Hello Ladies and Gents! Well, it has been about a year since I first became interested in Instagram and blogging. Before I began my influencer journey, I did not even own an actual Instagram at the time. So, I was pretty much starting completely fresh! 0 followers, 0 pics, 0 engagement.
Anyways, I’ve recently reached my first 10k followers on Instagram and I was receiving some questions on how I did it. So here are my top 10 tips to reach 10k followers! They are not ordered in importance because to me these steps are all equally crucial!
1. Don’t buy followers, likes, or use a bot!- I’ve made a point to never do these wrong things, and I am so glad I did. As a regular Instagram user, I don’t know if I could easily identify users who buy engagement; but, to anyone in marketing, pr management, and the blogging community, it is blatantly obvious. It may seem exciting at first! These sites and apps might even use words like authentic and consistent; but trust me, it never is. I know bloggers personally who have done this and it bites them in the butt every time. Your likes and engagement per post will be inconsistent and I mean REALLY inconsistent! Myself with a 10k following is getting better collaborations than someone with 70k followers because my audience is more authentic than their audience and my engagement % is higher as well, and trust me, BRANDS pay close attention to this. It’s super sad because I can see why someone would want to do this quick fix of buying engagement, but it truly hurts you in the end.
2. Consistency is key- work up to the point where you are posting everyday! No excuses! I am lucky that I have a “insta to be husband” and I work on my own schedule from home. But don’t get it twisted, I have blogger girlfriends with full time 9-5 jobs and no boyfriend to take their pic everyday. They have to be prepared and have their content planned out at least a week in advance. If you are just beginning, try and post every other day for the first month and once you get into a routine start posting once a day. My goal is to begin posting sometimes twice a day this year! Yikes! (But so exciting)
3. Grow a support group of influencers and bloggers in your area- This is a huge one for me. Once I started tapping into the blogger community and developing relationships with other bloggers, doors started opening for me. Networking is a huge part of this business. I began to get invited to these events that some of my favorite brands were hosting and would result into a collaboration. Most importantly though, this is a tough business that requires perseverance, commitment, drive, and a tough skin. These are qualities we will all lack at times. It’s important to surround yourself with people who understand and can give you that little boost you need to set yourself right again. Side Tip: when bloggers first start out they will take each other’s pics to save money on professional photographers.
4. Quality content- it is rare that any influencers first content will be perfect. That’s okay! Strive to always improve. I am sometimes mortified of the pictures I first posted when starting instagram, but hey, you have to start somewhere. I know I’m not alone either. Some of the most famous bloggers in the world feel the same way. But we all leave these pics up because there is a beauty in the process of improving and I will never stop. Always strive to improve your filming, writing, pictures, captions, and topics you want to speak about.
5. Stay Authentic with partnerships and collaborations- this is another really important point for me lately. When you reach 5k a lot of brands will start asking you to feature their products... free stuff is tempting!!! At 10k, paid partnership offers are even more tempting. But, you have a responsibility to your following to show them what you would actually own, as if it wasn’t being gifted to you. Also make sure you are being selective! I have seen bloggers have a different gadget or product in each photo and their feed and blog become desaturated. Be natural and true to yourself! Your followers will respond well to that.
6. Step out of your comfort zone- Don’t be afraid to try new things! Always evolve! If you never change and grow, I believe your brand becomes stale and boring.
7. Develop a brand- Know the niche you are going for and if you don’t know it at first, it’s okay to experiment and change. I originally was in a travel niche but I realized so many of my followers wanted an inside look to all areas of my life, and I realized I wanted to give that to them! I share all things lifestyle and fashion with my insta family. This is my perfect little niche and I am obsessed with it! I wake up excited to share my ootd and what I am doing that day, but others may cringe at having that obligation and that’s okay. It’s entirely up to you!
8. Engage on Instagram- I Cannot Stress This Enough!! You cannot expect anyone to visit your page if they don’t know you exist. You need to spread the love!!! Find instagrams you enjoy and comment and like their photos. Also engage with your following on your own Instagram profile. Always respond to comments on your pictures and respond to your DMs. I love communicating with my insta family. They are my friends and they are trusting me to be honest and open with them.
Communication is key in any relationship, including your Instagram relationships. I recommend setting some time aside everyday to engage with your social media community and get your name out there.
9. Set goals- Set both realistic goals and dream goals. The realistic goals are meant to keep you accountable and should be able to be reached without a problem. For example, the number of likes you want to get or followers to have or quality content you want to provide at the time. These goals truly keep me motivated. Dreams goals are meant to super-boost you and keep you hungry. I am more motivated when I set these for myself. I met two of my dream goals this week and I am feeling more motivated than ever! It was a dream goal of mine to get 2k likes on a picture and 10k followers. Also, I always wanted to work with one of my favorite designers NA-KD and Thieves Like Us. My latest dream goal now is it to have 50k followers by a certain time this coming year.
10. Don’t copy other influencers- this is kind of a negative note to end on, but it’s an important one. Many influencers work hard to create unique content. By content I mean photos, captions, blog topics, insta stories, blog designs, and YouTube editing. I can understand why new bloggers feel like in order to be successful, they need to imitate someone else. But, that couldn’t be further from the truth. You are going to make it when you bring something fresh and new to the table. Always take inspiration, that’s what Instagram is for right? But make sure you make it your own. I’ve posted a specific concept before on my insta stories or captions, and have seen bloggers in my Instagram/blogging community pretty much do the same exact thing the very next day. I take it as flattery, because at the end of the day imitation is the highest form of flattery. Be yourself because you’re smart and beautiful and it will show through 100x more than if you are trying to be someone else.