Welcome back! In this blog series, we are exploring some of the keys to being successful on Instagram. But first, a word of warning.
Are you looking for the top secret strategy to Instagram your way to huge success? Looking for that one tip or trick to up your engagement and find yourself with thousands of followers?
Because secretly, we all believe that there’s just some formula out there that we don’t yet know about yet, don’t we?
This is not that article. If there’s a trick or a formula, I don’t know it.
But what I do know is this. I’ve been instagramming for a few years now, sometimes successfully, sometimes less so. And in the last two months, I’ve managed to grow a brand new account from zero – yep, ZERO – subscribers to 5K, without purchasing any followers or doing any silly follow for follow games. I’ve applied some things I already knew, tried a bunch of new ideas, and I want to share with you what’s working and not working.
Instagram, according to me, all comes down to a few simple principles.
Part one explored the first principle – defining, understanding, and finding your ideal audience. Because if you don’t have the right audience, it doesn’t matter how great your instagram skills are.
Part two involves interacting.
So let’s say you’ve thought through the items in part one, targeted a bunch of well-focused followers, and started following them. How do you entice them to not only follow you back but stay involved in your feed for the long term?
Here’s the non-surprising answer to this question: you have to interact.
Here are a few thoughts on how to interact well.
- If someone reaches out to you, always respond. When someone takes the time to comment on one of your photos, comment back and thank them or engage in a conversation. This is the best way to get to know your followers and keep them coming back.
- On the other hand, please don’t spam. Sending an automated direct message to every single person who follows you isn’t helpful. There are probably a million articles out there about instagram marketing that tell you to do exactly this, but for any account with a good sized audience base, this runs the risk of being both distracting and annoying. Also, I just can’t believe it works. Has anyone reading this ever followed up on a coupon code they’ve gotten unbidden in a direct message as soon as they follow someone? I know I haven’t.
That’s not to say direct messages aren’t a great tool. But it’s much better to reach out with a more personalized and thought out question, comment, or introduction. Call this my little bit of tough love for this post. If you don’t want people to treat you like a spam bot that clogs up their inbox, don’t act like a bot.
- Remember that instagram is a two way street! As much as you want people to like and comment on your content, all of your followers want the exact same thing. Try to schedule in time here and there to go through your feed, see what’s new from your followers, and like and comment on a few things.
- Don’t fake it. It’s important to be genuine. Don’t like things you don’t actually like. Don’t post the same comment on a bunch of different pictures. Try to find things you genuinely like and interact with those posts. Try to show your personality a little bit in your interactions. Remember – your followers aren’t looking for a generic account to interact with. They’re looking for a person.
- Share the love! If someone else posts something great, don’t hesitate to share. Sometimes handcrafted biz owners get into a mindset where everyone else is the competition and we can’t share things posted by other people. I’m here to tell you that’s counterproductive. If someone else has a beautiful picture or a helpful post, feel free to repost (with attribution!!!) and help send some audience over to their feed. There is enough love to go around in the instagram universe, take it from me.
All right crafty friends, that’s it for today! I hope you’re enjoying the series! Hop on over to the instagram feed to see what we’ve been discovering lately, and stay tuned for part three of our series – posting enticing content!