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Do you love Instagram but struggle to grow on the platform?
I was a bit late to the smartphone party. I put off getting my first smartphone (an iPhone) until late 2012. And you know what made me finally get one? Instagram.
I felt like everyone I knew was using Instagram, and being a visual person, who also loved to play with photography as a hobby I really, really wanted to get on Instagram. I was always taking photos and wanted a simple place to share my images, that was easy and would collate them together nicely. I would always spot things while out and about that I thought would make a good photo but didn't want to carry a big camera all the time. So the idea of snapping an iPhone pic and putting it on Instagram seemed so perfect.
But being a phone only platform, the only way I could get on there was to finally get an iPhone.
So when I finally got my iPhone and installed the app, I had some funny mindsets around using it.
- Firstly, I felt like it was only appropriate to share iPhone photos on the app. Sharing DSLR photos or graphics to me felt like 'cheating'.
- Being a very visual person and not much of a writer, I saw little point in writing captions. I just wanted to share my photos. If I wanted to write, my blog was the place for that.
- I NEVER used hashtags. I just couldn't be bothered to be honest. I didn't care about the numbers. I just wanted to post my photos. Hashtags just felt spammy to me, and that's not the vibe I wanted to create.
- I didn't promote my business or share my design work AT ALL. Apart from the odd photo of my office, I didn't share anything about my business on my account. Despite my handle being my business name, I just posted personal stuff. I didn't view it as a business building platform.
- That EVERYTHING you share has to be your own. No stock photos, re-sharing images, sharing customer photos or using quotes from other people.
Have you had any funny mindsets around Instagram that have held you back?
When I finally realised that I ought to be using it for my business, I still had some of these deep-seated beliefs, and so I went through an awkward stage of not really knowing what to share on there. I was also going through a slower time in my business, as my boys were very little, and so I had less time to work on client projects, which meant less client work to share.
I did at one stage start a new account when I started a skincare side business, and I was able to grow that account so much faster, as I went into it with a business mindset, and had more strategy and goals. It showed me the difference a mindset shift and some strategy can make.
Why I Want to Grow Instagram in 2020
I have always like Instagram, as I am such a visual person. But I have also tended to try and take on a lot at once rather than focus, and when work and life get super busy, Instagram tends to fall by the wayside.
As I looked at what I wanted to focus on this year, I felt a pull towards Instagram as a main social platform to grow, because:
1. My kind of people hang out on Instagram. Follow creative visual people who make and create cool things.
2. Instagram is that one Platform that I have always struggled to grow. I have a big following on Pinterest and my Facebook page has always done quite well. My twitter naturally grew back in the days when I was active there. But Instagram.. well it's always been a little slow. (mostly my own fault as mentioned before) And I want to change that.
3. I like Instagram, it's a place I really enjoy hanging out. I don't feel that way about Facebook or Twitter anymore.
4. It's a platform I feel you can get really creative on, which I enjoy. Where you can play with graphics, photography, animation, video and get inspired.
5. I feel like I can have deeper connections with people on Instagram. It tends to feel more friendly, warm, playful and approachable. While I have noticed I get more traffic from Facebook, I seem to get more meaningful interaction and sales through Instagram.
6. Instagram is a great way to showcase and build your brand identity. Branding is more than your logo, fonts and colours. It's about showing your personality, evoking emotions, inspiring actions, becoming memorable and recognisable. And Instagram is such a great platform to do that.
So where am I at now?
I took this screenshot before starting my attack plan...so you can see my starting point. (Taken 28th Jan 2020)
My Plan to Grow Instagram (an how you can too)
So this is my plan of attack. Which you can of course copy and reap the benefits too.
A Commitment to Consistency
As I said before when life gets busy I often let Instagram drop off. In fact last year, I posted very little all year. So this time, I am not going to let my feelings hold me back, and I am making Instagram a focus, committing to showing up regularly. I don't want to lose momentum, but keep showing up consistently.
This means regular posts, regular stories, regular IGTV and engaging with other people on the platform regularly.
