Social media is awesome, and OVERWHELMING. We always say that it’s way too much work to not be making money from haha- to be growing your following, connecting with your clients, and building relationships that BENEFIT your business outside of the app. We’ve been really focused on curating our Instagram feed and growing our reach the past few months, and we wanted to share a few quick tips that have really helped us!
1. Firstly, we can’t recommend Jenna Kutcher’s The Instagram Lab course highly enough- this is the push that we needed to really take Instagram seriously. The course is go at your own pace, full of AWESOME info, and Jenna is an amazing teacher that you’d want to hang out with :) It’s an investment, yes, but we needed that commitment to really focus. She also has a FREE 5 Day Instagram challenge– definitely worth signing up for!
2. Try to plan out your photos and captions as much as you can so you can post consistently and stick to a schedule- it is such a timesaver and totally saves you from those “what do I post now?!” moments. We stick to a once a day, every week day schedule and that works best for us (we can’t imagine coming up with photos and captions for more than that!). We highly recommend the app Plann (available for iPhone/Android)- granted, we haven’t tried others, but this is one of the only ones that we found that’s a one-time price, versus a recurring monthly fee. You can load in photos, draft your captions, and even set up hashtag groups (we really love that it keeps a running count of them as you type them in so you don’t go over 30 and then have to delete to get it down when you post!). Then, you can set a reminder for the time you want to post and just copy + paste over to Instagram.
3. The photos! Obviously the photos you use are crucial because Instagram is so visually based. We’re not photographers by any means, but we get by with natural light, neutral backgrounds, a few key props (seriously invest in some faux flowers- real is so great when you have them on hand, but fake ones are always ready haha! And they can look beautiful in photos!) and a couple amazing photo editing apps. We take and edit all of our photos for Instagram right on our iPhones. We like VSCO and A Color Story (the Fresh filter pack is our go-to) for editing photos, and TouchRetouch is a freaking amazing, 5 second Photoshop for when we need to edit out an address or invitation details (it’s basically having a Content Aware tool on your phone).
4. Looking for photos? Check out our FREE Instagram Resource Library for pics that you’re welcome to use (only thing we ask is that you tag us in the caption @littlebitheart)- we hope this can help fill in gaps in your feed and help you post consistently! It’s full of lettering images, some lifestyle and workspace pics, and of course wedding stationery- if it fits in with what you’re going for with your feed, feel free to share!
4. Boosting your engagement will help get you into the “Top Posts” for the hashtags that you use which will get your post in front of more of the people you’re looking to connect with! We’ll be honest, we even have a family group text that we’ll send out to with our latest post- there are quite of few us with our own businesses, so this is a win/win :)
A few groups we love on Facebook that might work for you, depending on your niche:
Most of these groups have days where you can share your latest post for others to like and comment (you like and comment on theirs as well). Find other creatives and businesses in your niche and engage with each other!
Comments that are 4+ words have more weight in the algorithm (that #@$! algorithm! Instagram switched from showing posts chronologically, and they now use an algorithm to determine who sees your posts- they’re more likely to show up on the timeline of a follower that engages with you, or if the post itself has a high engagement rate) so they’ll help the most. As much as we love emojis, just leaving one emoji as a comment unfortunately doesn’t help much. Take the time to leave meaningful comments, and really read the caption to see if they’re asking you a specific question- it can be so helpful to have that first person acknowledge your conversation starter (ie “So, what shows are you watching lately on Netflix??”) instead of hearing crickets!
5. For hashtags, do your research and see what other accounts in your niche are using, or what hashtags your ideal client would be using. If you know blogs or accounts that you’d love to be featured by, check out their profile and feed to see if they have a hashtag that they pull content from (for example, #ohwowyes for Buzzfeed DIY or #soloverly for Loverly). Try to be specific and find targeted hashtags that have about 50k posts, as opposed to millions (#love)- that way you’re much less likely to get lost! You can use up to 30 hashtags on each photo. We usually put a couple in the actual post, and then put the rest in the first comment so they’re not cluttering up our caption. And we love this tip from Brenda’s Wedding Blog: it’s a good idea to only use 27 or so, then you have the freedom to add a couple more if the opportunity comes up (for example, if a brand wants to regram you, sometimes they’ll ask you to use a hashtag if you agree- that counts towards your 30!).