instagram-followers

  • What are your services / what do you do?
  • Your special offer which is the link bait
  • A strong call to action with arrows pointing down
  • Emojis and line break to make it fun and visually appealing (Culture of Instagram is using Hashtags and Emojis)
  • Max limit of 150 characters (does not include the link)


Profile Picture

The next step is to choose a profile picture, which speaks about your personality or business. If you’re the face of the brand or product, then your face must be the featured image.  However, for business accounts, the brand logo should be used as your profile picture.


The username you use for Instagram should be the same or similar across your other social media platforms like Twitter, Pinterest, Facebook,  YouTube, etc. At times choosing a name can be tricky since all the good usernames have already been claimed. Take your time and choose wisely!

Things To Consider When Choosing A Username:

  • The username should be easy to remember
  • Unique username
  • Easy to spell (Short as possible)
  • Pick carefully (the username is for life)
  • Don’t use underscores
  • Don’t use any consecutive repeating characters, letters, or symbols

Choose A Theme

Having a cohesive Instagram theme can set a brand apart. Why should a business care of sticking to a theme? The main reason is because when you first come across an Instagram account, the first thing you see is an overall feed of their images – so why not make it visually appealing.

A cohesive Instagram theme helps gain new followers and showcase your brand. When the potential buyer is looking to collaborate with you or buy your services they already know what your business is all about. When you have established your theme, make sure to stick with it.

For instance, if your business sells swimwear apparel, then all the pictures you upload should be about swimwear or related items. You should not be posting an image of a puppy or anything that is not about swimwear.

Take a look at @thisisglamorous; I love her beautiful theme!



Make Instagram Public

The most common mistake many businesses makes is having their Instagram account private. The fastest way to lose followers and potential new leads is having your account private. If your account is private, it’s pretty simple to change to the public. Click on “profile settings”, scroll down to “Private Account” and turn off.

Set Up Instagram for Business

A couple of months ago Facebook purchased Instagram. The biggest change is that Instagram is finally business friendly. If you want to gain massive leads and targeted prospective customers, you need to convert your Instagram from personal to business.  Important Note: You must connect your Facebook Page with your Business Profile on Instagram, this is how prospective leads get access to your contact information.

Benefits of Converting To Business:

  • Contact Us Button: Prospective leads can call, email, or visit your establishment.
  • Include analytics for the Top post, followers by gender, age range, top locations, and when followers are most active.

Additional analytics:

  • Impressions: The total number of times your post has been seen.
  • Reach: The number of unique accounts that have seen your post.
  • Engagement: Number of likes and comments on your post.
  • The amount of impressions per week.
  • The number of clicks to your website.

Note: Currently, a Business Profile on Instagram can only be connected to a single Facebook Page.

Upload Images

The final step is to upload a minimum of 5 photos before you start following any accounts or working on your following. The last thing you want is a perspective lead not follow because there are no images in your feed or for them to mistaken your account for spam.

The images should be cohesive to your theme and be high-quality images. The photos should convey a message about your brand that will resonate with your target audience.

The photos you’re uploading should be relevant to your business. If you’re looking for high-quality images, visit  They provide high-resolution pictures that required no attribution, and you can use on social media, blogs, websites, etc. (They have a disclaimer in front of their website or visit to get more information about their license rights.) Another site where you can find free images and videos with no attribution required is  If you need to edit your images or add caption visit one of my favorite sites

Read my post on  —–> 13 great tools to create engaging images for your social media post  < —– click to read.


Understanding how to tag your photos is fundamental to your success on Instagram. Tagging your photos with the appropriate hashtag will help you reach your target audience and earn you a lot of your desired followers within your niche.

Hashtags can be tricky, but if used correctly, it can help you find a target audience. Many top influencers argue whether using all 30 hashtags in a post can be too much. In my experience, using all 30 hashtags help me reach a larger audience. Make sure to use at least a minimum of 11 + hashtags.

Tip: I have noticed many top influencers post all 30 hashtags, and once they receive the exposure for that post, they go back a couple of days later and delete the hashtags.  (I used to say to myself, “how the heck did they get so many likes and comments without using any hashtags.” The secret is out! 

I don’t like deleting my hashtags because their primary purpose on Instagram is use as keywords.  Tip: Hashtags are for keywords and @mentions are for communicating.

For example, when tagging my photos since I am in the digital marketing space, my hashtags tend to be: #BloggingTips #Blogger #Blog #OnlineMarketing #MakeMoneyOnline #blogwithnancy 

I highly recommend using a custom hashtag for your business on all your post. (I use my name #nancybadillo)

Ladies, read my latest post: 100 Hashtags for Female Entrepreneurs

Add Caption

Did you know that pictures that have caption and emojis have a higher drive of engagement? Every picture you upload should have a caption and an emoji. I have noticed my comments and engagement increased by just adding both emoji and captions. Why use emojis? The culture of Instagram uses emojis to express themselves, and they are not going anywhere.

