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June 8, 2020
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With so much advice online about how to grow your Instagram presence, it can be hard to know what tips and tricks to follow and which to ignore.

Should you post every single day?

Are Instagram Lives the way to go?

And is there such a thing as too many Instagram Stories?

😕🤔😟

This blog post is jam-packed with Instagram tips that will clear up the confusion, answer your questions and provide clarity on the key things to focus on to grow your Instagram account…

… whether you’re brand new to Instagram or a long-time Instagram user looking to shake up your strategy.

So, get your notepads ready and let’s dig into the Instagram tips!

8 tips every Instagrammer (new or established) should implement to grow their presence

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Instagram tip #1 – Get clear on your objective

First things first: What is your objective on Instagram?

The topic of this blog post is how to grow your presence, but why do you want to grow your presence? Is it so you can collaborate with brands? Is it so that you can sell your products or services?

Whether you’re using Instagram for fun, to grow your business, or to build your personal profile and collaborate with your favorite brands, you must get clear on your objective.

Because there’s a difference between wanting those things and setting up your Instagram account to actually achieve them.

There are three main ways to use Instagram to grow your business:

  1. Build your email list
  2. Make direct sales
  3. Book sales calls

Which is the priority for you right now? If making sales via your email list is a successful strategy for you, building your email list should be your main objective.

If getting people on discovery calls is your preferred way of securing clients, make “booking sales calls” your objective. The same goes for making direct sales, if that’s how you will use Instagram to grow your business.

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When you have one clear objective, your Instagram bio, your messaging and your content will be much clearer and more aligned.

In other words, your Instagram sales funnel will be optimized for success.

If, on the other hand, you’re using Instagram to grow your personal profile and collaborate with brands, is it clear how brands can contact you if they’re interested in working together?

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Don’t wait to hit a certain number of followers or engagement rate.

Set up your Instagram account for success now by getting clear on your objective.

The sooner you do so, the sooner you’ll see results!

And, if you’re using Instagram just for fun then you’ve got a great objective right there.😊

Are you in control of your conversions? Whatever your main objective is on Instagram, remember the importance of keeping people on the platform. Most Instagram users don’t like to leave the app and won’t stop swiping Stories or scrolling main-feed content to “check the link in bio”. So keep engagement on your account and be smart about how you collect email addresses and book sales calls, for example. Those are two things you can easily do inside Instagram DMs. More on this in Tip #6!

Instagram tip #2 – Conduct regular market research

Knowing who you’re trying to connect with on Instagram is the difference between a successful Instagram strategy and – well – a not-so-successful Instagram strategy.

Sounds obvious, right?

Maybe.

But many of us start our Instagram accounts without a clear idea of who our target audience is (hey, I did exactly that with my first account @thedoorsofldn!).

And figuring it out as you go along is no bad thing.

However, if you want to save yourself time and make your messaging and marketing more impactful, understanding your target audience is key.

Start with the information you already have.

This might be broader demographic information like age, gender, relationship status and job status.

You may even know their hobbies, likes, dislikes and favourite brands.

Now, go even deeper. Find out:

  • What keeps them awake at night
  • Their hopes and dreams for the future
  • What it is they actually want (in relation to what you do)
  • Where and how they’re struggling

The answers to these questions are essential to understanding how you can help your audience get what they want with helpful, informative Instagram content.

And this information will help you create content that paints a picture of transformation for your ideal customers and clients.

If you’re a product- or service-based business provider, that “transformation” will be the results you get yourself or your customers.

If you’re a creative or artist, that “transformation” might be how you make your audience feel. For example, inspiring them, making them feel stylish, or helping them feel good.

No matter your objective on Instagram, it’s important that you evaluate and update your customer research regularly.

That means using the Instagram Story stickers (poll or quiz) strategically, sending out surveys to your email list, asking questions in Facebook groups and chatting to people in the DMs.

Knowledge is power, and the more you know about your target audience, the more powerful your Instagram strategy will be.

Pro tip! Keep a file of all the emails, DMs, survey results, and comments you receive about your audience’s struggles. Now, you can copy and paste the exact words and phrases your ideal customers and clients are using into your messaging.

Instagram tip #3 – Don’t post every single day

Once upon a time, before Instagram Stories, Lives and IGTV, posting main-feed (or “grid”) content every single day was a smart strategy.

Today, with the ever-increasing popularity of video formats like Stories, things have shifted.

Spending a huge amount of time planning and creating main-feed content to share every single day isn’t the best use of your time.

Consistent high quality main-feed content is still important, yes.

