How to Grow Your Instagram Following

Instagram is one of the main social media platforms I have used since the beginning of The Wanderlover and still recommend to this day for business growth. Tune in to learn all the different organic and paid strategies I’ve learned over the years to effectively grow your following!

Beyond the best practices of Instagram, there are different tactics that we can use to grow our instagram when we are using it as a platform for our business. Instagram has been a key to my success at The Wanderlover and this is how I combine various tactics to bring my business to the multiple 6 figure mark it is at today.

Prefer To Read? Here’s The Blog Version…

Hi everyone! Welcome back to the podcast. Today’s episode has been highly, highly requested and it is around a topic that is very near and dear to me because it is about Instagram, and today’s episode is about How to Grow Your Instagram Following. 

I love talking about Instagram because it is the platform that really helped me propel my online business. It is the one that I have fun creating on and the one that I’ve been most consistent creating on for many, many years. I feel like people nowadays have mixed opinions on it, but it will always be one that I support, and so many opportunities have opened up to me because of content creation on Instagram. 

Followers Does Not Equal Success

The topic for today though, is a little nuanced because growing your Instagram following doesn’t equate to income on Instagram, and I’ve had to learn that the hard way. The more followers you have does not mean the more success your business will have. Like for example, if you go out and buy a million followers, you’re not going to see an increase in income or opportunities or a sustainable business like if you have a million followers and you still have a hundred people engaging on your feed. That doesn’t mean anything. if you have a million followers and you don’t have a business or a brand, it doesn’t mean anything either. 

So I guess today’s episode should be called How to Authentically Grow Your Instagram Following With Integrity instead of just, you know, How to Grow, Your, Instagram, Following as fast as you can without any plan behind it. 

Personal vs Business vs Creator Account

So the first thing I want to make really clear is on this platform there is a distinction between a personal Instagram account, a business Instagram account, and a creator Instagram account.


For example, I have a personal Instagram account for my family, for my friends. I had this when Instagram first came out and I had this when I was in college and I would be posting pictures with my friends and my travels, and it was for my friends and family to see. I still have this account and it is private.


I also have obviously the Wanderlover, the Wanderlover podcast and my jewelry line on brand, and those are all businesses. The biggest distinction is treating your business like a business separate to a personal account. And when people are building their personal brands and trying to make it a business, they often get confused like, should I start over from scratch or should I bring all of the people along with me?

It really depends what your intentions are about growing your account, whether it’s just for fun or whether you’re trying to grow it as a business and make money online and sell your services or products. 


If you don’t have an answer to that yet and you’re just dabbling with Instagram. Maybe you’re like, maybe I will just grow my personal account and see where that takes me. Then that sounds like you are a creator. You are creating for the hopes of maybe something will happen, maybe more people will follow you and you’re not just posting for friends and family being okay with the account being on private.

Do you see the distinction there? And the reason I want you to be clear about this distinction is because with your intention of what you wanna do with the platform, that’s going to dictate how you’re going to grow your Instagram following. So let’s get that clear first, if you can answer which one you are, then let’s move on. 

Organic Vs Paid Growth

And in today’s episode I’m going to detail ways of growing on Instagram organically and then ways of growing on Instagram using paid advertising. So whether you are creating, you’re not investing anything or whether you are investing your money and seeing direct results, both are going to give you results. I personally use both if not all of these strategies under each for my business because I’m not like, I only want organic and I don’t want paid. I think both have their benefits, obviously both also have kind of like their nuances and their cons, but in the grand scheme of things, we’re trying to grow a business and we’re not just gonna use one form of marketing.

Organic Push Tactics

So the first way to grow your following under organic marketing, organic content creation on Instagram is manual, and I call this push marketing. Push marketing is how people were able to grow so fast when Instagram first came out because there wasn’t a lot of competition in the business space. So organic manual means putting yourself out there, liking, commenting, following DMing, other people manually, getting your account in front of other people’s eyes. And I used to do this because I used to like, comment, follow and dm many, many people a day every single day when I was at my desk in my corporate job, I’d just be like at my phone and engaging with other people.

