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Last edited June 28, 2016
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How I went from 0-20,000 Instagram Followers in 7 months

Hey folks, this might be a long post but it'll be worth it to see how I grew an instagram account from 0-20,000 Real followers in 7 months. Seriously! How I get up to 50 comments on every photo and how I get free shoutouts from big accounts in my niche and how to Hashtag the correcct way!

So last year around about this time, I tried to start an online tshirt business. I was working off the Straight outta compton theme, creating tshirts with 'staight outta (insert your location here). I baught a domain, created designs, got beutiful mockups made. The works! I was ready to get rich! But guess what? Nobody bought any!

My 'Build it and they will come' mentality had proven to be extrremely flawed. This is where I realised that the signel most important thing for any store is traffic!

I looked on google and researched some of the traffic generating methds out there. (There's loads, I cant even begin to scratch the surface in this post). But on thing i found was that most required an upfront investment to essentially 'Buy' the traffic. Facebook & google adwords all required money to start. Money was something I didnt have! But time, I had loads of!

At the same time as all of this I would be flicking through my instagram looking at all the mens style pages and seeing what they were doing. It didnt take a genius to work out that what they were doing was quite simple. I knew I could do it too. I realsied that if I could built up a loyal fan base on instagram I could then market a product to them for free!!

So I set to work. I created @mensstylesociety in November of 2015, and it is now sitting at 20,000 followers,And here's how it did it.

The slog!

Nobody wants to tell you this because its boring and its not a 'secret formula' but its what needs to be done to get the ball rolling. When i started th page and I had zero followers the first thing i did was load up 8/9 photos so that the account didnt look so bare. I got photos from other pages within the same niche, Always making sure to credit the owner in the caption! They're always happy to get extra promotion. The next thing was to get my name in front of other people. The simplest way to do this is to engage! Instagram is a SOCIAL network. If you jus constantly post and do not engage with anybody you're account will never grow. So I set about comenting, liking and folllowing all the big pages within my niche. I would go into their followers and follow as many of them as I could aswel. Every so often I would unfollow those who didnt follow me back. And this is how it started.

Engaging with other people is the only way to start but it should be continued all the time, even if your account grows into the millions of followers you should always enage!

Shoutouts:

Once your account grows to any respectable number you should then start looking for other accounts within your niche with a similar follower size. Find these accounts and aks for a shout out in return for a shout out. Basically what this means is that ou post on your own account and mention them and they do the same. You cross promote each others accounts to your followers. instagram is massive! So no account has two identical sets of followers.This is probably the single best strategy for grwing your account fast! Important! Do not bother asking accounts that are far larger than yours asking for a shout out unless you have something else to offer them. Focus on finding accounts similar to your own size.

Comment groups:

The next insider trick I have for you is comment groups! Nobody else will admit this but all influencers on instagram are invloved in comment groups. These are groups where everybody goes onto each others accounts and comments on the image to boost enagement. I am personally invloved in about 5/6 of these groups. You simply message the group when you have posted and all the other members come and comment on your image. You can get anything from 5-50 comments on every photo this way.

Hashtag the right way:

Instagram allows you to use up to 30 hashtags. USE THEM ALL! But nobody wants a big mess of hashtags under every photo they post. The solution? Post them in the comments. As soon as you post an image, post the hashtags in the comments under it. The still work the same but as soon as somebody comments the hashtags become hidden, leavinf you with a beautiful image without a mess of hashtags under it.

Influence the Influencers

Once you have an account of this size you are able to barter with influencers. You can offer them promotion on your account n return for them promoting your product. Most new or small influencers are more than happy to promote a product in return for promtion themselves. You can even use your network of similar pages and comment groups to promote them if you like. This way you can get influencers which you would not have been able to on your own. 

FOR SALE:

Using these strategies I have been able to build @mensstylescoiety to 20,000 followers. If you want to skip all the hard work and get these followers for yourself this account and online store ( www.mensstylesociety.com) is now up FOR SALE as I am starting exams. I will be very sad to let it go but I'm focusing on my exams for now. Check out the listing here if you are intersted. I am also taking on a very very small number of consulting clients in the near future. If you would like to get in contact leave your email address. 

https://flippa.com/6575102-mensstylesociety-com

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Replies
Natwar Maheshwari Shopify Partner around.io
Posts:
49
Last edited June 28, 2016

Hey Tj,

Thanks for sharing.Great insights for making it on Instagram! This should be very helpful for fellow sellers.

