How I Grew to 10k on Instagram
I believe this blog is long overdue. I have been in this realm of work for over a year and have mentored dozens of women 1-on-1 how to grow their social media following and get paid to be themselves online! You've requesting it so here it is - HOW I became a social media influencer (and lifestyle coach) with no degree, certifications, or marketing experience!
okay...that last statement is partly false. I have a degree in nutrition and fitness, but neither of those really prepared me to growing my Instagram to 10k, sharing my life everyday with stranger, and running a business online! But it is how I got into it...
Three years ago, I was a college senior in a long distance relationship going through a quarter life crisis of what to do with my nutrition degree after college. After watching my long distance girlfriend be a nurse for 6 months, I knew the hospital life was not for me, but there is not much else you could with a nutrition degree other than be a Registered Dietitian. So I started looking for any job in my field without a RD licenses, but there were hardly none especially near my girlfriend...and that's when I found lifestyle coaching!
I was scrolling Instagram one night and found an ad looking for ladies that wanted to get into the online coaching world. The account that posted it had 40k followers and my personal page at the time had 300 followers, 10 grainy/poorly lit photos, and 2 years of pictures missing since I deleted them after a breakup (who can relate?) Anyways I was far from an ideal instagram influencer and when you run an online business, you online presences is EVERYTHANG (or at least it feels that way)
I knew I had to grow my account, but how?!? Honestly, it was a lot of trial and error, stalking other influencers, and f*ucking up, but here are all the things I learned on my journey to 10k that I hope help you!
1. Find something you LOVE
Like I mentioned I was in school for nutrition to my next right step was lifestyle coaching since I combined nutrition + fitness + mindset.
Look at your own life and figure out what you spend the most time watching, doing, googling, and talking about! Narrow it down to 5 things!! That's your niche (niche aka target market, online community, girl gang, ect)
2. Pick 2 to 3 platforms to grow
YUP! Two to three, not just one! The reason I say this is because many of you already have one platform you understand on a basic level (and I will bet for 99.9% of you thats instagram).
So many platforms are connected now that you can repurpose content, hit multiple audiences, and barely do anymore work for twice the reward. But make sure you pick ones you love!
If you hate video editing, don't start a youtube.
If you hate writing, don't start a blog. It's common sense!
Do what you love and the money will follow!
3. Create a content strategy
Let's be honest..people are goldfish. What I mean is 70% of you didn't even get to this step because we can't focus for more than a minute. (if you got this far post a screenshot on your story and tag me @tarasimone_fit)
The same thing happens with you social media platform. You have to narrow down the focus and create consistently amazing content to keep people entertained! How do you do that?!
Go back to what you LOVE and pick 5 things to focus on! Maybe you are a gay fitness loving dog mom with crystals in her bra that lives in Vermont...or maybe thats just me, but you get the point! Posting on these 5 things you love makes it easier for your audience to understand your brand with clarity and see you as an expert on those things! (brownie points if one of those things you can monetize..but we will talk about that in a second!)
4. Be consistent!
I cannot tell you how many girls sign up to work with me and then quit when they find out IT TAKES WORK! Posting on Instagram for a week and leaving a few comments is not going to give you 10k followers. It took a year of me posting, engaging, bettering my photo/editing skills, and evolving my brand to get to 10k. (which btw you can do way quicker and I hope this helps you do so!)
So start posting EVERYDAY! Start engaging with other accounts everyday! It's SOCIAL media so be social!
(and don't ask the perfect amount to post a day. It changes all the time what everyone thinks is the perfect "formula" for instagram/social media! I tell my clients at least 1 feed post a day, +5 stories throughout the day, and 1-2 Lives/IGTVs just to stay relevant and active on the app)
5. Use ALL your Instagram tools!
Guess what?! When IG makes something they really like it if you use it - I am talking story features, IGTV, carousel posts, ect. They want YOU to use it and want OTHERS to use it meaning if you use the new features the second you get them, Instagram will share that content more so others see it and use it.
Right now IGTV and carousel posts are doing best for me! These both allow other pages to get more of me as well as binge my content easier. For example, instead of posting a minute long workout demo, I can instead post five 10 second clips in carousel format so my followers can easily swipe to the next slide! This makes it easier for them AND shows Instagram they like my content even if they don't "like" it since that swipe counts as engagement!
PS. Don't forget about hashtags! Oldest tool, but still works! You have 30 a post and they work whether they are in the caption or comments! Aim for ones between 50k and 2M posts so you are seen, but not drowned!
6. Engagement! Engagement! Engagement!
What did I just say?!?! Engage with others! Instagram loves engagement...its their crack! So if they see you commenting on others posts not only does that account get a notification, their followers may see your comment, and you may gain a few mutual friends/followers! So now these people are following you, commenting on your posts, and the cycle continues!
Here is my secret for always finding accounts in my niche to engage with and how to get them onto my page:
1. Go to a BIG influencer in your space* - Someone with 1M followers is perfect! (for me it's Nikki Blackketter since I focus primarily on fitness)
2. Go to their followers and start scrolling! - You are looking for someone similar to you! (For me, that's probably a dog mom, maybe gay, and into disney or crystals!)
