From 0 to 10,000 followers in 14 days: Foundr's success on Instagram

Foundr describes in a case study about its own Instagram success, how the niche publisher managed to win millions of followers.


The Foundr Magazine on Instagram

Instagram is becoming increasingly important in the marketing mix. But with increasing popularity and a relevance sorting algorithm, new accounts often find it difficult to gain visibility and generate followers. The Australian Foundr Mag has published millions of followers on Instagram and a guide to how the then small magazine managed to convince the Instagram community of its success and to get from zero to 10,000 followers within two weeks. We took a look at it and summarized the most important things. These factors are not new strategies, but they show how important they are.


7 Tips for Fast Growth on Instagram

Foundr (@Foundr) now has 1.6 million followers on the platform, which is a remarkable community for a niche portal dealing with entrepreneurship. How did Foundr do it and what strategy did it follow? In the guide, Foundr lists ten points that led to success and contributed to the magazine's rise beyond Instagram. The strategy was largely maintained on the way to the next millions of followers, but the path was not straightforward. Foundr also emphasizes the importance of continuous testing and customization to attract followers.


To anticipate one thing: nobody said it would be easy, but those who stick strictly to the commandments will be rewarded.


1. Suitable Content Strategy for the Instagram Audience

The most critical part of the whole undertaking is to consider what kind of content should be used to reach the target group. What do you stand for? What do you want to convey? Do the hashtags match the content? Do your contributions stand out in the feed, do they cause the user to stop scrolling?


Take a little time, a pen and a blank sheet of paper for your content strategy and write down what goal you want your account to achieve; what your bio should say to tell the audience what you're about; who your competitors are; and which hashtags are relevant to you. What's important, and Foundr stresses this, is that you stay consistent with what you've thought about. Users have expectations and follow accounts for reasons. If you stand for motivational quotes, you will alienate your followers with flat lays of your food. If you stand for motivational quotes, stick with them.


Only if your content doesn't resonate with your audience should you make adjustments. What you shouldn't do on Instagram under any circumstances is simply use the platform as an extension of your blog or other social account. Instagram is its own platform and is so popular because it's completely different from other social media. So, you show a different face here, be unique and give users a reason to follow you.


If you have also created your hashtag set, Foundr recommends trying different content for a while and see which one is best. If you focus on text posts, apps like Word Swag, Adobe Spark Post or Typorama are recommended. To spice up your stories visually, we recommend Unfold.


With Adobe Spark Post, you can visualize your contributions; Unfold is perfect for spicing up stories.


2. Content That Invites Interaction

The content strategy is in place, now only the content is missing. And it has to go down well with your audience so that it follows you and interacts with the content. If you're still at a loss, it's always a good idea to take a look at the competitors you've already researched for your content strategy. Which contents are best received by their audience, what do they do well, differently or badly? While we're at it, it's also important to mention that you shouldn't show too much Behind the Scenes unless you're a celebrity. Let's stick to the motivational quotes: Your audience won't thank you if you post a picture of yourself on the beach between umpteen consistent text posts. Just stay true to your line. If you still find your holiday trips worth sharing, you should create your own account for them.


Instagram is the network of interactions. To promote them and get the best results possible, you can use images or videos that evoke emotions or raise questions. As an example, Foundr shows a contribution that has encouraged 95 percent more commitment than all the others.


The CTA in the caption also has a positive effect on the engagement rate. Various captions are available for this purpose:

  • Ask your audience questions (that fit the context!)

  • Ask them to mark friends (mark a friend who needs to see this; mark a friend who does; etc.). 

  • or to link the picture (Double-Tap)

In this way you motivate your target audience (besides the actual contribution of course) to interrupt the scrolling and pay attention to you.


User Generated Content is also a promising method to generate reach and interaction. Ask your community to share their content under a specific hash tag you've thought about. For so-called branded hashtags it is necessary to do some research beforehand, after all you don't want it to have been used a thousand times already, but at best you want it to be your own. By sharing the content of your followers, you create loyalty and promote their commitment with your brand.


