instagramI’ve written 12 previous posts in this “How to Rock Empire Avenue with Instagram” series. We’ve discussed everything from using hashtags, following back, the most liked photo subjects, the best time and day to post, non-photo content and more. All of them are good topics and strategies but it turns out they all pale in comparison to a strategy Steve Bretzke, aka (e)BRETZKE,  has been advocating since before this series even started.

What is it?

“Getting people to follow you on Instagram. I’m not sure this statistic has any bearing on your score or dividends, but for the next two components, you’ll need followers to have someone to like or comment on your photos. The best and easiest way to get followers is to click on the popular tab in Instagram, then find a popular photo that is similar to what you plan to post. Then click where it says “### likes” then follow all those people. About 1/4 to 1/3 will follow you back. In two months I’ve followed 15,000 people and now have 5,000 who follow me.” -Steve Bretzke

I thought I had tried this a couple of months ago, but as it turns out, I made a dumb mistake which caused it not to work for me. Instead of doing this in the Instagram app, I tried doing in, which turned out to be too cumbersome and time consuming to be worthwhile.

About 10 days ago, I realized my mistake and tried it again in the Instagram app. Each time after I post an image to IG, I go to the popular tab, tap the image most like the one I just posted, tap the list of people who liked that photo, and take 2-3 minutes to follow 50-100 of those people. Here’s what’s happened since.


In my first 3 months on IG, I managed to attract about 2,000 followers. In the last 10 days, that’s jumped to more than 3,400 followers.


In my first 3 months of IG, I had only 1 photo that had received 70+ likes, this shot of a leopard that got 100 thanks to an EAv mission and entry in the EAvIG photo contest. In the last 7 days:

  • 47 of 49 got 70+ likes
  • 36 of 49 got 100+ likes
  • 9 of 49 got 200+ likes
  • 1 got 300+ likes

Yesterday alone, the 7 images I posted averaged more than 180 likes each. Talk about a dramatic increase!

The big difference is not only have I gotten a lot more followers, but by following people who like popular photos like mine, the new people who have started following me are much more likely to like my photos than the followers I was attracting before (many of which were doing follows/followbacks just to increase their follower count).

Network Score & Dividends

A couple weeks ago, my EAv Instagram network score had plateaued at 70. Over the last 5 days, my network score has gone up about 0.3/day. Its hard to say exactly what impact that has had on the dividend my share pay shareholders, but at 2.45e/share, it’s never been higher.

Quality Images

One final note on this strategy of following people who like photos similar to yours… The quality and content of the images you post matters a great deal. Before I started doing this, everything I posted was getting 30-50 likes. Two days ago I posted one image that got 66 likes and another that got 313 likes.

So, what do you think of this strategy? If you’ve tried it, how has it worked for you?

– Paul

Instagram #12: 7 Tips for New IG Users <– How to Rock Empire Avenue with Instagram -> Instagram #14: So Much for That Strategy