There’s no sugar-coating it: getting to your first 10,000 Instagram followers is tough. Why? Because when you’re first starting out on the platform, chances are no one knows who you are yet! 😓
However, that doesn’t stop us from trying!
After all, it’s a huge marketing milestone that unlocks the Link in Stories tool and gives your account that “social proof” you need. Social proof is really helpful to propel your business forward, sweep up collaborations and put you in front of more audience members!
As an added bonus, it makes it a lot easier to get another 10K Instagram followers in half the time! Who wouldn’t want that? 🤩
Don’t worry, we’re here to save the day – and spare you some struggle on your journey to 10K.
If you’re wondering how to get thousands of followers on Instagram, the 6 secrets below will get you to your goal – and past it! 🏁
The following tips focus on essential foundations for your 10K strategy, without shady, spammy or “credit card necessary” tactics.
By incorporating each of the six tips below, you’ll bypass quick fixes that could sabotage your Instagram account (like engagement pods and buying fake followers!) and build a solid Instagram workflow that promotes connection with your audience and helps you collect those 10,000 followers on Instagram faster than ever! 🥳
Psst… if you don’t have time to sit down and read our post, listen in to this replay of our FB Live where we cover all of these secrets and more! 📹
Ready to gain followers? Let’s go! 🏃♀️💨
Secret #1: Zero In On Your Target Audience
When we peep at the many guides and “How to Reach 10,000 Followers” posts online, we can’t help but notice that a key element is usually missing from the beginning, and that’s how to zero in on your target audience. 🤔
However, if you skip over figuring out exactly who you’re speaking to and creating Instagram content for, you’ll miss an important opportunity to connect with your audience and get more followers who really care about what you have to say!
First things first: do some homework on your target audience, and who you envision your ideal follower to be. Here’s a handy cheat sheet from our Instagram 101 Webinar about who your ideal follower is!
- “What are the top benefits you’re providing through your Instagram presence?”
- “Who benefits the most from what you’re providing?”
- What does your ideal follower look like? (Check out this buyer persona for inspiration!)
- Who are your competitors, and who is following them?
- Are there ways you can reach the same followers, or differentiate to reach followers your competitors aren’t?
After you zero in on your target audience, you’ll want to gear your content and your profile towards attracting more followers on Instagram, which brings us to our next tip!
Secret #2: Optimize Your Instagram Profile to Inspire Connection
The second secret we have up our sleeve is optimizing your Instagram Profile from top-to-bottom. Oftentimes, users will focus on the look and feel of their feed more often than the look and feel of their profile – specifically photo, name, and bio.
It’s important to make sure that every aspect of your Instagram profile is clear, approachable and will help a visitor to your page quickly determine whether you’re someone they want to follow. That’s why these three profile components play a big role in growing your Instagram followers.
Here are some handy tips to get the most out of your Instagram profile!
- Use a clear, concise handle to make your profile easy to search
- Use the 30 characters in your username to identify yourself and your purpose (search terms are valuable here!)
- Decide whether to use a photo of yourself or a logo in your profile photo:
- A logo is great for brands or groups with more than one personality behind them.
- Logos should be high-resolution and high contrast so they’re easily readable in that tiny circle
- Profile photos are ideal for one main personality behind an account
- Profile photos should contain head and shoulders, and an uncluttered or neutral background.
- A logo is great for brands or groups with more than one personality behind them.
- Make the 150 characters available in your IG bio count!
- Don’t restate your name line
- Include a clear call-to-action
- Format with line breaks, emojis, and spacers to avoid a wall of words
- Include a trackable link so you can measure your impact
Your Instagram Photo, name, and bio are the first impressions that bring your potential followers in. After you capture their attention here, you’ll want to seal the deal with magnetic content they can’t get enough of!
Sound good? Next, let’s talk about how content planning helps you build an Instagram following!
Secret #3: Plan Content That Will Resonate With Your Followers
Because uploading photos and shooting videos on Instagram only takes a few seconds from your mobile, we don’t always think about creating a solid content plan that supports our marketing goals. We’re guilty of this, too!
