Honestly, I ask myself this same question every day as my accounts grow by hundreds of awesome, targeted followers.
But I’m here to tell you that’s it’s not too good to be true.
Here’s exactly what I’ve used to begin growing my accounts not by fake followers, but by real, active, engaged followers who are like my new little family!
Remember, it’s not a numbers game.
Your social media accounts are about QUALITY, not quantity.
But first, here’s what you must AVOID:
Buying fake followers is always a losing game.
It bears repeating: never buy followers!
You will get engagement from people who disrespect you.
You will totally screw up your analytics, making it hard to see what your real target market wants and needs from you.
You will have low engagement on your posts, making it obvious that you “lie” about your followers. It makes you look like a cheater.
If you have purchased thousands or even tens of thousands of fake followers on your account, it may be impossible to delete them all without spending hours, even weeks of your life finding and blocking them.
Rather, I suggest you start over.
Get a new fresh account that you run with integrity.
Need help with that?
I offer free 15-minute strategy sessions here to help you get back on track, and start making bank by spreading your magic.
Here’s what you have to do…
Lots of people think that posting beautiful photos will build a following.
But what happens if you’re a yogi posting photos of your cat?
You have to choose a target market and then post to that market.
Post things that are relevant to them, things that interest them, and things that inspire them in y’alls shared interest.
Don’t have a target market?
The best thing my clients have found helps them hone in their target market is by completing this simple statement:
“I help people ________ so that _______ .”
Let’s use me as an example.
“I help people build multiple income streams within their business so that they can make more money with the hours they work.”
Remember: make sure your statement tells your target market what’s in it for them!
When you are creating a following around this niche, you will have more FREEDOM because you’ll know exactly the type of post or message that you are going to upload every day, and it becomes much easier to stay focused on your business when you’re trying to convert those followers to a product (eventually!)
If you’re not sure what business you want to do, but you know that you DON’T want to do what you’re currently doing, I’m an expert business strategist and I’d love to get you on the right track.
You can either:
Identify Your Life’s Purpose and build a beautiful business around your superpower
Get a coach who has been there and can walk you through the secrets to starting and thriving in your new business.
Now that you’ve chosen your target market, post content they want to see and stay consistent and on theme with that niche.
Posting consistently about the same topic will engender trust from your followers; they know what to expect from you and they won’t unfollow you when you post something that’s irrelevant to their interests.
No, you’re not going to get every horny dog across the world oogling your photos of business motivation memes, but you’ll be delivering the content you carefully choose for the followers you want. You don’t want EVERY follower; you want the RIGHT followers.
I post strictly business and entrepreneur encouragement/lifestyle photos and videos.
When I hop on a Live video my followers have me FLOORED with their level of intelligence and success.
I am proud of the followers I have.
Above all, my followers know who I am and what I’m about.
I have a clear sales funnel for my potential clients that means that once they are on the phone with me, they already know they need my help.
It takes the pressure off everybody!
Remember: Instagram is a visual platform.
My Instagram coach reported that 85% of people will never read your description or bio.
But that’s okay!
You convey a message with your photos – so be very mindful of what you post.
Your account reflects your energy.
One of the best tips that I give people is to create white space in their account, or to tile the account with a theme.
Your theme can be a color, tiles, or specific graphics for different days of the week.
“Presets” make it very easy to do this with the Lightroom app.
When you put intention into the look of the account when people glance at the most recent 9 photos you’ve posted, does it look random?
Or does it look consistent to a theme or flavor?
One of the most beautiful up-and-coming Instagram influencers who does this is Jenna Wano (@thejennacode).
Her account screams opulence, beauty, and gold glitter!
I coached a hair stylist who posted people’s pictures in dirty, disheveled salons, in their cars, and all over town… it was a mess!
I suggested that every third photo she used a blanket to create a backdrop, and every other third photo she used a ring light to make it shiny, and every other third photo she post a beauty tip.
See the theme and intention?
