If we all knew then what we know now, would we have been in a better place when it comes to Instagram?
I have managed to grow my Instagram account to over 200k followers in under 5 years, but I wasted a lot of time reading blogs on Instagram for beginners to get there.
I listened to a really good interview this morning where the interviewee was describing how there are millions of outcomes from just one tiny decision, so who knows?
Advice on Instagram for beginners
I constantly get asked how to grow an Instagram account and how to gain followers. Unfortunately, there are no definite rules or answers when it comes to social media advice.
The one thing I do know is that I could have saved an awful lot of time and effort if I had just stuck to these simple things.
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1. The Biggie — Consistency!
You may have the most wonderful eye for Interiors, or you may be an absolutely hilarious person trying to find your way through parenting.
However, none of this matters if you post once in a blue moon and run. Who’s going to remember you? Your Mum and your next door neighbour might respond to your latest parenting post.
But, let’s be honest, some random person scrolling through #parentingwins couldn’t care less if you managed to get your child out of nappies.
You need to shout from the rooftops that you are here. Instagram needs to know, your current followers need to know. Your future followers need to know that you’re going to stick around.
Stick to posting at least 3 to 4 days a week, even if you have nothing of worth to post. Share an old post that did well. Just. Be. Seen
2. Just Flipping Do IT!
What are you waiting for? You’ve got an account set up and (hopefully) you know what you’re going to post about. Don’t wait until you have the perfect branding, a colour scheme you love or a perfect house to post.
The beauty of social media is that no one is an expert. The only way you can learn is by doing it and doing it badly to begin with so you learn from your mistakes.
Some of my first posts were laughable, I thought I was the next Kelly Wearstler when it came to Interior design and my home.
By posting consistently and watching other accounts that were growing quickly, my social media strategy, photography and skills improved considerably and it was only then that I started to grow.
3. Don’t try to hard with your profile picture or highlights
A bit like my blog, I spent hours, if not days trying to come up with the best profile picture for my Instagram account.
I tried to be quirky, putting up cartoon characters and coming up with logos that no one could see.
People just want to see your face. We are social beings and it’s a fact that we interact better when we can picture who we’re talking too.
I have met many Instagrammers at networking events and once I can put a face to a name, there’s more chance of me communicating with them.
Make sure your profile is clear, it loosely relates to what your Instagram account is about and get a headshot. No one is going to get a magnifying glass out to try and make out the features of your face.
The same goes for Highlight covers. When I was creating my Instagram account on @besocialwithmedia I literally spent weeks coming up with the best colour scheme for my highlight covers.
I wasn’t going to start posting until I was happy with it.
Although it is really important to get your branding and branding colours right from the start on your Instagram account, I wasted weeks on this when I could have been posting and growing followers.
4. Do NOT put all your eggs in an insta-shaped basket
I think this is becoming more and more important as days go by. Over the last couple of years, Instagram has definitely had an identity crisis and it is pushing people over the TikTok cliff.
Instagram seems to have reached it’s peak whereas it’s evil nemesis, TikTok, just goes from strength to strength.
Instagram has become so saturated, no niche or even niche within a niche has been left unturned. If you rely on Instagram for an income (like myself), you may have seen brand work and influencer marketing slowly decline.
The work is still out there, it’s just that it is spread so thinly as SO many people are doing it.
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Make sure you become a brand and your branding stays consistent throughout all your social media apps and web sites.
I now make money from TikTok, Pinterest, my website (one of my main earners) and Facebook and I can see the income from my Instagram account steadily declining.
5. Turn off your notifications
I used to get such a buzz when my Instagram account notifications lit up back in the early days. I would wake up to 10! new followers and would be over the moon.
But, I started to become obsessed with those notifications and replying to any comment immediately and it slowly took over my life.
You don’t need those notifications. Those comments, likes and new followers will still be there regardless of whether you’ve seen the notification or not.
6. Don’t try and be something you are not
Authenticity is not just a buzz word, it is one of the most important things when it comes to being on social media.
The amount you will have to post to grow your following will mean that keeping up appearances will become extremely difficult if you are not you.
When I first started out, the interior world was such a small niche, it didn’t have a lot of opportunity to work with brands or make money. I looked into maybe starting a fashion or food account but there were fundamental problems with this.
- I have no interest in clothes. Sure, I like to wear them, but spending an afternoon going clothes shopping fills me with dread. I tend to purchase all my clothes in the local supermarket when I pop out for some milk.
- Beans on toast with cheese on top is one of my favourite meals. Not sure how many recipe cards I could make out of that?
So no, interiors it is. And thankfully the niche grew to where it is today, so you were all saved from an Instagram account of my latest Supermarket clothes finds.
7. Niche it down hard
Ah niche. Yes, find a niche. But these days it is not enough. When I began, my niche on my Instagram account was interiors.
To begin with, I really couldn’t define what kind of interior that was. I loved all the trends and styles you see, so I shimmied from Colourful maximalist to Dark and moody to what I am today, Biophilic and Industrial boho design.
I found it hard to grow in the early days, if I didn’t know what I was, why would people taking a quick glimpse at my account know? This is why so many accounts that have niched down hard grow so quickly.
Accounts that are colourful to the MAX grow quickly. Instagram accounts that are hardcore minimalist or monochrome grow quickly. You know exactly where you stand with these accounts right from the beginning.
If you are swinging from being an account that promotes vegan food one minute, to an Instagram account that’s eating steak the next, not only will you not grow, you will also lose the followers you’ve already gained.
So niche it down hard.
This isn’t a definitive list, but definitely some of the most important things I have learnt since being on Instagram.
To make a success out of social media, you have to be yourself, be consistent and not worry too much about the small things!
More on Instagram…
10 Quick and Easy Ways to Become an Influencer
My 10 Step Guide to Instagram Success and Sustainable Growth