When you create and schedule an Instagram content plan well in advance, you give yourself an opportunity to carefully plan relevant content, review, and source or shoot images that work well with each other in your 9-grid.
A little bit of planning when it comes to your Instagram content results in content that your followers are excited to engage with, and new audiences are fascinated by when stumbling across it in Explore!
Here are some tips to get the jump on planning your Instagram content:
- Identify five subjects that you’re well-qualified and passionate to speak on!
- Frame your five subjects in different ways continuously throughout your content schedule (we use VALUE for this – check out the breakdown below!)
- Do keyword and hashtag research to find out what your audience is frequently searching and wanting to know about related to your subjects
- Address the keywords you found in your posts and captions
To frame our subjects in different ways, we use the VALUE Framework. This stands for:
Valuable: helpful, educational, teaching, or learning
Aspirational: Idealized, tangible, attainable visions or goals
Lifecycle: Building brand awareness, nurturing relationships, encouraging action
Unique: Proprietary, branded and business-focused content
Evergreen: Timely, relevant and useful for years to come!
VALUE is a crucial part of the COMPLETE content-planning workflow that’s featured in our brand-new ebook, “10K Instagram Followers: The Complete Roadmap”!
To help you plan smarter, not harder, we’ve included a sneak peek of the workflow found in the book, including 2 weeks of Instagram content that we planned in just 20 minutes using the VALUE framework!
The workflow helps you plan 5 weeks of Instagram content in under an hour, freeing up your time to focus on other elements of your strategy -including breathtaking visuals!
Secret #4 Designing Your Instagram Feed
In Secret #2, we mentioned that your Instagram profile plays a huge role in the first impression you make on a potential follower. This is also true of your Instagram Feed!
When you scroll through Instagram, you see single posts – one after the other. However, when you visit a profile, you see the users “feed”, or latest posts stacked together in a 9-grid.
For example, take a look at Peg Fitzpatrick’s lovely Instagram feed. You can really see how each image in the 9-grid complements each other, which is the goal of your Instagram feed design!
The look and feel of this 9-grid will inform potential followers quickly of your style, mood, and aesthetic. The better each image looks in conjunction with each other, the more likely you are to impress and win over a new follower immediately!
Here’s how to make that happen:
- Learn how to get top-notch photo quality and photo composition in your Instagram feed photos. Check out this great post about lifestyle photography for inspo!
- Decide if you want to use a set of preset filters on your photos.
- Start a collection of easily-accessible photos and graphics on your phone or desktop that’s readily available for you to pull from when planning content.
- Plan and arrange the look of your feed with Tailwind’s 9-grid preview, taking care to note how each photo looks among the rest as well as individually!
Here’s a glimpse of our 9-grid preview, and how you can arrange your posts to work together seamlessly:
At this point, you’ve identified your audience, optimized your profile, created a solid content creation plan, and begun to visually design your Instagram feed. The final puzzle piece? Creating a content schedule that supports your marketing goals!
Secret #5 Creating Your Content Schedule
The way you schedule your content is actually integral to getting you 10,000 Instagram followers fast.
That’s because once you have all of the impressive elements you need to create a connection with followers and knock their socks off with your content, you need a way to seamlessly schedule your posts.
This gives you free time to engage and stay ahead of the game! ⚽️🥅🏆
Here are the need-to-know elements to create a schedule that builds engagement and attracts followers:
- Decide how often you want to post (according to our own research case study, you should be posting at least once per day!)
- Schedule your posts for times when your audience is most active on Instagram
- Create an even mix of hashtags that are ultra-competitive, niche, better and best to help searchers looking for your content find you easily
- Use Tailwind’s Hashtag Finder to create and save Hashtag Lists based on the content you post most often!
- Use Tailwind’s Auto Post feature to automate your posting schedule (without push notifications!) and free your time to engage in comments and create Stories!
Start a Free Trial of Tailwind for Instagram!
- Schedule photos and videos directly to your Instagram feed with Auto Post.
