How to grow your Instagram in 2021- How I gained my first 10k Followers

By far one of the most asked questions that I get in my DM’s is how I grew my account to almost 14k and I’m here to give you the deets (no bullshit). There’s no hacks or hidden secrets, but I’m happy to share the strategies that were the most successful for me!

  • Shifting my focus- I’m not going to lie, when I first decided I wanted to try to monetize and grow my blog I was numbers obsessed when it came to engagement and follows. While this makes sense because I wanted to turn blogging into a business, it quickly took the joy out of it for me. If I wasn’t growing a certain amount per month, or a post didn’t hit a certain number, I’d feel like a failure, which made the whole experience pretty miserable. I even thought about quitting several times. I decided the only way to continue without burning myself out was to create a mindset shift. While numbers are still an indicator of performance, I don’t make it the number one priority anymore. Instead, I focus on putting out content that makes me feel connected to my community and that provides value. I’ve found my joy again which translates to better content and leads to better numbers. Stop comparing yourself– remember that those who are where you want to be also started somewhere and anyone who’s growing their account organically didn’t do so overnight. For reference, I’ve been doing this for about three years now.
  • Consistency: I saw the biggest change in my growth when I started showing up consistently. You want to make sure you’re nurturing and engaging your community with valuable content. Aim to post everyday in feed and stories. This will increase the rate of your growth and help you retain followers. The last thing you want is those followers you worked so hard for to unfollow because you never post or they forgot who you are/ why they followed to begin with.
  • Engagement: I love the quote “to be engaged you have to be engaging” because it couldn’t be more true. You can’t expect Instagram to do the work for you, if you want your account being seen and discovered you have to be getting your account in front of people. The easiest way to do this is 1. Make sure you’re responding to the comments people are leaving on your posts (no one wants to feel ignored) 2. Comment back when people comment on your posts to help show your support and create a natural engagement pod (more on this later) 3. Spend 30 mins- 1 hour per day engaging with new people in 5-10 different hashtags that fit your niche to start forming relationships and communities with others
  • Hashtags: There’s a lot of debate on if hashtags work, but I ALWAYS use them because here’s the thing… it can’t hurt! However, I see a lot of people using hashtags in a way that’s not going to be beneficial. Hashtags not only help Instagram categorize your posts to decide who to show them to, but they’re free organic advertising to help get your account seen! However, you want to stay away from really generic hashtags and hashtags that are too large. I recommend using 15-25 hashtags per post that fit your niche and have under 1 million hits per tag. Why? You’re not going to rank in hashtags that are overused, you’re going to get buried in them. However, using smaller more specific hashtags gives you a greater chance of hitting the “top” for that tag, increasing your discoverability and chance of hitting the explore page.
  • Content Art Types: On a regular basis I go through my top performing posts under Instagram’s ‘insights’ feature as well as my top link clicks on Reward Style. Why? This helps me learn more about my audience and tells me what they want to see more of based off what they’re engaging with.


This right here tells me that my audience seems to respond to body positivity posts, casual outfits, photos with Meeko, and mental health related posts. This tells me to increase my following and engagement I want to post more content like this regularly. I find it most helpful to make sure that 1 in every 9 posts covers one of the topics above.

  • Giveaways and Engagement Groups:

I feel like influencers can be a little secretive when it comes to these two topics, so I’m going to give you my honest opinion and experience. When I first started growing my account I tried both.. but here’s why the “easy way” isn’t always the best way.

– In my very early stages of blogging I was a part of several engagement group pods. While my engagement technically went up, it was all fake and didn’t end up helping me much in the long run. Catching up with engagement groups started to take up a ton of time and all the comments and support I was getting was super generic and not very genuine.. these people didn’t actually care about my content. Spending the bulk of my time on engagement pods was super draining and took all the fun out of it for me. One of my favorite parts of blogging has always been getting to connect with others and I was missing out on that. Instead, I started to create my own ‘natural engagement pod’ by simply commenting back and then commenting on other creator’s content in return. This basically showed others that if they left me a comment I would always return the favor and leave them a comment too. This provided me a with a community that I could count on and actually connect with.

PS- As someone who worked professionally in social media and influencer marketing, brands can tell if you’re faking engagement and that’s just not worth it!

-Giveaways: I feel like giveaways are super controversial.. is it cheating? Is it buying followers? Do they even work?

I’m of two pieces of mind when it comes to giveaways. First of all, I’m not totally against them. I think that if you were any other business you’d likely have an advertising budget that you’d use to make sure your brand was getting seen and growing. I don’t think giveaways are much different and I’m not going to lie, they helped me a ton before I hit 10k. However, here’s why I wouldn’t make them a part of your longterm strategy.

Giveaways are great for getting little boosts (say you’re less than a few hundred away from hitting 10k) it can help with that! I wouldn’t rely on them for longterm growth though because it’s very challenging to retain those followers after a giveaway ends, and it ends up costing you A LOT of money. I think giveaways with others in your niche every once in awhile is a great way to give back to your followers and grow a little, but you’re better off implementing the above strategies in this post (which are FREE). Ultimately, growth and retention is all about building a community and consistently sharing valuable content.

I know these tips aren’t exactly ‘sexy’ but they are the information you’ll need to start building a sustainable and successful business. Still have questions? Feel free to DM me on Instagram, I’m always happy to share and support fellow content creators!



Hi friends!

I’m Skye Polk and I’m so happy that you’re here! I’m a Dallas based Fashion and Lifestyle Blogger and I’m all about helping YOU stay affordably stylish. Life is busy for us ladies, so my goal is for this to be a place where you can come to get inspired and make your day-to-day just a little bit easier. Whether it’s an outfit idea, beauty find, or chatting about mental health; I hope for this to be a destination and community that makes you feel your very best! Xo, Skye

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Xo, Skye


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    1. 3.30.21
      Brittney said:

      Thanks for the great post! Just getting started with my blog and this was helpful.