What Spending $57,000 on Instagram Taught Me

Update: I’ve already modified my profile by removing most of the images. Once the last contest is over, I will be removing the rest of the images that don’t suit my brand. I’ve also made a large donation to a women’s empowerment organization.

dan bilzerian

Over the last few months, I heard one name mentioned by my fellow entrepreneurs more than others.

Can you guess who it is? It’s not Elon Musk or any other popular entrepreneur… It’s Dan Bilzerian – the man with over 5 million Instagram followers (some of his pictures aren’t safe for work).

If you aren’t familiar with Dan, I can tell you he’s pretty much the modern Hugh Hefner. He posts pictures of his lavish life and all of the women he is surrounded by on a daily basis.

It isn’t Dan’s lifestyle that interests me, however. It’s what other entrepreneurs say about him. In essence, they love his life because they can’t have it.

For example, I was meeting one of my buddies in New York, who has a few billion dollars, according to Forbes. He is married and has kids. He, as well as a few of my other wealthy friends, love talking about Dan and living vicariously through his Instagram profile.

Organize your Instagram content ideas in one place across all the document apps you use.

This made me think: how can I replicate Dan’s Instagram success, but with a much more toned-down version?

Getting a head start

The toughest part of any marketing campaign is getting it off the ground. Once you have a proven model, scaling it becomes easy.

To get a head start, I hired Branden Hampton who has over 30 million social media followers among all his accounts. My goal was to pay Brandon to leverage his profiles and get his followers to come over to me.

But Brandon had a better idea. Why not start with an existing account that already has over 100,000 followers and then leverage his follower base?

We bought an existing lifestyle account that had roughly 131,000 followers and changed its name to @whoisneilpatel.

If you are wondering why that name was picked instead of my name “@neilpatel,” it’s because our goal was to generate Google searches for my name due to the fact that Instagram doesn’t let you link out. Plus, the @neilpatel name was taken.

Increased search traffic for my name means a higher number of people finding my sites, which helps me generate leads and, eventually, revenue.

Losing followers

What I learned is that when you change a profile name on Instagram, a portion of the existing followers drop off. Why? Because they followed the original account and not you.

In essence, you are pulling a bait and switch tactic.

Out of the 131,000 followers, roughly 21,000 fell off. So, I was left with 110,000 followers. As I post more pictures, I continue to bleed followers, but the bleeding is slowing down.

For example, when we first took over the account, we were losing over 3,000 followers a day. Now, we are losing about 778 followers a day (each day we are adding more people than we are losing).

graph loss

It’s only been a few weeks since we took over this account. I expect the bleeding to slow down significantly, if not stop altogether, over the next few weeks.

Free contests

The one thing I know about social media is people love free stuff. So, we decided to throw weekly contests to give away prizes.

I spent the majority of the money on prizes. The goal was to give away everything within 30 days, using not only my account, but other people’s accounts as well.

prizes

In addition to spending the money to buy the prizes, we paid models to shoot themselves with the prizes and give some of them away on their profiles.

For example, we paid Arianny Celeste, the UFC ring girl, to promote my account and give away prizes.

ufc model

Every time a girl like Arianny posted about the @whoisneilpatel account, roughly .2% of her followers followed me. To speed this up, I also paid more models and lifestyle accounts to post about me.

That’s how I got to 143,000 plus followers now – not too bad, considering I am still losing followers because of the name change of the account I purchased. Plus the contests have generated over 11,000 uses of the hashtag “whoisneilpatel”.

Along with losing a few followers, I have also learned a few other things.

Lessons learned

I thought a giveaway would be a great way to get more Instagram followers and gain popularity in the entrepreneurship community, but entrepreneurs don’t care about free prizes or cash.

Why? Because a lot of them already have money.

But every time one of these girls posted about me, I would receive one or two text messages from entrepreneurs who have businesses that generate at least $10,000,000 in revenue asking me how I knew the model that mentioned me.

text

Heck, I was even getting text messages from people like my personal shopper, who saw models post pictures about me.

cindy text

Not only that, but the number of Google searches for my name increased by 71%.

neil patel traffic

That’s not too shabby, considering the screenshot above is for search traffic of a listing that ranks my name at #3. Quick Sprout, which ranks at #1 and #2, has seen a much bigger increase, but it’s hard to determine the exact increase as Quick Sprout ranks for thousands of other terms on Google.

Although search traffic increased for my name, I wasn’t able to generate any more leads. I was generating non-qualified traffic to my websites.

The text messages received from other entrepreneurs, on the other hand, will eventually lead to more business and pay for the expenses. So from a financial standpoint, the experiment is a success… especially when you consider that images pertaining to me where broadcasted to over 20 million people on Instagram.

Next steps

It hasn’t been even 30 days since I launched this Instagram marketing campaign. I still have prizes to give away. The initial experiment Brandon helped me with ends on November 7th.

I learned from him that users on Instagram like flashy images such as pictures of cash, jets, and exotic locations. So, Brandon and I posted these types of images as a test. We discovered that this approach worked well.

But it isn’t me, and in the long run, I don’t want to showcase pictures of cash, women, or private jets on my profile even though it works.

neil patel jet

Once the experiment is over, I will post more quotes, which also did really well as well as pictures from my daily life.

I’m probably being a bit too careful, as some of images Branden picked received 4% to 5% engagement which is much better than what most profiles sit at, which is 2%. None-the-less it will be fun to test different image concepts.

I’m also going to adjust the strategy by stopping the prizes. I will also post more personalizd images on my profile such as of my family and leverage female and lifestyle accounts to promote me. For example, I may do a video Skype session with a female model, create a screenshot of it, and have her post it on her Instagram profile, with a mention of me giving her business or marketing advice.

model traffic

What’s fascinating is that if you look at the image above, you’ll notice that the search volume for these models is skyrocketing. Men, some of whom happen to be entrepreneurs, follow these girls.

It’s rare for these models to do well financially, so they continue to accept money for Instagram posts. As long as they accept my cash, I’ll continue to pay these women to post about me. It will help me stay present in other entrepreneurs’ minds and generate long-term revenue.

Conclusion

I don’t know what will happen to my brand in the long run as a result of this type of Instagram marketing, but the initial results look promising. I expect a return on my investment.

I was actually trying to spend $100,000 within the first 30 days so that I would have a more friendly blog post title, but I decided to hold off until I figured out the exact ROI. Once I fine-tune the approach I think I can get the cost down to $10,000 to $20,000 a month, and I should be able to turn a profit within 3 to 6 months.

What do you think about Instagram marketing? Do you think it is worth leveraging from a personal branding perspective?

P.S. If you want help with your Instagram marketing efforts go here.

Comments

  1. Interesting approach, love it Neil! I’ve been on IG for a few years now and just starting to really dive in over the last 6 months of giving it more attention. Hard to say if it’s actually building my business but from a personal branding standpoint I think that’s helping (which some day should pay off).

