How to Get Followers on Instagram Without Following, 5 Free Ways

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By: | October 6, 2020 | Tags: , , ,
how to get instagram followers without following

Do you need to know how to get followers on Instagram without following?

Are you losing followers on Instagram?

One of the advantages of Instagram is being able to market your products, services, or content, but if you are a blogger, marketer, or anyone at all who wants a popular account, losing followers on Instagram is a problem.

If you want to send people to a website in order to boost traffic, income, or both, you need to get 10,000 followers on Instagram.

If you want to have an account that looks so popular, anyone would feel foolish not to follow, you certainly need to get more than 10,000 followers on Instagram.

These Instagram growth hacks will teach you how to get followers on Instagram without following anyone in return.

If you are losing followers on Instagram, you need to implement these strategies:

  • Use Instagram Stories
  • Use Reciprocal Engagement Groups
  • Be Consistent
  • Only Follow Two Types of People
  • Analyze Your Metrics
  • Improve Your Bio

This guide will teach you how to apply these strategies to your Instagram account.

These are important tips since Instagram only lets you follow up to 7500 people, but you need to get 10,000 followers on Instagram in order to have a Swipe Link.

That means you need to know how to get followers on Instagram without following since, in order to get the Swipe Up link, you need more followers than you are allowed to have. Clearly, you need these Instagram growth strategies.

Although there are 3rd-party unfollow apps that will help you keep your follower/following ratio in check, this guide shows how to get 10,000 followers on Instagram without following using only the Instagram app.

These Instagram growth hacks are effective. Screenshots will show empirical evidence that these strategies work since they worked for me.

Are you read to learn how to get followers on Instagram without following?

I am going to explain how I grew my Instagram account in a few short years. This guide will share the tools and hacks I used to grow my Instagram followers.

By the end of this article, you will be able to follow my methods to grow your own Instagram account.

To follow the tips I am about to share you need to use the Instagram app.

Are you ready to learn how to get followers on Instagram without following? Let’s begin.

Case Study: How to Get Followers On Instagram Without Following

I started actively growing my Instagram account in September 2017.

When I started this draft in the spring of 2020, I had 17,900 followers.

how to get followers on instagram without following

Ask you see from the screenshot, at the time of this writing, I have 20,100 followers, more than twice what you need to get 10,000 followers on Instagram.

People ask how long the growth took me. That’s hard to say. Initially, I didn’t grow, so I changed my strategies. In March of 2020, I had 17,900 and in August of 2020 I have 20,100 followers, that’s a growth of 2,200 in five months. No one can say how the shelter in place necessitated by the Coronavirus would have effected these strategies.

I boosted the number without much effort. It’s safe to say, my Instagram growth is on autopilot. This is a necessity since I work outside the home full-time as a teacher, run a blog, and maintain a family life and a social life, so I don’t have a lot of time to spare. 

By reading this guide, you’ll know the methods and tools I use to boost my Instagram following with extremely little time and effort. You will be able to use my methods by following these actionable tips. The best part, these tips are both effective and free.

You might wonder how I came to know these strategies that will grow your Instagram account. Here is how I came upon these growth hacking methods:

In addition to being a teacher, I’m a blogging tips coach. As a thought leader in my niche, I believe it’s important to be everywhere. That includes social media sites that bloggers use to promote their content. 

In order to coach bloggers to use Instagram to market their website content, products, and services, I learned through study and experimentation the successful strategies needed to grow your Instagram account. 

Once my daughters left for college, I used my spare time to study how people could use social media for free to boost their online success.

In my free time, I can be found reading articles about social media strategies, listening to social media podcasts, and attending online social media conferences. I also enjoy perusing my Instagram insights to see which of my strategies are most effective. 

I still do these important activities. My daughters left for college six years ago. As Instagram has changed over the years, I’ve kept up with experts’ insights about Instagram’s changing algorithms. I know what works based on study and practicing the strategies I will share with you today.

It’s vital you learn this information for two reasons.

First, you can make money on Instagram by boosting your follower count. 

Here’s how:

it’s important you generate more than 10,000 Instagram followers, so you can include a Swipe Up link in your Instagram Stories that will bring you website traffic and possibly sales.