Many times I got blocked. Instagram would be like, you’re being borderline spammy. I would comment hashtag the Wanderlover on your post to get featured on my page. I would do things like that. And you can see it was very, very outward. Like I was pushing myself out there. Obviously things have changed on Instagram and I wouldn’t say that it prioritizes push marketing as much anymore, but there is still a time and place for organic manual push marketing, and I still do that when I want to make new connections, maybe be featured on someone else’s podcast.

There is a lot to be said about taking the first step and connecting with other people, especially if you are growing from scratch and no one knows you yet. There is no harm in following commenting, liking DMing a lot of people, there really isn’t like, it’s not about vanity metrics in the beginning. You don’t need to care about your ratio, just get your name out there. It’s a numbers game in the beginning. 

Organic Pull Marketing

The next way to grow organically is now what I think the platform prioritizes is organic poll marketing and that’s with content creation. So poll marketing is when you are creating borderline viral content or creating content consistently, and people find you, they are drawn to your message, they are drawn to your content, they go on your profile to check you out, and they’re the ones who follow you, who like, who comment, who DM you.

So it’s kind of like the other way around. Of course, for people to get to that point where they want to follow you, you need to have a really spot on personal brand. You need to have attractive content, a cohesive feed, and you wanna look professional, especially if it is a business, like I manage our Anda account for jewelry and I want it to be professional, I want it to look nice, and we want to do that for your own brand and your own business, right? So for Instagram now in 2024, of course the strategy is constantly changing. 

People are always saying how the algorithm is changing. If you are consistent about creation and learning how to improve yours and reach the right markets and grow your business. Instagram still works and for the most part it’s free, right? Like they’re not charging you to use it. So the opportunity is there. And in 2024, the main way to grow on Instagram is with reels. Reels are one of the main forms of content on Instagram where they display your reels to people who aren’t already following you. If you post photos if you post carousels, if you post stories. For the most part, only people who are currently following you will see your content.

So in this case, all the time and energy that you spend creating and posting, I would encourage you to spend your time creating reels instead. So if you go on the Wanderlover, you can see how most of my content is reels and it’s really shifted from photos and pretty faceless photos and beautiful destinations to videos and getting really good at transitions and adding text and it’s like a new form of creation, but I love it because people are more authentic, people are showing their faces, it’s not just about pretty locations and you get a really good sense of who the creator is, who the business is behind their brand.

Organic Referrals

The next strategy that I have, we have two more under organic, is organic referrals. So what I mean by that is referring your Instagram from your other channels. So if you have a podcast, link your Instagram account and tell your audience to follow that account. if you have a YouTube channel, promote your Instagram account on YouTube, if you have a Blog, add your Instagram to the end of every Blog post on every single platform (Wondering if starting a blog is still scalable? Check out my take on it here). You want to be referring your Instagram through your own channels and constantly be talking about your Instagram so people can find you.

It’s really easy because you’re basically just linking it and getting people to see it. Whereas if you don’t link it, people aren’t going to see it. So always remember to refer your Instagram account. 

Audience Cross Pollination

The last organic way to grow your Instagram following is to cross pollinate audiences. And what I mean by this is getting featured on other channels and collaborating with other channels. In 2024, there is a feature where you can add a brand or a business as a collaborator. So if you’re creating content for hotels, request for that hotel to be a collaborator. If you are being featured on someone else’s page, request to be a collaborator, go live with other accounts because in that way you can cross pollinate audiences and people who are following them will find you.

You can also cross pollinate audiences by doing giveaways together. So sponsoring a giveaway with another account and getting more of their audience to follow you. Obviously you wanna make sure both of your businesses are aligned, you really support what they stand behind, and there is a purpose behind the collaboration, right? You want it to make sense, but with all of these strategies, if you stick to them for an extended period of time, as in more than a few months, like years. At this point we wanna build longevity, stick with it, and I guarantee your audience will grow. Some people only grow their Instagram and their socials with organic strategies and it works perfectly.

