Instagram Growth – What I’ve learnt so far…

I’ve had an Instagram account for years. Nothing special, just documenting day-to-day life and throwing in the occasional selfie for that all needed boost of self-esteem. When I started it, and up until recently it was for my friends and family, as well as getting away from the drivel on my Facebook news feed.

We all like pictures. Once you’re using the platform regularly, you start to notice just how much business and advertising play their roles within the images of larger accounts. This is a little about my experience of Instagram growth, and what I’ve learnt so far.

Photo by Eaters Collective on Unsplash

Going from an occasional user to someone who works in the industry, I help others with their own Instagram growth, increasing their following massively; creating influencers and turning companies with small social media presence to empires on the Instagram platform.

I’ve seen the power of influencers, gaining endorsements being thrown at them by companies looking to get their brand seen by all the right people. Free clothes, protein shakes, holidays, global appreciation. Sure, there are accounts out there who use professional photographers and the best lighting possible, but there are also people sitting in their bedrooms with an iPhone in their hand. This accompanied by a quippy caption or emoji and getting 1,000 likes and comments minimum.

What’s the difference?

If approached in the right way, very little. Sure, the professionally shot accounts look amazing, but everyone appreciates a different aesthetic. There are millions of people using Instagram every single day, many of whom will find your life, your business, or your brand interesting. They want to see you! Make it personal, open yourself up to the world, or at least the ‘you’ that you want everyone to see. That’s the key to strong Instagram growth.

This brings me to today.

I’m a Digital Growth Hacker. I blow people’s social media up and get them seen. A few months ago, I thought to myself “If I’m doing this for other people, surely I should build myself a following so I can show people I get shit done”. I took my tiny little Instagram account and decided to do for myself what I’m doing for my clients.

I started with just over 230 followers (tiny in comparison to those I usually start with for my clients). My content was pretty standard, but there are some good pictures on there and my life isn’t exactly boring. However, there are no beaches, no fancy workouts and no expensive clothes.

I upload pictures of me training (Krav Maga and Kickboxing), scenery, too many selfies, and my dog. Everyone loves dogs. As a starting point this is all good – it’s an aged account as I’ve had it for years, with a fair amount on there and it’s varied. I knew I needed to become consistent with my posting, so this was the next step as well as making sure I had some go-to hashtags.

My Turn…

Time to blow my own account up and get some real Instagram growth going on. In the first 6 weeks I’d been running my account the way I do for clients, I went from 230 odd followers to 7500. The targeting was pretty relaxed and I wasn’t overly worried about my niche at the start, which meant I was able to grow quickly and concentrate on numbers. After this, I decided to refine things down and make sure I was reaching the kind of crowd I wanted to attract, meaning slower growth but still a decent following. I’m currently on 12.5K and continuing to grow. When it comes to running account this way, there’s a lot to take in – niche, followers, content, hastags etc. It can be a bit of a daunting experience unless you’ve been in the game a while.

Instagram growth


What this has taught me is that in a lot of cases, it’s definitely a great idea to get experts involved if you wanted to grow your account the right way. They know how to target, which whitelists and blacklists to use, along with all of the other little things that will give your growing account the edge. If you’re not in the industry there are certain aspects of Instagram growth you might miss out on, or just tweaks that can turn your growth from ‘good’ to ‘viral’. There’s a whole manner of packages offered – some giving you a helping hand with growth while you carry on managing your content, to fully managed services where pictures and hashtags are already scheduled in and someone else nurtures the lot for you.

One More Thing…

Another great thing I’ve learnt along the way about the way Instagram works, is the use of communities and private chat pods. Likes and comments don’t just ‘drop’ en masse for an account 10K or less followers – sure you’re going to get a some engagement and a decent amount of likes, but you’ll always do better being part of a group. There are private groups on Instagram itself, as well as apps like Telegram that allow you to work with others to like and comment on each other’s posts and increase your footprint and speed up the rate of Instagram growth. A decent amount of likes in a short amount of time are going to help you hit your hashtags, and hopefully appear on the explore page. But more about that at a later date.

I think what I’m trying to say is that you should never focus on one aspect of your account, but see it as a whole picture. Don’t do it on your own; become part of a community and help others who are going to help you too. It really does make a difference and gives you a reliable and consistent approach to growth, alongside the other background work you’re putting in. Plus you’re going to meet some interesting people. If you haven’t got a ton of time yourself to do all of this, get someone else to!  Here’s a link to the Influencer Swap service, to give you an idea –

That’s the beauty of the social media industry – there’s someone out there who will blow your account up for you! You just have to sit back and decide how involved in the process you want to be.

