Instagram Growth Journey, Thoughts Tips & Resources.

I wanted to let you know I'm trying something new with Instagram. If you follow me on other networks, you may know that I have an Instagram account here, under the username @notagrouch. By the way, why don't you follow me? I'm trying something new with it because I think it's time to grow my Instagram account.

I want to integrate Instagram into my blogging and monetization strategy, so I need to grow the numbers. That's just how social media works. Numbers and engagement rule the social media world. When I started this new experiment, 11 days ago, I had 890 followers. Today I just broke past 1300. THANK YOU, everyone, that has joined me so far!

That's approximately 36 new followers per day, so that's pretty good I think. I'm sure it could be better, but I don't have boobs, fancy supercars, and I don't travel to exotic destinations every other day. My Instagram account is about my experiences as an entrepreneur, blogger, and vlogger. I teach how to use WordPress, how to do affiliate marketing, how to monetize your blog and all the stuff that comes with it so I'll post about that from time to time.

I'm learning to post better photos, to use hashtags and to create more engagement through engagement with other accounts. I knew what to do, but doing it consistently and effectively is totally different.

I have some ideas of what I need to do, and I've seen how other people do what I'm trying to accomplish. I like some of the techniques that people suggest and I loathe some of the other methods that some people use. The worst technique of all is when a "big account" follows you and you get excited, you like their posts, leave some comments and then follow back, just for them to immediately unfollow you.

This is a shitty trick and I'm already sick of it and I'm only 11 days into my growth spurt. I guess it's part of the game, but it's still a total asshole move #sorrynotsorry. Yeah if you do that, I'm calling you out. You're not a celebrity, you don't have to keep your following number at 71 and doing so deliberately just makes you look like a douche, not to mention that you ruin the experience for other accounts trying to grow and trying to engage with you. And I'm not the only one that feels this way.

I follow people whose content I like regardless of the niche they're in because I have many interests. The only reason I unfollow you is if you post a ton of pictures back to back and clutter my feed, or if your posts turn out to be really low quality. This rarely happens because I spend time looking at the accounts before I decide to follow so I know that I will most likely be interested in future content.

With that said, I'm using a number of tools to help me achieve the goal of 5000 followers. At this pace, I might reach that goal in 4 - 5 months, but as with most social media, I think that once I build more momentum the numbers may accelerate. Or I might crash and burn, We'll see.

The Tools & Resources

Here's a quick list of the tools and resources I'm using. I will be doing a review of some of these on their own blog post.

FotoJet (link)- Image creation app to help with quotes, photo editing and stuff like that. I normally use Photoshop and I know it well, but sometimes it's overkill. Fotojet so far seems like a great alternative.

FollowCop (link)- App for Android, helps me find out who is doing that ass*hole move I mentioned above, and also tells me who are the most engaged followers, who is leaving me comments, liking my stuff, and all that stuff so that I can stay on top of it. Instagram only shows about 24 hours of activity history so it's easy to miss some interaction; this helps a lot so my followers and new followers don't feel neglected. Don't worry, I'll get back to you sooner than later!

SocialRunner (link) - A service that helps you find engaged users in your niche. I would recommend you check it out if you want to try what I'm doing. They have a 3-day trial, 1-month or 3-month plan. If you want to save 15%, use this coupon: OSCAR20. You fill out an extensive questionnaire, they'll get in touch with you and then they help you find users and help you grow the account. I like this because they don't follow others on my behalf; I want to do that myself. A full review of this coming in the next week or two.

Buffer  (link)- I use this to schedule posts in advance for Instagram. Also, I'm using the term "schedule" loosely because, with Instagram, you can't really schedule posts automatically like you can do for Twitter or Facebook; heck Facebook lets you schedule posts within their own service! For Instagram, Buffer takes the photos and your caption and then sends you a notification on your mobile device when it's time to post. Buffer adds the photo to Instagram and copies the caption to your clipboard so you can finish up the Instagram post before publishing.

InstaWealth Growth System by @Wolfmillionaire (link) - An extensive course to help you use an Instagram account to make money. Walks you through everything you need to accomplish this; I've just finished reviewing Chapter 1; it has 12 modules, and it's pretty good. I'll share my thoughts in a post within a couple days.

Notegraphy (link)- An app to help you create stylish quotes which you can then repost on Instagram. I'm not thrilled with this one but I've used it a couple times with various results. Android version linked, not sure if they have iOS.

Quoter (link) - Another app to help with quotes, this one comes with a database of quotes you can use. I've only used it to make my own, but unfortunately, I'm not thrilled with the results either. Android version linked, not sure if they have iOS.

Grow Your Blog FB Group (link) - A great group of bloggers that help each other with growth and engagement. Use sparingly and follow the rules, or you'll get banned.

