How to Gain Genuine Instagram Followers

These Instagram growth tips will help you take your Instagram business account to the next level. Learn how to grow genuine Instagram followers fast + improve your engagement!

How to Gain Genuine Instagram Followers: Instagram Growth Tips + Tricks- These Instagram growth tips will help you take your Instagram business account to the next level. Learn how to grow genuine Instagram followers fast + improve your engagement!

How to Gain Genuine Instagram Followers

Happy Wednesday Everyone! Today’s post is going to be different than anything I’ve ever really talked about on the blog, but after receiving numerous comments, e-mails, and requests asking about my social media growth, I wanted to share all of my tips + tricks in a post to help others out there looking for ways to grow their instagram followers.

The methods I’m going to talk about today are things that have personally helped me gain my Instagram followers from 500 to 10,000 followers in a little over 6 months time. Yes, that’s right I finally reached 10K!! Woot woot! Thank-you so much to everyone who has followed me, and if you haven’t yet, what are you waiting for?! πŸ˜‰ With both a Master’s Degree in Marketing and as a full-time marketing professional, I can assure you these methods work and will 100% get you on track to gaining followers and improving your engagement rate.

(Make sure you check out the end of this post to find out all the details on the number one course I recommend for those looking to increase their IG following!)

Instagram Follower Growth Tips + Tricks

Change Your Approach

First things first, if you’re serious about Instagram growth, then you need to change your entire approach to the platform. As an influencer, your social media pages should be an extension of your blog, and as one of the most popular social platforms and the #1 app for social engagement, Instagram is a serious game changer for bloggers, brands, and businesses.

Like most people, I originally used my Instagram account as a personal account to keep up with family and close friends. But once I started a blog, I quickly realized the importance of using my social pages like a business and as a gateway to my blog. Referrals from both Facebook and Instagram make up a huge portion of my monthly page views, which just further confirms the importance of using them strategically. I now use my personal Facebook account to keep up with family and friends, and use my Instagram account solely for my blog. Once I committed to using my Insta account for my blog and stopped using it to just post random personal photos, I started noticing a change for the better in engagement and started gaining traction with new followers.

Update Your Profile

Now that you’ve realized you need to stop using your Instagram page for personal use, let’s figure out a way to get you noticed. Although most people overlook the importance of this step, I cannot emphasize enough how important it is to update your profile. Think about it- what’s the first thing you go to when someone follows you, likes, or comments on your post? You visit their profile. Although cute quotes, emojis, and a one word description might be okay for personal profiles, you want to be strategic with your profile and use key words and phrases that will resonate with your ideal follower.

How to Gain Genuine Instagram Followers: Instagram Growth Tips + Tricks- These Instagram growth tips will help you take your Instagram business account to the next level. Learn how to grow genuine Instagram followers fast + improve your engagement!

Your handle, name, and bio all need to be in alignment with your blog, brand, and mission, and need to be easily recognizable and searchable. For example, my old handle used to be Cara2289, which had nothing to do with my blog and probably would never be easily remembered. Now my handle @cara_kindlyunspoken features my name and blog name, which helps further build upon my brand. Also, by adding Beauty/Lifestyle beside my profile name, users can easily find me when searching for beauty/lifestyle bloggers. Lastly, make sure you always include a way for users and brands to contact you, and include a direct link to your website or shop. Numerous brands and bloggers have contacted me through my Instagram profile, so definitely don’t forget this important step!

Build a Cohesive Feed

Remember how I mentioned that I started noticing a shift in my Instagram account once I stopped using it as a personal page? The content you post on Instagram matters oh so much. Unlike Facebook, Twitter, and even Snapchat, people come to Instagram to see beautiful imagery and photographs. Additionally, the content you are posting must make sense with your brand, your mission, and your audience. I’ll also add, it’s super important to find a balance in the content you are posting. For example, you’ll notice I rotate between beauty, fashion, lifestyle, and family, so that my feed has a nice balance to it. (Scroll to the end of this post, to find out what course I took to help me understand building a better IG brand.)

