How to Grow Instagram Followers and Engagement: Former Staffer – Business Insider

Gaining thousands of followers may not be an official benefit of being employed at Instagram — but working in and around social media has its perks.
As an early-career marketing manager at Instagram, Joy Ofodu had a small audience of about 5,000 followers in the fall of 2020, according to SocialBlade data.
Just two years later, that audience has exploded twentyfold. With more than 114,000 Instagram followers (as well as 100,000 on TikTok), Ofodu, who turned to social media as an outlet during the pandemic, has built a platform where she posts comedy content about everything from dating to working in tech. 
Last month, she quit her job at Instagram to become a creator and entrepreneur full time.
“People look at me being at Instagram and me being a creator and think that I had crazy inside information,” Ofodu told Insider in October.
But as an integrated brand marketing manager, Ofodu didn’t have access to any secret hacks when it comes to building an audience on Instagram. 
“It wasn’t my job to tell other creators what to do,” she said. “I was in a bit more of a removed position, and I actually think that really helped.” 
Some of the best advice Ofodu said she received was from people outside of the Meta organization, like talent agents and other creators.
Here are 4 tips from Ofodu for growing an audience on Instagram.
“The advice that I began to apply in my own career was to be consistent,” Ofodu said. “I think of my algorithm as a monster, and it’s a hungry monster. My specific algorithm monster gets hungry at least three times a week.”
“I would use trending music, some of those other in-house ‘best practices,’ but nothing that wasn’t available on the @Creators Instagram page,” Ofodu said of growing her page.
Ofodu also said that she frequently uses hashtags. 
“Another one is depressurizing it all,” Ofodu said.
While Instagram had been known for its “perfectly curated aesthetic,” that identity has evolved, Ofodu said. From photo dumps to comedic short-form videos, Instagram has been going through a radical shift in content.
“I observed that, I swallowed it, and I spit it back out,” Ofodu said. “I made sure that that was a part of my Reels. They do not need to look absolutely perfect. I do not have to fit and present myself the way a television anchor might, I can speak to people the way I’m speaking to my friends.”
After chatting with a talent agent who represents comedians and other creators, Ofodu was given a very straightforward piece of advice: niche down. 
“Instead of posting about tech, travel, [or] photography, I just posted about dating with a comedic lens,” Ofodu said. “That’s all I posted about for about two years. And that exploded my audience.”
Read next
Listen to The Refresh, Insider’s real-time news show
Listen to The Refresh, Insider’s real-time news show
Read next