Whether you have just created your influencer Instagram account and posted your first photo, or you have been on Instagram for a while – your goal is likely to grow your account to 10k Instagram followers, especially as an aspiring influencer. But how do you do that? Where do you even start to grow Instagram organically?
I reached 10k Instagram followers in February 2020 and am now at 17k only a few months later. I want to share all of my knowledge, tips and tricks with you that helped me get to 10k Instagram followers organically, without buying them.
Growing your Instagram is not going to be easy and you will experience many frustrating days when you just want to quit and throw it all away. There is no specific recipe you can follow to grow but there are a few tricks which will definitely help you increase your reach on the app and grow your account organically.
In this post, I am explaining all the perks of having over 10k Instagram followers, and all my tips to get 10k Instagram followers. I’m sharing my experience with action blocks, whether giveaways help you grow and what the best hashtags are to use to maximize your reach.
Nano vs Micro Influencer – Instagram Influencer Tiers Explained
First let’s talk about Instagram Influencer Tiers. Every Instagram account can be categorized into tiers based on their following. Accounts with 1k – 10k followers are usually referred to as Nano Influencers. Whereas Instagram accounts with between 10k – 100k are called Micro Influencers. You probably wonder why does this matter?
Instagram influencer tiers matter a great deal when it comes to influencer marketing. Each of the tiers comes with its own advantages and disadvantages. Depending on your tier and account size, you will have a different type of influence in the market space.
Not only do you have a different account reach, but the way you are connecting with your followers changes with the size of your account. This in turn affects your position in the market space and how you can position your account to help brands reach their target audience and marketing objectives.
Because of their smaller following, nano influencers are likely to have a higher percentage of “real life” friends following them. Any advertisement through nano influencers generally resembles word of mouth advertising. The reach of nano influencers is generally lower than the reach of micro influencers but they often have a higher conversion ratio, i.e. click throughs and sales driven by the campaign as percentage of followers, than accounts with more Instagram followers.
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Micro influencers on the other hand can profit from their greater reach and following compared to nano influencers. Their account size is still a manageable size, so they are able to build true connections with their followers, have an engaged audience, and respond to comments and DMs.
Micro influencers are often viewed as industry experts with a very targeted reach and a loyal following. When it comes to hiring content creators for marketing campaigns, this is exactly where micro influencers fit in: a large reach to a highly targeted audience.
Influencers with an Instagram following of between 50k and 500k are referred to as mid-tier influencers, whereas accounts with over 500k followers are called macro influencers. Mid-tier influencers are story tellers with a high reach and are often sought after for campaigns that involve a significant story-telling aspect.
With their incredibly large reach, macro influencers are best placed in a marketing campaign to raise awareness of a product, service, or subject matter. Due to their large size and compared to smaller influencers, they generally don’t have a strong connection to their followers, however, they are able to reach a wide spread audience.
Why You Want to Be Over 10k Instagram Followers
Having lots of followers looks great on paper, especially when you are trying to work with brands. Almost every blogger and influencer I know is aspiring to get there. But why should you want to get 10k Instagram followers? These are the reasons why having over 10k Instagram followers is beneficial to your brand.
Swipe Up Feature and How It Helps Your Brand
The famous swipe up feature on Instagram is by far the most exciting part of reaching 10k followers. As you may know, the swipe up feature was rolled out by Instagram a few years ago and is the option to include a link in your Instagram story. Your Instagram story viewers are able to swipe up on the story and visit the website link you added without ever leaving the app.
This feature makes it easy for your followers to view what you are talking about without having to close the app and open a new app, without having to manually type anything, and without “losing” their place in watching stories. In other words, it’s super quick and convenient for your audience.
Even though you can add the same links in your Instagram bio, the motivation of a follower to close out on stories, go to your profile, and click the link in the bio needs to be much higher than just swiping up because there are so many more steps involved. This ultimately results in fewer clicks.
If you use Instagram to promote your own brand or blog, having the swipe up feature can help you increase your website traffic as followers are more likely to visit your website by swiping up.
Working with Brands
Each tier of influencer has its own space in the marketing world and can tell a different story. In theory, nano influencers are just as relevant and important as macro influencers. They help fulfill a completely different marketing strategy.
