Megan's Social Media Marketing Show - episode 7 -How I got 2,000 followers on Instagram with Chelsey DeMatteis

ep07 - How I got 2,000 followers on Instagram with Chelsey DeMatteis

show Feb 10, 2021

 Posting consistently, submitting articles for publication, and partnering with other writers are just a few of the growth strategies that helped Chelsey of the Living with Less Podcast grow her Instagram following to over 2,000.

Today on the show, we are continuing to hear from real-life Instagram users who hit milestones with their Instagram following. Last month, we talked to Joy, who grew her Instagram count to 1,000. In this show, Chelsey DeMatteis is sharing with us about doubling that and growing her following to 2000+. If you’re sensing a theme here, you would be right. Spoiler alert: Next month, we’ll have someone who has grown their following to 3,000.

We want to learn how they did it, the strategies that worked (or didn’t work) for them, and all the tricks along the way.

During this episode, we discuss:

  • The importance of consistently posting
  • Using video on social media to connect with your podcast listeners
  • Setting expectations for your followers in your profile bio - How she used hashtags to reach people outside of her followers
  • The growth strategy of featuring others in your field
  • Pairing blogging and podcasting to serve people with different preferences
  • Packing each post with value for your followers – and how that ensures they'll stick around
  • The power of asking for feedback
  • The growth strategy of guest blogging and article writing


About My Guest:

Chelsey is a wife, SAHM, and host of the Living With Less Podcast, which was birthed from John 3:30, “He must increase, but I must decrease.” She’s a devotional writer for Lifeway’s Journey Magazine,,, and YouVersion Bible App! You can connect with Chelsey on IG @livingwithlesspodcast, her podcast episodes air every Wednesday, and check out her free resources at!


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Megan: [00:00:00] 

[00:00:00] Hello and welcome to Megan's social media marketing show. I am so excited to be with you today with a good friend of mine. Chelsea who lives not only in my same town, but like we're across the neighborhood.

So thank you so much for being here and Chelsea. 

Chelsey: [00:00:22] Yes, I'm so excited and yes, we literally live like. Probably three minutes away in a car. 

Megan: [00:00:29] Yes. Yes. So I wanted Chelsea to come on and tell you about how she grew her Instagram following to over now, 2000 followers. Last month, we talked to Joy who grew her instagram count.

To a thousand, we're talking to Chelsey about doubling that and building the 2000 and spoiler alert next month. We'll talk to [00:01:00] somebody who has 3000. So you see where I'm going with. We want to learn the tricks all the way. All along the way. So tell us first, a little bit about you Chelsey and your ministry. I want to hear about this. 

Chelsey: [00:01:14] Perfect. Okay. So I host the living with less podcasts, which has then turned into an online ministry, which has been super cool, but I started the podcast back in 2019. It's the living with less podcasts. It is a ministry based podcast. So it started from John three 30. And so we're going on year three of the podcast.

And I would say from that though has developed other facets of it, which is why now it's turned into an online ministry. I'm also a writer. I have my first book coming out October of 2021. I'm so excited, but I also am a devotional writer for Lifeway Women's Journey Magazine, the YouVersion Bible app. and I where I get to write devotions for them. So obviously you can tell, I love writing devotionals, [00:02:00] that is my sweet spot. And honestly, I just feel like they all weave together, which I know we'll talk about that in a bit. When we talk about consistency and showing up and all of that, but I'm also a wife and a stay at home mom, and I love that.

I get to do all of this with cam at my feet. So it's pretty cool. 

Megan: [00:02:20] Absolutely. So what came first? Did you start the podcast and then start your Instagram count to support it? Yes. 

Chelsey: [00:02:30] So they actually, they started at the very same time. So yeah, January of 2019 was when I hit record for the podcast and I did my first Instagram post.

I don't know, I think two days after it went live so they started at the same time, which I think was a really cool thing watching that grow. Cause I had, I don't even know if I've told you this, but I had wanted to start some type of blog, like back in the summer. When I was just staying home with Cam [00:03:00] and I was like, I want it somewhere to write things.

So I thought, okay, I'm going to start this Instagram page about being a mom. And we'll talk about that. But I wasn't really passionate, that I'm not passionate about being a mom, but it felt like it was very artificial. It wasn't authentic. It wasn't something that was truly stirring in my heart. And so once the podcast started.