Paid Growth Tactics

Now we are going to dive into paid advertising, and personally I love paid advertising because I want to be able to take months off at a time without having to worry about my content strategy. With paid advertising, I’ve really been able to take my foot off the gas and realize I’m still getting new followers, I’m still getting new leads, my account is growing and I don’t have to be there. So if you can find a way to invest into your Instagram account. You will always grow and in many cases it’s more predictable. You don’t have to have a big budget to start. You can start with $5, $10, $20 a day, and then you can optimize your ad strategy so that it works for you. There are two ways to use paid advertising to grow your Instagram account. 

Post Boosting

The first way is to boost your post, and the second way is to use Ads Manager. Let’s talk about boosting your post first. This is what you see when you go onto Instagram, the app on your phone, and you can see that under any post you’ve already published. There is a view insights button and then there is a boost post button. When you boost the post, you get to select very limited audiences, and Instagram usually selects them for you, like whether they look like your existing audience, whether they’re location based.

And then you get to select the age and the gender and then you select the budget per day. This really depends on where you are and what your targeting is, whether people will follow you, whether they will even watch, or whether they will even like. So personally, after many years of testing, I’m not a fan of the strategy and I don’t think boosting your post does anything significant. If anything, you get a few followers, but it’s not sustainable. Sometimes you get a bunch of likes and that is great, but in the long run it doesn’t really do anything for your account. Of course you can grow your following, but like I said, it’s not sustainable, at least from what I’ve tested.

Facebook / Instagram Ads Manager

Instead, I really recommend using Ads Manager. Ads Manager is a more controlled dashboard where you get to actively see how well your Ads are performing. You don’t use content that’s existing on your Instagram. Instead you use specific creatives that are either created from scratch that you upload to Ads manager. And by the way, it’s Ads Ads manager. And once you’re in this dashboard, you can create specific creatives to get people to follow you. You can spend, you know, from five to 20 upwards of 50 hundreds of dollars a day to target specific people around the world based on their interests, demographics, shopping, behavior, like it gets really, really specific.

You get to target them for an extended period of time and you get to track the performance of the campaigns. And what’s really cool about this is not only do you get new followers, you can get more leads for your email list, you can get more purchases for your products. It really is such advanced and powerful targeting and advertising and it works. So from my experience, I’m able to take vacations and take time off because my business is always growing with paid advertising. And there you go with all of these strategies, once perfected, I know you’ll grow your audience.

There’s been people in the Digital Nomad Society who say that they had one real go viral and they gain like 6,000 followers from that one reel. There are people who find a really good performing campaign and it gets them a few thousand followers in a week. Personally, I like seeing consistent sustainable growth. So with the many, many, many campaigns and strategies that I’ve tested and run over the years, I’ve really found that sustainability and consistency is key because things are always changing. Now with my current strategies, like I run Ads and I create reels, and I’m seeing around 200 new followers a week, so around 800 upwards to like a thousand followers a month.

But of course this is constantly changing. It’s never the same over an extended period of time. There’s been times in the past where I’ve had a really good performing reel and I grow a lot faster. Then there’s other times when my campaigns aren’t performing and my audience isn’t receptive to my reels and I lose followers. Like I remember a few years ago, there was a period of time where I just kept losing followers, but you know, don’t give up. It’s fine. Followers does not equal income. So when you look at it that way, at least for me, I usually never stress about my content or the algorithm on Instagram because I know it’s a long game and I know that there’s other parts of my business supporting me that’s not just reliant on Instagram.

The last thing I want to mention is if you don’t have time for this and if you don’t have time to invest in push marketing, pull marketing, paid ads, you can outsource and you can hire a social media manager. You know the ways of how to grow if you don’t have the time. You can hire a virtual assistant or hire a social media manager to take that off your plate, but you really want to be experimenting with as many of these strategies as possible so that you have the highest chance of long-term sustainable growth. I look forward to following all of your social media adventures, if you want any help with this, feel free to DM me and ask any more questions that you have at the Wanderlover instagram and I will see you guys in the next episode. Sending love to you all.

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