Although I still share a few personal photos from time to time, I instead started focusing in on posting content in alignment with my blog and I noticed my engagement skyrocketed. Don’t believe me? This time last year I was receiving on average between 5-15 likes on my photos. I’ll add that my account was private, I wasn’t using hashtags, and I only had about 150 followers at the time. Now, compare that to one of my most recent photos shown below. Being strategic with your content on Instagram works 100%.

Use Strategic Hashtags

Regardless of what poor advice you’ve received in the past regarding hashtags, by far one of the best tools for growth and engagement on Instagram is hashtags. I too have heard the crazy advice of only using 2-3 hashtags on an image, but seriously guys use all 30! Look at it like this- if you are a business owner and you want to send out flyers to potential customers and you have been given 30 contacts, you wouldn’t just send it to the first 5 on the list, right? No, you would send it to all 30. Each hashtag provides an opportunity to be seen by more people and potential followers.

With that being said, your hashtags need to be specific to the image you are posting and targeted to your ideal audience/follower. You also need to use hashtags within your following range. What I mean is, don’t use hashtags that have been used over a million times like #love or #coffee. Because those hashtags are so overused, your photo won’t stand a chance at being seen, and the only thing you’ll end up with is spammy likes/comments by bot accounts. Instead, focus on using more specific hashtags that your ideal audience will be looking at and searching for. I personally use a range of different sized hashtags that have been used 150,000 or less times.

*Hashtag Tip- Don’t put all the hashtags in your caption. Instead, put 4-5 hashtags specific to your photo in the caption, then using the Notes app on your phone do five lines of dots followed by the rest of your hashtags. The dots will create a comment so large that users will have to tap “see more” in order to view it, and it will appear less messy looking.

Develop a Schedule + Stick to It

Whether it’s daily, twice daily, or 3 times a week, find a schedule that works for you and be consistent with it. I currently post on my Instagram 3-4 times a week, typically on Mondays, Wednesdays, Thursdays, and once over the weekend, and it works for me and my followers. (If you’re curious on how to find out the best time to post, be sure to sign up for my newsletter at the end of this post to receive a helpful list of my favorite Instagram tools & apps!) Just as you would with your blog you want to focus on quality over quantity, and trust me when I say you’ll be able to tell if you’re posting too frequently or not enough through your level of engagement. Once you begin to grow your following and engagement, you can always increase the amount of times you post, but again you’ll want to keep an eye on the engagement level with your followers to ensure you’re not flooding their feed.

Comment/Like/Follow Those In Your Niche

Last but certainly not least, if you want others to comment, like, and follow your page, then you have to do the same. Trust me when I say, commenting, liking, and following accounts within your niche will yield awesome results! First and foremost, you need to follow other accounts within your niche. Now I’m not saying go out and follow every single person you find on Instagram, but seek out those accounts within your blogging niche that have feeds that you love. You remember how I mentioned changing your approach in step 1?

Instead of filling your follower feed with people who aren’t your intended audience, you really need to figure out who your ideal follower is and start following/liking/comment on accounts within that category. For example, my ideal follower is a 25-30 year old female who loves beauty products, affordable fashion, and all things girly. These types of users are going to be the most interested in my posts, therefore it makes sense to put more time and effort into connecting with these users. By doing this, you will then have a greater chance of exposure to people who honestly and genuinely are interested in your content, and who are more likely to engage (i.e. comment, like, tap-through) with your post.

In terms of engagement, each and every time you post a photo you need to always engage with those who comment and like your post by genuinely responding to them. You also need to be actively liking and commenting on your followers pages and even their follower pages to both increase awareness of your page and to further strengthen your connection with your Instagram followers. I can honestly say I’ve gained a lot of connections through social media, and Instagram in particular, so it’s a great way to meet and build up a following who you want to eventually turn into subscribers.