Starting something that was truly rooted in what I was so passionate about was really cool. Getting to see those two things take off together. 

Megan: [00:03:32] That's neat.  And starting out. With Instagram. How did you, I think a lot of people are intimidated about that. When we just get going, what did you share about at first? What did it look like? 

Chelsey: [00:03:47] It's so funny. If you go back, which I highly recommend doing, going back and looking at people's posts what did they start? What do they look like now? Because at first it just started with takeaways. I did like for the [00:04:00] first handful of weeks on my Instagram page, it was like top takeaways from an episode, or if you're a blogger or a business person, maybe it's like the top takeaways from whatever you put out that week.

And so that's what it started with. And again, I did not have a big following or anything like that, but it was just top takeaways to put out what I felt was the most important thing coming from what I was putting out there. But then from there I realized I got, I wish I could remember the app.

It's one of the Adobe, like free things you can use to make graphics or whatever that was. I saw people use people who make graphics and sometimes they have pictures on it. And so I thought I want to learn how to do that. And so that was when I went from takeaways to actually using quotes and then using pictures that were maybe more appealing when people would be scrolling around.

So that's how it started. Pretty bland, but then also, like I said, you just learn as you go. That's. One of the [00:05:00] biggest things is learning as you go is. It's really. Okay. You don't have to have it all figured out

Megan: [00:05:06] And it's impossible to have it figured out at the beginning because you don't know what people want because you don't have the people yet to ask them what they want or to get that feedback.

So it really is. It's interesting how a community grows with you. So I feel like some people will feel really intimidated by that, but. Really at the beginning, do what you like best you, what you are passionate about. I love that, that you started out with that. Do what you're passionate about and the people that are passionate about the same things.

We'll find you now. That is a good question, actually. So did they find you or did you go seek them? What, were the things that you did? 

Chelsey: [00:05:49] I'm actually going to pull up my little notebook here, so that way I can read what I wrote down. So the big thing, and I was before this, I was really praying. I'm like, Lord, I feel like I'm not a great like [00:06:00] strategy person, but my biggest thing.

And I say this all the time. Consistency is so important and looking at a number, so a following number, it's not a number, it's a person. There is a person behind every single one of those numbers. And I realized, okay, if this is something that I'm really passionate about, it's my ministry. So I feel like the Lord has called me to this.

I'm going to consistently show up because I want to honor who is here. They obviously are interested in. The mission behind this and what I'm sharing. And so it became, I want to show up for them because I'm here to serve them. So even if it is a business or a ministry, your serving them, and so you want to show up consistently for them because they're there, they are showing up for you.

So you need to equally want to show up for them. And that was a big thing for me is I wanted to be consistent not rigid, but just consistent and showing up. And I think that also helps [00:07:00] with a podcast, for instance, like it's a weekly podcast. It goes out every single week. I don't miss weeks. It's not Oh, I'll get around to it.

It's I'm going to show up consistently because I have people that are here. 

Megan: [00:07:13] Yes. I love that. And that's something that I tell podcasters all the time is that. You are showing up with your podcast episode consistently in most cases, not everybody, but in most cases, if you're serious about it, you're showing up once a week or twice a week, or however often that you're publishing.

All you need to do then just add on to that process that you're are doing, where you're recording. You're making the show notes. You're scheduling, take an extra 15 minutes to pull out your main thing. Like you were saying, make a quote graphic, pull out your main topics, even pull up your phone and just a video of yourself. I know this can be [00:08:00] intimidating for people because sometimes people pick podcasts so they can be behind the microphone and not in front of a video, but even just a video of your face saying, Hey guys, I just recorded this episode., It's about this, I think you'll love it because you need to know X, Y, Z, about this topic.

That's all it needs. So simple and it doesn't have to be complicated. It doesn't have to be gorgeous. It doesn't have to have beautiful photography. Really. You're wanting them to connect with you. You're wanting to make friends. 

Chelsey: [00:08:32] Yeah. thats really impimportant too with,  especially if you were a writer or like you said it podcasts or where you are behind something.

It helps so much when people hear your voice, but now they see your face. So now when you're talking, they can actually picture you. Or when they're reading something, you write, they picture you and they hear your voice. And so doing instagram stories. I know you're big in the reels, which I did two of those or three of those this week, but that's something that's important to [00:09:00] me for my, for the people that are there is I want them to see and hear me and actually see my face saying things because there's also what is it like?