Best

 

Around.io - Social Media Marketing for Shopify sellers
Reamaze Shopify Partner www.reamaze.com
Posts:
244
July 19, 2016

Great read! We had very similar thoughts when chatting with our business customers who use Instagram for marketing and monetizing.

In fact, the extension of those discussions drove our product decisions to build a native integration between Instagram and Reamaze. Our helpdesk app now allows business owners to connect their Instagram account and consolidate all their communications under one roof (email, Twitter, Facebook, Instagam, etc). This allows them to streamline their brand presence and allow their customer service teams to better convert customers on the spot.

Check out our thoughts on Instagram marketing here: http://bit.ly/2adKMpJ

Our Instagram announcement: http://bit.ly/2abpBV5

Reamaze - Customer Communications Platform for Shopify at https://apps.shopify.com/reamaze.
James Member
Posts:
34
July 20, 2016

Hey there TJ!

This method sure does work. Especially the engagement groups you were talking about thats the same niche on IG. I started with one account and now run 8. It's alot of work, doesn't happen overnight, but sure is a fun hobby! And especially if you are looking to do this for your business.

Great post!

Thanks,

James

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11
September 25, 2016

Great methods! I've recently just hit the 6k mark on Instagram but it took me about a year and a half. Maybe someone can help me here.

I own a soap business by the name of Hagwood Soap Co. Our niche is the outdoor/adventurous people who like to go out and get dirty. We dont necisarily fit into most soap niches as we are not a "artisian" themed soap or some soap you find at a farmers market. We attract many people from the military comunity, Law Enforcement, Hikers, Mechanics, and a bunch of other groups of people.

My question would be is how do I find our niche? Is it worth even trying to find it or since being a soap company, our spectrum of customers is vast and covers a wide variety of groups? I'm asking this because I want to start engaging and following people on Instagram to gain traction and grow more, but I dont know where to start.

Thanks!

By the way, our IG is @hagwood if any of you want to DM me and talk about ideas.

Leonard V Member
Posts:
22
September 27, 2016

Hey Chris Hagler,

We had great success with our Insta account by developing and utilizing our proprietory software, designed for posting, liking, following and unfollowing on Insta.

All 24/7, all organic

Started and of May and currently have over 4500 followers. That comes to abt 1000 per month..

Great interaction.

 

About doing cross promotion, by shout out to each other, I completely agree.

With your products and describing your audience, I think you could do well working with almost anyone, except some direct soap retailers. And even those, might be usefull. If it is not DIRECT and exact soap type.

I would be happy to shout out for you and you can do it back.

Let me know and if you want to talk, Skype id: lvny2011

https://www.instagram.com/silislick/

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5
September 27, 2016

Great post, thanks very much. I started on IG about 7 weeks ago and we have got 750 followers, I shall try some of your tips to try get the ball moving faster. Feel free to check us out and give us a follow   https://www.instagram.com/buddybeardesign/

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September 27, 2016

Great post, thanks very much. I started on IG about 7 weeks ago and we have got 750 followers, I shall try some of your tips to try get the ball moving faster. Feel free to check us out and give us a follow   https://www.instagram.com/buddybeardesign/

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1
September 27, 2016

Thank you Tj! The post is really informative! I just started IG account for my new bow tie business in August and slowly getting some following - up to 750 now. yay! It is a way harder task then I thought it would be. Doing shotouts is next on my list! Thank you for being very clear in all the steps!

Check out my account: https://www.instagram.com/versumcollection/ and maybe you'd like to follow too!

 

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September 27, 2016
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Great post! The comment groups where new to me. Thank you!

I have a question for everyone. It seems that alot of my friends and clients are putting less and less effort into instagram. It seems to be a common complaint that the social network generates traffic, but not sales. Has anyone else had a similar experience?

The details aren't the details, they make the design. -Eames
Leonard V Member
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22
September 27, 2016
Posts:
9
Last edited September 27, 2016

Hi, do you know where to find the "comment groups"? I would love to be a part of some.  

https://www.instagram.com/boholuxejewelry/
www.boholuxejewelry.com

Posts:
11
September 28, 2016

Thanks for the reply and congrats on the success!

When you say you say "developing and utilizing our proprietory software, designed for posting, liking, following and unfollowing on Insta." do you mean you use a bot that likes, follows, unfollows, etc?

I'll give you a follow on IG now!

Thanks again!

Leonard V Member
Posts:
22
September 28, 2016

Welcome.

NO bots, its just automation.

System selects who to like and follwo based on selected by me #hashtags, and those we liked and follwo AND comment, follow us back and comment.

Its like having part time VA, that does 90% of the routine and repeticious work, BUT we review and comment on those accounts that followed us, manually.

