HOW WE DID IT: Grow your Instagram account by 1000+ people in less than 2 months.

instagram social media Oct 26, 2019

Hey Awesome girl,

It’s no secret that I LOVE Instagram. 😍 As of the writing of this blog post it’s actually my favorite social network.

Not only is it full of great content, it’s PACKED with business potential for new creative digital empires!

Some benefits of using Instagram for Business are:

High discoverability – right now, Instagram – more than other social networks – offers you the ability to show up more often in the feeds of people who are looking for your content via use of hashtags

Easy to create tribes – because of the high discoverability, it’s easy to create tribes of like-minded people on Instagram

Great analytics tools – with Instagram business or creator accounts you can get in-depth account, audience and post analytics to help empower your social strategies.

Despite all the benefits, anyone new to using Instagram for business knows it can be frustrating to grow your Instagram audience! And with new algorithm updates rolling out all the time, it’s definitely not a “build it and they will come” situation, baby girl. And you don’t want to upset the Instagram lords by paying for fake followers 🤖 – because they WILL shut you down if they catch you! Also, fake followers don’t produce any real business results like acquisition or conversion.💰💰💰

So how does an enterprising boss babe grow her Instagram account quickly and effectively from scratch? I’ll show you exactly what grew my Hey Awesome Girl account from 437 followers to 1862 followers organically in 2 months.

First lemme tell you what DIDN’T work or didn’t work well for Hey Awesome Girl…

3 Mistakes I made while trying to grow my Instagram audience:

Just posting good content and praying people would find it.

I tried just posting good content and using hashtags… That helped some, but growth was soooooooo sloooooowwwwww.🐢🐢 Like, about 100 followers over 18 months came just from “good content.”

When I say I was “just posting good content” I mean I would literally post content with a few hashtags and pray people would find it. The problem with this was I didn’t have a cohesive content strategy and I wasn’t really using the platform in the way it was intended. I was just pushing out content and hoping it resonated with people.

Paying for ads

While I think there’s a place for using paid social to help with your business – it’s just not as effective as it used to be for growing your profile followers.

For promoting products or pushing other types of conversion, sure – It still works GREAT for that! For Hey Awesome Girl it was not as effective as other organic methods for growing followers however, the people we wanted to interact with our business on Instagram.

The problem with trying to use ads to grow your Instagram account followers is your ads will show up in users' feeds like a post. Because of this, the odds are that users will either scroll past your post if it doesn’t appeal to them, or they will engage with the post. That engagement, however, doesn’t require them to go to your profile, which they would need to do in order to like your page.

Following a bunch of people at once

Following a bunch of people at a time on Instagram is NOT the key to profitable and sustainable growth. Yes, this is one tool you can use to gain exposure for your new IG account, but – by itself – it is not as effective for growing your Instagram followers quickly and efficiently.

You’ll probably get 5-10% follow-backs if that, but they will probably be lower quality followers. AND Instagram is cracking down on “inauthentic engagement” so you may be penalized if they suspect your following random people in bulk.

Following people in mass is just not a good idea in general – because the reason why you want more Instagram followers in the first place is to get QUALITY leads for your business, not a bunch of random people who probably don’t want what you have to offer.

I’m not ashamed to admit that I’ve tried all of these things to grow my Instagram audience in the past and they did NOT work effectively and they did not effectively impact any other business metrics either: like acquisition or profit.

Once I flipped the script and took a more intentional approach to grow my Instagram account, IT STARTED TO GROW! AND I started seeing some real business KPIs move up too.

For example, while focusing on growing my Instagram account, in 2 months I got more than 60 new email subscribers from Instagram alone.

This is not a lot of new email subscribers, I know, but these were new email subscribers coming directly from the link in my Instagram bio. We could have done a LOT more promotions to grow this email list, but it wasn’t a priority at the time (managing client accounts was), but because my Instagram account was growing so quickly, my email list was growing as well at an average of 1 new subscriber per day without much work.

And let’s be real, the ultimate goal for your marketing SHOULD BE growing your email list – and Instagram can be a great tool for doing that.

Imagine what these new email subscribers could convert into once I start emailing them. For example, if only 5 of them are interested in my website design services (that’s only 8% of the total audience), that’s an additional $25,000 in revenue for me all based on the power of growing my Instagram account. 💵💵💵

This is the power and potential of your Instagram audience. If you’re wondering how you can replicate this Instagram growth of 325% – more than 1400 new followers – in 2 months, I’ll show you exactly how we did it.

HOW WE DID IT: Grow your Instagram account by 1000+ people in less than 2 months.

Optimize your profile to appeal to your target audience

If you want to attract the right people into liking your brand, you want to have an effective landing pad for them. Meaning: you need to optimize your Instagram profile to be attractive TO THEM. It doesn’t matter what you like or what you think. All that matters is that your target audience is attracted to your Instagram profile. These are the 3 things I did to create an attractive profile for my target audience:

☑️ Fill out my profile with content – Ideally, you want to have enough content on your IG account to fill up most phone screens. Preferably, you want to have enough for 1-2 swipes of a thumb. Take some time to put at least 6 posts on your account so it looks active. 