3. Go to that persons account and 5-3-1 it! +5 likes, 3 comments, and 1 DM! (Thank goodness for story replies making it so easy to start convos #introvertprobs) This will blow up their feed and get their eyes on YOU. You may gain a follow and a new friend! At the very least Instagram will at least see you are an active user and make the algorithm be kinder to you (may the odds be ever in your favor!)
4. Now REPEAT over and over and over again at least 20 times a day everyday for a year (see why people trying to make a quick buck being an influencer don't succeed? It takes work)
*you can also do this with hashtags! Check out the recent posts under a hashtag in your niche and engage with those accounts in the same way
Instagram also pushes your content out to more people if you have high engagement! (insider tip: likes aren't cutting it anymore!) Having people SAVE, SEND, or COMMENT on your post boosts your engagement causing Instagram to push your post out to more people. (if you didn't know only 10% of your followers on average see you posts)
7. Bots? Giveaways? Loops? Engagement Pods? HELP!
I've done it all babes! YUP I admit it! I used a bot at one point, which if we are being honest a ton of influencers do, and won't admit to, but here is the truth - I believe there is nothing wrong with bots! Why? Cause it is doing the same thing I just told you to do: Like, Comment, and Follow accounts! BUT I do not recommend them NOW! I used one back in Summer of 2018 when they weren't as popular, but now instagram can pick up on the activity and band your account for using 3rd party software :( #notworthit
So what does work?!?! GIVEAWAYS! Who doesn't LOVE free stuff?!?! and it can be so easy! Like this one I did for Starbucks! Just tag a couple friends and I'll pick two people to receive a free $5 e card. $10 and I gained 300 followers! Obviously results will vary and there is no guarantee, but it is fun to play around with!
Loop giveaways are also super popular these days! Basically multiple influencers go in on a big item (Think iPhone, vacation, $200 giftcard, ect) and everyone that the main giveaway page followers has to be followed by the people wanting to enter the contest! This allows multiple influencers to expand their audience and save some money! Just search "giveaways" on instagram and I am sure hundreds of these types of accounts will pop up!
Lastly, engagement pods. Some people love them...I don't! But they work...sometimes! Instagram can see your DMs (yes creepy, but true) and the way I see many people use engagement pods is through Instagram Messages. Meaning Mr. Instagram can see you + 15 other strangers have a group chat where you all send your posts and like each other pictures the second it goes up...sound spammy? Instagram things so! Instead find engagement pods OUTSIDE of instagram (telegram, voxer, facebook messenger, literally anything else) I have see far better growth from using ones located outside IG vs in the IG DMs.
8. How to make money off it!
Thanks to social media there are a million and one ways now to make money - affiliate links, network marketing, ads, drop shipping, ect - again, find what you love and do that!
Personally, I use network marketing for majority of my income and earn a little on the side blogging and using Pinterest! How? Check this out for all the deets on my network marketing job and my team of influencers I mentor. As for blogging/Pinterest income I use Amazon Affiliates! So basically I receive a small commission anytime someone buys my favorite book through this magical amazon link! Anyone can sign up for it and make some side cash!
These are just TWO of the ways you can make bank online! Again, find a platform and niche you love and see how influencers in that space make money!
Want to learn even more about how I turned my love of fitness and helping others into a full time job I run from my laptop? Click here to hear the full story of how I went from broke, 15lbs overweight, and struggling with depression to my life now AND all the info on how I make money online and how you can too!
9. Reach out to brands!
Don't worry if you only have 1k followers! There are new, baby companies out there willing to exchange free product for your post about it! And I will say this again - FOCUS ON WHAT YOU LOVE!
If you hate sunglasses, don't agree to post for a sunglass company. Be YOU, authentic and real. That's what companies want to see right now! The more companies you work with, the more exposure you both get, and the more money you can charge for your posts! (curious how much you can charge? Try this! https://influencerfee.com/)
You can also create a media kit to help you show off your strengths, personality, and current deals to help companies determine if you are a good fit! (Pinterest has tons of great examples!
10. Be resourceful!
I tell my team this ALL THE TIME- google that shit! Everything I shared with you I either learned on Youtube, Facebook groups for Instagram Influencers, or through my mentor!
There is NOTHING in this world you cannot learn through Google these days! My only suggestion is find RECENT information! Instagram, Facebook, ect is ALWAYS changing so I will come back and refresh this blog when something is no longer true, but make sure whatever info you get in up to date!
AND that's all babes! It takes consistency, work, and a lot of soul searching, but if I can make it as an influencer so can you! If you are in need of more guidance or a mentor, feel free to apply to Team Vitality for my 1-on-1 social media and business mentoring!
PS. Don't forget! Social media is always changing so don't believe everything you see on the internet!! Always feel free to ask me anything as always!
For more details on being mentored by me and becoming a lifestyle coach check out this blog!