How I Grew 100K Instagram Followers in 10 Months
Are you wondering if you can still grow on Instagram? With more and more influencers competing on Instagram for people’s attention, it can be discouraging to grow at the rate you want. But I’m here to tell you that it is totally doable IF you have the right strategy. And this strategy is how I grew 100K Instagram followers in 10 months, and I’m still growing every day. Here’s what I did, and what you can start doing too so you can finally see that growth you are working so hard for.
If you’re new here, welcome! I am so happy you are here. This is where you will find the best tips and strategies for growing your business online. And I know it’s the best place because these are the same strategies that I use and my clients use, and we see incredible growth at an even more incredible rate.
This post is connected to the first episode of the relaunch of my podcast, The Social Strategist. This is where you will get all the details on how I’ve grown my business and how you can do the exact same thing. One thing you can always count on from me is giving you that push to take the next step and I’ll be here with you the entire way.
I want to help you learn how to grow on social media because if there’s anything I have learned over the last 6 months since I’ve taken a break from my podcast it’s that most people are doing social media the wrong way.
How Instagram Has Changed
When Instagram first started it was this free photo-sharing app. It was for photographers and it suddenly evolved into this other thing where content creators and businesses were posting a ton. That meant people weren’t seeing content from people they actually wanted to see content from. So Instagram introduced the algorithm.
The reason why the algorithm has been so confusing for people is that Instagram came on the scene before it was a business. It was just a free app with no plan. But it has now turned into this booming business with a solid business model. And the better we understand its business model the better we will be able to build a growth strategy.
The main thing Instagram sells is attention. If it can get people to stay on the app then it can get businesses to pay for people to see their content i.e.ads. And how does it sell attention? Through the algorithm. The algorithm plays matchmaker 24/7 trying to put the right content in front of the people who would enjoy it most.
With that being said, there is one big thing I want you to take away from this post:
Instagram stopped being a place to share and document your life the minute you became a business account.
You have to look at Instagram differently. It has turned into a social media business model–and this is how the other social platforms work as well. These social media apps have to showcase ads on their app in order to pay for their business. The ads are there to fund the apps and you have to figure out how you play a role in this business model as a content creator and business owner. (Lucky for you, I did the grunt work.)
How I Grew 100K Instagram Followers in 10 Months
Instagram Growth Strategy Step #1: Niche down.
Back in August of last year, I set a goal with my team to grow on Instagram, and I wanted to grow faster than I had been. I knew in my heart that I needed to niche down, but I didn’t want to. I didn’t want to only be known for Instagram. I offered so much more like email marketing, blogging, SEO, Pinterest, etc. But I knew I needed to do it if I wanted to grow, so by the time the end of September hit I started posting only Instagram content.
In November I posted a reel and it went viral in December. Things have completely taken off since then. And this wasn’t by chance–it was strategy. And a big part of this strategy is niching down. You’ve probably heard how valuable it is to niche down for your audience, but it’s also helpful to niche down for the algorithm.
If you niche down for the algorithm then it makes it very easy for Instagram to recommend you to new people. When you are consistently showing up with the same type of content, this is when you will see FAST growth.
Sheehan’s Wall Principle
Rory Vaden talks about a principle called Sheehan’s Wall Principle. This teaches that you have to be known for one thing before you can be known for a bunch of things. Take Michael Jordan for example. He is known for basketball and then he was able to be a golfer and a baseball player and all the things, right?
While I didn’t want to stop showcasing all the things I wanted to be known for, I knew I needed to niche down to one thing and my business has skyrocketed because of it. So if you’re nervous about niching down to just one topic, take comfort in knowing that being known for one thing allows you the freedom to add more things to it later. I have found this to be completely true.
Instagram Growth Strategy Step #2: Create content for people who do not follow you (yet).
Your Instagram feed should have two purposes: to attract new followers and nurture current followers. And it should never be used to sell to your followers–save that for your stories.
Your feed content can also be a place where you get people on your email list and into your DMs. Leading them to these more intimate places is where you will be the most effective in making sales.
The reason you don’t want to create sell posts on your feed is that your audience is all in different phases of a relationship with you. You have some people who have been with you for years, some who just joined you yesterday, and everyone in between. So you need to create content for different parts of that relationship.
This strategy is known as the Content Funnel. It is made up of three different types of content: attraction, nurture, and sell. And once they buy, they turn into raving fans. You can check out my post HERE to learn more about how to use this strategy for your Instagram content!
Instagram Growth Strategy Step #3: Create consistent strategic content.
Creating consistent strategic content means (for me) showing up every day, usually twice a day, in my stories and creating a reel and carousel post every day. Now, I have a team, so I was able to show up this much. And we can totally be your team too! I needed my team to help me reach my goals, but it is not necessary to post this much in order to grow.
If you completely understand your audience and know how to create really great content for that audience then you don’t need to post that much. However, I will say that most of the people I know do not understand their audience well enough to know what kind of content they like.
My true recommendation is to post every day if you are in a hard-core growth phase and then once you reach the community size you are happy with then you can post less. By this point, you will have grown this super tight-knit Instagram community and will have a super clear understanding of what your audience likes and dislikes.
What to Do First for Your Instagram Growth Strategy
Create a plan for how many posts you’re going to create per day and per week. And then stick to that plan. Consistency is key! I actually had a chat with an employee from Instagram and he said one of the biggest things we can do to help our business with the algorithm is to show up on a consistent basis–even if that’s three times a week.
Listen, Instagram is a free app where you get to showcase your business to the world! It is time to show up with a strategy and take it more seriously. No more aimlessly scrolling and no more just posting stuff up there to see what sticks. You are going to have a plan. And this time your strategy is going to work!
Make sure to stay tuned on my podcast, The Social Strategist, because I’ll be walking you through how to grow on Instagram more in detail. Or you can catch the written version here on my blog!
This post on how I grew 100k Instagram followers in 10 months is just the tip of the iceberg of all the content I have in store for you. Make sure to connect with me on Instagram @iammichellegifford so we can keep in touch and you can always get the latest on the best ways to grow on Instagram!
Special Opportunities for an Extra Boost on Your Instagram Growth Strategy
Grow the Gram
Over the past few months, I made some big changes in my business. I used to have a coaching group called Money Makers that I closed after 3 years. I was super sad to close it and I really miss my time with the business owners that were in this group, but I just kept feeling compelled to do something more. This group had over 100 people in it, so it was hard for me to make as much of an impact as I wanted to. So I closed it and after some time I decided to launch a new program called Grow the Gram.
Grow the Gram is an 8-week intensive course where I help you dive into your business and help you create a strategy that will change your mindset and approach to growing on Instagram. I am in the middle of my second round of Grow the Gram and it has sold out both times. The women that have participated in this program have grown more than I ever thought possible.
If you’re interested in participating in Grow the Gram, you can sign up for the waitlist HERE! There will be one more session for this year and the price will go up in the new year, so grab your spot while you can get the lower price!
Insta Social Society
One thing my Money Makers found super useful in their content planning was the content plans I’d provide for them. I had many people tell me they needed these after closing Money Makers, so I did something about it!
Insta Social Society is a subscription where you get your monthly content plans. These content plans tell you what to post on stories and in your feed. It also includes Canva templates and a spreadsheet of categorized trending audios, so it’ll make it easy for you to find and implement them.
You’ll also get access to an Instagram training library where I will load how-to videos such as “how to post a reel” or “how to know what hashtags to use.” There will also be occasional live training videos that will be based on any Instagram updates you need to know about.
If you’re interested in getting the Insta Social Society subscription, you can sign up HERE! And if you join right now you can use code “PODCAST” to get 50% off!