One of the most valuable things you could possibly have in 2017 is a highly-engaged and massively popular Instagram account. As the hottest social platform in the world right now, Instagram has opened doors in just about every industry when it comes to sharing content. Big brands, especially, know that everyone’s eyeballs are on their mobile devices, scrolling through hundreds of photos each day, and are willing to pay big bucks to get their message in front of the right viewers.

Well, this Instagrammer in particular doesn’t have just one massively popular Instagram account. He has four.

I recently interviewed Luis Garcia, who manages popular motivation and men’s luxury Instagram profiles, including @MotivationMafia, @agentsteven, @luxquotes, and @lawofambition (his personal account). With over 25,000,000 followers on his social platforms, Garcia is, by every definition, his own media company—and truthfully, he operates as one. But how Garcia became part of the elite class of wildly popular Instagram accounts is an interesting story.

“I originally started playing around with Instagram while I was transitioning back to America from being deployed to Afghanistan,” said Garcia. “I had a wifi signal and was trying to figure out how to learn more about business, so that I could generate another source of income for myself. I started searching around for mentors, and I came across two guys who were amazing: Ben Newman and Andy Frisella. And then Steven Mehr, who really taught me almost everything I know today about marketing on Instagram. But I put in the work.”

Garcia went on to share that before Instagram, he was an infantryman in the Army, focused on joining Special Forces. His fiance became pregnant though, and that immediately shifted his focus. He started spending more time thinking hard about how he could provide a better life for his kids, so he started picking up entrepreneur side hustles: flipping cars and sneakers, while working full-time in the Army.

“Now that I have learned what I’ve learned, and I’ve grown my own accounts from the ground up, I see now how many mistakes people make when trying to grow their own pages,” said Garcia.

Some of those mistakes?

1. Lack Of Consistency

This is something people hear time and time again, and yet it truly is what separates the people who succeed and those who fail. Ask any Influencer what they did that allowed them to amass such impressive followings and they’ll say, first and foremost, “Consistency. I was consistent.”

“Most people just don’t have the patience for it,” said Garcia. “I’m a firm believer that nothing in life is impossible, you just haven’t tried hard enough. Where people fall short is not having the discipline to remain consistent long enough to see what it is they want come to life.”

2. If You’re Not Authentic, It Will Show

“Authenticity is another issue I see. There are a lot of people trying to ‘fake it till you make it.’ I don’t believe in that. I believe in putting in the work and building the credibility you need, but going about it in the right way. There’s no reason to fake a lifestyle in order to manipulate someone to buy your course. Add real value to people and don’t be afraid to be transparent,” said Garcia.

This is a huge, huge issue on Instagram, and a topic of hot discussion. And honestly, the best judge of authenticity always has to be yourself. You know deep down whether you are doing things from a genuine, honest part of yourself, or from a place of deception.

Just remember: there’s no shortcut to success, no easy road to achievement.

3. Don’t Buy Followers (Why Would You?)

“The last problem I see is people buying followers to gain vanity numbers. They’re then confused as to why they aren’t growing organically, or why their engagement is so low. It happens with small accounts and it happens with celebrities and Fortune 500 companies—everyone seems to get caught up in buying followers at some point. But people don’t like being tricked and lied to. People are also picking up more quickly on how to identify these kinds of accounts—and as soon as someone thinks you’ve bought followers, you’re done. Nobody will trust you ever again,” said Garcia.

Garcia went on to explain that over the last 2-3 years, Instagram has become increasingly difficult to grow on at a rapid speed. Which is exactly why big brands and even other established or aspiring Influencers are willing to pay to create native content with massively popular accounts.

“The last thing I tell my clients, the ones I work with to provide native advertising to their pages and brands on my profiles, is to get back to the basics. The reason social media is so powerful is because it gives society the ability to connect to anyone in the world. When your followers take 20 seconds out of their day to write you, give them the respect to reply back and add positivity and value to them and their day. Never have the mindset, ‘I give you free content all day, you should be grateful and stop bothering me.’ That’s the completely wrong approach. I take one hour out of my day, each day, to just sit down and respond to as many people as I can. Not just a quick emoji or a one or two word reply, but a genuine response based on the context of the conversation. That one response can change that person’s life, and at minimum create a loyal follower. I’d much rather have 100 people engage with me and my business on a regular basis than have 1M people just walk by and ‘window shop,’” said Garcia.

Brian D. Evans

Brian is the Founder/CEO/Editor-in-Chief at Influencive and the Founder at BDE Ventures. Brian is an Inc. 500 Entrepreneur, who built the 25th fastest growth marketing and advertising company in America. Brian is an advisor to many startups and mentor to many entrepreneurs. He is a columnist at Inc.com, Entrepreneur.com, Huffington Post, Forbes and others.

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