How I Reached 10,000 Followers on Bookstagram

As of yesterday, exactly two years and 65 days after I started my bookstagram, I officially hit 10,000 followers on Instagram.

I'm not kidding when I say that I never thought I would get anywhere near that number when I started. But over the past couple of years, I've met so many amazing bookish friends, discovered some new creative outlets, and had tons of fun! I'm ridiculously grateful for the experience I've had in the bookstagram community, and I can't wait to see how many more cool people I meet in the future.

On a more brass-tacks note, though, 10,000 followers isn't just a nice round number. On Instagram, it also gives you access to the coveted swipe-up link feature, where you can send your followers to a website of your choosing simply by posting a Story. On a social media platform where the only other live link you're allowed to post is the single, solitary link in your bio, that's a big deal!

As such, I'm sure a lot of people who want this feature would really like to know how I got to 10K. So here's what I learned that helped me reach it.

Reels are everything

This is the number one thing that I believe helped grow my account. Instagram has been aggressively pushing their Reels feature ever since they released it last summer, and to this day my Reels always get more reach than my regular feed posts do.

Do some Reels flop? Absolutely. Is Instagram really inconsistent about boosting them? Absolutely. Do Reels posted several weeks ago sometimes randomly blow up, leaving the one you posted yesterday in the dust, despite all the social media gurus who say Instagram prioritizes fresh content? Absolutely, and it's a pattern that baffles me to no end.

However, while your mileage may vary, consistently posting high-quality Reels has been the number one thing that helped me get to 10,000 followers. I had about 3,000 followers when the Reels feature came out (after being on Instagram for about 15 months), and about 10 months later, I have 7,000 more.

It helps that I genuinely enjoy making Reels, but even if the mere thought of making a Reel scares the pants off you, I would encourage you to at least give it a try (you can save Reels to your drafts without posting them right away, so there's no pressure). You don't even have to show your face to make one! There are tons of ways you can use the feature -- aesthetic posts, behind the scenes, book recommendations, time lapses, comedy skits, tutorials -- and the long-term benefits could be well worth it.

Come on, you must have more tips than that!

Okay, I do :)

While Reels are a big part of it, there are lots of little, more intangible things that I did to help my account grow that I believe added up over time. Taking nice photos, encouraging people to interact with your posts, and making an effort to connect with people are all important. So for those of you who really, really don't want to make Reels, or those of you who live in a country where Reels aren't available, there are still things you can do to help grow your account.

If you want to know more about some of the stuff that has worked for me, the Bookstagram tag on my blog has all my bookstagram-related blog posts under it, including several tips. But here are some highlights:

5 Tips to Beat the Instagram Algorithm, in which I did some research to try and find out whether there was actually stuff you could do to make your posts more likely to show up in other people's feeds (spoiler alert: there is! Kind of).

6 Tips for Making Awesome Instagram Reels, in which I share some common pitfalls to avoid when creating Reels. I wrote this one several months ago, but I still stand by all the tips in there (though some of the screenshots may look slightly different to Instagram's current interface).

How to Get More Followers on Bookstagram, which is a post I wrote before the Reels feature came out and before I even hit 3,000 followers. But I still think it outlines some valuable ways to make connections and meet people who might want to become mutuals with you.

100 Questions to Ask in Your Bookstagram Captions, in which I give a ton of question suggestions to encourage people to comment on your posts and start discussions.

How to Make Your Bookstagram Photos Look Great With No Effort, in which I give some easy tips for making your bookstagram photos stand out.

50 Bookstagram Props That You Already Have at Home, in which I list a bunch of ideas for photo props that won't break the bank -- or are even free!

How to Edit Your Bookstagram Photos Like a Pro, in which I outline my process for editing photos (hint: it takes like two seconds).

Final Thoughts

In many ways, social media is kind of a crapshoot, which sucks when an extremely useful feature is locked until you reach a certain follower count (in my opinion, everyone on Instagram should have access to swipe-up links, but I guess we can't have nice things).

At the end of the day, though, social media is about making new friends and sharing the things you love. So if you're still on the road to 10,000 followers, I encourage you to keep at it, but don't let it take away the joy of doing what you're really here for -- connecting!

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