Your 5-Step Roadmap to Instagram Success
It’s time for your talents to get recognized.
You’ve spent years behind the scenes working hard to perfect your craft. No one knows you exist. However, you can use Instagram to reach and cultivate your audience.
“If you aren’t already on the network in some capacity, now’s the time to join. So long as you keep your users’ interests and needs in mind, refine your photography skills, and stay active, you’ll reap the rewards of a more active, engaged following,” says Jayson DeMers, a Forbes contributor.
The roadmap from unknown to famous takes a strategic effort. Here are five tips to earn stardom on Instagram.
1. Create an Unforgettable Profile
First impressions matter. Whether you’re meeting someone in real life or online, you want to instantly capture people’s attention.
On Instagram, those first impressions begin with your profile. You only have a couple of seconds to convince visitors you’re worth following.
For starters, upload a professional photo of yourself. People gravitate toward faces, so stay away from full body shots or brand logos. A plain background works well, too. You don’t want to distract fans with odd objects in the background.
What’s next? Your bio. It should tell an amazing story about who you are and what fans can expect from your Instagram account.
Adding emojis also will give your profile a playful feel. And of course, don’t forget to include a call to action in your bio that directs people to your website or landing page.
Shirley Braha adopted a very cute dog from a shelter. Her family and friends thought her new Shih Tzu could be an Internet sensation. Reluctant at first, Shirley finally started posting pictures of her dog Marnie online.
The first month she got 400 followers. And after finding out what fans liked, Shirley managed to grow her adopted pet’s Instagram to more than two million followers.
Take some pointers from Marnie The Dog’s profile above. It’s possible to encourage people to follow you in just a few seconds.
2. Take Advantage of Visual Storytelling
A story is good, but a story with pictures is even better. With social media bursting at the seams, visual storytelling has become a necessity in social networks.
It’s not enough to use only text to convey a compelling message. You need images, GIFs, memes, and videos to pull people to your work.
“Great images and videos engage. Think about it like a billboard campaign. You wouldn’t choose an ugly or mundane billboard to catch drivers’ eyes on the highway. The same can be said about your Instagram,” states Alex York, a writer and SEO specialist.
On Instagram, you can share a beautiful photo and then caption it with a short story. Maybe it’s a picture of you in the park. Describe to your followers what you saw and how you felt in the moment.
You also might try creating a 30-second or 60-second video showing off your skills. If you like cooking, share your favorite ingredients. If you’re a fitness trainer, demonstrate a quick exercise.
But remember, nothing beats a captivating photo that expresses creativity. Instagram star Taylor Alesia inspires her fans with fashion and lifestyle posts. Below is an example of her posing in front of art.
There are multiple ways to tell your stories. So, experiment with visual storytelling to highlight your awesomeness.
3. Expand Your Reach with Hashtags
Exposure is key to getting people to learn that you exist. Hashtagging is a useful technique to get noticed on Instagram.
Did you know that posts with at least one hashtag average 12.6% more engagement? You can use hashtags to attract new followers and get more likes. Plus, it’s a good way for potential brand sponsors to discover you.
There’s no perfect hashtag formula to get people to your account. However, you can research your competitors to find out which hashtags engage this similar audience.
You might follow industry influencers to check out their hashtag usage. Also, pay attention to what hashtags your current followers add in the comments of your posts.
For hashtags to work, they must be relevant. Avoid using hashtags that don’t accurately represent your post. You might get new visitors, but people will get annoyed and not follow you.
Lita Lewis used Instagram as an open diary to highlight her fitness journey. As her follower count grew, she transformed her social media success into a business. Now, she’s signed with an ad agency, launched an apparel brand, and partnered with brands like Reebok.
Do you notice any relevant hashtags in Lita’s post above? From #thinkathletics to #bodyweight, she is expanding her reach. Find hashtags that work for your brand.
4. Host an Instagram Takeover
Audiences are always seeking fresh perspectives. That’s why brands seek out influencers to engage their fan base with unique content.
An Instagram takeover is one way to drive engagement and brand awareness. Brands receive a fresh voice on their account, while the influencer gets exposure to a new audience. Moreover, the fans get to experience something totally different.
The first step is to set goals for your takeover. Since you’re the influencer, you want to map out the benefits for you and the company involved.
“The first and arguably most important step in creating and executing a successful Instagram takeover is figuring out what goals you want to achieve. Understanding what you’d like the end result of the takeover to be will help you to construct a solid plan for getting the most out of your campaign,” writes Dhariana Lozano, social media and digital engagement professional.
When working with the brand, set clear expectations for the takeover. Determine when it will happen, the content theme, the types of content, and the promotion of the takeover.
In the image below, Courtney Kerr, editor of KERRently, announces to her followers that she will be taking over the Instagram account of fashion jewelry company BaubleBar.
Connect with brands and pitch an Instagram takeover. With a vision and lots of preparation, you can become your industry’s next star.
5. Send Fans to Your Website
Social media is an effective tool to draw crowds of people to your brand. But it isn’t always the best channel to showcase your full story.
To solve this issue, you can direct followers to a personal website. That’s where you can host your own blog, get people to sign up for an email list, or even nudge folks to buy your merchandise.
A website is another extension of your brand. So, remain consistent and give your fans a memorable experience.
Model Janice Joostema racks up thousands of dollars for her sponsored Instagram posts. She also receives free clothing from designer brands. Besides social media, Janice also has a website where fans can read her blog and purchase her favorite items.
Instagram is only one part of your brand. Grow your brand and create an affordable website with HostGator.
Now, It’s Your Turn
Stop waiting for others to find you. Instead, use Instagram as a tool to get recognized for your amazing work.
Start by creating a profile that stands out from the crowd. Remember to use hashtags to expand your reach. Also, build a website to engage followers beyond the social media platform.
It’s your turn. Go achieve Instagram stardom!
Shayla Price creates and promotes content. She lives at the intersection of digital marketing, technology, and social responsibility. Originally from Louisiana, Shayla champions access to remote work opportunities. Connect with her on Twitter at @shaylaprice.