In practice, however, things work differently. While more and more brands recognize the value of Instagram accounts with less than 10k followers, there are still many brands out there who refuse to work with accounts below 10k Instagram followers.
Reasons could be that their marketing concept is targeting a larger audience, that they don’t have the capacity to set up multiple different influencer relationships when they could work with fewer but larger accounts, or they sadly don’t see a value in working with accounts below 10k.
I have been working with brands since my Instagram account was at 1,000 followers. I would pitch to companies I genuinely like to promote products I use in my every-day life. With my account being so small, companies often wouldn’t respond to my email or they would get back to me saying they only work with influencers with an account size of 10k+ followers.
I also came across many companies who only reserve marketing budget for collaborations with accounts over 10k followers. This means that in addition to getting free product, these accounts would get paid per Instagram post or story to promote the company.
The industry is slowly changing and many companies (especially smaller companies) are working with nano influencers. I also see more and more companies being open to compensate smaller accounts in monetary form. However, having 10k followers on Instagram certainly helps in obtaining more brand deals.
Instagram Follower Growth Snowball Effect
They have 10k followers, their photos must be good! Have you ever heard that or hear yourself think that? I sure have!
It is generally true that the more followers you have, the more people are going to have the impression that your content is great and will follow you as well.
This snowball growth effect doesn’t necessarily have anything to do with the quality of your content but more so with the impression people get by your account size. But it is another motivation why you might want to get 10k Instagram followers.
The Instagram Algorithm 2020
Instagram has an algorithm to help every account decide which posts they should see in their feed. The algorithm decides what to show you based on the accounts you follow, the photos you have liked and saved in the past, what photos your friends like, and likely your location. This all seems relatively straight forward but the Instagram algorithm in 2020 is very much a mystery!
Whether or not your followers see your post in their feed depends on if they have previously engaged with your content. If they like your photos, comment on them, and interact with you in DMs, the chances of them seeing your posts are much higher. As a rule of thumb, the first 30 minutes after you post will decide if your post is deemed good and worthy to be shown to others by the algorithm.
This means, the more engagement you get on your post (i.e. more likes and comments) within the first half hour, the better. And the higher the engagement on your most, the more likely it is for non-followers to discover you and for you to get to 10k Instagram followers.
Even if you follow all the steps I’m discussing below, there is still a chance that Instagram won’t show your post to your followers. I had been struggling to increase my reach for the majority of 2019. My Instagram posts would be shown to the same number of people each time, which made growing my account very difficult, as my posts weren’t being shared with new users. The below screenshot shows my reach of a standard post in February 2020.
Starting in February 2020, things started to turn around. All of the sudden, my posts obtained a reach of 13k people and I wasn’t doing anything differently! I was using the same hashtags, locations, tags, and similar captions – yet Instagram decided to push my posts and show them to more people.
The Instagram algorithm is often a mystery and it may seem that whether your post is seen may have more to do with luck than with skill. However, there are a few things you can focus on to increase the chances for Instagram to really push your account and for you to get 10k Instagram followers faster.
Your Instagram Feed – Setting Up Your Brand on Social Media
The first thing people see when they find your account is your Instagram feed and biography. You only have a few seconds to convince someone to follow, so you will want to leave a great impression. The first thing I do when I look at someone else’s account is I look at the photos and scroll a few rows down and then read the bio. If I like the photos, they are consistent, and the biography resonates with me (i.e. is covering a niche I am interested in), I will follow the account.
Your Instagram Niche
Having a niche is key when you are trying to get 10k Instagram followers! If you are looking at a profile that has a travel related post, followed by cooking, beauty, fitness, outdoor living, high-end fashion, you are less likely to follow them if you don’t relate to some of these topics or if you are simply confused what the account is about.
If, however, you come across an Instagram travel account and you are interested in traveling, you are more likely to follow them because you know what you can expect from the account. It’s a clearly defined niche. Further, if you were looking to travel somewhere, you are more likely to seek out this niche account for destination guides and tips.
Your niche could be anything you want. And I highly recommend it’s something you are passionate about. Growing your account and getting 10k Instagram followers can take a lot of time and you want to make sure you use your time to do something you love. If you are passionate about beauty, have your Instagram account be focused on beauty.
