Foundr Instagram Challenge: Top Success Stories From Our Instagram Domination Course

 ·  15 Feb  ·  12 Comments
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Since Foundr started successfully developing Instagram as a business tool, we’ve been sharing what we’re learning through regular blog posts, fact sheets, and an e-book. But about a half a year ago we created an online course to teach our strategies in full, hands-on detail, so any entrepreneur can achieve the same level of success that we have.

We’re very proud to say that since launching our Instagram Domination course, we’ve not only taught a great group of students, we’ve also built a devoted community of Instagrammers all working together to push each other forward. We’ve watched with pride as students became millionaires using lessons learned from our course, and businesses of all shapes and sizes found success through the power of Instagram.

As part of the course, we recently ran a two-month competition with our 500+ Instagram Domination students. The competition’s goal was very simple: grow your account as quickly as possible and demonstrate your creativity in using Instagram as a platform to drive your business.

Over these past two months, we established a leaderboard and each member of our Instagram community battled it out to reach the top 10.

At the end of those eight weeks, there stood 10 very clear winners, each of whom you should immediately start following on Instagram! These 10 people built explosive followings for their own accounts and demonstrated the power of Instagram in entrepreneurship. 

Here’s what they had to say about the experience:

David Hindin, @InventedMagazine

David Hindin Instagram Challenge

David Hindin is a doctor by trade (currently completing a residency in surgery), but a writer at heart. His company, Invented Magazine, is a digital magazine geared towards early-stage entrepreneurs interested in tech and medicine startups – think TED Talks meets Wired Magazine. As a special gift for the Foundr community, David has put together a guide that teaches entrepreneurs how to use Kickstarter to launch their own company. You can grab yours at www.InventedMagazine.com/Foundr

I first became interested in Instagram a few months ago. This was right around the time that I had decided to build my company, a digital mag called Invented Magazine that focuses on tech entrepreneurship.

A big part of my goal as a brand is to inspire people who have that “entrepreneurial spark” to stop watching from the sidelines. The goal is to empower them to get started and bring their own ideas to life. Instagram seemed like the perfect medium to do this.

When I made my Instagram account for the magazine, my goals were twofold: to rapidly build awareness of my brand, and to convert that into support for the Kickstarter campaign I was running at the time. The time element was really crucial. The dates were pretty fixed for the crowdfunding campaign, and so the pressure was on to get the word out to as many people as possible.

One tangible way I’ve seen this community in action already is through the success of my Kickstarter campaign. Thanks in part to my business’s growing Instagram account, I was able to surpass my funding goal more than two weeks before the campaign’s end date.

Instagram has taught me how to effectively collaborate with others to grow as a business. One powerful way I’ve used this strategy has been working with other similar accounts within my niche and sharing each other’s content with our audiences. This has been an incredibly effective way to grow communities for all parties involved.

The key here, though—even before finding partners to collaborate with—has been taking the time to zero in on my brand’s voice and message, and to make the effort to remain consistent with this throughout.

I joined the community in late November (around Thanksgiving time, in the States) and had just about 1,000 followers. But by the end of the first week or so in January, I had already crossed the 10K mark! From my perspective, this growth felt astronomical. But what excites me even more is that I learned the skills I need to reproduce these results over and over, and to grow my brand in the process.

Before I joined the course, I really felt bewildered by the whole process of building posts. Where do I find pictures? How do I put my branding images to make them look professional? How do I give my posts a consistent feel to them without feeling boring? And what’s with all these quotes everyone is using?

It seems like a long time ago, but these were serious struggles that caused a lot of stress at the time! Now that I’ve been through IG Domination, I have a consistent method in place for sourcing images, building posts, and creating a consistent feel for my content.

Francesca Michaud, @FrancescaMichaud

Francesca Michaud Instagram Challenge

Passionate about SEO and social media, Francesca is currently exploring every social platform out there in order to have a greater chance at promoting her future business ideas. As an undergraduate, she’s also looking for potential mentors who can guide her through her own entrepreneurial career. Find her on LinkedIn here!

During the last six months, I have been increasingly interested in Social Media. I am still a university student, and my decision to be part of this course was made because of that curiosity.

I am currently using Instagram in order to gain more influence and presence on the platform. Later on, I would like to launch my business, but until then, my strategy is really understanding how the platform works!

Since my current aim on the platform is to grow and attract the attention of the right target audience, I think that my biggest achievement would be the speed of growth my account has achieved.

