How We Reached 10k Followers On Instagram And How You Can Too

Instagram has been one of the most powerful tools we have used to build our California + Destination Wedding Photography business. On average, we get 3-5 wedding inquiries a month from brides that found us on the platform. And it cost us ZERO dollars to get their attention! All that was required was time and engagement.

This morning we were pretty excited to see that our Instagram account had tipped over the 10k mark.

The Instagram community is full of so many talented dreamers, freedom thinkers, and artisans. After nearly two years of networking, liking and sharing – we have over 10,000 people that believe in us.

Our hearts are truly full.

With a solid Instagram strategy, and a little hustle, you can grow your account just like we did. Today we are sharing the exact strategies we used to grow our Instagram audience to over 10,000 followers.

How We Reached 10k Followers On Instagram And How You Can Too

#1 Optimize Your Instagram Profile

Your Instagram profile is the first piece of real estate that a potential follower sees.

Making a good first impression is key to gaining new Instagram followers. Click To Tweet

It’s super important to optimize the profile space to its maximum potential. There are 4 main components to an Instagram profile :

  • Username
  • Profile Photo
  • Instagram Bio
  • Website Url

Learn how to attract your dream followers with a killer Instagram profile that stands out and converts in this post here.

#2 Develop Your Instagram Feed Aesthetic

Instagram is a visual platform, therefore your photos need to be top notch. No exceptions. With iPhones pretty much being the norm, it honestly blows our mind when an ugly photo pops up in our feed. How is that even possible!? That to us, and most everyone else, communicates laziness. #sorrynotsorry

If you want to capture your audience’s attention and turn them into raving fans, then you have to blow them away and make them stop scrolling.

Your images must encourage people to check out your entire feed and become interested in what it is… Click To Tweet

Think of your Instagram feed as a 9 image grid. You have nine changes to make someone like and follow you! If you think about your favorite feeds to follow, the emulate a certain feel or vibe to them with the images they share.

Some accounts that do this really well are @studiodiy (left), @songofstyle (middle) @juliahengel (right).

The key to an Instagram feed is the balance of color, and space.

Color

Try to keep the color as uniform as possible. The trick to doing this is to stick to one filter. Editing your photos in the same way each time will make them flow better.

Space

For a seamless flow, you need space. Whether that be white space, or the main focus of the photo being closer or farther away. Think of space like zoom on a camera – you need a balance of tight and wide photos to make it look most appealing.

#3 Use Hashtags

If you’ve heard about the new algorithm changes, then chances are you know it’s getting a lot harder to master Instagram. Now more than ever, it’s absolutely vital to maintain engagement on your feed.

Engagement is the key to success on Instagram. Click To Tweet

This is where hashtags come in.

Hashtags are your like your best friend. You need them for support.

You’re currently allotted up to 30 hashtags on a photo. USE THEM ALL. These are your keywords. People will use these words to type in the search field and find relevant photos or accounts to follow.

Struggling to know which hashtags to use? Read our hashtag strategy post to answer all your questions.

#4 Tell A Visual Story

You’re the only person who knows what actually went into taking that photo. Share with people the story behind it. Where was it taken? How does it make you feel? What is happening in the photo? Make us connect to the image and pull at our heart strings.

You need to be relatable. Put yourself in the shoes of your audience, and study how they communicate.  Research your ideal client and learn what they are interested in. It’s ok to have a one liner every once in a while, but try to go deeper.

#5 Plan Ahead

In order to post everyday, you need to plan ahead. We recommend creating a social media calendar to help you become more consistent with Instagram. When planning out your content, leave room for change. Sometimes you might go to a really cool coffee shop mid week and want to post a photo of your cappuccino. If all of your posts are scheduled already, you won’t be able to.

#6 Tag Brands

Tagging brands and vendors in your photos is essential to building your Instagram following quickly. Not only will it notify the people you tagged, but also expand the reach of your photo. Chances are, the person you tagged will want to re-share the photo on their feed and tag YOU back! This will result in even more exposure and credibility for your business.

We’ve had photos liked by Kate Spade, Tilly’s and pretty much every donut and coffee shop we’ve visited.

