Instagram, Insight Into My Path to My First 1,500 Followers.

Last Update: February 25, 2019

OK, I usually don't become fixated with something in the way that I have with Instagram over the past few weeks, learning everything I can about it. When I say that, I am approaching it much differently than probably most people do. When I want to learn something, I usually become a user, an observer, and I will ask questions of those that have more experience than me so I can speed up my own learning process.

So that is what I did. I was able to limit my "usage" as well. And I was able to grow my following to 1,500 people, which is the start of my journey and commitment to Instagram moving forward.

Follow Kyle on Instagram @wealthyaffiliatekyle
Following Carson on Instagram @wealthyaffiliatecarson

My second week, I have learned a lot more though and I would like to share my insights with you. As I move forward through Instagram, I will be offering you my feedback based on my own insights that I have, but also discussions that I have with others in the "Insta" world.

Monitor Your Usage

You don't want to over invest in social. This has always been a fear of mine with anyone working on a business, including myself. But there is a time value trade off with everything you do, and most people have a percentage of their day or "fill minutes" dedicated to navigating through one or more of the many social platforms out there.

I used on average 1:30 minutes of social this week, which is pretty consistent of my daily social activity from weeks prior, I just decided to invest my energy into Instagram versus perusing on a variety of networks. It is paying off, but it does take some work and consistency, which I will explain next.

Again, Consistency is Key

I have spoken with people on both sides of the fence, those struggling to get followers, and those that are doing very well in terms of building and establishing their footprint within Instagram. The BIGGEST differentiating factor between the two is the fact that those that are growing on Instagram, are those that are posting with regularity and those that are updating their stories throughout the day.

Yes, they use automation tools for one or both of these, but they are on top of this and their interaction is absolutely authentic. Consistency in business is key, this also translates over to managing and growing your Instagram accounts.

Shadow Ban is the Google Panda Fear of Instagram

I keep hearing this word come up, "Shadow Ban". People within the Instagram space, or those that think they know it, are constantly touting this word as though it is some "secret" formula that Instagram has.

I agree with them in many respects, but it reminds me a lot of Google Panda and how search engines manage those that are trying to "game" (or abuse) their platforms. If you are operating on any platform like this that relies on algorithms to decide whether the display content, how to display it, and who to display, you are going to have people trying to beat the system through automation and trickery.

Instagram tackles this as one of their core problems. If you are operating there in a way that is not authentic or you are trying to completely automate your growth (ie, the follow and unfollow schemes), over tagging, tagging things that are not relevant, or behaving in a way that is obviously robotic, then you will not be rewarded for this activity.

Be logical about your approach to building your Instagram following, and you will be rewarded. Try to cheat the system, and eventually you will be put into a "red flag" bucket like the shadow ban one.

Utilizing Stories is Critical

People undervalue the importance of creating stories. They are "snippets" of activity throughout your day, they don't have to be real time, but often times they will be and the images used will be more time sensitive, and not as polished as your other content.

This is day to day stuff, that allow people to see what you are thinking and feeling, but when you are operating in a niche, it could be niche news, something that is niche specific, could be reminding people of a new post, or it could be a little video of your dog or cat playing around (or ostrich, I don't know what type of house pets you have lol).

Use markup within your posts (tags, mentions, gifs, location, time). These may seem simple, but they take a post that is seemingly uninteresting, and make it much more interesting and fun.

But just be consistent with it. Stories are critical to growth, anticipation, and building a community of followers that want to see what's up with YOU on a day in day out basis.

Influencers Know What They Are Doing, Celebrities Don't

If you are going to look at someone for success "clues", look at people that have ground their way to followings, not those that come by it naturally. You should seek out influencers, that in essence are people that became someone because of Instagram, not that were already someone and simply use Instagram (celebrities).

I have found that many celebrities and famous figures are using Instagram completely wrong, and are doing things so different from celeb to celeb, that you are going to end up chasing your tail if you try to follow them. They have a following because of their celebrity status, in most cases.

So follow people and behave like those that have established themselves from the ground up on Instagram.

Instagram Has a Lot of Algorithms Going On

Like any technology platform, it is built out of algorithms. When these platforms are "user content" driven, then there needs to be complex algorithms to decide which content gets shown and what content does not. Instagram has some intensive algorithms that are running behind the scenes to decide WHO and WHAT gets newfound exposure, and which content to show to what people, and when.

As with any platform like this, there are people that chase holes in these algorithms (conventionally deemed as black hat marketers), and there are those that chase what logic indicates is the RIGHT thing to do for your fellow audience (conventionally deemed as white hatters).

I have seen a lot of folks with a lot of large followings, with very little clout. As in 10-100K followers, and they get little to no exposure when they post. You see the same thing on Twitter and Facebook. If you build your following in an authentic matter, your account is going to be represented with more clout (and rightfully so).

People Run Out of Ideas

Sustainability on Instagram has a lot to do with consistency. Consistency becomes tough though, as many people feel as though they live mundane lives at the best of times. To be honest, I think the idea of posting with regularity is scary to every Instagrammer, even the most successful influencers.

