How to grow instagram followers from 0 to 5000+ in 2 months?

The information below is a case study that show how a social marketer grow her instagram followers from 0 to 5000+ in a month. The reason she is doing that because she wants to build traffics from social profiles like Twitter and Instagram.

Summary from what we learnt from her

Define who is your audience

  • Married couples
  • Couples dating
  • Couples looking for advice on relationships
  • Couples looking for tips for love

What to post?

  • Choose a popular topic: ideal for most users which is all about love/relationship
  • Choose right photo: better follow a color theme and pick good images with old-timey effects/feel for the relationship niche. Instagram, photo quality is essential. So if you want to get more impressions, it is a must to render a gorgeous photo.
  • List down most relevant hashtag: search for similar accounts to see what hashtags they use. Since you are new on Instagram, you should choose hashtags that are neither too big nor too small. Pick the ones that have at least 100,000 posts to a million posts. Using these hashtags, we can probably get a higher chance of getting our posts on the “Top Posts” search results. Don’t put hashtag in caption. Instead put in under comment with 5 dots before it (one dot each line). So, Instagram will hide your hashtags. Use this technique to put 5-10 #hashtag in comment. For detail, you can check here.

  • To learn how to find the right hashtag, you can read this article.

When to post?

  • Schedule 4 high-quality images daily with relevant hashtags. Those will be scheduled within this time frame 7 AM PST (10 AM EST) – 7 PM PST (10 PM EST).
  • The only downside for auto-posting on Instagram is not allowed (it’s against their terms). Hootsuite will just send a reminder to post your saved drafts on your scheduled time. You then manually post the drafts using their mobile app. It works the same with other Instagram scheduling app too

Create social profile on Twitter and Instagram

  • For bio: Pick a nice profile photo, add a short description of what she does and add a strong CTA linking to her site.
  • For photo content: use Hootsuite to schedule high-quality image posts. You can use free photo sources like GetStencil and Stock Unlimited. Sometimes she will ask permission from some instagram users who not yet have much followers the permission to repost their photos.

Tips to increase engagement

  • Interact with your followers’ posts (likes, comments)
  • Ask permission from some instagram users who don’t have much followers and report their photos with credit. Mostly photocamera emoticon by @username

What is the growth plan

Strategy is to “follow/unfollow” which means following the followers of similar accounts in hopes they’ll follow back. Do it gradually to avoid getting flagged. You can do better on that. Instead of targeting followers of other users, we checked on their latest posts with most likes, and follow those who do likes on those posts. For example, we saw a love quote post with 500 likes, we follow those people who liked it. Also, since we are in the love niche, we follow mostly couples and married people. The best part is you get follow back from those who are really active in your chosen niche.

  • Find accounts who already have large followings of her target audience.
  • Browse their followers, and begin following any of the accounts that don’t look like spam and match our target audience.
  • Repeat this every hour up to 60 new follows. (this is the limit no prevent getting flagged)
  • Start unfollowing Instagram accounts once hits 5000 following. That gives users more time to decide. Tool like Crowdfire can help check who didn’t follow us back and just simply unfollow them.
  • For follow-back followers, start interacting with their content by leaving comments and liking posts that are only related to our niche.

Below is her log from week 1 – 10 in detailed

Week 1 – Follow/Unfollow

We started posting on our Instagram, Fb, Twitter, and Pinterest account last Monday… following our recommended time slots and using relevant hashtags. If you are looking for a tool to help you manage your social media posts, we highly recommend Hootsuite. It made the scheduling of our posts way easier. You only need to create one draft and then you can schedule the post in one go (FB, Twitter, and Instagram). The only downside is auto-posting on Instagram is not allowed (it’s against their terms). Hootsuite will just send a reminder to post your saved drafts on your scheduled time. We then manually post the drafts using their mobile app. I believed it works the same with other Instagram scheduling app too.

Also, we had a change of plans with our following and unfollowing strategy. We will start unfollowing Instagram accounts after we hit 5000 following. This is to give more time for people to follow us back.

For choosing hashtags, we list the most used hashtags relevant to our niche. We search for similar accounts to see what hashtags they use. Since we are new on Instagram, we’ve chosen hashtags that are neither too big nor too small. We pick the ones that have at least 100, 000 posts to a million posts. Using these hashtags, we can probably get a higher chance of getting our posts on the “Top Posts” search results.