For instance, Thank God is Friday! What do you have planned for this weekend? Comment & tell us below! (Follow with a happy smile or emoji of your choice)

Here is an example of me using a caption, emoji, and a call to action. I received 30 comments and 157 likes!


From a business stand of view, every caption should end with a call to action to encourage the social aspect of social media.

The images should have the following:

  • Tell a story
  • Ask a question
  • Tag appropriately
  • Experiment with emojis and hashtags
  • Encourage your audience to click on the bio link





Understanding Instagram

The following are important limits to keep in mind when using Instagram:

  • The number of people who you can follow on Instagram is 7500 (The purpose of it’s to reduce spam)
  • No limit on how many people can follow you
  • The number of likes you can perform on Instagram is 350 likes per hour
  • Your Instagram bio can not exceed 150 characters
  • No limit on the number of posts you can share
  • The bio is the only place where a link is a hyperlink (the description link becomes a hyperlink when share on Facebook, account has to be sync with FB)
  • 30 Hashtags per max (Use a min of 11 + )
  • 2,200 Characters when writing an image description
  • 100 Comments per hour
  • You can only include up to 5 @ mentions in a single comment
  • You can’t post multiple, duplicate comments (including emoji)
  • Depending on the size of your account anywhere from 49-90 follows and un-follows per hour


How To Get More Followers on Instagram

I will teach you now of all my tactics, tools, and strategies that helped me built my Instagram account from zero to 15k and counting.

WARNING: Some of the tactics may violate Instagram Terms of Use. What does this mean? Well, these tactics can lead to your account being permanently closed with no warning! Proceed at your own risk.

Steal Your Competitors Followers

The easiest way to increase your following is stealing your competitor’s followers. The best part of this strategy is that your competitor already did all the hard work finding their target audience.

For instance, I would find competitors in my niche and start following all of their followers. These are people that have already express some level of interest in my niche because they are following my competitor.

I will make sure to abide by Instagram limit of 90 followers per hour. (You’ll know when you can’t follow anymore because when you try to follow someone, the follow button will go from green to white. What do you do next? STOP PRESSING FOLLOW. If you continue, Instagram will spam your account, and you have the possibility of getting it shut down. How do I know? It happened to me.

The percentage of followers who do follow back is pretty small, so you want to continue doing this strategy every hour. If you have a lot of time in your hands, you can grow the account quicker. Consistency is the key, and it will not happen overnight. If you do this strategy at least five times a day, you can gain hundreds of new followers per day.

Post At The Right Time

Are you posting on Instagram at the right time of day to ensure your followers see your photo?

Accordingly to Matt Smith founder of Lategrammer, the most favorable times to post on average are before school or work or after 5 pm when people are commuting back home.

The highest engagement is Wednesday evening between 5-6pm. I have noticed that my morning post has been receiving a lot more engagement and impressions than my evening post. I tend to post during lunch time and before 8 am.

Start Commenting On People’s Photos

Another tactic that I use to grow my Instagram account is leaving meaningful comments on people’s photos.

For instance, I love the dress! I wish I had your style to rock it, love it. The comment should be genuine and relevant to the picture. (Do not spam with comments or use automated system to leave a comment) Don’t be a spammergrammer!

I usually leave comments when Instagram limits have taken effect, and I can’t follow any additional accounts. It helps me kill time until the limit has been removed and hopefully by leaving comments gain new followers. <— Did you understand this part??? A strategy that works try it. It also gives me time to find other competitors within my niche.

Start Liking Photos

Another way to get noticed and gain new followers is to start liking photos in your feed. When you tap “Home”, you’ll see a feed of all the pictures of the people who you are following.

The purpose of this technique is that individuals who have not followed back will now start taking notice of your profile and hopefully follow back.

TIP: I suggest liking about 2-4 pictures, so when they take a look at their notifications you can stand out. For accounts that have a huge following it is unlikely that they will see your likes, so if you @mention them in their post, they will take notice of you. (Not guarantee they will follow back, but I had a few that did.)

Download CrowdFire App

Crowdfire is my favorite app that helps me manage and grow my Instagram following. The social media engagement tool can be used on both Instagram and Twitter.

It helps me become more efficient with time by unfollowing people at a faster rate than doing it directly on Instagram. Crowdfire is a free app, and you can use it for free for smaller accounts under 5k followers, accounts that have more will need to upgrade to a plan. I have the Pluto plan and received a special for $5.99. NICE!

