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Dream Smarter Podcast Ep7 – How to Grow Your Instagram

Below are the show notes/summary for this episode. Please listen on Apple Podcasts or Spotify for the full show! Xo, Alex

 

 

Now, more than ever, everybody is trying to find success online, so I thought it was really important for me to do an episode on how to grow your Instagram.

 

The world is really shifting into an online platform because we have no idea how long it’s going to take for COVID 19 to stop disrupting our life as we know it. There are many people who are really trying to shift their strategies and move online. So, it’s important that you learn how to grow a professional strategic on-brand and beautiful Instagram presence right now because the world is changing.

I want to preface this episode by stating that I get most of my clients through Instagram currently. That was not the case my entire first year of business. That is why I’m teaching you this today because I find the platform to be extremely helpful when growing a business. So, these are the tips that I’m going to explain today, what’s worked for me and how it can work for you.

 

Tip # 1: Make sure your Instagram is on-brand.

 

When I go to someone’s Instagram and there’s no branding or there’s no theme around it, it really frustrates me. You can immediately tell if somebody has a brand or doesn’t have a brand when you go to their Instagram. So, make sure that shit is beautiful.  If you don’t have a brand, get one, and then move that into your Instagram platform. For example, create beautiful highlight icons that are on brand and tie into your website. Make sure they tie into your branding so that everything is consistent because consistency is key when it comes to business. People trust you when you’re consistent. It’s like a relationship. If you have a boyfriend or a girlfriend or whatever, you trust their consistent behavior.

So, as a business owner, make sure that you’re being consistent in the things that you do online so that your audience trusts you. If you’re having trouble with that, we do have the Dream Further Program here at High Moon studio. Basically, I show you in a week how to brand your social media and make it strategic. So, if you’re interested, hit me up via DM and I will give you all the details on that.

Besides your highlight icons, make sure that you’re curating graphics that are on-brand. So, if you’re making quotes, make sure those are on-brand. Only use the fonts that are in your branding. Stop using other random fonts unless you know why you’re breaking the rules. Some brands use many different fonts, for example, Mayfair Group. They break the rules because they know they can. Even though they’re using different fonts, it’s still on-brand.

 

Tip # 2: Simplify your bio.

 

First of all, people need to understand exactly who you are and what you do. You don’t want people to be guessing what you’re about. I actually got to watch Angie Lee speak at a Hustle and Flow workshop. She talked a lot about creating an Instagram bio that is just simple to the point.

It’s really important that people can quickly understand who you are, what you stand for, and who you serve. A second point to this tip is to add your actual business name to your bio. So, on Instagram you have your name, and then there’s another name that you can add. A lot of people don’t think about it and they just put whatever their business name is, but don’t do that. Put what you do. So, for me, I put branding and website design because people can actually search that on Instagram.

When I’m looking to hire someone or choose someone to be a part of my team, I actually go to Instagram and I search for it. Because I know people who actually put what they do in their name, they are strategic people and I want strategic people on my team.

 

Tip # 3: Create content pillars.

 

Let’s say your Instagram is a pie chart. Imagine every little piece of content that you post on Instagram is in that pie chart. Take every piece of content and separate it into categories and that is creating content pillars. So, for my business, it’s educational posts, quotes, photos of me with personal feelings so that people get to know me and then pieces of my work. Those are my four content pillars.

The reason I share pieces of my work is because I want people to know that I am consistent in what I put out for my clients. Obviously, you want to show your work so that people know that you do a good job. A lot of times the more you work that you show the better. Because a lot of times, I’ll get somebody who reaches out to me via Instagram and they’ll say, “I loved your work before, but I saw this one piece that you posted, and I knew that I had to work with you”. People are drawn to different kinds of projects, so it’s great to keep showing your work as much as possible because you’re going to attract more people and people are going to realize that you are consistent in what you’re outputting for your clients.

