HOW TO GROW YOUR INSTAGRAM: PART II

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Glad to see you back! I’ve had some great feedback from you all over the past week and I’m happy to see you sent me another batch of questions to cover. This week, there were a lot of hashtag questions rolling in, but still some on other new topics, too. If you shot over a question that was answered in Part I, I won’t be answering it here at risk of becoming redundant. Also, some of you asked very similar questions, so I will only answer one version of the question, but I hope it will answer your question adequately.

No one likes redundant, right?

So, let’s go!

I generally abide by two rules when it comes to hashtags:

  1. ALWAYS use all 30
  2. Change them up as often as possible.

This can be a hard and time-intensive process. If you use the same hashtag too often, you will be “blacklisted” from that hashtag until you stop using it so much. So it’s important to rotate them. I try to never use the same hashtag more than two times/week, but I fail ALL THE TIME. And get blacklisted ALL THE TIME. There is an app that I recently started using called Hashtag Expert. I’ve found it to be only moderately helpful. Here’s why: you input a hashtag that you’d like to use and it will spit 29 similar ones back at you. Usually half of them need to be tossed because they’re WAY too generic ( eg. #interiordesign – don’t ever use that unless you want your post to be buried under 5 million others in 2 seconds), and often they’re all TOO similar (you want to vary to reach a wider audience). So, I’d recommend the app because I do discover new hashtags through it, but you still need to put the time in to vet your hashtags.

I’d say this is all highly personal. I’m in New York and my audience is largely New York-based, but I have a strong contingent of West Coast and international followers. I post between 9-10am every day. I’ve found that, after nearly two years of experimenting, that it is the sweet spot for engagement for me. I for sure notice that my Australian followers are always slow to engage with my posts (I’m guessing that’s because they’re all sleeping), but I know I have a larger following in New York so I prioritize the New York time zone. 3-6 is hands down the WORST time for me to post, personally. I find that if I can’t post 9-10 and I NEED to post that day, I will instead post between 6-9pm for second-best engagement. In short, you need to learn where the bulk of your followers are, and play around until you find the best window for engagement. One last thing I would add here is that, truly, the best time for engagement is the time that you will have an hour afterwards to engage with you post. Most engagement happens within an hour of posting, so it’s important to engage back to boost the post. For me, nighttime sees more active followers on IG, but I can’t engage because I am putting my daughters to bed, etc. and so though it sees highest activity in my feed at that time, it’s still a terrible time for me to post.

Not any analytic apps, just Hashtag Expert. I don’t use any analytic apps outside of the Instagram Business analytics itself. I am always wary of hooking my IG up to third-parties.

It’s really almost never too early! Many brands like to see that you’re at least at 10k because they want you to have that swipe-up ability. Other brands like working with accounts below 10k and will work with a bunch of micro-influencers to try to get the same reach as a few larger accounts – that way they don’t have to pay and are effectively getting the same reach. This question is very brand-sensitive. As far as what you can expect to be paid, the average pay-out for a brand collaboration is 1 cent per follower. For example, if you have 100k followers, you could expect to be paid about $1,000 per collab post. But there are large fluctuations. Personally, I have done collaborations that have paid much better than 1 cent/follower, still others I have been willing to do for simply product exchange. It’s all a balancing act, but the one piece of advice is this: don’t ever work with a brand or product you don’t believe in.

I think as far as calling yourself a blogger you need to just answer one simple question: do you blog? Yes? You’re a blogger. As far as an influencer, I still don’t call myself that (and not sure I ever will). Generally, accounts over 100k are considered “Influencers” by the world at large – and accounts 10k-100k are “Micro-Influencers.” I prefer the term “content creator.” I’m not sure who I’m actually influencing, but I know for sure that I am creating content for brands, so it’s a moniker I feel more comfortable with.

I’m guessing you’re referring to being a content creator/influencer. My answer would be yes, but it’s more difficult. A lot of brands want to see that you not only have an IG following, but also a blog readership. Blogs are a great way to directly link to product/brands, and a much better venue for giving more wholesome product reviews, etc. Basically, the more media you master, the more marketable you are. YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Blogs, Facebook, etc….. different brands care more about different media. Some care about a blog, some don’t.

I’m assuming this is pertaining to actual tags on the image and not hashtags. I’m not sure I have a definitive answer, as I am still experimenting on this topic. I think, though, that it is always a good idea to tag products in your posts for two reasons:

  1. your followers like to easily click and see where you got something.
  2. the brand will see the post and if they like it, they will share it, which will lead to more followers.

Tough topic, but I think all I can offer on this topic is to always be authentic. Authenticity leads to trust, which leads to conversions.

I think I could probably write an entire book on this topic! In short, never (or rarely) share simple product images. Instagram is all about seeing things in their natural habitat. For example, if you’re selling a rug, never post a close-up or an image of just the rug. STYLE the rug in a beautiful space, and then you’ll see those conversions heat up!

100%! People love Instagram as a chance to see what’s going on behind the scenes. Post about process in your captions (but be sure to keep captions readable, meaning either short and pithy, or long, but captivating). But IG Stories are an even more incredible place to get into your process! A good formula would be to post an intriguing shot and lead people to your stories to check out more by using your caption to lead them there!

In short, I simply don’t (and can’t) keep up with everyone I follow. In recent months, I’ve become more of what I would call a “reactive” Instagrammer instead of a “proactive” one (which I always was until recently). Between my post and my message inbox, I get anywhere from 200-500+ comments every day at this point, so all I try to do is keep up with the people leaving comments/sending the messages because it’s all I really can keep up with. My mind is always blown by how large influencer accounts keep up with it all (but I suspect the simple answer is that they just don’t). Until I was able to garner that kind of engagement, I would proactively leave comments on as many accounts as I could engage with each day (and still will do this if I find myself having the time to).

To answer the second set of questions: I prioritize posts, but do squeeze in as much story viewing as I can. The story algorithm seems to be “sort of” seperate from the feed algo (though they’re certainly not entirely mutually exclusive), and brands working with you like to see that you’re getting story clicks and swipe-ups, so it is important to be active and engaged on stories as well.

OK – I’m guessing we’re all getting a little “Insta-fatigued” by this point, so I’m going to call it quits for this week.

Be sure to keep those questions coming when I open up the question box on stories this Sunday!

XO,

One comment on “HOW TO GROW YOUR INSTAGRAM: PART II

  • VivalaVintage4YourHome , Direct link to comment

    You are really providing excellent advice in these posts! Thank you for sharing the knowledge. I struggle with growing followers and basically gave up the efforts because it was getting frustrating. You’re encouraging me again, which is great!

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