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Road to 10k + followers on Instagram

If you’re a Sweat Equity listener, you might remember that I challenged myself to grow my IG to 10k before 2024.

Well, I did.

And actually reached 12k.

All it took was 38 videos. (kinda)

Now I am back to share my IG growth playbook.

If your goal this year is to grow your audience, this is how you do it.


1. The first 100 videos will suck - do them anyway.

Content creation is a sport.

And you’ll never be good at a sport without repetitive practice.

I put in the reps running multiple brand accounts. This gave me a competitive advantage.

If you’re new to this and have never gone down the rabbit hole, your first 100 videos will likely suck.

You only get better if you do them anyway.

Along the way you will develop 2 core skills needed for short-form video:

  1. Getting comfortable on camera.
  2. Editing engaging content. (I use CapCut)

2. Establish what you are going to talk about

The most asked questions in our Cut30 bootcamp is, “how do I know what to post about?”

That’s what the 100 videos are for. Ask yourself these questions to find your thing

  • What do you talk about/research endlessly?

This is something you are innately curious about. And you can watch videos about it non-stop.

For me, I love going down rabbit holes of why certain marketing strategies work - so much so that I wrote marketing case studies every week. For years.

  • What do friends come to you for advice on?

This is an indicator that your friends see you as the authority leader.

Your audience is just the friends you haven’t built a relationship with yet.

  • What would you create even if it never went viral?

Very few creators go viral instantly (despite what you might think).

It takes time and patience.

You are gonna be in the trenches for a long time.

So pick something that feels like play to you while it’s work for others.

And that you will continue to create even if the viewership isn’t there.


3. Define the content strategy

Think of your content as a marketing funnel:

  • TOFU: How can I get someone to be aware of me?

Create content that has the potential to reach millions of people; aka has mass appeal.

I took a viral moment in sports, something trending and put my spin on it.

And got nearly a million views!

The trick is to leverage big brands and celebrities in your hooks because they already have awareness.

Piggyback off that awareness for your content.

  • MOFU: How can I get someone to follow me?

Create content you want people to recognize you for – content that makes people want to follow you to get more.

For me, it’s marketing playbooks and breakdowns.

Most creators would break down marketing at the surface level and be broad. My style is to go a level deeper and make it actionable.


To get more people to follow you, cement your identity and set expectations: “I follow you because I know every time you post I will get x from you.

Inspire, educate, or entertain.

  • BOFU: How can I get someone to be a fan of me?

Creating a strong connection with your audience and turning them into fans is about creating content that brings people along for the journey, and makes people care.

Your audience goes from consuming your content to caring about your content.

Share Your Journey.

People connect with stories, especially those that are authentic and relatable.

Share your personal experiences, struggles, and successes. This humanizes you and also allows your audience to see the person behind the content.


4. Bridge the content to your goal

If you are doing everything right, you will get the sign-ups organically. I get thousands of subscribers through my content organically without a CTA.

You can package your mid-funnel and bottom-of-funnel content, give 50% value in the content, and 50% in the lead magnet.

My friend, @orenmeetsworld drove more than 8k newsletter subscriptions from one newsletter CTA!

If you sell a product, you can also organically plug the product in TOFU and MOFU content.


5. Last but not least: Be the DJ, not the artist.

Artists recreate and recreate until one hits.

DJs keep remixing.

Even with the same content, you can keep tweaking it until you find one that pops.

When I created a video about the True Classics marketing funnel, the engagement was okay.

However, when I reframed it as part of True Classics marketing playbook, it went viral!

I repackaged the same content three times until it hit.

So be the DJ, not the artist. Create and tweak.

Follow Virgil Abloh’s 3% rule.

You can create something entirely new by changing it a slim 3 percent.”

Now, I’m trying to grow to 100K asap.

And when I get there, I’ll drop my latest learnings.

If you want to attack short form this year, join me in the CUT30 bootcamp.

Or tackle it on your own by following the playbook:

  1. Commit to your first 100 videos.
  2. Climb over the “suck curve”.
  3. Find the intersection of what you like to create and what people want to watch.
  4. Layer in a content strategy for each stage of the funnel.
  5. Find gold by making 3% tweaks at a time.

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Hey! I’m Alex, the Founder of Marketing Examined. I send these case studies to over 200k founders, marketers, and creators every week, straight to their inboxes. And if you want, I’ll send it your way too :)

But, I want to let you in on what I’m building here:

Vision: To create a world where the best growth marketing content is at your fingertips.

Mission: To help 5M people build successful businesses or elevate their careers through marketing.

My Promise: To send you case studies full of all-action playbooks to build your business or elevate your career.

Alex Garcia
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