    • Lewis, I think at the end of the day Instagram is all about personal branding. When growing your business a large component centers around personal branding — so I think it will definitely pay off. Looking forward to hearing more about your progress.

    • Literally just finished listening to your interview with Brandon on School of Greatness Podcast(released 8th August) and then see this post pop up in my email. Learned a lot.

      He mentioned buying social real estate (or buying a domain and getting the social media thrown in for free). How viable is this for smaller operators who don’t have huge budgets?

    • hey Neil what websites or platforms did you use to get those models to hold those sign in there images to promote you and on average how much did it cost you to get them to do it?

  2. I’ve never actually bothered with instagram before so I’m not to sure on their rules, but do they allow you to purchase existing accounts?

  3. I look forward to seeing if/how this $57k investment pays off for you. It’s a pretty interesting experiment to say the least. I have the same dilemma with the Instagram account I just created for my bow tie company, Chringle & Co. I see how the fashion accounts that get tons of attention operate, but I’m not flashy enough to organize a daily photo shoot to showcase my #details. Dah well, hopefully I can use the approach you have and work with other Instagram models and fashion-forward individuals in the coming months.

  4. Ross Simmonds :

    There’s a lot of guys like Dan Bilzerian who’ve built significant followings from Instagram. Another one worth keeping an eye on is Timothy Skyes. His brand on Instagram is a bit tamed down when you compare it to Dan but still has done well for his business. I think Instagram is a great opportunity for personal branding but it’s important to ensure that your brand is aligned with what you’re actually all about.

    • Ross, great points!

      I actually am a close friend of Tim’s . Everything he does has a business component attached. He is a real humble and awesome guy, but his posts may not suggest that. At the end of the day it’s all about creating a buzz around your persona and staying true to your core business beliefs.

  5. Jack Michael Napier :

    Love the experiment and results. Yet don’t really see how you could turn a profit advertising in this fashion. Are there other people in your vertical that this is working for?

  6. That is some crazy S&*^t right there Neil!

  7. I appreciate your courage Neil 🙂

  8. Beatrix Willius :

    Stupid question: what is the goal of this experiment?

    And where are the pictures of almost naked guys?

    • Generate leads for consulting.

      That’s next. 🙂 I just have to find accounts that have high female followings.

      • InternetLocalListings :

        Was just about to ask about this. Not that you need “naked” people to market for you, but for women who are in marketing, this doesn’t seem like it’s something women would really jump on board with. And as I see you mentioned in many replies on this thread, you recognize that female entrepreneurs have cash and are worth finding–not just men.

        It does seem to hearken back to the “Mad Men” era of advertising in which women were just standing idly around as passive objects in the trading of male-dominated media. But…

        …as an experiment, though, it certainly is interesting. Your work is highly respected (including by our company, which has many women working across a number of areas) but I must admit, I’m glad it was just an experiment. There are many facets to advertising, and this covered one type–the living vicariously through perfectly-presented images of luxury.

        Anyway, thanks for posting this. You knew it’d incite controversy, and it looks like it’s effective 😉

      • InternetLocalListings :

        Oh and I forgot to ask–which organization did you end up donating to? That’s a great idea and I’m genuinely curious to know. (Sorry if you mentioned it somewhere and I missed it!)

        • I rather not mention as I don’t want people finding out how much. I got a lot of emails complaining about me making income as I $57k on this experiment. I rather not go into financial details…

      • How about not using any marketing methods which objectify either gender? I’ve go to say, this post didn’t make me too crazy about you. I suppose this works on a predominantly young, uneducated, male audience. Women are VERY put off by this though.

        • Women are put off by this? Are women also put off when they look through a fashion mag and see tons of other women modeling for other brands too?
          How is paying a model to pose for his brand “objectifying women”?
          These girls are models, that is what they get paid to do.. If they were having their pictures posted w/o their consent then you could make that argument, but they’re willingly doing it and getting compensated in exchange. Don’t make it a gender thing.

  9. Christopher Pontine :

    Hey Neil,

    Interesting. I guess I never thought about leveraging Instagram. I like the fact you buy existing (yes of course could have headaches) but you get a fast start.

    Reminded me of when you mentioned purchased Linkedin groups too. Enjoyed this!

    Thanks,

    Christopher Pontine

    • LinkedIn groups work really well, but that is a B2B social network. I’m not sure if I will ever get that great of a ROI on Instagram, but I think I can come up with ways to make it profitable.

  10. I’m a big Dan Bilzarian fan. I’m also a Neil Patel fan. But when the “who is Neil Patel” photos were shared with me I was disappointed. I felt cheated. Because what I was seeing was completely different than the brand I thought Neil Patel was. I was confused and didn’t trust what I was seeing. Rather than an educated marketing expert I saw a pig. First person I thought of was Dan Bilzarian, but that wasn’t s good thing only because it was against your brand. I didn’t trust what I saw. I then forwarded the photos to the person who referred me to your program, and she had the same reaction and said “That’s disgusting. I lost respect.” I’m glad you wrote this post to clarify the intention and restore your brand. Conclusion, your bread and butter know you as a marketing expert here to help them grow their business with your expertise and experience. You’ve built loyalty and respect in this way – protect your brand.

    • Neil, I’m so sad and disappointed. I’ve always respected your decision-making ability as well as your expertise, but I’m really struggling with your “experiment.”

      Experiment? Really? Since the dawn of advertising, campaigns have used beautiful women holding signs to attract attention. Not much news here on that front, except that you’ve used your brand for an “experiment” that has likely alienated more women than just the few that have commented here.

      I could accept the “experiment” if you had used a ghost account with a fictitious name, but your method makes me think you intended to benefit from the bump in numbers all along. All while acknowledging the method is not consistent with your brand and generally poo-pooing the method. That’s like having your cake and eating it, too.

      Say it ain’t so Neil!

      • Hey Melissa, thanks for the feedback. I will have to be more careful in the future.

        • Neil, thanks for the update, and thanks for the donation, too. I think I was a little hard on you. I’m sorry. I was just shocked. and I truly am grateful for all the knowledge you bring to us — awesome stuff.

          Like I said, it was just so “not Neil” I freaked out! Thanks for being true to who you are .

    • Yep I think I could do a better job protecting my brand. I love experimenting and testing new things, which is how I learn. But I could have taught this out a bit more and have been more protective.

      • Hey Man,

        It’s easy for people who aren’t willing to risk anything at all to sit back and pass judgment.

        Nothing wrong with your experiment at all. A little controversy over innocent fun never hurt anyone.

        If anything, I think you opened up your brand to a broader market of fun-loving entrepreneurs by doing this.

        A lot of marketers (male & female) appreciate the fact that you invested considerable time, and risked real money to decode IG marketing… and then shared your insights with us for free.

        The additional benefit is seeing how it helped you better understand the psychology of your ideal client.

        Great insights gleaned from this. Nice job man.

  11. Gil Amminadav :

    How did you find the models and do the outreach?

