If you are just getting started on Instagram, or maybe you’ve been on there for awhile, and your account just isn’t growing like you’d hoped… would you like to know how to hit your very first 1 thousand followers in just the next few weeks?
My husband Todd and I have built our following up to over 37K followers, but more importantly we have taught others how to quickly grow their accounts… like Kim Sousa here — who we helped quickly grow her new account to 17k followers and her husband, Kevin’s account to 11K followers.
So in this article, I’m going to walk you through the very Top 5 Instagram Tips to get your first 1K followers as fast as possible.
You CAN Grow Your Following FAST
Now as we get started, I totally realize that you may be a bit frustrated with your current lack of growth, or that you may feel a bit overwhelmed at the thought of how you are supposed to grow to thousands of followers when you currently have just a handful. I’ve been there.
When I first decided to build our business on Instagram, I started with only about 60 friends and family following me. But here’s the thing… If you implement each and every one of these 5 tips, you will quickly start growing your Instagram following.
Plus, I’ll even show you how to create an advantage over the big accounts. So make sure you read this article to the very end to get all 5 tips and as a reward for reading all the way to the very end, I’ll throw in a hack to make it even easier.
Tip #5: Spy On The Competition
Unlike in sports or business, this isn’t an unethical or bad thing at all, it’s just smart. If you want to create great results, tons of followers, & massive engagement, then you need to study what is currently working best in your niche or industry on Instagram.
So what does this look like?
Let’s say that your niche or industry is fitness and you are building a fitness coaching business online.
Go into Instagram, head to the Explore tab and search for the hashtag #fitnesscoach.
Here you will see all of the top performing posts in your specific industry. What types of images are working well?
Look for patterns in:
Click on some of the pictures and look for patterns can you identify in the captions.
What hashtags are they using?
Write these patterns down and use them as inspiration for creating your own content.
On top of studying the top posts in your industry, head over to the insights tab and look for your top performing posts as well.
When you see what’s working best for you, double down on that content and create more like it.
Tip #4: Consistently Post Like A Pro
If you are new to Instagram, or you just have a busy life, like me chasing around 2 young kiddos, it’s really easy to forget to make posts every day.
I highly suggest checking out something like Planoly that allows you to schedule both your posts & even plan your stories out for the week or more.
Planoly is a very helpful tool when it comes to staying consistent with your posting.
It’s a great idea to plan a post for each weekday on Planoly, with great, engaging captions, and your hashtags. So you have at least 5 posts going out each week. You can also add any spur of the moment posts to your planner as well to add to your content. Plus, it’s a good idea to have at least one Story posted per day.
Now when you are creating the content to post, it’s important to keep in mind that the image should be visually appealing.
While things don’t have to be picture perfect, they should be interesting to look at. It needs to be interesting enough to get people to stop their scroll and read your caption.
Here is a great example of that. Not a staged, picture perfect photoshopped image, but an interesting image that made me stop my scroll. Good contrast of light and dark, use of blur and focus. This is an image that makes me want to read the caption. I want to know the story behind it.
Now THIS is another example of a not picture perfect, yet interesting image that is very different from the last image.
No makeup on, some tears, face is puffy from crying, and a beautiful visual from the gold tile wall behind her. It’s interesting enough for me to pause my scroll.
Tip #3: Growth Boosting Hashtags
I’m sure you’ve heard that you should use hashtags, but… are you using a strategic strategy with hashtags that will promote the growth of your account?
It’s all too easy to just throw in a few hashtags at the end of a post without much thought and call it a day. That is pretty unlikely to have any real effect on your account. Those hashtags you are throwing in as an afterthought are probably hugely popular and very competitive.
Instead, this is what you should be doing… You want to choose a variety of hashtags. They allow up to 30, so use up to 30, but don’t just grab any random hashtags.
Do some research beforehand so you can find the right hashtags to use. You can save these in Planoly, on a notepad on your phone, or in a document on your computer.
You want to research hashtags that are specific to your industry or niche and pay close attention to the number of times those hashtags are used on Instagram.
You want to create a pool of hashtags to draw from for each of these categories:
- Under 50,000 times used
- Between 50,000 & 200,000 times used
- Between 500,000 and 1,000,000 times used
- Super Hyper Relevant to what you do…This gives you the opportunity to tap into a small, but highly engaged and loyal audience.
- Mega Popular — used over a million times
Now what’s great is that you only have to do this research once and save it.
When you create your posts, you want to pull out 5 or 6 hashtags from each of those categories to get to between 25 & 30 strategic hashtags.
And make sure you aren’t just using the same group of hashtags with every post.
Mix and match every time otherwise you can find yourself ‘shadowbanned’ by Instagram where you won’t show up for those hashtags.
Using this strategy, you can tap into the “lower-hanging fruit” of hashtags, if you will, where you have more of an opportunity to show up on the Explore tab for the less popular hashtags.
Then, as your post performs well with those less used hashtags… Instagram may very well start showing it with the more popular hashtags as well.
