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How I got 5,000 Real, Fun, Awesome Instagram Followers in 4 months!

Well, well, well just three months after publishing, How I Got 1,000 Real Instagram followers in 30 days, here I am with 5,000 followers! (I actually hit it yesterday, but didn’t want to jinx it because I gain/lose so many followers in a day!). I uploaded my first photo to @naptimenation exactly 16 weeks ago (here it is!) and 185 posts later here I am..with a fun feed & a whole gaggle of new Instabesties!  I thought it might be a good idea to expand on the strategies I used to get to 1,000 because I did a few things differently on my way to 5k and I also want to share with you some of the lessons I had to learn the hard way.

How I got 5,000 Real, Fun, Awesome Instagram Followers in 4 months! Click To Tweet


Quick recap of my Instagram strategies so far:

Likestagram: This program automatically likes photos that are hashtagged with hashtags that you designate. For example, my target market is mommy bloggers. So I have Likestagram set up to like photos tagged with #momblogger or #mommyblogger. It doesn’t leave any spammy comments or anything like that, just a very passive ‘like’ on the photo. This has been an AMAZING tool to find people in my exact niche.

Followed everyone who followed me: I followed this strategy until I got to 3,000 followers and then realized I was following a lot of people that I wasn’t interested in following. While I do recommend this strategy when you first start, you will eventually hit a point, just like I did, where you are gonna say to yourself, “Why the eff am I following all of these people”.  PLUS, Instagram has a 7,500 follow limit, which means you cannot endlessly follow-for-follow people to 100k.

Used Crowdfire to manage unfollows & copy competitors followers: In order to keep my follower to followee ratio pretty close, I used the Crowdfire app to find people who had recently unfollowed me and then I unfollowed them. Yes, it’s a shitty game, but it is what it is!

The other way I used Crowdfire was to find out who was following my ‘competitors’ (aka people in my same niche) and then I was able to follow them in the hopes that they would follow back. This worked out quite nicely, because once again I was targeting the right kind of followers.

Follow for Follow Threads in FB Groups: There are several FB groups that do follow-for-follow threads on a weekly basis. Essentially, you drop a link to your Instagram profile in the thread and proceed to follow everyone else in the thread and they reciprocate. This was also VERY good for starting my Instagram account and building it to 5k in 4 months.

I posted 3x per day: Most days I posted 3x a day (morning, noon & night). I also tried to only post high quality photos (colorful & bright white) that went along with my theme of “blogging life & mom life”. Motivational quotes also did well. I basically just tried to upload anything that I thought was cool, inspiring & looked pretty 🙂

I deleted photos that did not look good in the feed: There were many, many, many times that I posted something that I loved and knew would be popular with my followers, but didn’t necessarily look good in my feed. So I would post it and get interaction, and then a day or several days later I would delete it from my feed..which kept my feed looking on point! 😉

Authenticity is key: Showing your personality is a MUST-DO when trying to build your Instagram following. People want to connect with real people. I did my best to be funny, happy & motivating in my Instagram profile because that is who I am in real life. I even posted a ridiculously goofy video of me just to prove to my followers that I don’t take myself to seriously. (P.S. It has since been deleted on Insta, because it didn’t look good in my feed)

Instagram lessons learned the hard way

Following everyone sucks. Remember that follow-for-follow system I used to get to 1,000 followers? Yeah..well here’s what happens when you follow everyone who follows you…you end up following a shit ton of people you don’t want to follow (yes, I’m talking about the It Works spammers). I cannot tell you the amount of private messages I got asking me to ‘join their team’ or ‘become a mom boss’. Sooooooo annoying!

BUT…with that said, I think in the beginning it’s still a good strategy, because you need to build social proof and even though you may be building social proof with the ItWorks girls, you can quickly unfollow them once you get to a certain point. Which brings me to….

Unfollowing by the Masses…

I got to a point somewhere around the 4,000 follower & 3000 followee point where I was annoyed with the fact that I was missing my favorite people’s Insta photos because I was following so many damn people. It was at this point, that I began the purge. I first started unfollowing any of the MLM Instagrammers. YES, I’m all about boss moms doing their thing and making money for their family, but the DM spam was too much!

Unfollowing a lot of people lead to losing a lot of followers on a daily basis…I was losing about 25-50 followers a day. BUT the good news is that I was also gaining, so while the climb from 4k-5k was slower my feed was friendlier and I actually enjoyed Instagram more.

What I will do to get to 10k Followers on Instagram?

