Ok, so I definitely don't claim to be an Instagram Expert; that would be majorly misleading. However, I do want to share what I have learned about one of my favourite social media platforms and some of the strategies I've used to increase my followers by over 30% since I began focus on building my Instagram 3 months ago.
1. Fill out Your profile
Your profile is your first impression for a potential follower and customer, so you want to maximize that space! So, how can you make the most out of your Instagram profile?
- Keep your @username simple. Your name reflects your personal brand; for me, I know that I am my brand, so I use my own name. Plus, it's consistent across social media and someone can easily find me on Instagram if they know me from Facebook.
- Your profile picture should be your face; this helps people learn to know, like, and trust you!
- Write your bio - make it clear, concise, and descriptive... after all, you've only got 150 characters! Tell people who you are, what you do, and what they can expect.
To utilize line breaks in your bio, write you it first in your notes app; between each line, hit the return key to create a line break. Then, copy and paste onto your Instagram profile.
- Update your URL link - this is the only place that Instagram lets you place a link, so you want to utilize this space. I use linktree and the free version allows to list unlimited links on your linktree, as well as offers click tracking for each link and a selection of themes to change appearances.
2. Hashtags, Hashtags, Hashtags
Hashtags are everything on Instagram. You're currently allowed to use up to 30 hashtags on a photo ... USE THEM ALL! These are search terms, keywords that will help people find photos in that category.
I recommend categorizing your photos and creating a list of 30 hashtags for each of these categories. You can save these lists in the notes of your phone so that they are easy to copy and paste when you post a picture.
How do you find the right hashtags to use?
- Follow other people in the same field. Whether you're a wedding photographer, a Beachbody coach, or an Etsy shop, your competitors will, most likely, target the same people as you want to. Now, you're not just copying other people; you want to look at what they're doing and learn.
- #Do #Not #Hashtag #Every #Word. This is ugly and people will stop reading. Instead, write your caption and include your list of relevant hashtags at the end of your caption.
- Study the related hashtags. When you search a hashtag, Instagram shows you Related Hashtags at the top of the feed.
- Use hashtags that are popular but not overused. Check out this example:
Let's say we search the hashtag #motherhood. Over 7 million posts? Your picture will probably get lost. But what about #motherhoodalive or #motherhoodmoments. With less than 100,000 pictures, you have a better chance of getting noticed!
3. Make your Instagram Public
Hashtags don't matter if your account is private; if you're trying to grow a business, you need people to see you. Enough said.
4. Utilize Instastories
Before people will buy from you, especially on social media, they must know, like, and trust you and Instastories are another great way to showcase who you are. So, how can you make the most of this feature? Well, make sure that you utilize different sticker options, like polls, location tagging, and hashtags. Also, you want to mix things up; post pictures, videos, and boomerangs.
For a complete look at the Instagram Stories features, check out this tutorial.
5. Engage with Your Audience
When you're starting out, you probably want to spend 20-30 minutes a day going through hashtags that are relevant to your niche and commenting on people's posts. My strategy is to follow a person's page, like 3 pictures, and comment on 1 post. Now, I'm not posting things like "Cool!" or "I like your content!" - there are robots that can do this for you and it's super obvious and inauthentic and I just don't recommend it.
Instead, write genuine, thoughtful comments. Don't force or fake this - be you, be real, and try to make connections.
The second piece of engagement is responding to people when they comment on your posts. You can thank them, ask a question, or respond in some way to what they said; whatever it is, you are showing them that you care, you notice them, and you appreciate their presence on your page!
Not sure what your niche is?? Sign up for my free resource library here and get access to my Nail Your Niche worksheet so you can create your Ideal Customer avatar.