Instagram influencer posing for a selfie

How To Get Your First 10,000 Instagram Followers

You’ve already learned about how to get your first 1000 Instagram followers. Now, it’s time to learn how to hit the next major milestone: getting your first 10,000 Instagram followers. Going from 1,000 to 10,000 followers may seem like a huge leap, but you can do it in 6-9 months with a focused, consistent strategy. That’s what will explore today: the most effective actions to take to consistently attract engaged Instagram followers and hit that 10,000 follower milestone. 

Disclosure: This post contains affiliate links as explained in my disclosure policy.

What happens when you get 10,000 followers on Instagram?

Getting 10,000 followers isn’t about bragging rights, although that’s nice too. There are tangible benefits to hitting this milestone. Let’s go over some of them.

Swipe up feature

Instagram notoriously makes it difficult to link to your website or any website outside of Instagram. If you have a business account, you can add your website in your profile bio. That’s it. When you hit 10,000 Instagram followers, you unlock the Instagram Stories swipe up feature. When you create an Instagram story, you can insert a link to a website that takes people directly to that site. This feature is a game-changer. If you’re promoting something like a new blog post, a lead magnet, or a product, you can direct people straight to the page you want them to see. This feature has the power to increase your page views, grow your email list, and generate more sales for your business. 

Social proof

People tend to do what others are doing. That’s why we follow fashion trends, buy products that celebrities endorse, and watch that new video that’s trending on Twitter. These are all examples of social proof in action. We adopt the behaviors of other people because if everyone else is doing it, then it must have some merit, right? 

This phenomenon plays out on Instagram as well. If your account is getting lots of likes and followers, then Instagram users assume that you must be doing something right. By following you and liking your posts, users are sort of casting votes for your content. They’re giving you a stamp of approval. This means that when other users discover your account, they’re more likely to take a closer look. They’d be curious to know what it is that makes your account popular. Having a lot of followers increases your chances of getting more followers. 

New business opportunities

When you hit 10,000 followers, you may notice that brands will start reaching out to you more frequently. That was my experience. My inbox gradually saw an uptick in brand collaboration inquiries. I went from chasing brands for partnerships to turning them away!

Brand collaborations aren’t the only opportunities that could open when you reach 10,000 followers. The social proof that you’ve established can attract the attention of media publications, podcasts, businesses in your niche, other entities. Shortly after my travel account hit 10,000 followers, a reporter from the Huffington Post reached out to me to comment on travel goals for the new year. Then, other travel bloggers reached out to inquire about guest posts. I also got requests for podcast interviews. 

Now that we’ve seen the benefits of getting 10,000 followers on Instagram, let’s jump into the strategies to hit that milestone.

Host giveaways

People want free stuff. Have you ever seen a post on Instagram asking you to enter for a chance to win a prize? Maybe it was an island getaway or a free iPad. Although you know your odds of winning are slim, you’re still intrigued to enter. That’s why giveaways are so effective. They grab people’s attention and lures them in.

I went from 1,000 to 10,000 followers in about 9 months, and a large part of that growth was due to giveaways. The best way to host a giveaway is to team up with a brand whose product would resonate with your audience. You would pitch the brand about your giveaway idea, explaining how it would benefit them. Then the brand sponsors the giveaway, and you don’t pay anything out of pocket. 

The key to growing your followers with a giveaway comes down to the giveaway rules. You want to set the rules so that your followers not only enter the giveaway but also spread the word about it. For instance, you can ask giveaway participants to follow your account and the account of the sponsoring brand. Then tag three friends. This not only increases your follower count but also draws more eyes to your giveaway.

What brands should you pitch?

