Just when you think you’ve finally “cracked the code,” Instagram switches it up AGAIN. Trust me, navigating the ever-changing waters of our beloved app hasn’t been the easiest thing in the world, but if you’re anything like me, you’re ready to dive in and figure out what’s actually working.
As an entrepreneur, Instagram has been absolutely pivotal in my success. From sharing my portfolio with an easy scroll to sharing my life in a way that turns mere followers into eager clients, Instagram is a place not just for growing my business but also creating a community.
So how do you use the app beyond sharing your pretty lattes or cute TBT’s from college? Let me help.
1. Never post in real time
Seriously? Yes. I am telling you to wait. When you post on the fly you’re doing a few things that I wouldn’t recommend: you’re likely slapping on a filter and not paying attention to details, you’re rushing to type a caption (or falling back on emojis!) and you’ll miss the ability to be present in the moment you’re in – you know, the one that you were so eager to photograph.
TIP: Take the shot and then put your phone down. When you have a bit of time, edit it, caption it thoughtfully, and hashtag it intentionally. This will give you the ability to be more present in life and more thoughtful with your feed.
2. Don’t be a “one-hit wonder”
One of the biggest mistakes I see entrepreneurs make is that their feed is one-note. It’s easy (and comfortable) to hide behind your work, but doing so isn’t helping you create true connections online. It’s important to show more aspects of YOU than just your business, people have to first know, like, and trust you before they will ever consider buying from you!
TIP: Choose 5 facets of your life that make you, YOU. Rotate through those 5 categories each week so that your feed is multidimensional and interesting. Share things like: the city you live in, your pets, your hobbies, travels, children, spouse… keep it as personal as you feel so others feel like they know YOU.
3. Use calls to actions
With the algorithm, engagement is the name of the game!
In order to show up in the feeds of your followers, you have to prove your content is worthy. What does this mean? You must encourage people to “like” and comment on your content. The more engagement you have, the more likely you are to have your posts be seen.
TIP: Be intentional with each post and include some sort of invitation for your followers. Ask a question, tell them to “double tap” if they agree, have them tag a friend below, whatever that looks like for you! Just include an invitation to engage with you in every post to boost your algorithm odds!
4. Hashtag intentionally
Did you know that if you are using hashtags, you are 12.6% more likely to receive engagement on your post? I’ll take those odds and put them to work. Gone are the days when you should copy/paste the same list of hashtags for every post (thanks a lot, shadow banning!) It’s time that you get intentional with your use of hashtags and really think about what your dream clients are searching for, so that you can end up in front of them!
TIP: For every post you publish, you have 30 opportunities to use great hashtags. I love to hedge my bets and use both wide tags and narrow tags. For example, if I am sharing a wedding photo that I took, I might use #wedding AND #wisconsinwedding to reach both a broad and narrow audience.
5. Build your community
It’s easy to log in and mindlessly scroll, but what would it look like if you logged in and spent 20 minutes encouraging people you follow OR people who follow you? Set a timer and log in with the intention of fostering community. It might sound crazy, but some of my dearest friends were found on this silly app.
TIP: If people are taking the time to engage with you, take a few minutes to comment back, thank them, or even hop over to their feed and return the favor. Trust me, it will not go unnoticed and it will encourage people to continue to engage with you in the future.
Social media continues to change on a daily basis, and it’s our jobs as marketers to learn how to pivot when a new change impacts the way we are reaching our clients online. Have fun with it, share your story, and create true relationships both on and off of the app.