There's a different level of transparency when someone can actually see you say it versus saying it behind something where no one can see you. 

Megan: [00:09:17] Absolutely. There's that vulnerability? 

Chelsey: [00:09:20] Yes 

Megan: [00:09:21] and what is really, and I know Bernie Brown talks about this a lot is vulnerability is going first is really leadership.

It's you, have to be vulnerable and put the effort, make the first move and get out there and be the first one to, for people to reciprocate for them to feel comfortable. Cause they're like, Oh, okay. She did this. She put herself out there. So then I can, I feel comfortable enough to respond to it. That's a great point. 

Chelsey: [00:09:50] And there was something else I was going to talk about with that, that I think is really important is people want to know what they're getting. And that's, that even goes for, [00:10:00] again, a business, a brand, anything, when they come to your page, they want to go, okay, what am I getting here?

Most anybody could come to my page and go, okay, these are the convictions that she's really Fermin. She's not willing to waiver on these things. And so it gives people an opportunity to know if they want to be there or if they don't want to be there. And I think that's important. You don't want people to come to your place and go, so what is, this all about?

Or they see, I call it like the flip-flop we're okay. You thought somebody was here and next thing they're like, flip-flopping on. And not that we can't change over time, but it's come to the place of knowing what do you stand firm in? And don't waiver from those things. If that's what you are.

Walking in, then walk in that and let that be seen by the people that are showing up. 

Megan: [00:10:52] Yes, use, as you're saying, that bio [00:11:00] pro, like I'm a big proponent of the first line of your bio should say exactly what you're going to give those people. And mine says, helping you grow your social media so you can grow your business.

That's what I'm about. That's what you're going to get. You're going to get social media tips. You're gonna get all kinds of anything that goes under that umbrella. And on my feet, that's a really good point. And. If I all of a sudden start posting cat videos, they're going to be like what, is going on here?

And they're not gonna the whole point of social media marketing in general is to know like and trust. Those are the three things that you're trying to build. And especially on Instagram, because there's no links, there's nowhere to click immediately to go somewhere. So they're there, for. 

Specifically what's right in front of them. And they're wanting to get to know you, [00:12:00] like you said, seeing the face, hearing the words there, they want to like you, they do, they want to like you, that's why they're there. They're you attracted them for some reason so that they can then trust you and they trust you then to tell you.

To in and with any marketing, it's solving a pain point, whatever that is. So they're going to you because they're like how can I do that? What does it look like in my life to live with less? So I love that. That's great. 

Chelsey: [00:12:29] That was the other thing. And I think you actually did a reel on this, but about the hashtags.

I think you posted something about hashtags recently, and that's another thing where. I didn't. I did not know. Are they important at the beginning? I didn't know, but I had okay. Other people I know, use them, so I'm going to use them and I can say now I do see, because you can view the insights and I can see, wow.

This many people saw this, not for my homepage. And I think it, I forget how it says it. Maybe it does say from hashtags specifically, but I can [00:13:00] say that yes, they do see it. And that's, what's important to me too, because I'm like, okay, so these people are here. These people that follow they're showing up, they're seeing it.

But then there are unreached people that are able to see what you're offering. Or again, some I just posted it last night about training up your children. What are we training them up for? Then I'm able to see this many other people got to see it, that wouldn't see it from the feed. And so my tip that I do have about hashtags, I am really what's the word?

It's not a pet peeve. But I don't like when people put them in their caption. So I put them in a comment underneath them. 

Megan: [00:13:36] Oh, okay. 

Chelsey: [00:13:38] Because I don't like to scroll super long. So when I read it, read what I need to read and then move on. But so the captions, I always spend the comments, if anybody feels that way.

Megan: [00:13:50] And that's really a personal preference thing. The research says that 87% of businesses brands put them in the [00:14:00] caption. However, it does not affect engagement. So it does not matter. It's just an aesthetic thing. Do whichever way you like, but do it, but do use them because it's the only way that if they're not following you, they can find you because.

And Instagram does this really well because you can follow hashtags on Instagram. So being able to, so the people who are looking for specifically, what you're providing will be in that hashtag 

Chelsey: [00:14:32] yes. That's a great point. 


