Hi there! If you’re new here, I am Jessica and I currently have a following well over 100k on my Instagram page, @easylivingtoday.
I want to be open and honest with you all about how I did it, because it has taken me three years of trying to figure it out and not getting many honest answers from other people. So let’s talk about how to grow a fitness instagram account to 100k!
By the way, I’m not guaranteeing results- just sharing what has worked for me!
Why grow an Instagram account?
Growing an Instagram account isn’t easy, so you have to decide if it’s even worth it to you.
Everyones “why” is going to be different, but here are some reasons you may want to:
- To build a community
- To market and promote your business
- As an extension to your blog (or any other business)
- As a way to connect with your readers more casually
- For sponsored posts/financial reasons
- To simply share what you love with as many people as possible
And I’m sure there are a million other reasons, too.
How much money can be made on Instagram?
Let’s be honest, some people just want to know about the money. I’ll just say it’s totally up to you. You can make money from selling your own products or through sponsorships.
I’ve learned that what people charge for a sponsored post varies hugely. My business coach, Brandi Riley from Courage to Earn, has taught me to know my worth. Some people may accept a post in exchange for product while others may charge $3,000- it’s totally up to you and what you are truly comfortable with. But I’m going to echo Brandi here and just say know your worth!
How to grow your Instagram page
Okay, let’s get down to business. I’m going to be very honest with you all and tell you that it has taken me treating Instagram like a full time job in order to build it to where it is now. It hasn’t just been an hour a day, it has been what feels like all day. But, keep in mind, my blog IS my full time job. So when my kids are at school, I have all of this time to dedicate to it. That means I put my blog on the back burner for a few months and focused all of my efforts on Instagram because I know that’s where my audience hangs out and it would be worth it for me.
What to do to grow a fitness Instagram Account
- Take great pictures. I know this sounds like common sense, but it is the main thing that is going to determine if people are going to want to follow you. How many peoples pages have you landed on and decided not to follow them because there was nothing special about their page? And how many people have you decided to follow because you saw their pictures and thought “wow?”It’s easy to say that Instagram is moving away from perfect pictures, and that may be true, but there has to be a middle ground. That isn’t an excuse to just take crappy photos and expect people to follow you. Make the effort to take pictures outdoors or by windows, edit your photos and play with the brightness, contrast, shadows, etc (I use the Snapseed app for this). Be proud of your pictures, don’t just throw pictures up to have something there.
- Take the time to engage with your followers. I like to randomly go through my followers list and comment on their pictures. When people comment on my pictures, I go on their page and like/comment on their photos as well. When I see someone new following me, I go to their page and engage right away. This makes them want to continue engaging with your content because they know they will hear back from you and not be ignored.
- Find feature accounts in your niche and send them a DM letting them know you are interested in a feature (again, you have to have great photos in order for them to want to feature you). This gives them content and gives you exposure.And, believe me, every niche has feature accounts- especially fitness. Some will charge, but many will do it for free. I also tag feature accounts when I post a photo and I think it will work for their account.I have been featured on accounts that range from 80k followers to an account that has 11M followers (and didn’t pay for any). You guys, this is huge! No one talks about it, but it works. When I was featured on the 11M account, I gained nearly 30k followers in ONE day! While I was growing, I would DM five feature accounts daily and would also follow up in a week if I didn’t hear back.
Con: You’ll gain a bunch of followers, but you will lose a lot of them as well. But that’s okay, you can’t be for everyone. If they don’t stick around it just means your content wasn’t a fit for them- it doesn’t mean your content sucks.
- Do loop giveaways. This is a hot topic, but it works. The key here is to do giveaways in your niche, that your followers will love. I like to do giveaways that are fitness or mom related, for example a jogging stroller and a Fitbit. Because of this, the followers I gain stick around and actually engage. There are loops between $25-40 and would say I keep around 600-1200 followers each time (you are definitely going to lose some followers after, that is why it’s important to do giveaways in your niche).The reality is, it’s the same as hosting your own giveaway as a way to gain followers. Except now you’re teaming up with a group of other bloggers and providing a more expensive prize.