The #1 Instagram Course for Gaining Instagram Followers

A huge reason that I’ve found success in growing both my Instagram following and engagement has to do with this amazing course I took last summer. The Instagram Decoded Course covers every crucial aspect of how to improve your Instagram account, how to increase your following, and how to increase your engagement rate.

I know there’s a lot of courses out there that make big promises and fail to deliver, but this course is the best out there, by far. The information I learned in this course combined with all my marketing knowledge is hands-down what helped me go from 500 to 10K followers in just 6 months time!

Just to give you a little backdrop, the course comes with 8 detailed guides and covers everything from how to correctly set up your profile to hashtag strategy and even provides a scientific breakdown of how the ever-changing Instagram algorithm works. That alone sold me on the course, because there’s been days where I literally want to pull my hair out in trying to understand the algorithms of Instagram. (lol)

If this sounds like something that interests you, you can learn all about the course over here. and check out some of the testimonials from other users of the course! Even better once you’ve purchased Instagram Decoded, you instantly become part of a wonderful Facebook Community that provides constant support, feedback, and networking opportunities


So there you have it! Using all of the methods I described above, you will be well on your way to growing your Instagram Followers and improving your engagement.

I hope you found today’s post on How To Gain Genuine Instagram Followers helpful, and I’d love to hear any questions you have in the comment section!

Thanks for stopping by!-Cara

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How to Gain Genuine Instagram Followers: Instagram Growth Tips + Tricks- These Instagram growth tips will help you take your Instagram business account to the next level. Learn how to grow genuine Instagram followers fast + improve your engagement!

147 Comments

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  5. Thanks for the tips! I’ve been trying to grow without resorting to follow/unfollow methods.

  6. I’ve read so many posts about how to gain followers on Instagram, but this one has been the most helpful. You really make it easy to understand these key steps!

  7. These are some great tips Cara! I’ve been working on my Instagram lately and I’ve seen a steady increase but nothing quite as dramatic as yours! I think I am going to update my Instagram profile and include some of the things you mentioned that I am currently missing.

    1. Thanks Shani! Hope these are helpful to you, and glad to hear you’re already seeing results! πŸ™‚

    1. That was the hardest part for me, but once you get in the habit of taking batch photos and having a folder to pull things from, it’s so easy to stay consistent on days/weeks where you’re slammed and feeling uninspired. πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks Rachel! I know what you mean. I understand why people want to do comment pods, but I’ve tried to steer clear of those a. because they’re time consuming and b. it’s forced. I want people to comment on my photos because they want to, not because it’s a reciprocation requirement.

  8. These are really great tips, thanks for sharing and one of the things I am trying to work on is the quality of the photos across my feed. I hope I can achieve as amazing growth as you saw last year!

  9. I think commenting genuine things on other people’s photos is the best way to grow your own following. Great tips!

  10. Yes to engaging with others in your niche! Lots of people forget to do that and then wonder why they aren’t growing.

    1. Yeah, I mean I could follow 8,000 men out there but in the end it would have no benefit for me whatsoever since they’re not my key audience (besides getting like creepy comments haha). You have to find your intended audience and then really strategize accordingly. Great point!

  11. Such a fabulous post! Love your feed, you are super strategic. These tips are so helpful. I’ve been working hard and doing them, so hopefully my following will continue to grow. Thanks for the advice.

  12. Thanks for sharing your tips!! I’m definitely pinning for later so I can really go through this before I start doing more on IG!

  13. Definitely great tips and I love your ig feed! Impressive growth mama! I’ve decided to focus more on my insta-game this year so I’ll definitely keep these in mind!

    1. Thanks! Yes, I look back to the days where I was using like 2 hashtags and I’m like how did I think anyone would ever see them?! lol Glad it’s helpful to you!

  14. Thanks for this! My instagram game is weaaaak lol. I need to get back into it, but I’ve been focusing on other things.

  15. Thanks for the tips Cara! First off, I need to starting following you on Instagram! I don’t know why I wasn’t already. Secondly, did you use an app to reach your 10k? I’m struggling to organically reach 1,000 and I feel like I’ve been utilizing your tips. Any advice?

