I recently started playing with the Gary Vee Instagram Growth formula and quickly found a way to adapt it to give you some instant gratification for your hours spent on your phone and computer screens. I think that this is the true holy grail to Instagram growth of useful connections.

Gary Vee + Colin Can Help = Holy Grail of Useful Growth

If you are unfamiliar with the Gary Vee Instagram Growth formula let me explain. It’s a time consuming way to effectively make connections on Instagram and increase your engagement. Spend time, not money essentially.

Gary wants you to use the explore hashtag feature, keeping about 10 in mind to find the top 9 posts in different hash tags and leave a meaningful comment. He says the secret number is at least 90 useful comments a day. This ties in with another idea of Gary’s, that you need to put out 100 pieces of content a day to be relevant.

The Colin Can Help Adaptations to this formula:

I am a firm believer in following Gary Vee’s advice. Equally a big fan of his in general and like to put his content into use as often as possible. I saw his social media growth formula on Instagram and decided to give it a go. Instantly there were some things I liked and didn’t about his approach.

  • After a few scrolls it starts to become mundane to keep saying things to people that you do not even know.
  • I felt my authenticity in the comments leave quickly.
  • After a day or two not too many people were commenting back to me or following.
  • All I wanted to do was to get some conversations started and see where I could take the connections from there.
  • I was quickly discouraged.

What I was doing was forcing a number of actions in attempt to show me being genuine, and instead quickly ran out of things to say.

but then I had an idea. well, i got distracted and then connected a few dots 🙂

I recently had been trying to get rid of a bunch of people I was following on my various Instagram platforms. I realized one day that I was following over 20,000 people across the few pages I run, and really didn’t know who many were nor cared about their content.

A lot of them I followed when I was trying different scaling methods. One method that will for sure give you a higher follower count is to follow a page, like 5-10 of their posts right away, maybe leave a comment, and do that for as long as you could. So does following 100-200 people a day, people naturally will follow you back. After trying a bunch of these methods, my feeds were clogged with meaningless posts.

Related: Marketing to Millennials

Back on Topic:

I got distracted while doing the Gary Vee method and decided to open my Cleaner app and delete a few followers. For those who have never heard of it, Cleaner app is a free app ( with paid features) that will allow you to go through your followers and find who is not following you back or just do a bulk purge of followers. I highly recommend it.

After I deleted 100 followers through the Cleaner App, I went back into Instagram but instead of going to the hashtag explore field, I went into the stories feature. I don’t often use the stories feature for content, but knowing its gained popularity, its gotten more of my attention.  I started using the stories feed like Gary recommended to do with the hashtag feed.

For some reason, it had a totally different feeling to me making sure to comment valuable comments to people I was already following. I went through probably 15 stories, leaving a comment on each, sometimes just a clapping emoji.

Then I stumbled upon a live stream that I was not at all a fan of the content. I instantly went and unfollowed the page. Upon doing so, I saw I already had 8 notifications in my DM’s. I was shocked how fast and more often people reply to their comments on stories than they do their page!

Then I thought about it a little more and it made sense! When you comment on a photo or video, the user will get a notification if their notifications are set, then it just goes into the Activity dashboard from there. It is easy for a comment to get lost, a like to be overlooked, for your engagement to be missed when engaging in the feeds.

When you comment on someones story however, your comment goes directly into their DM’s. Instantly starting a conversation on a positive note.

I started going through the messages and some were just the user liking my comment, others were text replies. One message in particular was what sparked this article. There was a graphic designer who was looking for feedback on his latest logo works. The user has 2,454 followers, a following a lot of people would beg to have. But for some reason his posts ( really well done graphic designs) do not get a high percentage of engagement. There are likes, but comments are low. He sent me a simple message that sparked a conversation:

Thank you friend, this is what I like, feedback from the observers!

Colin’s Advice:

  • Use a variation of the Gary Vee Plan. Instead of commenting, like and follow the top ten posts every day to 10 relevant hash tags. That has you liking 100 relevant pages per day. Do more if you have time.
  • Instead of scrolling through your feed first, view and comment on every story that you can.
  • If you find content in a story that does not go along with what you want, look at the page and unfollow if you don’t like their content.
  • Respond to every DM you get back. Even if they just like the comment, acknowledge that they did that, they didn’t have to.
  • Use the fact that you are already in a private conversation to build a relationship, offer value.
  • Spend Sundays or a certain day of the week to purge your non engaged followers.

Instead of commenting on posts, we are focusing directly on getting into the DM without coming off as a robot or salesman. Remember, you are following them because they post in areas that you are interested in and also posting, so you have something in common. Once they engage you back, you are so far ahead of anyone else that just follow for a follow or just follows a million pages to hope they follow them back.

What does a follow mean?

A follow means absolutely nothing if they do not help your end goal. You could have 1 million followers on a page that sells t shirts but if you are only selling as many shirts as a page that has 300 followers, what good are all of those accounts?

There is some validity to needing a certain amount of followers to seem credible, but the best way to build those followers is to talk to them and build relationships, one on one.

That is exactly what this formula is doing. You are appealing to the masses by following 100 or more profiles a day. At bare minimum that action that only takes a second gets you on that accounts screen in a small way.

The more meaningful comments, the amount of likes and comments, all add to the likelihood that someone checks you out as well. Whether it be out of guilt or plain curiosity, it is hard to not go look into someone you know has been looking at you.

That is where the stories are a truly golden opportunity.

Try it out and let me know how it works for you!

If this article was of any value to you or had ideas or connections you haven’t yet thought of:
please consider sharing it to a friend or coworker.



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