How to Start a Successful Instagram Account in 2018!
Starting an Instagram account from scratch can be intimidating – in fact social media can be daunting for even the most experienced mavens. If you’re not already on Instagram – I need to know what you actually do in your spare time! Whether you’re an up and coming entrepreneur or you’re looking to expand your social media scene on a personal level, this article will guide you from the basics to expert status in no-time.
Not only is Instagram highly visual, but it’s organic, and almost every person uses it, making it ideal for driving a new biz forward or even just for fun. Don’t take this advice lightly either – coming from someone who not only makes a living out of Instagram but also dedicates every free second to scrolling through endless content. Suffice it to say that Instagram is an ever-growing platform that is second to none when it comes to digital marketing.
Make Your Profile Stand Out
Your profile page on Instagram is like the face of your entire brand or personality.
Here are your profile essentials:
A profile pic. Many brands use their company logo, which is smart and leaves no confusion as to what account people land on. Don’t ever leave it blank! And please make sure your image is high quality. If your picture is of you – make sure the photo is clear.
Your website. If you have a website – this is the only spot on Instagram where you can insert a link to direct your audience somewhere else. Unless you have over 10K followers, in which case you have the swipe up feature in your stories. Otherwise display your website, so people can learn more about your biz.
Your bio. This should be short and sweet, since it’s limited to 150 characters. Sum up who you are and what you do – keep it catchy. Instagrammers have no time to waste. Make sure to use emojis – you don’t want to bore people with the only space they have to learn about you.
Decide on either a regular or business account. This is up to you. I recommend identifying your profile as a business – it not only comes with built in tools to help you grow, but it also legitimizes your company, and you on the Instagram publicizing path.
Identify Your Target Audience
The point of Instagram is to develop an online community that shares a love for your brand and/or your content. In order to create a plan that will connect your strategy to reaching your audience, you must first determine who you’re trying to reach with those little squares. Knowing your audience means you will be able to target locations, use relevant hashtags, and post content that you KNOW your followers will love.
Establish a Voice and Tone
In a nutshell: your personality. Are you fluent in puns? Sarcastic? Or sweet? Figuring out your tone of voice will display your brand assets to your audience in a way that is unique to you. Not only is a well-crafted brand voice essential to marketing efforts, but it’s also key to driving any loyal followers. You want people to say, “That’s so (brand name/your name).”
Make a Content Plan
This is the fun part. Pretty pictures! Instagram stories! Videos! “But what do I post?”
That is the question. A content plan is not only essential but makes up your entire Instagram strategy, it sets the tone for your profile. Don’t just start posting random pics – unless that’s what you’re going for.
If you’re at a loss for where to start, brainstorm on ideas, assess what your competitors are doing or accounts you love, and then re-examine your strategy and target market. These points always inspire a few ideas.
Consistency is key. It’s important to establish a steady plot to gain your follower’s trust. Don’t suddenly start posting about a new cake shop in the area if your main focus has always been health and fitness.
Your aesthetic. That goes for individual image quality as well as overall appearance. Use the same filters, make sure your images flow and look like they belong together.
Your tone of voice. Be true to yourself and your brand – allow your natural style to show throughout in your feed.
Your posting frequency. Post frequently to establish a rhythm with your audience. Once you have over 100 followers you can access Instagram analytics – if you’re a business account – and you will be able to see when your followers are most active on Instagram.
The ultimate way to increase your online popularity is to engage with other community members. Reach out to carefully selected accounts that align with your community focus and cultivate a connection with them to encourage organic partnerships.
My 8 Commandments for Instagram:
1. Follow accounts similar to your own.
Connecting with people who share the same interests as you will allow their followers to find you, so follow your competitors!
2. Thou shalt not follow/unfollow.
That being said – no one likes a fake. Don’t follow someone just so they follow you back and then unfollow them. The algorithm will block you from following people for a day or two – and it hurts more than it helps your engagement.
3. Stay up to date on the algorithm.
That bad boy changes more than I change my hairstyle. We’ve seen accounts with thousands of followers been cut down to size, because guess what? They were not playing nice online. Make sure you know what’s not to do and learn how you can stay ahead of the pack.
4. Quality not quantity!
Focus on creating unique content and posting high quality pictures. No one is going to like a picture that is blurry and if you’re not original no one will follow you.
5. Thou shalt never use bots!
Just don’t. It seems tempting to hook that baby up and get millions of likes and comments – but this is not organic and the algorithm will shut you down before you can even say BOT! And Instagram pods are a no-no! These are genuine – but Instagram recently shut down some major Facebook groups because they were cultivating likes in these Instagram pods. If you do join a pod – keep it off Instagram and Facebook. Kay?
This is an extremely important step for gaining success on Instagram. You can use up to 30 hashtags in every picture, and this is the main way that you find your audience and your audience finds you. But don’t use the same hashtags in every post, or you’ll look like a bot. Use Instagram and sites like www.displaypurposes.com to research popular hashtags.
7. Create your own hashtag.
If you are creating a brand on Instagram, create a hashtag that is unique to your brand or content and use it often.
8. Have fun!
This one is self explanatory really. But if you don’t enjoy posting about your topic, or connecting with your audience then there’s really no point in being online.
Instagram is both a science and an art. It isn’t easy to run a successful Instagram account and it takes some trial and error. Continue to do targeted research and have fun while you do it, and you’ll be in the swing of things in no time!