Megan: [00:14:36] So you post consistently you use your hashtags. What, else did you see? Was there a point where let's talk about maybe grow?

So you started with zero, right? You started your podcasts, you started with zero followers on your Instagram account. What were the points? At which like either follow a numbers or something that you [00:15:00] did that you really saw Oh, it's Oh, it's growing. So the first thing, like I said, so that the.

Chelsey: [00:15:08] Start of everything. Like I said was like that the mom thing that I was going to do and then thought, okay, that's not working. That's not a thing. So that then became the Instagram account in January of 2019, starting with the podcast. And I told you, I had put a book proposal together. This was back again, 2019.

So even that has been a process too. But they asked for your follower, a follower account. And so that was in July of 2019. I had 423 followers. And let me tell you, I was so proud of that number. I sat there in that meeting and was like, I know it's small, but I love these 423 people. And so I'm proud of them.

So I remember that number and then I don't remember when I hit like the 1000. Area when that was, I feel like that was nearing the end of 2019, [00:16:00] maybe very beginning of 2020. But what I started doing consistently was my own blog posts. So I had been featurinpeople for awhile. I think I did six months of featuring a different blogger every single week.

I thought that's a way to help my blog grow, but also I'm really passionate about other women sharing the word of God. And so it was allowing them to come into that space. So sharing that, but then I noticed, okay People are also here because I'm sharing what the Lord's doing in my life. So I started sharing every single Friday for 

almost a year and I saw attraction picking up. Then when I, every single Friday morning, there was always a new blog post going out. Like I said, going back to the consistency, there was a blog post going out every Friday. People do say blogs are a dying breed. I don't agree with that. Maybe it's true. I just really, I enjoy blogs.

I enjoy reading them. And so that was something I also saw because it now gave, podcasters something to come read. It gave Instagram [00:17:00] people something to read and maybe download a free resource. And so that's when I also saw not only traction, like picking up in that way, but people staying so we can have another thing is how people say, do you have these numbers?

And then they drop off after a period of time. And so I saw people staying around the time when I was consistently putting out. Things, like I said, it was about a year that I was doing every single Friday, 

Megan: [00:17:26] so smart. And I love that you invited others. 

Chelsey: [00:17:31] Yes.

Megan: [00:17:31] And when you invite others in, I know some people are hesitant to do that because they feel like, Oh That's they're not sure what I'll do to their brand or it'll, dilute what I'm doing or they'll get more followers than I will if that kind of thing.

But really what it does is it exposes. The people who are following you, that no one loved [00:18:00] that. What you're doing, you're partnering with someone else who's in a similar is running parallel to you. As in a similar audience, who's worked really hard to shepherd their people really well. So it just naturally fits that there'll be some crossover there.

And so what it does is help both of you. 

Chelsey: [00:18:17] Yeah. And I've always thought with that too, is I'm like other people have different experiences than I do. So why would I not want to have another woman come on here that is more seasoned in a certain thing, or had something else happen to her that I can't speak to.

It gives more for more people to come and go Oh, that's great. And now they can go find them. Like you said, it's having people that have a different experience that then. Okay, so this person that gets fed here can also go here, I think. 

Megan: [00:18:49] Yeah. It's for the greater good of serving your audience versus your own personal good. Absolutely. Absolutely. [00:19:00] So you have also, you have the podcast and you have the blog. Are you doing both weekly? Still? 

Chelsey: [00:19:09] No, it's funny. I actually, the last two weeks though, I have done things on my blog. Again, I miss doing that. I got to the point where I was writing so much. So I started writing for these other places.

I was like, okay. I can not, I'm also very big and do things. Intentionally do not just show up and put anything out there. Do it with intention behind it. So when I got to the season of, okay, I'm writing all of this for other places and working on my manuscript, I stopped doing the weekly blog. But now I just turned in the manuscript.

I'm not writing as much. So now it's okay, now

Megan: [00:19:43] I'm going to go back to doing that because I loved that. So now it is I'm back to the Friday blogs and I'm excited. Yeah. And I love that you knew that about yourself and you didn't force something that you didn't kill yourself for [00:20:00] something. 

I think that's hard too, is when people you want to show up in every single place that it gets to the point where, and I actually love to hear what you think about this, because it might be different because of the being in a ministry realm might be a little different than a business, for instance.

