How to Get More Instagram Followers in 2021

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Instagram has unveiled numerous changes, including instagram checkout, controversial removal of likes and many other Instagram updates this year.

Year 2021 will be even more exciting in the social media landsape.

This presents you as an individual or a brand using Instagram with new opportunities to gain Instagram followers.

But it also means you’ll need to re-evaluate your growth strategy and content.

Some of the best ways and tactics to grow Instagram followers are the same as they have always been.

But now there are new ways to create and share content with your audience.

You’ll need to combine both new strategies and old techniques in order to be successful.

By taking what has worked in the past, and keeping current with what Instagram is adding to the platform, you’ll be able to fully leverage the power of Instagram’s large user base.

In this post, we’ll show you the best ways to gain more followers on Instagram in 2021.

Hashtags are still by far the best tool to gain exposure and grow Instagram followers organically.

Do some research into the best hashtags for your niche, and identify which of those are trending.

You can do this using the Instagram search feature, by looking at similar pages and the hashtags they use, or by using a third-party tool.

There are a number of useful third-party tools out there, like Keyhole or Display Purposes. Try out some different methods and see what works best for you to discover popular and trending hashtags.

You want to find hashtags that meet 3 criteria:

  • The hashtag should cause your post to get more likes and comments
  • You’re looking for hashtags that are popular, but not too competitive, or spammy (#nofilter is extremely competitive for example)
  • The hashtag feeds should be full of high-quality and relevant content

By doing this research you’ll discover what hashtags will best complement your photos and videos, and what will attract users in your target audience to your posts. You work hard to create your content. This is still the most important step to ensure that your hard work is seen by those who will appreciate it most. Even in 2021.

Instagram has also released some new tools to make hashtagging even easier. You can take advantage of the features within Instagram itself to help better manage and discover hashtags.

  • Hashtag Suggestions allow you to instantly see suggested hashtags for your photos
  • Saved Captions let you organize your hashtags by category and themes

You’ll also want to make sure you are using a healthy number of hashtags per post.

Buffer has identified that 11 hashtags per post can do wonders for engagement.

But you won’t want to exceed 30 hashtags, as that is a bit too much.

You’ll want to stay somewhere in the Goldilocks zone of Instagram hashtags, which is between 11-30 per post.

2. Leverage the new Instagram Stories

With more than 250 million Instagram users using Stories every day, now is the time to start leveraging the opportunities stories provide.

Unlike the standard Instagram feed, which is normally edited or posed, stories feel less scripted and spontaneous.

This presents you with an opportunity to show a different side of you and your brand to your audience.

Stories can get you more followers, but in order to do that, you will still need to do a bit of planning before posting.

Your posts will still feel spontaneous, but having some strategy behind how you post your stories will go a long ways towards increasing engagement.

In order to get the most of stories you’ll want to post regularly, utilize some of the same hashtags from your normal standard posts (maybe some new ones as well), and take advantage of the different capture modes available like Boomerangs, Stop-motion, or Live video.

Live video also has the added benefit of sending you directly to the front of the Stories feed.

The different capture modes that stories offer allow for types of content that you might normally avoid putting in your feed. One obvious example is filters.

If you like Snapchat’s whimsical array of filters, Instagram has something for you here. They also have stickers, similar to Snapchat.

The video modes available also let you display video content. And this is just beginning as the platform is planning to add more modes and features to Stories.

You could also get creative with how you present your stories by doing an Instagram Stories Takeover.

If you partner with an influencer and have them ’take over’ your Instagram story, and post content that aligns with your brand.

The influencer will be able to gain access to your following, and you will have access to the host’s following by inviting their audience to watch and participate in the takeover via their Instagram account!

3. Engage with your competitors audience

Try reaching out and following your competitor’s followers. Like their posts, and leave helpful, kind, and insightful comments. More likely than not you’ll be able to convert some of those engaged users into your own followers.

Even if some of these users don’t follow back, you’ll gain insights into what those users find valuable from your competitors by actively monitoring their social media presence.

If you want to attract highly engaged users to your page, this is a simple and effective way to accomplish that.

If you want to get serious about researching your competitors you will want to look into using tools like Sprout Social.

Tools like this can give you an idea about what a competing brands messaging is like, how often they post, and how your page stacks up against theirs. Sprout social even has a competitive analytics tool for Instagram that will conveniently present this data for you. Using tools like this make the process of monitoring your competition easier.

