How I Grew My Instagram Following to Over 10k

Are you looking to build an audience on Instagram, but the upkeep feels draining? You see so many of your competitors having a beautiful feed of images with amazing content to boot! And you start to think – WHY DOESN’T MY INSTAGRAM LOOK AMAZING!? 

Lucky for you, I’ve done the heavy lifting for you! I’m going to show you how to cultivate your following on Instagram and take the stress out of running on the social media treadmill. Stick around, and I promise you’ll leave today with tools you can use to revamp your Instagram feed right away!


Today I’m going to cover several of my important tips for curating and cultivating your Instagram feed. You can click on the links below to jump to any section that you’d like to learn more about: 

Take the Stress Out of Planning Your Instagram Content

I’ve got an entire breakdown of How to Create a Month’s Worth of Social Media Content in One Morning on my website that I highly encourage you to bookmark after this. I need you to know that the process of content creation only feels daunting when you don’t have a plan in place. When you take control and carve out a morning to plan your content schedule, you will be amazed at how painless it is to build an entire year’s worth of content for your feed. I’m so proud of this, and it always makes me smile whenever I hear that a client has taken my advice to heart and they come back and said, “Jennie, you were right! It was so much easier than I thought!”

Help Your Followers Find You

Remember Field of Dreams? “If you build it, they will come” has never been more true than in our modern age of social media. There are people out there scrolling Instagram interested in what you have to offer, but they don’t know you’re out there! It is important to ignore those nagging thoughts that keep us from being proud and outspoken about our passions and businesses and confidently put your message there! 

When you post on a scheduled basis and use appropriate hashtags, like-minded people WILL find your page, but you need to help them discover you!

Use Appropriate Hashtags

This tip is so easy to overlook! Instagram uses hashtags from posts you interact with to curate your feed with more posts it thinks you’ll like. So if you want the algorithm to put your posts in front of new followers, you need to use the hashtags they’ll most likely find on other posts they like! 

#love is an example of a popular trending hashtag used on over 1.8 billion posts. That means you’re competing for eyeballs with nearly 2 billion other posts, and using that one hashtag alone is unlikely to send your post over to people who are most likely to seek out more of your content. The key to using hashtags intelligently on Instagram is curating trending, general, and niche tags up to the maximum 30 allowed. When you combine trending tags with general and niche ones, you’re targeting potential new followers rather than crossing your fingers and hoping by using all trending hashtags. 

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Resource: Holiday #Hashtag Yearly Calendar – If you want to extend your social media marketing reach, then the effective use of hashtags is a must! Unique hashtags are the perfect way to get people to notice you and your business, but coming up with them can be a pain. To save you some time (the most valuable resource of any small-business owners), I’ve put together this monthly hashtag calendar, with hashtags ranging from the common (Feb 14th – #valentinesday) to the utterly bizarre (July 14th – #sharkawarenessday)! #enjoy!

Use Social Squares to Level Up Your Instagram Visuals

Not everyone has access to or time to plan photoshoots every time they want to post an enticing photo on Instagram. But with IG being a visuals-first platform, you need to make sure that the images you post convey your message with vibrancy and charm if you’re ever going to attract new followers. When I found Social Squares, it changed the game for me! Social Squares is a stock image website where you get access to incredible photos you can use to add a striking visual to your posts on Instagram and beyond. I use it all the time, and the beauty and professional-grade photos you can choose from are perfect for catching attention and making potential new followers take a second look at your profile!

Invite Your Audience to Interact

Ask your audience genuine questions! Your Instagram feed is an incredible opportunity to learn about the likes and interests of your most dedicated followers. People who follow you on Instagram want the excuse to interact with your posts, so give them ample opportunity! Choose relevant, open-ended questions that will help you learn about your audience that begins with openers like:

  • What do you think about _______?
  • What’s/Where’s/Who’s your favorite _______?
  • Which _______ do you prefer?
  • Tell me about the last time _____ happened to you!
  • Would you rather…?

It’s okay to drop in the occasional question that only requires a yes/no or a one-word answer. Those responses still help show Instagram’s algorithm that people are interacting with your content and should show it to more people. Still, those responses won’t offer as much insight into your audience as the previous examples.

Consider Hiring a Digital Marketing Team to Run Your Instagram

If it’s still too much for you to handle, maybe it’s time to consider investing in your online presence. Do so by reaching out to a skilled digital marketing team to manage your social media scheduling! My team and I know exactly how to build social media using your voice and message to support you and your brand online. As always, I invite you to give me a call. Let’s discuss how to improve your social media and grow your audience!

My Challenge For You

Today, one thing you can do that will make a massive difference in how Instagram works for you is to build a list of hashtags that make sense for your page. Look up the currently trending hashtags. Then choose ten that make sense for your page, and select ten general tags and ten niche tags. 

For the next two weeks, add all of those tags to the bottom of every post whenever you post. After two weeks, check your stats and see if you gained more followers than two weeks before this little hashtag experiment. I bet you’ll see a positive increase in your follower count!

Ongoing Action Steps 

  • Watch, Listen, or Read my content to create a month’s worth of social media posts in one morning to get started!
  • Decide on a color palette for your Instagram gallery. I suggest starting with four colors that you can replicate in a pattern repeatedly. 
  • Find five images of each of those four colors at Social Squares (or wherever you get your imagery)
  • Write posts that go with each of those images (again, follow the plan outline in the aforementioned content. 
  • Include the hashtags you curated in our weekly challenge and add them to every post.
  • Schedule your posts simultaneously using a scheduling system (I love Later!)
  • Get into Instagram for at least 15 minutes every day and engage, engage, engage. 

My team at Jennie Lyon Digital Marketing Services Inc. and I are passionate about making social media work for you without making work for you! We’re more than happy to help you take your business to the next level. Set up a free call with me anytime. I’d love to see how we can curate your social media and grow your audience!

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About Jennie Lyon

Jennie Lyon is the founder of Jennie Lyon Virtual Assistant Services. Jennie specializes in helping busy entrepreneurs organize, manage, develop and promote their brand! She is devoted to helping small business owners and entrepreneurs with social media, content creation, email marketing, client relations, website management, and administration services. If you are a small business owner, coach or self-employed entrepreneur struggling to find enough time in your day to focus on what you really love - schedule a free 15 minute consultation with Jennie.

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