I used to be a fashion blogger. And as you may know, 99.9% of fashion bloggers use instagram to connect with and grow their audiences.

But not me, oh no.

I hustled hard, yes. But I didn’t gain the kind of traction I was hoping for. And truth be told, I contribute the lack of growth to the fact that I didn’t really believe in or utilize the power of instagram.

In saying that, not using instagram to it’s full potential helped me realize a new path I wanted to venture down.

I had always wanted to blog about topics that related to small business owners, it was something I legitimately enjoyed, so after four years I decided to let my fashion blog go by the way side and follow my dreams of starting my new small business blog.

After having this shift in mindset, I knew I needed to start using social media platforms that could connect me with my audience. And so, after having heard about it from so many other bloggers, I decided to return to instagram. This time with a plan!

I set myself a goal: Gain 1,000 followers in 2 months.

I got to work and first started to focus on the style and branding of my account. Since instagram is all about the visuals, I got clear on the colors and typre of images I wanted to post. Within a week or so, I had transformed my instagram account from random and personal posts into a fully branded business account.

How to Get More Instagram Followers

Once that was done, I started searching for my target market.

I noticed there were quite a few bloggers with large audiences – over 30k+ followers! You’d think with a social following that large, you’d have pretty substantial results and profit, right?

Unfortunately, those large audiences didn’t transfer into their businesses and this was because their followers weren’t in the bloggers target audience.

An account that has an active and engaged following with 1,000 followers has far more value than the other account with 30k followers who couldn’t care less about their latest post or products. So don’t feel discouraged if your follower numbers aren’t where you want them to be yet. They’ll get there.

Results: Within 1.5 months I had gone from 800 followers to 2,300 followers just by doing a simple method I discovered. That’s a 213.3% increase!

haley burkhead instagram maraburkscreative
Before I get into the method itself, answering the three questions below can help you get the most out of this instagram case study. Best of all, once you’re clear on them, you don’t need to invest a huge chunk of time into applying it – I did it in my downtime each day – and I still increased my following rapidly!

Let’s get to increasing your instagram followers by 213.3% in 1.5 months!


In other words, what do you want to post about on Instagram? Do you enjoy fitness because you coach people on increasing their overall health? Are you a fashion blogger that alerts your followers on flash sales through affiliate links? Or do you have a service based businesses that help out small business owners with brick + mortar stores? Your niche is your area of expertise, get clear on what it is and start gathering bite sized bits of that information for your upcoming posts.


So your a coach, fashion blogger, or service based business owner. Now take a hard look at your clients or customers and define the audience specifically. Who are you wanting to attract? Who typically purchases what you provide? For me, I am a web designer + graphic designer and love branding businesses for female entrepreneurs.

My target audience is 20-40 year old women business owners that are super boss at what they do. I have no trouble finding all of these awesome women on instagram because I defined WHO I was trying to search out. Once you know who you are targeting, it is easier to make a strategic plan on how to put your services or products in front of these people so they can benefit from them!


You have probably heard of this method before, but I thought I would mention it in this point just in case someone hasn’t! Searching out hashtags within your niche that your target audience would be using is a hashtag worth looking through!

For me, I typically search out business/entrepreneur related hashtags like #femalebusinessowner and go through each account making sure that I like at least 7 – 8 images of theirs. Then I leave a genuine comment on one of the images.

Leaving a genuine comment is more than just a few hearts or “love this!”, a genuine comment is typically a few sentences long and relates to the person that posted the picture. I have created so many biz friends through this and have been involved in several fun collabs! So get to searching out your hash tags!


Prep: So you’ve gotten clear on your niche, you know who your target audience is and you’ve found relevant hashtags in your niche. One more question I need you to answer before we start on this fantastic method of increasing our instagram followers is, Who is someone in your niche that has similar services or products?

If you’re a fashion blogger, who in the fashion/blogging/instagram world has an account similar to yours? If you run a children’s boutique, search out some Instagram accounts that are owned by people running a children’s boutique themselves.

Make a list of two or three accounts that are similar within your niche that already have a substantial following (over 10k minimum). You know everyone that is following this account is generally interested in what this person is talking about all day on their Instagram. THIS is where your target audience is!

Method: I start from the top or bottom on the list of followers and give each person a follow, 8 likes, and a genuine comment. I do this if I want to connect with them or to follow me back. And that’s it! Literally!

When I started using this method, my follower stats boomed easily and almost effortlessly. I created new and genuine relationships with people in my target market in less than 10 minutes a day!

your turn!

In the comment section below let me know:

  1. Do you use instagram in your marketing plan?
  2. What are some of the hashtags you’ve found in your niche?

Let me know if you have any further questions about the method, I’ll be more than happy to help you out!

Guest Post by Haley Burkhead

  • Fashion & Frills

    This is a fantastic article! And I’m loving your entire blog! Just subscribed! 🙂

    hugs, Christina

    Christina | Fashion & Frills

  • Thanks for this! Big fan of your blog and your instagram account.
    Best of luck with your business!


  • The method is an amazing idea! I am going to use it as soon as possible!!

  • I will be trying out this method starting today. I need to brand my instagram (profile: abusybeeslife) but the thing is, I still have no niche. I am a first time mom who has a passion for traveling which I do a lot and I love to write motivational and inspirational posts. So I write about all three but cannot narrow down to one single niche. I think this is my biggest problem. I am thinking on posting on rotation (blog and instagram) so something like Monday, Wednesday, Friday (baby, travel, motivation). Please let me know what you think. Also, I really LOVE the page I landed on when I got on your site. I want a landing page eventually for growing my mailing list, but I would like my homepage to be a landing page for people to see me (hope not to scare them away LOL) and what the site is about, then can click enter into the blog page. I am still new and all this and learning. 🙂

    • Hey Sheri! Welcome! I totally know how you feel when it comes to finding your niche. I still feel like I haven’t got mine down 100% yet! The thing to take into account is that you are new and you’re not going to figure it all out until you actually start. So go for it! Blog about all three topics. Follow where your gut and inspiration takes you. Be motivational. Be inspirational. Write about travel and parenting. DO IT ALL. Slowly over time you’ll start to see where you want to go with your blog naturally. But you can’t figure it out in your head. As Marie Forleo says, “Clarity comes from engagement, not thought.”

      I’m not sure what landing page you arrived on but it was either through Leadpages, SumoMe or a lead page that’s built into my theme. Sending mad love to you right now. You got this! 🙂

  • I love how you’re straight to the point. Thank you so much for sharing these tips because it’s making me sit down and look at my feed.

    Finding the right audience is so important and as you said having a small engaging account is lot better than having thousands of followers and no engagement at all.

    Thank you once again!