If you love traveling, post travel-related photos! This is not to say that you have to focus on one niche only. Many great content creators and bloggers have multiple niches that go together well, such as travel and fashion, fitness and cooking, beauty and fashion, etc.
The most important thing is that you stick with your niche with 80% of your posts and that it is very easily apparent. This will not only help you grow your following but will also help you establish your own personal brand for collaborations. I say 80% because I believe it's okay to post a different photo the odd time and if done well, it will stand out more!
If you find that you want to change your niche down the road because you can’t relate to it anymore – no worries at all! I have seen many fashion bloggers change their focus after they became moms and I think it’s great to be able to do that. Your following might change if you do so since not everyone can relate to your change. But you will gain more followers who connect with your new niche which is ultimately what you should be looking for.
Creating Your Own Brand
Once you find your niche, start creating your brand. Your brand consists of everything you share on social media – from your photography, to your captions, to any videos. This can sound very intimidating, but it often comes naturally. Your brand is what people will be able to recognize you by and is incredibly important to get 10k Instagram followers.
I personally have always loved photos with lots of blue tones in them and started working towards a blue-centric feed. A few months later at a PR event, I was introduced to other members of the PR firm as the “girl with the blue feed.” This has evolved so much that I now get approached by brands who are specifically looking to promote blue colored items. I often switch my secondary feed colors on @thenexttrip as shown below with orange, but the blue theme always remains.
So how do you create your brand? Your brand is often closely related to your personality. If you are a positive person and like to make people laugh, your brand could integrate telling jokes in your captions and stories. Do you like bright and airy spaces and all things pastel? Your brand could be sharing pastel colored photos with a bright edit such as the photos from Elena (@thecarryonchronicles).
If you are all about empowering women, your brand could be to share motivating messages targeted towards women. A great example is the feed from Kelly (@lipstickandink). Her messaging is clear in every single post and she even includes quotes in a diamond feed pattern.
Or if you have a love for twirly dresses, your niche could be twirling in dresses wherever you are. One of my favorite feeds out there is by Talia (@travelwithtalia) who specialized in sharing twirly dresses in great places and combining travel with fashion.
Whatever your brand may be, it should be reflected in your photos, caption, and in your stories. Similar to your niche, this will make it easier for followers to understand what your account is all about and for brands to see if you are a natural fit to work with. In general, having a defined brand is an important step to get 10k Instagram followers.
Brand and Posting Consistency
By far the most important thing when it comes to growing your Instagram account is consistency! There are two types of consistency I am talking about: consistent branding and consistent posting.
Consistent Branding - What Should I Post?
Consistent branding means that your posts are all consistent and have the same overall branding. Your goal is for people to start recognizing you when they see your photo or your caption, without even having to see your name. Once people recognize you – they are more likely to think of you when seeking advice, inspiration or help in your niche. And they are more likely to think of you and recommend you to others which helps you get 10k Instagram followers.
For example, if you post photos that go back and forth between bright cheerful edits, dark and moody edits, punches of color, and soft pastels, it doesn’t show a cohesive or consistent brand, which makes it harder for your followers to recognize your photo in their feed. On the other hand, if you love soft pastel tones and edit all your photos accordingly, your followers are going to be able to tell the photo is from you without even having to read your handle.
This recognition value is huge when it comes to your followers remembering you and recommending you which helps you get 10k Instagram followers.
Consistent Posting - How Often Should I Post?
Consistent posting means that you post on Instagram regularly. While there are many people who seem to be doing fine posting only a few times per week, I found that I was only able to grow my Instagram account once I started posting every single day. Generally speaking, the more often you post, the faster your account grows.
This means having a new photo and a new caption every day and being online on holidays, when you’re sick, and even when you’re too busy with other things. Now this sounds like a lot of work and it is. But if you are looking to get 10k Instagram followers, posting every day is one of the key ways to do so.
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Every time you post, your photo will reach a certain amount of people and will show up in the “recent” section of the location tag, hashtags, and tagged accounts. As other people post with the same tags and hashtags, your post will be pushed down in the grid and less likely to be seen by other accounts.
