This 30 day experiment started accidentally, but I’ve learnt many things about the Instagram platform I really want to share. You might not know this about me, but I’m a marketing communication professional who has in recent years become super nerdy about data, and quite good at working out what it means.
So this started about a month ago, with a personal thing. It was like I felt a weight lift off my shoulders. I decided that I would stop being apologetic about my existence, I felt like I didn't need to keep trying to hide and be afraid of not being 'liked', and I had a moment where I wanted to share that.
My internal dialogue usually goes something like “Sorry to everyone that I am here, and I’m probably annoying, and you are probably just tolerating me, and I’m sorry that I exist, and that nothing I ever do is good enough.” It’s one of those cool patterns your limbic system lays down in childhood.
Anyway, in this moment I said “Fuck that! Shut uppp” And did what anyone would do in a time of bombastic self confidence? I POSTED A SELFIE!
I’ve had a business Instagram account for a number of years, and I had some solid growth, until that algorithm hit. There are good and bad things about it, but mostly, I think it was the cut off point for big organic growth. The prioritisation of content mostly works in favour of those who already had significant follower numbers, and made it harder for smaller accounts. Anyway, I gave it another year, and literally couldn’t get the number over 2000.
At that time, I was fresh out of feeling like a failure in business, and I had a lot of self worth tied up in Instagram, but you'll be pleased to know I'm way out of that phase. So I continued really casually, and posted a few times a month, but then that selfie I posted, got a lot of engagement. Which I found quite interesting. It was mostly friends, but I was curious about why a photo of my face was doing better than photos of the amazing work I do.
So I thought I’d change tact, try some different content, and set out to ‘grow my instagram’. Because obviously I am a prime candidate for getting free clothes and being paid to eat salad on video! #influencerwannabe
It's funny, as soon as I decided this, I started getting DOZENS of ads from #girlboss 'grammers promising me exponential growth in a short amount of time, if only I buy their online course. (I've been through all this before. The internet is rife with female entrepreneurs offering other female entrepreneurs all the success in the world with their tried and true methodologies.)
So I took what I could from this, with all the free content I could score, I made a snazzy palm tree graphic to share some quick reminders.
Now, what you might not be aware of, is that there are 6 potential places your content can be seen on the Instagram platform:
Search page of a particular hashtag.
Brand/people’s ‘tagged photo’ section when you tag them in your photo.
Places and locations when you tag locations.
Suggested users when people follow a new account
The 'Explore' section.
So taking all this into consideration, I've been doing all of the following things for the last 30 days.
- I looked at my existing audience analytics, and saw that I had 77% women, majority aged between 25-44. I found some blog posts and info around the place that said this demographic were predominatly interesting in fashion and style, and interiors and styling were further down the list.
- They seemed to like my face so much, so I thought “I better give the people what they want, and I started posting more photos of myself, and what I was wearing.
- I improved the quality of my content. I aimed to tell a story, be more engaging, and use a curated collection of images in 4 categories; fashion, interiors, travel, words.
- I started posting 1-4 times a day
- I developed a general goal to offer support and discussion around being a modern woman, with mental health stuff, while sharing fashion and lifestyle content somewhat irreverently.
- I created some hashtag groups to use on each category.
- I started using Instagram stories to share things about my life and stuff that I was doing.
- I made sure I tagged locations in every post, and tagged brands and people where relevant.
- I used the Plann app to see when the best times to post for my audience were.
- I tried subscribing to one of those "growth" platforms.
- I looked into some 'ambassador programs'. That one needs a post on its own.
So I followed all the advice, and put around 50 hours into Instagram over the month. I will put the results of my experiment into another post. Stay tuned!