#7 Use Geotags

A geo tag is like a check in on Facebook. If you have a physical location for your business, then you must set it up as a custom location and tag it in each post. If your business is worldwide, then use the location that you took the photo in or the city you want to attract customers from. According to Simply measured, Instagram posts that feature a location see a 50% higher engagement rate.

#8 Use Call To Actions

Ask something and they will answer. Create conversations and a highly engaged audience. People want to join in and feel like they are part of the discussion.

Think about what your audience might respond to. By asking questions, it shows that you care about your audience, and they aren’t just numbers.

If you’re afraid your question will be met with crickets, don’t be.  If you want to build a following, you have to get over that fear. More people are likely to double tab (heart) your photo than they are to comment. Change their behavior by posting a question at the end of every caption. Whether they reply or not, they will always have the option to. The easier the question is to answer, the higher response you will get.

#9 Reply To Comments

We’ll admit, as you gain more followers, it becomes harder to reply to each comment. Often times people leave comments that are empty such as “nice” or “cool” and it doesn’t feel worth our time to reply. Even worse, it could be an automatic bot that leaves these comments.

However, it IS worth your time, only because they took the time to write it, and therefore you should reciprocate. If it was a bot that left the comment, you still will notify the person that left the comment forcing them to take a peek at your Instagram feed.

Unless you have thousands of comments on each photo, there really isn’t an excuse why you can’t spend a few minutes writing thank you. Be social! Respond to comments to keep the conversation going. Visit your followers accounts and engage with their posts too .

#10 Post Every Day

You don’t have to post to Instagram every hour, but definitely everyday if you want to stay relevant. Consistency is what will propel you forward. If you post too much, you will saturate your followers feeds and annoy them. Track your engagement to see your optimism posting days and times. We tend to have the most engagement after 10pm because a lot of our followers are on the opposite side of the world as us. Crazy, right!?

People want to know that you are reliable, and can count on content from you. It keeps you relevant. Many of us give up before we see results, but we promise if you keep going, you will gain momentum.

You won’t grow ANY social media platform if you don’t show up like it’s your boring 9-5 job. HUSTLE.

If you don’t have a solid Instagram strategy to follow, it can get messy and overwhelming trying to grow your account.

That’s why we’ve created the #InstauthorityChallenge, a FREE step-by-step email course that teaches you how to build a solid foundation and grow your Instagram in just 7 days.

If you want to grow your Instagram in 2017, it’s time to start planning NOW. You can REGISTER here and get started today!

98 Comments
  • Siobhan Murphy

    January 31, 2017 at 9:11 am Reply

    this is so helpful! thank you so much for all of these tips!

    http://www.shivonstyle.com

    • nekraj bhartiya

      July 7, 2017 at 11:08 am Reply

      I agree with you. However, I have 24k Insta fans by followings something same tricks.

      cheers nekraj
      Insta @nekrajB

  • Shalini

    January 31, 2017 at 11:21 am Reply

    Wow! That’s awesome. I am definitely enrolling in your course. Thanks for the handy tips 🙂

  • Danielle

    January 31, 2017 at 5:10 pm Reply

    I love that you put all these tips together. Instagram can be such a beast so it’s really helpful when someone understands it and shares it with others. Congrats on your 10k by the way =]

    Danielle | FollowMyGut.com <3

  • Kelley Farrell

    February 2, 2017 at 5:31 pm Reply

    Actually going through the steps you’ve outlined here – I’ve been stuck at just over 1K for too long!

    • Moose Studio

      February 2, 2017 at 6:20 pm Reply

      Awesome! You should join the Instagram Challenge as well, it will help bump up your following as well 🙂

  • Joyce Odette

    February 2, 2017 at 7:52 pm Reply

    Super helpful! Currently trying to step up my newest IG profile (just passed the 100 follower mark). The one I will take away and implement immediately is to include CTA’s on the description. Haven’t really done that much and I’m sure it’ll help with interaction! Thanks for the tips 🙂
    Joyce Odette

  • Danielle Fairhurst

    February 2, 2017 at 8:13 pm Reply

    Thank you so much for sharing these tips. I’ve been ignoring Instagram for a while and focusing on Twitter and Facebook but I definitely want to get back into using Instagram so I’ll be bookmarking this post!