The IG Domination Course has not only taught me about Instagram, but it’s also taught me the most valuable lesson of accomplishing your objectives and working for yourself.

Watching the other community members hustling hard just made me realize how I am not alone and I can always seek help.

I now feel that anything is possible and I will go for what I feel is the best kind of life for me, no matter how hard I will have to work for it.

Paul Sidoriak, @GrillingMontana

Paul Sidoriak Instagram Challenge

Having recently released his first cookbook Exclusively Kamado about grilling on the Kamado grill, Paul Sidoriak is passionate about cooking and has social media to thank for much of his success. As a full-time marketing consultant and social media manager, it was a natural to promote his book release in the digital space, and Instagram allowed him to engage with an audience of over 30,000 followers in under a year. Follow along with what Paul has cooking on Instagram, or reach out to him directly at http://www.nextmention.com.

I had just finished writing a very specific cook book, and wanted to ramp up the momentum prior to its launch. Instagram was a natural progression for me to reach a much broader audience, while still staying targeted within my niche.

From a public relations standpoint, Instagram has been a godsend!

I’ve booked podcast and radio interviews, been invited to submit content for well established brands, and it has established GrillingMontana as a credible source for the grilling enthusiast to get ideas, and collaborate with me. It even allows me to teach other followers of the page on how to cook better on the grill! It has been an amazing platform for me to sell books and I look forward to seeing how many I can sell in 2016.

I’ve learned that in my niche of showcasing grilled food and cooking on the barbecue, the quality of the image is paramount to a post’s success! The majority of images I took with my DSLR camera saw more reach than those shot with my phone.

I grew the account to more than 11,000 followers in eight weeks. My first seven days, the account grew by over 1,000 followers and I was passionate about keeping the momentum going for the full eight weeks.

Following the steps to achieve measurable success and utilizing the suggested tools along the way all worked to my advantage.

Katrina Kavvalos, @katrinakavvalos

Katrina Kavvalos Instagram Challenge

Katrina Kavvalos a Celebrity Reporter, VIP Social Media Reporter for artist Will.i.am & ‘The Voice Australia’, #1 Best Selling Author, Social Media trainer & also the Creator and Executive Producer for 2 upcoming exciting TV shows.

Katrina teaches entrepreneurs, small business owners, authors & actors the power of networking & how to leverage and accelerate their personal brand. You can out more at www.igaccelerator.com.

I was using Instagram initially because I knew it was an extremely powerful platform, but my problem was that I just didn’t know how to use it properly. So when the opportunity came to learn how to use it to build my profile and online presence, I jumped on it.

Funny enough, when I bought the IG Domination Course, I had no website, no lead magnet or anything. I had actually come out of hospital two months prior after major surgery and was supposed to be resting and recovering, so my business was definitely not a priority. But when I stumbled across the webinar, I knew the course was something I NEEDED, so I purchased it, thinking I would go through it at a later time.

But as soon as I started watching the videos, I was hooked and just started implementing, knowing full well that I had no website or lead magnet. I didn’t want that to stop me, I just wanted to start. Gaining more followers on Instagram has definitely helped my online profile.

I went from 979 followers when I started course, to 15,089 on New Year’s Day (in eight weeks).

Someone like me, who loves to hustle, can really see massive results in a short period of time.

Nal Patel, @EscapeThePhotocopyLife

Nal Patel Foundr Instagram Challenge

Nalisha and her husband have been traveling the world for more than four years now thanks to the profits generated from their online business. She has successfully created a global online fitness business in over 12 countries, giving her the freedom and income to live a lifestyle many people only dream about. Nalisha is offering Foundr readers her free step-by-step blueprint: ‘The Ultimate Guide to Profiting from Instagram so You too Can Travel the World!”

I wanted to use Instagram to show a more visual side of my unique lifestyle business. I love showcasing my travel photos, along with business tips and quotes on Instagram to encourage others to rethink their current lifestyles. Instagram is the perfect platform to show others what can be achieved if you can create a digital business.

I wanted a way to get the word out in the marketplace, on how I can teach others how to turn their expertise into digital businesses so they too can travel around the world and run their business from anywhere.

My biggest achievement from Instagram is now having at least 100 new leads opt into my email list per week for my free report, “How to Make Money from Instagram with a Tiny List.”

Another achievement with Instagram has been the interaction and actual engagement with followers. People get to talk to me one-on-one, send me direct messages and ask how they too can travel the world while running a business.

I love the connections I have made, and also how I get to help others with my online course, which can change their whole lifestyle!