Instagram is ideal for marketing. By boosting your followers, you could potentially boost your traffic and sales since more people will be exposed to your promotional content.

Next, you can work with agencies that pay Instagrammers. These agencies are free to join. 

Sign up with the agencies by making an account and brands find you there. Here are examples of some agencies. I have personal experience with all of them and can recommend them: Valued Voice, Influence.co, Activate, and SeedingUp.

You don’t even need a massive number of followers to get paid by brands. Today, the micro-influencer with a smaller number of followers is valued by brands. A micro-influencer has between 2,000 and 50,000 followers.

There is another reason you need to know this information. With one billion people on the site, there is a great deal of competition on Instagram. This guide shares how to generate impressions so Instagram shows people your account. This article also shares how to get people to follow your account once they’ve seen it. 

Since people can only follow 7,500 other Instagrammers, they must be selective about who they follow. Why should they follow you? By the time you are done reading this post, you will know that answer. 

How to Get Followers On Instagram Without Following, 5 Growth Strategies

These Instagram growth hacking strategies are designed to extend your reach so your account can grow bigger. I will share 5 of my best strategies.

The first strategy I share brings you targeted followers. 

Strategy 1:  Use Instagram Stories with Hashtags

More than 400 million people watch Stories every day.

Post video and still images in your Stories. You can also use the Boomerang feature and have the action in your video go in two directions, forwards and backwards.

In your Stories, use hashtags.

Instagram allows 10 hashtags. Use them all. You can hide them under a GIF or Sticker. You can also make them the same color as the background using the color picker so no one will see them if you are worried they make your Story look unsightly.

Try to find hashtags that have approximately 300,000 posts with that tag. This makes your hashtag popular enough, you’ll get traction but not so popular you’ll get lost in the crowd.

I realize other social media strategists advise using Top hashtags, medium hashtags, and low hashtags. For simplicity sake and the sake of time, shoot for the middle number, 300,000.

If you use Top hashtags which number in the millions, your content will get lost in the noise. If you use low hashtags, it won’t be worth your effort to create and post the content.

Most importantly, use a variety of Story Stickers. For example, my viewers love my event Countdowns. Using the Sticker, I countdown to events. Instagram tells me who saved the Countdown to remember the event. 

I also recommend you use the Question Sticker. Using people’s answers in a subsequent Story engages Instagrammers. An engaged audience might want to follow your account. 

Next, Use geo location stickers. This helps if you are a local business so people in your area can find you. 

Also, share other people’s Stories. They’ll reciprocate. When they do, their followers will see your content.

Adopt a buddy to share your Stories. At first, I made an arrangement to share with my friend in my niche, now fellow Instagrammers and I routinely share each other’s Stories. 

In addition, share your posts to your Stories. Click the arrow under your post. Then click Share to Story. Do this every 2-3 hours to keep your content on top of people’s grids.

Instagram allows you to connect your Stories to your Facebook which further extends the reach of your Stories. 

Next, ask people to share. Always give people a Call to Action telling them what you want them to do, so they know. Instagram has cute Stickers. Type the word “Follow” into the Search Bar, and they’ll appear.

Last, check your Story stats under Insights. Save your Stories to your Highlights that resonated the most with your readers so they are always visible in your profile.

Strategy 2: Use Reciprocal Groups

This method won’t bring you targeted followers but the Bandwagon Effect, which I will explain in a moment, will kick in. 

Also, you’ll be able to get more than 10,000 followers. I consider 10,000 followers a magic number since after generating 10,000 followers, Instagram allows you a Swipe Up link taking viewers anywhere you want them to go. 

First, use Follow Loops. Type your niche into the Instagram search bar. For example, you can type “Pet Follow Loops.” Instagram seemingly has follow loops for all niches. 

Follow Loops are reciprocal and simple. You follow people, and they follow you. If you don’t have time, you can purchase a ghost spot and not have to follow anyone.

Research the hashtag #Follow4Follow to find people who want to follow you immediately in exchange for a Follow back.

You can also find reciprocal Instagram groups on Facebook, Discord, and the Telegram app. Accounts on Twitter will also share your profile in exchange for a follow. Just type what you re looking for into the search bar at those social media sites. 

