I have a love/hate relationship with Instagram (and social media in general). Personally, it’s not my thing…but professionally, I’ve learned if you want to see results, you simply must use Instagram to grow your creative business.
I started Vintage And Restore By K back in 2015, and had ZERO small business experience and ZERO trusted resources to lean on. No family, no close friends; all of the people in my life were just like me – 9 to 5 corporate folks who had no small business experience.
So, I turned to the World Wide Web and searched “how to use Instagram to grow your creative business” …because everything you read on Google is true and accurate, right?! (insert eye roll).
The result? I was bombarded with about 46 million different ways to use Instagram to grow my business. GULP.
How in the heck was I supposed to decipher through it all!?
Who’s information could I trust!?
And what in the heck is a hashtag…why does it matter?!
I was faced with information overload. The struggle is real.
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I took a deep breath (and had a glass of wine) and decided to give it a few days.
Refreshed and ready, I went back to my most trusted resource and reliable go to….I created an Instagram success plan!
While it may sound simple, writing down my plan has always been my best resource. It helps keep me focused, centered and motivated.
Having a plan also helps me see what works and what doesn’t work.
I jotted down the most relevant questions, went searching for answers, and put together my own Instagram success plan.
By creating a plan, tracking results, and tweaking as needed, I’ve grown Vintage And Restore By K’s Instagram following from zip, zero, nada to over 28,000 engaged followers in less than 3 years. Not bad for a gal who avoids social media like the plague in her personal life…right?!
Instagram continues to be in the top 3 traffic driver to our website and in the top 3 sales generator (our #1 traffic driver and sales generator is our email list. Next is Pinterest – but we’ll save those topics for another day).
Out of this plan, the 5 must do actions to grow your Instagram were born:
Action Item #1: Find Relevant #hashtags
No my friends, it is not a pound sign…although I did think to myself, “What is all this pound sign stuff?” when I first started researching how to grow my business with Instagram (I wish I was kidding…I’m not. My, how I’ve grown).
Simply put, hashtags are the main way you get found! Creating a strategy that includes relevant hashtags your audience searches for is key. I use the hashtag finder tool through Tailwind when looking for new/different hashtags.
Side note: if you haven’t heard of Tailwind, it is an AMAZING tool that saves you a ton of time when it comes to scheduling and planning your social content. I use it primarily for my Instagram and Pinterest scheduling and pinning/posting. I prefer it over all other content scheduling tools due to its ease of use and reliability (ie: meaning it actually does what it says it does – what a concept!)
Sign up for Tailwind here and your first month is free!
Action Item #2: Post Relatable Content that Promotes Engagement
Post a funny quote that gets people laughing and commenting. Create a giveaway that promotes tagging friends and leads to more followers.
Our #1 performing posts continue to be quirky quotes created by us (with inspiration from Pinterest) that resonate with our audience.
Here is an example of a quote that got over 500 likes and 73 comments:
Action Item #3: Get Audience Feedback
What do I mean by feedback? Ask their opinion on the latest fashion trend, ask what they think of the latest home decor ideas, ask what their favorite candle scent is…the list goes on and on…
Make sure it’s relevant to your brand and I recommend staying away from topics and are sensitive in nature (ie: religion, politics, etc…) for obvious reasons. The exception to this is if the content makes sense for your brand.
For Vintage And Restore By K, sometimes a simple “What are you painting this weekend?”, which is relevant to our brand and resonates with our audience, gets the engagement going.
Action Item #4: Be Authentically YOU!
In a creative business, the biggest thing your audience wants to know about is YOU! Share your hopes, dreams, and even struggles with your audience. Let them know the real you.
Yup, you are opening yourself up to being vulnerable…and with vulnerability can come judgement from others…but I’ve found when done with the right intention, and coming from a good place, sharing who I am has only helped grow my brand.
Action Item #5: Like/Comment/Follow Relevant Instagram Accounts
The content you post is part of what will make your account appeal to others…the other part is liking, following and commenting on accounts that are owned by your ideal customer, follower, influencer, etc…
The most authentic way to do this is to take 10-15 minutes per day and search for hashtags that are relevant to your ideal audience. Find posts that you like and, you guessed it, LIKE them!
If you feel so inclined, I recommend going to that person’s profile and seeing what else you like and maybe throw a comment on a post or two. Follow the accounts that you feel most connect with you and your brand.
Work of caution – don’t be spammy.
In other words, don’t promote your products, leave comments that only self promote, etc…
Find something that resonates with you in the picture and leave that as your comment.
For example, someone may post a picture of a vintage toy that I had when I was a kid. I might say something like:
“Oh wow! This picture takes me back to when I was a youngster. I had this exact same doll…oh the memories! Thanks for sharing and making my day :)”
It’s personal, fits me and does nothing to promote myself. Promoting yourself is not the point.
In fact, a comment like that may make that person feel good that they made my day. That could make them more inclined to want to know who am I am what I am about.
So, they may check out my page and follow/like back – see how this works?
Bottom line is, you need to BE HUMAN with others.
Act like you are writing a good friend and you will do fine.
There you have it! The 5 must do actions to grow your business on Instagram.
Have a question? Leave it below in comments.
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Here’s to your Instagram success!
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