Recently, I hit 65K on Instagram! I couldn’t be more grateful for the love and support I continue to receive from this incredible community. I do want to preface this post by saying this did not happen overnight, there’s no magic method or guarantee, but I’ve learned several hacks and tricks along the way that have worked for me to grow on Instagram, so I would love to share them with you.
My motto is to rise by lifting others up. We all have something different to offer, even in an industry as saturated as blogging. I truly believe in supporting and empowering other women. We can all make it at the top.
Secondly, I want to emphasize that your following and engagement on Instagram has no direct correlation to the quality of content you create, popularity meter, and especially, worth as a human being. Instagram is an innovative and creative space, and I am lucky enough to call it my part time job (and you can too- keep reading!), but it can also be the basis of insecurity, comparison, self-esteem, and jealousy when used unwisely.
Your mental health comes first, and social media breaks are necessary for us all. But with that said, if you choose to pursue Instagram as a creative (business owner, blogger, influencer, etc.) then keep reading to learn how to grow your page and turn social media into an additional stream of income. Instagram is removing it’s ‘ public like count’ soon, but you will still be able to view your likes in your insights and these tips will still up your engagement and allow you to grow faster on Instagram.
Establishing Your Niche
Before starting your business page or blog, it’s important to ask yourself these questions:
- What problem are you solving for your audience?
- Who is the intended audience you are creating content for?
- What do you want followers to take away from your posts?
Once you discover what you want to post about, focus in on those few categories. For me, I am a women empowerment blogger and social media coach. My audience is women and my demographics are over 80% women followers. My niche is helping entrepreneurs maximize their profit through social media optimization.
Your niche is not your job title, or what you specialize in, for example- switch “Fitness Instructor” to “I help working professionals stay active through customized workouts” or instead of “Life Coach”, ” I help coaches overcome anxiety and launch a successful business”
This helps people understand your intended audience and what you have to offer as soon as they visit your page and expect content within that realm.
💡 Pro Tip: Add this to the first line of your bio where your name is, this helps people who are searching for an existing problem…find the problem solver, YOU.
For content creators: I rarely stray away from the lifestyle/IG growth/motherhood brands when blogging, but may partner with a brand that has a subcategory in lifestyle>food or motherhood>kids games, but make sure it’s a brand I stand behind and love their products. I never work with brands that don’t align with my values and genuinely work.
You want to build trust with your audience and know that if a product or service makes it to your page, that they can trust its “Stay Beautifful verified” or ___your brand here___ verified and know it’s top notch.
I created a mood board that listed both short and long term goals for myself and a mission statement that I wanted to stand by. I promised to always be authentic and transparent about my life so others would feel less alone, and know that my DMs are always open to chat or vent to. I still get messages today from videos and posts months or even years before, sharing their personal struggle or how they’ve related to my story, and it makes me smile each time that they’ve reached out and recognized that you don’t have to suffer alone.
Tips & Tricks to Grow
- Use Stories: Post on your Stories to show your audience a behind-the-scenes to your life. I always tag locations and major cities to be seen by new eyes. (💡 Pro tip: Instagram shows your Stories to followers who have engaged with your Stories- so add ask boxes, polls, links)
Use apps to showcase your Stories. My favorites are Storyluxe and Unfold! Time-lapse videos are also engaging for cleaning, decorating, or following along your day! Use the app inShot to slow the time-lapse down to a viewable pace.
- Use ALL of Instagram’s Features: I read that Instagram prioritizes posts from people who make use of ALL their features (post photos/videos/Stories/IGTV) so use it to your favor!
IG LIVE tip: Go on Live more- your Story icon will be FIRST out of all of the options on your followers feeds. Leverage this tool especially when you have a launch, promotion, new project, etc.
- Follow #Hashtags: Instagram gives you the option to ‘follow’ hashtags you use, so take advantage! Engage with posts under that niche and follow new influencers and creators! It’s an amazing way to network and even find people who do what you do locally. 9 out of 10 times I’ve done that, they’ve stayed long time followers and friends, and we continue to engage on one another’s posts and even shot photos together!
