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I'm Sarah DeShaw. I have a minimalist's heart  and a business mind.


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Get More Instagram Followers by Passing the 10 Second Test

Did you know when you meet someone for the first time, you have less than 10 seconds to make a good (or bad) first impression?

It's the same on Instagram! 

When a potential follower sees your Insta profile for the first time you likely have about 10 seconds or less to interest them in scrolling further and if you really make an impression, they'll click "follow".

So, make sure you're designing the kind of first impression you'd like! (Don't worry-- I'll help you out with how to do that below.)

But first, a story...

how to grow your instagram following sarah deshaw

To illustrate a point about first impressions I want to tell you about my car shopping experience a little over a year ago. I went car shopping with my husband. I'm a no-car-debt type of person, so I was looking for something to my taste, but affordable. 

I had two very different shopping experiences.

Scenario 1: We pulled into the car lot. A car sales man pushes open the door of his shop, throws a cigarette across the parking lot, and simultaneously walks toward us while belting his faded jeans. He finishes his buckle juuust in time to shake hands. I felt confused about what this guys role was, and who he was. He nearly immediately began to push a direct sell on something that was outside of the parameters we were asking for. It took about two minutes before we got back in our car to go look somewhere else.

Scenario 2: We pull into a local lot where people can park their cars to sell them personally. The seller and his wife pull up in the same brand of car they are selling. Before they even get parked his wife is waving sweetly to me from the car. He gets out of the car in the very cute, but slow way older people do and greets me with a genuine smile. He raves about how much he loves this brand of car and hands me a pre printed sheet of comparable prices. He doesn't rush me and is generous with offering me any information I need. 

Who do you think I purchased from? ;)

Obviously the second guy! I even spent more than I was initially wanting to, because I trusted him. He arrived prepared and didn't rush me. And he already had his belt on when he greeted me. (haha!)

This story is obviously a bit of a dramatic example, but it illustrates how first impressions really make a big difference, especially where money is involved. Technically, the first guy was a professional, but the second guy acted professional. The latter was what mattered to me.

Always remember, in the wild west of entrepreneurship, it's not your qualifications that get you paid- it's how you make people feel and the results you can offer them.

Make sure you doing these five things so you're not the Instagram version of the first guy ;)

The Ten Second Test Instagram Marketing


Here are some do’s and don’ts to make sure your profile will pass the 10 second test:


  • Have a professional, likable bio image. If it’s a photo of you, make sure you’re very recognizable (preferably looking at the camera).
  • Let them know in your bio what value they can expect from keeping up with your feed
  • Have clear, on-brand photos
  • Have a clickable link to your website (or free offer) on your profile


  • Promote in every. single. post. A good rule of thumb is to promote a product or service less than every 4th post. However, be clear about how they can buy your products or services within your Instagram account. The last thing you want to do is make it hard for them to figure out how to buy from you. The easier and more elegantly direct it is, the better.
  • Leave your bio area blank

After your Insta profile passes the 10 second test and you know you're attracting clients straight out of the gate, you can focus on creating a great feed.