Where do you pull ideas from, how do you maintain a consistent feed, and how to you appropriately deliver content to your audience that is going to captivate them?

All things that I a currently working out, but I am building my own internal systems for managing these based on my experience. One thing that I have started is getting a broad range of "posts" from different niches, to see what type of content people are posting. I can use those as influence for my own ideas.

Another thing that I have done is created an "idea board" with things that I can include throughout the year ahead within my Instagram. This reminds me that at a "birds eye" level, I have things going on that I can leverage going forward for content.

The same as building a website or building out a Youtube channel, you need to research and record your ideas in advance of building the content. This gives you a game plan, and if you are going to take Instagram seriously you will want to make sure you are considering your upcoming posts.

So this has been my second week findings. I am unlikely to be providing you an update every week, but I will certainly be filling you in as this journey continues. Carson and I have made a commitment to Instagram, it has been a long time coming, but for us now was the right time to do it.

Does Instagram have a fit for YOUR business? If so, I recommend you get in there...even if at first it is just to use it as a research platform, it can certainly lead to new-found reach, trust and success for your business.

As always, if you have any feedback or comments, please leave it below!

Join the Discussion
Write something…
Recent messages
bigrog44 Premium
Thanks for sharing, Kyle.
Kyle Premium
hanley Premium
Thanks, Kyle for your interesting experiment.
I for one still don't get it although I do see instances and understand it can work.
Personally, I am getting a bit bored with Kyle and Carson because of too many happy snaps. Didn't mind the Moose though, LOL

I think your family and close friends will love the Happy snaps but we, the unwashed want to be entertained. Action.

This is not personal just my observation.

Peter H
Kyle Premium
Thanks for your feedback Peter, it is definitely much different than Youtube (which is more geared towards entertainment). Some of Instagram of course it is that way, just depends on the channel of folks you watch (it's kind of like tv channels in a sense).

And more Moose it is.
SondraM Premium
This may sound like a dumb question, but if the influences are using automation for posting and/or updating . Plus, I assume most busy business people with money to spend, are trying to limit their time on social media because they are actually working; when are LIVE people actually looking at all of the stories and updates and what are they looking at?

For example, if you actually took the time to look at what is going on Instagram, what are you personally interested in seeing?
Kyle Premium
It's not for everyone. I am not making that argument, I know that many generations of people probably aren't using Instagram. And most people aren't using automation, the average person isn't.

There are well over 1 BILLION users now on Instagram, with half of these active daily. That is a number from late 2018, they have likely pushed to the 1.1 - 1.2 range by now. That is a lot of potential reach and traffic, if you do it right.

Just making both arguments here, of course I agree and I am a proponent of your business first. This is certainly not the core focus of your business, and should be complimentary of your actual core business.
TommyVTE Premium
Hi, you can use Tailwind for automation it's only a couple dollars per month. I use it for Pinterest, but can also use for Instagram

Have a great day
DonnieNorton Premium
Hi Kyle, I have considered Instagram a few times in the past but I have always been under the impression that you needed to get an influencer who is expensive. Maybe I'm wrong and an influencer is not necessary to be successful with Instagram. Thanks for the great post.
Kyle Premium
By get an influencer, I am not sure what you mean by "getting one".

Getting a plug from one, can be useful to grow your own following, but if you have an online business, it is a medium that you can leverage to extend your brand, build trust, and through the arc of time I think it will be more and more important.

We have decided to commit to Instagram in a more ongoing and consistent nature, as out of all the social networks I feel that it has the most authentic reach, and will have the most sustainability moving forward.
emarketingguy Premium
Nice post. So what is it about Instagram that has you so committed? Have you found it to be profitable? Do followers equate to conversions on affiliate products? Or is Instagram best used for traffic which packs more brick onto the foundation of traffic to your site? I'm confused as to why Instagram over other similar platforms but it's definitely got a great demographic audience for traffic, I've seen. Thanks for sharing and congrats on 2 weeks + 1500 followers, that's pro.
Kyle Premium
The follower to reach ratio is the best out of all of the social platforms. There is much more focus with the users, and although it is just images and text, people are very much engaged when they are on Instagram.

It can be really good for humanizing your brand, creating trust, and getting additional reach that you wouldn't have potentially gotten otherwise.

Take the view of an email list. Whereas you may get 5-10% with your messaging on your email list over time, you would get much more through something like Instagram. Is it a replacement to email, no. Is it a useful medium for your business, yes.
emarketingguy Premium
Well, I definitely could use more reach. You said you put in 1.5 hours this week on it? I can commit to that. What about Pinterest vs Instagram? Would you recommend even time to both social platforms or just Instagram all the way because of better reach?
Kyle Premium
That was a day. Pinterest has it's advantages too, for visual niches but as I mentioned above, I see lots of this businesses moving their activity to Insta.

I would personally latch on to one, instead of trying to do too much. Certainly keep an eye on your schedule and don't overuse.
emarketingguy Premium
Thanks for the advice. Instagram it is, I’m all about the fastest route to the cheese.