How to grow your Instagram account with Rowe Timson

Rowe Timson here. Social media manager and Illuminate teacher.

Hand up if this sounds like you. You share a photo on Instagram. You check the little love heart tab on the app numerous times in the hope people have engaged. You check your follower count daily and your numbers seem to stay the same. You’re treading water. Heck, some weeks you even go backwards… Noooooo… You ask why???

For obvious reasons, one of the questions I get asked most frequently, from students and business coaching clients is, how can one grow an Instagram account because the above scenario has happened to us all! People want to connect with like-minded souls and potential clients on insta but they have no idea how to go about it!

First up, we need to invest time on the platform if we want to grow our account! Students often tell me they already spend hours on Instagram each day but let me just say, there’s a big difference between mindlessly scrolling and jumping online for 30 minutes with a plan so I wanted to share a few tips with you that I hope will help you approach your time online more mindfully.

  • Post good content consistently, ideally 5 to 7 days a week.

  • Post at the right time of day for the best reach

  • Use hashtags your target audience are searching for ⠀⠀

  • Use hashtags your target audience are engaging with⠀⠀

  • Engage daily with your followers

  • Engage daily with potential new followers⠀⠀

  • Research competitors accounts for inspiration to see what works

  • Engage with competitors followers

For more in-depth info on any of these tips, pop over to Illuminate’s Instagram and see the Seriously Social highlight because I shared these tips and more during my takeover last week!

Now a little story to inspire you.

Introducing @soulbali!

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I started this account back in June 2016 and shared a few posts with plans to use it for a new business venture but I never had time to get the idea off the ground so I decided to use the account to test my growth methods. That way I could use it as an example for potential clients and in my class for my students.

I planned to post daily for 2 months but I struggle to find time to post on my own accounts when I’m managing so many accounts for others, so in reality, I shared 40 posts from 8th September 2017 till the 22nd November 2017 which is approximately 3 to 4 posts a week.

I had my social media helper engage for an hour a day, liking and commenting on potential followers accounts. In October I had her increase the time invested a little because we were seeing good results.

The type of accounts we engaged with was of the utmost importance if we want them to convert to followers! For this account, Bali lovers as I was sharing beautiful imagery of daily life here. I had her engage with Bali based businesses and their followers. Also people using specific Bali related hashtags.

The results? I grew the account from just under 400 to over 1200 in 3 months! How? Posting and engaging with the right kind of people, as I shared above.

Still not convinced it works? Here is the comparison between @soulbali and my own personal @rowetimson account. Worth noting, on my personal account I do none of the things I teach… I share very infrequently, rarely use hashtags and don’t invest time in engaging. Note the difference in the likes in particular.

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Not sure what these numbers mean? Here’s some info on engagement rates from Scrunch, an influencer marketing platform.

  • Less than 1% = low engagement rate

  • Between 1% and 3.5% = average/good engagement rate

  • Between 3.5% and 6% = high engagement rate

  • Above 6% = very high engagement rate

You can see that while my personal profile has more followers, it has an average engagement rate of 3.49% but @soulbali’s account is exceptionally high. Why is that? @rowetimson has more followers because there was a time when I was very active on insta, sharing and engaging daily. When social media management became my full time gig, I stopped sharing and engaging. As a result he algorithm no longer works in my favour. When I do post, very few people see my photos. My account isn’t growing. In fact, I have periods where I lose followers…

With the @soulbali account, while I have not continued to post there, I have had a couple of periods of a month or so where I actively seek out new followers. Even when I’m not posting, the account has continued to grow because when you spend time engaging, people engage with you.

Want to know your own engagement rate? Pop over to to check your account. My guess is, if you’re not posting consistently and engaging, your account probably resembles my personal one but I know with a bit of effort, it’s possible to turn things around so I hope the tips shared here have been helpful. Feel free to ask questions and if you’re keen to work on your own online presence, my class starts on Monday 14th October and runs for 3 weeks. There are still a couple of seats available! Buy yours HERE.