Honestly, 5k followers in 6 months was my ultimate goal and now that I’ve achieved it and met so many awesome bloggers & Instagrammers, I’m going to take the time to enjoy Instagram and not worry about getting to 10k on a deadline. But there are a few things I will do to make Instagram more enjoyable while I climb to 10k:

  • Unfollow Instagrammers I don’t interact with (If you have never liked or commented on one of my photos and I’ve never done the same on yours…do we even have a relationship? I think not.) P.S. I use the InstaGhost app to find out who I’ve never interacted with.
  • I’m going to continue to use Likestagram This is such a great tool to find my target audience that I am not willing to give this one up!
  • I’m no longer going to participate in the Follow for Follow threads in Facebook groups. Once again, while it was great for building up my followers, it left me with a lot of people that I wasn’t interested in following.
  • Set up notifications for the people that I do love to follow so they don’t get lost in the feed. You can do this by visiting their profile and clicking on the 3 dots by their username. Then click on Turn of Post Notifications.


Alright, you beautiful people! That’s all I got for you! Is there a strategy that you are using that I didn’t mention in this blog post? If so, leave me a comment and let me know what’s working for you!


Chrystie is a mom of 3 kids and wife to one. She's sold 4 blogs in the last 10 years and now helps other women start their blogging empire. Her love for really bad reality TV is only trumped by her love for margaritas without salt. Her other addictions include spray painting everything gold and embarrassing her kids at the bus stop. #thatmom

This article has 49 comments

  1. Jessica

    You could have saved a lot of time and effort by just going “how I got 5000 Instagram followers” and just put in your post “because I am awesome.” because…. #TRUTH 🙂

    that has a lot to do with it!!! You are awesome and engaging and funny!!!

  2. Abbie

    Yes. Crowdfire has helped my anxiety even though I am NOWHERE near your big leagues! Go friend go! You are awesome.

    • Chrystie

      Haha. There is oddly something very satisfying about unfollowing someone who just unfollowed I right? 🙂

  3. Jasmine Hewitt

    I’ll start enforcing this strategy now!

  4. Shaunacey

    LOVE this!!!!!
    I’ve been struggling with Instagram lately and well all know how I feel about It Works spammers!

    I need to start unfollowing because I get overwhelmed by all the ‘stuff’ I don’t necessarily want to see and then miss all the post I DO want to see!

  5. Lindsay at Lindsay's Sweet World

    Ermagherd, I have been wasting OOOODLES of time on Insta each evening trying to work on my following! And if one more ItWorks person follows/unfollows me I’m gonna go bonkers! I’m going to download these apps and see how I like them… Instaghost sounds particularly interesting and I can’t believe that I’ve never heard of it! This is exactly why I LOVE YOU – BECAUSE YOU KNOW ERRRRYTHING! You are my blogging and social media guru!

    • Chrystie

      You are too sweet..and omg..I WISH I knew everything..there is so much to learn. I’m just passing along the bits that I manage to figure out 🙂

  6. Lindsay at Lindsay's Sweet World

    Speaking of which, how the HELL do I get my picture to show here by my comments?!?! I’ve been able to figure it out for blogger/disqus but I cannot for the life of me figure out how to put one on here! Lol.

  7. Molly

    These are really great tips! I’ve never heard of Likestagram but I think I need it now! Crowdfire is really useful to me.

    Molly and Stacie

  8. Angie @ My So-Called Chaos

    Really really awesome strategy. 😀

  9. Claire @ Fashion + Feathers

    I love the ItWorks DMer who commented that you “do” blogs ? Not that you’re a blogger or a writer but that you do blogs. As annoying as they are, they’re pretty entertaining.

    PS: I’ve always wanted to know about this saltless marg thing. You don’t even like salt on the rim of the glass?

  10. Allison - Celebrating Sweets

    This list is AMAZING! I just signed up for crowdfire, and I’m trying to join your FB group. Thanks!!

  11. Carolyn

    Great tips!! Thanks again! And yes the It Works DMs ughhhhhh

  12. Cassandra

    I needed all of these tips! Thank you!

  13. Rachel

    What a great strategy! Instagram is a platform I’m really hoping to grow on!

  14. Kristina Padgett

    Great advise! I’m definitely going to have to give it a try!

