Exciting news! The gr8nola Instagram page hit 10,000 followers… in a little under one year! This is a huge milestone, especially since I knew nothing about Instagram prior to starting it for my healthy granola business. But when you're trying to build a consumer brand out of pure scrappiness, you have no choice but to get your hands dirty and learn. I am by no means an Instagram expert, but here are some tips and tricks I learned and followed to ramp up my page.
It’s all About Content
This should be your #1 focus. Your posts should be visual, attractive and relevant to your audience. This is your "magnet" that will draw people to follow you if/once they discover your feed. Food is very visual, so I try to make sure my feed looks good aesthetically while representing my brand. I use a paid tool called Planoly to do "grid” planning so I can visualize my content ahead of time. You can also try free tools like Later.com.
Look where we started -- to where we are now. Which would you rather follow?
Tip #1: Don’t have your own content? If you don’t have original content, you can “regram" other content -- just make sure to credit these people back with a “Photo by: @username. But, make sure to have as much original content as you can!
When I was ramping up, I tried to post at least 4-5x a week to 1) build up my feed with enough scrollable content with a consistent look and feel and 2) get people to engage (like & comment) with my content consistently. The more people engage with your content, the more Instagram’s algorithm will have your posts appear in your followers’ feeds. Now I post daily, anywhere from 1-2 times a day.
Tip #2: Content > Consistency. If you don’t have good content, think twice about posting! Personally, I would rather post 3-4x a week with quality content versus posting every day with mediocre content since this will impact the overall appeal of your feed. Set a minimum threshold of posts you want to hit per week, make sure you have enough content queued up for that, and anything above and beyond can be extra credit. Remember, you're just starting!
Once you have an attractive feed with consistent content that's relevant to your audience, you're ready to draw people to your page! Full disclosure: The tips below are very tactical, but they will make a small impact each time which will add up over time if you are being consistent!
Tip #3: Use relevant hashtags with every post. You can use up to 30 hashtags in every post, and I always add my hashtags as my first comment. You want to use hashtags that you can hopefully "trend" on, which means your post would appear in the top 9 photos when searching that tag. You'll need to do some homework and find a balance of hashtags that are relevant to your content and aren't overly saturated (like in the tens of millions). A quick way to find hashtags to use is to to look at a peers' feed that has similar content and high engagement and see if they use hashtags.
Tip #4: Engage with people who are your target audience. Follow, like and write genuine comments on posts of people who are in your target market. Not sure where to start? Go to a competitor’s Instagram account and engage with their followers. If your engagement is genuine and your feed/product/offering is relevant to them, people will be more likely to engage back and follow you.
Tip 5#: Tag others in your photos. Did you know you can tag up to 20 people in every post? There are lots of blog feeds that actually want you to tag them, and people who are checking out those pages may just stumble upon your content if they look at their tagged pictures. Another reason you may tag an account is to hope they might engage back with you. Examples in the food space: @foodblogfeed @feedfeed @tastingtable @mealpreponfleek etc. Don't do this to individuals or people who do NOT want to be tagged.
Again, these are just some basic tactics to ramp up your feed when you are just getting started. Remember, social is most successful when you know who you are, and how you define your brand! Once you have that, then you can move into influencer marketing and collaborating with other brands, which I will post about in a future blog!
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