Some people love Instagram, some people hate Instagram. But in most cases, the relationship with Instagram feels like unreciprocated love. You love it but Instagram doesn’t feel the same for you… Thankfully, you have here your relationship doctors aka Marta & Greta who want to help you restore your faith in this app.
But before we start, I want to mention that Instagram has seriously changed our lives. We both met on our first press trip in Bucharest and have been friends ever since. Fast forward today, we started this blog together and it is all thanks to Instagram where we first met. And we want the same to happen to you – to travel the World, meet your bestie, start a company!
Sounds good? Great, now follow this roadmap and you will be on 10k followers mark in no time.
1. Know your WHY
People don’t want to know “WHAT” you do, they want to know “WHY” you do it? All great brands are driven by their WHY. Think of your WHY as the heartbeat of your brand. It’s the center of your entire brand universe and it’s one of the most powerful ways to get people to invest in you and your offerings.
It is your job to make people care. And when you define yourself solely by “what” you do it limits you. Making it difficult for people to make an informed decision on whether they should choose you and your business over someone else? But being able to clearly articulate your “why” and confidently share yourself out in the world will help you build lasting, authentic relationships that get others invested in you and your business for the long haul.
And remember no two WHY’s will ever be the same. By focusing on the impact and difference you want to make you’re giving yourself an immediate advantage over your competition. A compelling WHY has the ability to unite and inspire people to want to be part of something great.
2. Write a professional bio!
Usernames and titles are searchable, use this to your advantage! I like creating usernames that give me more freedom just in case I want to change a bit my focus in the future. That is why I picked “wherelifeisgreat” that is all about creating a life you love, financial freedom and travels. You can also use Greta’s approach and add your niche keyword in your username.
When you search for something on Instagram you will get exact username matches, but also the bolded title in your bio can come up as a suggestion. Use this to your advantage by using keywords in your niche. For example, I have Marta I Travel & Fashion and Greta has Greta – Travel Vlogger in the bold title of the bio. If people search travel, fashion or vlogger on Instagram we might come up as a suggestion.
There is no right or wrong for what to write in your bio, however, some of my main tips are:
Make sure people know what to expect
When people land on your account, you want them to read a few lines and know what you’re all about. With my bio, they know to expect photos about traveling, adventure, fun, and the occasional photo pointing to my YouTube channel
Use your one link well
On Instagram you only get one link, you can’t add links to posts like you would on Facebook, you can only add one link to your bio. If you have a blog, YouTube channel, website or anything else outside of Instagram that you want to promote, this is where you can link it. I usually change it every week to my latest YouTube video. I usually post a photo and add to the caption “click the link in my bio to check out my latest video”.
Provide your email
If brands want to get in touch with you to collaborate, an email is usually more professional than a direct message.
3. Brand yourself right
Think again about your WHY. Why do you want to be an Influencer? What do you want to be known for? Is that beauty tips, healthy lifestyle, traveling? Once you choose your niche, be consistent with what you post. For example, on my travel profile, I never share selfies, (not only because I don’t take many selfies ;)) but because it is simply not “on brand”.
You can focus on one topic or think of max 3 related topics that you would like to cover, for example, fitness, food, and interiors.
4. Create a coherent theme & on brand content
It usually takes a person 2 seconds of looking at your feed to decide if they like it or not. That is why not only you need to take care about the quality of your individual pictures but of your feed all together as well.
To keep your feed consistent you need to use a similar color scheme in each picture. To really spice up your game, edit your pictures professionally. It is very easy nowadays to use Lightroom as there is a bunch of Lightroom presets on the market which with just 1 click transform your picture completely. Here you can see mine and Greta’s presets.
Also, schedule your pictures in advance. Use scheduler tool like Later.com or Planoly that will help you see how your pictures work together.
Some ideas to try out when scheduling your posts:
Post close up and further away picture
Post pictures with cold colors (blue, green) and warm colors (red, orange, sunset colors)
5. Collaborate with others
Try to meet up with other content creators traveling in your area, or who are in the same niche. You can go on fun photo shooting and content creation trips together (not everyone has an Instagram husband!) or support each other both within Instagram and outside.
Facebook groups are usually a good place to find others in your niche, I have made some great connections on groups like We Are Travel Girls or Female Travel Bloggers. If not for anything else, it’s nice even just to have someone to talk to about your passions and where you want to go with your Instagram (family and friends are supportive, but they don’t always get it).
Instagram is a marathon, not a sprint, and nobody is successful alone. It will take time to get where you want to be, and getting there with others is the best way to do so.
6. Take part in Instagram challenges
Instagram was originally all about creativity. Every weekend Instagram is creating a hashtag challenge where all Instagram users are encouraged to create a creative picture on a given subject. I highly recommend taking part in Instagram challenges, as not only you will try harder and learn by doing how to create creative photography but also you have a chance to get featured on the official Instagram page.
7. Engage with your audience
As the “influencer marketing” and the Instagram world grow, engagement has become a more important feature than follower number. A lot of brands are starting to see the value in “micro-influencers”, people with a smaller but more engaged following. This also to avoid the accounts with fake followings, or “bots”, who may have bought followers to boost their accounts. An account with 10,000 followers that gets 1,000 likes per photos is more valuable than one with 100,000 followers and only 100 likes per post!
So how do you make sure your engagement is good? Engage with others! When someone new follows you, take some time to check out their account, and try to like and comment on some of their photos (with a meaningful comment, a series of emoticons or a generic “great photo” will sound like a bot and will be ignored). You will soon notice that people will engage back. It’s the same principle as step 5, people like to be liked, so if you invest the time in engaging with others, they will engage with you.
8. Be active the first hour you post a picture
Staying active in the first hour of posting a new picture, is very important for the algorithm to determine whether your post is successful or is a flop. That’s why we be sure that when you post a picture, you have enough time to engage with your audience, answer the comments and like pictures of people who used the same hashtag.
9. Show your personality on stories
Show your followers behind the scenes to the Instagram photos and reach new potential followers. Instagram has been pushing the stories feature lately, adding more filters and options to them. These are a great way to interact with your followers, and reach new ones in the process too. Let’s start with why it’s good for your current followers.
You will often hear Instagrammers talk about reach (mostly complain about it) and how even if they have 20k followers their posts are only being shown to 5k, meaning that 15k of those followers don’t even see your posts, and are less likely to engage with your content. There are multiple reasons why this could happen. The “conspiracy theories” are that Instagram does it on purpose to force you to pay to promote your posts if you want people to see them as Facebook does with pages. It can also just be because someone follows a lot of people, and when scrolling through their home page your last post is just after where they stopped scrolling. With stories, however, you’re guaranteed your own little spot at the top of all your follower’s homepage.
People might not see your photo in their homepage, but they might watch your story and think “hey, I haven’t seen @fromzerotobloghero pics recently, let’s go see what she’s posted” and then engage with your content when they are on your page.
They are also more fun and informal way to interact with your followers, if you ask a question, people are likely to answer back. Since Instagram added the location and hashtag feature to stories, these are also a good way to reach new users. When you search for a location or specific hashtag before the Top 9 you will often see a circle with the stories of people that used that hashtag.
This means that even if you haven’t posted a photo with that hashtag or location, or you posted a while ago and now it’s buried further down by hundreds of other photos, there is instead a chance of people seeing your story. If you make them catchy and interesting, people might come and check out your account too.
10. Be consistent
Content is king but consistency is a queen. If you publish quality content consistently, there is no way you won’t be successful. The most important part is not to get discouraged too easily and to continue publishing pictures no matter what. Last but not least, remember to have fun with Instagram!