Not happy with how many (or few) Instagram followers you have?

Feel like you’re talking to yourself on there?!

Are you using all those fancy Instagram marketing techniques (like contests and coupons), but they just aren’t getting you more sales?


That’s because none of those sales-boosting tactics will work unless you have a solid following FIRST!

If you have less than 1,000 Instagram followers, then this post is for you.

If you have less than 1,000 followers, don’t worry about making sales on Instagram… YET.

Right now you need to focus on growing your following to the point where it’s large enough to use sales-boosting techniques. Once you do, you’ll get those results you’re after ;)

This guide goes over 8 things to do to get you to the point where you can use cool marketing tactics like contests and coupons, and they will actually get you more sales.

Heck. Yes.

Click below to get the downloadable guide + weekly FB group challenge:


The 8 Things to Do to Get Your First 1,000 Followers

(not in order of importance, but based on the stages of your follower growth!)

1. Know Your Goal

There’s no point in doing, if you don’t know why you’re doing it in the first place. When you know where you’re going, you’ll find a way better way of getting there than if you didn’t know where the heck you were going.

Always have a goal, end of story.

And the goal is easy here, 1,000 Instagram Followers! It’s also a good idea to set a timeframe for your goal. So 1,000 followers in 1 month, 2 months, etc.

Keep this in mind as you go through the tactics in the rest of the article!


2. Know Your Audience and What They Want to See

I know this is #2 on the list, but Knowing Your Audience is really the NUMBER ONE thing you have to do here. (And really for any part of your business).

The idea of Instagram is building a following of people that love your content, and trust that you will always give them value.

The only way you’re going to do that is to find out exactly what it is that your audience cares about and will literally “like”.

Step 1: Define Your Target Audience and Create Your Buyer Personas

Make sure you REALLY know your audience (and potential followers) on a deep level so you can relate to, and eventually sell to them.

Read my other post here for more details on what specific things you need to know about your audience, and your free Buyer Persona Template

Main Take-Aways:

  • You Are Not Always Your Target Customer (although you may have some things in common)
  • You Have to Go Deeper Than You’d Think

             Basic demographics aren’t gonna cut it – find out what they truly care about in their lives, their priorities and problems you can solve for them.

  • Speak to Them in Their Own Language

             Find out what words/slang they use, and relate to them even better!

Step 2: Track What and When Your Followers “Like”

Use a tool like Iconosquare (it’s my fave and it’s free woohoo!) to keep track of which of your Instagram posts get the most likes, most comments, and what your best times to post are.



If your followers love your outfit grid shots showing them how to style your jewelry, post more of those!

If they love your funny quotes (that relate to them and your biz philosophy) then post more of those!

If no one likes pictures of your dog (as cute as he might be) don’t post him anymore!



3. Have the Right Kind of Bio

Your Instagram bio is more important than you might think. If it doesn’t have the right parts, it can confuse and turn away potential followers.

You’ve got 150 characters to tell people exactly what you sell, relate to your audience personally, and direct them to take action, and give them a link to take that action.

MAIN POINT: Your bio is more about your followers than it’s about you, in the sense that you have to grab their attention and make it super clear what value they will get from you.

Don’t talk about how many dogs you have, your kids’ names, or where you live.

Those things are important to you NO DOUBT, but if they aren’t selling points for your biz, they are just going to be a distracting waste of your limited space here.

Example: if you make baby goods, something like “made for health conscious mothers by a mother herself” could be a selling point because it can help build trust. BUT if you sell something like beads, you don’t need to say where you live. Ya feel?

Here are some good bio examples:



You can use the full 3 part Instagram Bio Description Formula here to write your Perfect Bio!



4. Do Your Hashtag Research

Hashtag research means finding the hashtags that are going to help you target your potential followers.

The main idea is to use hashtags that your audience uses, not just ones that describe your products.

If you sell handmade greeting cards, a hashtag like “makersgonnamake” isn’t going to be searched by your potential customers. That hashtag is going to be searched by other fellow makers, who probs aren’t going to buy from you.

What you need to do is:

  • Find the hashtags that your audience use

            Check out the posts of your existing followers (if they are customers or potential customers)

  • Find the hashtags that similar (and successful) accounts in your industry use

             If you have followers that are fellow sellers, then check out accounts of other similar (and successful) sellers and see which hashtags they are using to target their audience. Since chances are, you have the same or similar-enough audience.

Click here for more details on proper hashtag research.

Once you know which hashtags THEY use, you’ll be able to find them on Instagram. You’ll be able to put your brand in front of them where they will notice you, instead of waiting for them to hopefully, maybe, one day find you.