    1. You’re so welcome! And what’s your handle? I’ll follow back! πŸ˜‰ To answer your question- I know a lot of people who use mass planner which helps them automatically like/comment but I personally do all of mine myself manually. It’s more time consuming but it’s more genuine in the end. Again, just focus on finding your intended audience and really try to seek out those individuals and their followers and engage with them. I’ve found that’s the best method! πŸ™‚

    2. You’re welcome! A lot of people I know use massplanner to automatically like/comment on accounts, but I personally do it all manually myself. I’ve found it’s more genuine in the end, even though it can be time consuming. Continue to focus on figuring out your intended audience and then seek out those accounts and followers to engage with. That’s what’s been the most successful for me! πŸ™‚

  16. Yessss! I use my feed as sort of both a personal and blogger account. I actually met a fellow blogger who bought instagram followers but instantly regretted it. Having thousands of empty followers just doesn’t stack up to a few loyal ones who engage with your content. This was a useful read – thanks for sharing. πŸ™‚

    Christie’s Take on Life. xx

    1. Yes, I would NEVER recommend buying followers. Like you said when no one is engaging with your posts it doesn’t matter if you have 100,000 followers lol.

  17. Awesome tips! I love this post. I’ve been thinking a lot about Instagram lately and whether or not I want to use it for my blog / tailor my posts towards my blog niche. You gave me a lot to useful info to consider!! Thanks for sharing πŸ™‚

  18. Such great advice! I’ve been building up mine too and agree that engagement and having a consistent feed is SO SO important.

  19. Great tips! I think I really need to work on my hashtags. Question – you said to put most of your hashtags in the first comment. Why is that? What is the difference between doing that and putting them all when you post your photo?

    1. Thank-you! I do that simply so that all my hashtags aren’t in the caption (it looks messy to me) but it’s completely up to preference. πŸ™‚

  20. I absolutely love these tips. I’ve started using them just in the past month and I’ve seen so much growth and engagement! They really work!

    1. Thank-you! & Definitely! I know everybody is over here like “Woah how’d she grow that fast?” but seriously it took SOO much time commitment and work. But I must say it’s well worth it on my road to working with more brands! πŸ™‚

  21. Awesome tips gurlie! CONGRATS on reaching 10k organically, with so many people buying followers these days it’s so refreshing to see real accounts with real followers. Your feed is beautiful, and yes to using all 30 hashtags. I thought it was ridiculous at first, and now I know how important it is <3
    Green Fashionista

    1. Thank-you Kate! I heard so many myths about hashtags at first, but I’m glad I finally figured that out lol.

  22. COngratulations on hitting 10k! I know what I should do with my IG, but I love posting pictures of my kids! lol

    1. Thank-you! And I do too, and there’s nothing wrong with that! haha you’ll still see me post photos of them from time to time, just not as much as I used to when it was a personal profile. πŸ™‚

  23. I just started focussing on growing my Instagram following. What is your advice for lifestyle niche? My brand is encouraging mothers to be real and enjoy life. Since that’s the case, I post lots of personal pictures.

    1. I think that’s a great approach! My only advice would be to try to find a good balance with your feed (Ex. family photo, drinking coffee, inspirational quote, family photo, etc.) People tend to get bored if you just post the same content over and over, so it’s best to switch it up. Especially when you’re lifestyle you have a great variety to choose from! πŸ™‚

  24. Great Post! Me and your mommy are working on starting to sell mugs and other things over at Amazon, Ebay, and Etsy. May use some of your tips and tricks to help us out. Would love to have you come over and help us out and pick your brain. I think you need to do a post one day on Darragh and Colten one day. Of course this is from a Dad and Grandfather outlook. I absolutely love to spend time with them and ask them questions and see things from their eyes. Love you and proud of you. Dad

  25. Thanks for the practical suggestions. I have always struggled with the hashtag issue, I love the tip about adding it to the comments.