We also select and place images into the system, that we want to upload into Insta, and system does it at the schedule we select. All 24/7

All traffic going out and coming in is organic 100%

After certain period of time, we set system to unfollow those that did not respond in kind (followed us).

That way, we keep numbers in our favor or balanced.

Insta has a limitation of I think 7500 follows, but unlimited on followers.

Hope this answers your question

Best

Posts:
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September 28, 2016

Thanks for clearing that up. That sounds super interesting!

Is there a specific service you use that you can share?

Thanks!!

Posts:
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September 28, 2016

It does sound interesting! Maybe something I would like to try too! 

Leonard V Member
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22
September 28, 2016

Thanks. It is our in-house designed app.

My partner is a genius and it took him looooong time to develop it.

We can offer this to limited number of stores.

Currently, we can take 2 new accounts. The way to approach it is to give it a try for 1 month and see results. Then one can continue on a m-t-m bases.

Current fee is $ 50.00 per week, payable after 1 week of engagement.

So if results are not to your liking, we'll shake hands and part our ways.

No hard feelings.

Let me know

Leonard

p.s. it is not completely hands off for you ;-)

You will need to provide a bunch of images with the blurb to accompany each, and be proactive, by engaging with EVERY follower or "like" and comment, comment, comment.

Thats about once a day, depending on how many followers-likes, minute or two to respond.

Best is to connect with me via Skype: lvny2011 and I can answer all questions

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Last edited September 28, 2016

I just started with my instagram acount about a week ago and no surprise things are slow. Just under 60 followers now. 

My store (www.eliasallan.com) is recently launched and like pretty much everyone else who creates a store thinks, I think have a great product and a great price. I will also be adding new products on a weekly basis.

That said, my store sells fine jewelry at price points that are very competitive especially when an apples-to-apples comparison is made but overall I suppose people aren't looking to buy jewelry at the same frequency they are to buy less expensive stuff so I respect that things will be slow starting out. 

I have and will continue to use many of the approaches described in this forum but If anyone has further advice or up to collaborate in some way I'm up for it.

I'm happy to give folks a shout out on insta but given I only have less than 60 followers, not sure I can be of much help. I'm happy to carry it forward for anyone who's willing to give me a shout out once I'm up and running a bit more. 

Here's the insta account @eliasallanjewelry - would appreciate your follows. 

Best,

W.

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September 28, 2016

is this really work? its ethical part of SEO or comes in Black Hat? after google updates its better to avoid spam things

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September 28, 2016
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Really awesome post. Thanks for sharing it.

I'm currently promoting my small toys shop. When I started, it was kind of a mess in my head how to find my target customers. I also didn't want to spend money on ads as all budget was spent on products of course. Instagram seemed as one of the most important things. It helped me to discover that surprisingly a great number of people are ready to buy action figures. Understand me right, I knew that my market has its demand, but I didn't think that it was so huge. Instagram did a great work for me.

That's why I agree with each statement in Tj's article. I also would like to add that the quality of photos in your feed is not less important. It's not enough just to post a photo with an item. It should be entertaining and making people willing to buy some item. As I myself sell premium toys, it was essential to find the proper types of posts. So for example, as toys are called action figures then they also should be shown in action. Interesting perspectives, inner story of each photo and amusing description - that's what helped me not just find followers in Instagram but also start converting them into customers. 

By the way, I want to mention one addon that helped me to find a new application of my posts in Instagram. InstaShow is a Shopify plugin that shows my Instagram account in my shop. The result is that my shoppers see a great content that draws their attention. I get pleased customers and new followers in Instagram as this plugin can redirect them to my account. So I can transform web visitors into Instagram followers. You can find InstaShow here: https://apps.shopify.com/instashow. And it has a free trial, so you can try this interesting plugin anyway.

thanks!

Leonard V Member
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22
September 28, 2016

eliasallan.com

Just gave you shoutout and followed you

Good luck

geaux Member
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Last edited September 29, 2016

Great post and thanks for sharing.  I'm just getting started on my Instagram account and building a substantial following seems very daunting, if not overwhelming. (My account is @geauxgear).

Now following versumcollection.com, boholuxejewelry.com and buddybeardesign.co.uk

I'm also interested in BrandonDubya's question re Instagram followers translating into actual sales.  Any thoughts?

 

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October 03, 2016

Hi everyone and thank you Tj for your great post.

Could you anyone tell me where to find a comment group as I have never heard about them before?

Thank you in advance. 

