Social media is another world. A world that can be freaking overwhelming at times. I know I’m right so I’m not even asking the “amiright?” question. Today, we’re talking about arguably the most popular social media platform: Instagram. While I’m far, far from an expert, I have seen some small growth in the last few months and want to share my non-secret secrets.
Before I continue I want to get a few random things off my chest:
- Does Instagram matter in the big scheme of life? LOL…NO. But I’m in the camp of “have fun with it!” because there are some serious benefits to social media if you do it authentically, which I will address.
- Is there one right way to run or grow an Instagram account? No. For some, this information could be common sense or insignificant.
- If you find yourself in a comparison trap (happens to me!) then simply log off social media and take a break. Done, done, done.
Good? Let’s do it.
I’ve had an Instagram account for my blog since October 2014, however, it wasn’t until this January that I started getting serious. By serious, I mean using the platform more strategically and purposefully. That seriousness resulted in growing by 4,500 followers in the last six months. More than that, I’ve built a community and seen an increase in overall post engagement (likes and comments).
Is this a huge or rapid growth? Not at all.
But steady growth? Definitely.
Let’s get one thing straight: while “numbers never lie,” numbers are NOT the end all be all of success. Of course, I say this as a someone with a small blog and small social media following, but I’ve learned to gauge success by other measures. This method might not be for everyone (I’m not making money off my account ((yet)), which people do), but I find it toxic to get caught up in numbers. My main criteria? Engagement.
I think truly engaging with other accounts has been key to my Instagram growth.
By true engagement, I mean:
- Reaching out to OTHER accounts and writing authentic, meaningful comments.
- Responding to comments on my posts.
- Interacting with brands through tags, hashtags and comments.
I’d rather have a smaller number of followers but get a good response on individual photos. You know some accounts that have 15,000+ followers but get 100 likes? Something doesn’t add up. Similar to my blog, I value my Instagram community. I value the connections I’ve made with other people. I appreciate the story-telling, both visual and through captions. Yes, it takes time to comment and respond (I typically give more attention to that area during the weekdays and break on weekends) but it’s been worth it for me.
One specific tool that has helped me realize and grow toward my fullest Instagram potential is the e-course Influence with Instagram. Created by three Instagram experts (Rachel, Georgie and Christina), this course is for anyone, blogger or not, looking to develop a signature style. Plus, if you have a burning question, this course likely has the answer.
Influence with Instagram
What is it?
“It’s a 5-part self-guided e-course teaching you exactly how to build your influence on Instagram.”
How has it helped me?
Along with the e-course, which includes a full audio deck, visual lectures and more, you gain access to the Influence With Instagram Facebook group. Basically another amazing place to ask questions and run ideas by fellow bloggers/Instagrammers. As High School Musical so eloquently stated, “we’re all in this together.” There’s enough room for everyone to succeed, and this course and the creators’ guidance proves just that.
Other things I’ve learned:
-The best photo editing apps
-What hashtags to use for different types of photos
-How to “set the scene” of a photo and tips for iPhone photography
-Tips for working with brands (and eventually seeing an ROI, whether through blog traffic or sponsored Instagram posts)
-How to find and build your tribe/community
I’m proof that growth CAN happen, but it typically takes time and admittedly some strategic effort (all described in this e-course!). No, I haven’t nailed it yet….for example, I should post more frequently (I only have a total of 262 posts) and still have many pictures that aren’t as “successful” as I had hoped. However, it’s a fun challenge and one I will continue to tackle. And, don’t worry, the Behind the Instagram posts aren’t going anywhere :)
If you have an Instagram account or are looking to start one, I highly recommend Influence With Instagram. *If you use the links in this post (here, for reference) you will receive 20% off the full price of the course.* More than just the concrete and proven tips, you’ll get the support and reassurance in your quest to find your unique style. Let me (or Rachel, Georgie or Christina) know if you have any additional questions.
*Disclosure: This post contains Influence With Instagram affiliate links, which means if you make a purchase via the links in this post, I will receive a small commission at no additional cost to you.*