It’s not lazy! Reposting other people’s beautiful work is flattering to them, and can boost your followers (if you’re posting something that went viral). Just make sure to clearly tag the person in the photo AND in the comments.)
If you are generous about tagging somebody who provided you free content, you will engender the spirit of reciprocity; they will be psychologically more apt to listen to you if you’re approaching them as an influencer!
Just make sure your re-posts stick to your target market – or else go re-read step one!
Less Is More
If you don’t have anything beautiful, relevant, or inspiring to post, don’t post anything at all! Posting consistently is important, but posting consistently GOOD CONTENT is even more important.
Optimal Posting Times
Post during times at which your audience is online. My moms account is dead during dinner time, but ALIVE when kids fall asleep! Is your audience on the gram during business hours? Instagram Insights will help you learn when your audience is active on your business account.
Comments on Posts
Answer questions promptly from your followers! Engage with them when they engage with you!
It sounds obvious, but a lot of Instagrammers ignore their engagement, which doesn’t encourage the follower to continue engaging. This hurts your ability to grow.
Studies show that responding to comments within the first ten minutes of posting will significantly increase the ranking and audience on the post. Plus, it’s polite to respond when people engage on your post. It helps your business and makes you look more credible in your niche!
See the theme and intention?
Messages on Posts
When people comment on your post, say thank you! It’s polite, and it trains your audience to keep engaging with you because you’re gracious and it psychologically feeds them the attention they desire, and deserve as beautiful human beings.
Don’t just say “thank you”, but comment with a gracious and thoughtful remark or comment if you really want to build .a relationship with your followers and let them know that you care about them. If you’re like me, you really genuinely do!
Nearly 100% of my current business comes from Instagram, so I make sure to answer all messages, even with a simple “thank you” if it’s a weird one. We’ll discuss how to monetize your account in a minute.
You can peek at somebody’s profile to see if they fit your ideal client and either continue the conversation or not.Or, you can network with cool people even if you don’t think they’ll become clients one day!
Regardless, don’t miss the value of ALL HUMANS who message you.
Using Instagram “Boosts”
You may think that photo of your cat was the… err… “cat’s meow”, but if you don’t get a lot of likes or engagements, it’s probably not the post to boost.
If, on the other hand, one of my posts sells a $97 e-course, I’ll be sure to throw $5-$30 into boosting that post to try to get more courses sold.
Boosting your highest-liked posts is still a relatively cheap advertising tool and a great way to get people or followers to your website.
Getting Folks To Your Website, or “Sales Funnels”
Because you can’t hyperlink in the comments or descriptions on Instagram, one of the only ways to get people to your website is by boosting a post (you do, alas, pay to play on Instagram – but not as much as on Facebook!)
Boost your posts with the most likes if you want more followers.
Or boost the posts that sell the most of your product.
Here’s how you can use boosts:
It’s too easy to boost posts, but I’ve found that they get exponentially more followers and engagement to my store or website than Facebook ads.
Alas, you have to pay to play big, but if you’re not going to invest in your business, I assure you, nobody else will 😉 . Play around with one or two posts that got a lot of likes or drove people to your store before you spend too much, though!
Get A LinkTr.ee
I honestly don’t even take people seriously if they don’t have a LinkTree!
We need this tool because Instagram only allows you to link one website in your profile, but most people want to give visitors the option of going to a website, a work-with-me page, or a store.
Get yours by go to https://linktr.ee/ to get a Link Tree. It’s free.
This is essentially link for your Bio section that can have several links versus just one website link.
You don’t need a professional camera!
Plus, the best instagram photos are real, lifestyle shots anyway, right?
I have found that shooting my photos with the “square” setting on my iPhone XS works miracles.
What’s more, the iPhone XS has a Portrait mode that makes my photos look totally professional!
The days of spending $2,000 on a camera are over.
Use the resources you have in your hands for half the day already.
And learn to use them well.