    1. Hashtags are the greatest mystery of all lol, but focusing on smaller ones really does help a lot! πŸ™‚

  26. All great tips Cara! I have been trying to use Instagram more lately. I feel though most bloggers that follow me do the “Follow/UnFollow” method and it drives me nuts. I will keep all of these in mind!!! Thanks for sharing!

  27. Love your beautiful feed! Instagram pods have been a gamechanger for me in building genuine connections over the past several months!

  28. Thanks for all these tips Cara! I have been blogging for 3 years an only have 694 followers. I am doing most of the things you have said about relating to the profile, hash tags, commenting back when people comment. I don’t post every day but usually a 2-3x a week. I have to do better at commenting on other peoples IG’s it just gets so overwhelming trying to keep up with everything that I need to do. Having and blog AND youtube makes 2x the amount of work since I am not only writing blog posts but alot of the times a youtube video is included in posts. I’m doing something wrong though or I would have way more followers.

    1. Honestly it has taken me a tremendous amount of time and effort the last 6 months to get where I’m at. Even when I’m not posting I’m always doing things behind the scenes to grow and improve my IG, so don’t get disheartened. You’re doing a great job and I love your posts! Feel free to throw me a message if you have any specific questions! πŸ™‚

      1. Its just really disappointing esp when I don’t know what I’m doing wrong besides not sitting on social media all day every day commenting and posting stuff adding ppl etc. Thanks Cara, I appreciate it πŸ™‚

  29. These are really great tips! I agree engaging with others is huge to help drive awareness and traffic to your profile. Thanks for the suggestions πŸ™‚

  30. This was such a helpful post! But I feel stuck… I have been following most of these tips for the past 6 months, but am only up to a little over 1K followers. I don’t know what I’m doing wrong! Your growth on Instagram is so inspiring Cara. It’s been awesome seeing you grow!

    1. Aw, thank-you so much, Rebecca! Feel free to send me a message if you have any specific questions- I’d be happy to help! It takes time, but I know you can get there too! πŸ™‚

  31. I love all of this advice! I change my bio a few months ago to be more blog centered and it almost immediately made a difference! My problem at the moment is finding time to engage. I know that oh so important, but it keeps slipping through the cracks. I definitely need to kick myself into gear πŸ™‚

    1. That’s awesome to hear! And tell me about it- the struggle is real! haha I try to schedule times during my day and evening specifically for commenting/liking and that helps me stay on track of it. (Like during my lunch break and after the kids go to sleep).

  32. Great tips. I definitely need to be better about interacting with others on IG. It really is my favorite social media platform but lately i’ve been putting it last. It’s time to use your tips and make IG my focus again.

    1. Thank-you! Genuine interaction is key! It’s what really has helped me grow my engagement rate to what it is! & you’ve got this girl!

  33. Thank you! I’ve have seen so many IG help posts that aren’t actually helpful at all! Thanks for being real in what you actually do instead of the usual, top level stuff but not getting into what YOU actually did. Congrats on your following, you’re doing great!

  34. I’m beginning to think that people just don’t like me or my pictures because I’ve been on IG for years and still can’t grow at the rate others are…and I’m doing everything that I’ve learned from courses, research and more. I guess it just works for some and not so much for others…
    Thanks for sharing your tips, girl!
    xo, Lily
    Beauty With Lilyο»Ώ

    1. I personally love your feed and often look to it for inspiration, girl- so don’t get disheartened! Honestly focusing on IG has took a HUGE chunk of my time for the last year, like even on days when I wasn’t posting I was liking/commenting/following constantly to try to reach more people, so just keep working and you’ll get there trust me! Feel free to shoot me a message if you have specific questions, I’d love to help you in anyway I can! πŸ™‚

  35. Great tips! I struggle with consistently posting… I rarely see traffic coming to my blog from IG…. So it gets a low priority. I need to change it πŸ™‚ πŸ™‚