Pro Tip: What's important about Instagram is that quality is far more important than quantity. This means that you are not allowed to shoot contributions at your users 24/7, but should publish a maximum of two contributions per day (however, this is irrelevant for the stories). In addition, the quality of your contributions on Instagram plays a much more important role than on other social networks. Consistency is also important here: Think of a style to go through or choose a preset (or filter) that gives your content a color accent


Instagram can already reach more than a billion users. Fatal to miss the chance. AdRoll's whitepaper shows you how to get the most out of the platform, including not only the basics for branding your account, but also the many ad formats currently available to advertisers. 


3. Treat your Insta Community Like People You Care About

What many people forget is that behind most followers there are real people who show real interest in your products when in doubt. That's why you should never care about the mere number of followers. Because it makes a huge difference whether you have 10,000 fake followers or 1,000 real ones who can even become customers. The interaction on Instagram should therefore not be one-sided: Respond to comments (which obviously don't come from bots) and messages and engage with the content of other accounts in your niche.


Even though this takes a lot of time, you should not use tools like automation with various providers. With automatically generated comments, the community doesn't understand any fun at all. Because even if they are not too generic, it quickly becomes clear whether they were sent by software or a human being.


Fake comments are not difficult to identify and are the worst way to reach new followers.


4. Post Regularly

Even if you don't have to post anything in the feed every day, you should share content regularly. But not more than two posts a day. Since this can also be time-consuming, you can now use tools like Later to plan posts, which you then only have to publish at the appropriate time. This saves you time but doesn't neglect your community.


5. Your Instagram Bio

You don't have much room for your bio on your profile page. A maximum of 150 letters are available to you to explain to your audience what it is all about and what they can expect from you. The wording should be accordingly crisp. In your bio you should include a link to the website next to the explanation of your product, as this is pretty much the only place on the platform where you can do this.


Attract attention with the organic and make sure that users follow you. As a magazine for entrepreneurs Foundr has the sentence "Building a business is hard", integrated into the bio to create a direct connection with the users and to evoke emotions. To be found in the Instagram’s search, the Foundr team also used keywords like "Startup", "Entrepreneurs" and "Entrepreneurs Magazine" in the text.


6. Use Relevant Hashtags

To increase your visibility, you should use as many relevant hashtags as possible at the beginning. You can find them by using apps like Iconosquare or Hashtagsuche. Hashtags are still highly relevant on Instagram 2019 and need their own strategy. Therefore, you should read our detailed guide for Hashtags "For the Perfect Hashtag: These are the Current Top Hashtags on ‘Instagram’, Read Through.”Don't get confused by the many tips that recommend using as few hashtags as possible. Especially when you're small, you need the free range that the tags give you. Why not do it? In our Hashtag Guide we have already put together hashtag sets for many niches.


7. Shoutouts & Influencer Marketing

Shoutouts from large accounts in your niche are worth their weight in gold, because at best they flush countless potential followers onto your profile. So instead of duelling with others, Foundr points out how important collaborations are for growth on Instagram. To do this, you can look for some large accounts from your niche and ask them for a mention, of course in exchange for one on your profile. It doesn't always have to be a repost, sometimes a mention in the caption is enough to draw attention to you.


On the other hand, Influencer Marketing is no different: users are paid by companies and brands to use their reach for promotion - and that is completely legitimate. Influencers are also suitable for promoting your account. To find the right one for your niche, you can use an appropriate tool or do some research in the Hashtag search: Here you will quickly find highly interactive contributions and often hide influencers behind them, which you now only have to address.


Two weeks is an ambitious goal

Foundr claims to have generated 10,000 followers with this method within two weeks, but this is ambitious, and the effort should not be underestimated - not every company has sufficient resources for this. The procedure described by the publisher is quite common and no secret. If you stick to the basic pillars, there won't be much in the way of a strong growth and success of your account. The goal does not have to be reached in 14 days.


Photo by Jakob Owens on Unsplash


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