The secret sauce that everyone wants to know. The number one question I get asked on the reg. How did you grow your Instagram? Here’s my top advice for starting and growing.
1. Find You
Find what makes you tick. Find a niche. Do you love fashion, photography, landscapes, nature, boho design, food, books, family life, essential oils, etc? Sharing your passion equals growth because it translates within your feed.
2. Create the Page Already
Stop focusing on the name and the look and the timing and the right caption. Start your page. The first step is starting. Take the LEAP. Think about what you want your feed to look like and STICK to that look. Do you like dark and moody photos or light and airy ones? Do you want to incorporate quotes within your squares? Do you want a filter on each photo? People follow accounts with feeds that are pleasing to the eye. I guarantee I would follow an insect account if it was all on a white background because each square would be consistent and the overall feel of the feed would draw me in. Ok, insects is far fetched but you get the idea. You have 1-5 seconds to draw someone to your feed. Make a decision to create one look and feel and stick with it. This is SO important
3. Practice Taking Good Photos
I don’t care what anyone says. Quality photos are a must. You don’t have to be a photographer but invest in a digital camera or invest in the upgraded phone and PRACTICE. Practice with apps practice with lighting practice with settings. I’ve never once had training in photography. I learned by picking up a camera and messing around. I look back at my photos and laugh because of how terrible they were a year ago. You have to be willing to teach yourself. Youtube is a great teacher! Take the time to hone in on learning.
4. Get Involved
You can’t create a page and then sit there hoping for follows. You have to follow the people who inspire you and are also are relevant to your niche. They will be the ushers into your success. Comment on their photos, create groups messages, play the hashtag games. Search for involvement. That’s what the search button is for! Start creating messages with people with like accounts and other same sizes accounts who want to grow. Yes, some large accounts may help the little guy but start with other little guys! Build your tribe. This looks like hashtag games, share groups, giveaways. I remember starting my account I put together 5-10 women with like accounts asked them each to donate one item under $10 and we created awesome giveaways which helped us grow. Another tip is to be the person to put things together. I was the initiator. Most people participate with an initiator. BE THE INITIATOR.
5. Hashtag, Hashtag, Hashtag
If you don’t know how to hashtag, google it. Youtube it. Research it. You can do that! A hashtag is a way to group like photos together. If you have a feed based around photography google the top 10 photography hashtags. USE THEM. Its how people find like accounts. Create your own hashtag, play along with hashtag games. This is how I got featured many times by adding hashtags to my photos. Have a target outfit, hashtag #target #targetstyle….get the picture?
6. Create Share Groups
This falls under involvement but creates groups to share one another. SHARE SHARE SHARE. Get a group of like-minded accounts together and share one another. If that’s once a week great. In stories, great. In the feed great. Instagram is so saturated with accounts its hard to find people. Sharing is the key. Sharing is exposure.
7. Be Consistent
If you truly want to grow your Instagram you can’t post one a week and expect growth. This is a commitment much like a job. There’s no sugar coating here. Rise and grind. Show up. Show up in your stories once a day, which I am personally trying to be better about. Post consistently to your feed. I have heard that it is quality over quantity and that is true, but I have found posting twice a day works well. I also thought that I HAD to have two posts every day. I would rush outside just to shoot something to have something to post. I stressed myself out having to have content. I realized that if I didn’t have that shot I was proud of then not posting was much more effective then posting something because I was rushed and ran out of time. My advice, take a lot of photos in one sitting and spread them out over a week’s worth of IG. They have apps for scheduling, apps for reminders, heck they have apps for apps and it can get very overwhelming. What works for me is posting twice a day. I post in the am around 8-9 and the pm around 8-9. I take the time to comment and engage and then I try to put it away. Find the time that you can engage and go with it. Show up.
I know people will have their say on this but they have worked for me. Mostly now I sponsor giveaways because of my numbers but in the beginning, I would a lot myself one giveaway a month. They would bring in anywhere between 200-500 followers each time. Did all of them stay loyal followers, no but most did because of the hard work and effort I had put into my feed I’ve found again that exposure is hard in the land of IG and every little bit helps. Do not, however, waste all of your money on giveaways. Only do what you can do financially. Also if you’re like me and want to make this a business it was ok for me to justify spending the $10-$30 one time a month for the future investment. How to find giveaways? IG has become weary of the giveaways for good reason. There are some great accounts you can find to follow and participate in or like I mentioned in number four get some women together and make one yourself. I personally love @solovelyloopgiveways
9. Be vulnerable
Sounds funny right especially for a business but I’ve seen it again and again. People gravitate toward realness. Gravitate towards women who talk to them like they are friends. Stories are the new reality TV. I am very good at this because I am more introverted but I’m working on it. Also not posting a stuffy photo but one with a caption of intent and purpose. Tell people what is behind the pretty picture. The way you feel the struggles the raw truth. We like to feel human with other humans.
10. Don’t be scared to tag people.
Tag your friends, tag others who you think would resonate with your feed, tag makers of what your wearing, tag companies of the items your displaying. Most companies have a hashtag offering their viewers the chance to be featured. This is how I was featured many times on different feeds. They want you to engage so engage already.
This was not a thing when I started, but I have seen the value in stories especially with IG’s weird algorithm. Four thousand people will view my story but only 900 will like the photo on my feed. USE STORIES to get people to see you. Not everyone uses stories because they are intimated or nervous. Show up, tag people in them, and use hashtags. Create those stories, and even go LIVE. I’m preaching to the choir because I have to realize stories are the new reality TV. I may not think people care about how I fold my laundry but someone WILL watch it. Use your stories.
12. Making Money
If making money is your goal, just know it will be a while. I didn’t see any income until that 10k mark. Even then it was collaborations with brands, and once I got my swipe up feature, I was able to work with affiliates to make small commissions on items I share. It’s not something you can retire on people. My purpose was to create opportunities for myself. Whether that be a magazine, a book, or a small $ amount I could use to decorate with on the side. Remember your why. If your why is for prosperity and self-worth it’s not a good why. Evaluate what your intent is. I hope to get my blog traffic going soon which could, in turn, create more income, but you can’t jump into this expecting it to make you fast money. I think with hard work, commitment, and time you can see some residual income but your passion has to take the lead here.
There are many more other tips and tricks but I am currently learning as I go too. I am still researching and still digging in daily. The accounts that blow up overnight aren’t the reality. The reality is working hard, committing your time, and having a future goal in mind. Keep at it peeps.