If you want to get 10k Instagram followers, you will want to increase your chances of being seen by other accounts. Posting every day will put you at the top of the recent section in each tag, hashtag, and location for a certain amount of time every day. If you post every single day in a year, other accounts have 365 chances to see your photo at the top of the recent section in each tag, hashtag, and location tag.
Taking photos and coming up with a caption every day is by no means easy. On the contrary, it is incredibly time consuming and posting every single day might simply not be feasible for you. That’s totally okay! Focus on posting as many times as you can, even if it’s not daily, and make sure your posts are on brand.
Posting on Your Instagram Feed – How to Prepare and Post a Successful Instagram Post
Posting on your Instagram feed frequently and consistently is incredibly important to get 10k Instagram followers. Equally important is what your post consists of, what hashtags, account tags and location tags you are using and how much work you put in after you posted.
Post High Quality Photos
A photo can speak more than a thousand words. And a great photo can give your Instagram account the push you are looking for! Because Instagram is a visual platform, posting high quality photos is incredibly important. This holds even more true if your niche is a visual niche, i.e. travel vs. career coaching.
A lot goes into creating high quality photos. You need the right camera gear, a great eye for framing, the right editing software, and the right location. Check out my Instagram location guides if you are looking for Instagrammable places around the world.
This all sounds like a lot. Don't be discouraged! I started my Instagram journey with a very old camera and with no idea how to use it. But as I was out taking photos with friends every single day for a year, I learned how to use my camera, how to improve my editing process, and how to frame pictures better.
Taking great photos requires hands on practice – much like everything else. But what you can easily focus on today is making sure:
- All photos are straight
- All photos are crisp and not out of focus
- All photos are not too bright or too dark
- Your head or your feet are not cut off awkwardly
Further, a great editing software can make all the difference when you need to adjust exposure, contrast, or do some color corrections.
I have been using Lightroom to edit all my photos and even created my own preset which I will be giving away to all my readers soon (stay tuned)! If you are looking to test Lightroom yourself, sign up here.
What Hashtags Should I Use?
Having great photos alone is not everything. If you are looking to get 10k Instagram followers, you need to increase your chances of being “found” by others. Hashtags are a great way of increasing your reach. Every hashtag has its own “page” on Instagram showing the top posts, most recent posts, and stories including that hashtag.
Every time you post and include a certain hashtag, your post can show up on that “hashtag page.” You can use up to 30 hashtags in every single post and there are multiple theories out there on how many hashtags provide the highest reach. I personally use all 30 hashtags for every single post as it gives me 30 chances to be at the top of a hashtag page. The below hashtag page of #utahtravels shows one of my posts featured in the 9-grid.
But what hashtags should you use? A common mistake I see people make (and I still make as well sometimes) is using the wrong hashtags. Make sure you do your hashtag research before you post. Your hashtags should be relevant for your post and in your niche.
If you are posting travel related content, use travel related hashtags. People are unlikely going to look for a travel account when searching for food. You can also add location related hashtags which I have found to be the most frequent way brands find my account.
Further, make sure that your hashtag is not blocked by Instagram. A hashtag can be blocked by Instagram if it has been associated with inappropriate content. If you end up using such a hashtag, Instagram won’t show your photo in any of the hashtags you used as it immediately thinks your content is inappropriate as well. This can reduce your reach substantially and keep you from getting 10k Instagram followers.
Another thing that often gets overlooked is hashtag size. Size matters – even with hashtags!
Think about a hashtag with 1 million posts. A hashtag with 1 million posts gets about 400 new posts per day. This means every 3-4 minutes, there is a new post and your post will drop further down in the recent grid. This means that after only 27 minutes, your post won’t be shown on the initial recent grid anymore and someone looking up this hashtag would need to scroll to see your post.
If you look at a hashtag with 100k posts instead, there are only 40 new posts per day which translates to a new post every 30-40 minutes. Your post will have a much higher chance of being at the top of the hashtag page and being seen if you use smaller niche hashtags in your Instagram post.
Generally speaking, you want to use hashtags that get looked up often enough but are not too big. To start out, look for hashtags with between 10k and 100k posts.
