How I went from 300 to 3,000 in 12 months

Increasing your Instagram following can be a daunting task. But it doesn’t have to be. Here is how I grew my Instagram from 300 to 3,000 followers in 12 months without paying for ads!

Post regularly

Posting 2-3 times a week is important to grow your Instagram following so there is fresh content there for your followers and keeps the algorithm happy, so you appear in the feed. It’s also important to post at a time when your followers are likely to see it – this is generally between 5 and 6 am as most people check their phone when they wake up (bad habit, I know!). But think about your audience and when they’re likely to be scrolling the ‘gram.

Use relevant hashtags

Hashtags help people to find your content. But not all hashtags were created equally! Think about the hashtags and language your audience are using. For example, if you’re talking about gut health, your audience probably uses words like “constipation” more than “microbiome”. It’s best to avoid #likeforalike and the like, as these posts will get lost. You have up to 30 hashtags. Use them wisely!

Interacting with other accounts

Liking, commenting, sharing (and tagging), and following other accounts is a valuable way to let other people know you exist! Search for hashtags that you’re using, locations you’re interested in and go for gold. Try to make the interaction as valuable as possible. It’s human nature to enjoy someone taking time out of their day to compliment us, so do the same on social media! But as in the face-to-face world, a sincere compliment is much more meaningful.

Posting sharable content

What content would your target audience want to share with their friends and family? By having your followers share your posts, your reach expands organically and for free. The more people you reach, the more likely they are to follow you. There’s also something nice about having a friends endorsement too. Like I think you’re pretty cool because my friend likes you, kind of thing. 

When writing this in August 2021, my ‘spoon theory’ post has 1,674 likes, 100 comments, 535 shares and 1,115 saves. The post reached 25,444 accounts (96% of which weren’t following me). AND I gained 77 followers. 

Using the latest features

The algorithm rewards accounts that use the latest features like Reels. One of my reels reached almost 5k with 3k followers! So make the most of these features and you’ll appear in front of more people. Have fun, make them interesting and informative!

And a word on ads…

When I was focused on growing my following, I didn‘t find ads or boosted posts particularly useful or helpful. When I started my account, I did a couple of boosted posts with minimal ROI. Instagram ads were more beneficial when promoting my eBook because there was a distinctive call to action. Plus, those who follow after seeing an ad are likely to unfollow very quickly. So I would save your money on that one!