Want to know how to create and maintain an Instagram following? I know a little bit about this ;) The majority of my income actually comes from Instagram. People are always surprised by this, and honestly, so am I! I do so much work as part of my business offline, but the way the cookie crumbles is that big brands will pay for exposure on a well designed, story-telling and thought provoking social media page. The Instagram platform is constantly changing, updating itself and evolving to create a more dynamic experience for its users. The truth is EVERYONE is an influencer…and that means everyone has the opportunity to self-express, share, market, brand, engage followers, and MAKE MONEY! But the secret to maintaining your influence and keeping your followers coming back for more is….
...RIGHT HERE! So keep reading!
Keep in mind, we all have secrets. The reason certain influencers are successful is because we try a lot of things (knowing some might work and others may fail). You can never assuume the platform will do the work for you, because the platform is only interested in it's own general success. You've got to do a lot of work to ensure your own!
These are 5 of my secrets that have never let me down. If you like this blog post, I'll continue to share more. Just let me know in the comments, so that I'm inspired to keep writing on this topic. This is actually something I don't usually share or blog about much, but I do realize there's a lot of interest in it...so let's go!
* MY SECRETS FOR INSTAGRAM SUCCESS *
1. Tell a story from the get-go.
Even if your story changes down the road, begin with a story about your life and who you are. Focus on something unusual or very characteristic about yourself. Think about what's aspirational about your life, and share these elements as people are ALWAYS looking to be inspired or driven to elevate their lives.
Here's an example from my life. I began my story online (as a blog) using a pen name of "Mizzfit". Mizzfit was my Sasha Fierce alter ego. The reason why is because I had suffered a terrible bought of depressiong for a year, had been hospitalized and was undergoing a lot of therapy to recuperate. I wrote mostly about empowerment and health at that time. My focus was to connect with an audience who was looking to build inner strength by harnessing their physical strength. Instagram did not exist at this time, but had it, I believe I would've killed it because back then my blog was picked up by Nike, I was asked to be on panels with celebrities and I had been booked for the Today Show within less than 1 year of launching my brand.
Another example for you, based in the current year, is that my recent homeowner journey has been of incredible interest on Instagram. People really love seeing how I went from being a blogger living in a studio to a multi-media content creator / tv host / actress now about to move into a new home that she never dreamed she could afford. I still can't believe this is happening...and the story is just as interesting to my audience as it is to me. I know you have stories to tell. Allow yourself to tell them. Get inspired by the current Olympian athletes whose stories are highlighted on TV. Think of your life that way and start sharing. Your audience will get hooked!
2. Learn to promote yourself!
Think of yourself as your own publicist now. Not only are you telling a story (your story or your company’s story), you are now blasting that to the world. And no one wants to read a dull press release. So your job is to come out with all the bells and whistles. Give yourself time to really think of your delivery. If something really exciting happened, make sure to present that event with the same level of excitement you felt when it happened. Use captivating imagery, words that reflect elated feelings or video that immediately draws your viewers in. How would a publicist announce your news? Put yourself in their shoes because like it or not, this is now your job. I like to tell people that on Instagram, you should be authentically yourself but 500% more hyped so that people are taken in by what you have to say and share.
3. Imagery and video matters when it comes to Instagram.
It’s a visual platform so if you’re not into visuals, choose another platform like Clubhouse or Twitter as your primary social media outlet. Learn how to shoot photos and film. With all the tools and affordable equipment these days, it’s way easier than it used to be. Or, if you have the cash to spend, hire 1 person to be your photographer and videographer. I do a combination of both, shooting and editing both my own content and having someone on my payroll who shoots and edits for me. The reason why I saw choose 1 person instead of working with many is because you want someone who learns your brand, style and knows your angles. You’re creating a brand or image online. Your pics and videos should have consistency, be of high quality and support the messages your sharing. If not, people will begin to question your authenticity, assume you’re always using filters (an ongoing problem), or think you’re not legit enough to produce nice content that inspires them, etc etc. Think of it this way, if your favorite tv show wasn’t consistently engaging and delivering the action and drama that made you love it from the verfy 1st season, would you continue to watch? NOPE! Additionally, as you grow, you will also need to evolve and keep improving the level of your content so you must commit to creating enticing visuals and educating yourself on the best technology within your budget to do so.
4. Now that you know videos are important. I can’t emphasize participating in Reels enough!
This is Instagram attempt to be competitive with Tiktok. This is the content they are pushing the most. Get involved. Learn the features and be sure post at least 2 Reels a week to gain momentum with Instagram’s algorithm.
I’m part of Instagram’s featured Creators group that does monthly workshops, calls and events to keep us on track, on trend and in the know with all that’s happening and changing on the Instagram platform. They rely on us to share all this news with you, and here’s what they’ve told us in terms of how you should be posting with Reels:
- Original content is always King!
- Think about creating content that people will want to recreate.
- Reels content created through the Reels app will perform the best. So don’t expect the same performance from a saved Tiktok you repost.
- Aim for 4-6 Reels posts per week and make sure to keep them LIVE on your feed.
5. Last but not least, be present in your engagement and not just in terms of posting daily.
Posting daily will only get you part of the way, so set aside at least 1 hour per day just to respond to DM’s, comments and to initiate conversations. Your followers want to know you’re a real person and quite frankly, the want a piece of you. If you remain too private, you’ll miss out on the opportunity for a lot of great relationships and opportunities to flourish. Make sure to follow, comment, participate in trends, attempt to create a trend and ask a group of people to get on board. You should know your followers pages/names, and respond to them by their names. Find your groups to be associated with on and off Instagram that are related to the things you do on Instagram, and engage in endless conversations with your audience. You are talking to your audience, so never forget that! This isn’t really about you at the end of the day. It’s about you AND the following you want to build. Keep their needs, feelings, interests and pain points in mind.
Let me know what you think of these 5 tips in the comments below and if you'd like to see more!