How I Gained 50K Instagram Followers Rapidly and Organically

Last July (a year ago next week precisely), we were starting our kitchen renovation and I decided I really wanted to start using my Instagram as an extension of our blog and business, instead of mostly for personal use. As scary as that was to say out loud–I wanted to grow my Instagram following. At the time @chrislovesjulia had around 4k Instagram followers, although I guess they don’t give you the coveted “k” until you hit 10k, so rewind–I had around 4000 followers over there and got, on average, 100 or so likes per photo. I told Chris I wanted to to grow my Instagram following, but I wanted to do it in an organic way. No buying followers, no being a part of those round-robin giveaways where you have to follow 20 bloggers who all pooled money to giveaway a Target gift card (and hopefully gain a lot of followers).  I just wanted to see what I could do by putting forth a conscious effort and making a few changes through trial and error. It’s been an intense year-long experiment of seeing what works and what doesn’t, but now, a year later, I’ve gained 50K+ real, loyal followers, average 1500 new followers a week, receive thousands of likes per post and countless real-life opportunities from Instagram.

How I Gained 50K Instagram Followers Rapidly and Organically

It took from the end of July to December to go from 4000 to 10K followers and from then on, it’s been consistent and rapid growth and now I gain hundreds of new followers a day. Today, I wanted to share exactly how I grew my Instagram following in an organic way and what I’ve learned about the process over the past year, summarized into 10 points:

