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From Followers To The Fastlane: A Guide To Instagram Marketing

Discussion in 'Advertising, Marketing, Social Media' started by Thrive, Feb 27, 2014.

  1. Thrive
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    Thrive Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Long time no see. Some may remember me from a year back, when I was a semi-active poster on here, although I never did add much value. I recently started checking back on this forum, and many things have changed. I always like giving back, so I hope this can help some of you.


    Why Instagram?

    You probably saw the headlines when Facebook bought out Instagram in 2012 for $1 billion and you might have been thinking :wideyed:. Some might have wondered why, and here it is: Instagram has
    consistently shown large growth, high levels of user engagement compared to other social media and an exceptionally powerful and emotional way to spread content to followers (possible customers).

    [​IMG]
    Although outdated, this graph shows the crazy amount of growth Instagram experienced during its acquisition by Facebook. Today, it's nearing 160 million users.

    Getting Started...
    Get the app. Follow the instructions. Duh. No need to walk you through this. Although, you must decide if this will be a business type account or your personal brand type account. In this guide, the ideas presented are geared toward a business type account.

    After you have the account, here's your to do list:

    Post 10-15 of your BEST pictures - People will not follow boring accounts. This will be easy if you already have hi-resolution pictures of your products or other great pictures that could relate to your business. If not, get snapping. Remember, all of your pictures do not have to be exactly what you are selling. Branch out. If you sell dog feed, anything in the realm of pets is good for posting, especially cute puppies and kittens! If you sell vacuum cleaners, beautiful pictures of homes are a great choice. ONLY POST YOUR BEST PICTURES.

    Follow 50 accounts - This is the limit Instagram lets you follow in, I think a day? Anyway, once you follow that many, it stops you from following any more for a period of time. Search hashtags related to your business, which will lead you to people that have recently posted a picture related to what you are selling. Follow 40 of these people, who hopefully will follow you back, giving you a small follower base to get started. For the last 10, find accounts of relatable businesses or people (the producers) for idea generation, and to check out who is following them.

    Connect your Instagram to your other internet stuff - If you already have acquired a follower base in any other internet region such as social media, blogs and your business, connect the two! This will increase your Instagram follower count and also lead your new Instagram followers to read your blog and buy your stuff.

    Once that is done, you are free to start on the most important thing:

    Building Your Followers
    This is the main bread and butter reason to have your Instagram account. Build followers, and get as many of those followers to become customers later on down the road. I will outline the Slowlane and the Fastlane methods; the difference between them is by time consumption. Don't just pick one, you will need to work with both methods.

    "Have to do" Slowlane activities:

    Post GREAT pictures regularly - The key to retaining followers is consistently posting relevant, emotion-triggering pictures that your followers will love. Over time, you should create a general theme for your account, which will help you get followers that are interested in that specific niche. Always experiment with the filters Instagram provides, to make sure you are posting as beautiful picture as you can. Figure out what all the buttons do, so you can become familiar enough in the future to know exactly what will look best for different pictures, saving you time in the long run.

    Use good hashtags, but don't spam them - Everyone knows too much of a good thing can make it bad. Hashtags are great for getting your pictures seen by others. But users who use up the Instagram limit of 20 hashtags per picture are generally seen as spammy. A good rule of thumb is 0-3 hashtags per picture. You can find out which hashtags are the most popular on many sites, but I would advise to only use these when explicitly relevant to your picture.

    Post at the correct time - Generally, the best times to post a picture are mornings, 7-9:00, when people are getting up, heading for work and school and get stuck in traffic, and also 5-6:00 in the evenings when people come home and relax for a bit. The best days to post will be Friday-Monday, as people get pumped for the weekend and then want to see what people did on the weekend. The middle week is good also, just not on the same level. As your follower base grows, I recommend connecting your account to Statigr.am, a free Instagram management website. They will give you daily reports on all of your Instagram statistics and also are excellent for comment management. One of their statistics will tell you when is the best time to post for your account. ;)
    Screen Shot 2014-02-27 at 3.56.36 PM.png

    Be active on your account...to a point - That like button, and especially the comment button must be your friends. People will be ecstatic if someone with a major number of followers likes their pictures, comments on them or follows them. Since this can be automized (we will be getting to that), don't spend much time here, since your time can be used for other, better things.

    Optional Slowlane Activities:
    Mass commenting and liking -
    This can really help you gain followers, but it is really just a numbers game. A certain percent of the accounts you like or comment on will check your account, and a certain percent of those will actually follow you. I have personally tried this on many occasions, and it's a fact that people like comments better than likes and repeated likes and comments better than a 1 instance. Using that data, your best bet would be to comment on 2-3 pictures per user. As stated earlier, this can be made Fastlane, which will free your time up for more important things.

