Instagram Growth – What I’ve learnt so far…

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.

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

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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.

We’re on Instagram! @influencerswap


How to optimize your profile for passive growth

Not many people know this but you can get your Instagram account to grow passively with relatively little work.

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“With a few tweaks you can get your profile to slowly gain followers on autopilot or if you combine it with active growth methods it can supercharge your growth.”

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There are 3 main elements to an account and these can all be optimized to make your profile seem professional and make you look like an expert in your field.  Your username, bio and display picture can all make a huge difference in the way Instagram presents your account to the world and how it is perceived by others.


When it comes to your username its best to keep it plain and simple, for example, SprytApp, OneYearNoBeer or Unboundly. In the first example, you can see the company name Spryt and they’ve combined it with what they actually offer, an app. OneYearNoBeer has gone a different way and used a tagline to help convey what their profile is about before you’ve even had a chance to look at their content. Unboundly may not instantly jump out at you or even make it clear what their profile is about but they have used their company name which makes it easy for them to be found online and provides consistency across their social media channels.

As you can see from the above examples simplicity is key. When making your username or if you decide to change it, it’s best to avoid hyphens, underscores, full stops and numbers, or a combination of the four. Other, more basic things to avoid are long strings of recurring letters and using current trend words. When it comes to notifications, does your username make them want to click through to your profile? If the answer is yes and it avoids all of the common mistakes above then you have found yourself a successful username!


There are three different ways to do your bio based on whether you are a personal brand/persona, a small local business or a large brand but there are elements that will stay the same for all three.

Your bio is made up of four parts, your name, your bio, a website link and if you have a business profile, you can do all of the previous parts as well as having the ability to add a category.

Your name appears in bold and this is indexed by the Instagram search engine, along with the username. This can be used to give yourself better reach through Instagram search without having to overthink or overcomplicate your username. For business use, the name section is best utilized to place any important keywords such as product names or brand names which will further increase your reach.

If you are a persona or using Instagram as part of your personal branding you can use your name and then add your title afterwards for example:

Bob Jefferies – Business Coach

Jessica Lovejoy – Influencer + Beauty Blogger

Terry Speaker – Entrepreneur

Using this method, you’ll appear in the search if people are looking for based on your name or if they are looking for a business coach, influencer, etc. If you have a long name you might want to shorten it to fit in as many keywords so you don’t lose out on reach.

As a small local business, it can also help to use your location as well as what you offer, for example, NYC’s #1 Dance Studio or San Diego Women’s Bootcamp. This allows your local target market to find you in the same way they would find your website through google.

If you’re a global business, a household name or if you have a large niche following you can use bigger keywords based on what you do. If you had a large fitness account you could put Gym Workouts in the name section or if you had a dessert account you could put Dessert Recipes. This means you’ll appear in common, everyday searches and pick up more followers but this is only possible with a large account or a big brand.

Display Picture

When it comes to a display picture it will depend on whether you are a personal brand/persona, a small local business or a large brand.

A personal account display picture should be a clear image of yourself and if you’re using it as a personal brand you should try and include a product or the service you offer. If you were a fitness influencer you could have a clear picture of yourself but take it at the gym or have someone else take some while you go through your routine and then choose your favourite. If you were a chef you could have a picture of yourself plating up or in the kitchen.

As a local brick and mortar shop, you would want to put your shopfront with yourself and some of your products as your display picture. This helps to tie together what your shop looks like, what you look like when they enter the shop and what products they can expect to find. This will help to build brand association and they will associate all three parts of the image with your brand even if they see similar storefronts in other small towns.

As a large brand, you’ll want your logo as your display picture as this will make it clear that the account belongs to the brand and it’s the official account of the brand. It also helps to build the association between the brand, the logo and the content you put out.


Now it’s time to decide what and who you’re representing on Instagram, are you a personal brand, local shop or a big brand name. By making these small simple changes which will take less than 20 minutes you can passively start to grow followers and if you combine it with other active growth methods, such as power likes, engagement pods and follow/unfollow you can really see the difference it makes.