1. Use an actual camera. I switched from using my phone to using a Canon EOS 70D camera (and this lens) for EVERY photo. I’m not going to lie, it’s a hassle to pull out my camera, my tripod (I have this one), take a photo or 10, upload them to my computer, edit one and then send it to myself to post on Instagram, but I’ve also learned it’s worth it. Instagram is a visual platform, designed for people to react to what they see, so it makes sense that a nicer photo would elicit more likes and engagement.
2. Filters are your friend, but tread lightly. Instagram is a runway of photos and there was a time when people would probably scroll right past mine. So while a photo on the blog can stand on its own, without slightly more shadows or brightness, on Instagram–you need to stand out! However, there’s a fine line between adding a filter to a photo to brand it as yours and filtering a photo until it looks nothing like reality. By using the same filter(s) every time, it will gradually start feeling familiar to people. They’ll recognize it as yours, and your feed will start looking cohesive. I use 2 different, but very similar VSCO filters: A6 and J6 (which is slightly warmer) on my photos and I generally turn the opacity down by about half so it’s not so stark.
How I Gained 50K Instagram Followers Rapidly and Organically
3. Stick to your niche. If you really want to grow your following, you gotta give the people what they are following you for. This can be a difficult adjustment, and I learned the hard lesson that the majority of my followers don’t care about my children, what I wear, or selfies. They care about our house and how we live in it. Last summer, after I started consciously growing my Instagram, I posted a picture of me and my sister on her wedding day. It’s what I did that day, I was happy and I wanted to share it. I lost 40 followers. Most people would say, “Well if they don’t like, then they don’t have to follow me.” And that’s true! But if you market yourself as a fashion/fitness/home/mommy instagrammer, and you veer off course, don’t take it personally if people do unfollow you.
4. Posting something is not always better than posting nothing. I generally like to post on Instagram 2 times a day, once in the morning and once in the evening. I don’t follow any hard and fast rules of when to post. I’ve heard people talk about “Oh, it’s a horrible time to post” but I have found quality content is never unreceived I know brands and people that post 10 times a day on Instagram and I eat every one of their posts up because they are on brand! However, if I don’t have any quality content to post, if I don’t have a great room shot or a tip to share–it’s truly better NOT to post. One average picture can cause you to lose followers, while posting nothing, only doesn’t gain you any followers typically.
How I Gained 50K Instagram Followers Rapidly and Organically | Chris Loves Julia
5.  Let Them See You. This one is the hardest for me, but has made the world of difference in my following count. Do you know what the difference is between your Instagram account and the next one? You. People shouldn’t have to scroll several times to find out who is running the page. I was once told you should appear in every 9th photo to assign a face to the account and keep it more connected to YOU. Before I start sounding like I’m contradicting number 3 too much, I should add–it doesn’t mean a selfie. It doesn’t have to mean you looking at the camera and posing for the photo. If you’re a home blogger like me, show how you live in your home. If you’re a photographer instagrammer–set up a camera taking a picture of you taking a picture. I love posting photos of us around our home. It provides scale, context and personality to our house. Sometimes that involves setting up a tripod on a timer to take the picture. Does that lessen the moment? Not at all. Is it embarrassing to admit? Yes.
6. Tagging Sources > Hashtags. The number of times my photos have been re-grammed by companies I’ve tagged in the photo as sources is infinitely more than any hashtag exposure I’ve received. It doesn’t mean I don’t use hashtags, because I’m sure I’ve gained some followers from people browsing through #interiorinspo or the explore page, I’m just saying it’s not close to the followers I’ve gained from other people or brands re-gramming my photo because I tagged their product as a source. It’s not essential to the growth of your Instagram to go crazy with hashtags. I mostly just use the brand hashtags associated with the sources tagged in the photos (i.e. our bed from West Elm, I’ll tag West Elm in the photo and #mywestelm in the caption) and I have gotten regrams from pretty much EVERY home brand out there doing that. This also makes my photo appear on their profile. I’ve only received one regram (in all of my years on Instagram!) using a hashtag–#soDomino, which was a nice regram.
How I Gained 50K Instagram Followers Rapidly and Organically | Chris Loves Julia
7. Interact with followers and provide information in every post. I answer what the paint color is on the walls of our great room 12 times a day and that’s not an exaggeration. In fact, it’s so often, I only have to type in a B and my phone will predict Benjamin Moore Hazy Skies. So I know it can be taxing to answer the same questions over and over, but just think of it as more new people are following you, love what they see and want to know more! I always tag sources, direct people to our Shop Our House page for all the sources in our home and I still get questions about where things are from, but I answer every. single. time. They always appreciate it and it allows followers to feel like more than just a number. I also try to give valuable tips and information in every post, even if it’s just sources.
How I Gained 50K Instagram Followers Rapidly and Organically | Chris Loves Julia
8.  Pay Attention to what works and what doesn’t work. I’ve tracked how vignettes, whole room shots, room shots with people, videos, daytime photos, and night time photos do through likes received, followers gained, followers lost and comments for a year. I really love using Iconosquare for this, even if it you do have to pay for it as of last month. It’s full of analytics and will run about $49/year or $5/month. They also have a free 7-day trial if you want to try it. A free option is the Instatracker app. It merely counts how many followers you’ve gained or lost. You can pay to see exactly who unfollowed you (don’t get caught up in that, it does no good) and a few more things, but if you want to consciously grow your following, it’s essential to know the nitty gritty of what’s working and what’s not. In my study, I’ve found, tight-cropped vignettes do the worst. One photo of a wooden spoon on our counter lost me 35 followers so fast I deleted it within minutes. And then I resolved to not delete photos due to loss of followers, but just to learn from it. A whole room shot (or a whole outfit shot or a whole, big, fat juicy burger) vs a tightly cropped sneak peek will always perform better because it gives more information and thus has more value.
9. Giveaways aren’t the answer; Followers tagging friends are. A lot of people think, if you host a giveaway on Instagram, and have all of the people entering tag someone they know, then your following will blow up. It doesn’t work, at least for the long term. You might see a small or even decent boost in your count, but once the contest is over, and they find out they haven’t won, many people will unfollow. Giveaways don’t grow or foster loyal followings. If you’d like to have a giveaway, think of it as a way to reward your current following. So how do you get people to tag their friends and spread the word about your awesome Instagram account? It always comes back to this: Quality content, relevant to your niche will have your followers tagging their friends more often than any giveaway–and then they’ll follow you, too. Our Transformation Tuesdays, where we show before and afters of a space in our home (made through the Flipagram app–pay the $1.99 to remove the logo) always encourage lots of tagging and bring new followers.
How I Gained 50K Instagram Followers Rapidly and Organically | Chris Loves Julia
10. Pay it forward. If a photo makes me smile, I like it. If it makes me stop scrolling for more than a second, I’ll leave a comment. It doesn’t matter how many or few followers the account has. I think it’s just a nice way to be genuine, spread kindness and make someone feel good. If someone gets curious, and clicks on my account through a comment–purely bonus. And always, always credit other Instagrammers if you choose to share their photo. It’s just the right thing to do.
If you are anxious to grow your following, whether you are starting from scratch or your following has been stagnant for some time, I hope this helps jump start your growth. If you have been posting and hovering around the same number, even if that number is in the tens of thousands, it’s time to change something, whether that be the make-up of your photo, the niche you thought you were in, or finding an it factor that will make you stand out.


