How to Get Popular on Instagram

Looking to grow your followers? Working on defining a brand and take your Instagram to the next level? We’ll give you some pointers on how to get started, reach a bigger crowd, and build a successful social media brand strategy.


[Edit]Instagram Growth Fundamentals

  1. Link your Instagram profile to your other social networks. Your existing followers on other networks are a great start, since they’re already interested in what you post. To connect your accounts and start sharing Instagram posts directly to Facebook and other networks, open your profile on the Instagram phone app and go to your → → .[1]
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    • Use the same handle on all your social media channels to make it easier for people to find you on different platforms.[2]
    • To automatically follow all the Instagram accounts of your phone contacts, open your profile and go to → → . Hopefully your contacts will follow you back![3]
  2. Follow ~100 to 200 accounts per day. Following accounts is an easy way to get a lot of follows back, but Instagram might suspend your account if you spam this feature. Most accounts can safely follow up to 200 people per day, if those are spread out across the day. For a new account, start with 50/day and gradually work your way up.[4]
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    • Careful—this limit actually includes both follows and unfollows. If you try the sneaky “follow and unfollow” just to try and get a follower, that will count as 2 of your follows for the day.
    • The best follows are accounts that are interested in the same kind of content as you. Check the Explore and Reel feeds, and search for keywords and hashtags related to the hobbies and interests you like to post about.[5]
  3. Comment on popular accounts. Follow celebrities, brands, and any active, popular accounts that you think your followers would also be interested in. Get attention by commenting on their posts regularly. These comments can be witty, sweet, or snarky—whatever your style is—but it’s best to keep them short and not ask for follows directly.[6]
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    • Spamming comments like “Hey follow me!” probably won’t work. Write something that people like, and they’ll check out your account.
  4. Follow people who like your pictures. When you use hashtags, you’ll get some strangers liking your pictures. When you do, follow them back. If someone expresses an interest in your pictures and your profile, it’s good to reach out and connect. Comment on one of their pictures or like a few in return. It only takes a minute or two and it helps to get a new follower.
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    • It’s good to show that you’re a real person, and not just a follower-gathering machine. Reach out and make a little comment, even if it’s just “Thanks!”
  5. Look for shoutout opportunities. If you can get the right kind of account to give you a shoutout (tag you in their post), it can be worth a decent handful of followers. Here’s some advice for how to do this while you’re starting out:[7]
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    • Message other accounts asking if they’re interested in trading shoutouts. This works best if you both make similar content and have roughly the same number of followers. (It’s not a fair trade if the other account is 1,000 times larger than yours.)
    • Give your followers a shoutout once in a while when they post about something relevant to your account. They’ll often shout you back.
  6. Engage with your followers. Follower count is not much use if you have low engagement with your posts. Don’t just put up pictures and expect that people will like your page. Engage with people who express interest and stay social on Instagram.[8] The more you can get people to interact with your posts, the more presence you’ll have in their feed, and the more you’ll be recommended to new potential followers.[9]
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    • Hold contests. Give away something fun to the “best comment” or to a particular follower for doing something. Make your prize somehow related to the theme of your page.
    • Ask your followers questions and respond to their questions. Better yet, have actual conversations and express an interest in their lives and their pictures.
    • Make a funny comment that people will want to share. If they share your post that will make your account visible to many more users.
  7. Treat Instagram growth as a serious commitment. Growing an Instagram presence to the point of financial success usually means treating it like a job. If you’re serious about this goal, make sure you can commit to:[10]
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    • Posting content seven days a week
    • Sharing a large amount of your private life with the world
    • Demonstrating to brand sponsors that you are professional and trustworthy
    • Sticking by your Instagram image; there’s nothing more damaging to your Instagram follower count than seeming “fake” or hypocritical.

