Hi Makers! Alison here, back with this week's Tip Tuesday. It's no secret that Instagram is a pretty happening place for makers. The social media app lends itself so well to our behind-the-scenes lifestyle shots that make it easy to fall in love with a maker's work. This week I'm excited to share some of my tips and tricks on how to grow your Instagram following!
The truth is, I’ve never been very active on social media in my personal life, but I started my knitting Instagram account La Reserve Design as a way to connect with all of the beautiful and inspirational makers I stumbled across online. At first I had no intention of growing my following or even sharing my own content, however I quickly became addicted to the post life. I love the instant feedback of Instagram and I am constantly blown away by the support and creativity of the handmade community it showcases.
"So Al, how did you get so many followers?, How do I grow my own Instagram following?" These are among the questions I'm often asked and they always make me giggle, because confession time: I have no idea. But I do feel a better question we all can ask is, "How do I increase my engagement on Instagram?" Because in my opinion, there is little benefit to an Instagram account - high number of followers or not - if it does not generate likes, comments, or is lackluster in connecting with other users. To me, Instagram should be seen as a community first and foremost, and a means to simply growing web presence afterwards. So the more engaged you are with your community, the more chances you'll have of connecting, and thus growing your follower count.
Ready to log on to some specific Instagram tips with me? Ok let's go!
Here are my 5 best tips to becoming a more engaged Instagram user:
1. Find your people
Whether you're into fitness, photography, gaming, food, knitting, etc. you can bet there are other IGers out there who are also into it. Growing your Instagram is truly about discovering and finding people who you share similar interests with. My IG feed for example is about 82% knitting, 15% yoga, and probably 3% friends. Once you find your people you'll be able to connect with them over your shared hobbies.
2. Be consistent & visible
In the same way you're out there trying to find your people-- your people are also trying to find you! So let them! In my experience, your visibility increases when you maintain a consistent feed. Post things true to your unique online identity with the type of photos you post, your writing and commenting style, the time of day that you tend to post, etc... I tend to lose patience with accounts that are all over the place with their content. For example, if I start following someone because I am drawn to their food and recipe posts, but they suddenly start posting pictures of their bffs wedding or their cats, I will most likely end up unfollowing them. It's also important to truly know yourself on IG, and not hit a sudden identity crisis too often or post photos that seem fake or not genuine in voice, especially when your users feel as if they've already gotten to know you. Ponder on why you have your Instagram, because it's important to find your own voice and foster organic engagement with your followers.
3. Use those Hashtags
Using hashtags, especially when we use them wisely, create a great way to connect on Instagram and help to put our photos in front of new potential followers. Don't be shy to do some quick research on popular and frequent hashtags that you think would make your posts more noticeable. In my experience, the more specific your hashtags the better. For example, if I post a picture of a cozy blue blanket on Friday, I'll make sure to use hashtags that specifically define my post such as #blue #wool #cable #friday #sunny #handmade #yarnporn #makersgonnamake etc. rather than just broadly tagging #cozy. Descriptive hashtags (colour, content, weekday, weather, handmade community, etc.) catch eyes, and be aware of them, trending hashtags are constantly evolving, so make sure to do a quick search ever so often to keep your hash-tagging fresh and up-to-date!
4. Follow the Inspiration
I love to follow people who inspire me and Instagram is a place for both dreamers and doers. So follow people who fill your feed with things that inspire you and you will be more likely to engage with them. Avoid following people simply because they follow you back, and rather connect with them because you observe what they're posting and you want to engage with them in the community.
5. Comment & Connect
If you like someone's photo, let them know! Commenting on a photo that you like is an easy way to connect with your followers and gain more exposure to your entire network. I love reading through the comments that I receive on photos I post. I can't tell you how many times a simple "*winky face,* *kissy face,* *celebration confetti cone*" comment has made my day. Most IGers will take the time to read and respond to all of their comments, so you're more likely to be able to directly engage with some of the people you follow this way.
My bonus Instagram tip is this: try not to take things too seriously! IG is a great place to connect with people, but it is just a small part of running a successful business. If you treat your feed like a direct extension of your business, or find yourself always pushing a "sales only" oriented message, then it will feel stiff and corporate. Your goal to growth should include a genuine, engaged and inspirational tone. Who you are and who you aspire to be promote organic page engagement, honest connections with your followers and allow you to connect with your community at large.
Did this inspire you to go bigger and better on Instagram? Tag #OMLTipTuesday on @ourmakerlife instagram so I can peek at your page and see all the amazing ways you are using these tips - you just might have the next great Insta page that we'll feature!
Happy Making and Insta-ing!
Alison, OML dream team
Alison is the knitter behind @la.reserve.design. She has always loved making things with her own two hands and the idea of turning strands of yarn into warm, wearable garments gets her itching to pick up her needles. With a background in textile design, she currently works as a design assistant for a menswear company in Montreal, Canada. Her favorite thing to knit is warm chunky blankets made of cozy, thick wool.