- Optimize every post for more engagement with SmartSchedule and Hashtag Finder.
- Automatically hide your post’s hashtags in the first comment to keep your caption clean & clutter-free.
- Make your posts more discoverable with user tagging & location tagging.
- Analyze what's working across every post and profile with smart analytics.
Here’s a preview of Tailwind’s Saved Hashtag Lists feature, which helps you easily drop in related hashtags for content you post all the time!
Speaking of engaging in the comments section, the final piece of the your “How to Get 10,000 Instagram Followers puzzle” centers around connection-building practices that will keep new followers coming back for more!
Secret #6 Continually Build Momentum With Real Engagement
Congrats! You’ve done all the heavy lifting of finding your audience, optimizing your profile and planning your content – you’re all done, right?
Not quite yet. Even after you plan your content and create a system that works, you’ll need to add the secret sauce to get thousands of followers on Instagram.
That secret sauce 🥫? A little thing we like to call engagement.
After all, Instagram users love to connect with the profiles and brands they follow and feel like they’re apart of your everyday story!
So after you do all the technical work of planning your content and creating your visuals, you should use all that free time you found (after using a scheduling tool like Tailwind ) 😉to get into the comment section and engage with your followers.
Here are some of our favorite ways to build a loyal following among your existing followers, and attract new ones like bees to honey: 🐝🍯
- Work on creating a strong sense of community among your followers
- Religiously like and reply to comments on your posts – and other accounts that are similar to your niche!
- Watch your Instagram Analytics and make adjustments as necessary to amp up your approach
- Use Stories to drive connection and engagement with your followers through the use of polls, questions, Lives and more!
Using Stories for engagement doesn’t have to be complex, either! Instagram user Geena reached out to her followers for coffee pot suggestions after hers stopped working.
Don’t worry, this Story had a happy ending! With audience feedback, she narrowed down the top suggestions – and her followers felt helpful and included. Tada! ✨(Also, take note if you happen to be in the market for a new coffee maker! ☕️)
Building authentic engagement is a winning strategy for a number of reasons. Users want to be a part of the club, and following a brand or Instagram presence that frequently talks to followers, features their content and asks questions that drive conversation will make them feel included.
All those feel-good vibes towards your brand or presence mean they’ll probably tell friends and family, share your content and give you shoutouts that put you in front of other audiences!
The second major benefit is a lot more technical. Instagram’s algorithm pushes posts with high engagement towards the top of user feeds and search results, meaning that the more comments and likes you have on your post, the higher it will appear to existing and potential followers.
Thankfully, we have a lot of engagement building tips and advice included in our 10K guide, to make unlocking 10K Instagram followers a breeze!
How Do I Get More Followers On Instagram?
We’re glad you asked! If you want to get to 10K followers on Instagram, you’ll need to create a plan that includes:
- Zeroing in on your target audience so you know exactly who you’re speaking to
- Optimizing your Instagram profile to inspire connection in seconds
- Planning content that resonates with your followers
- Designing your Instagram feed with entrancing visuals
- Creating a content schedule that’s easy to stick to
- Engaging with your followers to WIN at Instagram’s algorithm
You could create an entire plan to accomplish this, OR you could check out our brand new guide with all of these steps spelled out and more!
“10K Instagram Followers: The Complete Roadmap” guides you through your Instagram growth journey from end-to-end. It’s jam-packed with handy worksheets, amazing workflows, and feed-designing tips that you’ll love. 🤩
Can’t wait to have this guide in your life, and finally get to 10K Instagram followers fast? We don’t blame you! Click below to download the guide FOR FREE! 🤩
Psst…Don’t Forget to Pin For Later 📌!
Kristen Dahlin is a Content Marketer at Tailwind — a Pinterest and Instagram scheduler and analytics platform. A recent graduate of OU with a degree in Entrepreneurship and Venture Management, Kristen is living in rural Oklahoma with her husband Kyle, daughter Sophie, terrier Kerouac, and a very temperamental flower garden.