  12. Well… You got me! I am an entrepreneur and found you on Instagram through a model’s post. I own an Internet marketing agency and I think this is absolutely genius what you are doing. I was wondering what models were getting paid to promote on their profiles. I have been reading your blog for the past week and a half and I can already tell you that you will have a loyal follower here already. I may not be your $57,000 ROI but will definitely refer you to other digital marketers. If you are still taking entries for the giveaway, I’d like to get the university course! Haha!

    Great work, Neil!

    Cheers,
    Cesar

  13. Hi Neil,

    It’s about damn time. I just saw your @whoisneilpatel a few days ago and wondered “Wait, did he just completely rebrand his IG?” I wondered because I followed your original IG page, but unfollowed it because, well, it’s boring (no offense haha) my friends already annoy me with pictures of their food. However, your whoisNeilPatel is effing awesome! (is this why you shaved your head?)… Living vicariously through that type of page is what keeps me entertained – and motivated. I think this is perfect for personal branding and brand awareness. I’m not in stocks, but i know who Timothy Sykes is because of Secret Entourage & IG, and if I plan to educate myself and learn, i’m going to search around through him first to further investigate my next steps. For me, i’ve grown our IG pages through advertising on other influencers IG page that may have an audience interested in my page. After building to thousands of followers, i’ve done “S4S” which is free and easiest way to grow your following. After a certain time, I just delete the picture of the other page. Just my .02

    I’ve learned more through you than anyone else, thank you. =)

    -Eric

    • The shout out for shout out model works really well. A friend of mine tested this out within the last 30 days and she grew her account by almost 60,000 followers. It’s crazy how well and cost effective the model works.

  14. I have to agree with @Beatrix Willius…maybe I missed the whole point of this experiment. I have nothing against beautiful women promoting anything. (I’m a huge UFC fan) but based on your experiment I have to assume you’re only interested in getting leads from wealthy male entrepreneurs? There are quite a few of us females with lots of cash to invest as well.

    • Yes there are a ton of females with a lot of cash. I just didn’t have access to those Instagram profiles to start. But I will be experimenting with those soon enough.

    • hey what busienss do u deal with i want to know. dont’ know that many wealthy females.

  15. Hey Neil,

    I did not know you were on Instagram 🙂

    I think each social platform has its own spirit.

    Once you feel very close and intimate with this spirit (which includes understanding a psychological portrait of a typical user), it will be easier to get and retain followers.

    By the way, I’d like to thank you for showing an implicit advantage of using brand expanding techniques like using Instagram.

    It is not about the number of followers in the first place, but about the way to outreach to some people who are much bigger fish (in your case it was those several successful entrepreneurs who contacted you.)

    • I went into Instagram trying to get 250,000 followers within 30 days and I quickly learned that more followers doesn’t necessarily mean more revenue.

      Just like any marketing campaign it is all about testing, learning and adopting.

      • Instagram is all about engagement, not followers. Engagement is everything. If you have the engagement, followers will come.

        Even though the raw number of followers I have on Instagram is the lowest of any major social platform (28k), it is by far the highest level of engagement with over 1.5k likes per post.

        For the number of followers you have on that account, the engagement is actually pretty poor.

        I think you’d do better by starting from scratch on an account that reflects who you are, rather than trying to copy what someone else does who isn’t you. You’d also save a helluva lot of money in the process.

  16. Wow! I never thought you would do something crazy like this in marketing. Well, hot girls attract a lot of attention. That put in instagram context is a hot selling cake. Fantastic execution and intrigued to see how you are doing in the future. With such a head start people will always be looking out something free.

    Only question I got is about buying instagram account. Is it not violating their terms and conditions to buy an account? I know twitter hates this, but is instagram different?

    • I am not 100% sure Sam and funny enough I didn’t even think about it when I did it. I should have looked into it… it’s a bit too late right now. 🙁

      • Ooops! Didn’t you think about it?! Hope this post doesn’t attract instagram lawmakers! Twitter has banned number of accounts which were interchanged for cash. There was only two occasions where they let this go when it involved a celebrity. Good luck Neil!

  17. Hi, Neil,
    From a business/profit perspective, you may think this makes sense…but my guess is you’ve alienated most of the women out there. Guns and boobs? Really? I’m an entrepreneur/adventurer but an envious lifestyle to me wouldn’t just be about buying people. It really isn’t all about money. And while many check him out, many also find Dan the epitome of all that’s vain and wrong with the world. You’ve lost this business subscriber by your association.
    Nancy B

    • Sorry about that Nancy. I’ve also alienated a lot of men as well. My goal wasn’t to be a “pig”, but instead just test things out in the name of marketing.

  18. You’re full of surprises Neil. As with all your articles this was an interesting read but I’m in two minds about this experiment.

    On the one hand I have to agree with some of previous commenters who failed to see a clear objective of this experiment. Was it to show how Instagram can help ALL types of businesses because to me the tactics you used seemed best suited to lifestyle/consumer brands not so much professional services. Also, as a female, and long-time reader of your blog, I was a little disappointed at the sexist overtones of some of your tactics – I don’t see how bikini clad models have to do with entrepreneurship or your brand in general.

    On the other hand this experiment could be helpful if taken with a large grain of salt – I can see how this can inspire marketing ideas for consumer /lifestyle brands. I’ll be looking into some of the things you mentioned for a consumer client of mine who’s demographic is perfectly in the Instagram space. Minus the bikini models though – that’s just not my style 😉

    Anyway thanks Neil for an interesting (and controversial) read.

    • Thanks Rita. I will have to be more careful on what I do in the future. My goal was just to learn from this and bring these findings to everyone.

      I started the campaign to generate more leads, but I quickly realized that Instagram would be a more indirect marketing tactic.

  19. A bit weird, this. I kind of get it – innovating and trying new things, which I admire in you Neil.

    But to me, it kind of feels a bit like a series of humble brags – I have rich friends, models promote my brand, I have lots of money.

    Don’t get me wrong, I appreciate you and I’ve got tons of value from Quicksprout (and your other blogs) – and I’ll remain a follower. I don’t even know what my point is actually, I just found this a bit nauseating.

    • Sorry about that Carl. I wasn’t trying to brag about having or not having money. I rarely post about anything financial that doesn’t teach people something.

      • Hey Neil – no need to apologise. On reflection maybe I was a little harsh, I’ve read the post twice more now and each time I’m seeing more and more what this was about.

        I admire your bravery and your desire to try new ideas. And again, thanks for all the useful stuff you’ve helped me with.

        I guess as an agency guy at the start of my career, this post didn’t really resonate with me as much as your others.

  20. Chris Prakoso :

    Neil,

    Interesting campaign you are trying here. I’m not too sure you can sustain this type of post in the long run though.

    Have you tried to leverage the Instagramers? The mobile photography community influencers? Each of this guy has thousands of followers.

    If you just use that money you spent for prizes (which had been too much in my opinion) to engage and collaborate with the IGers, I think you will gain a bit more than this.

