As you may have noticed I recently started instagram next to my blog as suggested by a good friend. It turns out that, next to writing, I love creating visual images for instagram. I love the instagram journey and I decided to write down my process for this blog for people to read and learn from. After a bit less than 3 weeks I have finally reached my 2nd milestone of 200 followers and I would love to share my thoughts with you! Please note that these are full organic engaging followers, no follow/followbacks!

The first 100 followers

With some pride I can say that I was able to get to 100 followers in a total of 6 days. I could have probably done it faster if I wasn’t so incredibly stubborn and sceptical at first.  My first post was a simple picture of a new book I bought from my own personal money booklist: The Millionaire Fastlane. I will not call the post a hit with its 6 likes but I certainly got intrigued. So I posted a quote I grabbed somewhere from the internet. That one got a lot more feedback and my follower count quickly raised. I got intrigued. I did some research and it seemed I got the hashtags all wrong. They were too big (over 1 million posts) and way too few (around 5). So with newly found energy I grabbed some hashtags from a post that was doing well from an account with not that much followers (less than 10k) and tried again. That worked like a charm. I started focussing on quotes with nice background pictures because they seemed to work well. Then I noticed some highly liked business posts from top accounts I liked a lot. They gave money and business advice and I decided to copy and slightly personalise it with my own meerkat-style. I now had a brand and a combination of picture-quotes and some advice-style posts. I have read enough books to know that in order to get to people you need to provide value. So I looked for quotes that would intrigue or motivate people and I looked for high quality content idea’s for inspiration for my advice-posts. I focussed on posting quality content at for around 3 times a day with a steady 30 hashtags that were fixed with some variable elements depending on the post. I posted once in the morning when I woke up, once in the afternoon during lunch and once in the evening around dinner. I saw a lot of book posts pass by so I transformed my top 10 books about money article into an instagram post. Besides that I started looking for other advice and tips I had been wanting to blog about but never got to and transformed them into instagram posts. Within 6 days of quality content I had reached my first milestone: my first 100 followers were in!

From 100 to 200 followers

Right after my 100th followers a new option became available “Audience”. I have a business account and in this function I could see were my followers came from and when they were online. I also started using the “insight” function a lot more to see what worked well and what worked less. The insight function can be useful but is mostly based on estimates that are often obviously wrong. For example my reach, the amount of people that saw the post, could be lower than the amount of likes I received. This is of course nonsense. Therefore the “followed” function was also unreliable at best which was a shame for my strategy-setting. However, the function also gave me the new audience function and that was interesting. I noticed that the far majority of my followers was male (75%) and that the majority came from the US (around 35%). I had been posting every day at 6 am in the morning which translated to 12 at midnight in the US. It also meant that posting at around 10 am, which I sometimes did, was useless to some of my audience (it was 4 am in the US). So I decided to incorporate the new insights and slightly altered my strategy.

Something I also had to take into account was the fact that apparently the Instagram algorithm was changed in 2019, causing only 10% of my content to show to my followers. Bloody frustrating, but I guess that is the price to pay for being late to the party. After some research I found out that the algorithm reacts to engagements. That suddenly explained the random emoji’s I received under my posts. I also got more and more annoyed by “jumpers” as I started calling them. These are “follow for follow” people that grow by following other people if they are followed back. I suddenly had to get used to my follower number not only going up, but also down.

This meant that, next to posting quality content, I also had to engage with people. This means scouring through hashtags and leaving thoughtful comments and likes wherever I went. Although I did get a lot of inspiration from it, I will admit that I do not find it the most interesting part of instagram. Therefore I leveraged a different technique although my first attempt has failed so far. The idea was to find posts similar to mine and look at the poster. I then created an original post similar to their content and copied there home-style and added their logo and my logo. After using some of the techniques I learned from my sales books I tried to see if it was possible to have a 100k follower account give me free promotion by giving him original content on the request he would credit and tag me in the post. Apparently I still need to work on my sales techniques because it did not work the first time.

After being without inspiration for a day and finding that my inspiration-less posts weren’t generating enough likes and comments (or followers…). I decided to experiment with the concept of reposting. This is basically stealing someone else their post and posting it on your account. The legal rules state you have to ask for written permission but it turns out instagram is a bit of a grey area and generally everybody shares content and then tags them in the content (often on the logo) and credits them in the caption. Although I highly recommend following the law, I saw no harm in reposting it according to the instagram tradition as long as my account remained small. Of course good quality posts also generated good likes and followers although I was surprised to see not all reposts did equally well (or much worse than mine…).

After my homy-style copy debacle I did receive some value advice that I should look for engagement groups. I was at around 165 followers and nearly a week had passed and my goal was to reach 200 by the end of the week. I was quite desperate to reach my goal and after some reading up on engagement groups online I found that these could indeed by very valuable addition. I also got a free e-book about instagram growth although it is probably the same stuff that is ALL OVER the internet.

So far the only comments I can give on the engagement groups is the larger the better and preferably get everyone in the same timezone. Not a lot of noticeable differences in traffic on posts yet but that might be due to the small size of the groups.