6 tips to grow Instagram followers to 50k. $0 needed.

Work Hard Anywhere has just reached 50k followers on Instagram (woot!), with an engagement rate of an average of 1,500 likes per post and 150-200 new followers daily. Here are some strategies we used to grow Instagram followers.

A steady climb over the last 3 months. I use "Analytics for Instagram" by Edward Marks.

A steady climb over the last 3 months. I use the minimalistic “Analytics for Instagram” by Edward Marks.

We did it with no bots, nor a dollar spent buying ads or followers.

Before I explain the ways to grow Instagram followers, let’s first put things in context. Here’s a quick background story:

Work Hard Anywhere is an app that helps creatives find the best laptop-friends workspaces (cafes, bars, coworking space, etc) to work from around the world. We want to build a community and drive the right people to download the app.


We don’t have a huge team (in fact, it’s just Cody and I) running the core operations. And while Cody focuses on the development aspects, I handle the business, product development, design, and marketing sides of things.


Just another day in the woods.

Being a bootstrap startup means we want to get the most out of the least amount of labor & $.

For marketing side, as we optimize the app for organic shares, I jump into social media as it’s one of the most effective marketing portals to drive traffic. And I need to find the most efficient way to run it without it biting too much into my other tasks.

That said, below is the 1-person-operation way to grow the IG for your business. (With a little from our friend..BIG thanks to Eden! eden)

This will take an average of 30 minutes a day. HOWEVER, this ain’t gonna spike your growth in mere days. It’ll take months of efforts and most importantly, patience. So, if the type of hack you’re looking for is quick gains, read no further.


Focus on a theme.

Your friends follow you for who you are, but if you want to gain traction with strangers, pick a theme and stick with it. People make snap judgements as they scroll through Instagram and a seemingly random set of feed doesn’t warrant a follow. The theme can either surround the visual elements or ideas, let it be memes, things on white backgrounds, startup news, design inspirations, motivational quotes.

Model profile—We Levitate. All things levitate.

Tuesday mood 🙄. #welevitate via our Brazilian homie @julioneryy and @guilber

A photo posted by W Ξ L Ξ V I T A T Ξ (@welevitate) on

@edelstein coming in with a biblical #WeLevitate A photo posted by W Ξ L Ξ V I T A T Ξ (@welevitate) on




Good photos. 

This is the bread and butter. Instagram is a visual platform, so use it to your advantage. People browse Instagram for a few reasons–one of them is to be inspired. Few ideas to play around with: Flat-lay. Symmetry. Contrast. Natural and dynamic light. Grid & Composition. Monotone.

Model profiles—Alex Setiawan (well curated page of his workspace and gear) & Tools to live by (stationary never look this good).



Use hashtags, geo locations, and tag people.

Goal’s to be discoverable. When Instagram introduced searchable places and hashtags, it gave the community a brand new ways to find new content. This is one of the most organic way to grow Instagram followers (see it as IG SEO). However, be cautious when using hashtags and tagging people–keep things relatable.



Post frequently and systematically

But don’t over do it. Sure, post more than 5+ times a day if you’re a news related account, but don’t bombard your followers feed with a burst of similar images in short span of time. 2-3 times a day should be plenty. The point is to keep your followers anticipating the next post and cater your feed to demographics from different time zones. We’re based in California and my prefered times to post are: 8a (for US), 3p (for off work/off school), 11p (for people overseas).




Engage with your followers. Reach out to new followers

Say thanks. Reply to their feedbacks. Reach out and comment on peoples’ photos.
Connecting with your followers also strengthens brand loyalty.

Model profile—CoffeeCakesCafe (Ria has done a terrific job engaging with her fans)

🙋🏻 I second that!

A photo posted by R I A S I M (@coffeecakescafe) on



User Generated Content (UGC)

95% of our posts are features of our community. Using UGC is great for a few reasons:
1. It ties the community together. 2. Social proof—like minded individuals across the world working toward the same cause. 3. Incentives for users to share more for a chance to get featured. 4. It’ll save you, the brand owner, a lot of time from curating each post on your own.

Model profiles: Everyday Carry (a glimpse into people’s daily gadgets) & Goal Zero (portable power solution showcasing the community making the world their office)

Hope this post’s been helpful to help grow your instagram followers (and engaging ones, too)! Feel free to share it with your fellow business owners! And may your business long live and prosper.

Questions & Tips?

If you have any questions or any tips you’d like to add, feel free to leave it in the comments below.

  • YonderWork

    2016-06-02 at 12:27 AM Reply

    Great article! Thanks for being concise and including practical examples.

  • Johnny • Motion-Effect.com

    2016-07-02 at 1:26 PM Reply

    Good insights guys, thanks! 🙂 I’m regularly adding new spots to WHA for people to discover awesome places in Norway and other places I travel.

    • minecraft server

      2016-07-03 at 6:34 PM Reply

      Appreciate it, Johnny! And thanks for posting about WHA 🙂 We’ll include the article in our upcoming newsletter!

      • minecraft server

        2016-07-04 at 3:43 AM Reply

        You’re welcome. Okey, thank you for that! 🙂 Just signed up also.

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