  • Reply April 23, 2017


    Using relevant Hashtags are an integral part of any niche. Since that’s how people can actually get to see your posts, it is very important to research and use good hashtags to increase visibility of your profile.

  • Reply March 22, 2017


    Thanks for the post! Clear and actionable points. I particularly like points 9 & 10 and plan on implementing a more thoughtful approach with our giveaways for sure.


  • Reply February 23, 2017

    Stefan Smiljkovic

    We have grown one of our Instagram accounts 100% organically to 53k followers and that is part of our company .

    We started at the mid of summer 2016, and did steady and slowly.

    How we did it ?

    – Follow > Unfollow > Crowdfire to see who unfollow you. (CrowdFire doesnt support Instagram features anymore)

    – Have your own hashtag

    – Use some apps to easy repost others posts.

    – Pick only the best content which will be interesting to your audience


  • Reply February 15, 2017


    I think it’s only possible with apps or special services like I use for a long time. Only with this app I achieved what I have now.

  • Reply January 23, 2017


    Loved this post, thank you for the advice. I checked iconosquare and their basic plan is $9. Do you thing is enough to help me grow my instagram or I need to go to Elite plan?

    Thank you

  • Reply January 15, 2017

    Domenica D'Anna

    I love this post! Thank you for sharing. I used to do modeling and had an instagram with tons of my modeling photos, which allowed me to gain close to 70K followers. I decided to quit the modeling and pursue a different route and three years later, now I’m in banking. Since I deleted my old instagram and created a new one, It’s such a struggle gaining followers. I’m posting content of my involvement with Forbes or my outfits of the day or my daily life versus being in a bikini LOL! This was encouraging and great to know that bloggers out there are earning their followers the right way. Great work! :)

  • Reply January 8, 2017


    One of my favorite things about you two is that you are so willing to share your secrets to success — or that you don’t make them secrets. Thank you for sharing those lessons you have worked so hard to learn!

  • Reply January 1, 2017

    Kike-Lola Odusanya

    What would you suggest to someone who has a service or a different type of business
    What should they display pictures of

    • Reply January 2, 2017


      That will vary, but the basic idea is to have nice pictures relevant to your business and what you’re doing.

  • Reply December 30, 2016


    I’m using Rexam’s Instagram Pocket Rocket.. awesome and easy method to grow Instagram account and earn from it. I’m using it about 10 days, earned good so far (about $500).

  • Reply December 1, 2016


    This is great advice, I’ve come to love IG more than facebook.My follows have kind of hit a plateau at around 400.

  • Reply October 27, 2016

    David U.

    I did almost the same things but also I use special service on zen-promo (com?) to find new followers. I don’t feel shame of that because it works

  • Reply September 28, 2016


    This so useful – I’m trying to increase traffic on my newly launched blog. Thanks so much! Lauren –

  • Reply September 7, 2016


    Great tips and really beautiful feed.

  • Reply August 25, 2016

    Alex Williams

    This may be the best blog post I’ve read about truly growing your Instagram account in a strategic, ethical and thoughtful way. Most blogs only vaguely state that you need good content, but your post pays attention to the details and how to maximize the platform. Thank you so much for sharing with us all!

