What is the secret to growing your Instagram organically?

Ever wondered what the key is to growing your Instagram account organically? There are many ways you can grow accounts on social media, but for me, one of the easiest ways you can do it, alongside posting regular quality content without coughing up money to fill Facebook’s pockets is…


First of all, remember that engagement works both ways. If you want your followers to engage with you, then you must engage with them. There are a few simple engaging tips that I use for my clients, which I will be sharing with you shortly. But first, let’s look at the importance of engagement FROM your followers.


Now of course, ‘growing your Instagram account’ is not just referring to increasing your follower count. A successfully grown account sees growth in engagement too, as well as other KPI’s such as website traffic and profile visits.

Let me ask you a question:

Would you prefer to have a lot of followers but poor engagement, or a reasonable amount of followers and plenty of engagement?

Think about it. If you had 10,000 followers, but don’t get many interactions or much engagement from your followers, it is likely that many of them are not real, not converting and/or not high quality followers – They will not bring much, if any, revenue to your business. With revenue growth being the actual end goal for most commercial businesses, this isn’t effective social media marketing within your overall business strategy.

However, say you had only 1,000 followers, but an engagement rate is high with lots of followers responding to your posts, stories, messages, etc. then you have high engagement. These engagers are likely to be followers that are more invested in your brand and products versus none engagers, therefore they will be higher converting and will bring revenue to your business.

Instagram followers is just a vanity metric.

What is 10,000 followers if they don’t bring any benefit or reward to your business?


Have you ever walked down the street and actively smiled and said “hi” to someone walking past, for them not to respond with a smile or a simple “hello”? Yep me too, unfortunately it happens far too often! Hmm maybe it’s me, but anyway, back to the point.

How did you feel when that person didn’t engage with you, when you made the effort to engage with them (not that it takes much effort to smile!)? Not a nice feeling right? And that person just comes across as rude, cold, and if you ever passed them in the street again, it makes you want to ignore them back?

Helen at Core Social Engaging with her followers on Instagram using her mobile with a cup of tea in her other handSo now let’s think about this scenario in the Instagram world. Someone engages with your post, pays you a compliment and acknowledges your hard work. Unfortunately, you got out of the wrong side of the bed this week and decide to ignore this comment. The same person leaves another lovely comment on one of your other posts. You ignore this yet again. Eventually this person will stop engaging with your content if they never get anything back from you. They may even unfollow you. Major failure and a loss that was totally avoidable!

However, let’s say you got out of the right side of the bed this week (‘Sliding Doors’ moment – Love that film!) and you like this person’s comment and reply with a simple “thank you *name*” (always make it personal by using their name), or you may even ask them a quick question such as “So *name* what did you think of our…..?”.

This person will be thrilled to have received a piece of engagement from you and is more than likely going to engage in another piece of future, and possibly past content. The more you engage, the more this person engages. They may share your post, or save it…. And we all know how much the Facebook algorithm loves a highly engaging post! Your post gets pushed out to more people, even more people engage, your profile reach increases, website traffic may subsequently increase, and so the growth continues, eventually, hopefully, towards sales!


Ok, so I know we all lead busy lives and don’t have the time for small mundane tasks. But I want to tell you that these ‘small mundane tasks’ are vital to positively growing, not just your engagement on Instagram, but your brand reputation online too.

Thank YouJust ‘liking’ a comment (by clicking on the heart shape next to said comment) is not enough. You must respond to engagers with your own comment, whether it be with a question or a gesture… and remember, make it personal!

When someone follows you, why not send them a “Thank you for following *name*” direct message? Remember, make it personal. You may even want to ask them a question about their profile. I often ask them how business is going if they are another social media agency for example, or I may ask them about something they have posted on their profile recently that interests me.

Building a relationship and trust with your followers is crucial to organic growth success.


The key to growing your Instagram organically is engagement. Yes there are more factors to growth, but building a loyal, engaging online brand community by simply engaging with them every day, will pay for itself. Invest a little time to engage with your followers, even if it is only for half an hour, twice a day. Not only will you build a trusting relationship with them, but you will start to get a better understanding of your ‘customer avatar’ too.

After 4 years of experience in building a community around a particular brand, without paying influencers in cash for user generated content (gifting cheese always works wonders), and growing the Instagram account to almost 80K, I make sure that engagement is something I plan in through the week for all of my client’s accounts.

If you have any questions about engagement, or want tips about how you can engage more with your audience, please feel free to reach out to me….I am more than happy to help.

Written by Helen Dobson – Core Social Founder

Helen at Core Social Engaging with her followers on Instagram using her mobile with a cup of tea in her other hand

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