Every Q&A I do, this question pops up. Seeing as my studies today require me to spend seven hours reading a beginner guide to blogging (and a WordPress step-by-step guide), I decided to procrastinate and write this blog (on my WordPress site) instead. Sorry, professor, I have more interesting things to do!
Building your social media profiles, and Instagram in particular, is really trendy at the moment. I’m not going to lie – a lot of people are growing up with the sole purpose of becoming “influencers” as a profession. I’m not all too sure what I think about that, and especially considering a lot of adults to not know enough about this influencer-thing to guide their children and teens to pursue their dreams in a safe way, but here I am anyways – to give a few tips and tricks.
Growing your Instagram account require quite some dedication, and some in-depth knowlege about the platform. I’m not going to go on with some deep level lecturing here, but I do have a checklist that you might want to have a look at – if your goal is to grow an audience. Just take a moment to think about why you would like to grow your account first.
1. Find your thing
If you want to grow an audience, you must find out what you are basing your growing on. If “your thing” is you – great! But you might want to look into a niche that represents you. To me, it’s been horses and animals – and more obviously, Lillen. People must have some thing to grab a hold on, to remember you by. By representing a niche, you are also making sure the people who follow you, are interested in what you are doing. People will come for your niche, and stay for your personality. Show both of them.
2. Learn how the platform (Instagram) works
“Thanks, captain obvious” but YES. You need to know how to upload, tag people, hashtag properly, mention, geo tag, upload stories, use story stickers and other features. Within the “learn instagram” thing, you must also know more about how the algorithm works. Me explaining this would enter this whole “deep level lecturing” I promised I wouldn’t get into, but some good old Google-Fu should help you understand the algorithm better. Remember that sources must be as up-to-date as possible, as algorithms change frequently.
3. Create content
Remember that 3 second rule, which prohibits bacteria to touch your food for 3 whole seconds whilst you scramble together to pick your toast up from the floor? The 3 second thing is a thing on Instagram too. Different sources says different things, but the ones I hear the most, is that you have 3 seconds or less to catch someones attention on the explore page. The cute photo of your cute bay horse, is not likely to be very interesting. I’m awfully sorry to say it, but it’s how it works. Remember that your feed should look wholesome too, not just each and every photo.
4. Learn photography, and team up with photographers
You just have to. For a lot of situations, your phone is all the equipment you need, if you have some skills and can use it.
5. Accept you must spend time
Post when your followers are online, post frequently, and accept that growing an audience is not something you can do with 5 minutes engagement daily. Okay, maybe YOU can, but most of us certainly cannot. Reply to comments, answer DM’s, comment on other people’s posts. Be online. Your account is not going to grow itself.
6. What do you enjoy?
Have a look at the content you follow and the people you love within your niche. What are they doing that you enjoy so much? Step out of your fan girl bubble, and analyze their content. Look at their numbers, see what does well, and try to learn why. Not because you are going to copy them, but because understanding what’s trending in your niche is going to be a big advantage.
If you are going to care about the numbers, you must care about the numbers throughout the entire process. From planning a photoshoot, to executing it, to making the post and writing the caption… Numbers, numbers, numbers. To make it even worse – the numbers really don’t care about you. If your goal is to grow, you should spend time learning about the benchmarks in your niche, and set some goals and plans for where you want your account to be.
The hard part, is to use your analytic part of the brain to be aware of the numbers, yet not allow the numbers to make you feel bad about your content. Numbers are purely a source of statistics, and the biggest fight content creators go through, is to not take numbers personal.
The past seven days I’ve lost about 500 followers, and that is an average for me. Is it personal? Of course not! These are 500 individuals that throughout their day has been exposed to my content and thought… “nahh, this isn’t for me anymore”. Just like you and I do, when we see something on our feed that just isn’t appealing to us.
Caring about numbers does not equal being obsessed with them. You must be aware them. And if being aware of the numbers is causing your mental health to struggle, please please please stop, or take a break from the pressure of growing. You can upload, and enjoy what you do and create, without pressuring yourself to grow. Becasue trust me; sitting on your fancy throne means nothing if it’s the most uncomfortable chair in the world!
8. Have fun
Sounds cliche, but if you’re online and posting, and you’re not in a good state of mind, people will see it. Posting content and growing your Instagram account will for most of us just be a fun side-thing in our life, and if it ever stops being fun, we should all sit down, have a look at it, and figure out why. Is it your approach to social media you don’t like, or is it what content you are creating? Settling for not growing your account, and just having fun, might be more important to you – and who knows? Maybe you having fun will be an advantage anyways?
And that’s about it.
At least if I’m not deep diving into each and every topic. A little bit of strategy, a little bit of numbers, having fun and being yourself. It’s all up to you, and the algorithm.
I’m no guru and I don’t pretend to be, but people have asked me this question a lot, and although I keep saying you could Google-Fu some really good answers, some seem to really want hear my opinions on it.
I’ll now go back in a weak attempt to finish today’s chapters, I have one tiny one left and it’s about how to make money off your blog. It sounds interesting, but I suspect it will not be very up to date, nor relevant, for my niche at least 😛
Have a great day! Stay safe, wash your hands, and don’t sneeze. Oh, and don’t scratch your healing tattoo, if you have one.