Here is how to grow your IG following starting from 0, courtesy of the redrO team!
Over the past few months (Late September -> Late March) redrO grew its IG following from 0 to 10,000 followers. Just the beginning, but a cool achievement for sure. This was completely organic, we had 0 outside/celeb help, none of us even referenced redrO from our personal accounts. Strictly organic. We legitimately know maybe 9 of the (now 12k) followers.
We have had a few people ask how it was possible. Here’s how:
1 - Constant Content
You have to be engaged with your audience. You also have to be adding value. The best way to do that on IG is by posting.
What’s really cool here is that you can take other people’s content, and reports/reshare, just be sure that you are giving that person the credit they deserve.
Here is an example of what we’ve been doing:
Matthew Kobach runs social media for the NYSE. He feels strongly that oftentimes on social media, you can just deliver cool shit that your audience is looking for. No need to be more complicated than that. He also said no one cares about your brand, they only care about what your brand can do for them.
Well, keeping that sort of thought specifically in mind, we started the redrO IG. We just started posting cool shit. Specifically high-end fashion outfits and luxury stuff. It ranged from clothing to accessories to hotels to views.
RedrO is a luxury brand (starting with the best, most premium high-end clothing hangers on the market). We are weirdly passionate about hangers and the way our closets look/the care that we take of our clothing when it's not being worn. Hence our business. However, we also understand that the majority of people don’t find a whole lot of value in a bunch of pictures of clothing hangers or people holding hangers.
So you adjust and fill the void of what people want/need, which is pictures of badass outfits, and luxuryass settings. That’s something valuable and that people will jump on board with.
That's what we’re posting. CONTENT.
Post multiple times a day to start. Start early in the day. Always better to post early than late, gives you the best chance to get more eyeballs/momentum. We begin early AF MST (like 6AM). Stagger the posts out a few hours each, so for instance, 7AM, 9AM, then 11AM.
We recently throttled back from 3x/day to 2x/ day, but we had a critical mass (10k followers) before that happened.
It also helps to have a wizard running this process. Luckily for redrO, we have Joey Engelman running point on this entire process. He was able to find some of the best content out there, and then repurpose it for our audience. This sort of thing is pretty crucial! If it would have been up to Chris, this thing would have crashed and burned a long time ago!
2 - Hashtags
Hashtags are the secret sauce of IG. This is where you can start to build some serious traction on the platform.
The best way to build up a following and get some momentum going is to pick a set of hashtags (about 15-20 that are related to the audience you’re trying to build) and stick with em. Hammer them home. Copy and paste the same set of hashtags for every post. Trust us.
Play around here a little bit. There is a nice tool called hashtags (that you can download from the APP store) which helps with this process. It at least gives you recommendations and whatnot. Easy to figure out on your own.
Now what you will want to do after you perform some initial research and play around with a handful of the hashtags that are in your niche, is begin to post all of the hashtags as a comment on your post right underneath your actual post.
Here is an illustration of redrO doing just that:
Then, once a day, actually click on each one of those hashtags and like a handful of posts at the very top of each hashtag. This gets your account directly engaged with the hashtag that you’re referencing. The IG algorithm picks up that you’re active and interested in this space. As with everything else on the internet (and honestly technology-related in general) engagement matters; the more you give = the more you get in return.
As you continue to post/keep up with your hashtags, you'll quickly realize which hashtags make the most sense for you and which ones you want to swap out. It's okay to swap them in and out, especially when you're first starting. However, when you do land on 20ish hashtags that you want to stick with, stick with them and hammer them home. Once these start to hit for you, it will really help you and your account gain traction.
At least a couple of times a week, make sure that you are rotating through all of your hashtags and liking all of the top posts from them. The IG algo likes to see that activity + begins to learn and understand your interests.
There are a few ways that you can approach the hashtag research phase. With redrO, we started strictly with men's fashion/style/and outfit posts, particularly clothing. We’ve since pivoted to more of a luxury brand approach. Right now the majority of our hashtags still are related to men’s style and fashion but we are actively working on working the other luxury hashtags into the mix.
