It can be very depressing as a new blogger to see other people out there with 745,000 Instagram followers for their fashion blog… and you have 371.
My goal in this article is to uncover the success that many of these influencers have created and help you see what it takes to get on their level in a 2018 world.
Social media is constantly changing
Think of Facebook in 2009 compared to Facebook today!
I know that picture is a little blurry, but that blurriness reminds me of watching non-HD TV in 2018.
I was in a hotel in Houston last week watching SportsCenter on a pretty ghetto TV (non-HD) and I couldn't believe we used to watch TV like that! You couldn't even see faces on the TV!
Crazy to see how far we've come with technology and social media.
Instagram continues to be a very popular tool for bloggers and rightfully so!
Literally thousands of people have created a full time income by posting pictures on Instagram!
That's mind blowing to think about.
People are making more money than doctors and lawyers just by posting pictures – sometimes only once a day.
Let's look at some of these influencers and try to uncover how they've been able to grow their Instagram followers.
Getting Instagram followers in the glory days
I'm going to use someone I know as an example for this.
Rachel Parcell is actually married to my high school friend's brother, and my dad is friends with her dad.
That's how “I know her” haha.
Rachel has a really popular Instagram account @rachparcell with over 970,000 followers.
She started her journey of pinkpeonies.com in 2010 as a hobby to blog about her new marriage. She quickly gained popularity when she started pinning posts of her wedding pictures on Pinterest.
Fast forward 8 years to 2018 and Rachel is making a living (and a good one at that) with her own fashion line and a variety of sponsorships (including Nordstrom) using Instagram and other social media profiles. That all started back in 2010.
2010 was a VERY different social media environment than 2018.
Facebook was just barely starting to gain momentum.
Pinterest was started in March 2010.
Instagram was started in October 2010.
Social media was still in it's infancy.
These early years were “The Glory Days” because it was A LOT easier to get noticed on social media because there weren't very many users on the platforms.
It was probably a lot easier for Rachel to get noticed on Pinterest and Instagram back in 2010 because she was one of a few people posting amazing fashion content.
Now 8 years later, Rachel has been consistently posting on social media and is seeing the exponential growth that comes from a long term social media strategy.
Posting consistently since the beginning
Rachel has 4,311 Instagram posts (as of writing this). That's basically 2 posts per day for the past 8 years!
Social media growth is exponential. The more followers you have, the easier it is to get noticed. The higher you appear in the search results, the more you appear on the suggested/featured pages, and the more people link to you, follow you, talk about you, etc…
If you started consistently posting daily on Instagram back in 2010, chances are you probably have a good size following today.
Look at a lot of the top bloggers on Instagram and you'll see a strong correlation between number of posts and followers:
@juliahengel – 5,222 posts – 1.1 Million followers
@kayla_itsines – 7,342 posts – 9.4 Million followers
@amberfillerup – 3,285 posts – 1.3 Million followers
These women did not post 5,000 times in the past year. These followers have come from consistent and frequent posting for A LONG TIME.
It would take me way too long to scroll down on their Instagram profiles to find when their first post was, but I can bet you it was pretty close to when Instagram started in 2010.
One of the main reasons why you probably don't have as many followers as they do is you haven't been posting as consistently as they have for as long as they have.
Are hashtags still a thing?
You're familiar with #hashtags.
I have mixed feelings about hashtags.
Going back to the glory days hashtags were all the rage. You could simply put #fashionblogger on your Instagram post and real people would magically start following you!
Hashtags continue to be used, but are more crowded than ever. There are 62,479,543 posts with #fashionblogger right now on Instagram.
Do I still believe in using hashtags?
Do I believe they have the same effect as they did 3 years ago?
The main purpose of using hashtags on Instagram in 2018 is for social proof.
If you stuff a post with some popular hashtags you will most likely get a handful of likes and follows from automated programs that people use to grow their Instagram followers.
These likes and follows aren't very useful from an ROI perspective in the long term, but they do provide short term social proof for your post or profile.
People are more likely to like or follow someone with likes and followers.
It's simple psychology that people don't like to be first. Unless it's a race haha.
No one wants to be the first like on your post, or the first follower. It's a lot easier to double tap a post with 212 likes than it is to double tap a post with 2 likes.
Am I right?..
Hashtags will get you those first 20-50 likes very quickly. The automated bots out there looking for pictures with #fashionblogger to auto-like will find you and like your post. You'll also probably gain a handful of new followers as well (which will unfollow you promptly 3 days later).
We aren't very concerned with this turnover because those 25 “auto-likes” will make it easier for our real followers to hit the like button because we have a little social proof that, “Hey this is a good photo!”
So yes I am still a believer in hashtags for that sole purpose.
If you're trying to grow a new Instagram account shoot for 15-20 hashtags per post. If you're an established blogger 3-5 good hashtags should be plenty.
How do you get to 745,000 Instagram followers in 2018?
The answer to that question is simple.
Let me clarify. If you start an new Instagram account in 2018 you don't.
If you've been posting for 5 years and you're at 689,000 followers than you very likely could get there in 2018!
But the main message here is don't have unrealistic expectations for yourself.
That will only lead to depression and frustration.
It is possible to go from 0 to 745,000 Instagram followers in one year, but you will need a viral post. A backpack kid type of video, or a video of you yodeling in Walmart.
It's hard to plan for that. Many people try but virality can't be forced. People can sniff out the fake stuff. They want authentic viral content. Not something you staged to try to get famous.
I got really good advice from a YouTube friend who was able to build a channel from 0 to 40,000 subscribers in less than a year (which is VERY difficult these days).
“Focus your goals on output not results.”
What does that mean?
Focus on what you can control.
You can't control if someone clicks the follow button. But you can control how often you post a photo.
This was a game changer for me.
I stopped focusing on what I wanted to happen and started focusing on what I could do – which would hopefully bring the desired results.
Instead of making a goal to have 20,000 Instagram followers by the end of the year, why don't you make a goal to post every day for 365 days – and CRUSH that goal!
Let me be clear though. I'm not opposed to results oriented goals!
I actually have a goal in the back of my mind to get to 10,000 YouTube subscribers by the end of 2018, but that's not my main focus. My focus is on the output I can control. I can decide how many videos I'm going to put out.
Wars are won by winning the battles
You're not going to go out there and get a million Instagram followers overnight.
None of those superstar bloggers did either.
Win the daily battles on Instagram and you'll win the war. Find a posting schedule and stick to it! FOR A LONG TIME!
Optimize your profile page, improve your posts, improve your quality, improve your descriptions. Always be looking to improve!
It's hard work in 2018 to grow on Instagram! The market is saturated.
Why should anyone follow you?
I don't ask that rudely. I ask that for self reflection. What makes you special or different? What do you bring to someone's Instagram feed that they can't find from someone else?
I'd love to hear what's working for you or what's frustrating you about getting more Instagram followers! Leave a comment below 🙂