  • Reply August 5, 2016

    Regine Labossiere

    This is really helpful! I like the educational side of blogging from all aspects, especially about home decor, design and renovation since my husband and I are slowly fixing up a 1903 cottage (and I’m blogging about it).

  • Reply July 26, 2016


    Really good tips to go by! Tip 3 is so true. I’ve had to totally switch my personal instagram into something that looks more like a business and professional feed.

  • Reply July 25, 2016


    #3 made me so sad! I love seeing the occasional personal photo… I’m not following you just for the gorgeous photos of your home… I also love seeing the kids, weddings, etc. An occasional peek into your personal life feels to me like you’re giving us a gift. Sorry to hear that many people don’t feel that way.

  • Reply July 25, 2016

    Liz Sheffield

    Thanks so much for posting this! I’m finding that people are more likely to like and follow on Instagram as opposed to reading a whole blog post. As a new blogger it can be frustrating sometimes. Great tips! Time to save up $ for a camera upgrade.

  • Reply July 25, 2016


    Great post. I went from reading over 20 blogs daily to 2 (yours & cupofjo). Your Instagram is ??!

  • Reply July 24, 2016


    Great post and I find you very generous with anything you have learned which so genuine and kind. ?

  • Reply July 23, 2016

    Beth Light

    Loved reading this post ~ so timely for the predicament I’m with trying to grow my IG and blog…I was growing steady (have been on IG now a year) but now losing momentum…I found your account a few months ago via the #ikeakitchen hashtag because we are also fellow IKEA kitchen remodelers ~ and recently completed are 2nd IKEA kitchen ~ your post is motivating me further to get our remodel blog post done! Love your home, designs, honesty and authenticity and looking forward to following along on IG and with your blog! Beth @1111lightlane

  • Reply July 22, 2016

    Ju Ann

    Thank you Julia for sharing! I have so much to learn from you. You inspire me to pay more attention to producing content.

    Keep going Julia. :) You have a new fan here.

    Thank you for sharing the camera + lens you use. Have you tried using mirrorless cameras though? I was looking at getting one instead of a bulky DSLR.

    Ju Ann (@ngjuann on IG)

  • Reply July 22, 2016


    I loved this article and I am so glad I found your site. I guess I discovered you through explore on Instagram. It was the photo of you standing in front of your stove. I liked the look/feel of the photo and loved the name. So I clicked through to see what you were all about. I was so happy to have found you.
    I am going to be starting a lifestyle blog soon and seeing yours has inspired me. Thank you!

  • Reply July 21, 2016


    I found this post so interesting! There are very few home bloggers that I follow. But after reading their blogs for several years, I decided to follow them on instagram because I liked getting that little sneak peek into the more personal aspect of their lives. It was not so long ago that through one of their instagrams, I found yours! I don’t remember what it was that pulled me in, but I decided to follow you as well. Once your photos started showing up in my feed, it drove me to your blog. Long story short, your blog is now one of my daily reads. I just wanted to let you know that you are definitely doing something right on instagram. So huge thumbs up for this post!

    • Reply July 21, 2016


      woot! Thanks, Jennifer!

  • Reply July 21, 2016


    Love everything you said. My husband and I are all about DIY’ing when it comes to our own lives, and I do get to live out many of my design ideas with my clients as a designer but as much as I want to share my own, I don’t do it very often…..I’ve tried blogging a MILLION times, maybe this info will help me grow my website, business, Instagram,, and all that techy stuff that I’m not so great at, lol, all the while having a crazy life at home with quadruplets, 3 boys and a girl, and an older son, a dog, and a new fixer upper!! Thanks for sharing the info on pictures and creating a cohesive identity!!! Great Read! Thanks xoxo.

