Instagram Marketing 101: How Foundr Got 10,000 Instagram Followers In Two Weeks



By Nathan Chan 

Followers. It’s the ultimate Instagram metric that basically states in raw numbers how popular you are. For brands, it defines how many people will be able to see all the nice images you publish. Followers are basically like cute puppies; the more you have, the better off you are.

So the big question is, how do you get more followers on Instagram? to make your business explode? Like, lots of followers? And quick? Well, we might have found one pretty good solution of doing just that.

About two weeks ago, Foundr launched its Instagram account (you can find it here. Check it out!) Within two weeks, we went from 0 followers, to over 10,000. We achieved this by following a relatively straight-forward process we hacked together. We’ve written out all the steps in the process, so read on if you’re interested in growing your Instagram account and making your business explode!

As you can see from the image below, Instagram has increased our customer conversion rate by over 30%!

  1. Generate content your customers like

The first step is to get more followers on Instagram is to generate the right content. This might seem obvious, but we always see it get neglected. Find out what your customers enjoy seeing on Instagram or what themes resonates with them, and populate your account with relevant images. A good way to find out what your customers like is by checking out what your competition is posting up, or what kind of imagery is used in the websites or blogs that are popular in your industry. There are some types of images that work well with most industries in general though; posters with inspirational or humorous quotes, food photography or scenic images are a safe bet in general. If you’re in a industry where what you’re selling is already visually appealing, photos of what you do is not a bad idea as well. However, keep those kind of images you to a minority; posting a lot about yourself on social media is just like being the person at BBQs who only talks about themselves.

On Instagram, engagement is king. For best results, we found that images which trigger an emotion or questions that elicit some thought work really well. For example, this image below got over 10% engagement. For Instagram, we’re told that 1% engagement is really good already, so go figure!

2. Post Regularly

Aim to post on a regular basis, somewhere between once every three to four hours. However, don’t bulk post a whole bunch of photos in one sitting; users will often regard this as spam and unfollow you. Think of it like sowing seeds, you don’t want to just plug all your seeds into one hole in one go; you want to spread them out.

You can also schedule your content if you use a tool like JustUnfollow. Unfortunately Instagram’s API doesn’t let other services post for you, but you can pre-fill and batch them.

*Please note you can only post from the Instagram Mobile or Tablet app. You cannot post via the website when you are logged in.

3. Have a strong call to action in your Instagram biography

Let’s be honest. No-one really reads bios anymore. However, you can still make use of the bio section by using a strong call to action (which is basically marketing speak for an instruction for your viewer to do something). You can use up to 150 characters so a short snappy CTA works best. For us, it was “Get your free copy of Foundr today!”.

Definitely still write something small about what you do, but try keeping it to one sentence, and then follow that up with a direct, compelling and no-nonsense CTA. 

4. Use #s

Hashtags might just seem like something that annoying teenaged girls say, but that’s not quite true. Hashtags are a way for viewers to navigate easily to topics they’re interested in. Attaching #hashtag(s) to your image therefore enables your content to be found easier by those who don’t already follow you. First, research what the most popular hashtags are to your niche, and then compile them together. For us, this involved building a huge list of keywords that we found were relevant to what we do and what our images generally are about. Second, write a comment on the photo and insert the hashtags there. Remembers, don’t put your hashtags into the description of the photo itself. The reason for this is that the comment section will hide your list of keywords and doesn’t unnecessarily bulk up your photo description, allowing you to you keep your description section free for a compelling blurb about the photo.

5. Have a strong call to action with each photo

Under the description in each photo, include another call to action (CTA). This CTA would be more relevant to the photo, and probably would not be the same as the one you used in your bio.
Examples of CTAs are ‘tag your friends who are like this’, or ‘double tap if you agree’. Always give your fans something to do. This helps your account spread like wildfire.

6. Follow others

In one of our previous posts, we stated that one of the keys of content marketing came down to copying others. When it comes to Instagram marketing, it is no different and with the right tools, we can copy even the users another brand has. In order to help us do this, we found this super cool, super powerful tool called ‘Crowdfire’. Crowdfire allows you to see which people follow a specified brand, and allows you to follow those users. It also allows you to unfollow those who have not followed you back. Why this tool is so good is that it allows you to find out which people would be potentially interested in your brand. For us, we searched up other brands such as Fast Company, found out which people followed that brand, and started to follow those people via the ‘Copy Follower’ function. Following someone on Instagram gives them a notification that links them to your own page and gives them a chance to follow you back, so following a lot of people allows you to pique the interest of a lot of others.