And then I share photos of me with personal thoughts on things. The reason why I do that is because, number one, I’ve always been an inspirational, motivational type of human. That’s just something that I really love is pushing people into their dream life. Because I think everyone in the world deserves to have the life of their dreams. I really do. Whether that be working a nine to five or being an entrepreneur, it doesn’t matter. But I think everyone deserves to live a life that they dream of a live a life that they’re super happy with. Being motivational and inspirational is just something that I really enjoy. I also love sharing the photographs that my photographer shoots because they’re beautiful and they’re on brand and they are pieces of art.

Another pillar is that I share quotes. The reason why I share quotes is number one, they’re inspirational, motivational again. And number two, they get a shit ton of shares and a shit ton of saves. And the more people that share my stuff, the more people find me. That’s strategic.

My last pillar is that I share educational pieces. The reason why I share education is because number one, that’s a part of what I am now as a business. I’m doing trainings. So, it ties into that. It also makes people trust that I give them free value. In return, when I do have an offer of some kind, like a training, they are more willing to purchase that because they know that the free value I give them is great and it’s free. They think in their head, well if she’s doing this for free, imagine what she’s doing when people are paying her? I always over-give with my value if it’s free or paid.

Number two, I want to educate my audience and I want to educate my future clients because I know a lot of people don’t really understand branding and website design. Before when I was starting my business, people would come to me and they didn’t have a clue and they didn’t listen and trust my vision and my rules.  So now I’m working on educating all of my clients and future clients because I actually want the best for them. So, it’s great for me to educate them so that they understand what makes a good brand, what makes a good website, and all of those things. I also just want to make the world more beautiful and I want to just give value. So that education piece is part of that. So those are my content pillars. You need to create your own content pillars and you need to figure out why you’re doing each of them and then only post those things.

It makes it really easy because then you don’t have to think all the time about “why am I posting this”? Don’t post shit just to post shit. Post it for a reason. Post it because it’s a part of your content pillars. Do that and I promise posting will be easier and you will get many more likes because everything that you post will be strategic and you will gain a following much quicker than you would otherwise.

 

Tip # 4: Create a pattern in your feed.

 

I’m going to give you a little tip on my pattern and then I’m going to give you a little tip on how to create your own. It’s going to be different for every business, but my pattern is I post a photo and then I post a graphic. Go look at my feed, you’ll see it’s there. It makes my feed look cohesive. It pulls everything together. It makes it look very beautiful. It’s pleasing to the eye because the human eye loves patterns. So, find a pattern and use it in your feed because it will a) make your feed more beautiful and a) make it easier for you to post because you won’t have to question whether something looks good or not because it will be in a pattern.

How do you find patterns that fit your business? What I did to find the pattern is I went to all of the Instagram’s of other businesses in my industry that I really loved, and I analyzed them.

It is amazing what you will find out when you sit, and you analyze another business in your field. Sometimes it’s not always about execution, execution, execution. Sometimes it’s about sitting and looking and analyzing, “why does that work?” And figuring it out in your brain. Finding the patterns, finding those little elements that just really pull a brand and a business together. You can do that, and you can figure it out. You just have to pay attention.

 

Tip # 5: Be consistent with posting and the times that you post.

 

I see some businesses and they’ll post a picture one day, they’ll wait a week, post a picture, then they’ll post two pictures in the same day and then they’ll wait three days and they’ll post one picture and then they’ll post two pictures the next day. It’s just crazy to me.

It’s going to be easier on yourself anyway to be consistent. For me, I’m not 100% consistent. It’s like the 80/20 rule (80% consistency, 20% spontaneity).  Just be consistent as much as you can. I usually post right away when I wake up in the morning and then I post at the end of the workday around five or six o’clock.

I’m not super psycho about the times, but that’s just what’s worked for me and that’s how I have created a pattern in my own life. It’s also easy for your audience because they know that you’re going to post around those times and then it automatically will pop up in their feed.

