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instagram strategy

How To Slay the Insta Game

How To Slay the Insta Game

So You Want To Be Instagram Famous?

Or maybe you just want more sales on the IG, or maybe you're just really into posting quotes and you think the world NEEDs to see your latest cat video. No shame on your game. I'm a quantitative minded human, no doubt. So when I listen to most Instagram marketing explanations of how people grew their following and there isn't a recipe. I am TICKED. I know you just kind of "fell" into your 300,000 followers but that is not that helpful or repeatable. So I compiled all the tactics I've used, that I borrowed from some of the top Instagram accounts, accelerators, app companies like SumoMe, and then just experimented with myself. My gift to all of you. 




  • Build following from 0-10000 in 4 months

  • Build massive email list with Instagram  (5k+)

  • Drive massive traffic back to CSB’s website

So what exactly is this? This is a quant-based marketing plan that was responsible for taking CSB’s Instagram following of under 1000 to 15000 in less than 4 months without a team and with a spend of less than $200. If spend was higher we could 10x this. Also - I get lazy, forget to upload pictures, actually feel SM is a bit of a time suck and otherwise was a stubborn mule in the implementation of this. So if you are slightly less stubborn than a four legged cousin or a horse you will probably crush these numbers! Just saying. 


Why do I care about Instagram follower count?


Because Instagram is an international distribution platform (IN YOUR HAND FOR FREE).


Let’s put it this way: It is one of the few ways you can create distribution for almost zero dollars spent. Then as you add more followers that mean more feeds my posts end up in, thus the more eyes on my website, content, and products. It's called leverage. If you use it for your personal brand, your business, h*ll your dog, you'll at least get "free" stuff out of it. Or Fido will.  However, WARNING: it is actually time consuming and hard, so don't expect a two week turnaround. People hate on bloggers all the time, I've had my moments too, but let me tell you I work with a lot of them and it is insane the amount of behind the scenes grind. So gird your loins.


Here are the 5 questions that team CSB used to build traffic through Instagram:

  1. Why is Instagram marketing important for my business?

  2. How did I make my Instagram become a Traffic Generating Machine?

  3. How did I grow our Instagram following rapidly?

  4. How Do I Drive Traffic Back to CSB Website?

  5. How did I create an automated traffic machine by converting our followers?


Question 1: Why is Instagram marketing important for my business?

Twenty eight percent of internet users use Instagram. There are 400,000,000 Instagram monthly users and they are one of the most engaged audiences in social media.

We all know that visual content works, because it collects 40x more social shares than any other form of content.


And Instagram is almost 100% visual content.

Given that over a quarter of the internet using Instagram, it is totally possible that  my audiences are spending time on this social platform.

However, not every audience is on Instagram.

There are 55% of 18-29 year olds actively use Instagram, only 11% of the 50-64 age group use it. And the 65+ group is only 4%.


This means that if my target audience is under the age of 50, then I reach a large portion of them through Instagram. If they are over 50? I then focus your marketing efforts on Facebook. Tweet me @codie_sanchez if you want to see my Facebook growth plan.

Instagram Marketing also depends on the type of business I run. For example:

  •  If I was a food blogger, chances are my audience – the people who loves food porn – is on Instagram.
  • If I was a clothing eCommerce store owner, my audience is on Instagram (people want to see the products they buy).
  • If I was a personal trainer – my audience is on Instagram (waiting for the images of me to motivate them).


Consultants, bloggers, virtual assistants, business owners, coaches, and so forth lend themselves to Instagram riches.

So where do I fall? Well I'm a podcaster, blogger, inspirer, motivational speaker, investor, and entrepreneur. Is my audience on Instagram? Yes. I get to engage screen to screen with people who turn to me for my "influence." Aka the hot term is influencer. 


Question 2: How did I Make my Instagram Actually Make Me $


First, it is very important to create a plan and constantly track the progress.

Here is my downloadable metric tracking sheet.

I set a goal, and then work backward from that goal. You’ll see we include everything in here from Hashtags and their usage, tech tools, assumptions on growth, the day to day postings to achieve this and conversion rates to the website. Fancy terms for making sure this actually turns into $$. Otherwise what are we doing really?

Here are some guidelines:

Time frame: 90 days. Anything past 90 days is hard to quantify and map out. 

Tracking: Weekly.