If people you follow don’t follow you back, just type “KFB” which means Kindly Follow back as a comment to one of their posts.

Use can also research #shoutoutforshoutout. With 11 million posts with this hashtag, you can easily find people to follow your account if you follow their accounts.

While these methods don’t bring you targeted traffic, they will bring you over 10,000 followers, the necessary number for a Swipe Up link.

They will also make you look like a winner. When people in your niche are not sure if they should follow your account see all your followers, they will follow you. That’s what the BandWagon Effect is. It says if something is popular, it must be good.

Make sure you keep your own number down of people you follow. The more people who follow you and the less people you follow makes you look like a winner. 

You can use 3rd party unfollow apps to see who unfollowed you and unfollow them manually, but don’t use the apps to unfollow or Instagram could get mad and suspend your account.

Let’s learn more hacks on how to get followers on Instagram without following.

Strategy 3: Be Consistent

People can only follow 7500 Instagramers. If you don’t post consistently, they’ll follow other people. 

Follow Two Types of People

If you want to discover how to get followers on Instagram without following, I should let you know you can only follow two types of people.

Who should you follow?

Let’s talk about who you should follow. You can only follow 7500 people.

I recommend you consistently follow only two types of people: People who followed you back during a reciprocal arrangement and people whose content is in your niche. If you want to follow others that don’t fall in those categories, start a second Instagram account. 

Suppose someone welches on your reciprocal arrangement and unfollows you? How will you know? There are many free 3rd party apps for both iPhone and Android that will tell you who unfollowed. You need to manually unfollow them. If you use 3rd-party apps to take mass actions, Instagram will ban or suspend your account.

How often is consistent posting?

Ideally, you should post 3 times a day. Other strategists recommend posting 4 times a day. I post once a weekday even on vacation. If I posted 3 times that much, my growth rate would be even faster. 

I use the Buffer queue which optimizes my postings for me. Buffer says at 10:18,am  1:32 and 5:32 pm, my followers are on Instagram and those are good times to post. I also use the When to Post app. Both of these are free tools. 

Use the same strategies in your Instagram posts you put in your Instagram Stories:

First, post consistently. You can post videos as well as still images.

Video is trendy right now. During the Coronavirus Shelter-in-Place, video watching increased by 80%. In fact, 82% of information is predicted to be disseminated through video by 2022.

Posting a video increases brand awareness and trust. Also, there are people who would rather learn information by watching a video than reading text or seeing a still image.

Instagram gives you many engaging GIFs, but using custom GIFs on Instagram will help you stand out and grab attention.

Posting still images: The trend today is posting your own content. People prefer you use your own images rather than stock photos.

Also, people want to learn about you, so don’t stage your photos. The days of the perfect staged image next to the plant are gone. 

If you struggle to post consistently on Instagram, there are many Instagram post generators to help you.

Next, you should strive to use hashtags with 300,000 posts. In your posts, you can use up to 30 hashtags. The more hashtags, the farther your reach. If you don’t have time to research them, there are free tools like All Hashtag to help you. 

Also, ask people to share your Instagram posts.  Tell them why they should share. For example, you might write in your caption, “Share with 3 people who need to see this.”

Some strategists recommend putting an emoji in your caption. Due to the popularity of emojis, inserting them could help grow your following.

What kind of hashtags should you use?

Use hashtags with 300,000 posts.

Avoid using one-word hashtags. You won’t get followers. 

For instance, I want to be a better entrepreneur. I would by far rather follow an account that has posts tagged #entrepreneurtips than just #entrepreneur. 

Here is an example of a great hashtag in my niche: “digital marketing strategy.”

Does it follow the criteria I set? Yes.

It’s more than 1 word long.

It offers an outcome. If I follow the account, I will get value for my time. I will learn digital marketing strategy

Also, there are just over 200,000 posts tagged with this hashtag. Although it’s not 300,000 posts, it’s in the ball park; it’s close enough.

Let’s get back to the criteria for hashtags so strong you’ll get conversions from impressions, people who see your account, to people who follow your account.

Ask yourself if there’s coalescence between your hashtags. In other words, are they all about the same umbrella niche?

Some people have lists of hashtags saved to their phone or desktop, but if you don’t vary your hashtags, you could get in trouble with Instagram and receive a penalty called “Shadowbanning.”

