In six months of careful, strategic curation, I brought my Instagram brand from 2K to 10K and got the coveted “swipe up” for more in my stories. It may not SOUND like a big deal but as a digital marketer with many offerings, products and places to drive my ideal customer, it SO is! In these six months, I can also directly attribute clients and conversions back to my Instagram looking the way it does — so that means I turned my Instagram followers into clients. This blog will share more on how YOU can do the same.
Instagram is a powerful tool for conversions — paid and free — if you use it correctly. It may seem like magic, but I promise you there was a lot of love (of self), sweat (of hard #werk) and tears (of joy) on the journey to 10K for me. A LOT of it.
If you only read this far into the post, I can tell you the ONE thing you need to do to grow an authentic following (because yes, mine is also verified by one of the hottest influencer programs, Fohr) is this: training your audience by giving them content they want to see on a consistent basis with your unique, authentic voice.
That’s really all it takes to grow your following.
Of course, there are many strategies to get there and many ways to deploy these recommended strategies for success long-term but that ONE thing IS the key to success… and now, for the rest:
Get Your Look On Point
Instagram is THE most visual platform of the current “cool kids” on the social media block. It’s all about getting an image that speaks to what you’re selling AND to your ideal client. You might think that an image is perfect for your brand but if it doesn’t resonate with your client? Don’t post it. This makes me CRAZY when I’m working with clients — I know, I know, I KNOW you love the photos you’ve taken and curated as you built your brand but I also am an expert at increasing engagement per post — promise me when I say I know what your audience wants.
How can you figure this out without working with me? Well, guess, test and review is one solid strategy (and you can download a freebie on how to do that here). You can also check out your competitors and see what their audience is responding to — chances are, if they’re in your zone of genius, their followers are followers YOU want to bring over to your tribe too.
And, you can also check out the Instagram patterns that play well for large influencers. There are proven strategies that get results — the key is to put YOUR spin on it to make it authentic to you and attract your tribe like bees to a hive.
Strategic Promotions are Necessary
Facebook Ads are something I’m quite passionate about. Investments tell the Universe that you’re ready for BIG things and that’s important on many levels.
In terms of “the woo,” it is important to have a mindset for success. It’s why I share daily mantras on my Instagram profile — to hold MYSELF accountable to keeping a positive and optimistic mindset no matter what else is happening in my world.
In terms of practical strategy, it shows Facebook (which owns Instagram and is the “holder” for Instagram ads and boosted posts) that you’re interested in using this tool as a business-builder and that you’re ready to invest to do so. That’s big in the eyes of the algorithm and important for you to understand as you grow your brand.
By boosting individual posts on your Instagram Profile and also setting up small, strategic investments in dark posts through Facebook Business Manager for Instagram-only ads, you’re creating a loop of promotion that will attract the right people at the right time, every time.
The more you grow, the more likely your posts are to show up in the Top Posts feed for the hashtags you use (and if you’re not using at least 1 hashtag, you’re missing out; two hashtags is best for most brands in terms of getting optimal engagement… but that really varies and I often do use the full 10 until you reach at least 15K followers) which will then put you in front of many, many more of your ideal clients and their friends.
Should. Struggle. Obstacle.
I am on a mission to erase these words from my vocabulary when it comes to my business and my business-building efforts. It’s working, I made 6 figures in the first 6 months of this year which is only my second full year of entrepreneurship, but it is a challenge. Which I now see as an opportunity for behavior change that is really resonating with my audience.
Why should you care about this? Because BEING AUTHENTIC is a huge lesson learned on the journey to 10K (over 10K now… insert GIF happy dance here, y’all!).
Sharing the ups, downs and #lifelessons learned is a huge part of what makes the most powerful influencers powerful. Sure, beautiful photos get a bunch of likes and comments but how many of those likes turn to business? How many of those comments turn to cash?
Being authentic is what brings in the PAID conversions from Instagram and it is what sustains a brand long-term.
You’re not a flash in the pan — you’re in it for the long-haul and your brand will reflect that if you are authentically you every time you show up on Instagram.
Engage the Right People
I refer to Instagram as a vertical network. Twitter and Facebook are horizontal networks — because I see something in my main feed and immediately share it to my profile, making a horizontal leap, whereas with Instagram, I see something, I like it and I move on. I may reshare down the road, but the way someone will engage with it is, most likely, in a vertical view on their own feed.
The way to get around that on Instagram is to actually LIKE, COMMENT AND ENGAGE users on THEIR profiles, their photos and their content.
Reply to a story from a big influencer, share an authentic comment on posts that resonate with you.
Dedicate time to actually engaging with the community you want to build. It’s a “woo” thing — showing up the way you want your tribe to engage with you — but it’s also a strategic thing. The more you comment, like and engage, the more your username shows up in the circles you want to play.
Timing is Everything
Did you know that I’ve built over 25 Instagram accounts from scratch? Most of them have at least 10K followers if not more within the first 4 months of my control.
Why? Because I am as strategic about WHEN I share as I am about WHAT I share.
This is where switching to an Instagram Business Profile comes in handy. There are many, many different viewpoints on this but in my opinion and experience, it is the ONLY way to go.
The “research” says you should post in the morning on Instagram and yet, for most accounts, I see (in all different time zones and verticals) 7pm-11pm ET is the most active time frame.
Check your times, guess, test and review and check ‘em again, I promise it’ll be worth it!
Stick to the Plan
If you’ve read this far, I applaud you. I know this one is long but it’s FULL of good information.
This piece is one of the most important pieces of information I can share.
I cannot tell you how many times I thought about breaking my pattern for something cool or more relevant to that DAY or EVENT.
And I stopped myself because I was committed to my strategy.
And guess what? It worked.
Curate content… share things in real time on InstaStory but for your feed? Treat it with kid gloves and, whatever you do, stick to the plan you’ve chosen for at least 6-8 weeks. By then, you’ll have an idea of if it’s working and how to shift if not (or you could just work with me in one of my 1:1 coaching + execution programs!).
Give the plan time to work and enough data to review. That is what will keep your brand healthy for the long-haul, I promise.
If you’re looking for Instagram support, let’s schedule a discovery call and see how I can help YOU get the BIG results I’m known for.