How I Doubled My Instagram Growth In One Month Flat…

Jenna Kutcher 

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May 23, 2018


That’s right. This title says it all— in ONE month I doubled my Instagram growth. And today I am going to tell you the HOW. The methods will surprise you, the outcomes will shock you, and you’ll find out how you can implement this strategy starting TODAY. You ready, goal diggers? It’s time to share my secrets and I’m holding nothing back!


I was looking at my feed, and wanting MORE. But i just didn’t know more of. You all know I am a number and stats FREAK so I started to dig in to my Instagram posts performances… when is the last time you analyzed what’s happening? Not in an obsessive way but with a curiosity that might lead you to a discovery. That’s what I was doing.

I started being able to have a hunch on how a photo would do. Now, I come from the school of thought that I don’t care if a photo gets 1 like or 1,000 but you also know that I have a problem with being a little obsessed with both numbers and strategy and so when I realized I would know what was doing really well on my feed and where I was falling short, I started to think a little bit. What did all of this mean? What did I find? I had realized that any photo with ME in it did 3x better than anything else…

So I told my sister about my experiment…. While I was in Hawaii, starting February 1st, I was going to share photos of ME for a month straight— without breaking it up with “pretty”, less personal photos. (Tune in to hear all about what led to this decision!)

How Did It Feel?

To be honest, it felt a little narcissistic. Did I seem obsessed with myself? Would I run out of photos? Would I *lose* followers?? But, I was curious, and decided to just go for it!

It felt odd at first, but I quickly realized it also FUN to challenge myself to be IN photos and not just take them. I am on an ever-growing journey to love myself as I am, and getting in from to grow camera is a beautiful challenge for this!

Also, BONUS: It also gave me a chance to share more of our lives and tell more meaningful stories (because I wasn’t trying to caption a picture of a flower with something deep and vulnerable!)

The End Result?

Out of 40 posts, there were only 8 without me in them. So I was showing up in 80% of my images. Engagement rates between 1.64% and 3.48% are considered to be good, I was hitting 6%, 9%, I even had one post that got over 21% engagement. THAT IS INSANE. This is where it gets crazy … How Exactly did showing up on my feed consistently change my Instagram game?

Here are the facts: Between January and February (before my experiment) I went up 6k in a month… from February to March 1 went up 13k. My engagement was higher than ever because i was showing up to my audience as a real person- not just a perfectly styled photo! I got more brand deals and sponsorship offers because my brand had more personality (and engagement!) and companies saw that I was already wearing different clothes and items and they wanted me to wear theirs next.

Now It’s Time To Apply It To YOU!

When was the last time you experimented with social media?

  • After all, guys, it’s an APP! It’s time to have fun!
  • Is there anything you’re wanting to try but are holding back? (Art, vulnerable caption, selfie- whatever it is, DO IT!)
  • You never know what could come of it!

Are you keeping social media social or is it just one big marketing pitch?

  • I want you to be really honest with yourself- How are YOU *really* using social media??
  • Is it to create a connection or build your ego?
  • I encourage you to bring yourself to your feed- to be honest, authentic, and ENGAGE with others
  • Yes, there is a time and a place to sell, but never forget to create CONNECTION first and foremost!

How are you using your stories to share more of your life and behind the scenes?

  • Along with showing up on your feed, your stories offer an amazing opportunity to show YOU- behind the beautiful, styled photos
  • There is something so vulnerable and authentic about showing up in real-time and allows followers to feel like they know you even more!
  • It’s easy to let lack of confidence keep you from going live, but just START. If you want to put on makeup or go to an area of good lighting, that’s fine, but just SHOW UP.
  • It allows you to connect with your followers in a more unscripted, “real life” way!

There you have it, Goal Diggers, my true secret to doubling my growth rate! Just showing up, as you are! People are craving more personal connections, more real life, more HUMANNESS. Take the pressure off of selling/growing and start putting your emphasis on just showing up. The results will follow, I promise. I truly do challenge all of you to show up in some way today …because after all the world wants YOU- not perfectly styled flowers!


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  1. Joann says:

    Hi I love this podcast . I am looking for the apps you mentioned in your podcast to keep
    Me organized .

  2. Alyssa says:


    Do you have a business or personal account with Instagram? I’ve searched your blog for this answer, but I didn’t see it covered.