    Fastlane Activities:
    Having your virtual assistant like and comment of photos -
    I personally do not have one, so don't take my word for the cost-effectiveness of this, but if you can hire a cheap, trustworthy VA, I can see possibilities. You would just have them like and comment of hundreds of pictures an hour, with specific guidelines on what to say, and on which pictures to focus on.

    Paying for a Bot - If you do a quick google search for "getting more Instagram followers" there will pop up many sites that sell "followers" that are just fake accounts. That is a complete waste of time since we want real, active people to follow us. They key is to get a bot to like and comment on pictures for you. I found 2 reputable websites that I tried out. Instgress.com and Instamacro.com both are web-based bots you can try for free (Instagress gives you 3 days free, Instamacro gives 3 hours), and they will like pictures and comment on them. A percentage of the recipients will come back and like your pictures, comment on them and maybe follow you. Here's my take on both of those: Instagress is more open. It lets you see what its doing as its doing it. You can customize its actions way more than Instamacro. But it also conducts its actions much slower than Instamacro. On Instamacro, I haven't tested it enough to know how exactly it works, but I get the idea that it will like many, many pictures. It also gives you results faster. Whether that is a good thing is yet to be found out. As for pricing, I can't say. Instagress gained me 140+ followers in the 3 days it was working which would normally cost $2, and Instamacro gave me 16 in the 3 hours and you can buy a whole day for $3. Since it is relatively cheap, I would advise to test both and see which one works better.

    Crowdsourcing, CTAs and Contests - These three C's will help you reach more people using the followers you already have. Crowdsourcing means using pictures that your followers or others have taken of something relating to your business such as your product or even the type of thing you sell (bike shops would crowdsource bike pics). Make sure to pick great pictures from people with a reasonably large amount of followers, 10,000 or less. Mention them in the caption, with a quick "Follow this cool person" blurb in it will give you a high chance of having them do the same for you. CTA's can be inserted into a pic using the caption, where you can call people to like (double tap), comment, or mention somebody. Contests can be created where you will give something away for free to the winner of the contest. All you have people do is post a picture in the theme you want and hashtag it with the special hashtag you want people to use in the picture. All the followers participating broadcast your account and hashtag to their followers!

    Before we end, make sure not do any of these:
    • Follow tons of people yourself, while having pitiful amounts of followers. It turns people off from following you.
    • Never respond to comments on your pictures. ALWAYS respond.
    • Never post low-quality/boring pictures.

    Remember, the Fastlane mindset is to provide VALUE. If you don't provide value to Instagram, you won't receive followers, and new customers. Pay your dues. Be active and producing. And Instagram will give you love back.
     
    sparechange, PTP, Supa and 18 others like this.
  2. AroundTheWorld
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    AroundTheWorld Be in the Moment Speedway Pass

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    excellent post. and... welcome back!
     
  3. XOthermic
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    Wassup man. Whats your IG account name?

    good stuff. I'll piggyback on this as I know for a fact that marketing on Instagram KILLS all other social platforms for my business. It's like looking at the US MILITARY SPENDING vs. the Collective MILITARY Spending of the WORLD.


    1) BASICS: Optimize your Profile Information

    Would you try and pull girls without combing your hair and looking halfway presentable? Probably not. Don’t do this on instagram. I don’t care if you have one fuakkking fan. You better make it look to that one fan that you are legit as fuakkk. Have a sick name. My recommendation is to put your keyword in the name. So if you’re a page focusing on just men’s bicep shots. Then your page better be titled “sunsoutgunsout” or “Biceps and Triceps” or “swolepipes” hahhaa idk. I’m sure just Double_biceps would work just fine.

    Next thing you want to do is put your contact information on that page. They need to know how to hit you up. The secret weapon here is get a kik messenger on your iphone it is how you contact directly all the other fitness pages. Place your KIK name on your page.

    Default image: This has to be siiiiick. Do not put a lame image here. This will kill you. I don’t care if you have to put someone else’s image for the time being (give credit doh) it’s better than yours and it will get you more followers.


    2) PICS, PICS, PICS: TAKE SOME SICKK PHOTOS

    This is how Instagram from my experience works (also how the world works). If you have something unique to you i.e. cool cars, big booty, new invention, ect than simply taking pictures of those things in your kitchen will get you followers.

    However

    Most people don’t have those things so try and take photos in interesting places i.e. the beach, the city, the country, the mountain, the desert, the lake, the boat, the meadow…. Shiiiit anywhere that makes it look like your just out and about constantly. No body wants to see the same kitchen shots over and over.

