I started my Instagram account @teachernikki in the summer of 2016

and I had 0 followers because I didn’t tell anyone I was creating a new account.


how to gain 1k followers on instagram

Now that I am at 6K followers, I want to share with you how I got my first 1K.

I thought getting my first 1k followers on Instagram would be so hard, but you can gain your first 1k followers on instagram with four easy steps. 

Step 1: Follow Your Audience

The easiest step to gain your first 1k followers on Instagram is to start following your client base.

I am an online ESL (English as a Second Language) and Spanish teacher. I looked for other online ESL teachers who had Instagram accounts and started following their followers. 

Half of them followed me back. I was so surprised that people followed me back even though I had a brand new account. I did make sure to have a few posts on my account already. 

I didn’t have too much valuable content at that point, but people still followed me back. A lot of times people feel obligated to follow back because you followed them. Other times people are excited to meet someone new so they want to connect. 

I also found that following people at certain times today got me a better conversion rate (a higher ratio of people who followed back). Also, when I followed people who recently followed another teacher account, that got me a better conversion as well. 

As I started to grow, I got a little more focused and realized I had a specific audience I was trying to reach, so when I started following others I narrowed it down to who fit my audience instead of just randomly following any teacher account. This is important if you are growing a business, not just an Instagram account. 

If I could go back and be more strategic, I would have had better content, a clear idea of who my customer is and been more selective about who I followed. 

Step 2: Use Hashtags

how to gain 1k instagram followers 2

My first Instagram Posts

Using hashtags is really important for getting your first 1k followers on Instagram because people do follow certain hashtags and search for ideas and content by using hashtags. I even find popular accounts by searching hashtags. 

Joining in on follow loops or challenges is super important for gaining your first 1k followers as well. People will search the hashtag and see who else is using it and end up subscribing to you if they see something that appeals to them. 

In the beginning I didn’t use 30 hashtags. I just used hashtags that were relevant to my post and my audience. Again, my content wasn’t good. It was pretty bad, but people probably liked the idea of connecting with someone new. 

Step 3: Find a Posting Rhythm & Niche

I didn’t really know what to post at first, but I did post daily.

I started researching what other ESL teachers were posting and realized that idioms were a struggle for many students.

So I changed my focus to posting idioms, videos and quotes. Having a niche was really helpful because it kept me focused and brought value to my followers.

I was getting more likes!

My content was also very unique to me.

I created my posts on Snapchat using my bitmoji and other visuals from their application.

Step 4: Do Cross Promotions

I was so scared to reach out to other teachers because I didn’t know how to ask if people would be interested in cross promotion, but one day I got a direct message from English Teacher Joe asking me if I was interested in doing cross promotion.

I thought about how his message made me feel. I was excited to connect with someone in my industry and collaborate.

I realized that I could send a similar message and get a similar reaction by reaching out to more online teachers.

Every time I did a cross promotion it brought me at least 100 new followers, and sometimes 200. This is one of the best and easiest ways to get 1k followers on Instagram and to continue to grow your account. People are more interested in connecting with you if you are referred by  someone they already trust. 

Now that I am at 6K followers my Instagram game has changed in terms of what I post and how my audience is finding me, but I will save that for another post.

I encourage you to use these four techniques because they are a great way to organically connect with your audience in the beginning.

One extra tip is to use Instagram stories, which wasn’t available when I first started. They are helping me A LOT right now. 🙂