Getting the first 1000 followers on Instagram will probably be the hardest part of your entire Instagram journey, but if you're off to a good start, it's easier to build up from there.
And that is why you should be making extra effort to propel yourself towards your first milestone.
Reaching those first 1000 Instagram followers is never a piece of cake unless you go viral or something, and truth be told –it only happens to one person out of a million. You might not have that kind of luck, but you do have some tried and tested measures you can take to increase your reach and attract the target audience.
So, let's get to them straight away and help you get your Instagram account the followers it deserves!
1. Optimize Your Instagram Account
Hearing the term optimization, you might have felt it’ll be too technical for you. But to put simply, optimization is creating or customizing your Instagram Profile (whether Business, Creators or Personal) in such a way so that it works best with the algorithm of the system. (For more information about Instagram algorithm, you can read this article) link to the article “12 Facts About Instagram Algorithm You Really Need to Know".
Take it this way, the Instagram algorithm or the platform itself is the tide, and once you create your Instagram account, you're sailing on it. The more you go against the tide, the more hindrance you'll face, and the slower your journey will be. However, the better you align yourself with it, the easier it'll be for you to move forward.
Unlike tides in the water, which can be going in the direction opposite to your desired one, Instagram tides are always your desired direction.
So, your aim as a beginner Instagrammer should be to understand the direction of the Instagram algorithm (the tide) and optimize your entire account accordingly.
With that in mind, let’s focus on the parts of the Instagram account that you can optimize:
Your IG name should be searchable and must contain your name or your company's, so the users have no trouble recognizing your account. At the same time, make sure it’s not something too hard to remember or type in.
If you're entirely new, one of the better choices would be a name that tells the reader instantly about your business or the field of work.
For example, the influencer Makrianb runs an Instagram account with the name @smilesquad that's both easy to remember, simple to search, and can bring lots of random traffic as it contains two simple words.
Also, the name pretty much gives you an idea of what they do –bringing smiles to people's faces.
A random, unattractive image will surely repel any user who would have otherwise looked into your profile. Help the users recognize you by putting up the company's logo, or if you go solo, a nice picture of yourself with your face clearly visible.
Your Instagram bio is a quick way to turn random strollers into followers.
Write about yourself, your company, and what your account is about and try to integrate keywords into it.
For example, the travel enthusiast Eva zu Beck starts her bio with a keyword "Adventure Travel" written in bold, followed by her name. She then tells about herself and what she does. In the third and fourth lines, she invites her audience to join her in her adventures in a very subtle way.
She also has a link of her latest YouTube video in the bio, directing the traffic towards her Youtube channel. You can notice that she has added emojis to her bio to make it more attractive and friendly.
For more information on how to create a gorgeous Instagram bio, click here. (link it to the “HOW TO CREATE AN INSTAGRAM BIO ARTICLE)
2. Use Tags Wherever Possible
Instagram lets you use several tags to increase the relevancy of your content. Each Instagram tag works differently, but they are a sure way to accelerate yourself towards your first 1000 Instagram followers.
There are a wide variety of tags present on Instagram, but to define them broadly, we can put them in the following three categories:
● Profile tags
You use these tags to link to other accounts on your Instagram stories and posts. If you are tagging a famous brand -for example, when using their products - your posts will appear on the 'tagged posts' section of their accounts that might bring in some traffic from their profiles.
Furthermore, you have a chance of getting featured on the brand's account for using their products/services and making a post about it. This way, you can also direct some of their followers to your account.
If you are tagging a not-so-famous profile, they can then tag you back on their posts. This way, you can build a small partnership with them, and help each other achieve your desired followers count.
A perfect way to use your hashtags is to think of them in terms of both keywords and relevancy-enhancing tools. There are tons of different hashtags on Instagram, including location hashtags, niche hashtags, and trending hashtags. Each serves a slightly different purpose, but every one of them is there to help people find you.
For example, a user searching for the yoga pose "downward dog" might run into your IGTV video or post about it if you have tagged it #downwarddog.
Similarly, using one or two company-specific or brand-specific hashtags in every post compiles them together under one place (that hashtag) on Instagram.
You can also encourage people to use these hashtags in the posts they make about you. Having other people talking about you is a cheap and fast way to establish your authenticity as a brand or a business. Once people know you are legit, the interested ones won’t leave without a follow.
● Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags on a post, and the limit for stories is only 10, but you don’t necessarily need to put all of them. Just the relevant, specific ones that have low competition will do the job. You can find them on Instagram Explore by going through the related hashtags suggestions.
● Don’t repeat the same hashtags for every post or story. Instagram might mark your content as spam, and it will hurt your profile.
Just like location hashtags, geotags make your Instagram profile easy to find, especially for the local audience.
With the geotag added, your post will get saved for that location forever, and anyone searching for that location may find it, and if they like your content, they may even end up following you.
3. Speak Through Quality Content
You will fail completely despite the efforts and doing everything else right if your content isn’t likeable or captures the general audience.
The first 1000 Instagram followers will be the ones trusting you with little to no social proof. For them to find you worthy of a follow, you need to give them something incredible.
Even the Instagram algorithm gives you preference and shows your profile to people having interests related to your work if your followers show engagement in your content.
And for that –you have to make the content that your audience will love!
You can take care of the following aspects of your Instagram content to get more Instagram followers:
Content for everyone:
As your account starts to grow, and the number of followers starts to increase, it will get harder to have posts targeting every type of audience you have at once.
Your followers may all be the ones having a general interest in your niche, but their wants and likes may differ on a deeper level.
Try to stay up-to-date with the kind of audience you have, and make sure you create content targeted at each group separately.