    Dani x | http://www.flourishingfreelancer.com

  • Aisha

    February 3, 2017 at 11:41 pm Reply

    Loved this! Instagram is my favorite platform to promote my blog and I made a promise to start being more strategic with it this year. These tips are a the perfect place for me to start. Thanks!

  • Rhonda Swan

    February 4, 2017 at 4:06 am Reply

    How awesome for you! That is incredible reach. Just keep providing value and people will follow you. Keep up the great work and live unstoppable!

    • Jenny

      March 8, 2017 at 9:42 pm Reply

      I literally jumped out of my chair and danced after reading this!

  • carla

    February 15, 2017 at 8:53 pm Reply

    awesome tip about the keyboard shortcut. thank you!!!

  • Sarah Althouse

    February 24, 2017 at 3:26 pm Reply

    I’m fairly new to instagram but started implementing many of these tips and (slowly) seeing growth

  • Brittany Wise

    February 24, 2017 at 3:33 pm Reply

    I need to do the keyboard shortcut! My hardest part is posting consistenty and having the same aesthetic.

  • MJ Puertas

    February 24, 2017 at 3:35 pm Reply

    These are important tips that work! Thanks

  • Jessica

    February 24, 2017 at 3:38 pm Reply

    Great tips! Thanks you!

  • Jenn Wang

    February 24, 2017 at 4:07 pm Reply

    This was such a helpful article, especially for a new blogger like me. Uploading photos with a consistent color/editing style has been the hardest part for me. I’m learning though and your tips have definitely helped! Thanks for creating such great content!

  • Lauren

    February 24, 2017 at 4:22 pm Reply

    This is why I will never break 10k. I love IG so much but I think of it more as a fun thing than a business thing. It makes me so happy though to post what I want so I will just have to deal with it! ha!

  • Kim

    February 24, 2017 at 4:48 pm Reply

    Such great tips!

    I have been pretty successful with gaining a few followers a week, but I am looking to amp it up! I will be using this for sure.

    Thanks for sharing!

  • Kristin O'Ferrall

    February 24, 2017 at 5:11 pm Reply

    Instagram is the platform I have not taken on yet. I will be reading this thoroughly! Thank you for this helpful information!

  • Kristin O'Ferrall

    February 24, 2017 at 5:11 pm Reply

    Instagram is the platform I have not taken on yet. Thank you for this helpful information! I will be following your steps.

  • Cameron

    February 24, 2017 at 5:54 pm Reply

    Great tips! I’ll have to keep these in mind when posting!

    | Diary of a Southern Millennial

  • Erica @ Coming Up Roses

    February 24, 2017 at 6:15 pm Reply

    All SUPER true. I’m at over 20K now and they ring true now more than ever…and my friends with 50K+ all say the same thing! ENGAGEMENT!

    Coming Up Roses

  • Sam @ The Haunted Housewife

    February 24, 2017 at 6:52 pm Reply

    I need all the instagram help I can get, seriously. This was helpful! I’ve made February my Insta-rehab month. It’s going well so I think I’m going to try to keep it up for the rest of the year haha

  • Logan

    February 24, 2017 at 6:57 pm Reply

    Since having my third child, I have had a much harder time posting every day and planning ahead. That is one thing I definitely need to improve on again. I love these tips! Congratulations on 10k! That is awesome!

  • Katrina DeGrande

    February 24, 2017 at 8:00 pm Reply

    This post is perfectly timed – I’m about to take the plunge into the Instagram pool for my new blog. You have some great ideas on here, that I will definitely have to come back to as I’m getting up in running. Congratulations on hitting 10K, and thank you for the great advice!

  • Eric || The Bucket List Project

    February 24, 2017 at 10:43 pm Reply

    I have gotten some traffic with geotags. I think it often helps people connect with me whether I am travelling or local!
    Great tips…do you think you can have too many tags?

    • Moose Studio

      February 28, 2017 at 6:25 pm Reply

      I think you should use the maximum of 30 tags to reach as many people as possible.

  • Patricia @ Grab a Plate

    February 24, 2017 at 11:44 pm Reply

    These are really good tips! I can’t wait to implement a few and see what happens! Thanks for sharing!

  • kelly

    February 25, 2017 at 12:26 am Reply

    Such an awesome post! Great ideas!

  • Rochella Neely

    February 25, 2017 at 6:17 am Reply

    Great tips. I haven’t focused on Instagram much I may try utilizing it.

