How to Get 10K Followers on Instagram in Under a Year

How to Get 10K Followers on Instagram in Under a Year

I bet you’ve been seeing all these influencers on Instagram. You’re probably thinking—how the hell do I get over 10,000 followers and start working with brands!? If this is a goal you’re looking to reach, you’ll have to have a plan.

It’s rare for anyone to just “go viral” and get thousands upon thousands of followers in a week or a month. Yes, this happens but it’s RARE. Every influencer that I’ve had the pleasure of meeting put in some serious work and hustle. They all had a strategy that they were implementing. This is why they all have over 10k followers!

I’ve watched countless accounts go from 100-500 followers to 10k, 20k, 50k and more—in 1-2 years. There aren’t “set rules” to grow your Instagram account, but I can certainly tell you from experience what they all have in common.

Here are some strategies to grow your Instagram account past 10,000 followers in less than one year.

Post Frequently

You can’t possibly expect to “get big” if you’re posting randomly a few times a month. Start posting daily, if not twice every day. Posting frequently allows you to reach more people through hashtags on a daily basis.

Post the BEST Possible Photos You Can Take

I’ve tested lots of photos through my feed and in other accounts I run. I can tell you for sure that if you have what the audience deems to be AMAZING content, that you’ll get followers and engagement. With that, always strive to take the absolute best pics that you can. Seriously. And invest in your pics too. I can’t even begin to tell you how much my photos have cost me over the last year. Many of those lattes I order just for the photo and never drink because I’ve already had my fill of coffee or what have you for the day!

Continually Test How Photos Perform

Remember, it’s not about YOU and what you like. It’s about your audience. You could be a great landscape photographer and take technically-beautiful photos. It doesn’t mean that your audience will love it. Maybe they just like lattes, or crazy-adventure-travel shots. You’ll know as you start to get in and post.

Test different styles, filters and more. Try posting a variety of pics, and lots of different interests and hobbies. Watch how your audience reacts to the photos. If you get little to no engagement, then you’ll know that those photos don’t resonate. If you get loads of engagement, then you know what to post more of. It’s not about what you want to share on Instagram. It’s all about what your audience resonates with (that also coincides with your personality).

Engage with a Community Frequently

I can’t tell you how many people I’ve met on Instagram that think they’re small celebrities. Let me get this out on the table now—you are never to big to not respond to comments and engage with your community. This is especially the case if you have under 50k followers. Get in there and comment, chat, start conversations and be present in your community.

Have you seen accounts with 100k followers, but only 500-1000 likes per photo? I see them ALL THE TIME. It’s because they’re not present in their community. They’re just looking for the big numbers to show brands, but don’t actually give a s#&$ about their followers.

Take the time to get to know your followers. Say hi, engage, like their content and comment. It does wonders.

Care About Others, Comment, Chat and Share Your Experiences

Like I said above, get in and have conversations! Share you wisdom, your experience or whatever you have to offer. Do this in your post descriptions too. We all have so much to offer and share. Instagram isn’t just a popularity contest. Be present, be real and—be authentic.

Connect with Like-Minded People

When you come across other people that you think you’d jive with—connect! I have met and come across so many awesome people from Instagram that I ended up shooting photos with, collaborating or going out for coffee. It makes the whole thing worth while when you meet and collaborate with like-minded people. Reach out to people that you come across locally and see if you can collab in person!

This can also be done online. Be creative and come up with other collaborations that you can do without being in the same city. I’ve also seen many Instagram influencers fly around to visit other new friends that they made on Insta while traveling.

Offer Authentic Information About Yourself in Your Bio & Descriptions

Be real and be yourself. There’s no point in projecting yourself to be someone else. The more real you are, the more people will connect with you. People like to be friends and do business with people they like, know and trust. An easy way to attract the right people that will resonate with you is to offer authenticity in your bio and through your post descriptions. Write about nuggets of wisdom you come across on your day-to-day and include little personality gems that come up.

For example, maybe you’re in love with puppies… maybe more than the average person—let your following know about it! Or you’re a straight coffee addict and are brewing a new set of mock-tail espresso recipes. These are “personality gems” as I like to call them. They build depth to your personality and show you as being more dynamic.

Geotags are kind of like targeted-real-time keywords. People only search the geo tags when they’re either at a particular location, or looking to go there. If you were to frequent popular locations and “geo tag” them in your Instagram feed, you’ll naturally get more exposure. You’ll know if it’s a high-traffic location based on how popular the geo-tag feed is when you pull it up on Insta. If there are thousands of pics and they are recent, you’re probably in a good place.

Also, take a look at the top posts. If you see lots of big influencers in the feed for the location, that’s another sign that it may be a popular geo tag.

Search through your “search feed” in Instagram and see what’s trending for the day. You’ll naturally receive more traffic to your account if you’re using trending hashtags for the day or week.

Post Trending Topics and Photos

Yes, you’re going to have to stay on trends.

When it’s national coffee day… like today is (!) make sure you’re posting relevant pics in your feed with all the trending hashtags. Today you can use #nationalcoffeeday. This will get you more relevant exposure when there’s noticeably more traffic to a hashtag—just like today for #nationalcoffeeday.

If you’re looking for more exposure, it’d be a great idea to stay on top of the national “____days” whether it’s coffee, puppies, or donuts.

Get Inspiration from Top Accounts

You won’t be able to keep up the demand of creating AWESOME pics all the time without inspiration. Keep a log of accounts you love. Go through them frequently and take note of the types of photos you love (because your audience would probably love them too!). Use this inspiration on your next Instagram shoot.

I actually take screen shots of my favorite pics, and I add them to a gallery of “Instagram ideas” on my phone.

Participate or Plan Instagram Meet Ups

If you want to meet other Instagrammers, plan a meet up! You can do it pretty easily by connecting with other igers in your area (on Instagram through the messenger), or through

Keep your ears and eyes perked for when other people are planning meet-ups on Instagram. When they happen—attend! That’s how you can meet lots of other awesome people and jump-start collaborations.

Set Time Aside Every Week or Every Month to Shoot Pics

There’s nothing worse than knowing that it’s time for you to post your daily pic—and you have NO good photos. It’s not unlike rummaging through your closet in the morning, looking for something to wear.

Most influencers that I have met set aside real-time to take loads of photos for their IG at least once every month. Make the time, schedule it out in your calendar and take some sweet pics!

Do This Daily and Weekly for at Least 12 Months

This tip has everything to do with consistency.

You can do everything perfectly, or even just for a few months and you may not get very far with it. Put in the work for a year and see where you’re at. Give yourself some time and patience to put in the work and watch the results. It took me just under a year to get 10,000 followers. Nothing was particularly hard. The most challenging piece to building my following was being consistent every single day with all of the tips above.

Get Additional Resources and Consulting

If you’re doing everything I mentioned through the article, and you’re not getting results get some consulting. A short session from someone who knows what they’re doing can make a world of a difference. Like any other consulting, you go to people that have tons of experience with what you’re looking to achieve. They can look at what you’re doing and see immediately what can be done to improve your results. Obviously remember to exercise discernment.