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After decades with big brands, I realized how much I love marketing small ones. I'm happiest around a table (even a virtual one) with clients, sharing plans that help them reach the right people. I'm a simplifier and a creator. Also, a lover of cute office supplies.

  • Writer's pictureStacy McPhillips

Slow and steady wins the race when growing your Instagram followers!

Updated: Oct 21, 2021

I’d rather have 100 engaged followers (they like your posts, comment, message you, etc.…) than 10,000 followers that just aren’t interacting.

Here are some tips for growing on Instagram (IG):

1. Figure out what you want IG to do for your business.

If you want it to build your business, you need to grow your following specifically for your target audience. What do they want? What do they need to know about your business to buy from you? Build content around that.

If you want it to be a portfolio for your business, focus on making it compelling in both aesthetics and captions.

2. Consider your overall aesthetic.

Aesthetics matter on IG. Once you have a more consistent aesthetic, more people will be drawn to your account.

Here are two local accounts that have consistent aesthetics that I love:

Consistency is key. You could always get insights from a local designer, too. Keep it clean and focused.

3. Follow your ideal customers.

If you have good stuff, they’ll follow you back.

4. Interact with ideal customers' posts.

Give them some love in the form of likes, comments, and shares (tag them if you share something to your stories.) You gotta give likes to get likes! 🧡

5. Use IG for its full value.

This includes posts, stories, reels, guides, and going live!

Shoot videos vertically on your phone. Make sure posts look good as squares on your profile feed.

6. Vary up your hashtags.

Hashtags are hit or miss for sure. Ask yourself, "If I was my ideal customer, what hashtags would I follow?" Try those!

Also, try using local ones to try to get reach in your area if local is important to your business—#ColumbusOhio.

If you “view insights” on your individual posts, you can see how much of your reach was from your collective hashtag set.

7. Humans always perform well on IG.

Get in there, yourself! People want to know who's on the other end of the post.


Find what works. Do more of that. But introduce new content topics, new graphics, new copy, new formats to see what's the next thing that will work!

9. Block Fake Followers!

They won't ever engage. So the more fake followers you have, the harder it will be to get a good engagement. It helps keep your community genuinely people who are interested in what you have to say. ⁣

How do you spot a fake follower?⁣

🔸 If you ask, "why would this person follow me?" and come up with zero, they may be a fake follower. ⁣

🔸 If it looks like some generic, middle-aged white guy with a general bio and like 8-12 generic photos, he's fake. ⁣

🔸 They also may have a really low "follower" number and a high "following" number. But if it's a good fake, maybe not. ⁣

🔸 They may follow you and then message something like, "Hi dear."⁣

Just block all of these. ⁣

If you don't understand why you get fake follower requests or why people buy fake followers, be sure to watch "Fake Famous" the documentary on HBO Max. It's very enlightening!⁣

Want more Instagram tips? Follow me on Instagram!


Hey, I'm Stacy! My business is Pencil Point Marketing.

And I'm here to tell you that marketing your business doesn't have to feel overwhelming.

If any of these describe you, I can help!

  • You know you want to grow your business but you don't know where to start with marketing.

  • You're not sure how to create graphics or write copy or record videos.

  • You're unclear about what should even be on a website.

  • You don’t know which is better - email or social media.

  • You don’t know what to post on social media. You don’t even know which platforms would work best for your business/organization.

  • Even if you did marketing stuff, you don’t know how you’ll know if it’s working.

  • You feel overwhelmed at the thought of it all!


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