We’ve also started following a few people on Instagram and Twitter a day ago. So far here’s our followers’ stats:

Second week – Follow/ Unfollow

Here’s another update on our progress. For the second week, we applied the same strategies last week. And so far we are averaging 27 followers a day on Instagram and 27 followers on Pinterest. When it comes to follow-backs, we are doing better on Instagram than Pinterest. With Instagram, almost half of the people we’ve followed already followed us back. For our Twitter account, we’ll take it easy for now as they can be pretty strict with massive following. But, we’ll continue posting to all of our social media accounts. Although we have already established what type of posts are we going to publish on a daily basis, we continually spy on other Instagram accounts with similar topic/niche. This is to help us figure out what kind of posts/images are working for them. Say, for example, do images with human/people/faces perform better than using clipart? We’ll then test these out and see if it’s going to work for us.

Here’re our followers’ stats so far:

Week 3 – Starting S4S

Hi there again! This week we started a new strategy called S4S. The acronym stands for shares for shares or others call it shoutout for shoutout. For those who are not familiar with the term, it basically means asking another Instagram user to give each other a shoutout on each other’s profiles. Since we are only a couple hundred followers, we decided to target accounts that have almost the same number of followers or 1000 below. The reason is some users want you to have the same number in order to make it fair. Also, larger accounts usually charge for a shoutout and for the meantime we are only looking for ways to build our account without costing us a penny. But of course, we’ll definitely consider doing paid shoutout once we see a significant growth.

Okay going back to s4s… the most tedious task about s4s is searching for accounts that have a similar amount of followers. Finding those accounts takes time because most Instagram users that are ranking high on search results have thousands and even millions of followers. So my advice is for you to scroll down a little bit more especially if you are using a popular search term. The next thing we do is to check their profile’s bio and find out if they offer s4s. If they do, chances are they have added their contact details for “Kik” or “Direct message on Instagram”. If there is no info provided we’ll still try to shoot them a message. By the way “Kik” is like the Facebook messenger of Instagram. Some users prefer to use Kik for communication so we decided to use it as well. We haven’t received any replies yet from those users we contacted today but we’ll let you know how it goes.

Here’re our followers’ stats so far:

Week 4 – Interact with your followers

How’s everyone doing? Here’s another update for you guys. Last week we started doing shares4shares. So far we got a few shoutouts from other Instagram users. Although we can see that our posts are getting likes, it’s hard for us to tell if we get a follow from their followers. It’s possible, but it takes time if we check them one by one. Another thing, maybe since we have less than a thousand followers, it’s not easy to find users who do s4s. But we’ll still continue with this strategy. Maybe it just takes a little bit of time and patience…so we’ll keep looking.

The good news is we are getting higher engagement now than our first two weeks. The result could be a combination of all the strategies we’ve applied for the past few days. This includes the “following people who liked others’ posts” strategy. Another thing we changed the layout of our images. We follow a color theme and pick good images with old-timey effects/feel. Instagram, photo quality is essential. So if you want to get more impressions, we believe it is a must to render a gorgeous photo.

In addition, (probably) another reason why we are getting more engagement now is because we ask our followers to do something. If you are regular on Instagram you’ve probably seen those posts with captions that tell you “Double tap if you agree” or “Tag someone who can relate.” We have these type of captions on at least one of our posts daily. So far we are receiving more response now than before. We only started from getting 5 to ten likes for each post a day, and now we are ranging from 50 to 100 likes. With this strategy, we also get more people to comment. For some, the number of likes we are receiving right now may not be huge, but considering we started three weeks ago with no paid shoutouts, this is a real a significant growth for us.

As I was typing this… here’s our progress

Week 5 – S4S in action

For this week, we’ve seen a great improvement on our Instagram following. We’re still applying the same strategy for following, and now we are averaging from 60 to 70 followers a day… so not bad For the shares for shares strategy, we’ve talked to a couple of users who agreed to do a weekly shoutout with us. BTW a quick tip on shares for shares… After doing an S4S with another user, proactively offer a weekly shoutout. Just make sure you have the same number of followers or better yet, they have more.

For our content, we regularly publish four posts daily during peak hours. We also add a caption for each and add relevant hashtags. The deal with hashtags is that for some they may look spammy. So if you want to add more, make sure to add them in the comment section after posting your content. If you want more exposure, using more relevant hashtags is a great way to attract more followers. We think this is also one of the reasons why we are getting higher engagement now. If you are using hashtags, how many do you use?