Growth rate: I think you can expect healthy growth rate of somewhere between 10% to 40%. CSB has a weekly traffic growth of 37% and weekly follower growth of 40%.

Follower count: Create a follower goal for yourself.

Instagram growth is exponential rather than linear. This means that it is far easier to go from 10,000 followers to 12,000 followers than it is to go from 0 followers to 2,000 followers. So smile, breathe, and go slowly. 

Second, get the perfect Instagram username.

The username is our personal brand. There are two ways to do it.

1.     Use your name (or a like identifier) on Instagram

2.     Use your brand’s name if your brand is more identifiable than your name.

CSB uses codiesanchez because my brand: Codie Sanchez is also my name. Bet that one blew your mind. ;)


Third, nail down the perfect bio.

Your bio is the only place you can add a link. Utilize it. (I prefer a lead page to be linked so I can also grow my email list from a company like or


The perfect Instagram bio has the following elements:

1.     A short, punchy description of what you do.

2.     An identifier of who you do it for. And why it is so rad.

3.     A strong all to action. Aka make a $100k in your footed pj's --> click here. 

4.     Emojis. I love Emojis. And there is evidence they catch the eye. It's science.

5.     A strong, trackable bio link.

6.     Bonus: Social proof.


Fourth, track your Instagram traffic

So how did I track our Instagram traffic when Instagram does not let me track it? (Actually now they do, you can convert your page to a business page on IG and they give you reporting). 

Step 1: Set Up a UTM Source Code.

What is a UTM source code? It is a bunch of text you put at the end of your URL to see where your traffic is coming from. And it's super easy.

For example, CSB’s URL is

If I wanted to track how much traffic is coming from Instagram, I simply add:


Step 2: Shorten your trackable link with a URL shortener.

Why? Because Instagram bio only allows 150 characters.

Here are a few that do the trick:

  • Pretty Link  - highly recommend. Because it's pretty, aka not a bunch of letters like codiesanchez/asldaoenun52.23


  • Clkim


Step 3: Monitor Your Instagram Traffic in Google Analytics.

You won’t see it in your Audience Overview. You have to do a bit of digging - but don’t worry, it’s not too complicated.

First, open up Google Analytics. Then, on the left under the Reporting tab, press Behavior.

Under Behavior, expand Site Content, and then click on Landing Pages:

From there, you can search "Instagram" or any identifier you used in your UTM codes:

Then, you’ll be able to see the traffic from Instagram in your Google Analytics dashboard.


Step 4: Monitor Your Instagram Influence with Klear

The Oracle at Delphi said the most important thing one can do is Know Thyself. That is true in Instagram and social media as well. After all it is just a different way to communicate. So I use Klear to track my influence level. (There are quite a few more of these now, just google influencer marketing platforms). What get's measured gets managed, said Peter Drucker so manage that ish.


Question 3: How did I grow my Instagram following?

Here are the 5 free strategies I found:

Strategy 1: Share for Shares.

This is when you identify similar accounts that reach the audience you want to reach (and vice versa) and you both post a Call to Action post to follow the other account and they do the same. It's a great way to cross-pollinate accounts. I typically just DM them and ask if they want to do a S4S and off to the races. (If you want our step by step process for finding people and pinging them... tell me on twitter @codie_sanchez or IG on @codiesanchez and we'll create it)>

Strategy 2: Follow/Unfollow

This just works. I utilize the tool Instagress for this as it can be a time waster. You simply setup parameters and then the bot follows, comments and unfollows people for you based on similar or targeted accounts. I know, this feels kind of spammy. BUT You have to think about it this way, if your mission is to get your content in front of the broadest reach because you believe it is going to help people immensely than this is simply a tool to do that.  Also - don't believe the people that say, oh I my 300k followers they just came and I like totally I dunno didn't even try it must because I am awesome. Lies. 

Strategy 3: Using relevant hashtags.

I like doing my hashtags in the 2nd comment so that the hashtags won't distract my readers. Also I keep these in my notes on my iphone and simply copy and paste them each time. Use four bullets dropped down (like below) this hides your comment so it looks like this [...] as opposed to seeing 50 hashtags. DOWNLOAD my guide to see how I pick hashtags, crucial. 

Strategy 4: Be strategic in your posting with a calendar.