The answers are out there, you just have to ask the expert 😉
Staging Your Photos
Did you know that some people schedule entire vacations around Instagram photos? It’s true! There are trips to Paris that one business coach I know schedules just to get people the shot of them looking rich and important; and another company allows people to sit on a private jet to “fool” people into thinking they ride around in jets like a celebrity!
Well, to be honest, I can’t wait to spend a month and a half in Europe this summer and do my own Instgram photo shoot! But in the meantime, try to professionally stage your photos with clean, blurred out, organized, or beautiful backgrounds.
Messy kitchens and dated living rooms aren’t cool, unless that’s somehow your “schtick”. I
t’s true: on Instagram, beautiful people have a bit of a leg up, but you can “work” any scene with great staging.
To see some of the most beautifully staged photos for a “non-celebrity”, check out www.instagram.com/
Profile & Bio
Your bio is the only place you can drive people to a website or link without paying for it.
Make sure that you have a LinkTree (www.linktr.ee.com) link with all the products, services, websites, and contact me forms.
Next, make sure you include a “Call me” or “Email me” support number or address.
Finally, be sure to put a concise statement of why you’re the expert on your TARGET MARKET, and encourage people to contact you for an appointment to chat.
What To Write In Photo Captions
Vulnerability is KEY to creating engaged followers. Be sure to write descriptions on your photos that are either vulnerable about you and your expertise, or else encourage engagement, such as by asking questions or calling on empathy or support from your followers.
Remember, 85% of people won’t read what you’re writing, but those who do will really pay attention to what you write; the impression you leave with them will last for your entire Instagram relationship.
Clean Instagram Line Breaks
Use http://apps4lifehost.com/ to get clean Instagram line breaks in your description – people aren’t likely to read if you have your words all jumbled together, and instagram doesn’t let you use the “return” key on your phone to create spaces.
Now, Apps 4 Life even lets you create bold and italics in your post descriptions.
You’re going to look SO professional and progressive being one of the first people to use this technology!
Instagram LIVE videos are a great way to show up at the very top of everybody’s news feed to keep them engaged. They’re yet very underutilized by marketers! When you shoot a live video or do a story highlight, your content shows up in the “circles” at the top of somebody’s feed. Instead of having to scroll through ugly cat photos, somebody will see you at the very top of their feed.
Increasingly, videos are the best way to reach audiences online. It’s a great thing to show love and recognition to your followers by engaging with them. Currently, photos get more Instagram likes, but videos get more engagement!
You can repost great things other people post as story Highlights, post a LIVE video as your Story, or even post your own photos with words, links to other accounts, or references to places you’ve been with story highlights.
Don’t forget to get engagement on your Highlights by doing polls or asking “yes/no” questions.
Once you’ve done a handful of story highlights, you can add these to the “bubbles” in your profile by choosing a highlight and adding a title and cover photos (ideally all the same style, such as www.instagram.com/
momswearcapes or www.instagram.com/ aspenentrepreneur
Using Hashtags “Properly’
Hashtags are a great way to help people find you who want to follow your content.
You can use “prettyxxxgirl” if that’s your thing, but I like to look up business leaders who have huge followings and use the same hashtags they use as a benchmark.
Don’t use more than 10 hashtags in a post, and don’t worry about whether or not they’re in the description or in the comments section.
Use What’s Trending Today
Search for an Instagram Hashtag generator tool in your target market or else look at https://trends.google.com/
trends/ to make your hashtags hyper-relevant for that day.
Remember, even if “Bruno Mars” is hot today in trends, you aren’t getting anywhere by posting photos or using hashtags that aren’t relevant to your niche.
Using Giveaways Effectively
I don’t use giveaways at this time since I do coaching, not selling physical products.
I don’t giveaway my information products because I don’t want to undervalue to product I’m selling. But if you have little ancillary trinkets, jewelry, beauty services, or art, Giveaways can be the most effective engagement tool you will ever use on Instagram.
People do giveaways effectively when they have contests, such as “share this post with ten people and qualify!” (Make sure it rolls with your theme, y’all!)
There are several companies who effectively take the work out of giveaways by hosting yours for you.
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