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How to Gain 10K Followers in a Year


Today, we are going to talk about a topic that differs quite a bit from the usual posts that highlight our food and travel escapades, but we promise it will be no less exciting! We are extremely grateful and proud to announce that we have officially gained more than 10,000 followers on Instagram! Here’s the kicker: we did it in just ONE year (a goal we certainly could not have achieved without your support)! The goal of this particular post, is to share with you – our aspiring fellow bloggers –  exactly how we achieved this milestone, as well as some great tips on how you can expand your social media presence, and ultimately, your brand!

Before we dive in, we wanted to start off by introducing you to Chicky Treats, the mastermind behind the gorgeous 3D-cake below that was specially handcrafted for the East Coast Contessas. Chicky Treats was founded  by Daniella Da Silva, an NYC-based self-taught baker who was gracious enough to partake in our milestone achievement with us! Take a closer look her adorable creation:



This beautiful work of art was made with vanilla cake, vanilla buttercream frosting, edible gold flakes and topped with a fondant ’10k’ illustration! It tasted as decadent as it looks.

Daniella is not only a baker, but a blogger and illustrator who has spent the last few years mastering her baking and decorating skills. Having always been a creative spirit at heart, Chicky Treats has become an outlet to show off her unique artistic abilities.

Her blog has also allowed her to experiment with different flavors and decorating techniques, share insightful and helpful tips, and document her progress. She has had the opportunity to blog for brands such as Chobani, Nordic Ware and Splenda by inventing new and exciting recipes that promotes the company’s products.

Daniella personally styles and photographs all of her creations, making sure to share her favorite photos on her various social media accounts. You can check our her blog post detailing her experience crafting our 10k celebratory cake here! Additionally, Daniella is a proud baker and decorator at Sugar Monster Sweets owned by Next Great Baker, Season 3 winner and Chopped Champion, Ashley Holt! We highly recommend placing an order with Daniella for your next special occasion (or for any reason because who says you can’t eat cake for breakfast?)
Now we will explain how you can expand your audience and grow your brand, ultimately gaining 10k followers in a year or less, just like us! Below you will find 7 tips to help you achieve your blogging goals:
1. Do something you’re good at and stick to it!
First, find what you’re passionate about. It can be anything at all, no matter how strange it might seem (sometimes, different is better). Own the topic(s) that you are most knowledgable about and share your expertise unabridged with the world! Write your thoughts down on paper and turn them into a creative outlet through pictures and videos. However, make sure to be consistent with your content. If your brand aims to attract fitness junkies or health food companies, don’t post a picture of animals. If your brand takes a specific focus on concerts or music, don’t post photos of food. Pretty simple, right? If the content you share is consistent, your audience will be more engaging because it will make it easier for them to follow.
2. Identify your audience
Identifying and engaging with a target audience is one of the most important components behind any successful blog.  Without a target- you’ll never hit the bullseye! For example, if your blog focuses on being a single mom, your target audience will most likely consist of females across a wide age spectrum, who place significant importance on parenting and family. You may be wondering how to identify this target audience, and overall, it’s fairly simple. But we will warn you – it can be tedious. Researching popular hashtags that relate to your content, interacting with accounts (liking photos, commenting on photos and following other accounts) that you think will find your content interesting can be rather time consuming, so make sure you set time aside to complete these tasks. This is a great way to organically grow your followers, and will be worth the tedious work in the long run.
3. Know when to post
Through our experience, we have found it is always crucial to post at the most popular times of day when people are most active. We found that publishing our content around 8 a.m. or 6 p.m. yielded the most engagement since most people surf the web on their morning commute or after they get home from work. It’s always best to post at least one photo a day but never post more than three a day.
Research, Research, Research!
The more you research your brand, the more you will learn what your followers like and what will draw them to your social media platforms, ultimately leading them to your website. We set aside a large amount of time to dedicate looking for where the next great food and tourism hot spots are. Searching popular hashtags that relate to your content is the best way to successfully research your future content. Another important tip for researching: keep an eye on what your competitors are posting for inspiration.
5. Cherish your partnerships and have a strong pitch template
We suggest that once you gain a base of 1,500-2,000 followers or subscribers (whichever you put the most emphasis on), you can start pitching to notable brands for partnerships. However, in order to land a legitimate partnership that will be worth both your and the company you are pitching’s time and resources, you need a strong template. Pitches are opportunities to sell yourself – to tell your potential partner and the world what your brand is about, what you propose, and explain what makes your brand successful (such as your growth or most popular posts). Always follow up with your partners when the post is live and thank them for working with you- maybe even send them a thank you card in the mail. If you cherish your partnerships, they might want to work with you again in the future or recommend you to other brands.
6. Consider it an Investment
In order to craft crisp, eye-catching content that sets you apart from your competitors, we recommend investing in a DSLR camera. While these cameras in particular can be pretty pricy, a quality camera will make your content look more beautiful, professional and clean, and your return-on-investment will be two fold. The two cameras we suggest for bloggers are the Sony A600 kit (comes with built in wifi which is great for uploading pictures right to your phone) or the Cannon Rebel t5 kit with interchangeable lenses, and a camera bag that is big enough to double as a purse (this is how we lugged everything around in Las Vegas!)
7. Be Patient! 
We know in today’s society, patience is no longer a virtue. But as with all good things, they take time! It took us a year to gain 10,000 followers, and becoming successful at anything certainly doesn’t happen overnight. If you’re passionate about your brand, produce quality content, and you stick to what you’re good at you’ll start to see results. It’s not going to be easy, and it takes a lot of hard work and commitment, but the personal fulfillment makes it all worth it!
If you have any questions or would like additional advice on how to start or grow your blog, please email us at 
  1. Can I PLEASE have a piece of that cake?! The 10K on Instagram AND the actual cake. Both are equally amazing. 🙂 #‎bloggingboost‬ ‪#‎bloggingboosters‬

  2. Angie Nelson says

    Instagram is a platform I haven’t made much headway on. Facebook and Pinterest get the majority of my focus and provide the biggest returns. Luckily, your tips apply to those as well.

  3. Justine @ Little Dove says

    These are great tips! I really feel like for the most part I’m implementing these things, but my growth is fairly slow (comparatively). Of course, there’s always room for improvement!

  4. The Ashmores Blog says

    Great post! You definitely need to know your audience!

  5. Lindsay Katherine says

    Such great points! everyone wants immediate results, but it’s so important to do things the right way and have patience.

  6. Susannah says

    I love this! These are such great tips!

  7. chloe | boxwood avenue says

    Patience is probably the best advice – and the hardest! It’s so easy to get discouraged, or play the comparison game!

  8. Greg H says

    Congratulations on your first 10,000! As a retired foodie, I wish I had found your tips while I was still working.

  9. Kevin W says

    I’ve been looking to start a food & imbibe blog for quite some time. Thanks for the rad tips!

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