But three quality main-feed posts per week, or 12 per month, is enough.

If you get into a good place with forward planning this main-feed content each month/bi-monthly it will free up your time and energy to create more Instagram Stories each week.

Because Instagram Stories is where it’s at.

Showing up there, at least 4-5x a week, is vital if you want to stay front-of-mind with your audience.

It’s where they’re spending most of their time, and how they begin every Instagram session…

… by swiping through the latest Instagram Stories from their friends, family and favourite brands.

So you have to be there too, interrupting their swiping habit with your message again and again and again.

This will grow your presence, build that all-important know, like and trust factor with new followers, and deepen relationships with your existing community.

Instagram tip #4 –Use hashtags to your advantage

Hashtags are the best way to get you in front of the right people, and get the right people in front of you.

In other words, they’re a fantastic way of growing your presence on Instagram.

But when was the last time you did an audit of the hashtags you’re using?

And I don’t mean copying and pasting hashtag sets from popular competitors. (We’ve all been there!)😉

Instagram hashtags have an element of mystery surrounding them.

How do they work? How many should you use? Where should you place them? Are they even important anymore?

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Firstly, yes. They are as important now as they ever were.

However, you have to go a little “mad scientist” when it comes to Instagram hashtags.

You must test, analyse and tweak… and that’s where the fun comes in!

Start by finding a place to save the hashtags you’re going to use on a regular basis. I recommend Google Spreadsheets.

Categorize hashtags by hashtags related to you and hashtags related to your target audience.

And then further categorize by the hashtag volume. Everybody has a slightly different idea of what constitutes small, medium and large volume hashtags. These are mine.

  • Small vol. = 1k – 30k posts attributed
  • Medium vol. = 30k – 150k posts attributed
  • Large vol. = 150k+

The bigger your Instagram account, the more “large volume” hashtags you can use.

However, if you’re a growing Instagram account (from zero up to 10k followers), try to stick to more small and medium volume hashtags.

You’ll have a better chance of ranking for those hashtags, increasing your reach and being found by more of the right people.

If you stick to large volume hashtags, your content will get drowned out by content from much bigger Instagram accounts. You don’t want this. 🙅

As for how many you should use – use up to 30! And mix-and-match where you position them.

Whether you place them within your caption or as the first comment beneath your post, there’s no right or wrong answer.

Experiment, mix up the hashtags you use frequently, and see what results you get!

Sign up to Iconosquare’s free 14-day trial to compare the performance of up to 30 different Instagram hashtags, monitor your competitor’s top performing hashtags and understand the type of content ranking for your target hashtags.

Instagram tip #5 – Go heavy on proactive engagement

No matter how long you’ve been using Instagram, if you’ve been experiencing a bit of a slump in engagement and growth, then here’s the good news…

You can easily fix that with some proactive Instagram engagement! 🥳

Today, set aside 30 minutes to dedicate solely to engaging (and as a happy consequence – growing your presence).

First, spend 15 minutes engaging with your community. Then spend 15 minutes engaging with new accounts that look like your target audience (using hashtags to find them).

Engaging” looks like: replying to comments and DMs you’ve received, leaving thoughtful comments on other people’s content, watching their Stories, and sending them relevant, valuable direct messages.

I guarantee that a percentage of the people you engaged with will return the favor.

And you will see a spike in comments, DMs, and Story views. Perhaps even some new followers!

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Because here’s the thing: engagement breeds engagement.

The more engaging you are, the more engagement you will see in return.

That sends positive signals to the Instagram algorithm

…. and by default, you’re starting to build relationships with people that will turn into loyal fans, customers and collaborators down the road.

So make daily proactive engagement a priority. This is the best and most effective way to grow your presence, improve your engagement rate and build an engaged following.

Find an engagement routine that works for you. That could mean: dedicating Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays to community nurturing (engaging with your existing audience) and Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays to outbound engagement (engaging with new accounts).

Then decide how that engagement looks each day. 15 minutes in the morning, 15 minutes in the evening? A solid 30 minutes over lunch? Decide what suits you best, then set a timer and get engaging!

Instagram tip #6 – Use Story stickers to your advantage

In Tip #2 we touched on one big advantage of Instagram Story stickers: customer research.

But do you know what else you can use them for?

How about product research, customer feedback and good old fashioned fun.

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That’s right. Simply by including the poll or quiz sticker, question box or emoji slider within your Instagram Story, you can find out whether or not your next product is worth developing, the title of your next course or program, how many people are struggling with one issue over another, if there’s demand for your great idea… the list goes on.