☑️ Optimize your IG bio – start optimizing your IG bio by using the right username and an easy-to-recognize logo. Make sure you include hashtags and keywords in your IG bio because that will make your account more discoverable.

☑️ Set up an IG Business or Creator page – if you’re using Instagram for business, you want to have more advanced features than you would on a personal account. For example, you will need to be able to see what content is most effective, or what your audience demographics are or when is the best time to post based on when your audience is online. With Instagram business or creator accounts, you can see this information and much more.

In order to change to an Instagram business account:

✅ Go to your profile

✅ Click on the “hamburger” menu  in the top right corner.

✅ Select “Settings”

✅ Go to “Account”

✅ Then select “Switch to Business Account” or “Switch to Creator Account”

Curious about the advantages of each? Shoot us a DM on IG.

Create staple content

Obviously the key to Instagram as a platform is the content, so you’ll need to have content in order to gain favor with the IG gods. Here is a key tip for creating content that gets engagement – which will help your account grow: 

The best content on Instagram does one of 4 things for your target audience: Educates, Entertains, Assists, or Motivates.

📖 Educates – Is it teaching them something and thereby positioning you as an authority in your niche?

😂 Entertains – is it maintaining their attention and thereby interesting enough to them that they want to keep you in their orbit?

👩🏾‍🔧 Assists – Does it help them in some way and thereby create value for them? 

💪🏾 Motivates – does it inspire them to act, think or feel positively and thereby create a connection with them?

Think about your target audience… if you’re posting content that’s not doing one of these 4 things: stop.

I focused on “motivates” because this content is often easiest to produce and most likely to elicit a like, share or repost. Despite having archived all of my previous posts that didn’t help my account grow, I started reposting my content a few months ago and – an inspirational quote here, a kick-in-the-pants there… – I now have an account full of content that my audience regularly comments on or shares. 

Share via other networks

Sometimes you need a kickstart to grow a new platform. What’s the best way to do that? By sharing it with people you already know. Dozens of the first few hundred followers for Hey Awesome Girl on Instagram came from my friends and family.

I shared my business Instagram account on my personal pages and via email to give it those first few followers.

If you’re nervous about sharing what you’re doing with family and friends, think deeply about whether or not running a business is something you really want to do, because marketing your business should be the #1 thing you do for yourself, babe.

Build your circles – with like-minded brands

The Instagram algorithm is set up to try to show you more of what it “thinks” you want to see, but how does it know which brands to guess? By what you interact with! 

That same concept applies to your audience as well. If you want your brand to start showing up in the discover feeds for your audience, start “associating” with other brands they would like.

I do this by building “circles” of like-minded brands to follow and engage with… more on that next.

Follow, Like & engage

So remember when I said following a bunch of brands on IG didn’t work for me? It didn’t work because it was random and the engagement wasn’t significant.

Based on my research, you’re likely to get a 30% follow-back rate if you significantly engage with brands on Instagram.

The key with all of this is to be targeting the right audience with your outreach efforts, especially because profitable engagement on Instagram takes a little time.

I focused on doing “significant engagement” with at least 50 people per day for 2 months and it has single-handedly yielded the most growth for Hey Awesome Girl.

What is a significant engagement? That’s following, liking and commenting. BUT be careful – the wrong combination of engagement can get you in trouble with IG.

Sign up for my HAG FREE community and get access to my 30-day IG growth calendar and checklist. It’s designed to help you grow your IG account by 500 or more followers organically in 30 days. In this free resource, I walk you through the exact numbers and steps I took to make sure my engagement complied with the Instagram algorithm. Get your free trial of PRO today!

Create diverse content

One thing I’ve learned in my 10+ years of managing social media strategies for businesses is social media platforms reward you when you use more content types.

I’ve seen it on Twitter – back when I was heavily on Twitter with my personal brand – and I’ve seen it while managing Facebook pages for big organizations… Now I see it on Instagram.

The more you use all the platform features, the better your content does.

So instead of just posting traditional Instagram posts, I’ve started using IG stories and DMs and even posted an IGTV recently for my 3-year brand anniversary.

I also created archived stories on my profile for extra content diversity. 

I don’t post a ton of content regularly, but I try to leverage at least a few different features each week to keep the platform “happy.”

There are a ton of strategies you can use to grow your Instagram followers, these are just a few that I recommend because they helped Hey Awesome Girl triple followers in a very short time.

Want even more Instagram tips and resources to grow your Instagram account? Sign up for a free trial of Hey Awesome Girl PRO and get access to my IG Stories and Post templates.

These reusable templates will help you keep your IG account looking stunning – perfect for attracting profitable audiences for your brand.

You’ll also get my 30-day IG growth calendar. It contains:

✅ The step-by-step engagement process I used to grow my followers by more than 1000 in 2 months

✅ An easy to follow growth calendar

✅ Several #Protips for amplifying your growth

Sign up today for free and cancel at any time. 

If you wanna join the 30-day growth challenge on Instagram, tag us @heyawesomegirls so we can support you.

Here’s to your self-growth, bag growth, and Instagram growth,

Tivi Jones

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