• Lisa McLean

New to Instagram? Take my challenge to grow your following.

If you have recently opened an Instagram account for your business (or maybe you have one already but do very little with it) I challenge you to focus on just this one social platform for one month.

Social media content creation and engagement can take up a lot of time if you are across a few social media platforms. As a small business owner it doesn't always work to spread yourself across too many. Instead, maybe you need to focus on just one for a while.

Instagram is one of my favourite platforms and is increasingly becoming the place to be for most businesses. Let's start here.

If you are a novice when it comes to Instagram - do not fear. Just commit to learning, give yourself a time frame and stick with the plan. Start with just a few daily tasks and then build on it as you learn new tricks.

Maybe you use Instagram a bit but can't get your head around it for your business or you have tried to post and engage but didn't get any results that excited you enough to continue.

I recently worked with a client on setting up her account, coaching her through some tips and tricks and she focussed on making it a daily habit to engage (and learn) with great results.

But first, let's clean up your account.

Check your profile image and business description. Do you have the correct contact details and a link to your website? How is your feed looking? Does your branding and messaging align with your brand? Maybe you need to tweak a few things. Consider how it looks when people first visit and know nothing about you or your business.

How often do you post and what do you post. Are you engaging with people who show nterest in what you do? Are you offering value to visitors? People want truth, transparency, personality and value - and entertainment if you can throw that in too!

Get your profile in order and then take note of where you want to improve or how you think you can add more value.

Now for the challenge.

Every day I want you to action the following - it may take you half an hour at first but once it becomes a habit you can keep it to about 10 minutes a day.

  • Check if you have messages or if anyone has tagged you. You want to respond, like comment and share promptly when people are reaching out to you. Stories only last 24 hours so don’t lose the opportunity to share someone else’s story that mentions you or your products.

  • Give some love to recent followers or people who have engaged with your posts. Check out the profile of these people and brands. You may want to follow them back or just give them some love.

  • Like and comment on posts that appear with hashtags you follow. What are the key hashtags that relate to your business or would be followed by your ideal customer? If you don’t know, do some research and make sure you follow these hashtags. Start commenting on these posts where appropriate. Offer more than just an emoji - at least 5 words! Maybe even answer a question and show your expertise. When people see this engagement that are likely to look at your profile and if your account interests them they may follow or at least engage with your posts.

  • Post an image in your feed or a story - every day! Just do it. Have some plan around it but don’t think too much about it. Have your hashtags saved ready to cut and paste, and have some posts that you can tag others in which will also boost your visibility if they share or comment on the post too. (below I have are some ideas around content)

This may seem a lot at first but as you make it a habit, you will get faster. My client says she focusses on Instagram over her morning coffee, then maybe checks once more briefly in the afternoon/evening.

My Clients Story

DivorceTV is a side-hustle for CFO and soon to be lawyer, Lisa Dixon. She started her Instagram in Feb 2020 to promote her YouTube channel, and is also sharing her videos on IGTV. She was new to the Instagram platform apart from occasional personal posts. Holding her hand along the way and offering some simple tips like the ones above, four months on she is loving Instagram and excited about the increasing engagement resulting from her efforts.

In a meeting Lisa said all she wanted 100 followers by the end of the year. No high expectations. She just wanted to learn and let it grow organically - and at no cost apart from her time.

As I write this in June 2020 she has hit 300 followers and she is getting new organic, real followers every day. Now we are aiming for 1000 by 2021 - it may come sooner!

Here are a few of the excited texts I have been receiving as Lisa started to engage more and add Instagram to her daily habits.

A few things...

KEEP TRACK: Take note of the number of followers you have and other insights on your posts and engagement before you begin and then keep checking the analytics. Adjust as you go along when you see what's working. The results may surprise you just like they did for Lisa!

BE BRAVE: Think about what you are sharing. What value are you adding to peoples day. Inspiration, information or education? Be thoughtful, inclusive, interesting and true to yourself. Often the more real a post the more interaction you will get. Put yourself out there if you can and see what happens!

MOMENTUM WILL COME: You don’t need thousands of followers to create a community or sell a product. Yes numbers mean a bigger audience but don’t be deterred. Your following will increase slowly initially then it gets momentum. Everyone starts at zero. Finding interested and engaged followers is a manual process and takes a bit more of your time initially but the followers you gain have more value than random people found by auto-bots!

BE CONSISTENT: Consistency is the key and will help you form a daily habit of checking and engaging. As you start to see results you will see the benefit of keeping it up as much as you can. You confidence will also build as your skill improve and Instagram may end up not such a task for you.

STAY FOCUSSED: Just give it the one month. That's all I ask. There are no guarantees, but like Lisa, you may discover that it is the best platform for your business. If after a month, it's not working as you had hoped, reassess. Maybe have an expert look at it for you or consider trying another platform for one month (like Facebook) then compare. It take a lot of time to be across all social media efficiently as a small business, so it's about finding the right platform for you and the most efficient way to manage it so it brings results.

Do you need help setting up your Business Profile in Instagram, want to learn the tricks to using it efficiently daily or need help with a content plan? I can help. Email me today and let's lock in a FREE chat to discuss how Instagram can help your business grow.

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