  15. Joanna

    Great tips! I didn’t know about the 7500 follow limit or Likestagram! Checking that out now:)

  16. P.Jeanne

    Great post! So many helpful tips 🙂 I’m going to try a few of those programs you mentioned. I quickly realized that following too many people was not fun and I was missing so many of my friends posts…I recently did a purge too 😉 Congrats on getting to 5K…You are a rockstar! ~XOXO

  17. Jenny

    Great strategy! I have heard of Likestagram but didnt know if it was worth looking into so I am glad to see that it is.

    xoxo, Jenny

  18. Husna Favaz

    Wow Christie! Thank you so much for sharing this very useful tips! I have crossed 1k and your previous post of getting 1k followers have helped me a lot! I have tried likestagram and quite like it and I still use crowdfire! And congrats on hitting 5k?

  19. Natalie

    Finally a post about tips on how to do something on social media with actual tips! Very thankful to have found your post, was super easy to read and loved the advice. You are much braver than me, I would hate mess with my instagram feed by adding so many followees! I love insta too much! 🙂

  20. Emily

    Great tips! I don’t have an Instagram strategy, but this post got me thinking about a few things.

    I enjoy your Instagram feed!! Posting quality and enjoyable content is clearly key. 🙂

  21. Elizabeth Edgar

    I love Crowdfire! I participated in some Follow 4 Follow threads, but since then stopped. It just felt fake to me, because we both weren’t really following each other such as liking, commenting or checking each other’s blogs. I am going to check Likestagram! Never heard of it before.

  22. Bella B (xoxoBella)

    Great tips! It looks like you learned a few things along the way.

  23. Nicole @ The Professional Mom Project

    I’m working on my Insta strategy right now. I find it hard to know who’s a spammer and who’s a real person who I’d like to interact with. I’ve been using crowd fire for twitter and now I’ll have to look into it for Instagram as well. I’m also going to check out Likestagram. Thanks for the tips! #BFFriday

  24. ashley

    These are such great tips! I really need to focus on growing my Instagram account and I know these will be SUPER helpful!

  25. Mary

    Good strategies! I’ve given up on the follow for follow too. I just don’t have the desire to follow too many people outside my niche or areas of interest, thus losing the authenticity that I desire in the people I follow (and those I want to follow me). One thing I’ve focused on lately is hashtagging influencers in my niche (wine, travel, and food, specifically bbq). When they notice the high quality photos they tend to repost them, thus driving tons of new followers my way. For me it’s a much more authentic way to get real genuine followers (and I find new cool people in return). – @marycressler on IG 🙂

  26. Aarika

    This is a fantastic post. Love it! Thanks for sharing these awesome tips. I have never even heard of Crowdfire. I adore learning new things. You rock!

  27. J. Cordell

    Good information. Many of these apps I didn’t know about. I learned early on about those follow-for-follow threads. I followed so many people that I had nothing in common with. That stopped pretty quickly.

  28. Alison

    I love you. That is all. Bye.

  29. Carly @ FitLiving Eats

    This is such a helpful post! I can totally relate to the follow for follow game. I did it to a certain point and now I’m getting super frustrated because my feed is filled with people I don’t really care to follow. I feel like I’m finally finding my consistent look and voice and am seeing how helpful it is!

  30. Aubrey

    Thanks for all the great tips. I definitely did a massive unfollowing around the time that everyone was posting “turn on notifications” photos a couple weeks ago. I realized that I was following way too many people whom I didn’t know and didn’t care about their photos. I’d rather have a smaller, interactive community.

  31. Anna Clarke

    Great great article!! Out of the excitement of discovering new people wanting to share with the world with what we are passionate about – it can be easy to get involved with the wrong things that aren’t helpful for anybody! Thanks for sharing these tips! 🙂 -xx Anna

  32. Betty

    Hi, Chrystie. I am senior citizen and work part-time in an unsatisfying job. I’m ready for a big change. Because I spend a lot of time on Facebook and Pinterest, I’ve considered starting a blog. Is it realistic to anticipate a blog to generate even a modest income? I’ll be reading all your articles before making any decision.

  33. Crissy

    These are awesome tips! Glad to see I’m doing some of your tips!

    Thanks for sharing!

  34. Rai Zapata

    I’m loving the crowdfire!

  35. Mal

    You’re my favorite person 🙌🏻💙

  36. Nichole Snellgrove

    Hi Chrystie,

    Could you expand on how you used Crowdfire for following your competitors followers? Did you just go through their followers one by one or is their a faster method to this? Thanks so much for sharing these great tips. I have used Likesagram from your last post about gaining 1000 followers and it has greatly helped me. Thank you.

    • Chrystie

      Hi Nichole!
      It looks like Crowdfire has gotten rid of the feature where it would allow you to mass follow your competitors followers 🙁

  37. April

    Fascinating! Likestagram and Crowdfire. Who knew? So many apps I need to learn how to use! Thank you for these tips.

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