When you have 1,000 followers, you probably don’t want to reach out to big brands like Nike or Coca Cola to host a giveaway with you. It’s best to reach out to up-and-coming brands or smaller brands that have a higher follower count than you. These brands are more receptive to working with microinflueners. Just make sure you choose to giveaway a product that your target audience would want. For instance, I’ve given away prizes like pocket wifi, a budget travel book, a backpack, a travel toiletry bag, travel water bottles, and vacation packages. These are all prizes that would appeal to adventurous people on a budget.

Another option for hosting a giveaway is to team up with a few other accounts in your niche – maybe some of your friends. Choose a giveaway prize that your audiences would like and pitch in money to buy the giveaway prize. Then when you announce the giveaway, you can cross-promote it and ‘steal’ each others’ followers.  

Tag feature pages 

Feature pages are Instagram accounts that repost content from other accounts. These are sort of inspirational accounts that curate a feed of the best content around Instagram. They tend to have hundreds of thousands or even millions of followers. Getting featured on these pages helps more people discover your account. Some of those people will follow you. 

You want to make a list of a handful of feature pages in your niche. Then, when you share your amazing posts, be sure to tag them. When you tag an Instagram account on your post, your content appears on the tagged section of their account. That allows them to see your post easily. Be consistent about this. Chances are that your content won’t be reposted right away. However, the more great content you post and tag, the higher your chances of getting your content featured.

Post more shareable content

When people repost your content on Instagram, it signals that you’re providing great value or entertainment. The Instagram algorithm takes note of that and pushes your content out onto more people’s home feeds. The more people who see your posts, the more followers you’ll gain. That’s why it’s important to post shareable content.

What exactly is shareable content in the context of Instagram? You might be thinking of awe-inspiring travel destinations or colorful fashion shoots, but it goes beyond that. Shareable content educates, entertains, or inspires your audience. It evokes emotion and stirs up a conversation. The goal is to elicit a strong reaction from people that prompts them to share your post with others. 

What are some examples of shareable content? These can be graphics, quotes, before and after pictures, thought-provoking questions, and nuggets of wisdom. It depends on your niche and your audience. For instance, on my travel account, I focus on sharing quick travel tips that people can save and reference later. I’m also intentional about capturing travel images that inspire awe and curiosity.

Write long captions

Again, your primary goal is to create valuable content that resonates with people. Focus on that and your follower count will inevitably grow. A great way to provide value to your audience is to write long, in-depth captions. Through your captions, you can answer your audience’s questions, provide your perspective on topical issues, share your personal journey, and more. When you take the time to write a lengthy caption, it shows that you care about providing value to your audience. People generally feel that long-form content, whether it’s on social media or on a blog, is more valuable than brief content. You don’t need to write a long caption for every single post you share on Instagram. Just make sure you write in-depth captions at least once in a while. 

Use the latest Instagram features

Whenever Instagram rolls out a new feature, it prioritizes posts that utilize that content format. For instance, Instagram recently introduced a new feature called Instagram Reels, 15-second clips. Whenever you go to your home feed, you’ll probably see at least one Instagram Reel. That’s because Instagram wants to encourage people to use this new feature. 

The same thing happened when Instagram introduced Instagram Stories and IGTV. People’s home feeds were flooded with posts in those formats. You could get far more engagement with a new video on IGTV than a typical post. Keep an eye out for the latest features that Instagram introduces and incorporate them into your posting strategy. 

Participate in joint Instagram Lives

Not everyone, myself included, likes to be on camera. However, for the sake of growing your Instagram account, overcoming camera shyness is a must. Your audience wants to see your face and get to know you. 

The great thing about Instagram Lives is that they are prioritized over regular Instagram stories. When you log into your Instagram home feed, you will see the Instagram Lives recorded within the last 24 hours at the front. 

You can do a joint Instagram Live with another content creator about a topic that both of your audiences care about. When you do that, you introduce yourself to their audience. That’s another chance for new Instagram users to discover your content and follow you. You can set a goal for a specific number of Instagram Lives, let’s say 3, you’ll do every month and stick to it. 

One more thing: if you found this post helpful, please share it!