A little over 9 months ago, I wrote a post ‘5 Ways to Grow Your Instagram Following Fast’. I talked about being a newbie on Instagram (IG), but I was willing to give it a try and see if it is a good tool for my business (and yours) to generate sales.
I had 320 followers at the time, but I set a goal to have over 1200 followers by the end of 2014. Here’s what happened + what you can learn from my experience – your guinea pig bff! Haha
First things first, I did not reach 1200 followers by the end of 2014, but I am currently at 950 followers!
After writing the original post, I still didn’t get fully on the IG bus – I ran towards the bus, but didn’t ever really jump on the bus. Here’s what happened:
1. I created a new image series – illustrating shoes. I used to illustrate as a little girl and since I now sit at a computer and design, I thought this would be a fun change of pace. Why shoes? In order to understand my clients and their needs, you have to walk a mile in their shoes + I love shoes. This new series lasted about as long as a New York minute. Each drawing took about an hour and at the end of the day, my following, nor myself were very passionate about it. So I scrapped it!
2. Shared others on my IG + gave shout-outs (on follow Fridays). I found brands/IG accounts that matched my aesthetic and gave them a shout out. I LOVE to share businesses/people with others, this is what it’s all about for me – helping + sharing.
3. Listened to my audience. Once I had enough images to really look at, I got a sense of what was resonating with others. See the image above: people love light, airy, simple styled images…which matches my brand perfectly. Also, I have found that food and flowers are a favorite too!
4. Participated in a photo challenge. This one was even shorter than a New York minute. I personally found that I don’t have the time, brain power or energy to snap 30+ different images a month, plus editing, plus posting. Scrapped!
At the end of 2014, I studied my IG experience above and came to the conclusion…
I Have a Love/Hate Relationship with Instagram!
I love the beautiful pictures, authentic stories, inspiration, creativity and words of encouragement. BUT I hate the time it was taking out of my life; styling, taking pictures, editing and zero new clients that found me initially through IG.
My accountability partner, Jenn of A Style Portrayed, called me out on NOT jumping in with both feet. It was a ‘sh*!t or get off the pot’ moment. (Haha, this is my Grandma Click coming out in me…and to my husband, if you’re reading this, please forgive me, I had to say it).
I said I’d jump in with both feet for 90 days (heck, I can do anything for 90 days) and then either continue or pull the plug all together. Which is what I did with Twitter – I hated Twitter and couldn’t find passion for it, so I got of the tweet train and have been happy with this choice ever since.
The lesson: If you’re not passionate about something, don’t do it!
On January 8, 2015, I had 81 images on my IG feed and 521 followers. The goal was to post two images a day (Monday-Friday), one in the morning and one in the afternoon.
You might be saying to yourself, “Girl, you just told us how you didn’t have time to do one image a day, how are you going to do two a day?”
I decided that of ALL the things I tried in 2014, the one thing that I loved doing was #2 above. Ding, ding, ding, the light bulb went off. I decided I was going to post others beautiful photographs (that matched my brand, style, aesthetic), give them credit and exposure on my feed. Note: I also post a few of my own photographs (as seen below), but majority are others.
90 Day Instagram Challenge Results
-I have 178 images posted to my IG feed. A 120% increase.
-I have 955 followers. An increase of 83%!
-A large increase of engagement.
-Met some amazing new friends/businesses.
-Started getting calls and emails asking me what I’m doing, because they’ve seen my numbers go up in a pretty short time and wanted to know how I was doing it!
-One new client that discovered me on Instagram first.
SUMMATION: I’m liking this path that I’m currently on, so for now I’m going to stay on the IG bus. Time will tell.
TAKEAWAY #1: Figure out what works for YOU!
A lot of IG feeds contain mostly their own photos and I’ll give kudos to y’all who are doing that. KUDOS – YOU TOTALLY ROCK! And when taking a lot of pictures is part of your business model and you truly are passionate about it, then this is perfect for YOU.
If you’re more like me: not a lot of time, not passionate about taking a bunch of photos, but still want to play, figure out what is doable and works for you – and ROCK IT!
And if you decide that IG just isn’t for you – get off it, don’t just have a lifeless account because this can hurt your business.
TAKEAWAY #2: There’s more than one way to play, and still grow.
TAKEAWAY #3: Don’t do anything part way! Either put both feet in or both feet out, not one in and one out.
Where do you sit? Are you on the love it, hate it, or undecided list???
Side note: The only other thing I’ve done beside this strategy above, was a one-time Loop Giveaway. This post is already too long – so later this month I’ll walk through the Loop Giveaway strategy because it is a QUICK, INEXPENSIVE way to grow your IG following numbers.