Beyond Crafting: Creating Your Most Inspired Life.

Meet Instagram: Beat the Algorithm and Grow

August 16, 2020 Holli Mostella Season 1 Episode 9
Beyond Crafting: Creating Your Most Inspired Life.
Meet Instagram: Beat the Algorithm and Grow
Show Notes Transcript

Instagram. Like most social media, You either love it or you hate it. What if I told you I have tricks and tips that can help you beat the algorithm, gain followers, and improve your engagement? Let’s take a dive into what makes Instagram tick.

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Instagram. Like most social media, You either love it or you hate it. What if I told you I have tricks and tips that can help you beat the algorithm, gain followers, and improve your engagement? Let’s take a dive into what makes Instagram tick.


When I started my Instagram for my business, I expected it to just, I don’t know, work. I uploaded a photo, put a cute little quote as the caption, and posted. And I waited.. and waited.. and nothing. Maybe a couple of likes, no comments, and it felt like a fail. That sounds crazy, right? Let me be clear that as the years have passed, my longing for numbers has vanished. I don’t watch the number of followers I have, the number of likes on a post, or the comments to gauge if a post is (air quotes here) successful. 


But starting out, you do, right? You want to make sure you’re gaining traction and getting your hard work to your audience. Some of us use social media for sales, and some of us use it as bloggers, or social media influencers, and some use Instagram to connect with family and friends. 
 
 My first bit of advice, is figure out your niche. This is who you are wanting to target and reach. Are you wanting sales for your shop? Are you wanting exposure to work with companies? Or are you using to keep a photo book of your life. Either way, my advice, is not to mix too many topics in your photos, which might confuse your audience. There are exceptions like lifestyle bloggers, where they show you every moment of just everyday life. BUT- staying within your niche as closely as possible will help Instagram funnel people i nto your account, and suggest you for other users that have the same interests as you. 


Here’s my next tip. You have 31 hashtags. Sis, use. Them. All. You’ll want to change them up, and not use the exact same 31 so that IG doesn’t think you’re a bot or spam. If you’re stuck on which hashtags to use.. there are so many resources. There are apps and generators, but I just use Google. I think about the photo I’m posting, and add hashtags that describe your content. So, if I’m posting a photo of a Cricut project, some quick hashtags would be: Cricut, vinyl, DIY, and some companies have hashtags that they use for their own social media, like CricutMade or CricutCreated. Using company made hashtags helps to get you in the company’s eye, and possibly into the company’s feed. With hashtags, you want to use a good mixture of extremely popular ones, and small niche ones. With the highly followed hashtags, they refresh so quickly, you may be missed on someone’s feed. The good thing about smaller niche hashtags, is that you have a greater chance to show up on someone’s feed as they are scrolling. So, to recap, 31 hashtags, big and small, and use Google to research tags that will help describe your content. Also think bigger picture. What is your feed about? You can integrate tags like craft, creator, blogger, even descriptions like mom life. Here is a pro tip: if you exceed the amount of hashtags used, IG will clear them ALL and take them out of your post. It’s smart to keep them in your notes or somewhere that you can copy and paste, so your hard work won’t be lost.


Moving on.. let’s talk engagement. The more you engage with people and other accounts, the more you’re confirming to IG that you’re a real person. Some major tips for engaging is commenting on other’s photos. I always like to scroll a hashtag like -craft- and comment on photos that speak to me, especially to compliment. It doesn’t hurt to make someone smile, right? It also may help you gain a followerer if they love your feed, too. I try and spend an c allotted time each day to answer messages. For one, I really want my audience to feel appreciated and loved. Another way to engage is responding to comments on your photos.. even a short thank you or a virtual smile will again, help IG realize you are a true person. And it all helps build your audience. I want everyone on my feed to feel inspired, loved, and encouraged. Think of *your* goal, and what you can do to achieve it. 


According to Instagram algorithm experts, you have less than 2 seconds to make a first impression. The aesthetic of your feed depends on a few small details, and one big picture. The small details.. think your bio, your photo, and even your highlight photos. All of these are quickly glanced over, before they go on to the Big Bang moment: your first 9 photos. At any given time, someone is going to come into your feed, and their first major reaction is how they feel about the first nine photos they see. Then, they’re going to make a choice: keep scrolling, or leave. I looked at my own IG feed in research for this podcast, and was blown away at the transformation of my feed over the past few years. The first photos I posted weren’t very thought through. It was a quick snap of something I made with a quick set up. Now, I have a process. I have presets I use on every photo I post, so that the photos are pleasing to the eye. One of the major companies I work with, only choose user photos that are bright, clear, and consistent.  Using Adobe Lightroom on your phone is a free app that can help edit your photo. When editing, I never want to alter the photo too much so that it’s not true it itself, but brighten it to keep a consistency with my photos- remember the first 9 - or your most recent uploads - are the ones that make the biggest impact. If you are apart of my Patreon family, you know I’m working on my very own set of presets that will soon be available to the public. There are other apps that help edit photos, some like Snap Seed or other apps, just find what works best for you and you feel represents your goal.


There’s a few more short tips that can help grow your IG. Being active on stories is great. It’s a wonderful way to support your friends, other small shops, or even to share encouragement. I once took a poll on what users went to first when scrolling: stories or feed. The answer was 89% to stories. They are such quick, current entertainment that you can exit out of and go on about your day. If you get up to 10k followers, you’ll get the swipe up feature on your stories so that you can link products that you sell on another platform, or even affiliate links. That’s a great feature to have, because in your bio you can only provide one link, and links are not clickable in posts. I like to use a service like Linktree or beacons. I’ll be sure to give you those links in the Show Notes section at HolliMostella.com


Another quick tip is to tag your photos. Did you get some of your blanks at Target or Michael’s? Is the project made with your Cricut machine? Or is your tumbler made with Counter Culture epoxy? Tagging these companies in your stories and posts give them a notification, and most companies have designated social media managers that look through these posts. You never know who’s checking you out behind the scenes. 8


When I first started posting, Instagram felt like a foreign language. The more I posted, the more I felt comfortable and learned the language that spoke best to my audience. All of these tips are tricks I’ve found work best and are a great baseline to get started. The more you put in, the more you will get back. Don’t focus on your numbers, don’t focus on what isn’t important.. focus on fine tuning your niche, your audience, and the rest will fall into place.