    This is also time to start getting creative with your pictures. Show off a cool feature, show off using the product in a creative way. IF you sell shirts, show how they make excellent dish rags too. If you sell protein, show how you can use the empty tubs for storing coffee. Lol idk be creative, be funny, be different it will go along way.


    Instagram is all about the photos. The filters. Interesting. Stimulating. Engaging ECT. Imagine this… ****just a reality trip**** We are all just little hairless beings banging on our screens looking for the next bump in stimulation from the plastic screens in our hands (sickening sometimes to think about). So make your images stimulating as you can.

    ***NOTE**** POST the most creative and funny MEMES in your niche on your page. Do this on the reg to keep thiings interesting.


    3) Promotions: Do a contest for something and have people tag friends and repost pics to enter.

    Ok so your telling me Rob. I don’t run my own business I can give out free promos… WRONG. Give them the shirt on your back. Tell them that they win 2 hours of virtual online assistant help, tell them that you will write them a love song. If you do have your own business and your not giving out your product then shame on you.


    Giving out your product is like telling somebody I believe so strongly in this that I’m going to give it to you knowing that you’re going to fuakkking love it and tell everyone you know about it. Yes you’re probably going to take it everywhere with you to and pretentiously hold out your new widget for the other hairless beings to grow envious of (weird world we live in huh?). That is how confident you have to be with your product on IG. Anything else then pshhhhhh forget abouttt it. your fuakking done.


    4) Collaborate: You have to do shout outs. Get shout outs. Get Shout outs!


    I remember one week raising the number of followers by 3k in 2 days thinking to myself what the fuaaak just happened? It was because of shoutouts I received from multiple other pages. So what is a shout out? It is basically another account coming around and posting an image from your account (or an image you give them) and telling all of their 200K plus fans about your product. Example, They post a Hydracup picture on their page and say, “check out this dualshaker! Follow @hydracup for more cool shiiit”. Then my image gets shown to about 20% of their following in the next few hours.

    Pretty easy way to market your product or service and it’s pretty low cost too.

    You get shout outs by asking for them ok KIK messenger or by asking/ commenting on a page directly.

    Avg cost for a good shoutout is about $25


    5) Tags: What is your niche? What do they tag with? How are they communicating with each other?

    If your in fitness, like me there are the daily tags

    Monday - #mealprep

    Tuesday - #transformationtuesday

    Wednesday - #humpday

    Thursday - #tbt

    Friday - #flexfriday

    I know my customers so I know these tags. I can tag them on their given day and get more followers because of it. But on top of the daily tag I also know all the other tags my main customer is going to use.

    #nodaysoff #championsbreedchampions #traininsane #traindirty #gymfreak #Shredded #mensphysique #traininsaneorremainthesame #dedication #sacpro #ifbb #npc ect, ect, ect…

    If you want to kill it on instagram know these tags and use them when you post the pictures. On top of that go on these tags a few minutes each day and like these photos from each tag for a bit. This is slow lane as fuaaakkk but it greases the damn wheels. When you have zero momentum then a little grease is always welcomed.

    That's my two cents on the topic. I know instagram is going to get old after another year or two but hell if that's how you get your foot in the door and exposure to your #CORE demographic than exploit that thing.
     
    PTP, Ezio, consty and 4 others like this.
  4. XOthermic
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    I would like to also add that I am my target customer. The marketing/ stuff I post on instagram is stuff I would like and post anyways. Any business can gain a foothold in their niche while it's still "hot". The opportunity is there.
     
  5. Determined2012
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    Determined2012 Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    Do the hash tags work anymore? I heard they don't...
     
  6. XOthermic
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    I Believe they do but not like they were. You have to find some unique hashtags for your industry. If your tagging #gym#fitness those tags are going to get lost in thousands of other photos.

    The thing is to try and start your own #hashtag. Something unique to your product that people can get excited about and hashtag their pictures with.
     
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  7. Gale4rc
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    unless you already have an established brand, this will never catch on. No one will see your pics or even know they exist
     
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  8. MJ DeMarco
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    MJ DeMarco Raving Lunatic Staff Member Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Admin Post
    Pay attention folks, many new businesses are being built (freely) by Instagram, particularily ones that are photo sensitive. I think it might be time I create an account.

    Rep transferred++
     
  9. DrkSide
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    DrkSide Gold Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass Summit Attendee

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    I have thought about Instagram but I don't want to half ass it. I would have a hard time coming up with new pictures when I only currently have one product.

    With that being said it is going to be something I will be looking into very soon. Thanks!! Rep $$ Transferred!
     