But for me, I will not post just to post. I will not do that. I... I feel led to share something, I'm going to share something, but also there is, you don't always have to have a long drawn out thing to say. Sometimes you can just share something without a really long caption. Like it's okay to just share something with a sentence or two.

Chelsey: [00:20:40] Now it might be different though. For a branding type thing or a business, but for me specifically in a ministry, I'm not going to just show up every single day and post something with zero intention behind it. Cause I feel like people start to maybe gauge that a little bit where it's like these just feel a little airy or something [00:21:00] so that is a big thing for me is to just show up with intention and not do so many things at one time to where people are like. None of this is great, it's all fine. Cause Im like no, I want this to be like, it really matters.

Megan: [00:21:19] I think that I love your heart in that everything, how I'm translating it in my marketer brain is that everything has value.

Every, you want to make sure that everything you serve to them has value for them. They find something in it. Now that does not mean. Like you mentioned that everything has to be this huge long treatise that is, you're making an enormous port in all of that. It could just be like behind the scenes. People want to know what your life is like.

They want to get to connect with you. And that means putting, that out there. Sometimes it's just, hey guys, [00:22:00] this is where I am right now.hAnd that is. Totally fine. I always say though, just always share through the lens of whatever your mission statement is. So if mine is like I shared is helping people grow their social media following so that they can grow their business.

It's okay. If I share listen guys, I have a huge deadline right now, so I'm busting this out. What are you guys working on? It was like oh, then it gives them a chance to share. And I'm still, having conversations, we're still doing what we do here. It's not again, a cat video, like out of left field.

Chelsey: [00:22:46] Really good point. I love doing the polls or not polls. The question box. I do a, just to see what are they, what are you guys interested in? Like I did one on it was like a , I don't know. I maybe [00:23:00] shared 10 books of the Bible. And just said, have you guys read these? Because I thought that could be a fun thing where we read a book of the Bible together and answer questions at the end of it or something.

But the other thing I loved doing this on one of the question boxes I shared what do you, know you are going to find here? So I wanted to know, do they find here what I think they should find here? And first of all, it's really cool to read what other people say that they show up and find there, but it's also.

Reinforcing that. Okay. I'm still keeping my feet to the path and my hands at the cross and I'm not getting wayward. They are still, they are finding what I am praying that they would find there. So that's another thing to do the question boxes in the polls, just to gauge. Are you serving your platform?

Megan: [00:23:50] Absolutely. And seeing what they, want to exactly.

Chelsey: [00:23:56] Cause if you ask about the blogs, I did go back and I said [00:24:00] do you guys missing Friday blogs? Or would you like to see Friday blogs? And people said yes. Now I was going to do them anyway, because I do enjoy doing them, but I was like, oh, awesome. That was a resource that they did enjoy. 

Megan: [00:24:15] Yeah, that's good to know too, because if they had said like you might have reconsider. Yeah. 

Chelsey: [00:24:25] That's the other thing I think that's really important is to, I don't want to say don't, be so offended if somebody doesn't like something. Or if, everybody said no, if every single person said no Friday blocks I'm not going to be offended by that.

They're being honest with me. And so I think just also understanding if these people are showing up for you and they love what you're doing, it's don't be offended by what they have to share with you. They're doing it because they want to give you their honest opinion. 

Megan: [00:24:57] Absolutely. I follow, [00:25:00]  a local business who she, does. Jewelry and some, clothing bag type items that have imprints on them. And she had put up a poll because one of her customers had suggested she do cropped sweatshirts. Like she had regular sized sweatshirts, but they were like, it's all the rage. I think you should do the crop sweatshirt, she was, like, let me see.

So she asked and it was like the only poll I've ever seen. It was like a hundred percent. No. Do not crop my sweatshirt. And she was like, okay, good to know. So she could, 

Chelsey: [00:25:42] yeah. That's so helpful. 

Megan: [00:25:44] Exactly. And so she had, she could have, it's not in the same so she could have invested a lot of money and went ahead and done it because one person asked her for it.

Or she, or did wisely what she did and asked first. And [00:26:00] maybe we're not, you're not spending a huge amount of money, but time is money. 

Chelsey: [00:26:04] Yes. It takes time. 

