Instagram is quickly becoming one of the biggest and most followed social media platforms in the world. While many businesses focus solely on Facebook and LinkedIn, Instagram has proven to be one of the hidden keys to online social media success. If you have created your own Instagram and started posting photos, you’re off to a good start, but that is only half of the battle. You need to start gaining more followers. If you want to know my best tips for gaining more followers, here are some of my best tips on how to start securing even more Instagram followers.

1. Stick to a passionate niche

The Instagram accounts that become the most successful focus on one or two specific niches and only post content related to that. It’s best to find an area that you are passionate and knowledgeable about and go all out on that one topic. For example, if you are into travel and globe trot frequently, travel accounts can do very well. If you are into fitness, that is another big area. If you stick to a niche and show authenticity and passion in your posts, you will find a strong following.

2. Post epic content nonstop.

If you want a massive Instagram following, then you need to be posting high quality photos and video ALL of the time. You can’t just post randomly or once every week or so. You need to be constantly putting new content out there and you need to make sure that it is high quality and high resolution. I recommend posting once or twice per day (everyday), but eventually you should try to ramp that up to three to four posts per day as your account grows.

If your photos do not have a minimum of 1080 x 1080 pixels then you need to upgrade your photo equipment. Test what different types of photos or videos get better engagement and create and post more like those to build a stronger following and to keep your viewers happy.

The key is to start to experiment with different options and to utilize what actually works best. Cinemagraphs (more commonly known as GIFs) also do very well on Instagram.

If you are ever low on content to post, get permission to share a photo from another account with a large following. It’s better than not posting content at all, plus it will build a relationship with other accounts.

3. Captions need to captivate and motivate.

The right captions can go a long way, so you need to make sure that you are using them to your advantage. Decide if your niche or subject matter requires a long or a short storied caption, then be consistent with your messages moving forward. When writing a caption, it needs to do four things: captivate, motivate, inspire and give the user an experience to live through your photo or video. Posting motivational content on social media may sound cliche, but it drives massive engagement and if you aren’t motivating your followers everyday, they will go to another account that does.

Some people use short clever captions coupled with supporting hashtags to further their caption style, while others may take a longer approach their captions. Ultimately, consistency should be your focus.

4. Use the right emojis.

Whether you love them or hate them, there is no denying that Emojis’s have become a popular form of communication in texting and social media alike. If you plan to use Emojis’s (which you should), it is important that you know how to use them correctly. Emojis’s can frequently function as word substitutes and they also allow for expressive captions that actually resonate with people. Here’s how: try to substitute at least one word in each sentence with an Emojis that represents it. Your captions will start to resonate with people on a more visual level.

Make sure you don’t overdo it. Emojis’s can be used to add a little flavor to your posts and make you seem more relatable, but they shouldn’t be the only way that you communicate. The key is to use Emojis’s to substitute words, evoke reactions and describe emotions to your followers.

5. Don’t over post.

Earlier we talked about how important consistency is when posting. Most people make the mistake of not posting often enough. However, there are some accounts that make the mistake of over-posting far too much which can turn people off. It’s important that you get your frequency correct and then keep it consistent. Above I mentioned that you need to be posting one to two posts per day when you are first starting. This seems to be the optimal number, so if you go too far over this, you will run the risk of overwhelming people. Starting with two per day and spacing them out with one in the morning and one at night is a good strategy.

As your account starts to grow and you continue to gain more followers try adding in more posts, such as one more afternoon post per day. Here is a great formula that will help you determine how many posts you should really be creating per day: 1-1000 followers, 1-2 posts a day. 1,000-10,000, 2-3 posts a day, 10,000-50,000, three to four posts a day, 100,000-500,000, five to six posts a day, 500,000 to 1 million, eight to 10 posts a day.

6. Use hashtags.

Hashtags are undoubtedly another important part about posting on Instagram, but it is important that you know how to use hashtags and that you use the right hashtags with your posts. Be strategic about what hashtags that you use. Studies and statistics prove that using three to five hashtags is optimal on the social media platform.

Your hashtags needs to be descriptive and they need to actually represent the photo or video (don’t add irrelevant hashtags just to reach more people).

Contrary to what many think, using hashtags that already have millions of posts already will reduce your chances of your photo being viewed and thus attracting less users. If you use these more descriptive two word hashtags that have less posts, it will help you get your photo views by people who are actually searching for specific hashtags.

I recommend using three to five hashtags in each caption.

7. Engage with users.

Creating an Instagram account and just posting pictures and videos isn’t enough. You need to actually engage with your followers by asking questions in your captions and then responding to their answers. This helps you create more personal relationships with your followers and a stronger group of supporters. The more people you can actively involve and encourage to comment on your photos will increase the attractiveness for others who want to contribute or comment on your photos as well.

If you really want to start getting more followers, engage on other people’s accounts who have followers that you want to attract to your page. Leaving useful comments on other account posts will help others get interested in what you have to saw and encourage them to visit your account and ultimately follow you if they like your content.

The key is to ask your followers questions like where they are from or what they like or don’t like about your content. Add positive comments to other people’s accounts to entice their followers to check you out.

8. Create a positive community.

In the Instagram world, positivity is key. If you want to really start getting lots of followers then you need to create a positive community where followers can post information and communicate not only with you but with one another.

Ban and delete any negative content that has no place on your account. This is a great way to foster and showcase clean and positive comments for all of your posts. Don’t let a negative comment turn into a slippery slope of users verbally attacking one another. You need to monitor this, otherwise new users who see these types of posts will be turned off from following you.

The key is to create and curate a peaceful mature account all while engaging with others to spur connections with your early power users and ultimately account, brand or product promoters.

9. Pay influencers.

When it comes to navigating the Instagram world, it is important to remember that influencers play a big role in who people follow. Consider paying influencers if you want to gain more followers and exposure. Find the best priced accounts that are large and have the type of users you want on your account. Pay bigger accounts to promote you by posting your photos or videos and a simple caption to check out your account and what you provide. Almost any large Instagram account will list a contact email for advertising and promotions.

10. Cross promote similar accounts.

Finally, one of the best things that you can do in order to gain more Instagram followers is to cross promote similar accounts. Find similar accounts on Instagram that are a similar size to yours and have followers that you would like to attract to your page. Reach out and see if you can help promote each other’s accounts through shared shout outs.

The key is to remember that even if your page is different than other pages your size, be open to cross-promotion. For example, if your target market is males who like sports, you can find these types of followers on all different types of accounts that are more male-dominated. Experiment with different accounts and see whose accounts help you grow the fastest. The key is to foster relationships with and ultimately keep working with these types of pages.