  • Reply July 21, 2016


    so I am not a blogger, instagram to preserve memories of my kids, and smile when 12 of my friends like a picture I post. But as an individual, I can totally confirm: I only follow people i find to be valuable or provide really inspiring images (including yourself). I HATE it when a blogger asks me to follow for a give away, and have done it a couple of times only to then go back and delete all the accounts after the give away is done because I feel like those people are cluttering up my instagram feed. Thank you for providing good/interesting/ fun/ sweet/ humerous/ inspiring pictures:) I love them:)

  • Reply July 21, 2016


    Hi Julia, thank you so much for this post! I have been following your blog for about four years and have loved being a part of your journey. Your home is beautiful and I can tell you guys work so, so hard. Would you ever consider taking a look back at your blogging journey and going over what you did to really make it work? (IE. how much time and money you started with in the very beginning to now, the present day?). I’m asking because I would like to start a blog, and have actually laid the ground work for one, but I am getting a bit “stuck” because I have a 4 and 6 year old and they have me running in circles most days :) Also, we are trying to figure out how much money we can carve out each month for projects. While I do this, I’m just wondering, if we start slowly (say, I post once a week), would that be worth it? Or, maybe I should not worry about all this in the beginning, and just do whatever I can and build the blog up from there? I know reading blogs can take a few minutes, for us readers, but creating a post actually can take quite a bit of time, especially if it’s about a big project. I’m just trying to find some balance and wondering how much time and effort you put into it when you began the process. Take care! Your blog is wonderful and you guys are a talented team :)

  • Reply July 20, 2016


    I am the silent type of follower both on blogs I read, which now is down to a very small few, and on Instagram. I always think way too hard about what to say and if it will sound strange or not come across like I want it to. I can never seam to write things out well, but I could talk your ear off… Because of this I always keep my thoughts and comments to myself and never add my 2 cents… but after reading this article I feel like I should “do the nice thing” as you mentioned and let you know how much I have loved your blog, Instagram feed, and the podcasts! I have been a longtime blog follower, and started renovating my first house when you were living in Utah. We ended up moving around the same time you did so I felt like our journeys were on a similar track, plus I also live in SE Idaho so I was really excited to have a blogger I follow so close. (nerdy i know). At first when you were able to do so much with your house and make so many quick changes and improvements, while my husband and I weren’t financially ready to yet, it made me envious a bit. I kept thinking how in the heck are you making all these changes so quickly, and I would feel sorry for myself that I wasn’t where I wanted to be with my house. Well long story short(-ish).
    You guys are still way ahead of us on getting things done, but I don’t mind anymore. You have been more open, honest, and authentic on updating your house than any other blog i’ve read. I can’t tell you how much you’ve help me in prioritizing our projects, setting budgets, saving, and making a plan. When I would think…”how are they doing this” you tell us! You mentioned you paid off student loans, you use a budget, you plan together, this is “your thing” you prioritize. I love that you are honest about sponsors and that you link to everything! I honestly can’t believe how nice you are to questions people ask you…I now have your house colors memorized due to the amount of times you answer that question so nicely! Truth to be told, you guys won me over as a complete fan with the podcasts! I thought you seamed good before listening to your podcasts, but your personalities in real life is so great. You and Chris have such a genuine authentic voice there and I love it. I have several friends that all listen to it and we refer to the topics and funny things that are said frequently! You guys are honestly so great, and I feel that in social media we don’t always see that- so thank you for being such a great example of kindness and authenticity and for encouraging me to remodel my home in a way that is true to myself and a budget! SO SORRY for the long post! You guys are great and I truly appreciate all of the time and effort you put into all your projects!

    • Reply July 21, 2016


      Tanae, This is the nicest, most thought-out comment we’ve ever received. Thank you so much for following along, silently for so long and now for opening up and writing this. I appreciate it more than you’ll ever know.

  • Reply July 20, 2016


    Julia, I am taking a class this summer to fulfill my Master of Library and Information Science degree called “Social Network Analysis.” Last week we completed an assignment to create a piece of original content, share it online in some capacity, and get 10,000 likes within one week. I chose Pinterest as my mode of virality. I am sad to say, I did not reach my goal, but I learned a lot along the way about what works and what doesn’t. I wish you had published this about 2 weeks ago! I am definitely going to share this post with my class for future research. Thanks!

  • Reply July 20, 2016

    Kari | Raising Hill

    This is why I love following you. Thank you for posting this and thank you for keeping it real!