I always find that when I leave a big gap in showing up that, I feel weird coming back. It can feel a little awkward braking the silence, especially with stories. So making it a habit will make sharing feel easier.
A Commitment to Learning
I will keep learning from social media experts and go back through past Instagram courses I have taken. So I can find the areas I need to improve, and learn from the masters.
A Commitment to Tracking
In order to maintain motivation and feel like I am making progress, I will also be tracking my numbers. Not just followers, but also account views, likes, comments, saves and shares. Looking at how my efforts are affecting my account.
I know that progress can often start slow, but and then take off rather than being linear. So tracking progress especially early on will keep me motivated as I will be able to see that progress is being made, plus it will help me see what posts are getting the best response, so I can continually improve my content.
2020 Instagram Trends
These are a few things I myself have noticed doing well on Instagram this year that I want to implement myself to help work towards growth. It might give you some great ideas too.
You have probably seen plenty of infographics on Pinterest. They always do well for views (however they don't always encourage clicks on Pinterest). They now seem to be taking off on Instagram. Now Instagram being square and small, means keeping it simple and presenting a single idea.
This may look like a graph, pie-chart, key-points in boxes or circles, pyramids, timelines, before and after, this to that, checklist, illustrated list or ven diagram. These are becoming very popular. I first saw them mostly on psychology, mental health or nutrition-related accounts, but now more niches are using these visual ways of representing information.
View this post on Instagram
A post shared by Brand Design Education (@tabithaemma) on Jan 22, 2020 at 10:01am PST
Ok so this is nothing new, quotes have always, and will likely always be popular. Experiment with different styles and layouts. I have also seen people create a carousel with a range of colour variations, so people can share the one that best suits their own brand. Instagram Growth Accelerator also goes into more on the psychology behind quotes and why people will like certain style quotes almost on autopilot.
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A post shared by Brand Design Education (@tabithaemma) on Feb 1, 2020 at 1:13am PST
Carousel Blog Post
Creating a series of graphics as a carousel to teach something or share an idea, has really taken off, as the algorithm loves it. It keeps people on a post longer as they scroll through and it is full of sharable content. This usually starts with a title slide, followed by a tagline or intro slide, a few slides with content to teach or share something (keeping the text fairly short) and then a final post with a thank you and call to action.
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A post shared by Brand Design Education (@tabithaemma) on Jan 18, 2020 at 5:03am PST
Long Captions (mini-blogs)
It's no longer about just letting your visuals shine. While your image draws someone into a post, people also want to read something of interest. Get the conversation going, educate, let people get to know you better, show your expertise. When you give your audience fuel for thought, it gives them more reason to comment and engage, which is great from growing your account and community.
Twitter post screenshots and notification style posts
This is one of those things that you may shy away from as it looks less pretty, but at the same time, you often find yourself seeing them and feeling like they are really relatable and a post you are more likely to like or comment on. These posts feel not only relatable but also familiar. It's part of our everyday online landscape and so we are more likely to engage with it.
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A post shared by VANESSA LAU (@vanessalau.co) on Jan 19, 2020 at 12:49pm PST
Want Instagram to be your greatest Brand Advocate?
Do you struggle to stay consistent on Instagram, and find your account feels messy and isn't attracting your dream audience?
Or perhaps you don't feel you are creating a deeper connection with your audience on Instagram. You post things and just get a couple of likes but no rich engagement or deeper relationships.
...there was a way to get clear on your audience niche (and not just list their job, age and income), attract people who love your work, and create a consistent and meaningful brand experience on your Instagram account?
This is why I created the Brand Gram e-book. To help you implement your brand on Instagram in a way that makes your brand memorable, consistent and cohesive and attracts your dream followers.
With the 'Brand Gram' e-book you can create an account that reflects your brand message and style and creates a deeper connection with your audience with ease.
I'd love to hear from you
Come join me on Instagram to chat more about this! You can comment on a post or send me a DM and let me know your thoughts or ask a question.