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How To Get Your First 1,000 Followers on Instagram

Profile photo of Alex Christensen Submitted by Alex Christensen February 16, 2016
In the age of 2016 it’s unlikely you haven’t heard of Instagram, in fact it’s probably unlikely you haven’t got an account & have many on the social media site. However many accounts sit with little daily activity and have considerable unused potential to grow their account. For the last three years I have held an Instagram account with no posted photos, follows or followers attached (I got it to view a friends account), however after reading several blogs regarding using Instagram for promotional purposes I have discovered it’s usefulness. 
Around a month ago I began playing with Instagram for the first time – posting a picture or two, following accounts I liked, liking beautiful photos etc. However, I began to sit in the threshold of accounts with low activity. In the last two weeks, my account grew from 23 to 1001 followers and each image has upwards of 250 likes.
The following strategies I will outline are best for people looking to grow their accounts from nothing to something. I would like to state that I do not believe 1000 followers is particularly impressive, however with the techniques I have been using I will be able to grow that number into a much more impressive account.


Instagram has four social currencies, following, reposting, commenting and liking. Liking is one of the best currencies available for those who have time, in instagram your past likes cannot be seen on your account, intrisincally making your like much more valuable than in Twitter & Soundcloud (where you can be seen liking thousands of Tweets & Sounds).
So with no downside, like as many photos as possible under a variety of hashtags, however Instagram does have a limit on your phone account – so use a computer to like.
Here are some great hashtags for liking photos:
  • #likeforlike & its variations (#like4like, #l4l, #lforl)
  • #likeforfollow & its variations (#lff #like4follow #l4f)
  • #photography, #sun, #beach, #selfie (#selfy etc)
  • Choose a variety of cities (#newyork, #tokyo, #sydney, #melbourne, #auckland etc)
Most importantly like photos of accounts who will match yours, you will get a much higher like activity if accounts are genuinely interested. For example I posted a photo regarding web design & had much higher response when I liked photos under web design or IT related hashtags.


Instagrams are like hungry, and much like you in step 1 will be trying to attract followers by “liking like crazy”. You need them to be able to find you, so they can view your account. When posting a photo regardless of the content use a mixture of high activity & low activity hashes. You’re probably wondering what the hell I’m talking about right now?
Well some hashes will be frequently posted to (these hashes will have over a million photos already connected to) – these are referred to as high activity hashes, the opposite are low activity hashes (these hashes will have a couple of thousand photos attached to them). High activity hashes will guarantee you lots of likes in the first few minutes of posting from crazy likers, meanwhile low activity hashes will give your photo longevity.
Here are a list of hashes I usually use on my photos:
High Activity:
  • #l4l
  • #likeforlike
  • #like4like
  • #like4follow
  • #likeforfollow
  • #gainpost
  • #gaintrain
  • #followers
  • #sun
  • #beach
  • #photography
  • #newyork
  • #usa
  • #australia
  • #selfie
  • #people
  • #instagramers 
  • #colour
I won’t list any Low Activity hashes because truly they are best to be specific to your photo. Even better tag local businesses who are connected to the photo, they may retweet the photo. For example if your photo features a crane tag #crane, you’ll most likely get crane enthusiasts to like your photo.


Your comments, much as likes cannot be seen in totality, so they are again a valuable currency. Comments in Instagram are a lot more rare than other social media platform, increasing it’s value to the account you comment on.
However do not think that people respond to superfluous words such as ‘cool’ & ’nice’, most people see through this. If you want that account to take notice of you, make sure to say something worthy of the photo, i.e. “I absolutely love the way you’ve captured the light in this photo, the darkness adds so much beauty” or “you look so good in that selfy! Beautiful conturing” etc. Those example are probably the maximum length you need.
I am aware that commenting takes longer than liking, but you will gain loyal followers, lots of likes, comments on your post & sometimes reposts (perhaps the most valuable instagram currency).


This is actually the last step in growing your instagram account, but is by far the most important. Every hour I like 5 or 10 gaintrains, commenting on a single one, I receive anywhere between 5 – 25 followers on the spot. Gain trains are designed to help Instagrams gain followers by creating groups where everyone likes everyone else.
If you type in the hash #followtrain, #gaintrain or #gainpost, you should see lots of photos with text saying “gain with…” or “gain post”, liking those photos and participating in whatever activity they state in the description will guarantee you real followers fast.
Unlike the previous steps, you will need to follow these people in order to keep their loyalty, or at least like several of their photos, however in a matter of a few hours you will expand your followers a hundred fold. 
For the next week, try out these techniques and see how they do for your account.
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This post was originally published in by Alex Christensen

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Profile photo of Alex Christensen
While only still young, I have built my own web development company ( off my own back and hence have lots of knowledge in regards to SEO/Web Development/Social Media/Programming/Design/Algorithms and more.
Profile photo of Alex Christensen

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12 Responses to “How To Get Your First 1,000 Followers on Instagram” Leave a reply ›

  • Profile photo of Kevin Ross Profile

    Good post. Instagram is one of the top social sites which just can’t be ignored, even if we want to. Because of its virtual nature and love by celebs, it’s going to only get more popular, so this post should be important to read.

