Instagram sees roughly 800 million unique users a month.

Your goal? Get just 10,000 of those users to like your content enough to click the ‘follow’ button.

Now that might seem like an easy job, given the mathematics, but as any Instagram user or brand will tell you, getting to that magic number can be more difficult than anticipated. In fact, even success stories from brands hitting this marker typically take place over six months or more, suggesting just how much time and effort building a following this size requires.

So, how do you go about reaching that magic number, besides just hard work and time? We spoke to 6 Instagrammers from a range of niches about just how they reached it, and what they would suggest to others to do the same.

Read their advice here:

Keep it real

Lifestyle blogger Tiffany Brien says that authenticity is key.

“I just shared my life, kept it real and genuine and it seemed to relate to a lot of people and that’s when my following began to rise.”

It’s little wonder why Tiffany suggests that this honesty is why she has attracted a following of over 50,000. Instagram is rife with fakery, from photoshopped waists to products which simply don’t deliver the results they promise. Don’t deceive your followers and engage with them in a genuine way – they will appreciate it and stick around for more.

Avoid growth gimmicks

Fashion blogger Avril from A Life To Style says to ditch the gimmicks and put in the time.

“My 10k followers were 4 years in the making. That’s how I got there. By producing original honest content in real time that truly reflects me and my life. And waiting. I also recommend ignoring numbers. I’d rather have 1000 genuine followers than have 10000 that is 90% fake accounts/other bloggers/people who don’t even look at your work or know who you are.”

Now that you can buy 100 followers for as little as $3, it might be tempting to boost your following by splashing a little cash, but remember that while your follower count will be high, your likes and comments will be low, if you get any at all.

Prioritise quality

Matthew Thompson runs the Best of Belfast blog and podcast. He says he’s got to where he is now by putting his content quality first.

“You may be sick to death of hearing the adage ‘quality is king’ but unfortunately there is just no way around it. Quality content rises to the top… Quite literally, as the Instagram algorithm no longer pumps out posts in chronological order but works its magic to champion content that the community engages in the most.

For a whole year I posted every single day on Best Of Belfast. (At the start it was 3 times day!) In order to prioritise quality I made the decision to post less. The results? An increase in engagements and a decrease in my workload. I may be ‘reaching’ fewer people per week… But the posts I am putting out there are going further than ever before.”

Post the content you want to see

“I always say that you should only post content that you want to see, don’t post for the sake of posting,” says health and fitness blogger Gluten Free Fi . “Avoid typical Instagram cliches that people have seen a thousand times over, don’t do it for the numbers and to be completely authentic.”

As part of the community you are trying to reach, you are an ideal litmus test for whether your content is worthwhile or not. Ask yourself and answer honestly whether you would like to see the post in question on your timeline. Would you like it, or stop to comment? If you are more likely to keep scrolling, reconsider the post.

Network

Annette from positivity blog Little Penny Thoughts says that networking and learning from others is an important part of your Instagram growth, so remember to actually connect with other people in your niche.

This obviously includes replying to messages and comments from others on your own posts, but reaching out to other users as well and making yourself known that way. It’s important to give as well as take, so spread a little love and invest in the community you want to sell to.

Not only will you establish yourself as an active member of that particular community, but you’ll find yourself inspired by their content – the kinds of captions they use, what pictures you find particularly impressive (and got the most engagement).

Pick a theme

Paul at Harlso the Balancing Hound says, “The most successful Instagram accounts typically have a theme, so we keep our posts fitting with our own: Harlso, and his talents. That doesn’t mean we just post the same thing all the time. It’s actually really important to stay relevant and topical, like posting seasonal greetings or commenting on a trend, such as fidget spinners in 2017.”

Choosing a theme for your Instagram page is a great way to appeal to a niche community, or even just make a unique name for yourself, much like Harlso the Balancing Hound.

Moreover, themes can also help Instagram users decide to follow you. If they know that you publish consistently, similar content to the picture or post they originally discovered and enjoyed, then that makes it an easy decision to click ‘follow’. If that one post they liked was just a one off on your feed, they will move on to explore other pages instead.

As we’ve already said, growing your Instagram following isn’t easy. It takes time, hard work and plenty of talent, but if you’re willing to wait it out and really engage with the platform, you will find your numbers clocking up day by day. Just don’t lose sight of the real people on the other side of your marketing strategy and you’ll make it there.

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