3 - Planning / Execution
You don’t want to be manually posting every single post multiple times a day. It just ends up being a ton of work. And frankly, not really sustainable.
We utilized an app called later.com that allows you to set up the story feed for your Instagram account way out in the future. Ideally, you dedicate one day a week (Sunday afternoon) to putting all of your photos and captions up for your IG posts that week. LATER will then post stuff to your Instagram account for the rest of the week which means you don't manually have to do it.
This obviously saves you a ton of time and sanity, so you can focus on other, more strategic stuff during the week.
What you want to be doing in conjunction with this approach is actively monitoring the hashtag research and other accounts in real-time, day-to-day. It's a lot easier to scroll through and like things, etc, than it is to manually post all this stuff on a regular basis.
LATER allows you to have all this stuff set up and already in motion and automated so you don't have an excuse not to stay on top of it.
4 - Consistency
The next aspect is not complicated and it's probably the toughest part. Consistency! We started the redrO account late September in 2019 and we finally hit 10K followers in late March 2020. Now we're at over 12k just a couple weeks later. (so we got another 2.2k followers in 3 weeks) Once you start to get serious momentum it just becomes another flywheel and compounds on itself.
The tough part is getting started and staying consistent early on, because you're starting at ground zero. You don't have any momentum and you have to get stuff built. There will be ups and downs, just stay steady.
Keep in mind it's going to start slow - but you have to keep chopping wood every day in order to get things off the ground and finally moving. Take advantage of the early days to test a ton of stuff!
5 - Follow People
An easy way to quickly get a handful of eyes on your account is to actually follow a bunch of people. What we recommend to do would be after you complete some hashtag research, find a handful of accounts that you like that are also in your niche and follow them.
As you go through the hashtag research phase, feel free to follow people who are liking other content in that research and then as you follow other people that are related to your account follow those followers that like the content of the other creators that you're also following.
All that we're doing here is directly engaging with a like-minded audience. We're not recreating the wheel.
We know that these are users that are active in the audience that you're targeting, so just directly engage with them. As long as you’re posting good content, people will follow you back and start engaging/interacting with your account as well.
This is a direct way to get a ton of eyeballs and traffic and help you build momentum very early on.
Don't follow a bunch of people and then unfollow them all right away, because Instagram doesn't like that type of activity and it is a good way to quickly get yourself blocked or locked out of the account. (More of an issue on the unfollowing route than the following route - just be aware.)
Follow people and keep following them until you build up to a critical mass (we were at 12k when we unfollowed the majority of people)
6 - Track
On the business side of Instagram, while you are building up an audience you will want to be sure that you are adequately tracking everything that's going on. What you can do is click on this area:
And it will take you to your content activity in audience overview. This is where you can see which of your photos and videos are performing well. You can see specific activity:
and followers you're getting.
All of this information is important to keep in mind and make sure you are at least aware of as you're posting content. Obviously different people and demographics are focused and interested in different things so make sure that your goals are aligning with your audience.
6 - Have Fun
Have a good time with this. It is Instagram after all, lol!
When you're first getting started the stakes are low. If you're unsure about something, just put it up and see what the reaction is. If people don't like something, it's not the end of the world. In fact, it doesn’t matter at all! Maybe transition or stay away from particular types of media or material. Fail fast.
Try new stuff/different types of content!
We also have been playing around with videos and they appear to be doing really well. (at least from the redrO standpoint) We're getting a ton of views and impressions from both the hashtag research as well as the explore page on Instagram so that has actually been a huge boost to our follower count as well as overall Impressions it's something that we've been happy with.
Play around don't be shy! This is supposed to be fun - have some damn fun with it!
7 - Test Don't Guess
Do your best to throw theoretical situations out the window. Test don't guess. Try stuff!
- Find 15-20 hashtags and stick with them. Comment them to every post.
- Get content your audience is interested in.
Plan and Execute / Stay Consistent
- 3x day - every day
- Find people already engaged in similar accounts/hashtags, and follow them!
Track / Test Don’t Guess
- See what is working on the back end!
Again, we can’t thank Joey Engelman enough for driving the lion's share of this process! He’s the mastermind behind it!
Cheers to your continued success out there!