If you’re growing frustrated trying to get your first 1000 followers on Instagram, you’re in the right place.
If you already have 1,000 followers on Instagram but feel like you need a little help, this post is for you too!
A few years ago, I only had 400 followers on Instagram. When I realized I wanted to create my own brand and reach more people, I put in the work necessary. The first step to that was lots of research. Guess what? Here you are! Step one…check!
Within six months of researching Instagram strategies and putting them into action, I finally reached 1k followers! I celebrated with a cupcake, music, and lots of dancing.
The Instagram algorithm has changed a lot since I got my first 1k on Instagram though so this is my updated guide to what I would have told you a year ago. Check out, 5 Ways To Grow Your Instagram For Beginners. I’ve been practicing most of these strategies for years now (some for only a year) but I will say they work if you put in the work.
So, are you ready?
On The Road To 1k Followers On Instagram
Narrow Your Niche
What the heck is a niche? It’s the specific topic that you’ll be posting about on your account. You don’t need to stick to just one but you want them all to relate in some way. For example, my niche is lifestyle which can include beauty, mindset, fashion, and tips to stay organized. It’s broad but it works together.
Why is it important? You want to make sure your followers know what to expect from your account before they follow you.
If you have one post about cars then another about makeup and the next one is a food recipe, chances are somebody who liked your makeup post won’t follow you because they’re not into cars. They’re more likely going to follow the account that has consistent beauty content.
I understand well-known people, like the Kardashians, usually post whatever they want and rarely have a niche on Instagram. That’s because people follow them because they like them. When you’re first starting a brand, people don’t know you. That’s why it’s important to establish your niche first.
How to brainstorm your niche:
- Choose up to 5 topics you’re interested in posting
- Ask yourself if they relate
- Look at other accounts related to your topics and see what they’re posting
I know you’ve heard this one a million times but hold on. I’m not saying to post to your feed every single day. In fact, I only post to my feed an average of 3 times a week. Sometimes even once. Yes, this still brings me followers on Instagram.
When you’re not posting to your feed though, you should be taking advantage of your stories and reels. I would say IGTV as well but between you and me, IGTV hasn’t had the best reach lately. Especially since Instagram is pushing reels so hard right now. Reels are a big focus and bring in a lot of new followers on Instagram.
My magic posting method:
- 3 Instagram feed posts/week
- 1-5 Instagram stories/day
- 3 – 5 reels/week
Some people swear by posting more than this but this is what works for me. I personally don’t think you need to be posting every single day. Experiment with it but stay consistent!
More tips on Instagram feed, stories, and reels separately below!
Engagement (The Right Way)
Engaging with other people on Instagram is all about genuine connection. What comes of that is the people you engage with will likely engage with your posts in return. This will increase your engagement rate.
A lot of people take that knowledge though and start liking every single post they see. The Instagram algorithm also likes to see you engaging by commenting on posts. So a lot of people quickly comment on three little emojis and call it a day. Don’t do this!
I can’t stress this enough…you want your engagement to be genuine, not spammy.
How to engage the right way:
- Only like photos you actually like
- Save posts that you find helpful
- Comment with 5 words or more
- Ask a question in a comment to get a conversation flowing
- Share a post
- Respond to a story with a DM
- Mention your favorite Instagram accounts that week in your stories
- Find new accounts under a certain hashtag that relates to your content and engage with their posts
There are so many ways to engage on Instagram and the best part is you could end up with genuine connections by doing it right!
A lot of my followers I actually consider friends now. I think that’s way better than just focusing on big numbers.
Watch Your Analytics
If you have a personal account, I encourage you to switch it to either a business or creator account. This is super easy and can be done in settings.
The reason why you should switch it over is that you’ll have access to analytics among other cool features.
Analytics let you see:
- How many accounts you’ve reached
- How many people found your specific post through hashtags
- Content interactions (likes, comments, saves)
- Your top-performing posts
- Most active times your audience is on Instagram (my favorite)
- and lots more
Tag The Brands You Use
If your end goal is to work with brands, you need to be tagging them in your posts. But there’s a right and wrong way to do this also.
Only tag brands in posts relevant to their brand. For example, in my beauty posts, I’ll tag the beauty brands of the makeup items I used.
Why should I tag them? It might seem unlikely that brands would notice you’re tag. Especially the big ones right? Wrong! *happy dance* I’ve had brands like butter London, Boxycharm, MoxieLash, OFRA Cosmetics, BITE Beauty, and more interact with me on Instagram. Whether that was liking, commenting, or messaging me directly! All because I tagged them in a feed post or on my stories.
You may be wondering how this could be beneficial to gaining more followers on Instagram, right? Well, if you have brands relating to your niche interacting with you or even working with you, you seem that much more credible in that niche.
Now that I’ve covered the basics, let’s talk about what should (and shouldn’t) be going in your feed posts! If you’re only utilizing your feed posts and not seeing much growth, there could be a few reasons why. Although the feed is the main part of Instagram, you should be utilizing everything Instagram offers. We’ll get into that in a bit.
A lot of people think in order to take good quality photos, you need an expensive camera and a fancy lighting set up. This is not true.
In fact, you’re phone might just be able to do the trick! I have an iPhone 11 and it’s camera is awesome for taking photos. If it’s not blurry and it’s able to focus on subjects, it’ll work.
Also, the best lighting for any photo is natural light. If it’s a gloomy day, a ring light might be the best option but there are affordable ring lights on Amazon. This is the one that I have and it works awesome!
Why do quality photos matter on your feed? I wish it didn’t matter as much as it does because it does get stupidly stressful but your feed is everyone’s first impression. When trying to attract followers on Instagram, keep in mind they want to get an idea of what you post when they follow you on Instagram. Poor-quality photos and Instagram dog filters don’t really sell well.
