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Hi, my names Brandon and I wanted to share a story with you about building our Insta following to almost 30K at the time of writing this. Let me tell you that it was NOT one of those overnight successes that you might think exist (there are no overnight successes, sorry).
When I started my Instagram account in May of 2015, I was just as anxious and excited to start building my following as you are today. I sent it out to all my friends on Facebook, posted about it on my website and created a few posts. I sat back and I dreamed of all the followers I'd have in just the next few days. A week went by, 100 followers, 2 weeks, 200, 3 weeks 312.....hmmmmmmm......where's all my followers? Shouldn't I have more followers? What am I doing wrong?
I felt defeated, and yet I knew that this was important to stick with and that there MUST be some sort of strategy to this whole Instagram thing. I started reading, researching and applying what I learned. Fast forward to October of 2017 and I had grown our following to 17K.
At this point, the lovely and talented Amanda Carson stepped in and took over full-time operation of Instagram and all of our other social media accounts as well. In the 1.5 years since Amanda has been posting she's almost doubled our following!
If you want to know how we were able to accomplish this keep reading below for Amanda's:
There are so many approaches to “getting noticed” on the world wide web, so let me preface this with one thing. As Sammie Jo put it... “Be authentic!” In addition to working with the distinct algorithms on each and every platform the most important thing you can do is truly be you. If you only have 753 followers, but 600 of them are true fans, engage with your posts, and absolutely LOVE what you do then you are better off than any account that has 24k followers and virtually no true fans.
Be you, provide value, and create ways to engage with your followers! In this blog post we will focus on way to get noticed as a flow artist on Instagram. Many of these tips overlap with other platforms, but not all of them!
The article 1000 True Fans by Kevin Kelly would be a great read and I'd highly recommend taking the time to do so.
As mentioned above, one of the number ONE things you can do is be truly, authentically you. The most polished and scripted posts ultimately won’t help you build a true following if you aren’t being you. You’ll be surprised how just being you can be received SO well. That means posting a video of you breaking in those new fire fans you just purchased and maybe not looking like you know exactly what you are doing yet!
As Porscha Anderson put it “Expressing your emotions through your flow allows transparency of your true self.”
Engage authentically by responding to comments on your photos. A complete sentence of 5 or more words posted within 45 minutes of anyone who has posted on your content can boost that post! It tells the algorithm that “This content is interesting” and can be bumped up in peoples feeds. Responding with emojis don’t count but can look nice after your five-word minimum. You can also get noticed by commenting on others content with genuine praise or a question that leads to a conversation. It’s also a good idea to tag the company's whose products you are using. When you tag a company or even someone who has inspired your flow, it’s very likely they will notice and like or comment on your post.
Don’t use the same hashtags all the time. Make sure your hashtags are relevant to your post. If you are copying and pasting the same 30 hashtags they will start to get picked up by the algorithm as “spam.”
There are several tools on the web to help with hashtags and for discovering new ones, a few good apps too! One of the apps we use is called Smarthash, it's a great tool for both hashtag discovery as well as seeing which of our hashtags are performing well over time.
Just in case you are wondering, here are the top performing hashtags for hula hoop related posts
Posting daily / consistently can be a big boost to your profile, but remember the most important thing here. Be authentic! This includes posting in stories and going live when appropriate. Behind the scenes keeps people interested because it’s often something they can relate to.
Sprout Social ranks this as their #1 tip in a blog article published in October of 2018.
Think about how you enjoy consistency in your life, if you expect that DJ to be on at 10pm and they don't show up til 11:45, that kind of just screwed up your whole night. We know you come to expect seeing fresh new posts every day, that's why we ALWAYS have something new for you to watch, learn or be entertained from. We post DAILY, you should too.
The quality of your photos and video is important. Unless you are doing something completely astounding it’s not likely that a poorly lit, low-quality image or video will get picked up in the algorithm. We’re in a day and age when so many people have fancy smartphones that take stunning photos! People want to look at ‘pretty’ things and it’s become more of the norm for beautiful images to be expected.
“Your background should be as interesting as your flow.” ~ Gabriella Walton
“Have a hoop (or prop) that doesn’t blend into the background so you can stand out! UV hoops are great for that” says Ally Bourne.
Don’t have a fancy smartphone? Don’t fret. While quality is important, don’t let it stop you from authentically sharing yourself with the world if an old school camera with 5 pixels is all that you have! Just be aware of framing and lighting.
8 Step Method to Taking Stunning Instagram Photos
Above steps are taken from the article How to take good Instagram photos on your phone: A step by step guide.
Create a “call to action.” Ask a question, prompt a conversation with a provoking thought, and if you’re promoting something ask people to check it out! Giveaways are also a great way to get engagement. People love free stuff!
Give, give, and give again. Like making tutorials? Share what you know! Have tips for other flow artists? Tell them about it! People love to learn new things, especially when it’s tried and true from someone they like and follow. Sharing information gives people a strong reason to follow and engage with you and it gives what you offer “value.”
Don’t participate in the “follow/unfollow” fad. Never heard of it? It’s where people download an app where they can mass comment and follow others accounts. After they hopefully get a response / follow they unfollow a week or so later. This keeps their “following / followed by” ratio where they want it to be by not authentically engaging with their followers and simply using their temporary follow to get a follow.
If you have a business profile, check your insights! This tells you when most of your followers are active, and where they are. If you are on the East Coast and most of your followers are on the West Coast make sure to take time zones into account. The first 10 minutes of your post can make it a success or put it as low interest in the algorithm.
Not really sure on how best to make use of all those numbers and stats in your insights? Take a look at this great article on Making the Most of Your Instagram Insights from Social Media Examiner.
What’s your biggest take away here? Any big “ah-ha” moments? Let us know in the comments and feel free to ask questions!
Also a big thank you to our contributors to this article - Sammie Jo (@sammiejo_19) , Gabriella Walton (@gab_floww) , Porscha Anderson (@porschazoom) and Ally Bourne (@aurahoops) Make sure to check them out on Instagram and give them a follow for inspiring videos, tutorials, and more! If you aren't already following The Spinsterz on Instagram you can find us HERE.
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