As I said, I’ll be talking more and more about Instagram here on the blog, and podcast, as it’s the place to be if you want to crush it online and build a following, regardless of where you’ll take it from there.
In a previous post I tried to summarize what makes it the hottest and fastest growing social media platform. Now, it’s time to get to action and take the first steps.
If you already have an Instagram account, that’s fine. You’ll now just optimize it and see if you have all the elements below in place. Each is important, and skipping a step might lead to turning into a feed people wouldn’t really want to follow.
So, here’s how to create a killer Instagram account today and start building your following:
1. Overall strategy.
If you just dive into it without having a strategic plan, you’ll end up confusing people and not building an audience any time soon.
So take some time to think everything through now, from the big picture of what you want to achieve with your Instagram account, to every little detail that’s part of the profile and content creation and how it will affect the way people perceive you.
What’s your main goal?
One thing must be your priority, and you’ll always have it in mind. Especially when you’re in doubt and need to take a decision.
For most people, it’s growing their followers, and then using them to make money (there are a few ways you can do that, we’ll talk more about this in another blog post),or to improve their brand and form relationships that will pay off in the long run.
Nathan Chan, for instance, focused solely on the magazine, brand and delivering inspirational content for young and aspiring entrepreneurs (@foundr) on a consistent basis, instead of putting his face on the profile photo and uploading photos from his daily life.
Now let’s take a look at the founder of Sporteluxe, Bianca Cheah (@biancamaycheah), whose Instagram account has 144K followers, but is created using images of herself or things from her everyday life, that are inspiring and tell a story. It’s personal, but related to her audience at the same time. She’s taken the time to develop the right strategy in the beginning, and – which is crucial – has stayed true to it.
No matter what path you choose for your Instagram journey, you must be consistent (and patient, in the beginning).
2. Choose your name.
Everyone wants to choose the perfect one. It’s similar to taking the decision about your domain name when starting your blog.
Most often, people go for their brand/website/product or their personal name.
It must be:
- consistent across all your social networks (and anywhere you are online, really);
- easy to read, spell and remember.
Don’t use underscores in it. Don’t try to include keywords about your business. It should either be your business name, or real name. Keep it simple, aesthetics matters on Instagram more than anywhere else so even names should look good and minimal.
The picture on your Instagram profile matters a lot. It’s what people see before they read the bio or check out your feed, so let’s make it good.
If it’s gonna be you, go for a professional one, that evokes emotion (you’re either smiling, or doing something unusual).
If it’s a business profile, add your beautiful logo.
That’s a key element of your Instagram success.
What you say here is what anyone who lands on your page will see. It plays a big part in whether or not they’ll like you as a person (or your brand), follow you, click the link in your bio, read your content, etc.
This is also your elevator pitch. Just like anywhere else, you have a few seconds to present yourself and tell people the most important thing about you or your business. So stick to the essentials, but share them in an engaging way.
Under it, people will see (and will hopefully be tempted to click on) the one and only link you’re allowed to include. Many Instagrammers make the last sentence of their bio a cool call to action to encourage people to visit the url.
Here are some ideas from popular accounts:
Now’s the time to decide on the type of content you’ll post, how often and when exactly, what you’ll be writing under each photo, what calls to action you’ll use, and what hashtags will work best.
It’s also important to have a picture of the ideal follower in your mind so that you can speak to such people directly with your posts.
Here’s the type of content I post:
And here’s why I do it:
A feed must be visually appealing as a whole, not just each photo separately.
I tested different things, but am now consistent with this strategy – I post one beautiful image with a quote, followed by one powerful quote on a white background.
About the images: I make most of them myself using Canva, but sometimes I post a book, my new podcast episode, or repost something motivational from an Instagram account I like.
The black and white quotes are simpler, look good and can be read in an instant. They are super easy to create (I use Textgram for Android) and content that people enjoy on this platform.
I also have a few key topics I create content around – it’s the things I’m passionate about, which I want to inspire people to take action to achieve, and the purpose of which is to attract like-minded individuals.
As we know, it’s better to niche down and target a specific audience. Well, mine can be summarized as people who (want to) create online businesses, live the ideal lifestyle, have freedom, travel, do what they love, and hustle.
Most of my pictures are of beaches, palms or the sky. Which symbolizes freedom, lifestyle design, location independence, being a digital nomad, etc.
That’s what I like anyways, and I want my feed to offer that exact type of inspiration.
Every now and then I might post something different, or more personal, but the overall content strategy remains the same.
I post between 3-5 times a day, use the 30 hashtags I’m allowed to and ones that are popular in my niche, and follow the right people consistently.
My Instagram account is growing steadily, and people are engaged with the content.
What about you? What’s your strategy? How did you go about your Instagram account? Share your handle in the comments below and follow me @letsreachsuccess