Another feature of Crowdfire shows you which users you follow, but don’t follow you back. This allows you to quickly unfollow those who are uninterested in what you do. We got a paid account for $9.99 a month, which unlocked the ability for us to hide which users we had followed and then unfollowed in the past, preventing us from following the same person twice.
Keep in mind due to Instagram restrictions, you are only allowed to perform 400 actions a day (an action either being a follow or unfollow). Therefore, make sure you max out the number of actions you perform every single day. We got in into the routine of 3 days of copying followers, and then one day of unfollowing.

7. Network, network, network (Mutual Shares)

Networking can create wonders, not only in real life, but also in the social media sphere. There are accounts on Instagram that will do a “share for a share”, allowing your content to make an appearance on other pages if you do the same. Do a quick hunt for these pages in your industry (they aren’t hard to find), and get in touch.

Join Nichify The World's Largest Network for Social Networkers Today  // Created by social media networkers, for social media networkers. With over 350M in combined social reach you're bound to find the exposure your page needs.

When we started, we also managed to get introduced into this huge network of entrepreneurs, all with accounts of over 20,000+ followers. They helped us out big time by sharing our content, and there are similar networks existing for all kinds of industries with users who are all willing to help out, so long as you return the favor, of course! Remember, if you help people and don’t expect anything in return, not only is it good karma, but comes back to you 10 fold. So, don’t approach joining and teaming up with other accounts with an attitude of “what’s in it for me?”. Rather, think of it has just helping your fellow man out, and you never know, good things may happen to you down the track.

8. Shoutouts (Paid)

Lastly, we spent about $100 paying for shoutouts from other popular accounts. Research on the popular accounts [or on the Recommended profiles on Nichify - we added that!] that are relevant in your field, reach out to them to see if they’ll be willing to do a shoutout for you, and how much that will cost. This will let you gain access to larger networks that you previously might have not had access to before.

There are a few different types of shoutouts.

  • Caption only shoutouts: So the page uses it’s own image and style that it usually would, and mentions your page in the caption. This works, but is not as effective as your own image or branded image. This can be a cheaper alternative.
  • Your own image with your product or service + caption: This works better than just a caption based shoutout, but you have to make sure the call to action is good. Some accounts will only let you put up the image for a certain period of time, and others will let it stay. Usually the higher traffic the page, the more you see rules and restrictions.

The strategy behind the shoutouts can also vary. What we recommend is for the CTA to follow your page, as you can capture the audience and engage with them more. We have tried both pushing the Foundr subscription and getting the viewer to follow our page, and we have found it’s way more effective to get them follow you. You have to remember you can’t put clickable links in the captions, so it can be hard to get people to perform specific actions. This is why a concise bio is so important.

Prices for shoutouts will vary from account to account. We found that the pages with the best results are motivational, business accounts, so you need to find high traffic pages that have good engagement. We constitute good engagement as at least 1-2% of likes per how many followers the account has.

For an account with decent engagement and 200,000 followers, we wouldn’t pay no more than $50 per shoutout, and we would want to use our own image.

Download Nichify to start your 'shoutout' campaign today with our customizable 'Deals' function.

So those are the steps that we went through. Before you go running off to do all of that though, think about why you’re on, or want to be on Instagram, as we can’t guarantee this method will work as effectively for you as it did for us. Instagram is certainly a powerful tool, but it’s not really for everyone. A few questions you might want to ask yourself are, ‘is my industry, or what I sell visually appealing? Am I willing to share stuff around that isn’t directly related to what I sell? Do I have time to engage in a new social media platform?’If you answered no to one or more of these questions, you might want to rethink why you want to jump onto Instagram marketing, as you don’t want to be wasting resources on something that just isn’t for you. Otherwise, feel free to use our guide to boost your Instagram following! Let us know, did our guide help you? What other cool strategies have you found to reach out to more people?