Why You Need to Add a Location Tag on Instagram
Similar to hashtags, location tags provide the opportunity for your photo to be found when someone searches that location and help you get 10k Instagram followers. Make sure to add a location to every single one of your posts for increased visibility. Your location tag does not have to be the exact location of where the photo was taken, as not every location will be searched.
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For instance, if you are taking a photo in front of a mural in Chicago, instead of adding the exact mural address, I recommend adding Chicago as your location. This is because people who are looking to find murals in Chicago would not likely look up the exact address but instead search within the Chicago location tag to find murals.
Once they find your photo, you are already a step closer to 10k Instagram followers.
Why You Need to Add Account Tags to Your Post and Get Re-Posted
A fourth way to increase your visibility is by tagging relevant accounts in your photo and getting re-posted by feature accounts. Feature accounts are accounts set up to feature non-original photos. This means the sole purpose of those accounts is to re-share other people’s photos and they do so legally by tagging you in the photo and giving you credit.
Getting re-posted by a large feature account is a great way to increase your reach as their followers will now see your photo. This in turn can help you grow your account to 10k Instagram followers. When I was starting out, I thought getting re-posted would help me grow my account overnight. This was certainly not the case. It is a nice boost but don’t expect any wonders from re-posting.
Even if you don’t get re-posted, tagging accounts can increase your reach as people may look at tagged photos in a feature account. When you use account tags, make sure they are relevant for your niche and brand. If you are a beauty blogger, it doesn’t make sense to use a travel feature account as other accounts would not think to look for beauty related posts there.
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I make sure to tag 20 accounts in each of my photos to increase my visibility. I often tag the clothing company where I have my outfit from and use the rest of the available 20 tags for location specific tourism accounts if I show a lot of scenery, such as @visitutah, and travel community accounts which feature travel bloggers such as @sheisnotlost.
If you don’t know which accounts to tag, try looking at other Instagram accounts in your niche and see which tags they use. It is highly likely that those account tags would be relevant for you as well.
Engage with Your Audience and Build A Community
Now that your post is ready to go, all you have to do is hit the “share” button and done, right? WRONG! What I learned in a seminar a while back is that the more active you are on Instagram, the better your posts will perform and the faster you can get 10k Instagram followers.
Engaging with your audience after you post is very important. Some argue that you should engage at least 30 minutes before and after you post. I personally spend at least 30 minutes before and after I post engaging and I am also on the app throughout the day. As a reference, I average about 3 hours on Instagram every day.
So what does engaging even mean? By spending time on Instagram, I don’t mean scrolling aimlessly through your feed. Engaging means liking and commenting other people’s posts. If you comment on another content creator’s/blogger’s/influencer’s post in your niche, chances are they will comment on yours as well. Of course, if you comment as soon as they posted, chances are higher that they see your comment and will return the love.
With time, you will start having a set of people who always comment on your posts and you comment on theirs. You can then start looking at their comments and find new accounts to interact with.
While this might sound very calculated, you will find that you really get to know one another by interacting every day over a few months. I have connected with several people across the globe by interacting with their content daily and have even met them in real life and established great friendships.
By interacting with other accounts, you will start to build your own community on Instagram that supports you and vice versa. Having a community on Instagram that supports you will help you get 10k Instagram followers.
Understanding Your Instagram Insights
If you have an Instagram business or creator account, Instagram will show you insights for your posts. If your account is private, I highly recommend you switch to a business or creator account. (I personally had a business account and switched to a creator account and didn’t notice any difference in post performance or reach.)
Switching to a business or creator account definitely helped me get 10k Instagram followers because I was able to create strategies based on the new insights. This is not only for your own benefit, as some companies will ask to see your insights before agreeing to a collaboration.
Your Instagram insights are your best friend. They don’t only reveal how well your post has performed and which photos perform best, but also show where people found your post. Understanding your insights can help you figure out what you need to improve to reach more accounts with your next post.
For each post, Instagram shows you the number of likes, comments, shares, and saves. You can also see how many people have visited your profile, clicked on your website, and how many accounts have been reached with this one post.
Arguably the most important feature of Instagram insights is seeing where your impressions come from. Impressions are the total number of times your post has been seen. Reach on the other hand is the number of unique accounts that have seen your post.