 

Tip # 6:  Use hashtags.

 

I’m a brand and website designer but I don’t need to post #branding, #logo, #logodesign, #logodesigninspiration, #websitedesign, #showit. I don’t need to post those things. What I need to post is what my audience is looking up for. So, hashtags like #girlboss, #femalefounder, #goaldiggerpodcast. Think about what is my audience, my target market, searching? What are they subscribing to in hashtags? Also, switch it up. I keep a running list of hashtags in my phone and my notes and I will always add to.  Generally, I’ll also add in some specific hashtags for the post that I’m posting because Instagram likes it when you switch things up. They don’t like it when you use the same hashtags every single time. They also love it when you have hashtags that are pertaining to the picture that you’re posting. So just keep an eye on that.

So, use hashtags. There’s no reason why you shouldn’t. You can use up to 30 so do it.

 

Tip # 7: Have a reason behind every post.

 

This is something to do with your content pillars. Don’t just post a post. I hate when I see someone post and they put an emoji as the caption. Have a reason to post. People don’t like it when they can see that you’re being lazy. Why would you want people to look at your feed and be like, “this girl is lazy! She’s obviously posting just to post.”

Make it unique. Make it interesting. Make it one of your content pillars so that there’s a strategy behind it. Because if there’s no strategy, the post is just going to be a post. If you’re just posting to post, just don’t post. Wait until you have enough energy to put more time into it.

 

Tip # 8: Connect with your audience.

 

Respond to every single comment.  That’s what this platform is for; to connect with people. Personalize your business. Get up in there and say hi to them. Respond to them. Make them feel validated for writing on your posts because then they’ll write on your post again and then they’ll like your post the next time. So, give people that validation because it really helps build your audience and build a community around your business and your brand.

 

Tip # 9: Show your face in stories.

 

You have to humanize your business. If people don’t have a face behind what you’re doing, it’s really hard for them to like to feel a connection to it because as humans, we need connection. We search for connection every day in our lives. So, you have to show up, show your face.

If you’re scared, do it anyway. It gets easier. I promise. All of us were scared when we started doing this. I was terrified. I remember even this first podcast episode I posted; I was like scared as shit. I was like, oh my God, nobody’s going to like it. This is so stupid. I’m talking to midair. Everyone’s going to get annoyed with my voice. I was terrified. And then on Instagram too, I was scared to post my face because I thought it was stupid, I thought “nobody gives a shit about what I have to say”.  And that’s not true. People care. Your tribe cares. Not everyone will love you, but your tribe cares. So, show your face, be authentic, be who you are, and connect with your people.

 

Tip # 10: Give people a reason to engage with your content.

 

For instance, on stories, you can do polls or ask questions.  They can just be silly and stupid. They can just be like, “what’s your favorite color? Do you like blue or do you like green better?” It can be something silly, but everyone loves interacting with those pols. And engagement is everything. So, the more you get people to engage on your stories, the more they’ll engage on your posts, and the more they’ll engage with your business. It’s a science.

In your post, you can add questions. Like for instance, one day I said, “how are you guys feeling today with quarantine? Put an emoji story below with how you’re feeling.” I got so many comments on that post because people were excited to engage and share how they were feeling with emojis. it’s a really unique way to help people engage, but people aren’t just going to sit and talk to you and engage in your content if you give them a reason to do that. So, you have to give them a reason to engage. You have to give them a reason to love your brand. You have to give them a reason to talk to you. So, be strategic with your captions. Be strategic with your stories. Really try and get people to engage with your business.

 

So, I really hope that you guys enjoyed today’s episode. Let me know if these tips help you on Instagram. I really love it when people message me and let me know that some of my podcast tips help them in their business and help them make more money so that they can live that dream life they’ve always wanted. Watching you succeed makes me the happiest girl in the world!

 

Click here to listen to the full show on Apple Podcasts

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