Another great place to check out for tips and tricks is –

The Instagram Do’s and Don’ts

Let’s start with the most important Instagram practice; consistency. Ensuring that your posts are vertical is essential. Utilizing the square format of Instagram is a good way to beautiful display your content. The content, colours and ultimately your account’s theme all apply when keeping to a specific subject.

“Doing things the right way isn’t always apparent with social media; you learn what works and what doesn’t along the way.”

Before pushing your content out into the Instagram word, do a last minute check to make sure everything is how you intend it to be. Remember perfection is a state of mine, in reality it’s in the eye of the beholder; just make it presentable.

When you’re growing Instagram accounts, your posting needs to be as least 2-3 times a day. Although this all depends on the type of account you’re growing and your niches; you don’t ever want to be spamming followers.

Don’t just post for the sake of posting. Quality is just as important and vital than quality. When content receives likes, the best thing to do is interact, like back and comment. This allows you to get to know your audience and understand their needs as a follower. Use comments to ask questions; this encourages your followers to engage and not just scroll past your content.

The ultimate must do!

Use hashtags at all times; at least 20 or up to 30 if you want.Find them, research and test them out with your content. You want to be able to rank for the tags you choose. The use of hashtags will increase your reach and engagement by 12%.

A good rule of think is to keep engagement up. When you’re making a regular post, be sure to upload it to your Instagram story. This will bring attention to your account, giving your avatar a nice glowing circle. Letting users know you have active content is another way to potentially grab more engagement.

Another good practice is to learn optimal posting times for your account. This will help you see when your following is more active on Instagram. Having an active following engagement with your post will increase your ranking on the algorithm.

The most important think to do is keep it up and don’t give up. Instagram can be very discouraging if the results are not pouring in straight away. Patience is a virtue; always play the long game. Just test and test again, be experimental and see what works and what doesn’t work for you.

So, let’s go through some Instagram do’s and dont’s

First thing’s first when growing your account; don’t set it to private if you want followers. The chances of people requesting to follow you is highly unlikely without any content to show for it.

Because you want your content to be seen, hashtags are good to gain some new engagement. However, don’t abuse the same ones over and over again. Think about what you are going to post and use tags related to the subject.

Powerful DSLR cameras aren’t always essential when trying to take a good quality photo. All you really need is a decent smartphone and something good to post about. Taking pictures has to be horizontal only otherwise it just looks messy and amateurish. Borders, patterns and colours are also a nice addition when edited your photos; however, it may look good at times but can be hard on your followers eyes if every post follows the same editing process.

Never post different angles of the same picture. One is enough, unless it’s for product shots. When an account has multiple posts of almost the same picture; it can look untidy and boring. Plan and space out your posts for a more professional look.

Everyone likes a good filter!

When it comes to Instagram filters, everyone likes editing and enhancing their posts. However; overusing filters and abusing them can make your posts look very tacky. Not only this; some people are unaware of how over-edited their pictures can look. Some tend to stack so many filters onto one image that you can no longer see what the picture is. Use filters with caution; sometimes an image looks just as good natural.

This big golden rule

It doesn’t matter how good it makes your account look; don’t buy followers or likes. The followers are never going to interact with your content and it’s easy to tell whether or not an account as bought followers; it just looks fake.

They usually have a large following of 50k; however, only seem to get 50 likes per photo. Growing your account is about putting in some self work; likes and followers are Instagram commodities in the social media stratosphere.

You want to keep your account as authentic as possible. Think of it like this; you wouldn’t want to accept paper that looks like money because you couldn’t spend it. Think about this whenever buying followers or likes cross your mind.

You could take the money used to buy fake followers and get genuine shout outs which would benefit you more than knock of followers. Overall, it will only hurt your account; draining your engagement and eventually being ignored by the algorithm.

Here they are again:

The Do’s

  • Do post regularly
  • Do use hashtags
  • Do ask questions in the comments
  • Do like follower’s posts
  • Do post on Instagram stories straight after a regular post
  • Do learn you account’s optimal posting
  • Do have patience
  • Do long haul thinking
  • Do horizontal posts/pictures

The Don’ts

  • Don’t set your account as private
  • Don’t spam in the comments
  • Don’t buy followers
  • Don’t buy likes
  • Don’t post too much
  • Don’t overuse the same hashtags

Be sure to check out our pricing for organic and authentic Instagram growth and be sure to join our free Influencer Group.

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