You will want to pay attention to where your impressions come from as this is a great way to know where your content needs improvement. Your Instagram impressions can be:
- From Home: if someone sees your photo when scrolling through their home feed;
- From Hashtags: if your photo is shown in either the hashtag recent or top page;
- From Profile: if someone sees your photo by scrolling through your feed;
- From Explore: if Instagram shows your photo to others on the explore page;
- From Location: if your photo is shown in the location tag;
- And from Others: which includes mostly account tags but can also include explore and location if those categories are not large enough the be shown separately.
If you find that one of your posts has a much higher amount of impressions than another, look at your insights and see where the difference is. If your hashtag reach is much lower, consider changing your hashtags. If your others impression is lower, consider tagging different accounts or using a different location, etc.
The best strategy to get 10k Instagram followers is to look at your most successful posts as they indicate what your followers and other accounts are most interested in seeing. Use a similar hashtag, caption, and/or photo concept for your other posts as well.
Being active on Instagram stories is a great way to connect with your followers and share your personality. It is also a great way to grow to 10k Instagram followers. Stories are much quicker to put together than an Instagram feed post and as they generally don’t require as much preparation. They are an easy way to share little snippets of your brand throughout the day and yet they are extremely powerful to build connections.
Why You Should Post Instagram Stories
I personally find that I am more likely to engage and keep following an account if I can see the creator on stories and relate to what they are sharing. If you show your face and talk on stories, you are better able to connect with your followers on a personal level as people are interested to see and hear you talk as they would if they met someone offline.
To make your stories engaging and interactive, think about using the Instagram poll and questions features, as well as adding music to your stories.
Stories also allow you to increase your visibility when you add location tags and hashtags as your stories can then be shown in the hashtag or location tag story compilation.
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How Many Stories Should I Post Per Day?
How many stories should you post per day? There is no right or wrong number of how many stories to post daily. I recommend posting at least one talking story every day so that any new follower can immediately connect with you when they first start following you.
Every time you post a story, it will show up at the beginning of your followers story feed. As the day goes on, your story will be pushed away by more recent stories from other accounts that they follow. As such, the more often you post in a day, the higher the chance that a follower will see your stories and watch them.
If you struggle coming up with content to share on your stories, you can also use Instagram story templates which are relevant for your niche. I created a few fun Q&A and travel related Instagram story templates which you can download for free.
How Many Stories Are Too Many?
One thing to keep in mind when posting stories is that your audience likely does not have an unlimited attention span. Try to keep your message relatively short to keep their attention. Further, if you post too many stories, your followers are more likely to skip them altogether as they may not be interested in watching 20 stories from the same person.
Similar as with Instagram feed posts, keep an eye on your story insights and find out what number of stories and what type of content resonates best with your audience.
One of the worst things that can happen to you when you are trying to grow to 10k Instagram followers is getting blocked by Instagram. Now there are several possible types of Instagram blocks:
- Action block: meaning you are not able to take any actions on Instagram including liking, commenting, following, and posting. Instagram stories are usually excluded from the block and you can still post to stories.
- Comment block: you are blocked from commenting.
- Like block: you are blocked from liking other posts.
- DM block: you are blocked from sending direct messages.
Instagram blocks occur when you use one or several Instagram features too many times according to their standards. This behavior resembles robot behavior and will be flagged by the Instagram algorithm as “unusual.” If you continue with your activity, your account will get blocked.
The duration of each block is different and depends on every situation. In some cases, Instagram will provide you with an Instagram block expiration. In other cases you are blocked temporarily which in my experience can range from a few hours to 24 hours.
Your best bet is to try and avoid Instagram blocks at all costs as they hurt the reputation of your account within Instagram. However, if you end up getting blocked, don’t worry! I have been in your shoes and am sharing how you can fix your Instagram block and avoid future blocks.
Why You Should NOT Buy Followers on Instagram
After all of this, buying Instagram followers might seem like an easier way to grow to 10k Instagram followers, right? Well it might, but there are several reasons why buying followers is going to hurt your account in the long run.
The main goal of any social media platform is to connect people. It is a platform where people can socialize virtually and exchange ideas, concepts, photos, videos, etc. The same is true for Instagram. The main reason why this platform exists is to connect people and enable them to share life moments. And this is exactly why it has been so successful when it comes to implementing marketing campaigns and ads.
