Without a doubt, this is one of the questions that most Instagram users ask themselves: how to get followers on Instagram for free. It seems reasonable to me.

But few are those who understand that social networks stopped being free a long time ago.

Let me explain.

Social networks themselves are free and Instagram is no exception. What happens is that, if we want to take full advantage of them (reach more people, have more interaction or, for example, sell products or services with them), we will have to allocate a small budget for marketing actions that will increase our number of followers, likes and comments.

Can not increase your followers on Instagram without paying?

Of course yes. Although I tell you that, since Instagram made changes to its algorithm, it is getting more complicated every time.

Here are some of the key points to increase the reach of your publications and, as a consequence, reach more potential followers:

  1. What content generates more engagement in Instagram?

In this part, with your permission, I will be a bit biased and go towards what I personally like the most on Instagram and which I think also fits better the reader profile of this blog: show brands (personal and corporate) a your side more human and more private .

Being able to do this will help you connect much more, both to your personal brand and to a company. And that also helps make good content marketing strategies as they are already done on YouTube or in many blogs, for example.

You already know that Instagram is a 100% visual social network. Therefore, the content that works best here is the content that is close and attractive, both visually and by the message it transmits.

In my personal case, what I like most are images with motivational and inspiring text.

Yes, it’s not that it’s  “super original” , I know, but I’ve been doing it for a long time, it works for me, it’s the kind of positive messages that I like to launch and it’s also very much in line with what it is and I want it to remain  my personal branding .

In that sense, many photos are of my personal scope and my day to day : photos of me, of the places that I am visiting, books and other things that send me and that have made me illusion, professional situations like the “backstage” of a video recording session, etc.

It seems to me a perfect way to connect with my audience and reconcile my human side with the side of my personal brand  because it is like a gateway to my “real life” where I participate the people who follow me also in my day to day, something that, on the other hand, I know that people like.

You do not have to do exactly the same, even maybe it does not fit in your case, but the philosophy of how to connect behind this can be totally extrapolated to any case and I hope it will serve as inspiration for your Instagram activity.

  1. Use of Hashtags on Instagram

Instagram lets you place up to 30 hashtags in your posts to tag the content you’re posting.

Using hashtags not only you are telling other users what is the theme of the photos and videos you upload (that is obvious), but also you will reach other profiles that do not know you.

How? Since recent changes in Instagram, the application allows you to follow publications that are tagged under a hashtag .

This will make that in your newsfeed (section of the application where you will see the publications that make the accounts that you follow) you will also see some publications that contain the hashtags that you are following.

This, on the one hand, is one of the best ways to let you know other users who still do not follow you and, on the other; discover other accounts that publish content that interests you.

How many hashtags do I have to put in my publications?

The truth is that the experts do not just agree on what is the number of hashtags that should be used in a publication.

But from my own experience I can tell you that the number of optimal hashtags is between 5 and 11.

Use, ideally, between 5 and 11 hashtags in each publication.

Using more than 15 could be considered a spam technique; because the new Instagram algorithm will interpret that we are over- optimizing the publication and reduce the scope of the publications we make.

Never use the 30 hashtags that Instagram allows you to use or your reach will plummet.

Finally, I recommend you make a varied use of the hashtags that you use in your photos.

Typical and very popular hashtags in their day like “tags4likes” , “picoftheday” or “follow4follow” , they have gone down in history and Instagram ignores them.

The best practice that you can carry out is to use a combination of less used hashtags with some more popular ones and, above all, to vary them in your publications  so as not to always use them.

  1. Upload photos and videos to Instagram with Instagram Stories

As you will know the video is a format that, well used, is capable of generating a lot of engagement. Like Facebook, Facebook Live allows you to generate a lot of engagement, in Instagram you can also use the video to connect more with your followers.

In 2016, Instagram launched Instagram Stories, which first allowed users to upload photos, add filters, effects and layers, and thus form an Instagram “story” in slideshow format. In the same year he expanded this functionality to upload videos as well.

The most peculiar thing about Instagram Stories is that a user’s stories expire after 24 hours. That is, they disappear forever. But precisely that can be something that encourages engagement with your community.

You must be very clear that Instagram Stories is looking for fun, therefore, you have so many effects and possibilities to add a fun touch to the photos and videos you want to upload with this tool.

In this you can help many applications like you can see in the video above.

  1. The best time to post on Instagram

Another of the changes that the Instagram algorithm has made is to show the publications without a chronological order.

Formerly, the first photos that appeared in your newsfeed were the last ones that had been published by the people you follow. But that will not be the case anymore.

As a general rule, from now on, the publications that will appear first are those of the accounts with which you have the most engagement.

Let me explain what engagement is (surely this explanation is not necessary for you, but I prefer to go for a shot).

The engagement is the relationship you have with other Instagram accounts and is determined by the likes and comments that you leave in your publications.

So Instagram wants to show you first those account posts that you interact with most often and then the accounts that you might not interact with so much.

That said, maybe you think that the time of publication then should not be so important, but the truth is that it is.

For this reason, the ideal is to try to publish in the hours in which most of your followers are connected.

Shows the information about schedules that Instagram gives you from the native app.

How to know?

If you have a company Instagram account, you will have access to some statistics related to your followers and your publications, so you can see when the vast majority of profiles that follow you are connected.

You will also have other information, such as the countries of which your followers are; their cities, their gender and even their ages, among others.

If you do not have a company Instagram account, do not worry. There are applications that allow you to analyze your followers and determine the best hours of publication.

Tools like Prime for iOS or Followers + can be very useful. You also have an alternative for Android, like Whentogram.