Jodie and I have been on Instagram, working it, studying it, researching it, and overall obsessing over it for over 4 years. We’ve also been working as consultants for individuals and companies to help them grow their Instagram accounts. We’ve learned a ton, and (this is key)…every day we learn more. With Instagram there is no resting on your laurels. On this fast-paced, always fluid platform there can be lamenting over “the good ole days”…if you do you’re just wasting valuable time and energy. The real key to success on Instagram today is to make Instagram personal. Just how do you do this? We’ve got the answers right here.
Once again we are here to share our most recent insights and epiphanies which are direct results of our most current research, as well as our study and analysis of who is succeeding and WHY! Let’s get to it!
If you haven’t read our post on the Instagram Trust Score we know you will want to read it as well.
IG Followers Want the Full Package
It turns out, Instagram is very smart! When we say Instagram we mean both the platform itself (the algorithm that drives all activity) AND the people on it.
While pictures are still the number one most important aspect of Instagram also of key importance is the person (personality) behind the photos. More than ever Instagram rewards feeds not based on actual followers, but on feeds whose followers are active and engaged. A large feed is no longer the greatest asset, engagement with your followers is the MOST important thing. This truly levels the playing field for all! It’s actually quite simple: Feeds who produce the highest quality posts that engage the greatest percentage of their followers will be rewarded. And people engage with people they enjoy and care about.
Make Instagram Personal
This is where personality comes into play. Success and growth is awarded to accounts who offer the full package: awesome and inspiring photos accompanied by darling, fun, witty, engaging, real, warm personality… feeds that invite people to interact. Followers want to engage with people they want to “hang out with”!! People who invite their followers in and make them feel a genuine connection will reap the biggest rewards.
How do you do this? Be awesome, be real, and don’t hold back. Be your wittiest, sweetest, most engaging self, both on your posts and in your stories. Give authentically for the pure joy of giving and you will receive. Don’t give with a goal in mind, but give selflessly. Don’t give looking for ROI or you will not come off authentically. Remember, people are smart. Be in it to give with no return. Develop real relationships and you develop a loyal, engaged following.
Believe in Yourself
This may sound very basic and obvious, but this is essential. You must begin by believing in yourself. At the very least you must begin by believing in your own potential. This doesn’t mean thinking you’re all that or being full of yourself. This is not what I mean at all. I mean believe that if you stay committed you will get there eventually.
If you don’t believe in yourself how do you expect the world to believe in you? So go for it! Nothing ventured nothing gained. The only real failure lies in quitting before you achieve your goals.
Be Authentic to Make Instagram Personal
Again, at the risk of sounding cliche I will say it anyway: Be yourself! Everyone else is taken. Gosh, this world is full of people putting on facades and acting a part. It’s tiresome and honestly not what people even want! The world wants REAL!
Jodie and I have never tried or wanted to be anything but who we really are. Good thing! The world is smart. Give the world credit for being able to determine if you are being real or fake (because they can:)
Be Transparent to Make Instagram Personal
The more personal and honest you are the more you bond with your audience. Let your audience into your heart, not just your home. This is not necessarily easy and many people aren’t willing to go this far. But if you are it is a true gift you give to people. Just as in life, the more you give the more you get in return.
Engagement is everything, and when you take risks with true transparency it pays off. Let down your guard, confess it all, speak from your heart, reveal your secrets. Not only are you bonding with your audience, creating a trust and closeness, but you will also invite a lot more conversation and response. Showing your vulnerable side can be scary, but if you are brave enough to reveal the real you, you WILL be rewarded.
Understanding the Algorithm
The changes happening on Instagram have one main goal in mind: to create a better experience for the user. The advancements in the algorithm are able to discern with increasing accuracy the difference between real and fake accounts. Even if you are a real person be mindful of certain activities that IG may interpret as robotic and penalize you for, such as:
- Following or unfollowing too many people in a short amount of time. If this is a goal of yours, limit the amount you follow and unfollow and spread out this task over time. You should not exceed 60/hour.
- Commenting on too many accounts in a short amount of time. The max allowed is 60/hour.
- Liking too many accounts in a short period of time. No more than 150/hour.
- Repeating the same comments or replies too many times. Try to make each response unique.
- Reposting exact content.
- Repeating the exact same hashtags over and over. Do not use hashtag lists that you copy and paste. Make each post unique for that post.
For more of what NOT to do be sure to read our post “10 Instagram Mistakes you are Making.”
Show your Personality to Make Instagram Personal
Now that we’ve listed what NOT to do….let’s focus on what you SHOULD do! For more on what you need to create an INCREDIBLE IG post be sure to read “How to Create Instagram Posts that Go Viral.“
Via Your posts:
Maybe you are funny, or clever or poetic, or maybe you are young, hip and cool. One way to show your personality is by using conversational language. It’s called “train of thought” writing and it’s more than acceptable as a “real” way to communicate with your followers in your post. Hey English majors! This is no time to quibble over semantics or worry about grammar! It is still, however, important to proofread. That auto-correct can be brutal! You always want to read over your post before hitting ‘post.’
If you can make your readers/followers feel like you are in a conversation with them this is a great way to draw them in and endear yourself to them.
Via Your Stories:
This is where you can really shine! Stories are your gateway to revealing who you are and letting people get a glimpse of the real you! Yes, you want to deliver some content. You may want to give sneak peaks of decor updates, give the behind the scenes with DIY’s and craft how to’s. But in the downtime between projects you want to use stories just to chat with your friends, I mean followers!
I try to make time every day for stories, and many days I am just saying Hi. This is where you can share the personal side of what’s going on in your life. You can include your family members or your dogs or whatever contributes to your day! People WANT to know! To read more about all the ways you can use stories to up your game on Instagram be sure to read our recent post “How to Make the Most of Instagram Stories”
Across Instagram no matter what your niche there are 3 important goals:
Number 1: Create Beauty. Your posts must be creative, artistic, visual story-telling.
Number 2: Maintain a consistent essence of your brand throughout your feed.
Number 3: Inspire a response in your followers.
How do you inspire a response? This is the crux! Your photos and posts (words) must:
- catch the eye
- elicit emotion
- inspire curiosity
- tell a story
If you achieve one or more of these important goals on each and every post you will succeed. To succeed and make Instagram personal you must truly inspire people. Someone asked me recently if I thought success on Instagram involved luck. My answer is absolutely not. Hard work, dedication and all of the above. Great feeds consistently inspire in one or more of the above ways, and the best ones achieve them all. In order to inspire others you must yourself be inspired! So bring your passions, your dedication, your heart…and love the process!
Happy Creating! Happy Connecting!
With love & gratitude,
Julie & Jodie