  • Reply July 20, 2016


    As others have already commented, this post was super interesting! I have long wanted to start a blog, but feel like some of the ins and outs are a bit overwhelming. Yet, this post encourages me to just try it.
    Also, I find it interesting that people stop following someone for one Insta-picture (i.e. the spoon)?!
    At any rate, huge fan here from Pittsburgh :)

  • Reply July 20, 2016

    Sarah Purk

    This is perfect information for someone just getting started like me and my husband! We very much look to up to your business/brand/blog! I am definitely inspired now to do things the organic way, and this article has helped me push away temptations to buy followers completely. Thank you- keep posting beautifully!!

  • Reply July 20, 2016


    It is so funny that you have seen the actual stats on the fail that is the tight shot. I don’t know why they make me so bugged…Ok I do…I have seen these rooms (that I love) 1000 times and I don’t need a tight shot of someones dresser with a singular new chotchy on it. It feels like a lazy insta cop-out. I thought it was just me, but apparently 40 other people hate them too ;)

  • Reply July 20, 2016


    I love the images you post. I am pretty sure I send about every 3rd image to either my husband or my sister showing them something i like about your home! Your house is so approachable and doable from a design stand point. Nothing crazy out there (except maybe the indoor swing -but now i totally want one) but totally awesome because of that. Makes me want to share them with all my friends I talk home design with.

  • Reply July 20, 2016


    Yup, this doesn’t apply to me at all, and it was still refreshingly honest and interesting. Okay, on the topic of engagement…I had 100 questions on the door painting and didn’t get an answer :(
    So here I go again. When you hand paint a door, do you mean you hand brush the inset parts and roll the rest with a roller? Do you keep it hanging or remove it if you are handpainting? I prefer the sprayed look, but don’t know if I want to change up my process. Thx!

    • Reply July 20, 2016


      Sorry about that! Our doors all have a wood grain texture to them so we a roller wouldn’t really work well. When I hand brush them, I literally use a brush the entire time. Start with the insets and then do the main parts. I keep it hanging if hand-painting.

      • July 20, 2016


        thank you!

  • Reply July 20, 2016


    You’ve done an amazing job growing, and the amount of work you place in everything deserves all the success! Thank you for being so cool, and this post was excellent. You’re one of my fave ladies because of your authenticity. Thanks for always being so open! I’ve gotta try the tripod thing and put myself in more photos ?

    • Reply July 20, 2016


      Yes! I want to see more Brittany. :)

  • Reply July 20, 2016

    Rachel Schultz

    Great post, sister. Feeling inspired.

  • Reply July 20, 2016

    Abby S

    As a follower of several bloggers, I’d say #6 and 7 are the biggest ways to keep me around, personally. Nothing’s worse than asking a sincere question and being ignored. Though I can only imagine how annoying it is to type BM Hazy Skies SO. MANY. TIMES. Enjoyed this post! Thanks for sharing.

  • Reply July 20, 2016


    I agree with some other commenters — I am not a blogger, yet I was incredibly taken in with this post! It was very interesting — I love to learn about the behind the scenes of successful blogs and this was very much like that! It was kind of like learning about the psychology of marketing and why stores set up their end caps the way they do/why we are drawn to certain items in stores! As I was reading, I kept thinking: Yes: I do appreciate that, that does make me like something, I do want to follow for that reason!

    Also — I just listened to your podcast for the first time last night — Loved it! And, Also…not to be creepy, but Chris has a sexy voice!! :-) You two are great together!

  • Reply July 20, 2016

    Karen F

    This is a great post!! And I am not a blogger. This was super interesting.

  • Reply July 20, 2016


    This was such a fascinating read. I really admire your transparency with the blog and how you challenge yourself to create new content. Thank you for being a blog to admire and fun to read!