  10. XOthermic
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    Yea it's an uphill battle but it's like that for any new company starting out of a garage, in a dorm, in a one bedroom studio while you eat top ramon trying to save a few bucks to pay the rent. There are plenty of accounts, businesses, services that have custom #hashtags that have caught on with dedicated, persistant work.

    There are no shortcuts it still takes a lot of work.
     
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  11. Determined2012
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    Determined2012 Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    I was trying to get everyone on the forum excited about using IG last year! I am happy to see its finally catching on and people are giving up the goods on it. I have watched friends and people I know via other friends generate THOUSANDS using instagram. I have also used it to make sales.

    @DrkSide The page doesn't have to be JUST about your 1 product- You create a lifestyle and persona to match/ and around your 1 product- that is what your page will be about.
     
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  12. XOthermic
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    XOthermic Contributor

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    that is the ticket
     
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  13. Determined2012
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    Determined2012 Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    @XOthermic give me some rep then! lol just kidding.

    Seriously though, thats all you need- is the "image" and the holy grail: GOOD FILTERS... And you are IN THERE!!! lol
     
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  14. MisterBHZ
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    I use Instagram to promote the finished products for my clients.

    Definitely worth having if you will be promoting your products and businesses.
     
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  15. Moneymadness
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    Thanks for the info!

    I, myself, am also promoting on instagram as well. This is definitely a great platform to promote business awareness. I feel it's also my time to give back to the community. I currently have a descent amount of followers and have been active over a year now and here's what I've learned. I'll keep this short and brief.

    BE CONSISTENT!

    This is a must do! Always post pictures every single day. I post every morning around 8AM and I usually space new photos 3 - 4 hours apart all the way until 10PM in the evening. People love fresh new photos. You wouldn't want to follow an account that updates every 3 or 5 days. That's boring and lame. In time this will become a daily habit.

    HIGH QUALITY PHOTOS ONLY

    Exactly what I've stated. This is critical as I've noticed that high quality photos tend to receive the MOST likes and comments versus poor quality photo.

    SCREEN SHOT PHOTOS AND POST

    This way you will never run out of photos. I highly recommend you follow an account within your niche. From time to time share and upload their photos. This way the user will not only be happy, but return the favor and show case your brand/business to their followers. A great snowballing effect.

    PROFILE DESCRIPTION:

    Always keep your profile short and straight to the point of what your business is about. ALWAYS leave contact information such as your email or website. I can't stress the importance of this as I've met many people from Instagram. By exposing my email I was able to; receive offers, tips and advice, business advertisement, high quality photos, gift, money, etc.

    HASH TAGS #

    When I just started, I searched the web for the most "POPULAR" hash tags. This was a bad idea and here's why, firstly, those hashtags are popular for a reason, the moment you upload your photo with that those hashtags, it's already buried under 1,000 new photos with that SAME hashtag! How will anyone be able see your business? Don't just hashtag anything. Find hashtags that are relevant to your niche. Mine for example is watches, I will only hashtag; #watchporn, #watchgeek, etc. The more specific the better.

    CONTEST/GIVEAWAYS

    People love FREE stuff, PERIOD. Every time I would host a giveaway, my followers would immediately follow the instruction as posted within secs! I even hosted a giveaway back then with a raffle and people paid! My inbox was overloaded with paypal transactions! Although, I later found out that this was illegal(oops, should have done my due-diligence). Nevertheless, contest and giveaways are great for marketing and getting people ramped up and excited. Plus, it's also a great way to ask your targeted market for feedback on your product or ways to improve.

    HOW TO GAIN NEW FOLLOWERS AND FAST

    Here is a clever trick I found out. If you're new and just starting out, the quickest way to gain followers...ready...is to follow people! That simple. The more you follow the more they will follow back. Here's where my trick comes in. You don't just follow anyone. I usually scope out the biggest instragram accounts that is relevant to my niche, I would then go into their "FOLLOWERS" list and hit follow until I am limited to 50 - 60 followers. I believe instragram has limit this to every 4 mins, then repeat. So if you are able to do that every four minutes, throughout the day, well you can figure out the numbers! After you've reach their limit of 7000 followers, at this point it's best to search for an instagram followers app where you are allowed to UNFOLLOW up to 50 accounts every 4 mins or so. I highly recommend using mutiple instragram apps to quickly unfollow. Continue the process and within time you will be surprised.

    These are just my 2 cents. I hope you guys found this useful. Cheers.
     