Megan: [00:26:06] Yes. If you're spending a bunch of time creating something that they don't want, you want to know that's a great point. So what, else would you say has really you've noticed, has.

How your helped you get to know your followers or you've noticed has sent you a lot of them. I know that you, mentioned you write for other places.

Chelsey: [00:26:34] So I was going to say that is actually something that I have found is really helpful just in growing your audience again. I think this was something that I just had to really walk through myself as I was learning. All of this is I don't want. 

I don't want to gain people because I want people, I feel like I am pointing people to the truth or to something that's very valuable. And so [00:27:00] I want people to see that it's not about me, it's about what I'm pointing them to. So being able to write for these different areas, that is a whole new audience that honestly like YouVersion, for instance, they have millions and millions of people that have the Bible app downloaded on their phone.

I can't, I have no access to those people other than through YouVersion. And so that's something in particular where that was a place where I go well, okay. You version is a space where you have people that are young teens to really old people on there that can find a Bible plan that are on Instagram.

And so that was a really cool way. To see, okay, now these people can find the ministry through here. And again, it's not about me. I think that's something that like you were saying, people can also just feel odd about where you're like I don't want things to feel like it's about me. It's not, if you truly genuinely care about the heart of who you're serving, [00:28:00] it's not about you.

It's about what value you're giving them. And so no longer was it this concern of, I don't want it to be like, I'm trying to get people know. I'm like of course I want people to see the truth about the Lord. So why wouldn't I? So that was a big one is getting on platforms that serve a big number of people that I just don't have access to.

Another one, like I've said is collaborating. I love getting to just, I don't know, not swap places, but doing writing for other people's blogs or writing for other people's devotions. There's a devotional coming out. One of my friends wrote a book. It's a memoir of, I think 25 women's stories.

There's like short devotion style. But she asked me to be a part of it and I thought, how cool is that? Because I wouldn't be able to serve her people. So getting to come alongside that, and then also inviting people to do the same on my side. It's just really cool. And that's how more people hear about you?

Megan: [00:28:58] Absolutely [00:29:00] great. Oh my gosh. This is so good. So I have two last questions for you. One is, if you were, could give one piece of advice or encouragement to somebody just starting out, what would you tell them? 

Chelsey: [00:29:16] Okay. I'm going really Bible on you here, but thanks for the warning with your fish and your loaves.

Okay. I always say this show up with what you have to offer. So that story is when Jesus fed the 5,000 with the few fish in the few lows. And that for me is I'm going to show up with the best that I have to offer. I can not look around at everybody else and strive to be like everybody else. I know what I can show up with.

And that is what I'm going to bring to the table. I'm going to be obedient in that way. And I think when you're first starting out, if you're looking around at everybody else, you get caught up in what they're doing. But if you just show up with, this is what I have to offer, I'm going to do [00:30:00] the best, that I can with what I have to offer.

Then you can be confident in that and know, okay. I do not have to worry. I am bringing what I can.

Megan: [00:30:10] Oh, I love that. That is such a word of encouragement. Thank you. I've never thought about that story in that light. I love that. Okay. And my last question is where Chelsey, can we support you? Where can we find you? Tell us about all the things. 

Chelsey: [00:30:28] So the podcast is the living with less podcast. That is actually my Instagram handle two at living with less podcast. And the episodes go live on Wednesdays every single week. I do, like I said, I do have the blog, which is starting back in the last two weeks of new blog posts on Fridays.

And then again, I write for iBelieve.  They have, iBelieve specifically has great resources for women. The crosswalk is the, your daily prayer, which is a great one to sign up for. [00:31:00] And then YouVersion I love, getting to right there. I have a couple Bible app plans there, and then I cannot talk about the name of the book, but if you were on Instagram or following at my website, you will get to hear more about my book coming out in October of 2021.

Megan: [00:31:19] Oh, that's so exciting. I said, if we actually had in-person bookstores, I'd be the first one in line that'd be on the virtual checkout.

Chelsey: [00:31:27] Yes, I can do. 

Megan: [00:31:29] Okay. Thank you so much for doing this Chelsea. I loved hearing about your heart behind growing this platform, and it's no wonder to me knowing that people are coming to you and will continue to flock to your account. Thanks. 

Chelsey: [00:31:47] Thank you. Thanks for having me.