Guys. A HUGE milestone that I have been working towards for a while happened to me last week. I hit 10,000 followers on Instagram! It’s a pretty big deal, and something I have been intentionally working towards since March, so I am excited to show you the steps I took to get there in 7 months.

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In February of 2016, I remember going through my Instagram account one night, and feeling that nagging feeling of jealousy when I looked at other people’s feeds. I have been using Instagram since February of 2011 with absolutely zero rhyme or reason. Just flying by the seat of my pants, throwing up fuzzy kids photos, half eaten food photos, random digital designs- you name it, I posted it. And it worked. For 5 years. I posted whenever I felt like it, and posted more and more frequently to where by 2015 I was posting on average 5 times per week.

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My following has also been growing slowly but surely. I had my Productions brand and previously my Portrait Brand getting some exposure, plus being on the Design Team of Rhonna Designs had definitely helped grow my following substantially to a nice number of almost 4,000. There were  ton of posts I LOVED and thought looked great and were just what I wanted my feed to look like, but for some reason the whole thing never FELT right to me. It didn’t flow nice and neat to the next images. There wasn’t an overarching story behind my feed as a whole. And as I sat there analyzing what was working with the accounts that I liked so much was the Cohesiveness and the Storytelling that their entire feed had. So I knew I wanted to make a change.

I decided I was going to go big and commit to posting 3 times per day every single day for a full month. Just to see what would happen. I chose a few different “Themes” I wanted to share throughout the week- some that stuck around like Hot Mess Mondays, Sunday Prep, and IG Tip Tuesday; and some that didn’t work as well or get as high engagement.

I chose to keep my photo editing style really clean and classic, and share images of what I sell periodically throughout the week as well. My color palettes all fit together, and I made sure I was sharing unique and interesting content that not only looked pretty, but helped out my tribe as well. I added photos of myself and family and our life, but made sure they made sense and were as high quality photos as the styled stock images I shared. And it worked. Even better than what I did for the past 5 years before.

I added 3,000 more followers in 90 days, so almost doubled by doing this. I started developing a system, testing out different strategies, trying out different tools, tactics, themes, ideas. All to see if I not only could impact my own following but to see if other people could use this system as well and have it work to grow their own following and engagement. Now 6 months later, in October I am at 10,254 followers; with a total engagement rate of 1.74%. I have a lot of goals I still want to meet, such as bumping up that engagement number, growing more rapidly than before, converting more of these followers into customers or at least leading them to my website. But this method I created worked for me, and they’ll probably work for you too. Just take my simple steps, put your spin on it, and make it your own.

What worked to grow my Instagram following over 6 months

1. I posted more frequently & consistently

2. I created a Game Plan

3. I focused on Connecting with Others

4. I started paying attention to What Worked

5. I tried new kinds of content

6.  I did my research to see what worked for other people who had similar audiences to me

7. I planned ahead and had an “end goal”

8. I focused on delighting & inspiring

I’m still learning, growing, changing and making mistakes. I don’t feel like I’ve so much “Cracked The Code”, as I feel like I found a Game Plan that creates results. Truly, I don’t think it really matters who’s Game Plan you use. It’s just a matter of having one, trying it out, and seeing what works best for you and your audience.

 

There’s links to other blog posts above going more in depth to each of these topics, but I have a great little freebie for you this week that you might find useful. An Instagram Tool List that I use to create my strategy, create & schedule content, and manage my connection everyday.

Please let me know your thoughts or leave questions below in the comments!

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