Collaborating is the Single Most Effective Way to Grow Organically on Instagram

Here’s how to do it, as concisely explained as possible.

Collaborating is by far the best way to grow organically (= not paying) on Instagram, now that the Wild West of bots and automation is behind us—and will continue to be so for at least the next couple of years. This applies to influencers, businesses, and theme accounts alike.

Collaborations introduce your account to new audiences, usually while helping you create new and interesting content. Same goes for the other party, making collaborations true win-wins. I honestly don’t know why they’re not more popular.

The sky is the limit for creativity in collaborations, but essentially you do something interesting together, both post the content, and maybe throw in a few nice words about why you like the person or account you’re working with and why everyone should follow them. You can also do something separate, e.g. both do “Monday motivation / style inspiration / travel hacks by @collaborationaccount”.

Usually you collaborate within your weight class, meaning that if you have 5000 followers, you don’t try to ask someone with 100k followers to work with you. The idea is that the benefit is mutually fair. You also want to make sure that the accounts you work with have audiences with similar interests and values than your followers.

The nice thing with collaborations is that accounts of any size can do them, as long as you keep reaching out to similar sized accounts within the same niche. Got 100 followers? No problem, ask someone with 90 followers to collaborate. Do something like that a couple times and you’ll have 200 followers. Keep finding new accounts in your weight class and the growth will be exponential.

There are a few things to keep in to make collaborations work.

Firstly, make sure that your account is presentable and something people find comfortable associating with. No one wants to tell their followers that they’ve been working with @shitstain444 or someone with an otherwise off-putting profile.

Secondly, have a plan in mind on how to collaborate. You’ll get much more replies when you have a clear suggestion, instead of just vaguely asking if someone would like to come up with something to do together. It’s more efficient and, frankly, the professional thing to do.

Thirdly, be direct and brief with your outreach.

“Hi. I like your style / your reels / the encouragement you give on your account. I’m doing something similar / supplemental on my account and wanted to ask if you’d be up for doing X together. I think both of our audiences would appreciate getting introduced to each other. Let me know and we can talk more about specifics!”

I guarantee you’ll get replies with a good percentage. Just make sure that the content for the collaboration is interesting for your audience, so that you can keep doing them regularly.

This is largely how I built @theminimalistwardrobe. While I don’t see this enough on Instagram, I do see many influencers who’ve figured this out a long time ago and who have since built huge audiences. Rappers have done collaborations for decades in their own way, by featuring in each other’s songs. It works.