    1. Thanks! Focusing on consistency is a great place to start! Once your followers know when you typically post, you’ll notice stronger engagement (Just as they know when to come to your blog for posts). πŸ™‚

  36. These are fantastic tips! I agree that sticking to a schedule is important. Also, your photos are gorgeous!

  37. These are great practical tips! I’ve really started growing my Instagram recently, and it feels so genuine! I like that a lot better than the quick schemes that people want to keep throwing out there! πŸ™‚

    1. Yes! Fake, paid followers and disengaged followers doesn’t help anyone in the long haul, so focusing on steady growth is the way to go! πŸ™‚

  38. I love how you thoroughly explain each tip. I have noticed that once I stopped being so personal I saw an increase in followers. I still can be somewhat personal but stick to my blog topics. I love the idea of writing your topics (Beauty/Lifestyle) next to your name, too!

    1. Thanks! & exactly! You can still add your personality, but you’re not necessarily sharing what you ate for dinner last night like you would on a personal account lol (Or you could always put those on IG stories) And yes! I strongly recommend putting your topics beside your name, as it’s a great way for people to find you! πŸ™‚

  39. I’ve been trying to be more aware of my IG account. I just do so much – photography, knitting, blogging… but also love my dogs & life so much – its hard to not want to post it all & just confuse people what my feed is about. & I’m not about to start another one & keep it separate. I did that with my blog & it was too overwhelming. It can get a little stressful.
    I did change my profile info though to try & clean it up a little – good advice.

    1. I think as long as you are consistent, that’s what matters the most. And I totally get what you’re saying about the overwhelming part- which is why I use my personal FB for family and friends and then IG for blog. It’s just easier than trying to keep up with multiple accounts.

  40. I love this post, Cara! I have noticed a difference since I started using your tips, and I am loving it! I never realized the difference taking the time to comment on a photo makes compared to liking the photo. The relationships I am now building are amazing, so thank you for sharing!

    1. That’s so awesome to hear, Erin! So glad you’re starting to see changes on your Instagram! So excited for you! πŸ™‚

  41. What a great achievement! I think it’s truly remarkable to achieve to make a full time income from your own blog. Maybe I’ll do it some day, too. Congratulations again!

  42. Thanks for the info, Cara! I’m currently working on making a consistent theme. I fought it because it seemed like too much work but it definitely goes a lot farther than just random photos.

    1. You’re welcome! I think as long as you are intentional with what you are posting, it really helps. Like once I stopped just posting random stuff, I started noticing a change. But then again, I’m not one of those who is super worried about the colors matching exactly, so I think there’s a delicate balance for sure! πŸ™‚

  43. Awesome tips. I debated changing my Instagram name but the name I want isn’t available across all social media platforms so I’m sticking to the one I have for now. We’ll see what happens down the road. I love engaging with people on Instagram.

    1. Thanks Emelia! The main reason I changed mine is because I knew people would never be able to find me leaving it at the former one. I also really enjoy Instagram and all the engagement! It’s a great network! πŸ™‚

  44. These tips are so helpful, Cara! I love your IG feed so much and love that you talked about consistency in content and when you post. All very important!

  45. I know I should be, but I am not on Instagram. With my busy life there had to be one or two social media outlets that I just could not commit to. However, I know Bazillions of people that are and you offer some great tips that I will definitely share with them. I hope you have a wonderful day beautiful lady!

    1. I’m that way with Twitter- I’ve just never much gotten into it and just don’t have the time to be tweeting all day long lol. & Thank-you I hope these tips are helpful to others! πŸ™‚

  46. This is very good Instagram advice, and you obviously have benefited a lot from these strategies! I’ve been a bit more intentional with how I’ve used Instagram lately, and I’m excited about the growth I’ve seen. I know I’d have more growth if I applied even more strategy–but I’m not a pro blogger, so I’m pretty content with a moderately small but very interactive follower group.

    1. Thanks Rachel! I honestly think that’s what helped me was once I started being more intentional with everything! πŸ™‚

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