How I Got 2,500 Instagram Followers Without Any Paid Promotion
And how you can do the same in 6 steps
Last year, I created an Instagram account about a topic that I’m really passionate about.
The page grew to more than 2,500 followers in a year. I also have a few celebrities following me. And I achieved this without spending a dollar on paid ads, or using influencers, or asking my friends/family to like my page.
In fact, none of my friends or family even know that I run this Instagram account. It’s highly likely that they don’t even know this page exists.
What’s the link to this Instagram account?
The answer is: I’m sorry, but I’m not going to mention it here.
If you belong to my target audience, I can guarantee that you’ll find my page someday — organically (without any paid ads).
I’m writing this article to genuinely help you grow your social media followers organically — this is not a self-promotion article to get more followers on my Instagram account.
Content is king. If my content is good, my page will keep growing. And one day, you’ll find my page.
Now let’s understand how I built this fan base single-handedly without receiving any help from anybody.
Step 1. Define Your Target Audience
There’s a lot of noise on the internet. If you speak to everyone, no one will want to listen. There’s just so much content out there. That’s why you need to tailor your content to a specific audience.
You can define your target audience by answering the following questions:
- Demographic: What’s the age, gender, occupation, family status, etc. of your target audience?
- Geographic: In which country/countries (or city/cities or neighborhood/s) is your target audience based?
- Psychographics: What are their interests, concerns, attitude, etc.?
Answering these questions should be your first step. After you’ve answered all three questions separately, consolidate the answer into one.
For example, the target audience is 25 to 35 years old, single males and females who live in Miami, Florida and love surfing.
Then find a picture that resembles a person from your target audience (as I have added above).
Step 2: Have an Outstanding Account Name
The name of my account clearly defines what the page is about. It took me three months just to come up with the name. I used to work 9–5 at my marketing job (which also helped, by the way) and then from 5 p.m. onwards, I used to work on this Instagram page.
The first three months were really stressful because there was no way I was going to go with a generic name. I listed all the problems that my target audience has and then I somehow squeezed the name of the solution within my account name.
A good brand name should have one or more of the following attributes:
- It mentions the name of the target audience within the brand name, for example, Entrepreneur Magazine, which is a publication for entrepreneurs.
- It mentions the solution to a problem within the brand name, for example, Fevi Quick, which is an adhesive that quickly fixes broken plastics.
- It’s short and easy to remember, for example, Netflix, Spanx, Fed-Ex.
FYI: Sara Blakely, the founder of Spanx, chose the name because she thought that brand names with a solid “k” sound at the end do well.
Steps 3 & 4: Have a Personal Account (Not a Business) and Use the Right Hashtags
Although I don’t have strong evidence for this, in my experience, Instagram restricts the organic (and hashtag) reach of posts from a business account (maybe because it wants business account users to pay for ads to reach more people).
So unless you want to spend $1,000 on ads, stick to a personal account until you have 10K–15K followers. Then you can switch to a business account if you wish.
Also, experiment with a lot of hashtags. There are many free hashtag generator apps available on Android as well as Apple’s App Store.
Hashtags help you reach your online tribe. But you have to go through lots of trials and errors in your quest for finding the right hashtags.
Step 5: Post Quality Content Consistently
If you only post on the days you feel motivated, you’re going to have to wait for a really long time to get more followers.
You have to post consistently. Now by “consistently”, I don’t mean you should spam people. I tried posting three times a day and guess what? Engagement decreased.
After a lot of experiments, I found out that my niche prefers just one post a day (in the evening). But your niche might have a different preference, so you must experiment a bit to find out how frequently you should post.
Step 6: Don’t Ever “Buy” Followers (If You’re Serious About Your Online Brand)
It can be very tempting, sometimes, to buy followers. Indeed, growing your social media following is a timely process. But hey, good things take time and if it was that easy, everyone would do it.
From a technical standpoint, buying followers might give bad intelligence to the Instagram algorithm. Engagement is a very important metric on Instagram and when your 10,000 fake followers don’t engage with your posts, the algorithm will realize what’s going on.
The algorithm is your friend, but only if you’re loyal to it. Buying followers is cheating and you might mess up your account because of that.
Growing your online following is a marathon, not a sprint. Save your energy, stay hydrated, and please don’t try to game the system.
I recommend that you read this article two or three times and let it sink in. Alternatively, you could also just write steps 1–5 that I’ve mentioned above on a piece of paper and stick it on your fridge or whiteboard.