  • Reply July 20, 2016


    I found this post very intriguing! I’m not a blogger and don’t Instagram for a job, but I LOVE the behind the scenes stuff. I totally noticed when your insta shifted last year! I completely applaud you!! That is so much extra work! It has clearly paid off though! I always look for your posts first thing in the morning and if I don’t get to the blog then (ya know, kids) I usually do thanks to the evening post! I do love how much you insert your family and life into the blog and Instagram because that’s your life! I love seeing posts about the girls (Charley included). Maybe it’s just because I’m a long time follower and I feel like we are besties (no? Haha). I’ve also had you reply to my comments and comment on my own pictures and it really is appreciated! I can attest that you practice what you preach and are doing a great job at it! Love the blog, love the podcast, and love the Instagram!

  • LOVE this! So helpful, and I’m excited to put these in action!

  • Reply July 20, 2016

    Alison Johnson

    Thank you! I’m working toward growing a following on Instagram and have admired yours for a while! It is very well put together, beautiful, professional, etc. etc. This is very insightful and generous of you to share!

  • Reply July 20, 2016

    Chandler Quarles

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR THIS! I have had Instagram branding on the brain, and this is the most helpful article I’ve ever read. I’ve also been so annoyed with the chain hashtag campaigns that are everywhere. I absolutely love your beautiful feed! I’m definitely going to take all of these tips to heart.

  • Reply July 20, 2016


    Julia, Sweden is hot and sunny today and I should be thinking about what bathingsuit I wanna wear but all I can think about is the sweather you’re wearing in that picture. Were can I get one?

    • Reply July 20, 2016


      Hahaha! It’s from Banana Republic last winter.

  • Reply July 20, 2016


    These are great tips! You have one of my favorite blogs (and instas!) – you’re definitely doing it right! xo

  • Reply July 20, 2016


    Incredibly interesting post! I am always interested to know the business practices behind blogs I admire (though I am not a blogger myself at this point in life). Thank you for putting this together! Nice to know you can grow your following without tactics that wouldn’t sit well with me personally. :)

  • I first fell in love with your blog and the way you share your life in an authentic and natural way. Then you guys came out with a podcast – which 1) makes my 1-hour commute to work infinitely better and 2) I’ve listened to it religiously and pretty much feel like we’re BFFs now (delusional, I know). And just when I didn’t think it was possible to like CLJ any more, you write this post.

    Even though it seems like EVERY OTHER BLOGGER is going the loop giveaway route, I have mostly resisted the urge to gain followers though quick, non-organic ways like these. So your story is an encouraging one. I especially relate to the point of including photos of yourself in organic ways – that’s definitely something I’ve struggled with, so I’ve stopped posting my face completely. :)

    And oh, the stories I could tell about posting a personal photo and losing hundreds of followers as a result! My husband and I have a running joke that his face is the most off-putting thing I could possibly share on IG because every time he’s in a photo, it’s an immediate loss of 40-60 followers! For the record, he’s quite handsome (if I do say so myself). :)

    I don’t know if this is up your alley, but I’d love to see a post on writing engaging, authentic Instagram captions.

    XO, Oksana

  • Reply July 20, 2016


    Can I say something kind of funny with the hopes you’ll take it in the best way possible? When I go through my daily blogs in the morning, I like to check titles/topics first to see what i’ve got lined up to go with my coffee and then read them in order of least meaty to meatiest… leaving the best for last, if you know what I mean. I read this post first because I’m not a blogger, only instagram for my friends, and thus figured this post wouldn’t really interest me. But you reeled me in, Julia! Super interesting and I love learning more about the behind the scenes stuff related to having a career that is reliant on social media. I know some readers can be picky about what they want from their favourite blogs but I like not knowing what to expect and that there is always something new to learn!

    • Reply July 20, 2016


      I have to second that! While this doesn’t apply to me, I was really captivated reading this, and also applauding you for not going the atypical route–the route that drives me a little bonkers–that some bloggers do to gain followers. I love that your hard work of just paying attention to what you followers like got you the following you deserve!

    • Reply July 20, 2016


      OK – I’m “thirding” this! I loved reading the “behind the scenes” just out of curiosity. But I also had to tell you that all through reading it, I kept thinking how much I love your instagram – I never knew how much thought went into the reasons I like it so much! So much work – thank you!

      • July 20, 2016


        That means so much. Thank you, Kim!

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