  • Kimberly @ Berly's Kitchen

    February 25, 2017 at 11:32 am Reply

    10k is amazing! Congrats! That’s a lot of hard work. Thank you for sharing these tips. I’ll definitely be implementing these on my own Instagram.

  • Bobbi | Bobbi's Kozy Kitchen

    February 25, 2017 at 6:05 pm Reply

    These are great tips! I started using Later (used to be Latergram) to schedule my posts, and post 3 times a day. I am seeing growth, not fast growth, but at least SOME growth. How long did it take you to get to 10K?

    • Moose Studio

      February 28, 2017 at 6:25 pm Reply

      It took us about 1.5 years, but the most growth came towards the end when we really started implementing our strategies.

  • Angie Rose

    February 26, 2017 at 1:13 am Reply

    These are all such amazing tips! I love Instagram, and last year I did the daily photo challenge. It really helped me post everyday, gave me inspiration and helped me find a supportive community of followers! I agree that posting everyday makes a huge difference! Thanks for the tips 🙂

  • Nicole Parise

    February 26, 2017 at 12:36 pm Reply

    Congrats on your success! I’m still stuck in some lower numbers on instagram, but I hope when I hit the two year mark I will be at 10k! Great tips as well 🙂

    xx nicole
    http://www.nicoleparise.com

  • Neelofar

    February 27, 2017 at 1:13 am Reply

    Thank you for all these tips! I wish it was a faster process, but I can’t wait to implement a few of these that I haven’t been doing!
    Neelofar
    http://www.theloveliestlily.com

  • Amy

    March 15, 2017 at 2:07 pm Reply

    I needed this! Thank you for sharing.

  • Emily

    March 15, 2017 at 2:16 pm Reply

    Super helpful! Thanks for the tips!!

  • Katie Colella

    March 15, 2017 at 2:27 pm Reply

    Great post, I enjoyed taking a look to see if there were any new things I don’t do! Thank you

  • Carina Swenson

    March 15, 2017 at 2:32 pm Reply

    Thank you for all the tips!! I’ve been struggling with my Instagram account. 😬 It’s pretty…..lame. I like the idea of sticking to a theme because right now I’m all over the place with my pictures!

  • Morgan

    March 15, 2017 at 2:49 pm Reply

    Great tips! These are definitely some of the best ways to grow you Instagram audience! xx

    http://www.liliesandlambs.com

  • Sarah Jean Althouse

    March 15, 2017 at 4:16 pm Reply

    Congrats on reaching 10K! I’m trying to implement all of these but doing better at some. I only do every other day now but hope to get up to once a day eventually.

  • Sophie

    March 15, 2017 at 4:45 pm Reply

    These are fantastic tips, will implement straight away!

  • Erica @ Coming Up Roses

    March 15, 2017 at 5:47 pm Reply

    This is pretty much the Bible to growing to ANY size – rinse, and repeat! All true!

    Coming Up Roses

  • Krysten

    March 15, 2017 at 6:23 pm Reply

    These are great tips! I need to start posting more, I just can’t ever find the time. I know it will help me in the long run!

  • Linnea White

    March 15, 2017 at 6:30 pm Reply

    Thank you for sharing this! Much of what I know, but am still working on nailing down and defining for myself — @linnea_white — and my shop — @shopatdarling. Check out my blog here! http://www.shopatdarling.com/blog

  • Patrick Blair

    March 15, 2017 at 6:55 pm Reply

    Most of this is common sense stuff… the problem is, sometimes common sense isn’t so common. lol
    Congrats on 10k! I’ll be reevaluating my Instagram now. 🙂

  • Jessica Bradshaw

    March 15, 2017 at 7:24 pm Reply

    Great tips! I am almost to 3k and can’t wait to reach 10k. Congrats on your success. Your feed is gorgeous.

  • Jennifer Dunham

    March 15, 2017 at 7:50 pm Reply

    So exciting that you have reached such a big number! There are definitely some underutilized features on Instagram, like tagging brands and using geotags. These are great tips!

  • Melody Owen

    March 15, 2017 at 8:07 pm Reply

    My favourite tip is to tell a visual story. I am working on that one. I am so accustomed to using words to tell stories that I need to shift my strategies. Thank you for the post.

