How to Reach 1000 Followers on Instagram (A Guide for Brands)

March 16, 2021
Hugh Stephens

This is the ultimate guide to reaching the first 1000 followers on Instagram. Keep on reading to learn how to kickstart your brand's growth on Instagram.

Has your brand just started a business account on Instagram? If so, you’re probably looking for ways to grow your audience and get those first 1000 followers, and fast! After all, what’s the point in putting hours and hours into creating mind-blowing Instagram posts if no one will see them? In this article, you'll learn various strategies to help your brand attract its first 1000 followers on Instagram, build some much-needed social proof, and start generating meaningful ROI from your efforts. Before that, though, let’s talk about why it’s important to kickstart your Instagram follower count from day one.

Why Such a Big Focus on the First 1000 Followers?

You hear brands talking about the first 1000 followers all the time; why? What’s the significance of this particular number? Well, let us clear a common misconception – 1000 followers is just a number. It has no major significance. Sure, it’s great to grow a large number of followers, but some brands and social media experts place too much emphasis on the number of followers they have – not just on Instagram, but on all their social networks. Why? Well, some marketers think a large number of followers adds legitimacy to their Instagram page. Others think that the number of followers they have will magically translate to sales. But that’s not always the case – while followers do lend legitimacy to your Instagram profile, the number of followers isn’t all that matters. It’s better to have 100 followers that actually like your brand and want to buy from you, than have 10,000 followers that aren’t really interested in your brand at all. That’s why brands who employ somewhat shadier tactics like buying followers or running spammy “follow for follow” campaigns are doing it all wrong. Most of the time, these users will ultimately unfollow their Instagram page anyway. That said, when you’re just starting out as a new business on Instagram, new followers who truly care about your brand are valuable. Even if they don’t immediately buy from you, they will probably engage with your content, helping it rank well in the Instagram algorithm. Ten followers won’t make a massive dent in your social media marketing, but a thousand genuine followers who want to find out more about you and your services have the power to make a real difference in your social strategy. Here’s why gaining those first 1000 Instagram followers is so crucial:

You’ve Gained Credibility

This isn’t just about your number of followers. With 1000 followers, anyone seeing your account for the first time is bound to take you seriously. If you only have 50 followers after six months on Instagram, people may assume that you’re not spending much time and effort on the social media platform. Or they might just feel that your brand isn’t credible enough. Sure, the number of followers isn’t the only metric you should use to measure success on Instagram – far from it! But it sure does give you some street cred. Plus, the more followers you gain, the more likely it will be that new users consider following you, especially if their friends are following you first.

You’re Building a Community

One reason for growing your audience is building a community of loyal followers who love your brand. Reaching your first 1000 followers on Instagram is your starting point until the next milestone that will help you grow your community even more. Having a social media community creates a valuable forum where customers can speak to each other, discuss your products or services, ask questions, and even provide you with valuable feedback and user-generated content. Brands like Glossier and HiSmile built their entire brands off the back of user-generated content shared on social media platforms, and continue to utilize these communities as a source of content and a means of generating brand awareness.

HiSmile user generated content campaign
HiSmile user generated content campaign

Your Brand Enjoys Serious Engagement on Instagram

To generate meaningful ROI, you also need to boost your brand awareness and generate engagement. And that comes naturally with a greater audience. That’s also the main reason why you don’t want to buy followers – most of the time, they aren’t real profiles, so they won’t actually engage with your brand. You need to spend the right amount of time interacting with your followers so that you eventually improve your engagement along with your number of followers. And if you have a bunch of fake followers, how will you engage with anyone?

15 Strategies to Get 1000 Followers on Instagram

#1. Post Quality Content

First of all, you should already have a carefully considered social media strategy. From there, you should start by developing your content calendar for Instagram. Start by mapping out how you want your brand to come across, from your tone of voice to your branding.Decide exactly what you want to share on Instagram and how many posts you need to schedule each week. If you have content coming in at the last minute or you have other Instagram posts to share on an ad hoc basis, leave gaps for these posts.Instead of posting every single day, having a social media scheduler like Sked Social can help save hours in your work week. That way, you can create your Instagram posts in batches.Ensure your images and videos are of high quality. Don’t post for the sake of posting, and avoid sharing stock photos and videos that don’t feel authentic to your brand.

#2. Understand Instagram’s Algorithm

One of the first steps towards growing your Instagram followers is to understand how Instagram works. Knowing what the algorithm is favoring can help you reach 1000 followers on Instagram faster. Just keep in mind that this can change over time! Why? Because Instagram wants brands to be creative, authentic, and consistent. That means that, ideally, you don’t want to share a new post every three months. But you also don’t want to share 20 posts a day just for the sake of it, as you probably won’t get the desired engagement. Find a sweet spot for your account. Experiment with different types of posts, different posting times, and different messaging. Aim to create engaging Instagram posts that will grab your followers’ attention.

