Instagram is a major player in the orchestra of online influence. For me, Instagram has become an outlet to share the core of my brand, my beliefs, and my heart. It's the place in which new followers can be introduced to the value I can offer them in an environment that allows me to earn their trust.
But sadly, most business owners have reduced their Instagram potential by posting mediocre photos with short captions and no consistency.
Below I will share 4 Instagram hacks that have grown not only my followers, but my engagement, my loyalty, and my sales.
1. Don't Tell Me Who You Are; Tell Me What You Can Offer Me.
Your Instagram bio is 150 characters. It's the only in-app information outside of your images users have available to make the decision to follow you or not. It's a place to identify who you are, how you're different, and what you can offer people.
But sadly, I see many bloggers and brands simply post a quote they love or some non-communicating words that feel artsy, but in reality, just confuse people. If we only realized how many people clicked on our profiles and were uninspired or confused by our bios, we might be more intentional with this critical real estate.
Regarding application, there are a few ways to approach a creative bio. You don't have to be direct. The crafting of your words can bring color to the readers' depiction of not just who you are, but what value they will obtain from following your account. Here are a few great examples I've found:
"Living a green, handmade life in an old Italian farmhouse with two toddlers, a tiny zoo, and the man that I love." @growingwildthings
"This is the story of an adopted Mediterranean miniature donkey named Diego. Daily encouragements from my small farm in the Pacific Northwest." @diegothedonkey
Or my bio which is a balance of who I am and what I offer. But notice the words I have chosen. Because words are identifiers that trigger emotions, when I use the word "Father" or "Believer" or the phrase "Wildly in love" people can learn a lot about who I am in these tiny statements.
"Each post is a lesson. Father to Aria + Honor. Wildly in love. Farm in Oregon. Believer, bestselling author, & entrepreneur." @dalepartridge
Bottom line: If your objective is to build an audience, then word-smithing your bio to clarify the vibrancy of value you intend to offer followers becomes paramount. Don't be dull. Don't be direct. Be creative and authentic to who you are.
2. Captions Should Draw People In, Not Drive Them To Scroll
Images are no longer enough to keep followers engaged. Now our captions must bring additional value to the user experience. This might be what makes my account so different. A few months ago I started the hashtag #EveryPostALesson and began treating my account as a place to offer short, useful lessons on leadership, business, and family.
This shift has changed everything. Not only is my engagement up, but I'm averaging 50-80 new followers per day from users tagging their friends in my posts with statements like, "@someone read this!" or "@someone follow this guy." Here are a few popular lessons from my account: Lesson, lesson, and lesson.
Ultimately, this tactic comes with an increased post time. Not only are you spending the time to shoot and edit a photo, but you're spending 15-20 minutes writing a short, powerful lesson.
But you can't beat the value. As business owners, we must realize that people buy when people trust. And when we are captivating our followers with authentic, vulnerable, and useful lessons our tribe begins to feel close to us. They begin to know us. And they begin to refer us.
Bottom line: Your Instagram account is a chance to build a connection with your fans. Captivating captions take time, but the reward of a community of people who love you is worth it.
3. People Don't Engage With Ugly
We must end the idea that raw iPhone photos are going to perform as well as those taken with intentionality, edited with care, and posted with purpose. To me, this form of negligent posting is based on two areas: Ignorance and/or laziness. Both are non-attractive qualities for a brand or online personality.
Of all the social media networks available to us as business owners, Instagram demands the highest level of creativity.
And our lack of creativity tells people, "If they don't care about small details, then they probably don't care about the big ones either."
Bottom Line: In life, ugly things typically fall flat. Whether it's bad interior design, an app that's hard to navigate, or a blurry unedited photo on Instagram. I understand that learning the art of photography seems overwhelming, but taking the time to line up a photo with clean composition, good lighting, and a natural edit will earn the eyes of your followers and the appreciation of all.
4. Consistency is greater than frequency.
Nobody likes an unintentional, disorganized, inconsistent friend. The same emotions apply to Instagram. But consistency comes in a few forms. From regular posting times and editing style to the topics and imagery we promote. If you haven't noticed, the accounts with the most followers and highest engagement are those that post every day, with similarly styled photos and an unchanging voice.
As business owners we must remember, front of mind equals tip of the tongue.
Social media is highly built upon momentum. Irregularity allows for your brand to fall to the backdrop of your follower's minds. The rub is the cost of consistency. People struggle with the commitment and discipline required to post strong content every single day.
Bottom Line: It's better to post once per day for seven days than two posts on Monday, none on Tuesday, three on Wednesday, and another on Saturday. Secondly, define your style. Aim to produce images of similar color, content, and communication. By offering a steady voice and approach to your account, you will remove the barriers of people looking to offer you their loyalties.
What about you? What has worked well on your Instagram account? Is there anyone I should be following? Let me know in the comments below.
Go From Instagram To Small Business
If you're an aspiring business owner, blogger, or online influencer looking to turn your passion into a profession, I am hosting a free webinar on How To Start A Business In 30 Days. You can find a time that fits your schedule below.