How to get the first 1000 followers on Instagram: do’s and don’ts

4 min read
1 September 2021

In the Instagram promotion, gathering the first thousand subscribers is one of the most complicated tasks. In the beginning, without an audience, organic growth does not yet work for you, and you cannot simply rely on algorithms to do the job or do mutual PR. Various contests are not likely to work well either. How, then, do you get to the craved 1K?

The main ways to get there are discussed below.

Targeted advertising

That is the most reliable method.

Buying access to the audience you need has several advantages:

  1. You get just the sort of audience you want, with a general outline, age, city, sex, or any other parameters you care to order.
  2. Growth is quick. You can attract a thousand subscribers in a week without much trouble.
  3. An audience from targeted ads converts well into subscribers, even if you have few subscribers already.

The disadvantage is that, alas, you have to pay. But in current Instagram, there is such a struggle for users’ attention that the entry threshold becomes higher and higher. Free tools either cease to deliver or bring results slowly and only after a time.

Content-driven promotion

What does that mean? It means you do not do anything but run your account. Just keep your channel going, post your stuff there and add Stories if you like. Instagram, however, offers scant opportunities for organic growth: just hashtags and recommendations. The weakness of this approach is that it takes a long time to bring a spotlight to an account. The entry threshold is so high and competition so intense that organic promotion works very poorly here.

Working with top recommendations

There are several “tops” on Instagram:

  • overall top recommendations in Search & Explore;
  • hashtag recommendations;
  • geotag recommendations;
  • IGTV recommendations;
  • store product recommendations.

Algorithms exist for getting to all of these “tops”. There are parameters to consider to get your content recommended and so on.

External promotion

It means you bring an audience from other platforms. It can be other social networks, other places on the Web, or the real world. For instance, a newsletter to your customers may bring in some of them to your Instagram account. With a base of subscribers and clients to send e-mails to, you can tell them about your foothold on Instagram and give them reasons to subscribe: discounts, release news, and valuable recommendations that you dispense there.

What else counts as external promotion? Announcements in other social networks. You can find the best conversion rates on YouTube, Telegram, and TikTok. Online and offline events can also guide people’s attention where you want.

What NOT to do to promote your account


An approach exists called commenting (not to be confused with mass commenting), where you leave your opinions in accounts of bloggers who are influencers in your industry. These comments need to have substance: you must read the post and argue logically for your opinion. The remark will evoke respect, move up, and people will want to see who is so clever.

Why should this approach be avoided? The first reason is, it is manipulative. If your comment has some real merit, then less so, but still, you just do it to hijack their attention. Secondly, this takes a lot of effort. You have to write tons to make people notice you. The amount of text you have to churn out for other people’s posts is almost the same as blogging on your own.


Not only at the start — but as long as you run an account on any platform at all — using bots must be an absolute taboo. The problem is not only about ethics, but getting banned or having your reach circumcised very much due to bots playing in the field. Bots are a guaranteed way to bury your account. You will never wash clean of this. You will never be able to track all those bots down and delete them because many of them come across as real people and fool even dedicated bot detection services. Bots are a highway to the ban of your account or serious consequences.


Giveaways are a particular format of contests with which many non-target visitors come to your account. Sometimes they are real visitors, sometimes a few bots are beefing up the numbers, but either way, they can only be relevant to your needs by accident. Not only is there no marketing effect from this, but it can also do damage. When Instagram sees that many followers start unfollowing you the next day after your giveaway, its algorithms consider this as something fishy. Instagram takes measures against you, and your reach suffers.

Mutual following

At this point, the mutual following has become a bad idea. However, you can still take advantage of subscriptions with a particular hashtag. Let’s say your professional exhibition has been held, and people who have gone there are uploading pictures with some hashtag. You can follow the hashtag and subscribe to those people. There is a limit of 50 users a day for Instagram, and obviously, it is not going to make a terrible lot of difference, but at least it is the target audience.