I also love the IG Domination Facebook page. There is just so much value on there. Great people and always something to learn!

Daniel Clutterbuck, @StuffofMillionaires

Daniel Clutterbuck Instagram Challenge

Danny is the founder of The Webtise Group, a collection of mobile-first marketing agencies. He also owns an influencer marketing agency called Influence, which includes social accounts such as @StuffofMillionaires and @WeddingMemoir.

With Instagram, I was looking to grow a feed to eventually start retail brands. In the interim, I’m using it to help my clients grow their feeds and raise awareness of their brands.

By the end of the eight-week challenge I had grown my account to 28,000 followers! Although I also found out that if you let your posting regularity slip, so goes your engagement.

To be honest, Instagram Domination taught me Instagram. There’s no singular thing. I wouldn’t have started or known how to start if I didn’t pick it up.

Neeko Mendoza, @Thedailypickup

Neeko Mendoza Foundr Instagram Challenge

Founder of The Daily Pickup, Neeko is an entrepreneur who’s passionate about helping guys meet and attract beautiful women. He gives daily advice on his podcast, where he also interviews the top dating coaches in the industry. Be sure to check out his free guide on how to take any girl from text to date here.

I started using Instagram to grow my email list and build my audience.

I can’t really pinpoint a specific achievement. But I started my Instagram account with zero followers and my email list with zero subscribers and in less than three months I have almost 5,000 followers on Instagram and over 400 email subscribers.

I really wouldn’t be where I’m at with my business if it wasn’t for IG Domination and am excited to launch my first product on February 14th.

At the end of the challenge, I was at around 3,000 followers and I am so happy with the results!

To help people on a massive scale you need an audience and because of Instagram Domination I am getting new email subscribers daily and building my audience. I think Instagram is by far the #1 social media outlet to not only grow an audience, but to engage with them as well.

I would say the most valuable thing I learned in the course is how to do paid shoutouts. I’ve only done it once, but the day I did, I had four times as many email subscribers than usual.

And when I talk to other entrepreneurs about Instagram, they have no idea what it is, which is crazy because I think paid shoutouts are extremely valuable for any entrepreneur.

Kenneth Lee, @bethesilverlining

Kenneth Lee Instagram Challenge

Inspired daily by his encounters with positive, forward-thinking, and sometimes just plain hilarious people, Kenneth Lee decided to create a lifestyle brand and community around that positive energy. His company, Be The Silver Lining, is a social enterprise that sells inspirational and motivational apparel with $5 from each purchase going towards helping a homeless family.

I started on Instagram because I wanted to build my audience to more easily sell products. My company is a social enterprise and $5 from every purchase helps a homeless family. So the more products we sell, the more we can give!!

The number one thing I’ve learned through Instagram, and would advise a total beginner, is to be extremely consistent. Post 3-4 times a day and do not take days off. I also liked learning to creating a great bio, including CTAs and hashtags.

When the challenge ended, I believe I grew around 13,000 followers, and I’m extremely happy with the results. Although I wish I would have went harder.

Comment, give advice, and help others. I really learned how powerful Instagram could be when used correctly.

Beck Ray, @happihabits

Beck Ray Instagram Challenge

Dr. Rebecca Ray is a clinical psychologist and the founder of Happi Habits, a program that helps you boost your well-being and resilience. Marrying scientifically proven, positive psychology techniques with in-the-field clinical experience on building sustainable happiness, Happi Habits is a 12-week program crafted to ignite ongoing and positive daily change to get more out of life. You can find Rebecca sharing inspiration and positivity through her FREE ebook here!

I am on Instagram to build exposure (both for my online program and soon for my personal brand) and to build a subscriber list.

My biggest achievement has been going from about 100 followers to nearly 77,000 in six months, with a number of influential accounts following me. My second biggest achievement is building a subscriber list that is now approaching 1,700.

I’ve learned that I can’t rely on IG as the sole touchpoint in my sales funnel (which still needs much refining) and every day I learn about which content works better than others. I’ve also learned that it’s never one strategy that achieves growth quickly, and quick growth is nothing without engagement. It takes a combination of strategies to build a brand that people wish to connect with, and a brand that they actually trust.

I think I was around 32 or 33,000 when the challenged ended. I was happy with that result because I put a lot of time into it and maintained great engagement and powerful content.

The best thing I learned from IG Domination was some cool tricks (and safety tips) for Instagram. I’ve also made some great friends, which has been priceless in the sometimes lonely world of the solopreneur!