The new followers,  I usually give them two days to follow me back. My normal regimen is head to Crowdfire app, click on non-followers, the app automatically syncs and ask, would you like to load the results now? Tip: I don’t upload the new results because it’s going to add the recent followers and I want to give them at least two days to follow back. (I press cancel)


I then proceed to un-follow all the non-followers until I hit the threshold of around 90 people and have to wait another hour.

I will continue doing the same thing every hour or 2 hours depending on my workload for the day. However, even if you do it once a day by the end of the month, it will help you increase your following significantly.


Post Regularly

Many people might argue that posting on a regular basis can over saturate your followers feed.

Posting regularly anywhere from 3-5 post a day helps me increase my following and engagement compare to when I was posting 1 per day.

A simple way not to over saturate your audience feeds is by posting at different times. For instance, you can upload two photos in the morning, maybe one in the afternoon, and upload again in the evening.

You can also find out when your followers are active on Instagram by using the Business Insights feature which will help you determine which time are the best to post for visibility and engagement.

The biggest mistake many businesses make is not posting on a regular basis and losing out on prospective leads. Every time you post, it’s stamped with the day you uploaded that image, and you don’t want the last post to be three weeks old.

Plan Your Instagram Content

As you explore the potential of Instagram for your business, it’s important to plan your Instagram content. Plan your content ahead, set a regular schedule for posting and don’t forget to engage with your audience. Tip: Many businesses post but failed to engage with their audience. 

4 Instagram Tools for Scheduling Instagram Updates:

Benefits of using Instamate:

  • Never worry about finding content again
  • Automate your entire months posts in seconds
  • Drive traffic to your website
  • 100% Set & forget
  • Multiple accounts allowed
  • Grow thousands of fans in just week
  • Clock URLs for affiliate products




Reply To Comments

When a person takes the time to leave a comment you should always reply back. Make it your objective to always show your reader, how you value their feedback. Make sure to acknowledge your readers and you will be rewarded with a great online community. All social media platforms main purpose its to be social with their community.

Benefits of Replying To Comments

  • Build Relationships
  • Gain Readers
  • Create An Online Community
  • Become the expert of your niche
  • It’s nice to be nice


The most important aspect of this tutorial is to remember consistency is the key to growing your Instagram account. It will not happen overnight, and it does take a lot of time and effort from your end.

Make sure to follow this procedure every day and when you least expected it, you’ll start seeing your Instagram account growing. Spend a little more time and see it grow as at faster rate about hundreds of new followers per day!

I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial on how to increase Instagram followers! Please join my newsletter to receive free digital marketing tips and tricks!

If you have any questions regarding your Instagram account, please comment below and I will make sure to look at your Instagram account and be of any help! 

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  1. Tony says:

    From my experience, a good Instagram bio will attract more users to come and follow your Instagram profile. Of course, in the first place, you need to post attractive images and spread to as many users as you could. These users will help you spread your profile to many other users.

  2. Hi Nancy,

    An interesting and Informative post.

    Really I like the way you presented. And the points that you mentioned are really useful.

    Good work.

    Thank you.

  3. Aravinth says:

    Hi Nancy,

    Really a Nice post on increasing the Instagram followers.

    The tips that provided here are really useful.

    Thank you.

    Have a Great Day.

  4. Great post but Crowdfire and other apps no longer work with Instagram. Any other options?

    • Hi Shane,

      Thanks for leaving a comment. I actually use Crowdfire and they do work with Instagram. Did you encounter problems using it? Please let me know if there is anyway I can help! Thanks.

  5. Jeny says:

    Hmm, I don’t know about this app. I used a lot of apps and my favorite is zen-promo to get more real followers. Maybe you heard about it, no?

  6. This was really helpful. Thank you 🙂

  7. These all are really useful points for increasing Instagram followers. I am a regular user of Instagram. I agree with that choosing post relevant hashtags are helps you to increase your followers. I really appreciate your knowledge about social media..!!

  8. Very informative article Nancy! I am very new to Instagram and I learned a lot from this post.

    Its very useful for beginners who wants to understand about Instagram completely.

    While reading the post I was somehow trying to connect these strategies with Twitter. I think some of them are matching.

    Nice job in keeping the info in a very systematic way Nancy.

    Thanks for sharing.

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Hi, I'm Nancy.
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I help Etsy sellers turn their passion into profits is a rewarding and fulfilling endeavor. Many sellers have great ideas and the drive to succeed, but they lack the knowledge and experience needed to start, manage, and scale their Etsy businesses effectively. As a business coach, I help Etsy sellers by teaching them the exact steps needed to turn their passion into a full-time income.

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