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How I Grew My Instagram Following from Zero to 10k in Less Than 6 Months

Today I want to talk about a topic near and dear to my heart – Instagram!

Chances are pretty good that if you didn’t end up here via a Google search, you found this site via Instagram. Moody Mixologist began on Instagram, in January of 2018, and turned into this blog a few months later.

Prior to becoming a full-time cocktail blogger, photographer, recipe developer, and Instagrammer, I owned a small skin care business, and before that I worked in marketing for about 10 years.

When I started this cocktail adventure on a whim, I decided to put everything I knew to the test, and see where it would lead me.

Less than 6 months after I posted my first cocktail pic, I had 10k followers, a growing blog, and I was making a decent side income.

Over the past year and a half since I started this journey, I’ve had a LOT of friends, family, and followers ask me how I was able to grow my Instagram so quickly, what advice I have about their accounts, and then of course the ever-popular, ‘how in the world can you make money from an Instagram account’ question.

I’m actually quite confident that most of my family still has no idea what I do all day. Anyway, last week my Instagram reached 50k followers (now at 90k in 2021), and I decided it was the perfect time to share my top tips for rapid Instagram growth.

The following are the first pieces of advice I give anyone looking to expand their audience and grow an engaged community:

Know your niche

The quickest way to grow a following is to be hyper specific about who you are and the kind of content you share. Trying to appeal to a very wide audience will make it harder and slow your growth.

Who are the most influential accounts in your niche? What do those accounts have in common?

Understand what is already happening in your niche on Instagram so that you can find ways to differentiate and offer a unique value proposition.

Engage authentically and consistently

My number one piece of advice? Be an authentic, friendly, kind, presence in your niche who contributes value to your community. Engage with your followers and also accounts that don’t follow you.

Explore hashtags in your niche and interact with new people. Engage with a wide range of accounts consistently, and do so authentically.

Don’t leave throw-away comments on peoples’ posts, just for the sake of commenting. Take the time to get to know people and their content, and leave thoughtful, valuable comments.

Ask yourself if you’re being a conversation starter or a conversation ender with your interactions.

Post consistently!

Posting consistently is pretty much the best thing you can do to improve engagement and grow a following. Keep your content fresh in peoples’ minds. Demonstrate value and start conversations!

Remember, with the massive amount of content out there every day, if you’re not right in front of people, they’re not thinking about you.

2020 update: With overall engagement on Instagram down across the board, I now recommend posting less often if you’re looking to improve engagement, and more often if you’re looking to gain more followers.

I recommend posting 5-6 days a week to improve growth, and 3-4 days a week for improved engagement.

Develop a personal style

If you want to be noticed and set yourself apart from others in your niche, you need to develop a consistent, visually pleasing, personal style.

You don’t have to be dramatically different to succeed. Analyze your most successful posts. What do they have in common? Are there visual themes, photo angles, or a color palette that people seem to respond the best to?

Create a look and feel to your account that is uniquely, recognizably you.

Network and continually seek increased visibility

I’ve seen some Instagram accounts experience crazy rapid growth after getting coverage on a larger Instagram account, a feature in a magazine, or a guest post on a well known blog.

Don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and seek press coverage! Network with others in you niche to support and promote one another. Look for out of the box ways to bring visibility to your account.

March 2021 Update: With all of the changes in the world and on social media, I am currently updating my Ultimate Guide to Rapid Instagram Growth + Workbook. Subscribe to my newsletter or send me an email to find out when the version 2.0 will be available!

In the meantime, you can check out my best cocktail Instagram photo tips or my brand new in depth guide, How to Photograph Drinks Like a Pro

The Ultimate Guide to Rapid Instagram Growth walks you through exactly what steps I took to get to 90k+ followers today. The no-BS guide will tell you what you need to know and exactly what you need to do to gain followers and to do it quickly.

We’ll cover not only how to increase your reach and engagement, but how to actually make better content, including a mini Instagram photography course with my top tips and an actionable plan for creating consistently beautiful images.




Monday 19th of April 2021

Hi Amy, Thanks for your valuable tips. We are couple of Bartenders who just started our journey in IG world. Even we have a lot of experience as a Bartender but to make/create cocktails and post them on social media is two completely different things. Thanks again, your advices are very helpful, specially for beginners, we appreciate your contribution to the bar community.

Jennifer Tyldesley

Friday 31st of May 2019

Thanks so much for sharing these great tips! Keep up the good work. I love your recipes & photos. ?