  • Bonnie

    March 15, 2017 at 8:17 pm Reply

    I worry about geo tags- I don’t really want people to know where I live. Do you think I should be that concerned?

    • Moose Studio

      March 15, 2017 at 9:49 pm Reply

      Just tag a general location such as your city or state, not your actual address 🙂

  • Michelle

    March 15, 2017 at 8:25 pm Reply

    Instagram is one of those things I’m just gonna pay someone else to manage someday. I cannot be bothered to spend hours futzing around with filters and hashtags…

    • Moose Studio

      March 15, 2017 at 9:50 pm Reply

      Michelle, we completely understand. However, in the meantime, you will be missing the opportunity to reach your ideal audience that is on the app as we speak! Give it a chance 🙂

  • Amanda | Maple Alps

    March 15, 2017 at 9:54 pm Reply

    Great tips! Definitely going to start using these, and hopefully soon I’ll be at 10K too 😉 Great job guys!

  • Heather | My Moxietude

    March 16, 2017 at 12:16 am Reply

    Love these tips and definitely something I need. Thanks for sharing!!

  • Cindy Ingalls

    March 16, 2017 at 1:34 am Reply

    Some of these I do and some I don’t so thank you for opening my eyes. I am definitely going to put some of these tips in practice. What resolution do you recommend? And is it true that vertical images are better than horizontal?

    • Moose Studio

      March 16, 2017 at 2:22 am Reply

      Hey Cindy! We recommend the highest resolution you have. Quality photos definitely get more engagement 🙂 Square photos are best for Instagram, however we’ve been using horizontal photos lately and they seem to work just fine!

  • Sasha Mills

    March 16, 2017 at 2:33 am Reply

    Great info! I’m fairly new to Instagram but these are great tips!!!

  • Peta

    March 16, 2017 at 3:21 am Reply

    Thank you for the in depth information on growing your following base! I will try all of your tips, and congrats on reaching 10k, I am halfway there and this motivates me to keep going!

  • Mary Jane

    March 16, 2017 at 3:42 am Reply

    This was a great article! I currently have about 2K, but haven’t been curating my aesthetic as closely and I know I should. Thank you for the inspiration! Cheers, Mary Jane

  • Brittany Daoud

    March 16, 2017 at 5:18 am Reply

    Thank you for these tips! I had never thought about having “space” in the photos, but you’re right, it’s so aesthetically pleasing!

  • Tram-Anh Poprik

    March 16, 2017 at 6:05 am Reply

    Thank you so much for the tips! I want 10k followers too!! I will definitely be taking your tips and putting them in action! xo

  • Alicia

    March 16, 2017 at 6:46 am Reply

    great tips! some of them i haven’t heard of before. I need to work on this.

  • Molly

    March 16, 2017 at 1:00 pm Reply

    Thanks for the great reminders! 🙂

  • Anne | onedeterminedlife

    March 16, 2017 at 7:03 pm Reply

    Question: do I go back to old pictures and make sure they all have 30 hashtags??

    • Moose Studio

      March 16, 2017 at 10:47 pm Reply

      Hey Anne! Great question! Unfortunately, the older photos are more likely to be buried already and wouldn’t benefit from adding hashtags to them. With thousands of photos being posted each hour, it’s best to use them on your NEW photos 🙂

  • Nicole @ Work|Wear|Wander

    March 19, 2017 at 10:02 pm Reply

    These are great tips! I’m getting close to 10k myself, but I agree — it’s a lot of work and strategy 🙂

  • Elizabeth @ Simpson Photography

    March 22, 2017 at 6:43 pm Reply

    I just hit the 1,000 mark this week, so I’m a baby business, but can’t wait to implement more of these tips to grow! Thanks so much, y’all!

  • makenzie

    April 5, 2017 at 2:20 am Reply

    Thanks for all the tips! will defiantly put these in to action and hope my Instagram will grow ! I’m only around 600 follower at the movement but trying to build up a following as fast as possible for my travel blog

    Thanks
    Makenzie: http://www.chasingcoordinates.com

  • The Social Media Struggle | GreedyGIRL

    April 21, 2017 at 1:27 pm Reply

    […] right, you can have a beautiful feed and a massive amount of followers.  Michelle and Josh over at MooseStudioBlog do an excellent job at showing what they did to grow 10k followers on […]

  • Shahzadi

    April 25, 2017 at 1:37 pm Reply

    Thanks for the useful tips 🙂

  • Amy

    April 25, 2017 at 1:43 pm Reply

    I love this post so much, so many helpful tips!! I’ve been doing most of these but not to my fullest potential. I am ways away from 10k but my new goal is to get there! Thanks for this motivation!!!

