Out of all social media, Instagram is probably the most popular choice these days and IMers are scrambling to try to figure out how to build large accounts quickly. It’s one thing to build a huge account that looks good, but it’s another thing to build a large account that you can actually make money from.

Instagram’s popularity has lead to a number of bots that follow, unfollow, comment, and like pictures. I actually wrote a post a while ago about Instagress, which is an Instagram bot that I have used in the past with some success. You can check out that blog post here if you would like.

Bots are good for some things, but if you expect to build your following by just letting a bot run you are in for a rude awakening. Users become allergic to bots and if you are just collecting followers that are other bot accounts you both end up with large followings of accounts that will never ever turn into money. Imagine that…200,000 Instagram followers and you can’t make a single penny. It happens, because if you only build up bot accounts you have jack shit.

If you are serious about using Instagram to make money, then you need to build up a following that is going to actually look at your posts, comment and like. Those actions don’t help your wallet, but they do assist in making your account more popular and eventually you can start to direct those interactions to your website with a link in your bio. I would highly suggest that you don’t focus on making money first.

Focus on building a large (and real) instagram following by using my tips below.


Repost like a madman.

The great thing about Instagram is that you can manage a large part of your effort from your phone. I use an iPhone but I would imagine that the Instagram app is very similar for Android phones as well. Install the repost app and this will allow you to repost any image that you find while giving the original poster credit. When you repost it, write a nice little comment like “Check out this great post from @handle” and this alerts them and also gives them a little ego stroke.

It literally takes you two seconds to do this, so don’t hold back. Find people that you want to follow you and repost one of their photos. You want to make sure it’s something that you will want to share on your account, because all of your followers will see it. Pick good content from people you want to follow you and you can pick up new followers every single day by doing this. It’s kind of like a Twitter retweet. You do that in hopes of them following you back.


Schedule posts if you can’t manually post 3 – 5 times daily.

The key to gaining momentum on Instagram is by posting frequently. You don’t want to post every hour and piss off your followers, unless you are in the “hot chick” niche and have 500,000 perverts following you from their mom’s basement. That is the only rapid fire posting I would suggest.

When you are getting started, I would suggest doing 3 to 5 really good posts. Solid pictures with captions that will encourage people to start following you. Think about it for a minute: Instagram has millions of accounts and people can only follow so many. If someone is really following several thousands of accounts how much attention can they possibly pay to your posts? Pretty much none because they are going to miss most of the posts the people they are following make throughout the day.

If you can’t manually post 3 to 5 times a day use a scheduler. Some of the more popular bots have a scheduler built in. There really isn’t a good reason that you can’t easily do 5 posts a day from  your phone, but I understand some people are just doing this in their spare time.


Don’t go hashtag overboard.

When you start to type a hashtag Instagram will bring up results that are similar and show you how many times each one has been used. There are some that have been used 20 million times or more so people automatically think that if they use that particular hashtag it will result in people finding their photos and then following them. This is very untrue.

If you fill your caption with 20 hashtags you look like a desperate spammer. Pick 2 or 3 solid hashtags that will actually attract people. The large popular ones like #follow4follow are horrible. Those are the ones the noobs with a bot use. Look at the accounts that use those types of hashtags and you will see that their engagement rate sucks.


Follow accounts that will actually follow you back without a bot command.

When you are looking for accounts to follow use common sense. I can spot a botted account from a mile away and the sooner you are able to do that, the less time you will waste. Yes, bot accounts will usually follow you right back, but it is a worthless follow. They are only doing it so you remain following them. It’s a vicious circle and nothing beneficial comes from it.

Follow real people that are using Instagram because they like it, not because they are trying to make money from it. You should be able to spot a fellow IMers easily, so stay away from those accounts. Those are useless follows. We want REAL followers so take 2 seconds to look at their content and if you feel they are real users, give them a quick follow. Once you get the hang of this you will be able to quickly identify accounts that are likely to follow you back that are controlled by a real Instagram user.


Put some effort into your filter skills.

Instagram filters are there for a reason, so use them! I see so many accounts that post boring pictures and expect to grow their accounts. Use the filters to create cool effects. Remember, you need to draw attention to your pictures! Experiment with all the filters to give your account a unique look and feel.


Use a giveaway to gain fast traction.

A giveaway is the easiest way to get a load of followers real fast, and REAL followers. I would wait until you have about 5,000 real followers and then invest $100 and buy a gift card to Amazon. Post simple giveaway rules, like:

  • Must follow my account
  • Must comment below and tag 5 friends

It’s really that simple. People will tag friends if they think they can win something. I have seen a simple $100 gift card result in thousands of real new followers. Instead of spending money on fake followers run contests with that money and you get a ton of real followers that are going to stick around in hope that you have another giveaway soon.


