You’re a small business trying to grow your Instagram from scratch.
Trying to get followers on Instagram is hard! And seems to only get harder all the time with each update.
We get it, we’ve been there. LYFE Marketing wasn’t always where it is now!
Our founders first had the idea for this company while they were still in college.
So, we know what it means to build a business from the ground up.
And when we created our Instagram account, we built that from the ground up too.
We weren’t major influencers who already had a lot of followers personally to send over to the LYFE Marketing IG when we created it – nothing like that.
We started with zero. So today, we’re going to give you the honest steps we took to get our first 10K Instagram followers.
But first, we want to address the fact that there are so many videos and articles out there on how to get Instagram followers.
And a lot of them fall short for us, and we’re sure for you as well. So the first thing we want to do is tell you what we’re not going to share in this post.
- We’re not giving you a fake hack that doesn’t work.
- We’re not going to tell you how to get a million followers if we don’t have a million followers ourselves.
- We’re also not promising you that you’ll get your first 10K followers overnight.
Now, it’ll probably take you less time than it did for us because we did all the trial and error for you so you don’t have to.
But, it does take more than a day’s worth of work.
So with that out of the way, let’s jump into the steps on how to get your first 10K Instagram followers.
5 Steps We Took To Get Our First 10K Instagram Followers
Step 1: Nail down your audience.
Step 2: Test out many different types of posts over the years.
Step 3: Utilize every new feature Instagram releases.
Step 4: Test different growth strategies.
Step 5: Optimize your bio.
Now, this might make some of you roll your eyes.
But we promise if you’re a newer or smaller business, this is important to figure out for your company’s success overall, not just your Instagram.
The short version for us is our audience is small business owners.
So all of the content we make is with the small business owner in mind.
What would help them? What kind of resources do they need that we can provide to gain their trust and eventually their business?
You should ask yourself these questions…
…because nailing down your target audience will naturally lead to nailing down the type of content you need to make.
We’ve talked about this in so many posts here on our blog so we don’t want to harp on it too much more today.
Moving on to the next step in getting your first 10K Instagram followers is all about testing.
Now we’re not talking about media types, which we’ll get into later on in this post, but instead, we’re talking about different topics.
To say that we want our content to help small business owners grow still leaves us with a vast amount of things we could make content about.
Anything from how to legally hire your first employee to how to choose your first brick and mortar location.
But those things aren’t really related to the services we provide as a company.
So we said, “Okay we want to help small business owners grow via digital marketing.”
Which does narrow it down, but that’s still a little broad.
We could make content about how to grow on Instagram, how to engage with your followers on Twitter…
…how to run a lead generation campaign on Facebook, how to build your email list, or design your website and the list goes on.
Sometimes the best way to figure out what your audience likes…
…is to just put content in front of them and see which receives the most engagement.
So that’s exactly what we did. And you can do the same.
From there, just pay attention to your Instagram analytics…
…which you have access to for free, to track engagement and see which topics your audience is responding to the most.
Now some of you may be reading like, “I have 10 followers and my “engagement” isn’t exactly through the roof. How do I know what’s working?”
Well, the majority of your engagement starting out probably won’t come from followers anyway.
They’ll come from new people seeing your posts for the first time through the explore page, hashtags, and suggested posts.
So beginning to garner engagement isn’t dependent upon getting followers first.
In fact, you often will start getting followers after you start seeing consistent engagement.
That’s because what’s happening is people will see a post from you on their explore page.
And if they gain value from it or like what they see, they’ll click to your profile.
Then, if they see other posts that offer equal value on your profile, they’re more likely to hit follow.
That’s why it’s important to test and figure out which content is resonating best with your audience.
Because once you find the topics that perform best, it can turn into a snowball effect of getting more followers.
Then followed by more engagement and then more followers.
Some of the media types that are out now like Reels and Stories were not around when we first got on Instagram.
So early on, we test images vs videos vs carousel posts.
Then when Stories came out, we utilized those and docked them to our Highlights.
And we used all the features within Stories like polls, quizzes, question boxes, etc.
We tested out IGTVs when those were still around and transparently, those didn’t perform the best for us! But you won’t know until you try.
What did work for us was Instagram Reels.
When we started posting those, we started seeing views and followers at a rate we never had before.
So we took the content topics we knew worked best for us and started putting them in Reels format.
And as a result, we started seeing increases in followers by the thousands.
Instagram wants you to use its newest features, so you can usually get an extra organic boost in reach and engagement for doing so.
This was definitely the case for us with Reels.
So if you want to get your first 10K Instagram followers, just stay on top of the app and its new releases so as to capitalize on them.
Early on, we did the follower growth method where you follow your competitors’ followers and unfollow the ones who don’t follow back.
The risk here is getting flagged by Instagram for performing spam-like behaviors. Plus, it’s not always super effective.
So we quickly sought other ways to grow.
For a while, we tried our hand at Instagram influencer marketing, something we show you how to utilize as a business owner in this post.
Ultimately, Reels ended up being what pushed us over the 20K mark.
But some other methods, you could try include going live with influencers in your niche.
Or just going live on your own once you get a decent amount of followers (because you can monetize your lives now!).
You can host giveaways, run Instagram ads, and post-Instagram guides, and try getting your account verified for immediate brand trust and credibility.
We teach you how to get verified on Instagram in this post.
Or if you do happen to already have an existing follower base on any other platform…
…you can point them towards your Instagram for exclusive IG-only content.
There are several strategies you can use to grow on the platform and get that 10K Instagram followers you’ve been aiming for.
But one rule of thumb to go along with any and all growth strategies is to be on top of your comments and DMs.
We’ve talked about this before on our how to Instagram DM post.
If you’re DMing back and forth with someone on Instagram, that person is more likely to get served your content organically in their feed in the future.
Plus it’s just good business. Good customer service.
So make sure you’re responding to every single DM and comment that you get, and a pro tip is to respond back with a question.
Keep them replying as much as you can.
More engagement from them again means Instagram is more likely to serve your content to not only them but other people like them on the app.
Like most social media platforms these days, Instagram has become a search engine hybrid.
This means what people search on the app matters.
Customers don’t have to search things via hashtags or location tags anymore.
They can just type in plain keywords and search through top posts, accounts, and audios to find matches.
The perfect example we have of this actually recently happened to someone we know.
She was getting married and needed help finding a makeup artist for herself and her bridesmaids.
So she went on Instagram and typed in “makeup artist north georgia” and clicked on the first account that popped up.
Sure enough, the account was a business account for a makeup artist who serviced our area and cut to, she did all of our makeup on wedding day.
The reason her account popped up first was because she literally had the exact words “North Georgia Makeup Artist” as her name on Instagram.
So the power in keyword searches is intent. We wouldn’t be searching “makeup artist” if we didn’t need one, right?
So think of what someone would type in if they were in need of the product or service you offer, and include that search term in your bio.
In addition to the word “marketing” being in our name, we also have:
- “Digital Marketing Agency”,
- “Online Marketing”, and
- “Free Marketing Training”
…in our bio.
This helps us become easier to find for someone searching those things on Instagram, and you can do the same with your bio.
Make sure it’s filled with relevant keywords for your business and audience.
And that wraps up the 5 steps we took to get our first 10K Instagram followers!
Now if you’re looking for affordable Instagram marketing services to help promote your brand, head over to our website today!