Instagram is something I have a love hate relationship with. Can I get an AMEN from you if you feel the same over there? Yeahhh, I have a feelin’ your shouting AMEN at your computer screen right now, am I right?
Instagram is by far the most actively used and utilized social media platform out there, with a staggering amount of users. In fact, there are over 800 million active users on Instagram, say whaaat? That means that your ideal customer or audience member is out there!
Another staggering stat? 60% of consumers find out about new brands, products, places, events, and opportunities through Instagram. That is no number to scoff at, dear friend! We’ve moved so far past only utilizing this app for sharing pictures of your puppy (though, I’m here for the puppy pics so please don’t ever stop those!)
So if you’re like me and sometimes you might want to bang your head against the wall with the ever changing algorithm, I have a few tricks up my sleeve that have helped me up my Instagram game in recent months. If you’re ready to start utilizing this platform to its full potential in 2019, start right here girlfriend!
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Update Your Instagram Bio
First things first, update that bio boo. I like to refer to your bio as your elevator pitch to your potential followers/customers/clients/future bffs. If you’re using Instagram as a platform to sell in anyway (and don’t shy away from this! Education & selling make the world go round and if you have a biz of any kind, you should be using Instagram for this) you’ve got less than five seconds to grab someone’s attention.
You have 150 characters to present yourself in a way that makes your ideal follower click that little blue button. In my opinion, the ideal IG bio has 4 things. You must include who you are, what you do, how you can help them, and a CTA (call to action!). Don’t underutilize/undervalue this aspect, for real. When I changed my CTA on my IG recently, I quadrupled my email subscriber list!
An example of a call to action could be “Sign up to get new recipes delivered to your inbox weekly” Or, “Snag my (totally free!) paleo cookbook!”
Okay so now that you’ve got a pretty and irresistible new IG Bio tied up in a bow, it’s time to move onto your actual feed. Ready to dive in?
Instagram like a Pro & Post Consistently
Okay, okay, before you roll your eyes and say “duh, Steph!” stick with me here, because this is the most important aspect of allll of this. In order to grow on Instagram and show up in your followers feeds, you need to be posting on a consistent schedule. Whether that’s once or twice a day is completely up to you, but just make sure it’s consistent. Don’t take a week long breaks from posting.
Think you don’t have time? I feel you on that, girl. I talk about some of my favorite scheduling apps right here that help will help you batch and schedule content (and have it autopost for you, it’s like magic!) so you can take your life back. Because I completely understand you don’t want to have your phone glued in your hand 24/7.
More importantly than posting consistently, is posting quality content, and I don’t just mean the photos (because that’s truly only half the battle..). But make sure that the content you are posting is helpful and engaging to your audience. Posting captions that are just emojis, are helpful to no one. Personally, I connect so much more when people I follow share a story along with their image. Whether it’s a story, a lesson, advice, tip, or knowledge, sharing something helpful will connect with your audience so much more and prompt them to engage with you! Plus, it’s a perfect way for them to get to know you even better.
Grow on Instagram by Analyzing Your Analytics
Speaking of posting consistently, utilizing your analytics is so key here! If you have an Instagram business account (and if you don’t, I highly recommend switching to one) the analytics provided here are quite robust.
You’re able to look at where your followers are from, the percentage of male/female followers, and when they’re online. This will allow you to dive deeper into knowing when to post so you can utilize the time your followers are the most active to engage (and see!) your content. This might be easy to skip over, but it’s so, so important!
For example, with the way Instagram’s algorithm works, it only shows your post to a certain percentage of your followers (RIP, real time timeline) based on how those followers respond to it, Instagram will either continue to show your post to other followers, or it pretty much disappears. Ugh. This is why posting at a time when it’s organically possible to have the most eyeballs on it is so key! You should give yourself the biggest chance right out of the gate to get your beautifully crafted content in front of as many people as possible.
Start With Instagram Stories
Eeeek. I know. Stories can feel so scary, and like…what the heck do I post about?! I personally felt this myself, and was so nervous to jump on stories full time. But when I did? My relationships with my community seriously skyrocketed! Believe me, I completely understand how vulnerable (and tbh, just strange) it can feel to talk to your phone.
But at the end of the day, it allows your community to get to know you in a way that isn’t as scripted as your Instagram feed. I love utilizing the poll feature, and asking questions in my stories! It prompts engagement and allows you to feel connected to your audience. Not to mention, Instagram at the end of the day, is a business, and it wants you to utilize its features. So if you’re not using stories, believe me, it’s hurting your engagement in the long run!
Pro Tip: If you’re traveling somewhere, always geotag your location! There’s a good chance you’ll end up in that cities story. For example, I always geotag Barcelona, and end up in the Barcelona instagram story quite a bit!
Utilize The Correct Hashtags (and use all of them!)
When I first started using Instagram as more than a personal sharing platform, I thought hashtags looked super spammy. Any of you guys ever felt the same?
When I moved into using it to start building my online business, I realized the true power of the pound sign. It’s one of the OG ways to grow your Instagram, and it still holds true to this day. They key here is to utilize hashtags that have that sweet spot in terms of the amount of times it’s being used. If you’re just starting out on Instagram, your post will get totally lost in something like #lifestyleblogger. But if you get more specific, and use something like #seekthesimplicity, you’ll have a better chance of getting seen. Not too mention, utilizing the correct hashtags will give you a better chance of showing up on the explore page.
Lastly, I like to compare hashtags to playing the lottery. If you had a chance to win the lottery, and were gifted 30 tickets, would you only use 5 of them and give the other 25 away? UM, nope! You’d utilize all 30! You can use 30 hashtags on Instagram, and I highly suggest utilizing every single one.
Pro Tip: If you’re traveling to a new city, always implement that city’s hashtag! You can always count on “igers-insertcity name here” to be a fabulous way to connect. For example, I use #igersbarcelona, and have found friends here in Barcelona that way! Speaking of connecting with people…
Serve Your Community
This is one of my biggest tips, and you might wondering right about know what I mean by “serve your community”. At the end of the day, you need to be showing up for you community. What kind of content is resonating with them? What purpose are you serving? How are you helping them?
Make sure the content your sharing is relevant to why your audience is following you. So as bad as you might want to share that picture of your #ootd, if you’re a home interior blogger, it’s not likely going to register with your audience, and may cause someone to unfollow you. Always keep your community in mind, and the content will flow!
Find Your Aesthetic
At the end of the day, Instagram is a very visual platform. Having a visually consistent feed is so key to garnering new followers, and showing up consistently for your current community. Remember what we talked about when it comes to posting quality content? That applies here too, boo.
Using a consistent editing style here is so crucial. One of my very favorite editing apps is Lightroom, and I haven’t turned back since I started using it! I have the paid version for my laptop that I utilize daily, but they also have a free mobile version! Here’s an example of what my feed looked like before and after I started using Lightroom. It’s one of my go-to Instagram apps that helped me grow my audience from 0-20k, and how you can utilize these to grow too!