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The Instagram Growth Strategy that No One is Talking About.

How to grow your followers on Instagram in a way that is non-sleezy or annoying, to gain real quality followers

How to grow your following on Instagram the non-sleezy way.

This post is a follow up from my Periscope all about this tip.  To hear more tips, ticks, and real strategies that work for social media and blog traffic generation, make sure to follow me @thepinningmama.

When I made the decision earlier this year that I was going to start a new Instagram account, I went into my semi-obsessive {okay, full disclosure- totally obsessive} research mode where I tried to learn everything out there about how people were finding success on Instagram.

If I heard you need to have beautiful, sharp, pretty, crisp images one more time I was going to bang my head into the wall.  YES!  That is a super important point of having an account that people want to follow, stay around, and engage with (after all it is a platform composed almost totally of photographs,) BUT I knew that wasn’t the secret sauce to growth.  I have a lot of friends that I am in complete AWE of their feed.  They have amazing photography.  They share beautiful pictures.  Their commentary is cute, witty, or downright hilarious.  But then I look up and see they only have maybe 3000 followers.

Now don’t get me wrong, that is nothing to shrug at.  3000 is a huge accomplishment.  But if the look of their feed determined their following, I would have guessed they had tens of thousands of followers.  So yes, the look, feel and quality of the feed is important in a big way, and without a doubt will convince people to hit follow once they find you and keep them around for the long term, but my question was HOW do you get that person there in the first place?!

When I was brainstorming for my new pet project Instagram account (@easyfamilyrecipes),  I started thinking about that a lot.  I have some good ideas on how to keep people with me, but how do I get discovered?  Since there is no share button like on Facebook, you miss out that part of social media where you do what you see your friends doing,  or rather you follow who you see your friends following.

So how would people see me?  How would I capture an audience? Then it hit me.

My feed.

I have always thought a lot about what I put out on my account that will go to other people’s feeds, but I have not thought a great deal about what I see on my account’s feed (ie who I follow with the account and what they post.)  It was generally filled with blogging friends, some personal friends and family, and accounts I came across that looked cool.  I was using my feed (since I was the only one that would see it right?) as a personal thing.  I was doing it all wrong.

I started thinking about this curated, specific, targeted account I was creating.  These beautiful pictures that were all bright, sharp, and engaging.  I had defined the exact person I wanted to be my follower.

I spent that day cleaning out my feed.  I deleted all of my friends and family (I would follow them elsewhere… nothing personal) and every single person I followed whose audience didn’t exactly match my ideal audience.  Then I revamped my feed by following accounts whose audience perfectly matches mine.

Now when I open my account instead of seeing a lot of things I might personally like, and maybe a few who actually relate to my business, I see exactly what I need to be seeing for as long as my little finger can scroll.

This does two things:  First, it allows me to keep on top of my industry on this platform.  I can see what people are doing, sharing, and what is working well for others.  It is like a super targeted way to capture exactly what your niche is doing in just a few seconds.  It is inspiring and helps me make sure I am always going in the right direction and developing new ideas.

Secondly though, and this is the secret sauce, it gives you a place to be seen by people you hand picked to love you!  No I am not talking about the account you are following.  If I follow Cooking Light magazine, I am not expecting them to follow me back, but if I comment on their post, then people who follow Cooking Light (i.e. my ideal audience) see EasyFamilyRecipes and think, “Hey, what is that?  I need some easy recipes!” and will click over to my account.  Then those beautiful curated pictures work their magic and I get a follow.

By following a feed filled with people who have my same audience, and commenting on my feed frequently, I am putting myself in the place to be noticed by the audience I want.

The magic comes from commenting on accounts that have an audience that matches yours.  I try to go through my account’s feed as often as possible and just comment on as many of the pictures in the feed as possible.  And guess what?  Every time I do it, I get a spike in followers.  The best part?  It is not annoying at all.  It isn’t a strategy that you have to follow a bunch of people and hope they follow you back, then go back through and unfollow, or any other get followers quick type scheme.  It isn’t going and trying to interact with people or things you don’t genuinely care about just so they might follow you.  What it is, is putting your account in front of eyes that should like what you curate on your account, by commenting on stuff you really do love.  Simple as that.

One Trick for growing your Instagram followers that is not at all annoying and really works!

The super bonus freebie to this is that it also creates more engagement.  When you are often commenting, liking and sincerely engaging (and it should be sincere since you filled your feed with people who have an audience of exactly what you want to post about) then those people start to engage and talk to you more in return.

My @easyfamilyrecipes account has grown from about 0-10K in about 6 months and this was a huge part of my strategy.  I have a few other tips I look forward to sharing soon, but wanted to make sure and share this first!

When I look back on it, it seems pretty simple and straightforward. Maybe that is because it is, but I never hear people talking about the power of using the feed of people you follow on your account.  So if you are like me and have a business account following things that reflect you personally, give it a makeover and create a feed that reflects what you need to see professionally and see how it goes!  If this helped you, or you have other great Instagram tips, I would love for you to leave a comment and let me know!

New Comment


  1. says

    This has been the most helpful and obvious way to achieve my goal of growing followers! I don’t know why I didn’t think of this sooner. Thanks for sharing this little secret!


  2. says

    Oh my gosh, FABULOUS advice! Funny how we tend not to think of the obvious, isn’t it? I love using instagram but have struggled with building up my followers. Definitely going to implement this!

    • says

      I hope it works as well for you as it has for me. I know that the key to building community is connection so it was a total AHA moment for me when I figured this out!

  3. Kevin Shepard says

    That’s a well-written and very passionate article) I can feel it how serious you are about your Instagram, and this is awesome, it makes you a really attractive blogger) Copying the competitors’ followers is an organic part of such strategy, you might like for this function working very-well. They give a trial period of 3 days, i’m sure you’ll be able to enhance your strategy with it. Good luck;)

  4. says

    Thank you for this article! I just started my blog and I’ve been trying to promote my blog. my current followers are really only interested in my personal picture and not my blog content. I will be trying this soon especially by making a separate curated blog account. ❤️❤️❤️

  5. Danielle says

    Great article! I have a following of 18.6 k and I was searching for a way to gain for interactive genuine followers and you hit the nail on the head! Thank you
    Danielle @sweetelliesue

    • says

      Hi Lydia! Thanks for your comment. You know I had the best of intentions but haven’t gotten to it yet. I am hoping to spend some time putting together posts on blogging and social media tips that have worked for me, so hopefully I can get them up soon!

  6. says

    Found this post on Pinterest and I’m super glad that I checked out your tips. I am looking to grow followers and engagement on my @balancednotbusy page. I plan to clean up my feed tonight so that I can be inspired 1st thing in the morning :) Thank you again!

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