  • Quinn Caudill

    April 25, 2017 at 1:56 pm Reply

    I do many of these suggestions but not often enough to gain traction. Thanks for the great ideas!

  • Candace Rusling

    April 25, 2017 at 2:14 pm Reply

    Great advice! My IG is growing for my blog 😊

  • mei

    April 25, 2017 at 2:44 pm Reply

    Congratulations!!!! what a great milestone. I have been blogging for a year now and i am 2k away from that number. I cant wait! thank you for the inspiration.

  • Casey the College Celiac

    April 25, 2017 at 4:40 pm Reply

    Great tips! I definitely think posting regularly and replying to comments helps!

  • Krysten

    April 25, 2017 at 4:52 pm Reply

    These are really great tips! I am a little over 6000 followers and want to get to 10000 so bad! I am going to use these tips to do so!

  • Jessica Peresta

    April 25, 2017 at 5:14 pm Reply

    These are all incredibly helpful tips! I do some of this but will try out the other tips too! Thank you!

  • Jackie Ison

    April 25, 2017 at 5:29 pm Reply

    Great tips! I have never really considered uniformiy in my pictures. I also never thought about tagging products in the post. It’s worth a try!

  • Belle

    April 25, 2017 at 6:35 pm Reply

    This is just what I need! Such a great post! I’ve gotten 10k followers and now focusing on more engaged followers!

    Belle | One Awesome Momma

  • Eryn

    April 25, 2017 at 8:46 pm Reply

    Thanks for the tips! I’m already implementing a few of them but need to up my game with the others!

  • Bruce Schinkel

    April 25, 2017 at 10:01 pm Reply

    Very interesting strategies … i can see how they all come together to create an amazing IG platform for any online business

  • Tuyet

    April 25, 2017 at 11:20 pm Reply

    I recently reached 10K too! And yes, I agree to everything! Congrats! kimballandkedzie.com

  • salwa kisswani

    April 26, 2017 at 12:03 am Reply

    awesome tips, I currently have ~8k, looking forward to using those tips to help my insta grow 😀

  • Felicita Moncada

    April 26, 2017 at 12:58 am Reply

    I needed this! I just can’t seem to grow Instagram as fast as my other social media networks. Can’t wait to implement these!

  • Jenny

    April 26, 2017 at 1:50 am Reply

    These are such wonderful tips! I’m at 25k on my lifestyle blog and hopefully get to 50k this yr.

  • Michelle Paige

    April 26, 2017 at 3:14 am Reply

    These are great tips! Thanks so much!

  • Stephanie

    April 26, 2017 at 1:58 pm Reply

    These are great tips! Personally, I need to figure out this whole color/aesthetic part. I’m just not good at picturing it or finxing the right pics.

  • Erin

    April 26, 2017 at 4:05 pm Reply

    Fantastic tips! It’s so hard to post every day and keep it consistent since that requires constant photo editing. I miss the days when you could just post anything and everything 🙂 I do love responding to commenters, though!
    erin | sandsunandmessybuns.com

  • Brittany Daoud

    April 26, 2017 at 4:20 pm Reply

    These are amazing tips, thanks for sharing!

  • Julie Torres

    April 26, 2017 at 5:36 pm Reply

    Great tips here, fr sure will use some. I struggle with the follow then unfollow game. Any tips on combating that?

  • Brittany Giles

    April 26, 2017 at 7:03 pm Reply

    Congratulations! Thanks for the tips they will definitely help!

  • Debbie Savage

    April 29, 2017 at 7:48 pm Reply

    I am so inspired by this post! Thank you so much for sharing your passion and helpful tips!! Yay, keep up the great work!
    xo Debbie | http://www.tothineownstylebetrue.com

  • Sosi's Mom

    June 23, 2017 at 12:45 pm Reply

    I love lists – and this one doesn’t disappoint!

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