    I agree with the tips you provided here. It looks like they will work not just for Instagram, but other social networks as well. More people will show interest in you and follow you and your activities, if you show interest in them and follow them and their activities. Basic rules of engagement, right?

    Your results of going from 23 to 1001 followers shows you know what you are talking about. Thanks.

    • Profile photo of Alex Christensen Profile

      Hi Kevin,

      Thanks for reading, I definitely agree with you in terms of using these strategies on other social media platforms & the basic rules of engagement.

      To truly crack social media, you need to show an interest in others, the more genuine your interest, the more genuine your results.

      I have tried these strategies on Soundcloud, Twitter, Pinterest & FaceBook, and some of them do work very well. Pinterest users, for example, respond very well to likes, even though it’s a relatively weak currency (i.e. you can see how many likes you have given), whereas SoundCloud likes are almost superfluous.

      If anyone is looking to grow their social media presence, they should first have an understanding of the platform and how other users are participating. Once you get a sense of this, you will be able to make strong judgements of where your engagement is best set.

      Thanks & Regards,
      Alex Christensen

      • Profile photo of Kevin Ross Profile

        Thanks for replying, Alex. And thanks for agreeing with my point about showing interest in others. I agree with your advice for anyone to understand a particular platform to be able to grow their social media presence. I look forward to reading more from you.

  • Profile photo of Sarah John Profile

    Hi Alex,
    Instagram marketing is fast gaining traction for both visual and non-visual based businesses. It becomes important we get hold of the best way to grow it for our advantage. Your tips to get the first 1000 followers are practical. Hence, I guess its time to put them into practice!

  • Profile photo of Sunday William Profile

    Hi Alex,
    Its interesting to learn about how to get the first 1000 followers on Instagram.

    Constant participation and interactions will readily help the marketer Instagram user gain more subscribers.

    From the above, it is obvious that to make the most of Instagram, there is need to make the most of “likes”, “hashtags, “gaintrains” and “comments”, right?
    Sunday William recently posted…Will Native Advertising Completely Overtake Traditional Advertising and Guest Posting In 2016?My Profile

  • Profile photo of Celine Profile

    My best takeaway from this post is the idea of GAINTRAINS. This is my first time of learning about the term.

    I see that it is one of those tactics that are most important for growing an Instagram account.

    There is the opportunity of value creation and improvement!

  • Profile photo of Judith Chang Profile


    The tips you gave here look like they will work but won’t some of the activities you suggested be seen as spam?

    For example, you suggested to LIKE LIKE CRAZY, won’t that be seen as spam and get you into trouble?

    • Profile photo of Alex Christensen Profile

      Hi Judith,

      Actually no, this isnt seen as spam.
      The only way you can get into trouble is if you persistently like for about 30 minutes straight, ive got a warning before but never blocked.

      My suggestions to avoid this are to use your computer as the programming codes used to check liking limits are not the same on a computer vs on a phone.

      Also alot of people do “crazy liking” as a way to get involved with other accounts without being specific. The best way to avoid spamming, is once someone is active on your account you should be active on theirs. Then growing engagement on both ends, making the process fair and beneficial.

      Hope that made sense

  • Profile photo of Philip Verghese 'Ariel' Profile

    Hi Alex,
    Happy to meet you here at Kingged,
    I just visited your page. well written posts there but sad to say the bright color of the fonts on a black backgrounds gives strains to the eyes, and am surely many old people like my will rushback from there after visiting the page, since the brightness of the fonts will surely give trouble to the eyes and one will not take risk! Sorry to say this.
    Coming to the post, as you posted it full here it is good to read thoroughly.
    About Instagram i could very well relate to you about its use, i too joined in long back but some how stopped using it thinks of not of much use!
    and few months back read some articles and i tried to get into it again with my old username and pass word but sad to say i could not access it, and now i think in need to open another account there.
    Thanks for share its value and necessity of using it.
    I will once again try this out and will come back to you
    Keep sharing
    Best Regards
    ~ Philip
    Philip Verghese ‘Ariel’ recently posted…Web Hosters Who Is The Best?My Profile

  • Profile photo of Gary Waldrep Profile

    Hello Alex,

    Thanks for this post. Instagram certainly has four social currencies, following, reposting, commenting and liking, as you mentioned.

    Those who use them well and consistently enough will get what they want to get from this social site.

    You used it well and got your results. Thanks for sharing this with the rest of us, to show how possible it is to achieve.

    And the activities to do are simple enough.

  • Profile photo of Janis Searcey-Griffin Profile

    Hi Alex,

    I’ve purchased Instagram informational products and ebooks about how to work Instagram for your business, but none of them seemed as informational in an ebook as your post has here. Since I had never learned or taken the time to learn Instagram very well, this is a great start. Thank you for sharing this.

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