Open sourced my Instagram Helper Web Extension for Growing an Account

In order to grow my site for kanji mnemonics, I started to share some of my content with people on Instagram. After starting out, I found it quite difficult to find people who where interested into learning Japanese and would likely show high engagement with the content that I shared. This is one of my efforts to improve my social marketing skills.

Initially, like probably most of us all, the follower acquisition consisted of the typical follow-for-follow link acquisition. Unfortunately these people didn’t engage with the content at all and had high following rates which made it difficult for my own content to stand out. Also, finding public accounts was cumbersome and took a lot of effort. Nowadays it’s understandable why you want to switch your account to private to deter all those follow-for-follow bots which want to sell to you.

To fix these issues and to streamline my follower acquisition process, I built myself a little Firefox web extension that displays all sorts of useful information.

Screenshot of Instagram helper extension in use [large]

Here are some of the most notable features:

  • Displays the amount of (followers/following) in front of the username
  • Highlights accounts which you are following in yellow
  • Highlights accounts which are following you in yellow
  • Marks private accounts blue
  • Marks accounts blue which haven’t posted anything on IG for the last 30 days.
  • Marks accounts red which follow too many accounts.
  • Marks accounts red which follow almost the same amount of their followers.
  • Marks accounts black if querying their account data has failed
  • Marks accounts green which have a low amount of following and follower which usually means they are a normal person. These accounts show the highest likelihood of engagement because your content will stand out more if you are competing with less other accounts in their following list.

Reasoning behind the color settings

Red: You want to avoid these accounts at all costs if you value your time. They either have no priorities and follow anything and everything. Or, they themselves want to grow their own account. They often have no interest in the content that you provide and show next to no engagement which Instagram values so much.

Yellow: If you already followed an account or they already follow you, there isn’t much need to engage with their content right now. Occasionally check on their pictures. If you find something of interest, show your appreciation to nurture your relationship. This is also useful if you want to reactivate an older follower who hasn’t engaged with you account lately.

Green: These accounts are perfect to start engaging with because they follow a small amount of other accounts. If they choose to follow you they will most likely continue to engage with your content almost indefinitely as long as you create good content. Acquiring as many of these accounts as possible is the key to a healthy followership that will pay itself off in the future.

How to engage with green accounts

Don’t follow them! Look at their account history and see if you can find any mutual interests with which you can start a conversation. They key is to show them that you are not a random bot who posts a smiley or writes Nice shot, come check out my account. Sometimes you won’t find any words to write and I find it better to just like a picture and come back at a later point when they have shared something that you can comment on.

I hope this extension serves you well. You can find it on Github for free with the installation instructions. Sorry if you aren’t techy enough to install it. I’ll publish it in the Firefox web extension store after I had the time for learning how to do it. But, if you are a developer, I have another post where I explain how to create a sticky footer with flexbox or managing cookies in Vue.js.


The mind agrees.