It’s okay to have sets of hashtags. Alternate them. Some people have hashtag spreadsheets using Google Docs.

If you want to grow your Instagram following, you need to ask yourself who you want to follow your account. Come up with a persona.

Come up with sets of 30 hashtags each for someone with that persona. 

For example, I am trying to attract people who want to grow their marketing strategies. 

I have a set of hashtags for SEO posts, I have a set of hashtags for social media posts, I have a set of hashtags for blogging posts, I have a set of hashtags for marketing posts, and I have a set of hashtags for marketing tools posts for example. Will I ever deviate from those lists? Yes! But, I don’t expect conversions when I do. 

By having this uniformity with my post hashtags, my potential followers are clear about what they’ll get if they follow my account. Instagram is clear as well and will be sure to recommend my account to people in the marketing niche or anyone with my persona. 

Another recommendation: Search your main hashtag. Look at Top Posts. Try to emulate their content and use their hashtags.

Follow their accounts and make genuine thoughtful comments. This gets the attention of people in your niche.

Speaking of comments, make sure you return your comments. It’s just rude not to, and people don’t like to follow rude people. 

The last criteria for hashtags: I recommended you use 30 hashtags. The last hashtag should be your unique branded hashtag. It ends the hashtag set so it becomes like your signature. 

Why is having a unique hashtag important?

Let’s give you an example from my account. My account is called @janicewald. However, my blog is called Mostly Blogging. Therefore, I end all my hashtag sets with #MostlyBlogging. What if someone searches Mostly Blogging? No matter which one which people search for, they’ll find me.

Related Reading: Everything You Ever Wanted to Know About Social Media Tagging

Third, you could hold giveaways. User-generated content is one of the 2020 marketing trends. You can hold a giveaway for whoever makes the best promotional Story for you. You could also hold a giveaway and draw from people who have shared your content.

I’ve held giveaways before. The way it works is this: You come up with a unique hashtag. People use the hashtag when they share your content. You search the hashtag to see who shared your post.

You can give away anything; for example, you can give away an ebook or collaborate with an ebook author to give away their ebook.

Strategy 4: Check Your Metrics to Replicate What’s Working

Here’s how:

Make an Instagram Business Account. This will allow you to see your data.

Go to your profile. You will see 3 horizontal lines in the top right-hand corner of the screen. Click the 3 lines; then click Insights. 

When you click Insights, you’ll be able to see the following analytics: Content, Activity, and Audience. 

Let’s start with Content. 

The Content overview will tell you how many impressions your posts received in order of views, 

You’ll be able to see this data for both posts and Stories by clicking See All. 

You need to boost your impressions in order to boost your conversions to followers. 

Questions to ask yourself: Why did certain posts and Stories outperform others? 

Click on the post with the greatest number of Impressions.

Click View Insights which you’ll find under the post.

Look at From Hashtags. If you received the greatest number of views due to your hashtags, this hashtag set works for you.

Now let’s examine important Story metrics: 

Again, go to your Insights. Scroll down to Stories. Instagram will default to only showing you data for the current Story.

Click See All. Click Reach at the top. Click Impressions. At the top of the screen, you’ll see your reach for the last 14 days. The Stories appear in the order posted, so you’ll see your most recent Stories first.

The dropdowns at the top will enable you to change the time periods. 

If you click Reach, you’ll have access to a wide variety of data such as shares and follows. 

Do you see any commonalities among your most viewed Stories? Replicate those common characteristics. 

For instance, I find I get the most traction when I add an Instagram poll or slider and I vary my font styles. I also find adding screenshots to my Stories improve my impressions. 

This post is about how to get Instagram followers. When you received follows from your Instagram Stories, which hashtags did you use in your Stories? Use them again.

Now let’s look at the data for Activity. 

Again go to Insights. Click Activity.

You’ll be able to see your reach, impressions, interactions, a comparison of content performance over a 2-week period specifically content that produced profile clicks, website clicks, and emails.  

Finally, let’s look at your Audience Demographics. 

Scroll back up and click Audience.

Instagram will show you how many unfollows and follows you received.

