Instagram is always changing and so everyone has to keep changing and updating their strategy.

It’s important to keep growing your account so your business or brand continues to thrive, but how can you increase your followers in 2018?

Maintain Your Profile

A lot of users will be visiting your profile page to see who you are before they decide to follow you or not.

Don’t let it become static or outdated, and make sure your posts are all looking good when viewed together.

This means sticking to similar tones in your photos and not mixing filters up too much.

People might see one of your posts on their Explore page and click through to see who you are.

Think about what kind of first impression your profile makes to someone, because often they’ll make that crucial decision to follow you or not in a few seconds.

If your profile picture is a photo of you standing in the distance so your face is indistinguishable, your bio is a few words or worse a collection of emojis and your photos are all over the place, they are likely to quickly click the back button.

By creating a consistent aesthetic through your photos and profile, it increases your chances of people following you.

Think of your profile page as your homepage – it’s where everyone will start out.

Consumers are searching on Instagram instead of Google more and more when it comes to finding brands, and they’ll land on your profile page.

Instagram Stories

2018 is the year of the Instagram Stories.

If you want to increase your followers this year, Stories is the way to do it.

If you’re wondering how Stories can help you get more followers, it’s because they also appear on the Explore page. Many people don’t realize this, but they do and as a result, it’s a great way to improve your reach.

They also appear in any tagged locations and hashtags you’ve used.

So they are actually just as searchable as a regular post, but they are all the rage in 2018 and everyone wants to see everyone’s ‘Stories’.

The locations and hashtag searches feature their own Stories for the hashtag – by using these tags, your Story could become part of it, which really maximizes your visibility.

If you use both a location tag and a hashtag, your post could be featured in both of these dedicated Stories.

For example, if you tag your post with the location ‘Venice Beach’ and the hashtag #musclebeach, your Story could end up on the both the Venice Beach and the #musclebeach Stories.

When your Story is added, you’re alerted by Instagram, so don’t worry, you’ll be aware if this is happening.

A really interesting aspect of this is that you’ll be able to see who’s viewed your Story. This is great in terms of collecting data and reaching out to potential new followers.

Hashtags

Even though Stories are the big craze for 2018, it doesn’t mean that hashtags have disappeared into oblivion.

They had a rocky patch in 2017 when the shadowban scandal hit.

This was where Instagram allegedly hid users posts from coming up on hashtag searches if you were using the same ones over and over again, deeming them spammy.

This is why you have to keep up to date with what’s going on and make sure you’re using hashtags appropriately for 2018.

Lesson number one learned from the shadowban is don’t be spammy with your hashtags, and don’t be repetitive.

Be aware of how they are being used, and think about where you want your Instagram post to show up.

If you’re selling a line of flip-flops it doesn’t make sense to use the hashtag #palmtree.

It might seem relevant because where there are palm trees, people generally wear flip-flops.

However, people searching for #palmtree aren’t generally looking to buy a pair of flip-flops.

Be purposeful in your use.

Don’t use generic and overly popular hashtags like #love or #sad. Select hashtags that describe your business, your location or your audience – keep them relevant, interesting and where appropriate, witty.

These are three great ways to keep your Instagram account relevant and booming in 2018.

Always keep your profile up to date and looking clean and smooth, and make your posts visible using 2018 approved hashtags.

In order to get more followers in 2018, definitely consider jumping on the Stories bandwagon.

Instagram is all about being current, and if everyone else is doing it, you should be too.