At the end of 2016, Instagram announced that it hit 600 million users, with 100 million of those joining within the last 6 months. Instagram also released “Stories” as a competitor to the famous Snapchat stories feature, which some consider a direct knock-off of their competitor.

Are you ready to gain followers and increase engagement by using Instagram? Although Instagram does have the feature for businesses to do ads, there are other organic ways that you can build your presence.

Here are the top ways that the top Instagram marketers got to where they are today:

#1: It is More than a Bio

Instagram bios are often overlooked but are a very important part of your profile. Your bio should clarify exactly who you are and what your overall purpose is. Before I follow anyone, I see what their bio says so that I can see what type of content I can expect to be seeing on my timeline.

Also, at this time, links put in the caption of photos are not clickable, which means the URL that you put in your bio should bring someone to a page you want people to be seeing. If you regularly publish blogs or host events, you should embed a short URL in the post but also change your profile to link directly to the content.

Here is a look at how we promote a blog within a post:

#2: Frequency

On average, Instagram users post once per day, while more successful accounts (like the one below) will post 3-5 times per day.

@GaryVee is more than just an Instagram marketer (in fact he really isn’t even that), but he is the perfect example of being consistent and relevant!










You should be consistent with your posting, so chose a frequency that you can follow through with. If you can only put out one (quality) piece of content daily, then do that, but strive to build on that.

With Instagram stories, you are given the ability to post even more without the thought of “I hope I’m not being annoying.” When someone views your story, they are deciding to put all of their attention on it, so make sure to put pictures and videos on it that allow them to see more of who you really are.

Experts say you should be uploading 7+ times a day to your story. I have noticed the best way to keep up with this is anytime I switch tasks or move locations, I will post a photo or video of it.

#3: Keywords and 😎

Adding keywords and emojis to your username and bio will increase the likelihood that someone will come across your profile when searching that specific thing.

For example, by adding “blogger” to your name or bio when someone is looking for bloggers to follow (or hire) it will make it easier for them to come across your profile.

Blogger can is a pretty popular keyword, try specifying what your blogs are about! (i.e. fitness, lifestyle, etc..)


Photographers could add the 📷 (camera) emoji, or videographers could add the 📹 (video camera) emoji.

#4: #Hashtags

Hashtags can expose you to a large audience that is targeted to the content you are posting about. Instagram allows 30 hashtags per post, and according to Social Media Examiner interactions are highest with 11+ hashtags.

Websites like lets you search whatever word is most related to your content and shows you the top hashtags that are related to your search.

The best way to use this is to consider what 2 words best describes the content you are sharing (or your business as a whole) and search both of those, then take the top-10 hashtags for each and save them somewhere on your phone. This way each time you are getting ready to post something, you can just go back to copy and paste them into your caption!

#5: Have a Theme

A lot like a digital magazine, your Instagram page should have a similar theme for all the content you are sharing. It doesn’t (and really shouldn’t) all be the exact same filter or subject, but they should all correspond in some way.

Although @rbn is not a business, he has mastered Instagram by following a theme of sharing artistic and simple photos that are elegantly edited.

#6: Incentives

A great way to get more followers, keep your current ones interested, and ultimately raise awareness for your profile is offering giveaways or some kind of incentive.

Doing a bi-weekly or monthly giveaway of a product, or discounted membership rates is a very simple and cost-effective way to give followers something to look forward to. Then encourage the people that win to share it on their profile, this will expose your profile to an even larger audience and ultimately increases the potential to gain more followers.

Organic Instagram Growth Recap

There is no doubt that you are able to reach an extremely large audience on Instagram, if done correctly.

Some things you need to be keeping in mind, whether you are just starting out or have already been publishing content is to be clear about what you are posting and keep a theme behind it. You should be utilizing the little things that have massive returns, such as keywords, emojis, and hashtags. Finally, make sure your content is worth seeing – there are 600 million other users someone could follow, give them a reason to follow yours.

What will you be trying out first? Let us know on Instagram (@longdriveagency)!


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Chris Degenaars

Author Chris Degenaars

Strategy & Operations at Long Drive Agency

More posts by Chris Degenaars
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