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

We’re on Instagram! @influencerswap

Why you should use Instagram for your business

In the Instagram business world, creative content is the winning formula. In the last few years, Instagram has created a global photographic phenomenon; accentuating and forever expanding a company’s marketing schemes.

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“Instagram for business is a social platform that becomes a powerful tool for a company to communicate. Without the need of explosive copy-writing, it’s as simple as taking a picture.”

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Sharing images has changed our lives: evoking empowerment, motivation and inspiration for users. Instagram for business has shifted the playing field in social selling; as now their has been a dramatic change in how we interact with brands.

Using Instagram for Business is a Good Thing

It’s easy to see why using Instagram for business is a commendable thing. The platform has a global community of 800,000 million users and has access to user’s interests. This is particularly useful as you can easily find potential customers through hashtag strategies or advertisements.

Corporations who use Instagram can gain some potential custom just by taking part. The platform activates people to share almost everything; especially brand affiliation, just by taking a photo.

Instagram for business has given individuals their own digital adverting space in the form of an account. Now, the business’ brand has more opportunities to slide into the communities through influencers and marketing. Instagram also offers user-generated content or the use of advertisements; which, is an advantage to any business.

Instagram Story Success

Things have gotten interesting since Instagram introduced ‘Instagram Stories’ to their app. Users can now upload short posts to their feed; which last 24 hours. For business accounts, it’s another efficient way to promote websites and other links for their followers to interact with. Since Instagram stories were introduced, there is now an average of 250 million views per daily user.

How to Capitalise using Instagram

There are now more ways than one to capitalise on Instagram. On particular industry that has embraced Instagram is the hospitality sector. How many times have you been to a restaurant? We see people sharing pictures of their dining experiences to the world constantly. Posting this content, using generalised hashtags and adding in your location has now become a standard procedure when dining out.

Capitalisation occurs when the customer takes their own photo of a branded dish and shares it with friends, family and followers. That’s what you call free marketing at it’s best! This is a social influence in it’s purest form; it’s not just direct marketing that effects different people from connecting.

The effect this platform has on people has increased our hunter sensibilities. We now seek to capture every moment with the intentions of sharing to the world. These hunters have given us new restaurants to visit and new food to try.

There are over 70% of brands that are using Instagram. This allows their business to create experiences, share company insights, show behind the scenes, share new product launches and show the company’s culture.

So Why Instagram?

Back in March 2017, there was over 120 million Instagram users who: visited a website, got directions, called and emailed business’; just to learn about their brand based on advertising on Instagram alone. Another 60% of users said that ‘they have learnt more about a product of service just by using Instagram.’ Users aren’t just browsing pictures and reading quotes; they are on the look out for business products. They want to buy on their phones as the world is now buying socially more than ever before.

As we know Instagram’s growth is going from strength to strength. This social platform delivers the most engagement than any other social platform. To aid the engagement, they have added features to make you grow too. Instagram has the ability to switch between personal profiles and business profiles.

Using a business profile gives you the opportunity to see the real workings of your Instagram account. Instagram has equipped business profiles with an analytical dashboard where you can view insights for your account. You are now able to see how well your posts are performing; from how many likes each post receives to how much impression and engagement the account gains.

Instagram has more than 800,000 million active users, 250 million story views and 120 million users searching for brands. This is why Instagram is for business.

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

We’re on Instagram! @influencerswap



Why Influencer Swap Exists

Everyone wants to be the influencer everyone follows and brands want to get in touch with.

Influencer Swap is a service designed to help upcoming influencers with super-engaged audiences to effortlessly grow their following and audience engagements using the power of friends.

We’ll connect you with likeminded people with similar audiences, in the spirit of “all boats rise with the tide.”

So, here are the basics:

  1. Trade shoutouts, RT’s, and posts with other people in the group.

2.  The fastest way to grow any account is to get organic shoutouts from relevant people in your niche.

3. We connect you with the people who can help your accounts growth the fastest, and get your posts seen by the most people.

We’ve helped grow accounts by tens of thousands in weeks. Things can happen really fast.

Get in touch and let’s do this!