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Last edited December 11, 2016

Hi everyone,

I am developing a platform where entrepreneurs can help promote one another on Instagram through comment groups and more. Would love to gather your inputs.

If you are interested, please sign up below:

http://bit.ly/2hs8lNZ

Thanks!

Jerry

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December 15, 2016

Thanks for the writing and tips from everyone about growing your InstaSlammer audience ... Now that we are back to actively creating, selling and shipping Blackbox Cases, we are going to be using a lot of these tips in 2017 to finally start targeting an Instagram presence :)

Sexy Protection for all your Apple Devices
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2
December 15, 2016

How interesting. You have 20K insta followers, a web URL that links to a 404 page (Something went wrong!) and your entire business is for sale because you are "starting exams".

Well good luck with those exams bub. I hope you put more care into your exam prep than you did in compiling this article because this particular article is RIFE with spelling and grammar errors. RIFE. 

How do you expect anyone to buy into your legitimacy if you don't even take the time to proofread an article where you presume to give someone guidance?

Additionally, we retailers are well aware of the fact that soc. med. followings don't automatically equate to sales and profitability. You obviously know that as well since you are selling your business. But don't try to imply that it's just because you are "starting exams". 

I apologize if this correspondence seems adversarial, it's just that your correspondence seems a tad disingenuous. If you are tired of retailing, say that. 

Finally, if you want to sell your business, give us data that is actually compelling. For instance:

1. What are your sales conversion figures?

2. How much traffic do you get to your web site on average each month?

This is the type of information that a person needs to make a decision on whether or not they want to buy a business ;-)

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December 19, 2016

Thanks for the article, but what exactly is a shoutout - I have looked at the last few posts on @mensstylesociety and don't see anything...

But I love the idea from Jerry T of commenting on each others posts - I have just signed up for that, but would be happy to do it with any of you on an informal basis.

Have just followed hagwood, buddybeardesign, versumcollection, boholuxejewelry and silslick

Lets work together!!

I am on instagram as @oldschoolbeauly

Our biggest win from Instagram was getting an article in Homes & Interiors Scotland magazine (Free advertising! Yay!).

Cheers

William

www.oldschoolbeauly.com

 

 

 

Leonard V Member
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December 19, 2016

Hey @oldschoolbeauly

Just followed you back

Thanks

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11 months ago
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As I can see the site is dead right now. Back to the topic I believe this article is a great one to read for anyone who are interested in acquiring traffic from Instagram. https://www.shopify.com/blog/topics/instagram-marketing

 

Build Shopify Landing page with PageFly App - bit.ly/learn-pagefly
Posts:
4
11 months ago

very interesting information,.. take chips and read for the next 3 - 4 hours. Thank you Tony Bui

Posts:
254
11 months ago

You're welcome, Ayu!

Tony

Build Shopify Landing page with PageFly App - bit.ly/learn-pagefly
Megathron Member
Posts:
1
11 months ago

I Great article! But not all people can manage promotion of their account by themselves. I haveno time to run huge business account, so i use services of https://zen-promo.com/instagram_analytic . There you can always see a progress of traffic, massfollow/unfollow ghosts, etc. Thet really have a lot of tools and create new ones constantly

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9 months ago
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Great Article, very interesting and informative.  But there is always an opportunity to use Instagram Bot, Promotion of Isnta account will be way easier with bots. Also here is a link to a useful blog post with tips for promotions of Instagram account. 

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17
9 months ago

Cool,

how you make it 

Maryna Mriia Member
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3
Last edited 8 months ago

Thanks for sharing your experience! I would also like to recommend everyone to try out Instagram promotion and consulting services. It is much easier to get you followers through automatic liking, following and commenting tool. This helps to attract real people very quickly. 

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1
4 months ago

Great Post!

I would like to recommend a new automation program for instagram called Influencer Paradise . They have great service and offers 30 days free trial.

Posts:
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4 months ago

Hi Chris,

We will be happy to help you grow your account. We are doing Instagram engagement marketing with your potential audience.

First two weeks are for free to let you see the impact on sales. Please feel free to contact us on contact@advantsy.com.

Andrey.

Advantsy - Digital ads agency from Cupertino, CA contact@advantsy.com - Facebook/Instagram ads - Snapchat ads - AdWords - Instagram account promotion
Allkon Member
Posts:
2
about 2 months ago

   

Hi. I now that there is sum limit for auto liking and auto following whit instagram bots, services. 

 

Friend recommended

 Ingamer.com

 

It works very good but what is the minimal time out for mass liking and mass following. 

 

Need to increase results 

 

Posts:
2
about 2 months ago

i like this topic, how do you do that?