And the way you’re going to go to THEM, is the next tactic…


5. Like & Comment on Your Audience’s Posts

So now that you’ve got a list of hashtags your audience uses, you can find them!

Search for those hashtags in Instagram, and filter through the posts to find your potential customers. (You should be able to tell by using your best judgement. If they look like someone who loves boho style and you make boho jewelry, they are a potential customer!)

Now like and comment on the posts of those potential followers.

The whole idea here is to get your account, (and brand) seen by your potential followers. So when they see that a new account they may not have heard of yet just liked and complimented them on one of their photos, they are going to feel good!

Then (logically) they will head over to your account and check you out cause they are thinking,

“who is this?…”

At this point it’s your job to make sure your account and all your content relates to them so when they do head there, they will take a look and think,

“Woah, this account is really cool! They get me, and their products are for me!”

And if your bio is set up right, and you’re posting content that your audience actually likes (as explained above) then you’ll be covered!

HELPFUL HINT: Try and make your comments engaging… so something a little more than “cool stuff!”. Try to start a convo with the person, and they will be more likely to know you aren’t just spam.


6. Run Giveaways with Influencers

An influencer is a person (or brand) that well, influences your audience. Someone your potential customers look to, follow, and trust.

They could be groups, clubs, or other sellers that are NOT your direct competition, but have the same (or similar) audience as you are the perfect “influencers”.

They have grown their own followings, and your potential customers are part of them! Creating influencer relationships is a MUST because they allow you to tap into these already built audiences.

A great way to do that is to run a giveaway with an influencer. Offer a prize (one of your products) and say you will give it away to one of their followers if they run the giveaway.

What they get out of it: something cool for their audience, that’s FREE (which makes them way more likely to say yes to running the giveaway in the first place)

What you get out of it: Your product  and brand seen by lots of targeted eyeballs, very likely to follow you.

Want to know how to find and reach out to your perfect influencers? Learn how in the Only Instagram Guide You’ll Ever Need here.


7. Do Shout Outs with Influencers

Shout outs have the same main idea as running influencer giveaways.

It’s an easy, win-win situation for both accounts.

You share a post dedicated to promoting your influencer, and they share a post on their account dedicated to promoting YOU to their followers.

Again, you’re getting your brand seen by potential customers that will come check out your account.



HELPFUL HINT: To up your chances of getting an influencer to agree to running a giveaway, shout out, or any other kind of collab, the trick is to build a relationship with them first, before you ask them to work together.

  • like & comment on their posts
  • share their posts on your account (like a pre-shout out to get their attention!)


8. Run Your OWN Giveaway

Alright my grasshoppers, the time has come… time for the MOST exciting out of all these tips… running your OWN giveaway!

BUT the thing is, you shouldn’t try running a giveaway on your own account unless you have AT LEAST 800 followers.

If you have at least 800 – 1,000 followers (remember this is just an estimate, it will be slightly different for every account!) then you can give this one a shot.

When running a giveaway you have to:

  • Choose a prize your audience will care about, and get enough value from

             (enough value = enough “WOW Factor” that they will actually want to enter to win it)

  • Create a promo graphics with CTAs

           (more info on how to do that here)

  • Include all rules and “how to enter” directions in a SUPER CLEAR way

             (if anyone would have a question about what they get or how to enter, then you need to edit!)

IMPORTANT: Make sure one of the rules of entry is that they have to tag at least 1 friend (that’s how new followers are going to find you).




If you’d like more info on how to run a successful Instagram giveaway, check out our Only Instagram Guide You’ll Ever Need!


Remember the Magic 8 for Getting Your First 1,000 Followers:

I need to stress again that the tactics that work best for your account will vary. Sometimes a tactic will work for a few months, and then not so much.


The important lesson to learn here is that you have to always be testing new strategies, and keeping track of what works so you can always improve. That’s how you will CONTINUE to grow :)

Use this list to make sure you have the basics covered, and find which strategies work the best for you:


  • Know Your Goal
  • Know your Audience and What They Want to See
  • Have the Right Kind of Bio
  • Do Your Hashtag Research
  • Like & Comment on Your Audience’s Posts
  • Run Giveaways with Influencers
  • Do Shout Outs with Influencers
  • Run Your OWN Giveaway


Makers Makin’ It Happen Weekly Challenge!

Make sure you downloaded the weekly challenge from the beginning of this post! It’s that big blue button ;)


Rachel Daley
Rachel is the resident Content Fairy at MadeFreshly, the ecommerce platform that makes your passion pay off. Click here to get her actionable tips and inspiration for entrepreneurs every week!