Con: You have to pay, some people are annoyed by them, it’s a hot topic .
- Use 30 hashtags every time you post. This really works, people DO search hashtags and follow people they see on there. Since 30 is the max hashtags allows, you should use them all.There is a great app called “Hish Hash” that lets you save and find hashtags in your niche. Then every time you post you can go on to the app, click shuffle, and it will pull 30 hashtags and copy them to your clipboard. It’s super easy. I use a 50/50 mix of hashtags that have 50-100k posts and hashtags that have higher numbers.
- Find well known influencers in your niche and comment on their posts. If you have a great profile picture that represents your brand and commenting something meaningful or funny, people will click on your profile to see what you’re about. If they like your content, they will follow (again, great pictures are a must).
Con: People who follow you may get annoyed seeing you commenting on everyones stuff.
- Write captions that resonate with your audience. You know your audience and target market best, so if you think they like long captions- write them. If you think they like short captions- write those. If you just don’t know, try both.Just make sure you always give them something to respond to. Ask a question or write something thought provoking. I mean, what would you be more likely to respond to: 1) What’s your favorite song to workout to? I need a new playlist. or 2) I listen to Beyonce when I run.
- Use IG stories. If people watch your stories, they’re more likely to see your posts in their feeds.
- Post daily on weekdays. For me, at least, weekends are dead so I’d rather save that content for a week day. But I find that if I am not posting daily, my engagement drops and it’s hard to build back up.
- Post at the peak times that your audience is online. To find this, go to your insights (business profiles) and click on audience. Then scroll down and it will tell you the days and times most of your followers are online- that’s when you want to post.
- Look for “challenges” in your niche. For example, there are all kinds of fitness challenges in the fitness niche. So if you see a squat challenge is going on, join in and use the hashtag!I especially like to participate in challenges being held by large accounts (like celebrities). They (or their social media manager) look through these hashtags and feature their favorites on their page to bring awareness to whatever it is they’re marketing. I did a challenge a famous singer was hosting one time and they decided to feature me! Not only did it feel amazing but I gained over 20k followers in 48 hours.
- Let go of the idea that people need to pay you for every piece of content you create. A celebrity is not likely to pay you to feature your content, but if they do feature it there is a potential for HUGE growth. So you have to weigh the good and the bad.
- Exchange story shoutouts with other influencers in your niche. I have done this several times and it’s super easy and you get a nice boost in followers.Basically, you each screenshot each others profile and upload it to your stories telling your followers this is your friend or an account you love and ask them to follow that account. You can even do multiple stories (this has worked best for me) where one picture is a screenshot and the other is a single photo.Don’t worry about an account being much larger than yours, still DM them and give it a shot. Stop being scared of hearing “no” or embarrassing yourself. You’ll never know unless you try it. I have sent DM’s to accounts as large as 300-500k and they agreed to exchanged shoutouts. I also get DM’s from other accounts and agree to it as well.
What not to do to grow a fitness Instagram account
- Do. not. buy. followers. Seriously, don’t. It will ruin your account if you have a ton of followers and little to no engagement. Instagram will stop showing your stuff to other people and then you’re just going to have a mess of accounts from India following you. I’ve never done this, but I have seen people who have regret it terribly.
- Stop worrying about other accounts and how/why they’re growing and you’re not. Just focus on yourself and your page, because worrying about anyone else is a waste of time. If you’re really dying to know, DM them and ask what’s working for them.
- Follow/unfollow. I tried it before and just felt yucky afterwards. I felt bad unfollowing people and it’s just mean. Plus, people are on to it now so they will unfollow you right back.
- Do not post other peoples content without permission. You do not want to get hit with copyright infringement and it’s unfair to them if they never agreed to it.
That’s all, folks! I hope this helps!
P.S: Something else my business coach, Brandi, always mentions is that it’s not all about numbers. And this is so true. I hesitate to say it because people consider my numbers high, but they weren’t always high. I started at 0 like everyone else. And if it weren’t for the content and engagement, I would have never grown. So you need to really focus on talking to your followers and creating great content- this will eventually lead to numbers.