[Edit]Account Branding

  1. Pick a theme for your page and stick to it. People are more likely to follow a page with a specific and clear theme. When you’re crafting yours, try to think about what you’re likely to include in your photo feed. What are you passionate about? What are your interests?
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    • Music, humor, literature & news, movies & actors, and travel are some of the fastest-growing topics on Instagram.[11]
    • Other topics with high potential include food & drink, animals, nature photography, partying, yoga or exercise, home decorating and lifestyle, fashion, and sports.
  2. Use professional account tools to analyze your audience. If you haven’t yet, go to your profile and hit → → .[12] This unlocks the “Insights” feature, which you can check regularly to learn more about your audience demographics and how engaged they are with your content.[13]
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    • Make strategy decisions based on this info. For instance, if you want to plan a collaboration with another creator, choose one with a similar audience to your own. Feature businesses and products that appeal to your follower demographics.
  3. Ask your audience specific questions directly. Sometimes just asking is the easiest form of market research. Wondering what your followers think of a new trend? Can’t decide between two shoot locations this weekend? Make a post that uses an interactive sticker (for instance, a Poll sticker for detailed feedback or an Emoji Slider for a quick reaction) to get immediate responses from your fans.[14]
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    • Stickers are not currently available in Japan or the European Union.
  4. Write a clear and specific bio. When someone looks at your page, they need to be able to tell what you’re about immediately. Connect your bio to your theme with a few short, clear sentences. You can make yourself more searchable by adding a keyword or hashtag in the bio or straight in the name field, like “Christian the #cake decorating master” or “Akil | Urban photography”.[15]
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    • This is the right place to link to your business page, your website, or anything else you want to showcase. (Only the links here, not in your posts, will be clickable.) Shorten the URL if it’s too long.[16]
    • Keep your bio up-to-date to reference new projects, or to adapt the tone as you get a better sense of your brand identity and what your audience likes.
  5. Take a good profile pic. Individuals should usually go with a close-up of their face, while a business with more than a couple of employees can use a logo. The Instagram profile pic shows up real small and gets cropped to a circle, so a simple, centered close-up with a neutral background works best.[17]
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    • These are safe guidelines, but experiment if you’re feeling bold or if a face doesn’t really say what your Instagram is about. Is this account for your dog? Then she belongs in the profile pic. Craft beer enthusiast? Show us the suds.
    • On phones, the pic size is 110 x 110 pixels, but choose a pic that’s at least 200 x 200 so it won’t look grainy on desktops.
  6. Stay on-brand even while advertising. Your followers want to see you as a real person who uses their platform for good, especially when it comes to priorities and values that are central to your brand. Social media influencer and model Lucy Bennett, for example, doesn’t work with fashion brands with limited sizing or poor racial representation on their social media. Similarly, if you promote sustainable food, don’t partner with brands that have a poor ecological reputation.[18]
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    • Working with companies can be a collaboration. If a company approaches you with a proposal that’s not quite right, write back and suggest improvements that match your brand. The more “authentic” you come across as, the better it is for the company.

[Edit]Content Creation

  1. Post at least once per day. Following lots of people and being friendly on Instagram may get you a fair number of followers, but you also need to have the content there to back it up.[19] Keeping your followers is just as important as gaining new ones. Aim to post at least 1 to 2 times per day, every day.[20]
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    • Instead of burning through all your best photos at once, set yourself a schedule with reasonable update goals.[21]
    • Sit down at the start of each week or month to identify upcoming events (both personal ones like birthdays and public ones like holidays). Plan in advance so you have great posts ready when those days arrive.
  2. Experiment with when you post. Instagram has more users online in the early mornings Tuesday through Friday; the late afternoon on weekdays; and Saturday around 11am. That’s a good start, but your audience might be on a different schedule depending on their age and what time zones they live in. Start with some smart guesses, play around with your posting times, and track engagement at different hours of the day.[22]
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  3. Improve your Stories videos. Video is now the favorite content medium of social media users, and is increasingly important for driving ad and sponsorship revenue. Instagram favors short, vertically oriented videos that lead with the most important content first, so start with that stunning sunrise, the visual punchline, or the sponsored message.[23]
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  4. Make Reels that focus on entertainment. In the Reels feed, Instagram’s algorithm prioritize videos that users find funny or entertaining. Making lighter, even silly video content is a good strategy for attracting new followers, as long as you don’t depart too far from your brand persona.[24]
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  5. Include captions with every photo. Pictures need to have context. Captions are an opportunity to add a little joke to your post, or engage directly with your followers.
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    • Most people use captions for their hashtags. This is important, but it’s not enough by itself. Throw some emojis and some text in there as well.
    • Try ending your captions with a “call to action” i.e. ask followers a question, ask them to post their own photos with your hashtag, or tell them to check your bio for a link to more content. This makes more people stop scrolling and engage with you.[25]
  6. Use relevant hashtags. Hashtags are a great opportunity to get your pictures out to people who aren’t your followers. Find popular hashtags by seeing what’s trending, looking at what other people on your feed are using, and clicking on your own hashtags to see what similar hashtags other people are including in their posts.[26]
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    • It’s not all about the raw numbers. It’s better to have one of the best photos on a smaller hashtag than to be lost among a million #beach photos.
    • If your picture is tied to a particular place, and you don’t mind the lower privacy setting, set your Instagram so that it can tag your location. This shows your geotagged pictures to local people.
    • You can find relevant and popular hashtags using sites and apps like TagsForLikes or Keyword Lookup.