And of course, I use the Instagram app a lot. I do most of my commenting, liking and following from the app on my phone or from the Instagram website on my desktop. I also have an IFTTT recipe that posts my Instagram photos to Twitter, but I'm thinking that's not the best strategy if I want to grow my IG account. The way I have that setup right now makes it so I post the actual photo to Twitter, so then people that see it on Twitter don't really need to go to Instagram to see it. This is a double-edged sword; on one hand, I'm giving the content to my Twitter followers exactly where they are, right then and now; on the other hand, they have no reason to follow through with the link to go to my Instagram account. I'll have to decide on that one.

Talk soon!

14 Comments

  1. I hate when they unfollow too, luckily I catch them and unfollow right back! I haven’t been using any services (besides the one to catch unfollowers). I’ve just been “liking” posts in specific hashtags on certain days to kind of /study/ them. I’m getting about 15 follows a day doing this. It’s fun at this point, figuring out my ideal IG follower and relevant hashtags. Right now the follows are just a bonus. Woo!

    • Sam, thanks for the comment and I agree. I look at it the same way, or rather I have been looking at it the same way. For the most part, I’m doing the same thing as you, but maybe just a bit more agressively. Back a couple years ago I wrote a little script that would do the heavy lifting for me, then I would just follow up with each person that my script would find. It worked out great to go from the mid 100 to about 500, then it broke and I stopped fixing it. Now I’m back at IG trying to grow again. I think I figured out most of the hashtags I want to be engaged with and now I’m figuring out which ones work best. Feel free to drop your IG link in a comment too!

  2. I hate that follow-unfollow thing too! I try to post beautiful and coherent content but I’m a bit lazy to engage people. But I love Instagram and majority of my clients come via it (I’m a photographer) so I’m trying to master it slowly but steadily.

    • Well your site is beautiful and clean, so if your IG is in par with that I’m sure you’ll get a great following, you’re already at over 2000, so that’s good, and your work is great. I know that sometimes it’s time consuming and involved, but engaging with people is good, especially since it’s “social” media. Thanks for your comment & thoughts!

  3. Good read! I agree, people just follow and will unfollow you after the give away /goal is over. There are some people saying hashtags are no longer working compared before. I am also thinking that sharing IG post to Twitter is not really a good idea. I prefer posting directly to twitter instead.

    Here’s my ig: http://www.instagram.com/awmyposh

    • Yeah, the giveaways are tricky. I find that if you are just starting to grow your audience, giveaways are a hit or miss because so many people are just looking for freebies. Also it matters where you advertise the giveaway. If you keep it strictly to your existing following, you’ll have better results. The Twitter thing… manually or automatically the key is making it enticing for people to come to IG, if I post the picture then they have no incentive. If I only post the link then the caption needs to be amazing.

  4. I can’t believe how many people follow you, just to unfollow you back. It makes me wonder what they think about themselves if this is the only way they can create fans. I don’t even bother anymore if their number of followers is way higher than the number of people who they follow. It’s a dead giveaway. And I use FollowMeter to instantly see who is playing that game.

    Honestly, I’ve only been using Instagram for a few weeks, but I finally decided to get serious about it. Will check out some of the apps you recommend.

    • Unfortunately, I can believe it. I think it’s a behavior that comes from the old days of Twitter. And to be fair the optics of having more people follow you than you follow do make it look better. But it should happen naturally, for example, I don’t follow everyone that follows me because many are bots, or totally uninteresting to me. I will check out their account when they like my stuff, leave the comment or follow. The thing I don’t do is follow 100 people, wait for them to follow me back and then unfollow. You know my feeling.

  5. I’m fairly recent to instagram so trying to collect all the tips I can get. Commenting on other people’s accounts that have roughly the same following as I do is helpful!

    • Yes, that always helps. I would say even engaging with accounts that are similar but slightly bigger than you might help as well. But also don’t neglect smaller accounts that may be starting out since they could end up being allies in collaboration later on. Thanks for your comment!

  6. Great tips! I also hate the follow/unfollow method. its frustrating when trying to build growth. There are also hashtags that are banned! I just learned about this recently, and It’s helpful to know which ones they are. Instagram can be tricky, and sometimes I have to take a step back and remember to enjoy it!
    Neelofar
    http://www.theloveliestlily.com

    • I had heard about the banned hashtags but I haven’t bothered to look which ones they are. I’ll have to look that up. And yeah, we have to remember to enjoy the experience instead of just trying to “get more.”

  7. […] is a follow-up to my previous post about Instagram growth: I started going through the InstaWealth Growth System by Wolfmillionaire when I had about 1150 […]

  8. […] is why I test different things. I try Twitter, I try Instagram, I try other social media traffic, I try Bing ads, I try my email list. But I try even if the […]

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