Another strategy that I’m still having second thoughts with is “Reposting” or sharing someone else’s content as I’m worried about copyright dispute. I can see other users on Instagram doing this, and they add credits to the owner. Any of you guys tried reposting other users’ content? If so, what’s your way of doing it? Chances are we need to ask permission to be on the safe side. I’m also doing a research on this and I’ll update you as soon as I can.

Nothing new with Twitter… And for Pinterest, our followers are growing slower compared to Instagram. Currently, we are only averaging 40 followers per day.

Here’s our followers’ stats:

Week 6 – Reposting

We just started the reposting strategy on Tuesday. Following the suggestions here, we repost from users that have a small number of following. So far so good. Some leave thank you comments, and some reposted our photos in return. Unfortunately, it’s difficult to determine if some of our recent followers are the outcome of this strategy. For now, we can say it’s a great way to update your feed with fresh content daily and help build connections from other users. By the way, how many times do you repost daily?

For this week, we also noticed that we’re already getting a steady engagement from our followers. It could be because the number of followers we have is already close to 2k. Hopefully, we’ll reach the 2k goal tomorrow. So that’s it for this week…nothing really new to add. But we’ll update you if something comes up.

Here are our follower’s stats:

Week 7 – Christmas 2016

We just hit 2k followers, and now we are aiming for 3k next week.

Our Instagram account is continuously growing. On average, we get 80-120 followers per day. This week we got several re-posts from other users. and noticed a big improvement in the number of likes and comments. From 80 – 100 likes per post (a few weeks ago), now we have posts that are reaching 200 – 400 likes. Also, to keep our followers engaged this holiday season, we use a festive theme for our daily posts. For example, for our daily love quote, we use an image of a couple hugging in a park in a winter snow-covered field. For our hashtags then we add a few holiday keywords together with the usual keywords we used. For example #ChristmasLove , #HolidaySeason etc.

So that’s just about it. Wishing you all a very Happy Holiday season!

Our follower’s stats for this week:

Week 8 – New Year 2016

We just reached our 3k goal this week. I’m not sure if it is because of the holidays… but the average number of followers daily stayed the same. We gained 717 followers since last week. So, still not bad. We are also at a steady pace when it comes to posts likes. The highest number of likes for a post we got so far is 530.

Our new milestone for this week is that we’ve noticed some of our posts are already reaching the “Top posts” feed on Instagram (based on hashtags used). The “Top posts” section shows you the current most popular posts. If your photo/video receives many comments and likes in a short period of time, chances are, it will go viral and reach to the “Top posts” page. These posts can be seen when you search for a keyword(hashtag)on Instagram. Being on the “Top posts” gives you great chances of being noticed by other users interested in your niche. Our strategy? We use related keywords and we do not compete/use the most popular hashtags. Just like what we’ve mentioned before, we use hashtags that are neither too big nor too small. We picked realated keywords/hashtags that have at least 100,000 posts and below. This way it gives us a higher chance of reaching the top.

BTW Happy New Year to all!

Our stats so far:

Week 9

I’m posting a quick early update this week. It’s just Wednesday, but we have already gained 649 followers. I think this year got us off to a good start.

This week one of our priorities is to connect with the Instagram community (similar niche). Finding your target market helps establish a solid presence, and our goal is to go for where the engagement is. It’s like, letting people know that you’re actively participating in their interest. We noticed that the Instagram platform works best when you use it to build relationships with other users. So it’s not all about having great pictures, it’s about engaging in others’ posts. Giving likes and commenting on other people’s photos had helped us engaged with other users. And often we get a reply, and sometimes, even a follow back. There are other users who reposted our photos as well. This strategy is also our way to get their followers to notice us, and check out our profile. Another important thing, we also see to it that we reply to comments posted on our page. We provide a more personalized response, letting our followers know that they are speaking to a human, not just a brand.

Our current stats: (After 5 days since the last update)

Week 10

Hello, guys! Just dropping by to give you a quick update on our stats. Our goal before this week ends is to hit the 6k mark. We think that’s not difficult to achieved as long as we are consistently applying the strategies that we discussed here. Again, the stats reflected here are not results of paid ads.

The latest on our account is that we were recently invited to a shout group of Instagram users. Although they call it a shoutout group, we are not required to repost each other’s content but rather we exchange comments and likes for our recent posts. So having different niches is not an issue. The idea is to show your followers and potential ones that people are interacting with your posts. Plus when they comment on your account it shows up on their activity page so their followers can see their interest. This strategy benefits everyone in the group as we are helping each other increase the engagement on our accounts.

Our current stats:

How to grow instagram followers from 0 to 5000+ in 2 months?

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