How you do this is through using a tool like Later. It is used by over 600,000 of the largest instagram users to schedule and plan their content. With those you can pre-plan your layouts and actually see what your feed looks like with their tools. You can also be sure to capitalize on holidays, events and world news by planning your posts in advance. This allows you to operate from a place of thoughtfulness when writing and pepper in spur of the moment posts. FULL DISCLOSURE: I suck at this. I'm working on it.

Strategy 5: Leverage Larger Followings

Every time I buy a product I love, meet a human I love, am at a hotel I love, h*ll anytime I love anything I give it virtual love on my instagram. Often times these brands and people will share your love with their followers. Thus tag brands constantly, create a tribe of things and people you love and watch what happens when they repost you.


Here’s how to do it organically:

1.     Engage with the users you are already following. Like the posts in your feed, leave a comment on something you like, and message the people who resonate with you. (Or better yet outsource a member of your team or use PeoplePerHour to find people in other countries at lower prices).

2.     Engage with users who are following your “competition”. Simple visit your competition’s followers’ accounts, and leave a comment on their posts. This will help your new audiences know about you.

IF you don’t know who your competition is and how you stack up use FanPage Karma it will compare your competition across Facebook, Twitter, Google+, Instagram, YouTube and Pinterest. You can use it to push reports to you weekly and send alerts.

3.     Engage with the people who use relevant hashtags. Look up hashtags that are relevant to your industry and engage with the posts that are under that hashtags. Ultimately this is just another way to have a conversation. No one likes getting spoken AT they want to be heard too, so apply that to your instagram convos. 



BONUS: The 3 Paid Ways of Getting More Followers:


Strategy 1: Pay for big accounts to shout you out.

Yes. S4S is a free way to get more followers, if you work with accounts around a similar size as yours to make it far. But if you wanted to work with accounts that are much larger than yours, you can get them to shout you out.

This is where you pay authoritative accounts in my industry to perform a “shoutout” (expect about $5-$75+ depending on the size of the account and the volume of shoutouts you pay for). I've had mixed experience with this, it can help a lot in the beginning but experiment with it before you shell out major cash.


Strategy 2: Pay for Larger Accounts to Post a Screenshot of your account.

This is an even more effective way to get more followers because there is no mistaking these posts – the sole purpose of them is to drive followers to your account.

Expect to pay anywhere from $40 -$150 per screenshot to see 50-250 new followers or more.


Strategy 3: Pay for Ads

What I like about this option is it is one of the very few ways you can get people to follow you AND to go to your website. It is important you understand how to determine your target audience here but there is only one way to learn, Do. So go try it. 


Question 4: How Do I Drive Traffic Back to My Website?


With Instagram, there are simply two things I did to drive traffic back to CSB website.

1.    My Bio Link

2.     Call to Action Posts.


Here’s how I do it:

With my bio link, I update the link with every new blog post.


With my call to action post, I talk about my blog post every time it goes live.

Question 5: How do I convert our followers to create an automated traffic machine?


Let’s face this: Traffic is useless if it doesn’t convert.

I don’t want our followers to visit my website once and then leave, because, there is a high chance that they won’t come back. I want my email list to grow substantially through Instagram. So, here is how I convert that traffic to grow our email list and therefore our income:


Step 1: Give my Instagram visitors an offer they can't refuse (like that Godfather reference??).

Dozens of websites are vying for their attention every day, and almost all of them are asking for their email addresses. Therefore, I need to set myself apart. So I offer them a content that they could hardly resist.

Those are:

-       Entrepreneur books

-       Apps and tools that everyone needs

-       Monday Slay – Our 5 tips to conquer the week

-       Weekly ways to do more in less time

-       And lots of added snark.


Step 2: Create Opt-In Opportunities Specific To Your Instagram Followers.

This is where Welcome Mat comes from.

Essentially it scrolls down from the top as a LARGE call to action, sort of like your welcome mat at your day draws in your guests eyes. So too does this virtual version. Because Instagram is a visual platform, we decided to use a Mat with a visual component, rather than a template with a black background.

Also, instead of using a generic image, I use the image of the offer I am giving away when you click the link to purchase. See the example live here.

Click here to learn more about the Welcome Mat we use.

So my friends... if you didn't know before, now you know. I'd love to hear your stories on what works and doesn't for you. I'm not pro-scriptive, I'm into personally-scriptive. That is, find the prescription that works for you. 

Love you animals,