Scott Sind, @writehackr

Scott Sind Instagram Challenge

Scott Sind is the Publisher and Editor of writeHackr Magazine, a digital magazine for professional writers. He’s passionate about telling great stories, and helping other writers get better at their craft and earn more doing what they love.

I chose Instagram over other social media channels for two reasons: to build a brand and to gain a loyal following. It was important from the very beginning to establish a strong identity, and Instagram makes that so easy because it’s a visual medium.

We didn’t have any hard metrics in mind when we launched the account, other than to hit a certain number of followers. Originally we’d wanted to hit 5,000 by the end of 2015, and we doubled that! So I’d say the biggest achievement was in doubling our follower goal.

I learned that on Instagram it’s all about relationships. Connecting with other accounts—both big and small—is a great way to get more reach and obtain that coveted social proof.

So, very happy since it was double our original goal.

IG Domination was critical in our growth. I think the lessons on growth strategies are incredibly valuable, as are the lessons on the various tools and utilities that are available.

However, the best thing about the program is the community. By far. Being able to get and give feedback, building a network of like-minded people, and sharing what’s working and what isn’t at any given time is worth its weight in gold.

Conclusion

Needless to say, we are very proud of all of our Instagram Domination students, not just our top 10. But these challengers have gone above and beyond expectations when it comes to Instagram and anyone reading this can definitely stand to learn a thing or two from our top 10.

Thanks to the efforts of our Instagram Challengers, we’ve proven that Instagram is more than just a platform for you to share images. It’s a powerful platform that drive whatever business you have, no matter what niche you’re in or what goals you have.

If you want to start kicking goals with Instagram then you should follow in our leaderboard’s example and start kicking goals by checking out our many articles on Instagram strategy on our blog, or check out our free introductory ebook on how to get started on Instagram!

But if you’re someone that wants to follow in the footsteps of our top 10 and start achieving real results with Instagram then jump in and sign up to our Instagram Domination course and jumpstart your success today!

Last, but not least, I have to say mention again how amazing this 8-week challenge has been. To see our students take what we’ve taught them watch them use it for themselves, in their own unique ways, and have them grow and reach new heights with Instagram!

Jonathan Chan
jonathan@foundrmag.com

Jonathan is the Content Crafter and Marketer for Foundr. You can often find me happily writing about anything to do with entrepreneurship and the startup scene. Or spending way too much time pretending to be the next MMA star at the gym.

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  • Seb

    Great post man! I had a personal account for fitness, and I haven’t posted to it in a while… How can I revive it again? It’s got 5,500 followers but the engagement is horrible

    • http://activatethought.com/ Scott L. Sind

      Hey Seb, Scott from writeHackr Magazine here (#10 in the Challenge!). You can definitely get your account back on track. Just start posting on a regular basis, make sure to “reset” your followings (the number of accounts you follow) back down to under 100, and start following people again! Commit to a posting schedule and start conversations. Pretty simple but it does take time and some effort. Good luck!!

      • Seb

        Thanks for the reply Scott. I enjoyed reading about you in the article man! I’ll definitely keep all that in mind. Currently trying to create a plan to move the ball forward!

        • http://activatethought.com/ Scott L. Sind

          Thanks Seb! Appreciate it 🙂 You’re definitely in the right place for Instagram strategies!

    • http://foundrmag.com Jonathan Chan

      Hi Seb, pretty much exactly what Scott said! But also make sure you get active in your community, whether it’s replying to comments on your own posts or commenting on other posts within your niche or using the same hashtags as you. Simple stuff like that does wonders for your engagement levels.

      • Seb

        Thanks Nathan, definitely will!

  • http://launchyourdream.com/ Eli Seekins

    These are such awesome results! Instagram has always been something that I enjoy. I’ve built my account very slowly, but plan on getting more serious about it in the near future.

    • http://foundrmag.com/ Nathan Chan

      Thanks @eliseekins:disqus – We’re extremely proud of the results of students and the Foundr community!

  • http://thesassyallure.blogspot.in/ Asma Al Khair

    Is the Instagram domination course still available??

    • http://foundrmag.com/ Nathan Chan

      Hello @asmaalkhair:disqus it sure is! You can visit igdomination.com

      • http://thesassyallure.blogspot.in/ Asma Al Khair

        A Blank white page and It’s shows the 403 error 🙁

        • http://foundrmag.com/ Nathan Chan

          http://igdomination.com/ – Very strange, it’s working perfectly for us! Please try again 🙂