How Did I Get My First 1K Followers On Instagram?
It’s hard. But there are ways. Let me show you what I’ve done in 5 simple steps.
Instagram now has over 1 billion active users of which 80% follow at least one business account; over 500 million accounts use Instagram Stories on a daily basis. Have you started seeing the potential?
No wonder, Instagram has grown into one of the most powerful marketing platforms and it’s nowhere near in reducing its strength in 2020. Instagram has become more than just a platform to share your photos. It’s a powerful marketing platform for businesses, bloggers, influencers, and even your pet.
Despite all this, it has never been harder to succeed on Instagram. Why? It’s simple. The social media platform has addressed many issues, related to bot-generated engagement, fake accounts, it has changed the way we see our feeds, and now it’s trying to hide the total number of likes.
Instagrammers will only have to adapt to the constant changes. But there are some things that will always work.
Social media is for socialising
If you have an account, stop hiding under the rock and start engaging with other Instagrammers. By connecting with them, you’ll boost your visibility and increase the chances of people following you or liking your photos.
Social media is for us to be social. If you post a photo once in a while, but rarely engage with other users, you’re much harder to be discovered. Instagram likes those accounts that comment under and like other posts. Try engaging with people who followed you or commented under your post.
You should also look for people who are within the same niche and start engaging with them. It’s super powerful. I remember, when my small account of less than 1K followers was followed by someone having tens of thousands of likes. The same account constantly engages with my content and I engage with the content that they post.
Often, people are looking for more than just a nice photo or a video, thus you engaging and expressing your point of view might be very helpful to build new relations.
I noticed that by spending 1 hour a day on the platform, where I look for other similar accounts within my target location, and by interacting with them, I drastically improved my reach. An improved reach meant more followers. It’s a no-brainer because my account became much more visible for the others.
The steps I take to engage with other accounts are simple:
- I look for posts within the geo-location that I want to target.
2. I find the posts and interact with them by leaving a nice personal comment or expressing my opinion.
3. I choose the content that I want to engage with. I don’t want to sound desperate by commenting anything under photos that aren’t exactly relevant to what I do.
4. I always double-tap the posts that I genuinely like.
Give it a shot. Spend at least 15 minutes a day and engage with other accounts. I promise you will see the difference.
Social media success comes with time
The efforts that you put in growing your following are important but don’t expect instant success (unless you’re a celebrity or have a very well-known name).
Social media is tough. The competition is very harsh. That’s why, be ready to invest time in its success.
Personally, for me, my growth wasn’t evident until I started tracking it weekly. I came up with a spreadsheet where I tracked weekly data for profile visits, reach, impressions, followers, and any other data that’s important to you.
By doing so, I noticed how much my account grows on a weekly basis and it became very motivating. I know that if you get 10 followers this week, 8 followers next week, etc, the growth will seem very small. However, if you see where you were at two months ago and where you are at now, you’ll notice the difference.
My best advice is to stay consistent and work on your Instagram account gradually. Treat it as a part-time job. It cannot be a place where you randomly post random things. Even if you do so, it will not be sustainable in the long run and won’t bring results that you’re hoping for.
Magic overnight growth stories most likely are a sham. They are most likely bot-generated fake followers who never engage with the content. What’s the point of having an account with 100K followers, when the engagement rate is less than 1%?
I use this tool called Tanke to spy on others and better understand where their huge following comes from. I also use this tool to track my account’s growth by looking at my engagement rate. Currently, it’s 8–10% and I’m satisfied with it.
Use other social media platforms to promote your content
Today, people have more than one social media account and chances are high that they have more than Instagram. Discovery on Instagram is hard, as it really depends on the time you post and whether the Insta-algorithms see your posts valuable to push for bigger crowds.
That’s why you should share your Insta-posts on other social media accounts. It can be Facebook or Twitter, but my personal favourite is Pinterest. It’s also a picture-centric platform, but the major difference is that it has become a search engine for many users, as well. What does that mean? If you share your Instagram posts on Pinterest and optimise them well, people will be able to find them when they simply search for info on something.
Use Pinterest to Improve Visibility & Promote Your Brand
A quick how-to on boosting your brand’s searchability
SEO is very important in your Pinterest posts, thus if you’re not entirely sure what it is or how to make it work, I’d suggest reading a bit about it beforehand so that you avoid disappointment. I give some suggestions on what’s very important for Pinterest in the above article, thus feel free to have a look.
Planning is key
If you are within a niche that you’re passionate about, this tip should be an easy task for you. You should actually spend time and plan your content with captions and hashtags. You should also plan how often per week you’ll post and when. Don’t spam. Quantity does not mean quality and is not an easier way to success. In most cases, it’s the opposite and you’ll just annoy your followers and make them leave.
I use a simple spreadsheet for planning as I don’t like the existing Instagram planning tools, such as Later or PlannThat. I write my captions in my notes on the phone and edit multiple photos at once. It makes my posting much easier as I have everything ready.
I also plan the hashtags and make them relevant to my photos. I notice many accounts reusing the same hashtags (often not even relevant to a photo) which is super annoying and counterproductive.
Did you know that Instagram tends to show your content less if you post using the same hashtags all the time? So don’t. Be creative and plan your hashtags.
Explore Instagram ads
I know that some accounts are very successful with Instagram ads. I believe it really depends on the niche you’re at and you need to try to see it yourself. Personally, for me, I don’t like Instagram ads. Why?
Firstly, I didn’t get any increase in reach or followers after running the ads. I just got tons of likes from people who simply double-tap without even looking any further.
Secondly, I notice myself, that I seldom engage with posts that are sponsored. I may double-tap on a sponsored post, but it’s very unlikely I’ll go further and visit the account. Unless the post is mindblowing.
Again, as I mentioned earlier, some accounts generate profits by selling products and advertising them on Instagram. But if you’re growing your following and engagement, I doubt the ads will bring many benefits to you.
Remember that it takes time to grow and nothing comes overnight. You cannot become successful overnight either as the social media game is full of learning and experimentation. That’s why take a sip of coffee and start planning your next moves. I’m sure that if you consider what I’ve written, you’ll start noticing the results.