#3. Look at Your Analytics

Review, refine, and repeat! A good way to find out what works best for your brand’s account is to look at your Instagram Analytics. Review your latest posts on at least a monthly basis, refine your best-performing content and repeat the process, again and again! Data-driven decisions allow you to be more strategic with your content while focusing only on what works best. That way, you’ll stay ahead of the algorithm and ensure engagement levels stay consistent. Make sure you dedicate some time every week to review your Instagram analytics and discover opportunities for future content. For example, if a short video telling your brand’s story worked well in terms of engagement, there may be an opportunity to continue this narrative. A closer look at your engagement rates can also help you understand the types of posts that work well. If a caption involving a direct question led to more comments, you can simply repeat this again to encourage more conversations. Not only that, but try reviewing the posts in your own feed. What are you seeing most of? A lot of people are posting Reels and Videos right now, to great success. See what is working, and steal those tactics and ideas that might work for you, but make them your own. Just remember; stay authentic and add your own unique spin to trending topics and post types! Just because it works for another brand, doesn’t mean it will work for you.

#4. Engage Fans at the Right Time

Reviewing your metrics regularly and studying your analytics when growing your Instagram followers can help you find out the best times to post your content. If you want to engage your fans at exactly the right time, you need to know the times that they are more active on Instagram. Use Sked’s ‘Best Time to Post’ feature to identify when your followers have more chances to engage with your brand’s content. Adjust your posting schedule accordingly to share content at the right time. The more active followers you have when you’re sharing a post, the higher the chances for them to engage with and share your Instagram posts.

#5. Encourage User-Generated Content

Don’t just rely on your own content when trying to reach your first 1000 followers on Instagram. You can grow your community faster if you encourage your fans to create content for your brand. User-generated content is an authentic and creative way for your followers to express themselves as an extension of your brand’s content. A branded hashtag, for example, can make it easier for you to discover all the new user-generated content (UGC) that might be out there. It also helps with your brand’s discoverability on Instagram. Whether it’s part of a campaign, a giveaway, or you’re just giving your followers an opportunity to be creative, don’t be afraid to come up with new ideas for user-generated content campaigns that make users feel like they’re a part of your community. For instance, many travel brands encourage UGC by offering a prize, discount, or just exposure to those who share Instagram posts about the brand, like Expedia. Some Instagram users are more than happy to tag brands just for the chance to be featured. Here, Expedia has simply added a call to action in their Instagram bio, by providing a hashtag where users can share their posts.

Expedia's Instagram profile

If we check the hashtag, we can see that almost 200,000 people have used the hashtag. Expedia regularly reposts these images on their page. In this way, UGC is providing them with an endless content stream to share back with followers.

Expedia's user generated content campaign

#6. Understand Your Target Audience

Your content is about your audience, not you. That’s why it’s crucial to understand your Instagram followers in order to create relevant content for them. Sked’s audience intelligence feature can help you analyze your followers’ demographics, from their age and location to any changes in reach and audience growth. Use your learnings to adjust your content accordingly and continue growing your account. The more you learn about your followers, the easier it will become to create the right content for them. For example, if your audience is expanding in a new country, you may want to create content that resonates more specifically with them.

#7. Partner with Other Brands

If you’re a new business and have a brand-new Instagram profile, you need to expand your reach. Partnering with other brands can help you grow your followers quickly.Think outside the box. You don’t need to partner with your competitors but you can still find brands that can match your own products.For example, if you are a skincare brand, you can partner with a swimwear label or a haircare brand. These may not be your direct competitors but you are still expanding your reach to a new audience that could be interested in your account.Don’t be afraid to try out new ideas. Whether it’s a contest or an Instagram Live interview session, start thinking of the brands that you’d like to partner with.

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#8. Cross-Promote Your Account to Other Channels

Not everyone knows that your brand is on Instagram. A good way to boost your Instagram followers is to promote your new profile across all your channels. Direct your Facebook or Twitter followers to your Instagram profile by sharing relevant posts. Mention your new Instagram profile in an email newsletter and make sure that you feature social media buttons on your website. This allows your existing followers and customers on other channels to find you on Instagram and stay up-to-date with your latest posts. You could even host a giveaway that is only running on Instagram to encourage social media followers to migrate from other channels. After all, your existing followers and customers might be more likely to convert to Instagram followers faster than those who don’t know your brand yet.

#9. Work with Influencers to Expand Your Reach

Collaborations can be a huge help when you’re just starting out on Instagram. How about partnering with influencers or bloggers who are relevant to your brand? Research the types of influencers that would help you gain new followers. Find out more about them. Think about what makes them relevant to your brand and how you can work together. You don’t need to partner with celebrities to grow your audience. Micro-influencers or up-and-coming influencers with 5000 followers can have a better engagement rate, making them a great fit for your brand. Come up with a good reason to create exciting and user-relevant content together so you have a compelling reason for new followers to discover your brand.

#11. Use Relevant Hashtags

Instagram hashtags can help boost your content’s reach to new audiences and gain new potential followers. Start by writing down a list of hashtags that are relevant to your brand. Start with the most obvious choices and expand your options. Use Instagram’s search function to find suggested hashtags. Look at their popularity. Use hashtags that are popular to begin with, but make sure you include additional niche hashtags and brand hashtags. Try not to use hashtags that are too overused. It’s much easier to stand out using the hashtag #skincareproducts with 5.2m posts rather than with the hashtag #skincare with 73.2m posts, which is flooded with new posts every few minutes.