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  16. bensonj
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    Great Thread! Thank YOU All! I have had some success with Instagram already with my product. This info gives me even more to work with! $$RepTransfered @Thrive, @XOthermic and @Moneymadness :tiphat:
     
  17. FastLanePursuer
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    Instagram is pretty powerful. I was able to connect with people who I wouldn't have been able to otherwise if it wasn't for instagram. Probably the sole reason why I was able to do well on my launch. And those people I have met are now my friends and will be there for me to leverage if I launch another product!
     
  18. AroundTheWorld
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    I started a pinterest under the pen name for my first novel yesterday.
    I did this mostly as a way to just collect ideas and inspriation

    10 followers in 24 hours :) Not bad :)
     
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  19. consty
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    Nice thread. Bumping.

    I'll add a bit more to do this.

    Creating Your Own Instagram Bot
    You can actually use Websta, search a hashtag, switch to gird mode, and run a iMacros script for mass Instagram picture liking & commenting.

    Just make sure your respecting Instagram's policy of how many pics you can like/comment in a certain time period. (I think it's 1 like/30secs?)

    The great thing is that you can run the macro on multiple windows so you can ultimately do this for multiple hashtags.

    I'm not sure if I can post the script here but if anyone wants it PM me.

    Scientific Hashtag Generator
    It's important that you find very specific hashtags related to your niche or else you'll find a lot of spam while doing this.

    My recommendation is to do deep analysis of who your trying to target, and find what hashtags they actually use. (ie. for beards: [HASHTAG]#beardgang[/HASHTAG], [HASHTAG]#beardporn[/HASHTAG], etc).

    Once you have very specific hashtags, run them on http://hashtagify.me to find very similar tags.

    The great thing is that they will generate very specific tags generated based on what users use with the tag you supplied.

    Use those new tags to keep looking for more tags, etc.


    Auto Mated Post
    Again consistency is key.

    @justbreathe just mentioned http://www.latergram.me/

    Looks interesting, and I'm going to take a look at it.
     
  20. jasoncuellar123
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    Bumping this because it's relevant to the other Instagram post by JimD
     
  21. Clairvoyance1991
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    I am grave-digging this up now as this is the only post on the forum that has Instamacro mentioned. I am currently using it for 2 days and 9 hours. I got around 250 followers in that time plus the 3 hours you get for free. So that's about 2,5 days. I've been using all three speeds and I've used fast for the most part. Only using it on one account and that account is very old.

    I have about 15hours left of the 3 days I bought and I'm wondering is anyone else using this. I would like to buy a whole month but it's kind of expensive compared to others you can find with a google search (A month is 60$ on Instamacro while I've seen other bot sites charging 27$ per month).

    edit: just realized, you can buy 100 days for 1.09$ per day and it doesn't go lower

    What are your thoughts guys, should I buy a month on the expensive site that I have tested for 3 days or go blindly into a cheap one? Tell me your thoughts or what you are using.
     
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  22. WildFlower
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    WildFlower Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    So is the point of this to get followers in the set amount of time? Are they real followers? Do they do engagement after they follow?
     
  23. Clairvoyance1991
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    Clairvoyance1991 New Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    Yes, most of them are real followers but you also catch many bots who follow you. I got 1000 followers in 1 month and 15 days. I did get blocked from following people a few times so I made the bot slower. It's good now.
     
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  24. BrooklynHustle
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    BrooklynHustle Bronze Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I have ~95K followers on my @dailysparktv account (down from a high of 104K earlier in the year)

    Built this amount of followers over the course of a little over a year. At the height I was able to add up to 1000-2000 or more followers per day at times while getting 3000-6000 or more likes per post.

    It's probably a bit harder now. My following & engagement has diminished lately because I have not had time to focus on it, and it is not core to my current business activities

    A few tips:
    • Don't just push your product over and over or promote yourself endlessly. Give to the audience in at least a 3 to 1 or 4 to 1 ratio for every ask
    • That said, be sure that you know what the business model is and that you are ultimately driving to some call to action. Engagement & followers for their own sake are not a business
    • Socialblade & Command for Instagram are great analytics tools for understanding what your audience likes most as well as the audiences of top performers in your niche, so you can double down on the right kind of posts in a data driven fashion
    • Can't recommend using bots. Though it is obviously easier. In my experience watching others you get a lot of fake followers... good for nothing but ego & vanity
    • Hmm... what else? I could probably go on for awhile. Learnt just about everything I know from Foundr. Greant content on their blog, podcast, and free ebooks. They've also got a paid course & community which I benefited from, but will not link to here for obvious reasons
    Hope that helps someone, and best of luck!
     
  25. WildFlower
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    WildFlower Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane

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    I like your posts. Are those memes what you created or did you pull them from somewhere else? For some of us it is about the numbers getting the numbers but I don't want fake followers.