What I’ve learnt from Instagram after spending a month trying to grow my following.

  A few weeks ago I embarked on an adventure. An adventure to grow my Instagram following to 10k before the end of 2018. In…



A few weeks ago I embarked on an adventure. An adventure to grow my Instagram following to 10k before the end of 2018. In the past, I’ve been able to grow my following by up to 1000 a month by spending a bit more time than usual focusing on the app.

I set myself a few goals each week, then reviewed them along with my growth in followers, likes and comments. My goals were simple things. Like engaging with more people, following a few new accounts a week and commenting on their posts.

Simply – my aim was to get people liking and commenting on my posts to boost it in peoples feed to hopefully get it in that sought after ‘discover’ page. I wanted to do this without being in any Instagram Pods.

The first week or two seemed hopeful. But then things just seemed to come to a giant halt. I started looking further into things. When I see things, I mean people. When I say, people, I mean cheating lying idiots.

I downloaded an app called ‘followers’. This app tells you how many people have followed, unfollowed and are blocking you. It also tells you which accounts these are. With that and the help of social blade, I’ve discovered the following.

how to get to 10k followers on Instagram

How to grow an Instagram following. 

Lots of people follow and unfollow.

When I was looking for new accounts to follow and I saw people with a high number of followers (over 10k), I started checking out their profiles.

I discovered that around 90% of the accounts I checked had a high amount of follow/unfollow activity in their history and some even had massive jumps in their following – indicating buying (though these jumps could come from an account with a lot of followers giving them a shout out). Depressing. I started to see that not many people naturally got lots of followers!

Accounts unfollow and block.

During the time I had the app, 9 accounts had blocked me. I had no idea who these accounts are but checking them against those people that had unfollowed me, I found that 8 of them had followed, unfollowed and blocked. While I am not sure why I am wondering if this is a way to stop bots following and unfollow the same accounts again and again.

Does anyone else have any insight into this?

More people unfollow than follow.

68 people followed me and 110 unfollowed in the same amount of time.

How on earth are you meant to grow an Instagram following with stats like these? The follow and unfollow strategy is really bad at the moment, with loads of accounts doing it. I am hoping it’s crap accounts unfollowing and genuine accounts that are following!

Following and unfollowing gets you nowhere.

A few years ago I did this. Before it became a known thing to do in the community. I didn’t even know it was a thing. I just followed a bunch of fitness accounts (because my account was fitness based then) and I would unfollow when anything came into my feed that I didn’t like. It just seemed like a way to get a bit of attention then weed out the things I didn’t like when I saw it in my feed. I stopped doing it before it became a big drama on Twitter, with people calling others out. I can tell you first hand that it doesn’t get you anywhere and as soon as you stop, you are still losing loads of followers because everyone else is following and unfollowing. You just aren’t getting as many followers to balance it out.

Work on engagement.

I’m not so worried about followers anymore but going to focus on engagement. I like everything that shows in my feed. Apparently, some people are stingy with their likes? Why? SHARE THE LOVE. I comment as often as I can. I am cultivating my existing following on Instagram with an aim to have the same people that comment on my posts, rather than lots of people drop a few emojis, then unfollow and never return.

That is my goal.

A two-way relationship – not strict like an Instagram pod, not with rules where you have to comment on EVERYTHING. But a sort of natural relationship where we can get to know each other and get some conversations growing.

If anyone wants to be a part of this, follow me on Instagram and let me know!


  1. This was a very interesting read. I’ve always wondered about the follow/unfollow game on all social media platforms. I don’t get it. I am not stingy with my likes on Instagram at all.. and I’m surprised some people are.

  2. I’ve been growing my Twitter using the less-jerky version of follow/unfollow. I follow. If people don’t follow me back within a week or two *AND DON’T IMPRESS ME ANY OTHER WAY* then I unfollow. If I like your tweets, I’ll continue to follow you whether or not you follow me! But you have to make a good impression, or I’m gone.

    Some other rules I have for unfollowing:

    – spam
    – porn
    – spam porn
    – being a jerk
    – unfollowing me

    I think that’s reasonable, tbh! 😉 It allows me to follow genuinely interesting people while dropping the people who annoy me or spam tweet. I don’t know whether that would work on insta, because I’m not on that platform – I hear the algorithms can be interesting to contend with!

  3. This is such a relatable post! I’ve had my Instagram since I started my blog. Two years next month and I’ve only managed to organically grow my following to 1,600 it goes up by ten but then back down. I use followers app too and looking at all the figures it’s shocking to see the tactics of some people. I’m like you, suspicious of random accounts with 10k or above (knowing how slow it is to grow) I think those that block are doing it so that they can tick you off as someone who’ll not follow back. I get blockers too. Have you even checked who’s deleting likes and comments?! Quite an eye-opener! Personally, my opinion of Instagram is that it’s a corrupt platform which allows fraudulent behaviour. I take it for what it is, somewhere to get noticed by brands, it’s useful to drive traffic to the blog and that’s it. If I didn’t need it for those reasons I certainly wouldn’t use it at all. It’s about time all the shady behaviour was stopped. Honestly beggars belief that it still continues.

    Samantha x


  4. Seems like this is a big thing on these social media platforms. I see it all the time on Twitter too. I am very new to Twitter and started doing it myself but what is the point really??

    I have a couple of Instagram accounts – one of which is very targetted and the followers interact a fair bit. Not a huge following but an active one.

    I also find that stories REALLY HELP with engagement on Instagram.

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