    For example, you can do Instagram Photo Competition. IGers love photo competition. You can provide the weekly prizes. And then ask the influencers to market the comp, give them a bit of incentive, and they will act as your ‘buzzer’.

    We’ve done a lot of this things with brands in the UK and in Indonesia.

    Let me know if you want to talk about it more, you have my email.

    Cheers!

  21. Neil,
    I think that is a big lesson on what not to do on Instagram unless you target market your audience. Of all these things, the Contest is probably the only takeaway for anyone interested in Instagram that will hit a large enough audience to get you your followers. You put a lot of money in to get some confusion about your Brand and your Credibility. If I had signed up for your Instagram account because i like your marketing wisdom and I found a lot of women in bathing suits , I would have deleted your account as you are turning off 50% of your market. If your market is entrepreneurs who like almost naked women and fancy jets then go target them.
    Now, since you said this is a test and it is over, you can build your credibility back with me. 🙂

  22. Madame Ostrich :

    Well, Neil… judging by the numbers of people freaking out about your identity’s “authenticity,” you’re obviously doing something *very* right with your personal branding.

    Genius doesn’t come from stagnation and the thing I respect about QuickSprout is that you’re willing to actually test things and then report back so we don’t have to. As much as we love to play upstanding citizen, it’s no secret that sex sells… especially on a visual platform like instagram. I think it’s very interesting and controversial that you explored its “value” in branding.

    • I’m sorry if I offended anyone. As you mentioned my goal is just to test new approaches and report back with the findings.

    • Very true. I doubt there are many people in these comments that could afford to spend as much money, simply on an experiment.

      Respect to Neil for doing the ground work, that helps others like us to gain greater insight.

      In regards to people being offended, that is sometimes a side effect of controversial research like this.

      As the phrase goes, “You can please some of the people all of the time, you can please all of the people some of the time, but you can’t please all of the people all of the time”.

      • Thanks for understanding Matt.

        I myself need to do a better job of vetting what I am putting out there and how it affects others.

  23. Francois Mathieu :

    As soon as I saw the account pop up on Instagram, I knew some sort of experiment was up… and told my fiancée: “Hey, Neil Patel is trying to drive SEO by leveraging an Instagram account with giveaways and I look forward for the blog post about it”. Well, there it is, and I wasn’t far from the truth!

    I like the strategy about cleaning up the account over the time and changing the tone of the account. I wonder what part of it will be permanent though and may affect your brand at some point. Instagram is no private network and hundreds of sites syndicate its content. All the content, deleted or not will exist forever for better or for worst.

    • Yep, that is the shitty thing about the web. Once something goes up, it is there forever. Sites like Archive.org capture the data as well as other people.

  24. Heather McLane :

    Calling it an “experiment” doesn’t make this any less sleazy. Very disappointing.

  25. I follow all your posts Neil, but what you are doing here is disappointing. The brand you have built up doesn’t match this type of campaign.

  26. Cheri @Orglamix :

    Neil, I read all your posts. I always take away a useful actionable gem or two. This post is very unsettling. I find this whole approach disgusting.

    @danbilzerian, really? I have no words. It’s a T+A fest that’s utterly degrading to women. Buying an existing instagram account + then switching the name = that IS bait and switch.

    What happened to slow and steady wins the race? What happened to being your true authentic self? You don’t need a million followers on any social media platform to make a difference.

    I really thought you were different and not some sleazy marketer.

    • I learned a lot from this including that you don’t need a million followers to do well.

      I agree that it isn’t worth using T and A in the marketing. Sorry about that.

  27. Cheri @Orglamix :

    The more I think about this, the more it ticks me off.

    The people I admire in business are not the ones that flaunt their success or their excess. This is just so gross.I’m mad.

    I think you should redeem yourself + match the money you’ve spent on this “experiment” with a donation to a good cause.

    • I donate money all the time, I just don’t like talking about it. I donate because I want to help others and I rather not discuss how much or where I park my money.

    • Maria Winfrey :

      The more I read the unappreciative judgmental comments from people like Cheri @Orglamix…

      the more I want to tell ALL my friends to never EVER do business with a company like hers (especially since she linked to her website).

      I’m VERY disappointed with her sleazy judgmental attitude… it’s degrading to entrepreneurs.

      To redeem herself, she needs to donate to a good cause of my choice.

      Neil,

      No need to apologize to ANYONE for how you run YOUR business.

      Usually the people who are the most vocal and judgmental are the least successful, or have the most skeletons hiding in their closet, and they’re really projecting their unhappiness onto you.

      They definitely don’t deserve business from the rest of us who appreciate that you took a risk to learn what works and doesn’t work on Instagram.

      For every “holier than thou” subscriber you lost like Cheri@orgasmless, we will send 1000 more your way who appreciate your work!

      Thank You!

      Keep doing what you’re doing and sharing with us 🙂

      • 100% agree with Maria’s comment above.

      • Thanks for the positive words of encouragement. None-the-less I am a people pleaser and I don’t want to offend anyone. I definitely learned my lesson from this and hopefully people will forgive me.

        I also donated to a non-profit as helping others is never a bad thing.

  28. Unexpected and Surprising throw. By the way a successful campaign.

  29. Urgh, all I can think is all the good you coulda done with the money. This is some pretty flatulent self-aggrandising work here neil, fuck your ROI and get back to providing value, your good at that!

    You have a lovely corner of the Internet marketing pie, just keep nurturing and innovating there. 1,000 loving followers are better than this pithy 100,000 that simply fellate your ego.

    ‘Always be yourself unless you can be a unicorn, then always be a unicorn. ‘

    • Thanks for the feedback Mehtab. My goal wasn’t to rub anyone the wrong way.

      I do agree, having a few loyal fans is much better.

  30. Mark Lindquist :

    This is really sleazy, and I have a high tolerance for stuff like this. If you were worried it will hurt your brand, I can tell you it has for me.

    • Sorry about that Mark. My goal is to teach others based on experiments I am running in marketing.

      I guess I can say I learned my lesson the hard way.

  31. Mark Lindquist :

    Well played finding an Instagram post of Dan that doesn’t include automatic weapons and almost completely naked women with a caption related to having just recently boned a few of them. I love his feed because he’s trash and it’s funny, but you are not like him and it’s pathetic to see you modeling anything after him.

    • Again, sorry about that Mark. I’ve learned my lesson.

    • What’s pathetic are people like this Mark Lindquist thinking that their opinion means anything at all.

      As soon as this Mark, or any of the other criticizers, cough up $57,000 of their own money to test out a creative marketing campaign, and openly share the results, we’ll consider listening.

      Until then, he/they are just internet “trolls”.

      It looks to me like you:

      1. Had Fun
      2. Learned what doesn’t work
      3. Learned what does work
      4. Tweaked your strategy
      5. Shared your insights
      6. Eliminated critical uptight people who are not your ideal client from your audience.

      #1 and #6 are more important than catering to goofballs who want to shame you and try to bully you for being you.

      Bring on more fun stuff like this.