Rules for maximum visibility: Do hashtag research to see which hashtags you should be using, and mix bigger and smaller hashtags together for a chance to be featured. Engage with those on the Top Posts to show Instagram you are active, and it will bump you higher on those hashtags and your follower’s feeds.
- Tag your location: Brands go through geotags and find bloggers in major cities. So even if the photo wasn’t taken in a major city but you’re nearby, tag it! Major brands use this method to invite creators to VIP events, and other creators use it to network so don’t miss out. This photo was taken in Mountain View, but I tagged San Francisco and used #sfblogger, #bayareablogger, and I still see it on the top posts!
- Engagement groups: Grab a few of your favorite blogger friends in a Instagram Direct Messaging group chat and use an emoji or phrase whenever one uploads a new photo- then like, save, and comment! Support one another. Facebook groups have also been a hit recently. I started one a year ago called Insta Girl Gang. In just over a year, it’s reached 12,000+ members. We do daily engagement threads, allow a safe space for questions and advice, and even fun events!
- What do you want your followers to take away from your page?
- What narrative are you telling through your posts?
For me, I started creating content as a beauty influencer, in a dark time when I was dealing with a separation from my child’s father, and struggling with postpartum depression while working from home and going to school. I turned to beauty blogging and creative makeup looks as a way to distract from my day-to-day while finding me-time for myself, and an expression of beauty.
Since then, I have made videos on Coparenting, How I Stopped Breastfeeding, How to be a Happy, Healthy Single Mom, and my pregnancy story: 18 & Pregnant. I connected my own past hurts and journeys to transform them into lessons and stories that others could find takeaways from. This allowed me to grow on Instagram by relating to others and opening my platform for people to seek advice from me at anytime. I’ve nurtured those relationships by continuing to engage, check in, and create content based on the issues I’ve seen from that audience, and my new intended audience, entrepreneurs I want to work with through social media coaching.
How to Make $ From Your Platform
In order to grow on Instagram and turn it into an income, you must learn to monetize your platform. Here are a few key tips- if you’d like to learn more in depth and reach your goals together, set up a coaching consultation with me!
- Join third party agency websites! These sites act as a Tinder for influencers. Companies will create profiles and select influencers they like, or influencers can apply to active campaigns that a company has posted that’s within their niche! A few of my favorites are:
- Wondering how much your platform is worth? I use SocialBlueBook to see how much I can charge per post/video. You can also calculate $100 per thousandth follower to see an average. Don’t be afraid to ask “Is there a budget for this campaign” If a brand reaches out to you for a “gifting” option rather than compensation.
- Know your worth and stand your ground. Your work is valuable. Do not let brands walk over you, and protect yourself with contracts. If a brand is requesting you to purchase their items even at a discount, it isn’t worth it. Brands should be gifting you product, and compensating you for your time. I have flat rates for posts, Stories, and combined packages that are listed in my media kit. (It also helps to see what rates other bloggers within the same audience range as you are offering too)
- You can start partnering with brands when you hit the 5k-10k range of followers on Instagram, although some influencers start earlier depending on engagement. My advice is to build your audience first, engage, network and post consistently, then cultivate brand partnerships. Find a posting schedule that works for you and prioritize it!
- It always helps to add a media kit (you can create a simple one on Canva for free!) and attach images if you using their services/products! If I am pitching to a fashion company, I link 2-3 images of Instagram posts with the brand tagged, and it helps grab their attention instantly. I believe in keeping things straight and to the point. Most people don’t have time to read a long, drawn out email, and would prefer to see the purpose and call to action instantly.
- Don’t forget to add your name, title (mine says Brand Owner/Creator) and your social links. You can even embed them into little image icons to keep it clean and neat.
Let me know which part of the blog post resonated most with you! Comment down below 👇🏼
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