You won’t need to visit their page daily to see insights into what they are doing (even though you still might want to visit just to get a feel for what and how they’re posting).

The more data at your disposal, the better you can understand your competition and their audience.

If your competitor has spent time building a sizable audience organically and seems to have good engagement. These are the perfect people to start looking at for engagement with your own content.

In 2021 year, there are more Instagram pages than ever before. Use this to your advantage by taking a look at what works, and seeing what your target audience likes to engage with.

Users that follow multiple competitor pages, or like and comment on posts are the kind of users you want to be following your page. Getting more interactions on your posts will draw yet more followers to your page and will keep your page appearing vibrant and active, as opposed to stale and static.

4. Embed posts on your website or blog

You most likely already have a website with visitors. A great way to convert your website visitors to followers is by embedding your Instagram posts onto your website or blog.

This requires that your profile is set to public, in order to embed the posts on your website. You can also embed your Instagram stories to your website as well.

If you’re not already driving traffic to your Instagram page by using your website, this is a great tool to easily convert people who are already interested in you.

Adding your Instagram feed to your website will help make your traffic more sticky. Compelling images give people a reason to stay on your site, in addition to the text content that you have.

If you’re using a popular web framework or CMS like WordPress for example, there are a myriad of easy to use plugins that will help you add your Instagram photos to your website without you having to touch a single line of HTML or CSS.

Use the real estate on your website to drive traffic to your Instagram and keep in mind, these are people who already have visited your site and know who you are.

Why wouldn’t you want to let them know about your Instagram profile and the type of content you post.

If they’re an active user and like your website already, this is an easy win for both of you.

5 Hire Instagram growth agency

If you lack of time or your marketing knowledge is limited, I have some good news for you - you can outsource growth of your following to a professional Instagram growth service.

For a fixed, monthly fee, you will be gaining followers in no time thanks to the targeting campaigns executed on your behalf by a dedicated manager.

You will still have full control over posts and their frequency and building a relationship with your newly gained followers.

6. Leverage other social media channels

If you have a presence on other social media or an email list, you should be letting those followers know about your Instagram!

You’ve already spent the time and effort to get these followers on other platforms. Use that existing relationship to gain pre-engaged followers.

Let them know the value they will get from following you on Instagram by informing them about the different types of content you post as opposed to where they are currently following you.

Chances are, they are active on Instagram and will appreciate your content.

You can make sure your existing fans know you’re on Instagram by cross-posting. The platform has made it very easy to share your photos and videos to Facebook, Twitter, and Tumblr, which, make it easy to drive your existing followers on those sites to your profile.

This is also a smart tactic to use if you have content that you know will do well on multiple channels. There is also data to suggest that images shared to Facebook via Instagram receive more engagement than images just published directly to Facebook.

Another possible method for leveraging other social media is to share user-generated content in your feed. This allows you to share photos or videos created about or for your brand by other users with their own pages and distinct followings.

This method has the benefit of keeping your audience engaged, and also, according to the digital intelligence firm L2 Inc, increases the likelihood of an Instagram follower becoming a customer.

Instagram is steadily growing, and with all these fresh changes to the platform, you never know. You just might be the reason someone from your existing audience decides to sign up.


In 2021 you have more options on Instagram than ever before. But you also have more competition.

This means that you’ll need to be strategic about where you place your efforts.

Spend time to create valuable content that you know your audience will want to see, but also take the effort to understand how best to get your content in front of the audience who will want to see it most.

You won’t be able to be successful on Instagram in 2021 without using the latest features like Stories, or by neglecting the old tactics of finding the perfect hashtags, or using your website, blog, and other social channels to drive existing users to your page.

Tried and true tactics still work. But there are also new features, and more tools, data, and insights for making the most of Instagram than there ever have been before.

Let your audience know you care about creating great content on Instagram.

Create fresh content, and to use the new features available to you. But don’t neglect what is already proven to attract followers to your page.

Gone are the days of just spamming the most popular hashtags for easy followers.

You’ll need to do your research and put some effort into using the newest post formats in order to keep your audience engaged and excited about your content.

Luckily, you’re informed about just what is out there and exactly what needs to be done to drive new followers to your page and to keep them happy and engaging with your content. Make the most of what’s left of 2021, and get to work!

About the author

Karen is a senior technical writer and copywriter here at GrowFollowing. Her area of expertize are social media apps and new media.