Day 9: Amateur efforts can get you to 100 followers in 8 days

4 min readFeb 14, 2021

To recap: my target is to monetise my cats in a small way via Instagram within 365 days by strategic trial and error.

Photo by Giorgio Trovato on Unsplash

I hit the 100-follower milestone today, 8 days after I started on this little enterprise. Normally I’d celebrate but I don’t quite know if I’ve done well or not. There’s no realistic benchmark for these things, given that I’ve read multiple articles in the past week that says the best way to up followers quickly is to buy them.

Since I’m going for organic growth and not M&A, I had to do things the old skool way, based on a simple execution plan:

  1. Post twice a day Mon-Sun with minimum four hashtags and strong focus on the captions
  2. Balance funny photos/videos with raw cuteness
  3. Post at opportune time windows
  4. Allocate 15 minutes a day aggressively liking and commenting on others’ posts
  5. Document findings every other day to troubleshoot

Not to mention that I’ve been supplementing content with IG stories to bag the top of my followers’ screen to get engagement. The beauty of stories is that I can save the good ones and use them for permanent posts later on when my original content dries up. Oh, I’m sure that day will come. There’s only so many cat sleeping photos I can put up before it gets stale.

Let’s break down the results further:

Based on this, I managed to secure 11–12 followers a day. Averaging ~25 likes per photo, which is a 25%-ish engagement rate. It seems the new followers are not engaging as much as I would like them to. Is it because the post quality has gone down or the new followers are not as active as the handful of people who gave me this nice leg up to start with? Still unsure at this point.

I need to test it with a well-thought-out post tomorrow. Something funny and cute for a Monday. That could pick things up maybe.

Now I will do something project management people always do when there’s no immediate deadline swinging an axe at them. It’s called a milestone review.

Photo by Brett Jordan on Unsplash

So I’m 2% into the journey I’ve set out to undertake. If I maintain current trajectory, I can achieve >4,000 followers after 1 year. I’m quite happy with the progress so far, but I think multiple postings a day will not be sustainable. Thinking of captions is hard, people.

As far as chasing followers and boosting engagement goes, the key findings from the first 8 days goes like this:

  1. It’s important to curate the people you follow on IG, because there’s no point bloating up someone else’s follower count without getting much in return. Your cat’s cute, babe, but it’s engagement I’m after. When you surround yourself with (read: follow) people who also follow you, you create this safe little echo chamber of positive reinforcement
  2. Photos do better than videos in terms of post engagement so far. It seems the IG crowd have an attention span of 3 seconds, so videos can’t even make the cut unless you spell out the spoiler in the caption right away
  3. There is a ‘New to Instagram’ label that appears on accounts that are, obviously, new to IG. This function played a big part in my ability to target the right accounts and convert them into followers. I will cover this in detail on Day 11/12
  4. My content appeals to a specific type of person and geography, and this will determine the timing windows for my posts moving forward. I will cover this in detail on Day 13/14
  5. There are many ways to get engagement on IG, from interactive Stories, to giveaways to competitions. I will cover this after I’ve hit 500 followers. I’m trying to be optimistic here

I think I have enough meat to get into for the coming week, #3 and #4 has gotten me thinking very deeply into human psychology and how you really need to understand it at a fundamental level to win at social media. We always fancy ourselves unique and clear on our wants, but a clever person can figure out your buttons pretty quickly if you let them.

Says the person who is utterly dependent on Google.

But I digress. This continues to be an interesting journey for me. As I build up a good content base, I am considering publicising this account on my personal FB and IG to see if I can rack up followers from my own friends and family.

I’m just figuring out how to do it without looking too much like a crazy cat lady.