Scrolling down, you’ll be able to see the Top Cities and Countries that bring you the most followers and their demographics such as age range and gender. You’ll also be able to see the day of the week and even the hours of the day your content performs the best.

Strategy 5: Improve Your Instagram Bio

Last but not least, no presentation on how to grow your Instagram following would be complete without a section on your bio. 

You are only allowed 150 characters in your Instagram bio. You need to make them count. 

When people learn about your account, they spend 2/10ths of a second sizing up your account to see if they want to follow you. That’s all. 

Make your Instagram bio clear so people who see your account know what they will get from following you.

Explain who you are and what you do. 

Do you have any special skills that make you unique? Include them.

Make sure you use keywords in your bio. That way if people search those keywords, they will find you.

It is becoming more common to add your email so people can reach you.

Do you recall I mentioned putting a unique branded hashtag in your Instagram captions? People recommend including it in your bio.

Try to use line breaks in your bio to break up the text. This may mean typing your bio in another app and copy-pasting it into your Instagram bio.

Include a call to action in your bio. For example, if you want people to click your link tell them and let them know what they’ll get when they do. For instance, should they click your link to get free resources?

Use emojis which grab attention. Writing backward, and writing upside-down text also grab attention.

Link to your website or blog. Use Linktree, a free service to combine your links since Instagram will only allow you one clickable link in your bio.

How to Get Followers On Instagram Without Following FAQ

How do you get followers on Instagram naturally?

Use hashtags, reciprocal groups, be consistent, follow people in your niche and your reciprocal groups, let your Instagram insights guide you, improve your Instagram bio,

Conclusion: How to Get Followers on Instagram Without Following

You now have an action plan to grow your Instagram account. 

These are the main takeaways from this guide:

Consistency is important. 

You need to post consistently to your Instagram Stories and your Instagram grid. 

You need to do what you can to extend your reach in order to grow your following. 

These strategies include using the maximum number of hashtags in your Instagram Story and in your Instagram post, asking people to share, and holding a giveaway.

This presentation offered free tips.

The most important tip I can offer is to experiment. Check your analytics through Instagram Insights. 

To Recap:

In your Instagram analytics look for the answers to these questions:

Is your posting schedule related to your engagement? For example, if you post several times a day, do you get more likes and comments at certain times of the day vs. others?

Speaking of comments, make sure you respond to yours. People not sure about following you will definitely decide not to if you’re rude and don’t return your comments.

There is debate about whether you need to respond immediately. Some say yes and some say to respond but you don’t have to stay glued to your phone in order to respond immediately.

Also, you can check your content types. See how your content resonates with viewers by checking your Instagram Insights.

For instance, if video posting generates more engagement, consider posting more videos. By looking at your Insights, you can check Impressions, Engagement, Likes, and Comments. You won’t even need a 3rd-party app to tell you those metrics.

See what works for you and repeat those methods. 

What I’ve offered are general guidelines for growing any Instagram account.

Readers, please share so other Instagrammers learn how to get followers on Instagram without following.

I look forward to your suggestions in the comments section. Do you know how to get followers on Instagram without following?

  1. LeadMuster

    Thanks for sharing these Instagram hacks with us, we will definitely use it.

  2. Moss Clement

    Hi Janice,

    Evaluating your marketing metrics is a vital element that must be prioritized. But many fail or underuse this tool. I do sometimes, anyway. However, it helps you take advantage of what’s already working for you and make it better. As well as, see those that are not working and improve or remove them.
    Thank you for sharing!

    • Janice Wald

      Hi Moss,
      I agree with you that we should analyze what’s working, but Instagram is a difficult site when it comes to analyzing your ROI. Google Analytics can say your Instagram traffic is low, but there could be other benefits such as branding and sales.
      Thanks for your comments.
      Janice

  3. Pro Will

    Thanks for sharing, Instagram tips and tricks. I will definitely follow the above rules.

  4. Caz / InvisiblyMe

    I’ve really struggled with Instagram followers. I’ll be honest, I’m not keen on the idea of following thousands because to me it seems to lose all meaning. I like to interact with people & support those I know and the content I want to celebrate. I did, however, do my first Insta story yesterday, so reading about them here makes me think doing more of those might be a good idea. Fab suggestions!

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