Remember the last time Instagram cracked down on bots? Rapper, Tyga saw his followers drop to 2.2 million (it's way back up now) and Justin Bieber famously lost 3.5 million followers. Despite the purge, bots are popular! But you don't need bots to grow your follower count. Not with these tips:

Give Your Profile a Facelift. Little details make a big difference. Especially if you're looking to grab the attention of a big brand or major influencer, your profile needs to scream credibility. Check your image captions. Are they consistent in tone? Is your bio complete with relevant hashtags and links? Are your posts visually cohesive? Keep your profile name as search-friendly as possible by minimizing the number of special characters and numbers you use.

Don't Just Connect Your Accounts. Your website, Pinterest, and Facebook accounts are promotional tools. Social plugin buttons are well and good, but if you really want to boost your following, you'll do more than link to your Instagram account. You'll promote. 

Tell your Facebook followers to follow you Instagram. Be proactive. You need to let your audiences know what to do and how to do it. If you're hosting an Instagram contest, advertise it on your personal website.

Enhance Your Photographs. Ultimately you want to get eyeballs on your content and the best way to do that is to make your content consistently beautiful. If you really want to shine, use natural light. Bright images attract the eye and naturally pop out from the infinite scroll of your Instagram feed. Images which are centered, symmetrical, uncluttered, and bright will perform the best. Limiting the subject of your photos to one will also improve the quality of your imagery.

Marianna Hewitt is a TV personality turned lifestyle blogger known for her YouTube tutorials. Above she explains how to use a few handy tools to not only edit your photos to perfection by preview multiple images as they would appear in your feed.  

Get in Top Posts. Scout the images which are getting into your Top Posts of choice to uncover the hashtags they've used. Then, think on a local level. Use a mix of industry-related hashtags that are not too populated plus those broad vanity hashtags within the comments of your post.

If you don't see yourself in the Top Posts within the next couple of hours, switch out your hashtags. Over the course of a couple days, test hashtags to determine which ones are most effective for you. Your posts can only contain 30 hashtags; don't want to waste that premium real estate on a hashtag that isn't working for you. Once you make it, expect to remain in the top post for 1-2 days. Then, get right back to work!

Work on Your Aesthetic. Otherwise known as brand, sensibility plays a very strong role in establishing a loyal and engaged following. You want them to follow you for you. Zoom out and look at your entire profile. Are all of your images stylistically cohesive? One little trick to boost your visual appeal called the Diamond Effect.

Here's how to pull it off. Plan out 6-9 posts according to this pattern: wide shot, close up, wide shot, closeup, wide shot, close up, etc. The effect is a calming billow that draws the eye and keeps it there. Beauty and fashion influencer, Jessi Malay is a master of this effect as you can see for yourself. 

Limit Your Loop. Loop giveaways are effective for a burst in follower growth, but they can also lead to audience drop off if your don't hook your followers after the contest ends. Do yourself a solid and keep the loop small. Partner with only 3-4 other influencers in your space. You're bound to gain more, higher quality followers when your campaigns are focused.

We all know a bot when we see one: spammy comments and posts that materialize on an inhumanly regular basis. Bots inflate the value of an 'influencer's' reach. They pepper our feeds with inauthentic interactions and make are follower count look fake.

Take our advice. Don't add followers for the sake of followers. Build relationships. We're not just 'users', we're people first. Post, tag, re-gram, comment and do your thing. The growth will come naturally.

Colleen Patterson is the content marketing manager for Muses, the only digital growth app focused on building long­-term relationships. She’d love you to get involved. 

 

MUSES MUST-READS