      Your real fans are here to support you and learn from you. 🙂

  32. I think its ok for personal branding but not worthy for business branding ..

  33. I’d have to agree with Bob here. Furthermore the questions for me are as follows;

    – how targeted were the original 110,000 followers? Were they entrepreneurial / business or just random?

    – when running a contest you need to give away a prize which qualifies your target audience. By giving away Beats headphones (?) – people who sign up/enter are interested in Beats headphones, not business or marketing.

    – Instagram is not known for it’s ecommerce / marketing / business conversions, the followers are in ‘entertainment’ mode because that’s ultimately what the purpose of Instagram is. (Although I guess this could change in the future if Facebook transforms it’s monetization…)

    All up it sounds like the biggest win for me is that you made a few millionaire connections and that’s where the ROI is going to come from, but really – you could’ve made those connections a number of other ways using your existing brand and without blowing $57k on it…

    • 1. The original group was interested in anything life style related and many of them were aspiring entrepreneurs.

      2. I’ve tried multiple prizes from laptops to fancy hand bags, etc. Goal was to see what prizes resonate with people.

      3. Yes it is not known in the B2B world, but I think that can change.

      4. Yes I could have made some of those connections in other ways. I’ve learned a lot from this experiment.

  34. Ludovic Chevalier :

    So glad you shared this story with us.

    I saw your instagram account from a blog post on “thebillionairesclub”‘s instagram account with the photo of you and all these giveaways. I was like “what? That doesn’t sound like neil, why is he doing that?”and started investigating the marketing strategy behind that.
    Couldn’t figure out the real objective so I thought it was pure brag, glad it’s not!

    You mentioned quotes, I have a dedicated instagram account for quotes and you are right it works really well! I have 10 to 12% engagement!

    If you guys want a great app to make quotes, use “word swag”! It is $3 and it’s the best investment I made so far.

    Again thanks for this post Neil,
    Cheers.

  35. Thorstein Olsen :

    I´m baffled by how the SO-ME marketing work and how you can use the sharing/liking/following-phenomonen to market a service, however unsexy it may be.

    Great post, great insight!

  36. Glenton Samuels :

    Neil, what’s the price range of the offers do you make to these models?

    This type of marketing would be perfect for my web properties since the audience would be all for it.

  37. Very interesting experiment and read. I know that IG can be very successful for my industry (powersports) though I don’t use it much. As a father I know that youth in my area perfer IG to FB and other social media outlets. I wonder if a new account with $57k in advertising would have done as well as the $15k existing account with $42k in advertising over the same time period?

  38. Neil
    Great article. I was actually talking with Jeff Smith about your IG profile and what the end game was. Nice to finally read all about it. Good luck with the experiment.

  39. No comment 🙁

  40. Your strategies were really interesting. I hadn’t considered using my instagram quite that way. I actually have been having a lot of success using it to build my list, and not only that – my open rates stay at 40% or higher from the subscribers I generate from it. I grew my email list to about 40K in 6 months with my account running free events – in my case fitness challenges. It has been super effective for really connecting with my audience, as I get to be more personal and interactive with them and offer them great content daily that they engage with and it strengthens the connection they have to my brand. I’m around 118K on insta and I just really love the app. I will say in the past 6 months or so I’ve noticed less engagement than I did last year – and that may be because more and more people are using the app, especially in the health and fitness space. But it is still a great way to build celebrity, establish credibility, connect with and build your tribe and really make an impact on people on a personal level. I can’t go anywhere without being recognized from Instagram, it’s happened everywhere I’ve been in the last 2 years from Austin to Denver to San Francisco – I mean, who is ever without their “life device” aka phone these days….I did a cool podcast about how I’ve been using it for James Schramko a few months back if you want to listen to some of the ways I’ve been using it. http://www.superfastbusiness.com/business/how-to-grow-your-instagram-audience-with-betty-rocker/

    • WOW that is huge. I never thought about collecting emails from Instagram. I will have to test that out as 40% open rates are huge, like you mentioned.

      Thanks for sharing the link to the interview, I will have to listen to it today.

  41. David Smethie :

    Awesome case study Neil! I have a very limited Instagram following and am new to this social media platform. I think in terms of targeting entrepreneurs, using image quotes is a great way to go. Engagement tends to be good and you can tailor the quotes so they are consistent with your brand.

  42. I like the idea of promoting your personal brand on instagram. It’ll probably pay off. But then again this ain’t you Neil or atleast not the image I and I guess lots of others have of you.

    And yes it helps getting new contacts, but it’s kinda disappointing seeing you in this light, maybe cleaning up your profile is a good idea indeed.

    I still love your blog and advice nevertheless.

  43. Neil great article , you are brave . keep going forward !

  44. Priscilla (Book Blogger) :

    You have to spend money to earn money. I’m surprised with this approach, Neil. It’s enlightening. 🙂

  45. Indonesia Banged :

    Neil, it’s seem like one night show article, but it’s huge impact on your ROI. Tell me how to turn a profit in next 3-6 months? it’s amazing experiment. inspire me to do some.. lovely ideas dude.

    • A lot of entrepreneurs are texting me and at the same time asking me for marketing help. One of those contracts more than pays for the cost.

  46. Great experiment Neil. I was just discussing this campaign with a friend and knew a case study was coming.

    I agree with some above, it could have been more results focused, like building an email list. Follower counts, likes etc can be just a feel good accomplishment.

    I’m sure over time you’ll figure out how to make it all profitable and worth while. You’re smart enough and also that’s why it’s an experiment.

    I’d love to hear more about this shout for shot model mentioned in the comments.
    – Do they pay for some of these shout outs?
    – If so, how much could that run?
    – What’s the approach for such a model etc?

    Keep the awesomness coming as usual!

    • 1. You can trade shout out for shout out. You don’t have to spend money on this.

      2. If you want to spend money it can be as low as 10 dollars and as expensive as a few thousand.

      3. Branden handled all of the model stuff. He knows most of them personally.

  47. How do you choose the winners?
    🙂

  48. I’ve drop of recently from your blog post but I had to come back for this.

    Why are you doing this? You want leads not boob chasing men. Maybe you should follow Tim Sykes on this area. Afterall he has instagram and he is always spending money on HIMSELF and post pictures of him enjoying the stuff that he PAID for.

    His goal is to create conflict and envy. But he is not giving anything away. He doesn’t show mercy or charitable cause. He SPENDS AND SPENDS on himself, girlfriends and his students. (students who has paid for his course)

    People follow rich people because of what the rich can do with their money. Spent on toys, food and places. Nobody likes to be a beggar.

    Show them what you money can do. Show them why you are capable of spending and earning it. Tell them if they want to enjoy the same lifestyle as you are. Choose a package.

    A little bit about me.
    I am a Forex Trader. I blog and guest blog and do social media sharing. After 2 years. I stop everything. I focus on one thing people want. FREEDOM.