    You mentioned watching your stats, but I don’t know if that’s the business stats or your own that you keep. I’ve been encouraging my husband to start working on his instagram game and he has really been working hard on it. I noticed little engagement though and I’m wondering if a business account has a harder time to be noticed by people than a personal account?

    I know Jasmine Star has encouraged her followers not to get a business account, but I’m curious what your thoughts are! 🙂

    Keep up all the awesome work! Btw, the free month of instagram post ideas is BRILLIANT!! That’s what my husband is using and he is loving the prompts! He’s starting to make my instagram posts look bad! lol

    • Hey Alyssa! I use a personal account as I believe engagement is higher and less affected by the algorithm. You can view stats on your personal account in many of the instagram planning apps out there! So glad you’re enjoying the freebie!

  3. moni says:

    this was great!!!! thank you jenna!!! i’d post the pic to my IG stories but i’ll get nailed by day job coworkers for not doing “work”! 🙂 i just made the switch from a personal feed (gulp, with about 1k followers) to a biz feed (started from 0) and kinda having a hard time figuring out this new groove of personal IG/business IG. i kinda want my biz IG to blend with personal. i need more photos of myself i guess. HA!! cheers 🙂 🙂

  4. Leila says:

    thanks AWESOME as always!

    quick note – i believe there is a typo in the very last bullet point – does Jenna mean to say:

    It allows you to connect with YOUR followers in a more unscripted, “real life” way!

    thanks so much again and again for all 🙂

  5. Laura Crosby says:

    This was awesome, challenging, motivating! I love Instagram and have been learning and growing, but was feeling stuck. This episode was just what I needed, thanks! One question…I feel like you referred to an app that tracks growth – did you mean the feature on PLANN or something else
    Also, with a couple of your insights I wonder if it’s a chicken/egg thing. Like how much is it SINCE you already have such traction in your brand, that it doesn’t matter what time you share, and why the pictures of you get such response? However, I’m up for the experiment!!

  6. Alexa says:

    Thank you for so much knowledge in growing a business. I never really focus on experimenting and now my brain is totally ready to start getting out of my comfort zone and finding out what my followers truly love!

  7. Delaney says:

    Jenna – this is kind of convicting. But coming at an odd moment for me! I recently started a business and had been transitioning my personal account into a semi-professional account, but was advised by peers to create a separate biz account that is more focused an professional in nature, freeing the personal account to stay personal. Was this the wrong move based on all you’ve said about keeping your personality and life present in your biz SM accounts?

  8. Jill Ford says:

    Awesome podcast! Learned so much and am going to implement your ideas from now on.

  9. Loved this podcast. Just posted to my SALT effect company’s Insta story with my sweaty post-run face to tell folks running with your podcast was a great start to the day and ask for their podcast recommendations. Good reminder that I don’t need to be so far behind the curtain. Thanks😊

  10. Raheela says:

    Hi Jenna,
    On my feed I’ve been showing up as naturally as I can. I have a black and white quote and then alternate it with a picture of one of either my kids or myself. I’ve not been using many pictures of myself. Its usually my kids.
    My engagement rises or falls with how much I engage with others so I absolutely agree that connections matter.
    In your opinion is it better to have more pictures of myself instead of the kids or is a mixture okay. Would love a reply. Thank you

  11. […] sharing more of yourself is one of the key components to engagement and growth! You can read more in this excellent article by Jenna Kutcher. But if personal branding headshots seem frivolous…think again! I would love to […]

  12. Great advice! I have struggled with instagram. Mostly because I feel weird posting pictures of myself. I was taught that you aren’t humble if you do that, you know? It’s a barrier I need to break through. And to ask someone else to take a picture of me, too. That’s hard for me! But I’ve noticed the same. I realize that people don’t want to see pictures of my husband or the neighbor’s cat (even though they make ME happy, lol). They want to see me. Me working. My work. My processes.

  13. […] first time I heard about getting personal was during a podcast episode of Jenna Kutcher, where she shares her #1 strategy to increase engagement and leads on […]

  14. […] Kutcher did an experiment where she posted images for a month that were only of her and not generic or stock images and her […]


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Before you get any further... Hi! I'm Jenna Kutcher!

A small town Minnesota photographer, podcaster, educator and puppy rescuer, my happiest days are spent behind my computer screen sharing my secrets with the world. I'm glad you're here.

I’m an expert at online marketing, a nerd when it comes to the numbers, and my obsession is teaching others how to make a living doing what they love (without it taking over their life). 

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