This is a topic that so many companies and individuals talk about and think they have discovered the “key” to growth...the ultimate hack. The truth is, there is no cheat sheet. It’s just about utilizing the tools Instagram provides and, quite honest, being good at it.
Instagram is like a relationship: you get out of it what you put into it.
I’ll be honest. Today I (hey, Malena here) was so frustrated to see that I had lost 100 followers over the course of a few months. Now, in general, losing 100 followers in that amount of time is actually not bad - it’s just that I was ONLY losing, and not gaining.
Then I did a mental audit of my Instagram:
Have I been talking on Stories/showing my face? No.
Have I been engaging with my followers? Only if they comment.
Have I been engaging with people I follow who could be my niche audience? Not really.
Have I been switching up my hashtags? Not enough.
Have I been posting Reels 3-5 times a week? Nope...I haven’t done any in a while!
Have I been posting authentic content (image or captions)? Yes, but that’s not enough.
There are plenty of other factors that go into why you’re not seeing engagement or not growing, but the above are what work best for me.
If you want to grow but don’t want to put in the work, it’s just not going to happen for you. That’s why Social Light exists! We’ll talk more later about what exactly we do for our clients and how each account has different needs.
For now, we’re going to focus on steps you can take to grow, starting with the easiest and ending with what requires the most time, work, or attention.
Instagram has the ability to allow you to be a location-based account. What this means is that, if you run your business in a specific area, where consumers have to come to you, people can actually search that location on Instagram to intentionally or unintentionally find your page.
Here’s an example:
The Joshua Tree House is an AirBnB rental with locations in Joshua Tree, CA & Tucson, AZ (and 2 separate Instagram accounts for each). Since there are 2 different locations and each rental is in a place that attracts tourists, tagging their location in each post is essential.
Respond to Comments
So many people post, let engagement come in, then take advantage of it. Show your gratitude for those who comment on your posts and comment back! If relevant, you can even go to their profile and comment on something of theirs.
This opens your page to feel inviting to followers who you eventually want to become your fans. They followed you for a reason...keep them there!
Engage, Engage, Engage!
Not just with people on your page, but other accounts who are your niche audience! There are countless profiles on Instagram. Once you find ones who you think would enjoy your content, let them know you exist!
This is a great option if you offer a product or service and post about it. You can boost that post without doing any intense advertising, while also gaining eyes from a specific audience on your content and page.
Keep in mind, your post that you boost should at least be somewhat informative. This is how you’ll probably see better results.
Cross-Post on Platforms
If you’re a content creator, a business that sells a product or service, and/or you offer education (graphics are great for that), connect your Instagram to a Pinterest account! Pinterest, like Instagram, is a “visual-first” platform and is a great way to connect with your potential customers/fans and allow them to discover you.
Follow Social Light on Instagram to see our post in the next few weeks on if you should have and be posting on a Pinterest account!
Don’t forget to share posts to your Instagram Stories to ensure your followers know you have a new post (the way the algorithm works, feed posts aren’t seen by several of your followers, so IG Stories is the best way to guarantee more eyes)!
Mix Up Your Hashtags
This is one that isn't talked about too much and takes a little more time and effort on your part.
Basically, the hashtags that are trending or are effective for you today, may not be tomorrow. Therefore, you want to avoid using the same hashtags over and over and over and over again, especially if it’s a same set of hashtags.
While you can use some of the same relevant hashtags for a few, spread out posts, it's recommended that you change up your list of hashtags AT LEAST once a month! Keep hashtags in the Notes app on your phone for easy access, just switch those up from post to post, then change the majority of them out about once a month.
Post on Instagram Stories
This is a social media no-brainer, but it’s not as simple as just throwing up a photo, or reposting others’ content.
Show your face for your first Story post of the day! Instagram prefers and encourages authentic content, and so do your followers.
Here are a few other tips for the week (yes, the week!):
1. Post on your IG Story daily, once every few hours
This benefits your audience AND will also benefit you in return. They see the person behind the account, and you're creating a community which allows your audience to feel comfortable engaging with you.
2. Let your stories "run out" at least once a week
Stories stay up for 24 hours, so once your last piece of content has disappeared, don't post again for another 24 hours! This helps reset your engagement.
3. Then take advantage of Story Stickers
After your 24 hours of not posting on your Stories, have your first Story back use a sticker! Ask a question or include a poll. The longer someone stays on your content, the more Instagram will also show your content to them, providing avenues for higher & more consistent engagement.
There’s a difference between having a cohesive feed and branding. While BOTH are important, here’s the difference:
Looks aesthetically pleasing and put together
Understands your dream client & speaks to them
Communicates your commitment
Conveys feelings, themes, & thoughts
Makes you recognizable on feeds, & therefore memorable
Saves time in customers getting to know you
Aside from the visual aspects that your audience sees, make sure you follow some engagement tips on YOUR end too:
Post images vertically: 1080 x 1350. Use the entire space that Instagram gives you!
Get creative! Think of yourself as an official "content creator"
Need some more intense tips on creating a fully branded feed? Take a look at our blog, So You Want to be an Influencer, Part 1: Branding and So You Want to be an Influencer, Part 2: Shooting Your Content.
We’ve heard comments like “couldn’t I just post myself?”
Here’s the thing...it’s not just posting!
Your brand starts at your mission statement of your business, organization, or why you want to have an online presence if you’re an individual. What WE do is take YOUR information and apply our strategies to transfer that message into a visual and written form so when people come to your social media, they know what you’re all about before they even read anything. Humans are, after all, very visual creatures.
Every detail is thought about:
What days & times are best for scheduling out content?
How often should their content go out?
Should we post more graphics?
Should we post for Reels or videos?
Should we show more of our client’s face?
What call-to-action goes with this image?
Does the photographer’s style match their brand?
Should they be using a different filter?
What types of content should be going out on Stories?
What topics does their audience respond to the most?
How can we keep their content fresh & exciting?
What graphic elements would be engaging but also on-brand?
Is there enough information being provided in their captions?
Is their account easy to navigate?
What platforms would be most beneficial for them, and does their content need to be modified for each to receive maximum engagement?
And this is JUST for planning a client’s layout & content calendar!
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Read for a team or just interested in seeing what we’re all about? Check out our website and send us an email! We’re always happy to help.