And the beauty of stickers is that they allow you to grow your presence, build your reputation and cultivate strong connections with your followers.

Not only can you get immediate answers to your ideas and questions, but you can also follow up with people.

Whenever someone hits your poll sticker, slides that emoji slider or drops a comment in the question box, you can follow up with a private message and continue the conversation over in the DMs.

This immediately breaks down the barrier between “account” and “follower”, giving you immediate access to a potential customer or client that you can now build a genuine relationship with.

So don’t be shy when it comes to Instagram Story stickers!

They don’t have to be, and definitely shouldn’t always be, about business. They can be a really fun way to get to know your audience better.

Because remember – once you get people into your DMs, they’ll feel so much more comfortable sliding in there in the future, when you share a promotional Story about your product or service.

Pro tip! Speaking of DMs, remember in Tip #2 when we talked about taking control of your conversions?

Story stickers are a great way of ensuring people join your Facebook group, download your freebie, sign up to your challenge, etc.

This is because rather than directing people away from Instagram and relying on them to click the link in your bio or “swipe up” to find out more, you can use Stickers to find out the people interested in taking the next step. Then, you can follow up in the DMs and share the relevant URL or request their email address (which you then input into the opt-in form yourself).

Of course, the bigger you get on Instagram, the harder this process will become. However, if you’re still a growing Instagram account, this strategy is a fantastic one for increasing your conversions.

Instagram tip #7 – Track your results

If you’re serious about growing your presence on Instagram, this is a tip you HAVE to implement…

Check your Instagram insights regularly.

It’s hard to overstate the importance of your Instagram insights (or analytics as you may call them).

If you’re sharing content consistently, your insights will tell you everything you need to know about what your audience likes and what they don’t.

You’ll understand what topics, themes and messages drive them to leave comments and hit save or share.

And you’ll save yourself so much time by spotting what topics just aren’t getting the engagement you’d hoped for, and removing them from your content calendar.

Because creating content and not checking your insights is like traveling an unfamiliar route without a map.

You will feel completely lost and uncertain as to why your efforts aren’t paying off. And it will take you so much longer to make progress.

But you might be wondering *which* insights to keep an eye on, right? With so many to analyse, it can be overwhelming to know where to start.

Worry not! In this article we delve deep into which Instagram insights matter in 2020.

Instagram tip #8 – Share social proof all the time

Whether you’re using Instagram to grow your business or to build your personal profile, get into the habit of sharing your successes ALL. THE. TIME.

If you’re a service-based business, share glowing client testimonials as often as possible.

If you’re a product-based business, don’t be shy about sharing those 5-star reviews.

If you’re a social media influencer (mega, macro, micro or nano), promote the projects you’ve been working on (when you’re allowed to, of course) and the positive feedback the brands (that you collaborated with) are receiving.

A huge part of growing on Instagram is about blowing your own trumpet.🎺🎺🎺

Happy clients, amazing results, sales made, empowered people, successful brand campaigns…

… whatever you’ve helped make happen, you need to talk about again and again and again.

Why? Because that’s what’s going to lead to more business, more brand collabs, more sales, and more inquiries.

Sharing success stories and great results on Instagram is a form of social proof.

And that’s what other brands, clients and customers need to see regularly to feel confident about investing in you/working with you/purchasing from you.

So don’t be shy. And don’t worry about “oversharing” this social proof.

Your audience is bombarded with hundreds of messages every single day.

So for you to stand out and be remembered, you need to show up consistently and remind them why you are so much better than the competition.

To help you do this regularly and successfully, first make sure you are always asking for feedback from clients, customers, collaborators. This is really important. Without it, it’s going to take twice as much effort for you to convince your audience just how good you are.

Second, make a folder where you can store all of the glowing reviews, testimonials and feedback.

This can be in the form of emails, surveys or direct messages. It doesn’t matter. As long as you seek permission from the writer to share online, you’re good to go!

Conclusion

No matter whether you’re a new or established Instagrammer, there are always things you can do to improve your Instagram strategy and grow your presence on the platform.

Whether it’s re-evaluating your objective, conducting some fresh market research, using more Story stickers or keeping a closer eye on Instagram insights, an effective Instagram strategy is one that is always evolving and improving.

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About the author
Bella Foxwell

Bella Foxwell

Bella Foxwell is a door obsessive and Instagram educator, teaching small businesses, solopreneurs and content creators how to build engaged communities on Instagram in less time. Read more from Bella on her website: bellafoxwell.com

More posts by Bella Foxwell

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