If you don’t see how good picture quality can help you get more followers, think of all the sponsored posts that appear in your feed as you scroll. If the picture pops at you, you will check out their profile and might even follow it.
You don’t have to be a professional photographer or a photo editor to be successful on Instagram, but having some basic editing skills is no wonder a plus.
If not, you don't have to worry! There are tons of free applications available that let you enhance the quality of your pictures. (Read this article about 30 Instagram apps you can use to make gorgeous Instagram stories)
Make them aesthetically pleasing and eye-catching, and the audience will pause for a look!
You can use your brand colours to create a themed profile or landscape, portrait and colour pop themes for your photography profile. The idea behind this is to make your profile attractive and consistent.
Themed profiles attract the first-time audience quite well and give a great first impression, and for most users, it's the first impression that decides whether they will tap on that follow button.
Here are a few themed profiles for your inspiration:
Over the years, Instagram has added many new ways of making and posting video content. From Instagram Live to IGTV to the latest Instagram Reels, you can use whichever type suits your content the best, but it’s better to mix them all together.
If your videos are engaging enough, making them longer may be beneficial. Once the Instagram algorithm starts noticing the time people are spending on them, it will make your profile more visible to new audiences.
Reels and Lives can also help you in similar ways to get more Instagram followers.
Good captions are the embellishments you need for your posts.
But what is a ‘good caption’?
A good Instagram caption is the one that attracts viewers and increases engagements on your posts. The recommended length for an Instagram caption is under 125 characters. Creating captions this long ensures that the entirety of it appears in the feed of your followers.
There are multiple ways by which you can make your captions more attractive to your audience.
For instance, you can ask a question in the caption to which your audience will respond, or write a call-to-action caption to direct viewers towards your products.
Furthermore, you can add emojis to the captions to make your posts and captions look more appealing and user-friendly.
You can even share some experience related to the post that your audience might find relatable. You will see tons of people commenting and interacting in the comments section if you hit the target!
4. Research and Benefit from Your Competitors:
You can benefit from both types of your competitors –the ones who are starting new and the ones who have built a large customer hub/audience over time.
Research the top ones to understand their strategy and work together with the starting ones to help each other in mutual concerns.
Researching the top competitors:
If you’re new to Instagram, the best way to understand how it works is by checking what your top competitors in the field are doing differently.
Scrutinize their feed as you focus on the following aspects of their Instagram account:
● How regularly they post and update their profile
● How they mix up the different types of posts and stories
● Which types of tags they use more often
● How they react to the different types of comments
● Which types of accounts they follow and tag in their posts
● How they keep their followers engaged using different activities, like ‘ask a question’ stories
● Any other aspect that they are doing differently from your account.
Researching your top competitors will give you a deep insight into how you can improve your Instagram profile, and you'll get to learn from those 'experienced' accounts to get those first 1000 Instagram followers faster.
Team-up with the new ones:
You might find struggling or emerging brands on Instagram with less than 1000 followers, or a relatively lower follower count. You can join hands with such people to get more exposure.
For instance, you can follow each other and tag each other in different posts (where relevant). This can bring some of their followers and audience to your account and the other way round.
Such an audience will have interests related to your business, brand or work and will be much more likely to follow you than those who land on your profile through other sources.
5. Keep your audience engaged:
There's a high chance of people unfollowing you if you don't keep your account alive. If this keeps on happening, reaching that 1000 followers mark might become a little too hard as you will keep losing and gaining new ones.
To get more followers and ensure that they stay, focus on the following factors:
In the beginning, you'll have to create a few posts in bulk. But once you get a few followers, create a regular posting schedule.
Keep updating your feed, and make sure that your content is always the best effort you make for your followers. Don’t over-post, or your followers might get annoyed.
As a company, you can hire a social media manager to check on the time table, content quality, and engagement factors. Or if you want a cheaper and better solution, here are some of our Instagram Planners and Calendars that include killer post ideas with the perfect times to post them!
Use IG Stories and Live efficiently:
Instagram provides tons of different features with its stories that you can use to interact with your audience.
You can create different polls to understand the type of content your followers like (if you're an individual), or which service/product is the most popular amongst your Instagram consumer hub (if you’re a company or a brand).
Let your followers ask you whatever they have had in their minds through ‘ask a question’ feature, or do ‘call-to-action’ activities on your stories.
Additionally, you can use Instagram Live to connect with your audience in real-time. These Live videos can help you to build trust amongst your followers at a personal level.
And if you are a brand, not only will they become loyal customers but also a source to spread the word about your business and even your Instagram account.
Reply to those comments and DMs:
Engage with the comments on your posts. And instead of sending automated responses; keep them personalized, humble, and friendly.
Your audience will mimic the energy you put into your interactions with them, and they will even follow you back and tell their friends and family to do so.
This will not only help you in reaching those first 1000 followers faster but will also give you a dedicated community of followers. It can prove to be even more beneficial for brands or companies as they can increase their chance of getting potential customers out of these followers.
The same goes for the direct messages you will be receiving. At the start, you won’t be getting too many DMs and so, replying to all of them won’t be a problem.
Just don’t go with automated replies, as this can be a turn-off for many people, especially if you are a new account.
Hold different events:
As a brand, you can hold different giveaways and other similar events, which will drastically improve your audiences’ engagement as more and more people tend to participate in them.
As your account’s engagement increases, its visibility amongst newer audiences having similar interests will start to improve as well. And that will ultimately lead to new followers!
So, are you ready to get your first 1000 Instagram followers?
Follow the tips in this post, and you should be well on your way! It might take some hard work, and dedication is a must if you want real success, but the result will surely be worth it.