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Organically, Instagram changed a lot since it’s been bought by Facebook. But not only it’s still getting a momentum, engaging over 500 million users a month and also bringing real cash to its owners, with brands getting more interested in advertising on it, you can be sure it’s here to stay.

It’s no longer easy to grow organically, but it’s still doable. Here’s how you can do it.

1. Define who you are

Throughout my Instagram journey I have seen a lot of Instagram profiles serving anything from kids photos to travel, fashion and food mixed altogether. This will not work. Define who you are and stick to it. If you really need to mix all those things together setup separate Instagram profile for each category.

2. Gain the followers

Instagram has always been about give and take. Follow the people who you think might follow you back. It’s just a numbers game. If you follow 400 people a day at least 30% will follow you back. Sure you will run into 7500 followers limit pretty fast, so make you know who to unfollow after few days. You can easily do it with River that keeps track of all the people you’ve followed. In our Managed package you can perform this automatically without any additional cost.

3. Get more organic likes


Do a little research. Go back through your photos and see which ones got the most likes and comments. What clicks with your audience and why? How can you incorporate more photos like that into your feed?

A. REMEMBER THAT QUALITY BEATS QUANTITY

Edit your account to leave only the best photos. No one wants to follow someone with thousands of pointless images of food when you are here for shoes.

B. TAG PEOPLE IN YOUR PHOTOS WHEN RELEVANT

This ensures those photos show up in those users’ feeds and makes it more likely they’ll share them.

C. REGRAM YOUR FANS

Your fans are your biggest supporters, so let them cheer you on! Strengthen your online community by reposting images that your fans have tagged with your brand (be sure to ask permission first). You can also start a specific campaign soliciting user generated content that illustrates your brand through the consumer’s perspective.

4. Get real comments

Real comments are crucial. Social media is a two-way street. The closer you are with your followers the better.

A. ASK QUESTIONS IN YOUR PHOTO CAPTIONS

Get your followers engaged by asking them to take further action (e.g., “Let me know what you think in the comments” or “Best beach in Bali. You guys agree? Let me know in the comments.”).

B. ENCOURAGE FOLLOWERS TO TAKE ACTION

As simple as it may sound, people are more likely to do something if you ask them to do it. Sharing a quote? Ask them to “like” your photo if they agree with it! Sharing something funny or relatable? Ask your followers to tag a friend! If you put the idea out there, it will encourage your followers to act accordingly.

5. Never buy likes, comments or followers

Not only you can be easily caught by the Instagram team, but your posts will not likely be shown on more popular hashtags due to the new Instagram algorithm and because your engagement is just fake. And last but not least, if you want to get brand deals you’re asking for trouble.

Whenever I see someone who has 50K followers and 40 likes on average per photo, a lot of people know these followers were bought. Same thing with likes and comments. I’ve seen profiles having 50 photos and each with almost exactly 1000 likes. Not really natural, right? Brands managers know it too.

And last but not least, even if you will try to cheat the system and buy all of the likes, followers and comments to make it look natural, on the long run it’s just simply getting too expensive or time consuming.