[Edit]Picture and Video Quality

  1. Take a variety of pictures around your theme. If you want to keep your followers’ attention, you’ll need to find a variety of things to post about. You can stay within a topic (like cooking), but change up the specifics (different dishes, mid-cooking progress shots, restaurant exteriors, and so on).
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    • Never re-post the same picture that you’ve already posted, especially not the same day. If you didn’t get as many likes as you wanted the first time, don’t put the same picture back up.
  2. Use natural light and simple layouts. For most shots, it’s best not to overcomplicate it. To photograph a plate of food or a piece of clothing, arrange it in the center of the frame. Keep other props simple and sparse, so it doesn’t look cluttered.[27]
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  3. Try simple editing tools before filtering. Instagram’s filter options are well-known, and can sometimes achieve a good effect. But with a few minutes of work, you can often get better, more natural-seeming results with the basic editing tools on your phone or computer:[28]
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    • Crop your photo to center your subject, follow the “rule of thirds”, or otherwise improve the composition.
    • Adjust the brightness and contrast until the subject stands out.
    • Try out the saturation slider or other color correction tools to adjust the colors.
    • Use the sharpen tool if your image looks blurry or muted.
  4. Caption your videos. Around 40% of Instagram videos are viewed without sound. Whenever words are important to a video (for instance, if you need to mention a sponsoring brand), make sure your audience can see them.[29]
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  5. Use Instagram’s built-in story tools. Instagram’s Story feature gives you a lot of options: stickers, GIFs, and even video editing. Play around with these if you want to make some more elaborate or text-heavy posts. If you make one that you’re extra proud of, pin it to your profile as a Highlight (or Permanent Story) so it doesn’t disappear.[30]
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  6. Take advantage of other photo editing apps. There are tons of other photo editing apps for people who want more options, from advanced and subtle tools to funny joke filters. Here are a few of the most popular phone versions (many of them free):[31]
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    • Snapseed
    • Lightroom
    • Adobe Photoshop Express
    • Prisma
    • Bazaart
    • Photofox
    • VSCO
    • PicsArt


  • Keep it classy, or you risk getting your Instagram account canceled. When you’re trying to get popular on Instagram, keep it hovering around PG-13 at the most.
  • If you’re concerned about your privacy, take control of it by not posting anything you’d regret. Don’t put anything personal or embarrassing on your Instagram page. Make sure you don’t geotag your home address and stay safe online.


  • Instagram tries to detect and block accounts that use tools that try to make you Instagram famous automatically (for instance, by making bot accounts or posting comments for you). Sometimes these tools work for a while, but they come with the risk of Instagram finding out and blocking your account.[32]
  • It’s a lot more difficult to get Instagram followers if your account is set to private, which stops anyone from seeing your posts until you approve their follow request. To turn off private mode, go to your profile, then click → .[33]

[Edit]Related wikiHows


[Edit]Quick Summary

  8. [v161781_b01]. 20 April 2021.
  19. [v161781_b01]. 20 April 2021.