    To people freedom means to follow those who have achieve it. Not educators who teach. I learn this from a friend. His into Binary option. He showed people how much he earned. Where is he spending the money. Where he travel. Then he ask people to join him in his course.

    So what I’m doing is to increase my portfolio profits to a reasonable amount. Show people how much I earn per day. Show people what I’m spending with the money. Show people where I am going with the money I earn. And show them the course for them to follow.

    Neil. I love the way you show people how much you know with your info graphics and 4000 words content. It is great but not enough.

    $$ speaks louder and gets more viral then anything. Look at ViralNova. Stupid sharing website gets millions of view because the pictures are cute or with boobies.

    I think you need to change your result into money earn. Just my thought. I’m doing it but I am no where near your $10k. Hell you can even show people where you donated your money to which charity.

    Tim Skyes doesn’t do that.

    Regards
    David

    • Or since you are promoting SEO and traffic. Google Vick Strizheus. He claim to be the King of Paid Traffic.

      He show people how he is able to obtain thousands if not millions of visitors to his website with screenshots.

      His Jeff Walker style launch show claim testimonials of how people lives are after following his course. How they are able to achieve the freedom they desire.

      Just telling.

      I’m also into SEO and paid traffic but non of that matters unless you show proof of what you are teaching can achieve. So I stop blog, guest post and buying traffic. I focus on growing my equity and showing the amount of money I earn to spend.

      Abit superficial but that gets eyeball.

      • Good point on Jeff Walker. I know he does well because he shows people the income generated. Tim uses a similar model like you mentioned and it works well for him.

    • I’ll try the charity approach. I try not to show where I donate my dollars and explain why as it is a personal thing that I do for myself.

      I will have to adjust my approach, and try to pin point accounts on Instagram that other successful entrepreneurs follow. I want to avoid showing anything financial or boob related.

  49. I appreciate you doing this and being so candid about the process and results, but the whole hot-models-stacks-of-cash-private-jet really doesn’t seem like you at all. It feels very unnatural, not you.

    You should really build a persona around your natural charm, which is: thoughtful, intelligent, honest, vulnerable (that’s a huge one), a little geeky and confident but not flashy or boastful.

    Nobody else embodies that personality as well as you, and guess what? It totally works.

    Be you! We love you that way 🙂

  50. Maybe should explore Simple Pickup. Learn from Jesse. I think you are shy.

  51. Paying to get men to look at pictures of models doesn’t seem like much of a challenge. And if it doesn’t align with your core values then isn’t that admitting that the end justifies the means? Given your success and already recognizable name why not just start clean, avoid alienating many Instagramers with the bait and switch and low hanging fruit tactic? Think you got bad advice on this one.

    • I ended up deleting a lot of the pictures as I’ve figured out how to do it clean by leveraging other entrepreneurial accounts.

      • This was an awesome post, but your comment about leveraging other entrepreneurial accounts I think is spot on. Having @BussinessPeopleInc (64k followers) or accounts like that post a quote of yours or something will probably reach your target demo much more effectively than trying to replicate accounts like Dan B’s. I’m sure you know this by now though. Great blog filled with invaluable information. Keep it coming brother.

  52. One stop destination for every blogger..Neil really you are awesome.

  53. Rocket Ranking :

    Very interesting marketing approach! Sure it must of been a lot of fun too!

    Josh

  54. Marcus Mavakala :

    You are the best marketing mind of our time!

  55. You still losing followers Neil. I wouldn’t spend that much for Instagram marketing. Invest more on Twitter and Facebook.

  56. Interesting marketing strategy here, thanks for sharing

  57. Neil,

    This is awesome and hilarious! Congrats on venturing out, testing & measuring through instagram … and through Dan! I have also been carefully monitoring how girls can influence brands & growth from posts on Instagram.

    I am a former pro beach volleyball player, entrepreneur & now the Social Media & Growth Manager for UrthBox, an San Fran Subscription Box company where people can discover a Healthier You by receiving Gluten-Free, Organic, Non-GMO, Vegan and All Natural Foods, Beverages & Snacks to your doorstep every month.

    A true health solution for American’s now days! American’s need it! And thank you, because I am using your strategies every day.

    Currently I am measuring growth through Google Analytics, your Sprout Social, which I love to be honest.

    Any other cool tools, pre-formulated excel templates or etc that help you measure traction & social growth?

    You rock! Thanks!

    -Ty

    PS: Your videos on MindValley Insights are Dope! 🙂

    • I mainly use Excel. It is a pain in the butt, but it works really well. A lot of marketers use it on a daily basis for tracking.

  58. Dave Macdonald :

    Hi Neil, thanks for another great post.

    I was reading all the comments looking for a mention of some of the tools you used to track IG engagement, but I got tired of reading all the righteous comments. Any chance you could make a suggestion in regards to IG analytics tools?

    Thanks

    • There isn’t any good ones. I would use Excel.

      If you want to use a tool, Iconosquare is alright, but I still prefer Excel.

      • I prefer Excel too, but I use google docs more often know. You write about your friend from Forbes list, who is he?
        Can you also say your word about my article, I would like to know your opinion.

  59. I’ve been on Instagram for a while, and found my most successful content is music related.

    I’m a broadcaster (radio, presenter and producer), as well as a DJ, IT consultant/web developer, and entrepreneur. So content wise it tends to be recording studios, radio studios, clubs, events, but also artistic natural photography. Capturing moments of interest.

    As a pro-amateur photographer (I don’t do it for a living, yet I have been in print and been paid), I do pay attention to the quality of my posted content, which I hope users enjoy.

    An interesting read Neil. I’m not sure I personally would commit such financial resources as you did in such a short period, but certainly recommend Instragram as a key part of any social media strategy. If done right, it can used to generate more engagement, and funnel users to other platforms and sites.

    It has certainly worked well for me.

    • Yea, it works really well for people in your profession. I agree I could have spent less to test the waters, but I thought it would a fun experiment to go all out.

      Sure I wish I didn’t do certain things, but with money I quickly learned how to grow it the right way and the wrong approach to take.

  60. Wow Neil,

    That was some crazy experiment, Im sure you do have an ace up your sleeve to make it pay it self and then some…Looking forward to the results! you should have posed with the models too…create some buzz …. 🙂

  61. Great idea to boost business with the help of instagram. in a nutshell it is gold, i am sure you will get super profit from this adventure.

  62. Hey Neil!
    a) Can you make a post for ppl who want me spend a minimal amont on IG?
    b) Do you have a gf? and will you go out with me?

    • I would do shout out for shout out. That way you don’t have to spend any cash.

      As for number 2, I’m flattered, but I try to not discuss my personal life.

  63. I would say kick ass approach, something different for sure.

    • Yep, I am also trying a few other different marketing experiments right now with different channels. Will do posts on them soon enough.

  64. Neil, I really enjoy reading your site. You’re a nice guy, you reply to comments, you’re humble, you take the advice of others. You’re a computer-entrepreneur geek with personality.

    However, you are not this Dan guy so don’t try to be him. Be you, that’s who we like.