Ask people to tag their friends in the comments.

If you look at some of the more popular luxury Instagram accounts you will see they all do one thing very well. They get everyone to tag their friends. Accounts that feature exotic cars, money, tropical vacation destinations and watches are very popular. These are very visual, so people love to look and dream.

You will often see a picture of some exotic private island and a caption like “Who would you like to spend the weekend with here on this island? Tag them and let me know.” People love sharing these pictures with their friends and by tagging them they know they will see the picture. If you have good content they will also follow you.


Don’t auto comment.

There are a lot of bot programs that will allow you to auto comment based on hashtags. DO NOT DO THIS. Here is a perfect example of why and I don’t think I need to say any more: What if someone posted a racist image and used common hashtags and then your account comments “Nice picture!” It happens, trust me. This is another reason bots can end up fucking you.


Don’t auto like (big trouble ahead).

See above. Same thing can happen and you can look VERY bad. Don’t do it.


Trade some shout outs with comparable accounts.

Just like you, there are thousands of people that are trying to figure out Instagram and they want to build up their followers. Find accounts in the same niche that have followings similar to yours and send a DM to ask the account owner if they want to exchange shout outs.

This is a great free way to get new followers every day. I would only do it if they aren’t using a bot. If you are building your account the right way a shout out is going to get them followers, so you want to make sure you get some in return. If their account was built with a bot you won’t see any followers from a shout out. I like to trick them by asking “What automation software do you use?” If they name one, forget about them. If they say they don’t use software you have a winner.


Post video content as well.

Don’t forget that Instagram allows you to post video as well. So many people don’t do this, especially not the fake bot accounts. Make some videos related to your account and drop an occasional video to keep your followers interested in your content.

Once your account starts to do well you can even buy custom short video clips on Fiverr to repost. If you are making a lot of money selling products or shout outs then $5 for video isn’t a bad investment. Sometimes random video does very well too. The only way you will know if to experiment with different types of video and see what gets the most likes and comments.


Search by hashtags and manually like and comment.

We all want to make money by doing nothing. I get it, but Instagram really requires some manual work. As I mentioned above, auto liking and auto commenting can really bite you in the ass. Spend 15 minutes manually searching relevant hashtags and like picture and comment on them. You can do this from your cell phone, so take advantage of any down time you have and you will notice your follower count increase steadily. If I am doing work on the PC and waiting for a download or upload to finish, I whip out my phone and do a little manual Instagram work. I really pays off in the end and helps to keep your account clean. Commenting or linking the wrong image can require major damage control.


Buy sponsored posts.

If you have some money burning a hole in your pocket you can buy a sponsored post. There are plenty of Instagram accounts with millions of followers that will sell you a shoutout. There are a couple things to remember here: they aren’t cheap and they only stay up for a few hours. I had a client buy one from a girl that had more than 2 million followers. He thought that since she had so many followers he would easily get thousands to follow him. He got maybe 10 and it cost him $500. Only buy posts from accounts that have the same follower type. 2 million horny dudes aren’t going to want to follow some random guy on Instagram, it just doesn’t work that way.


Stick to a consistent theme for your account.

You want to pick a theme/niche and stick to it. If you start posting random images and if your account is all over the place you will lose followers and you also won’t attract new ones. Look at the most successful ones. Hot girls post ass pictures 24/7, car accounts post the hottest exotic cars and lifestyle ones post amazing exotic locations. They all stick to a very niche specific theme.


Use geo tagging in your pictures.

More people are now starting to search Instagram by geo locations, so use tagging to attract a local following. This won’t apply to everyone, but if you are a local business trying to use Instagram to bring in new customers you should be all over this feature. Someone 500 miles away won’t do you good if you are trying to build up interest in your pizza shop. Local businesses should be hyper focused on geo location.

Instagram is here to stay (for now anyway) so learn how to use it in your niche. A lot of IMers don’t like it because you can’t post links in each picture. This is good, because it eliminates a lot of the competition and rewards those who are creative. There are people making a lot of money with Instagram because they are doing things that most would never think of doing.

I’ve been on a social media kick recently, so make sure you read my previous blog posts about increasing your Twitter followers, using LinkedIn to collect leads, and boosting your Facebook likes. I’m also wrapping up a post on how to grow your YouTube subscribers, so keep an eye out for that in the coming days.

If you have any questions leave them below and I will do my best to answer them quickly!

Tommy McDonald

Tommy is an SEO professional with years of experience running highly successful SEO companies, founded SerpLogic after noticing there was a major void when it came to options for SEO agencies needing a reliable and professional one-stop outsource solution.You can read all about me in the “About” page here on our blog!

© SerpLogic 2023. All Rights Reserved.