The Instagram Grind

What is a successful Instagram?

When we browse our feed we see a mixture of accounts from celebrities, brands, businesses, friends/family and of course, meme accounts.

All of these accounts command a different level of engagement.

When we think of a “successful” instagram, we think:

  1. Large follower count (50-100k+)

  2. Tens of thousands of likes per image

  3. Thousands of comments

  4. Attractive feed

We subconsciously take all of this at face value and decide, yes this person is worth my attention based on the popularity the account displays.

This used to be me until I really paid attention to social media. When I was a fitness account, I would be contacted daily by social growth accounts that wanted a monthly fee to help grow my account.

Breaking that down, I would give someone access to my account where they would “plug” away putting my username in front of as many eyes as possible from liking content related to my favourite hashtags, commenting (if you see a thumbs up or other generic comment chances are it’s a plugger) and following people (to immediately unfollow once you follow back or 2 days later).

I did pay into this for a month and honestly, I hated it. It just wasn’t genuine.

Skipping forward, I stumbled across a local girl who’s account stated her to be a public figure with 56k+ followers… but here’s the thing. Her posts only captured 80 or so likes . This doesn’t add up. I clicked into her followers and besides a couple hundred accounts, the rest weren’t real.

This is when I learned you can buy followers.

Turns out, this is a common practice for a lot of people in many genres of social media.

Story time.

Matt and I recently binged Shark Tank. Some of the companies that came on genuinely interested us so I would look them up on instagram to see what their company was up to since the show. Most of them exist and hover around the 100k followers mark. Then I look at their images and zoom in on the same issue I stated about the local girl. They have super low engagement per post. Less than 1k likes per images, sometimes less than 500. That just doesn’t add up.

I go into their followers and there they are, fake accounts to boost appeal in the brand.

I get it though, I really do

You’re trying to grow a brand, you want people to see your worth and buy your products. It’s not like effort isn’t there, but it’s not genuine.

I’ve bought quite a few products from instagram shops and a big thing that swayed me to buy was that their engagement ratios made sense.

One company has less than 1k followers but about 100 likes per image. That’s 10% of their following in engagements which is the norm. If you look at even larger accounts such as Kylie Jenner, she has a similar ratio. These are people doing a real grind for their following. Of course, they’re on completely different tiers of instagram but the principle still applies.


Your hard work will pay off

The right people will show up

A real grind

The key to social media is pretty simple, but it is slow and steady gets the win here.


Feed flows together, cohesive posts and filters, on point captions. It’s hard to attract a following if your account is all over the place. Find you niche and make it look good.


Just as important as content. Having 20-30 solid and relevant hashtags are going to bring an audience, especially is you hide them well in your post (hidden in the comments or caption).

Make Friends

Find your community. I personally live within the web design/ women in tech community. I actively respond to their posts, stories and like their stuff whether I care or not. It’s called support. When you do this consistently you’ll get the same feedback from them. I’ve made some solid relationships with people all over the world because I took the time to support them.

Moral of the story

Do you really want an account that is made up of fake followers, mish mash content and little to no engagement? Of course not.

Put in the time. Your follower count means very little at the end of the day if you have a solid feed, have real engagement and show you actually care. The followers will come based on those things adding up.

Morgan Ringrose