    As a man, seeing you carrying on like a big-shot is not what I’m after. Bravado is for schoolboys who never grew up. Most of us are interested in making money to support our families, not living out another man’s schoolboy fantasies on instagram.

    I’m not panning you for giving it a try, I’d just like you to stick with what I think is the true Neil. I think he’s an awesome guy.

    • You are right, I need to stick with the true Neil. I already modified the profile and removed a lot of stuff. Once the next contest is over, I will be removing even more.

  65. Great article Neil 🙂 Impressive 🙂

    • Thanks Lisa! I think I could have done it in a different way, but none-the-less it was a good learning experience.

  66. Man, this post just gave me a lot of ideas, i found it pretty difficult ti build my brand as an online music producer but your blog posts always giving me ideas and motivation as well! Keep blogging!

  67. Brand awareness in your name is up but targeting would be all over the place with a strategy like this. ROI? Maybe not so much. Can’t wait to see what monetary reward froms from this.

    • I actually think I can generate a ROI from this. I know it sounds crazy, but I have already had a few big companies hit me up offering to throw a few hundred grand at me.

  68. Nick Bentley | Bentley Capital :

    Nice Neil! Don’t listen to the guys above. Probably jealous… kudos to you for sticking your neck out and getting some 6 figure offers…

    • I’m just trying to test new things, learn, and share my findings with the world.

      I probably could have been more careful with this experiment though…

  69. I find some of comments about this post typical excessive western self-indulgence. While I personally don’t believe in objectifying women. I don’t think Neil did any of that. His goal was to figure out how to best leverage Instagram. He looked at some of the most effective users and attempted to duplicate their success. He then, free of charge, shared the results with you and all some of us have got as a response is to scold and berate him. You’re getting free information from the experimentation of a world class expert. Get over yourself. These women are already on instagram, have a following and post attractive photos for the world to see. Neil didn’t coax them into doing something they aren’t already doing. Some of you instead of contributing to the experiment and the conversation by offering constructive advice, such as, “I don’t think this methodology works well with your brand”; instead choose to take the opportunity to put Neil down. The amount of unnecessary self-righteousness is ridiculous. You don’t spend money with Neil, yet you walk away with extremely valuable information and all you’ve got to offer is a huge hissy fit. Get over yourselves.

    • Well said. It was a test to see what works and what doesn’t on Instagram. I’m not going to cry if a woman poses with hunky men on her Instagram and shoes off expensive shoes.

      I’ve never paid Neil a cent, but his blog has helped me grow my online publishing company substantially.

      We get people on a daily basis trying to dictate what our content should be on, sound like, be targeted towards, etc, etc.

      My websites are not a democracy, its my business, I put out the content I want to put out and Neil put out this content as a test.

      Not my cup of tea as it has no real relevance to my business, but have you read the hundreds of other posts he’s written? I sure have and they are great.

  70. I have to say this is a relief, some of the images where pretty far away from the brand I’ve come to expect of you. Still very compelling imagery but the value of the list remains unseen at this stage.

    I think a follow up to this experiment is a MUST in 6 months or so.

    Ads

  71. Do much popups here? Have to be willing to click down 4-5 popups if I want to read anything on this page. Not worth it anymore. Will never click anything related to Neil Patel brand anymore.

  72. Neil, it seems like you sold it to some dude that renamed it @MikeKamo..
    Do you have a new IG account that we can follow you on? Thanks.

  73. hii neil, sounds great thing to do

  74. Josh Macdonald :

    Hey Neil,

    Why is your Instagram down?

  75. JonathanAndolina :

    Pretty interesting read!! Very cool man!!

  76. While the idea is cool, the execution seems like done by amateurs. I enjoy most of your articles, ideas and suggestions, but this is (trying to find the right word here)… inelegant? tacky? I am so glad you realized it. Keep up your good work Neil!
    Lina, http://www.ucme.gr

  77. I was curious to see what happened after Instagram deleted their fake accounts. It looks like the account lost 99% of all of the followers.

  78. Sofia Quintero :

    With success and online recognition comes some responsibility. You can use your online reach to tell other people that sex sells ( a bit obvious by now) or you can write something interesting that furthers knowledge and fuels productive conversations. Adding boobs and butts in the name of testing and experimentation is not adding any value to the conversation. You put so much work on your blog and a ton of people appreciate it. There was not need for this. I don’t care much about these things normally but those pictures really upset me.. maybe because I thought you were a thoughtful guy. Nevermind.

  79. Jean Kirkley :

    Very interesting Post! It is rich in content, provide a good source of information. Keep up the good work!

  80. Daniel Clutterbuck :

    Hi Neil, I read this post when it first appeared and I’ve just re-read it today (and all the comments).

    Firstly, I applaud the success of the experiment. It shows that with the tactics you have used, you can in fact grow a channel.

    Secondly, I can see why people have been offended by the context. It reminds me of a recent uproar with a brand called Protein World.

    Knowing you (digitally), I can see that the context wasn’t intended to be offensive so what I have taken from this post/ saga is that the genius is in the marketing tactics. The contests, the use of influencers and understanding what your target persona wants to see.

    My wife’s Instagram @VintageStylerOfficial has been slowly growing organically through photoshoots, blogger outreach and good content. As I say, it’s slow but it’s natural. There’s a small community building but perhaps some of your tactics can help accelerate this growth.

    Thanks for publishing and I look forward to reading the follow up.

    #KeepRollin

    • Daniel, thanks for all the support. If you need help along the way please let me know.

      • Daniel Clutterbuck :

        Thanks Neil, I’m on Twitter via @DClutt. Got a few businesses, I’m sure we’ll cross paths some day. I like your style (and your take on marketing of course????)

  81. Neil,
    Your experiment provided a lot of interesting insight. We started a page on IG in November of last year, and have no idea how to really monetize when businesses ask us to repost. For that reason, we haven’t actually posted any revenue generating content. Do you happen to know what the back end value is for something like this?

    • Danish, I don’t know on the top of my head. If you provide some more details I may be able to help.

  82. There are tons of nuggets to get from this case study. Whats the situation now ? considering this study was done last year . Is there a steady growth?
    ozz

  83. Hey, Neil.

    I’m honestly blown away by this experiment. This exact campaign will definitely be deployed by my company in the near future to stimulate traffic in a whole new medium. This is pretty powerful.

    You’re one fascinating guy, Neil. I’d love to get in touch with you sometime.

    Tyler R.

    • Tyler, glad you found the article helpful.

      Let me know how it works out for your company and as always if you need hit me up 🙂

  84. Hi Neil,

    I’m looking to get in touch with some influential bloggers on Instagram whose followers are in my target market. I’d like the bloggers to use my product/service and am assuming that they will require a fee for advertising.

    What’s the best way to reach out to them, as to get seen/noticed above all the other emails that I expect they would receive from businesses wanting them to advertise their products?