Remember when I was talking about your niche? When brainstorming your niche, you should have thought of up to 5 topics relating to that niche.
For example, my niche is lifestyle.
My topics relating to that are self-development, beauty, fashion, and just updates on my everyday life.
Once you have your topics, the best thing to do is rotate your posts on those topics.
Mondays, I’ll do a motivational post. The next day I post, it’ll be related to beauty. The next day I post, maybe it’ll be about an adventure I had that day.
Keep it interesting and switch it up.
The Right Time To Post
There’s a secret to posting at the right time and it’s in your analytics! I started experimenting with this theory and it works.
- Go to your profile
- Click on Insights
- Click on Your Audience
- View Most Active Times
You’ll also be able to see which days your audience are more active as well!
However, the real secret is posting an hour or two before your audience is most active so that there’s a greater chance that they’ll see it.
How To Keep Their Attention
Did you know the Instagram algorithm likes to see how long somebody stays on your photo? Apparently the longer, the better. They want to see people engaging with your posts and how long they stay on your photo without just scrolling past is included. But how do you do that?
- Your captions. Start it out with something intriguing. This can be an exclamation, a fun fact, or a question that makes your audience stop and think. This will get them to click and read more. If you’re writing a long caption, you want it to stay interesting and provide value to your audience.
- Carousel photos. Let’s say you had a fun adventurous day and took lots of photos and can’t decide which one to post. Post them all (or as many as possible) with the carousel feature! Especially if the first photo is intriguing, they’ll sit and swipe through all of them.
Why are hashtags so hard to figure out? After a lot of research, I finally feel confident in my ability to use them correctly resulting in more likes and followers on Instagram. After all, hashtags are a great way to increase your profile to get discovered.
“How many hashtags do I use?”
First, keep in mind that every post allows you to include up to 30 hashtags. Do you need to use 30? Not necessarily. Everyone suggests it but I have had good results in using only 15. This is another area you’ll have to experiment with.
The next important thing is to only use hashtags that are relevant to your post. Don’t post a trending hashtag if your post has nothing to do with that topic. You might get views on your post but I’m very certain you won’t get followers on Instagram from this tactic.
When choosing hashtags, you might be tempted to only use the ones with billions of uses right? While you should throw in a couple of popular hashtags, those are so heavily populated and your chances of getting discovered from the hashtag everybody is using is slim.
Throw in smaller and niche-specific hashtags as well.
Did you know you can see which hashtags you’ve used brought people to your post?
To see if your hashtag is actually working…
- Go to your post
- Click View Insights
- Swipe up to view more details
- View Impressions + From Hashtags
Treat your stories like a porch light. If they’re not on, it looks like nobody’s home.
While you don’t need to post every day on your feed, you should be posting more on your stories. I try to post on my stories at least 3 times a day.
When you post on your feed, your posts might be planned and calculated. In a way, you’re trying to convince people to follow you, stick around, and give them the value they want.
Stories on the other hand are more personal and a way to show your followers on Instagram who you really are in your everyday life.
What do I post in my stories?
Here are some ideas and what I like posting in my stories.
- Vlog-style videos. If you’re doing something fun that day, film some short clips and post them on your stories!
- Boomerangs. These are a classic and simple but fun addition to your stories.
- Short Reviews. Loving a new product you found recently? Post a short review (photo or video)
- Interactive stickers. Take advantage of the poll, quiz, and question stickers. Interact with your followers!
- Photos. This is where you don’t need to be so calculated with your photos. Post your goofy selfies with filters! Add fun stickers and captions.
If you’re not taking advantage of reels, you’re missing out. The truth is, I didn’t start participating in reels until a month ago and I wish I started sooner. Instagram first launched reels around 2019 in competition with TikTok. It was also the main thing they started pushing. Guess what? They’re still pushing reels today. With 1 billion active Instagram users, this is a big deal!
How often do I post?
Some people post reels once a day but even I think that’s a bit too much. If you have the time to post reels every day, that’s amazing! But posting around 3-5 times a week is a happy medium and will still bring you good results and maybe even some Instagram followers!
What content does well?
Reels are short videos either 15 or 60 seconds. There is so many possibilities for content you can film in 15-60 seconds!
For example, my very first reel was just showing my favorite corner in my apartment. I showed my essential oil diffuser, crystals, and my plants. Simple right? Did I mention that got over 2k views? Wild.
Although you can post extremely simple videos such as that. The content that does best are the videos providing lots of value & entertainment.
5 types of Reels I’ve seen do amazing:
- Mindset tips
- Social media tips
- Sharing your favorite products
- Day in the life
Unfortunately, there’s not much in-app editing you can do on Instagram for reels. Even the text glitches most of the time. In order to put out good quality reels with some fun editing & text, you’re going to have to use editing apps.
Here are the 2 main editing apps I use for reels:
- InShot (My favorite)
You don’t need anything fancy, especially since these are short videos.
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See ya on the gram!
Listen, I know there’s a lot that goes into Instagram. It’s frustrating! I hope these tips helped you understand the algorithm a little bit better and gave you some inspiration to keep posting on the complicated app. Gaining Instagram followers isn’t impossible, you just have to play the game.
Here’s my Instagram if you’d like to keep up with me on there!
Amanda Burnett is a 25-year-old content creator. Growing up with a disability, she wanted to prove to herself that she was capable of accomplishing her dream life. Today she is helping her audience realize their potential as well! Her goal is to motivate as many people as she can through her lifestyle, beauty, and self-improvement content.
Amanda Burnett is a 25-year-old content creator. Growing up with a disability, she wanted to prove to herself that she was capable of accomplishing her dream life. Now she is passionate about helping her audience realize their potential as well! Her goal is to motivate as many people as she can through her lifestyle, beauty, and self-improvement content.