Bought Followers Reduce the Effectiveness of your Collaborations
Through social media, any company can launch extremely targeted advertisements to an audience which trusts and engages with an influencer/blogger/content creator. If you purchased followers to get 10k Instagram followers fast, you are missing the most important aspect of being valuable to a marketing campaign: real connections.
Yes you may still get some collaborations, but if all your followers are fake, none of them will click on the dress you are showcasing and the company you are working with will notice that they are not able to generate any increase in page views and/or sales by advertising through you. As a result, they will likely stop working with you. If the marketing or PR representative shares this information with other companies, this could even hurt future collaborations.
Buying Followers Is Noticeable
You may think that buying followers is something nobody is going to notice. After all, how is anyone going to be able to tell where they came from? You’re wrong!
There are multiple platforms out there with the sole purpose to analyze Instagram accounts. My favorite platform, Ninjalytics, shows you the progression of follower growth, whether the account is engaging in follow/unfollow activities, how their engagement compares to others in the industry, and how each post performs.
Accounts that buy followers or do big loop giveaways are very easily identifiable. Below is what my follower growth chart looks like. My following has been increasing steadily over a year with no apparent spikes and had one negative growth period during the time I was action blocked.
An account that clearly buys followers has a lot of spikes in follower growth, followed by a decrease in followers over time. The decrease results in fake accounts being identified as such and being deleted by Instagram, or accounts unfollowing you again.
Buying Followers Throttles Your Organic Growth
In addition to hurting your brand relationships, buying Instagram followers also reduces your ability to grow 10k Instagram followers organically afterwards. While there is no official Instagram document certifying this information, I know a few accounts which have purchased followers and have later struggled to grow organically without buying more.
An explanation could be that Instagram notices the unusual spike in following and as a pre-caution flags the account and throttles its visibility in hashtags, tags, and location tags. That way, you will have a harder time being found by others which in turn reduces your growth.
Instagram Giveaways – Yay or Nay?
There are two types of giveaways on Instagram: small account specific Instagram giveaways and big loop giveaways. Both of them can be used as a strategy to get 10k Instagram followers. But do they work?
The small account specific giveaways are often used by creators to promote a specific company or product and give it away to one or more followers, or a way to give back to their community by generously giving away a gift card or item. Small giveaways are a great way to give back and if they are in your niche and something your followers would be interested in.
I have not noticed any negative draw backs from accounts doing small giveaways and did not experience a slow down in my growth to get 10k Instagram followers. Small giveaways are definitely a YAY!
Loop giveaways on the other hand are very large giveaways and often structured in a way that in order to win, people will need to follow 50+ other accounts. In order to participate in Loop giveaways, you likely need to “buy in,” i.e. purchase your spot in the Loop. The host of the giveaway will decide on the prize which is oftentimes a trip, expensive gadget or accessory, or large sum of money and will create the post which you then share on your feed.
Once the giveaway is live, your followers as well as the followers of the other participating accounts have the chance to win if they follow everyone participating in the Loop giveaway. In the short run, this will increase your following effectively. After the giveaway is closed and a winner is announced, you may start noticing a drop in your following as certain people might not be interested in your content and only followed you to win.
The real issue with Loop giveaways is trying to grow 10k Instagram followers organically afterwards. Similar to buying followers, the Instagram algorithm likely notices your follower spike as unusual and will throttle your visibility and growth thereafter.
I personally did a Loop giveaway in February 2019. The giveaway was in my niche as you could win a trip to Bali. My following increased as predicted, but dropped again substantially after the giveaway was closed. It took my account until February 2020 to get to a higher growth rate, i.e. a year! If you are looking to grow your following to 10k Instagram followers organically and sustainably, Loop giveaways are a big NAY.
There is a lot more to Instagram and growing your account to 10k Instagram followers than meets the eye. It is a lot of hard work but it can also be a lot of fun (at least it is for me) to create content, share it with others, and build a community. If you have any questions about other topics that I was not able to cover or anything I mentioned in this post, feel free to reach out to me via DM on Instagram or via Email. I am always happy to answer any questions and would love to help!
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