Tip #2: Purposeful Engagement
I love an automated hack as much as anyone else, and probably even more as a busy mom…
I seriously have very little time to work with, BUT the age of automating your Instagram engagement with bots is coming to an end.
The platform has gone to great lengths to shut down these types of services and you can easily find yourself with very little true engagement if you try to automate this these days.
Now the good news is that you can be very strategic and purposeful in your engagement and really get it done quickly while still creating a very engaged and active community.
So what does purposeful engagement look like?
- Replying to every comment you receive on your posts with a meaningful response or question. Not just emojis. You should aim for at least 4 words. And asking questions that get them to respond back is perfect.
- Plan to interact on IG During 60-Minute Window After Posting. The most important time for your post is the first 60 minutes after posting. The more views, likes, and comments it receives during that time, the more that the Instagram algorithm will promote it. So plan to be active and engaging on Instagram during that window, then people who end up checking out your account will see that latest post right away.
- Go through and Like all of the Comments on your last post right after making a new post. This can spur people to head back to your account and they can engage with your new post during that 60-minute window.
- Even if you only have 10 minutes a day, use that time to look up hashtags relevant to your niche, and engage with that content. Reply to people’s comments asking engaging questions. Comment with helpful insights, add value, or ask the creator a question. Even liking other people’s comments on a popular post can cause them to go check out your account.
Now please note that I’m definitely not telling you to spam other people’s posts with self-promotion. Just engage and give value so other people what to check you out.
You may have heard of Gary Vaynerchuk’s $1.80 strategy for engagement. It really works.
He teaches to look up 10 hashtags for your niche, and leave your 2 cents (meaning add value) to 9 posts for each of those 10 hashtags a day.
I’ve seen small accounts create massive engagement and growth with this, but seriously, that is leaving meaningful messages on 90 posts a day if you have time for it, do it.
BUT… if you are like the rest of the world and don’t have time for that cause you are taking care of your kids or working full-time and have other parts to your business… just set an alarm for 10 minutes, once, twice, or 3 times a day and do what you can.
Just scale it based on the amount of time you have available to spend on this. Every little bit counts.
You may wonder if engagement is important, and truthfully, it’s HUGE!
You will grow MUCH faster when people are engaged with you. The more people engage on your content, the more Instagram will show you content to new people, helping you grow faster.
It is really important to note that the more engaged an audience is, the more likely they are to take the next step with you.
So if you are a business owner and you are offering some free tip sheet in your BIO link to build your email list, or promoting a product or service, someone who actually engages with your posts is MUCH more likely to take that next step and opt into your capture page or make a purchase you recommend… much more so than just any old person who has chosen to follow your account.
A smaller account with very high engagement will make you more money than a larger account with low engagement, so it’s more about the engagement you get than the number of followers you have.
Plus, the more engagement you get, the faster you will grow your audience anyway. So… long story short… yes, engagement matters and it’s well worth your time.
Now this next tip is pure gold!
Tip #1: Send Personalized Voice/Video Message to 5 New Followers Daily
Even if you aren’t at the point yet where you have 5 new followers each day, don’t worry. It can be just 5 people who interacted with one of your posts.
This takes about 20 seconds per message, very little time and there is a huge return on that time investment.
When you send them a personalized message where you actually say their name, maybe welcoming them to the community, telling them how you help people and asking them a question, maybe what type of content they’d like to see more of… It’s REALLY impressive.
Just the fact that you took the time to personally create that message can really resonate with people.
This can truly create very loyal and engaged fans on Instagram.
PLUS, when you are personally engaging with people in Direct Message it actually will help you show up in their newsfeed. And a video or voice message carries more weight with Instagram then just a written, text-based message.
Now this is where someone just starting out has a bit of an advantage & can really crush it.
Large accounts have tons of followers and are getting tons of likes and new followers daily… It becomes extremely challenging and difficult to personally interact with them all or even a small fraction of their followers.
A smaller account can better nurture a relationship with each new person finding their page. Having longer conversations in messenger and building a really good relationship with each of the individuals.
Those strong connections that you make now as you are starting out will not only help you grow, but those people are likely to stick with you for years to come.
Personally, many of the folks we’ve were able to have those one-on-one interactions with when we were first getting started are still in our communities today and are our biggest fans and repeat customers. These interactions will pay off in the long run.
How about a quick little tip to help make this all easier?
Did you know that you can follow the top hashtags for your niche so that those posts just show up in your newsfeed?
So instead of having to look up the individual hashtags and find the posts to engage with every day, you can just engage with them naturally when you are scrolling through your newsfeed.
Let’s face it, you probably spend some time just scrolling anyway. This makes the day-to-day “work” part of Instagram much easier and more natural.
Now, if you want to truly crush it on Instagram, you will definitely want the help of some free handy dandy apps and tools to make content creation and posting easier. SO… check out this video where I show you just that.
P.S. – If you need a step-by-step blueprint for building a profitable Online Business as fast as possible, this training is what we recommend!