    Tony

  85. hey that account whoisneilpatel only has 500 followers now what the hell man what happened to the account is there a follow up to this article you missed like every one eventually unfollowed you. I need to know other wise I aint never buying a IG Account and I allso want to know how much was did you buy the account for. that wasn’t addressed in the article

  86. Joseph mentioned that someone else has taken over your account …

    https://www.instagram.com/whoisneilpatel/

    This account only has 500 followers? Any idea what happened?

  87. Jimmy Sammerth :

    Hi Neil,

    I just came across this article, it’s great. An important piece on info for me though is how to the @whoisneilpatel dropped from 100k+ followers to 500+ followers and why the url it links to is to a parked domain.

    Answers to these two questions would help a lot of us evaluate which of the lessons here to put into practice.

    Can you clarify?

    Jimmy

  88. Aaron Childress :

    Interesting. I’ve done much of the same but on a smaller level (11k not 131k followers) and saw similar results with the dropoffs). I recently started hiring other people to do shoutouts by paying them with free gear, I have seen others be successful with that in the past.

  89. Instagram Shoutouts :

    What I’ve come to find is that a lot of marketers and ECommerce drop-shipping experts are doing, is leveraging those influential taste makers on instagram within their relevant verticals and basically garnering huge exposure for little capital investment.

    Anyone can easily turn an instagram shoutout on someone else’s page into a profitable investment, without having ANY followers or ANY physical inventory!

  90. Maxence Cornet :

    Amazing article !

    As of today, in 2016, would you rather spend that much money on Facebook ads or instagram ads ?

    Which one is more effective in your opinion ?

  91. Where and how did you find and buy a trusted account with a gross amount of followers?

  92. Just Wondering :

    Ah nvm. Saw the comment. Thank you!!!

  93. Neil, your IG Account has 500 Followers. What happened? I wanted to hire you to grow my followers, but now I`m sceptical… Maybe you can message me, I would like to talk to you anyway. I have a project that might interest you.

    socialmedia@danvalicek.com

    Thank you.

  94. Rey Joshua Gaona :

    Neil, I would love to see how you calculate your ROI on Instagram. From a social media strategist’s standpoint, I’m quite curious to see how your profit correlates to a sentiment analysis.

  95. Hi Neil!
    Great article!
    Well, I think the strategy worked well as you are doing the same here in Brazil!

    See you in november!

  96. Interesting approach. I think instagram is a great opportunity for branding and you show so many possibilities.

  97. Ballsy approach by goimg with shoutouts for contests on models accounts. The bigger the following the lower the relative engament rate is (Average Likes+Comments/total followers). In our tests the best engagmemt was with accounts with follower counts from 10k to 100k. They are cheaper overall and you can spread your reach. Same goes foe s4s as this is the best free way of growing your Instagram account. Most people ignore how important your posted content is, if its broing in the first place all marketing efforts are flawed before even started.

    • Yeah it’s a ballsy approach. And would not work for everyone. True a lot of people ignore the importance of posted content. Thanks for your input Steve

  98. Sir its been two years now. What do you think is working on Instagram is still fruitful from internet marketing point of view ?

  99. hi neil,

    how did you do the transaction? through escrow when doing the purchase? if so what service did you use?

  100. Hi Neil,

    I’m planning to buy a 354K Insta acc within 3 weeks.

    Can I look at a blank copy of the buyer/seller Instagram contract?
    Did you sign an NDAA?

    I wont ask more as time is precious, but If you can send an email I would be eternally grateful. Thanks Neil.

    Steven

  101. Hello Neil,
    I am on the verge of purchasing an account from a user. However, I would like to know how to deal with the payment and account transfer procedures.

    Thank you so much.

    • I would recommend doing a bit more research online as it can be of a sticky subject to give you a blanket answer to that.

  102. Beatrice Balaj :

    Nice article!!

    My name is Beatrice Balaj and I am so inspired by your story and your success.

    I’ve been a struggling fashion blogger for 5 years now. I’m not going to lie, I’ve given up time and time and time again. I think I quit 5 different times and after 3 months I chose to try blogging again. For goodness sakes, I f*&@!ing get invited to New York Fashion Week. I sit on front row of Zimmermann, BCBG MaxAzria, Merissa Webb, etc. but that’s it. Nothing more. I want more. I want to make money off of my blog. I want to grow.

    I’ve googled and googled and cannot seem to find out how random girls just blow up on Instagram. I HONESTLY do not care about the numbers of followers, I just want to see my business grow and it eats at me how I cannot find “the secret”; because I know there is one…. How does a girl start her blog and 6 months after her launch she has over 1,000,000 page views. They say… Great taste but I call bullshit. For a while I even began to think it was because I’m not a f*!$@ing stick. I have a nice a$$.. But even big a$$es go viral on IG.

    Now that I’m finished with my rant, I know money is the solution (it always is). Hopefully I find “the secret” soon.

    Thank you kindly!!

    • Networking on Instagram can work really well and simply speaking to others to share your content privately.

      Gaining money comes when you have the influence to market products or push traffic to a website selling items. But sell the benefits and the story behind what you want to be done and then if using the right technical ways to boost the posts you will grow.

  103. That’s great work and great article. I spent some money on instagram for getting followers with zen-promo.com but not so much, of course. But it worked pretty good too. I’m glad with results.

  104. Vishal Verma :

    Awesome!
    This is a very helpful post for personal branding on IG. I want to read your all blog post before publishing my blog strablog.com
    This is a great blog.
    Thanks Neil
    ?

  105. Neil Where do I buy an instagram account with a large following securely?

  106. Richa Pathak :

    Good marketing strategy but does the lifestyle account purchase helped?

  107. Where can one buy instagram profiles ? Please help ?

  108. Jose Martinez :

    Really interesting approach, We deffinitely don’t have a 100k to spend but I own a company that sells premium tequilla made from blue highland agave and we want reach beyond just here in mexico using instagram to drive traffic to the website and let more people know about our brand.

    We hired someone off fiverr to manage our account for a month and our followers went up but engagement is still low and clicks to our site are low. I was wondering where you bought the 100k lifestyle page from? Was it one of those sites that show up in google like fameswap.com or viralinstas.com etc. or off ebay.com or did you reach out to the person via dm to buy it.

    And re. the dropping followers if we get a account with lifestyle/luxury posts and start posting tequila related posts do you think we’d get just as much dropped followers or do you think we should wait to find a account specifically about alcohol? Although those seem hard to find even if we reach out to one in that niche it’ll most likely be about a existing brand

  109. I think the whole thing with it now being paid for has ruin what it is. It was a chance that every day people got a chance to feel special and be known just for doing what they do…eat out, shop, create etc. Now its just another platform in which experts have taken over and turned into a platform for making money which ruin what it is…. cant just be liked for who you are now people are projecting this “perfect” life bullshit and I’m so over it… Even when celebrities started getting on there it was cool because you got to see a personal side to them and once again they sell out for money (or pay someone to do it for them) and once again just turned into another social outlet taken over by fake and rich people… lame

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