3 things you need to know about staying successful (and sane) on Instagram

Hello hello, I did an Instagram coaching session last week (sit down somewhere nice with someone nice, order coffee, have a look at their goals and work out how to develop a great Instagram account to support that). Afterward, I shared some of my reflections from the session on email. Just clarifying the important points. As I sent it – I thought, for me, those three points get to the heart of Instagram success right now. That definition of success isn’t having a million followers. It’s having an account that works for you. This won’t take long.

There’s no magic to it (any of it)

You can’t game Instagram (you can cheat at it, but you can’t fool it). Contrary to the promises of a million blog posts, you can’t ‘beat the algorithm’ either (heck, we can’t even understand the algorithm). It’s simple – what works there is what works in real life. You can build a community of invested followers by posting things you genuinely care about. And by engaging in a thoughtful and polite way. It really is a case of treating other people the way you want to be treated yourself.

Invite followers into your conversation. Instagram offers a ton of functions that help with this from stickers to polls to straight-forward comment boxes. Start to think of your post as the beginning of what you put on Instagram.

I like Later blog, click here to read their suggestions for generating engagement on your Instagram account.

It isn’t sexy but

Consistency is key. You need to keep showing up in order to build trust and familiarity with an online audience (regardless of the social platform). Look at anyone who has a buoyant online presence, they do this.

Let’s not be crazy. I don’t mean you are failing at life if you don’t post for a day, or for a few days, or a few weeks.  You can take a break or a holiday, or have more important things to do.

However, there is no point denying the significant investment involved in creating an active social community. It takes time and thought. It could be years before you see much return on that investment (but I bet it won’t be). Let’s all devise a sustainable (and enjoyable!) posting schedule with that in mind.

If you fancy a great listen – make time for this podcast from Tiffany Han – 5 Things I Wish I’d Know and the Best Advice I’ve Ever (!) gotten. She digs into the power of showing up.

p.s Tiffany took the whole month of November off Instagram, proving it’s a marathon, not a sprint.

and know that Instagram isn’t the thing

Perhaps this is my most important point. For 99.9999999999% of the population, Instagram can and should only be part of your plan. It’s a wonderful tool for connecting with people (almost everyone is there, it’s free!). But it has huge limitations (overcrowding, just one clickable link, the algorithm, you don’t own it….). Very few of us can run a business simply off the back of our gigantic following there. Stay sane and admit that it will work best when you use it to support a wider business (or pleasure) goal. Maybe I’m saying – expect less of Instagram.

If you want to start getting to grips with Instagram click on my blog post about how to gain your first 1000 followers.

If you would like to chat with me about social media coaching email helen@notabout-thekids.com or find me (often) on Instagram.

It would be just lovely if you shared this post to Pinterest, click on the picture right here. And, always, thank you for reading.

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