As I started my blog a few months ago, one of my first goals was to gain 1000 genuine new followers on Instagram. I stayed at 160, frozen solid. Going nowhere for months. Popular accounts would add me and dump me. I had no idea what I was doing! You can copy what I did, as I think it’s the best way to quickly get 1000 followers on Instagram! That will give you the base you need to start working with brands. I just passed the 1,500 Instagram followers mark and gained about 50 followers a day in my niche doing this. It targets people in your niche who are also looking to build their Instagram so don’t do this if you just plan to unfollow. It won’t work then.
First things first
I studied people in my niche. What made people want to follow others accounts with lots of followers? Um… it was clearly their beautiful photos! And, not just one photo, but how they ALL looked together in a feed. I noticed the best feeds were:
- Good quality, never blurry.
- The same filter used always.
- A theme of some sort (aka, motherhood, travel, beauty, ect). And within a theme, the best pages also had a color scheme. Like pops of pink every few pictures. Or lots of natural browns and greens. Or super white backgrounds. Each picture in the feeds looked good with the others.
So I worked on taking quality photos. But how to get followers in the meantime?
Action Plan Phase 1, Follow People:
Note: I wanted people in my niche who would be interested in my blog, not random people.
- I found accounts with a similar style to mine, with a similar number of followers. This changed as my follower count went up and photos got nicer. Next, I saw who followed them and start clicking on those profiles! Their followers would likely enjoy my style too I figured.
- Then I’d click through as many of those accounts as I had time for, either following them or going back to the list of likes. Sometimes I’d follow 20, sometimes 50 at a time. I ONLY looked at the number of people who followed them and the number they were following. What I was looking for was people in my niche who would follow me back.
Follow people who follow more than follow them
- At this point, I would only follow someone who followed equal to or more people than followed them. Then, they would be more likely to essentially do a follow for follow. And this worked about 50% of the time! To be honest, I barely even looked at their photos and sometimes didn’t at all. I didn’t care if they had followed 200 and had 200 followers or if they followed 5,000 and had 5,000 followers.
- I would try to add about 100 new people a day this way, and about half would follow me back. That gave me about 50 new followers a day. As my photos have improved, this percent has gotten closer to 60-70% follow back.
- Another way I found people in my niche who actually engage, (which is my perfect ideal follower), was to click on a photo of an account similar in size and quality to mine, and see who comments on their photos. I’d click on each profile of the people who comment and follow them if they had equal to or more people they followed than were following them.
Phase 2, Unfollowing ( I did this around 500 followers)
- Unfollow all those not following back with an Instagram unfollow app. There are some free apps but these are always changing and some make you pay a few bucks for the unfollow feature.
- I didn’t even look at feeds to see if I liked any, it would have taken too much time for this project. This erased 100’s of people. It made my follow to following ratio about 1:1.
- Unfollowing happened about once a week, so not to accidentally follow, unfollow, and refollow the same person right away. People did that to me and it was soooo annoying. That’s just asking to get blocked. Only do about 50 or so at a time or Instagram can put a ban on your account for going too fast.
People who follow you first:
- I followed back feeds if their numbers seemed like they wouldn’t just unfollow me. Hint: not those who have 20,000 followers and follow 300.
- Know that some influencers follow you not because they like your pics, or plan to keep you around even if you follow back. It’s their method of getting exposure, and most will dump you (be sure of it if they have thousands of followers and only follow 100). I find that annoying, so I only follow back if I truly like their feed and wouldn’t mind getting dumped ;-).
I hashtag ALL my photos, around 20. Write down lists others use in your niche. Copy and paste from notes on your phone to save time if you want. Stick them in a comment rather than the description so it looks better. People find people to follow from hashtags, and brands can find you that way too!
Comment and like photos.
If you like a pic, go like 3 more of them and comment. They will see your picture and name 3 times in their notifications. To be honest, people who get tons of likes, say 100 or more per photo, don’t look at everyone who has liked their photo. However, commenting AND liking people’s pics makes you stand out in their notifications.
Tag accounts that do features.
I didn’t do this at first but this can be huge! Essentially if you can get another account with thousands of followers to post your photo on their Insta then you get free exposure to a lot of new people. (By tagging a brand or a hashtag that features other people’s pics, you give them permission to repost your photo and give you credit). It can be tricky to find feature accounts to tag so just search what similar accounts are using for hashtags and you will find some.
Join or start a “pod”.
This is a group of 10 or so similar accounts that share one photo or so a day on a private message thread, and everyone in the pod has to like and comment on each photo (so around 10/day). This increases engagement, making Insta like you more and share your photos with more people.
Join or organize a #followfriday or #momcrushmonday.
You get yourself + 4 others to each feature each person in a grid and tag everyone so that you are exposed to 4 new sets of audiences. Blog post on how to do that coming soon!
There are also tons of Follow Trains or Follow Loops that are niche specific. Like I see “Mama follow loops” alll the time. This is perfect for people who are just starting out and don’t plan to unfollow.
Do a little bit every day!
I’m stoked that this has really helped my Instagram grow, and I can do it in small increments of time! What I’m not sure of is how this would work for you if you want a large following but don’t want to follow anyone back. Eventually, people will follow you just because they love your content. But for now getting the base 1,000 will be mostly people who want followers too, but may be prone to unfollow you if you ditch them. Just a thought 😉
You can actually only follow 7,500 people total so this method is not sustainable. It’s mostly just a sure way to jumpstart your followers. Once you are ready to start trying your hand at working with brands check out this post!