#11. Work on Your Feed’s Aesthetics

First impressions count! What would you like someone to see first on your profile when they first discover it? It’s not just about the intent behind your content. Instagram is all about the visual appeal. You could have a really interesting post, but if it doesn’t look visually appealing or doesn’t feel consistent with your visual branding, potential followers might get turned off. First of all, optimize your Instagram bio and cover image. Next, consider the overall visual aesthetic of your Instagram profile. What is it saying (if anything) to potential followers? Does it clearly establish who you are as a brand?Many brands are creating unique aesthetics on their feed to supplement their overall branding. For example, you can create a larger picture through six posts to make your grid more consistent. Or you can change the branding colors every few posts to make the scrolling on your feed feel more unique. Whatever you decide, ensure that it looks consistent.

#12. Experiment with Video Content

Video marketing can help you expand your creativity while boosting your engagement. Did you know that videos can be very engaging on Instagram? You can create video content to promote your brand, tell a story, or showcase behind-the-scenes content. It can help you communicate your message in a visually appealing way while connecting with potential followers and current customers. Imagine you’re using a new hashtag to promote your brand. There are more chances for an Instagram user to connect with a video as opposed to an image, as they can hear the story of your brand in just a few minutes. Your video doesn’t need to be promotional – witty and creative videos that feel authentic are far more likely to connect with users and boost your engagement. If you need to upload a longer video or a series, you can also use IGTV for your brand.

#13. Turn Your Followers into Your Biggest Fans

There are no better ambassadors for your brand than your loyal followers. Before you start cold outreach to attract new followers, why not start with your existing customers and the people who already know you? Whether they are your email subscribers, your repeat customers, or your extended network of family and friends, all of them are probably interested in promoting your brand and helping you gain new followers. Create a draft post and ask them to share it on their profiles to promote your brand-new Instagram account. After that, encourage them to share your posts with their friends. Make them feel involved in your brand and, most important of all, don’t forget to thank them for their support.

#14. Share More Instagram Stories

Everyone loves Instagram Stories. That’s why many brands are using them to boost their engagement by interacting with their followers. Not everyone will see your feed posts but if you’re posting on Stories, too, then there are even more chances that people will see your content. And when you’re a small business striving to see your first 1000 followers, every post counts! Experiment with different Instagram stickers, ask questions or host a Q&A session on Stories. You can even do an Instagram Live with another brand or an Instagram influencer to direct their followers to your profile. Come up with a detailed content plan outlining the types of Insta Stories you want to share, the frequency you want to use, and how this content can help you reach your first 1000 followers.

#15. Keep Engaging

To connect with your first 1000 followers, you’ll need to take action. Scheduling killer Insta content is a great start, but social media is meant to be social, and that means interacting with your potential followers. But where do you begin? Start with wherever your target audience are; that might be users that are commenting on a competitor’s page, users that are tagging a location near you, or users who are posting a hashtag that is relevant to your brand. So, for a brand that sells vegan products, that brand would probably want to target a user who is posting with the hashtag #veganrecipes or #vegancheese.Create an engagement strategy and start engaging with people genuinely! Start conversations, like their posts, and show them some love in order to get noticed. Just be sure you’re being authentic and genuine, and users will love you back.

#16. Be Consistent

The best way to reach your first 1000 followers on Instagram as fast as possible is by having a solid social media marketing strategy and sticking to it. Being consistent and authentic with your efforts is the key to success on Instagram. Think of this as a long-term game. You won’t suddenly accumulate Instagram followers out of nowhere. You need to put in the hard yards and build slowly, from the ground up. It takes effort to gain genuine Instagram followers but the benefits will be well worth your time. Schedule set time for outreach, engagement, scheduling posts, and monitoring. Trust in the process and stick to your plan. You should only need to make a few tweaks here and there to your strategy, month by month.

Want to reach your first 1000 followers faster?

Getting your first 1000 followers on Instagram is the very first milestone to your brand’s social media marketing success. Yet, in the long term, it’s important to keep working on a content marketing strategy that incorporates follower growth in your overall planning. Like we said earlier, the number of Instagram followers you have is important, but it isn’t the only metric that counts. Be sure to focus on other metrics as you grow your page, like meaningful engagements, comments, and, of course, leads and conversions. Sometimes it’s more about quality than quantity, especially if you’re in a niche brand category. Be sure to keep refining your authentic messaging across all your posts and don’t forget to collaborate with Instagram influencers or other accounts to reach new audiences. Aside from follower growth, consistent Instagram post scheduling is another crucial task on every marketers’ list. Sked Social can help bring structure to your social media marketing strategy and can save you valuable time by helping you create batches of content at the one time. Learn how to automate your social media marketing with our easy-to-use scheduling tool and start smashing your social media marketing goals. If you follow all these top tips, it’s only a matter of time before you start to see your new followers grow, bit by bit! Good luck!


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