I get asked a lot about Instagram. I have had a love hate relationship with the platform for years. I think about where my account would be if I just stuck with it but it was often so frustrating to get any sort of traction. I mean I look back and really, I guess my accounts were growing quite fast but I was putting so much effort in and just not getting the engagement I wanted.
You wake up to 25 new followers and a day later, you’d be back down to 10. Sound familiar? I definitely didn’t receive any comments. I posted randomly and I really had no idea what I was doing, so I would just ditch the platform for months.
If I would have just kept at it and realized how easy it was to grow my account, I can only imagine how much further I would be. Since November I have grown my account by over 2500 new followers and that is without purchasing followers or using an Instagram robot.
I must throw in here that I am fully aware there are some much larger accounts than mine and I trained in this stuff. Just goes to show you where consistency gets you. This was completely trial and error and of course my way of doing things on Instagram may not be for everyone. Everything about my business Instagram account is a strategy. It is to get eyeballs on my businesses but also to share things I love in my niche which is the lifestyle and home decor space. If your Instagram is just for fun, you know a personal blog or journal to document where you have been or where your life is, then keep doing what you are doing but if you plan to use Instagram for building more relationships, then lets get started.
Keep reading to see how I grew my following to my first 1,000 Instagram followers Oh…and feel free to follow me on instagram to stay posted on future helpful blog and social media posts.
Step 1: You must build your storefront
Your Instagram account should be the windows to your retail shop, your business or your blog. People will scroll on by and yes they are curious but if you aren’t posting anything to pull them inside, then they will keep scrolling and they will never stop to get to know you or get to your website.
You must have a bright smiling profile picture, an easy to read bio, high quality photos that include pictures of YOU and a visual theme.
PROFILE PICTURE: People will ONLY stop on account if there are photos of something or some one they can relate to. Ask yourself, do you stop on accounts with just a logo in the profile picture? Usually not, unless it is a brand that we firmly recognize.
EASY TO READ BIO: Get rid of the list of adjectives that describe you. You know, “wine addict, momma of three, coffee lover, travel enthusiast” That’s awesome, but you just described yourself as your average work at home mom.
What will your account provide people? Start thinking professionally. I am all about “afforadable” home decor, I am a online marketing coach, I have 5 dogs and I hunt for good deals at Target & Home Goods. Now anyone that finds me can decide if what I do is relatable to them. When you make bios all about you or with descriptions that no one knows what you are talking about, but you, they will keep scrolling on by.
I definitely make sure that my Blog address and a business email can be easily found. This is great for collaborations or people interested in joining your team or doing business with you.
SOMETHING TO REMEMBER: Most companies don’t use the direct message feature on Instagram. They have company policies that limit them and they can’t attach items. Email is easier for them. Make it easy for them to not have to search for it.
HIGH QUALITY PHOTOS: Most of you know the basics. You’ve been told, post often, be authentic, use hashtags, use your own photos.
That is really the basics. To get your Instagram account to go viral, you really need to level up. You need your own photos, bright colors, pictures of yourself & flat lays get the most interaction.
This doesn’t have to be complicated. Although I own a professional camera, I take all of my photos on my iphone and usually use the self time. I use natural lighting as much as I can. I don’t spend thousands of dollars on clothes or home decor. I reuse items, move things around or take the photos from a different angle. If I can do it, you CAN too seriously.
CREATING A THEME: Since starting my IG account, I have had a ton of themes. I tried quotes and other people’s photos and nothing really took off, but I found when I really spent some time with my own photos and captured things around my home that really represented me, things really took off.
Like I said I use my iPhone 10 and natural lighting and then I use apps like SNAPSEED to really take my photos to the next level. I use bright white tone and high sharpness and I lower the saturation on harsh colors.
DON’T FORGET THE NON VISUAL THEME: To me, this is just as important as your visual theme. Your description or theme days need to be consistent. Your audience will expect to see them if you start them. People DO actually read your captions. It needs to be more than “I love my new home goods find.” Tell a short story that people can relate to, add a quote or a special play on words. The more you interact on your captures, the more your followers will respond and start connecting to you.
Step 2: Interaction – Get Social
Now that your storefront is looking pretty and peeking curiosity, you want to know how they got there. Of course you don’t want to send them some weird DM that says “Hey how did you find me?” So do your research and common denominators like:
What common hashtag was used? What people do you follow? Did you both comment on the same photo?
HASHTAGS: YES they work! Instagram gives you 30 Hashtag spots so use all 30. Its free and 30 chances that you have for people to find you. The hashtags I use range between 80K and 800k. Hashtags are a great way to go viral. One day I realized that one of my blog posts had traffic that was thru the roof. Use those Hashtags.
FOLLOW OTHERS: Instagram is a social platform, not just a posting platform so the missing piece for most people is that you aren’t getting social . Yes it can be scary and as an introvert, I thought how the heck do I just talk to strangers online? But as I started following similar accounts and commenting on their accounts, other people started noticing me.
COMMENT ON PHOTOS: Commenting is so important. Comment on other accounts and of course respond back to anyone who is commenting on your account. This is how people will feel close to you, like they know you and your account will start growing with ease.
Step 3: Put in the work
All I can say, is that there is no easy path. I work my Instagram account day in and day out. The trick is to be consistent. Buying followers, and then follow/unfollow plans just doesn’t work. You must clean up your account on a monthly basis and the ONLY way to get your Instagram to a place where it is growing fast is consistency and effort. Period.