How I reached 2k followers on instagram
I threatened to write this a while ago and then life (read: writing my book) took over. Truth be told, I had this work Instagram account for a few years so actually started at 1,268 on January 1st2019 and have grown it by about 200+ followers a month. Here is how I have done it (and more importantly WHY).
1. Rip it up and start again
My past identity was not reflective of me and my brand. So, firstly I deleted EVERYTHING AND EVERYONE I was following. I removed friends (because I already follow them on a personal account), and I only followed people that were business connections, journalists or entrepreneurs/businesses that I found inspiring. Previously, I was so caught up with trying to grow my followers that I followed everyone in some vain hope I would get a follow back but despite my headline my insta growth today isn’t a numbers game.
2. Follow for a follow
I actively avoid these, and the reason is because I only want people to follow me who get something out of my content. I’m part of a few networks/FB groups that do follow chains and honestly these followers’ numbers don’t do anyone any favours. Only 4% of your Instagram content even gets seen so don’t you want that to be potential customers?
I try and write like I would talk to a mate down the pub. I’ve had people even comment that when they meet me, they feel like they know me because of how I chat on insta. This is in part why my feed is ‘wernchat’ because its ramblings from me. I’m not particularly formal, smart or corporate. I’m straight-talking, direct, occasionally hilarious (to myself) and sometimes an overthinker and a bit anxious and I’m pretty sure this all comes through.
I post every day and NEVER in the middle of the day, I usually post before work rush or during commute hour home. It’s not for everyone and I can’t say that this is the reason for success but there are a few caveats for this. If I’m really in a funk, I don’t post because insta knows when I’m not into it. I don’t post when I’m on holiday. I generally have a bit of an idea of what I will post over the next fortnight that largely revolves around my schedule and what I’m reading/watching. Sometimes urgent things drop in and some things drop out. One of my most engaged posts was about the Netflix Fyre Festival documentary which I put my own PR spin on.
5. Give, give, give
I rarely sell, if ever, most of the time I’m giving bite size tips and thoughts from my business journey. When I do mention a product or service I try to incorporate it more as part of a narrative. So, if you do have a product or service don’t feel like every message you send has to relate directly to your offering. You can talk about other things whilst still staying on brand.
6. 1 in 9
I show my face once every 9 squares and every image I use is different. Out of every post I’ve done 2/3 of my most engaged posts are my face. It definitely made me feel a bit of a knob at first but I’m definitely more comfortable with it after a few months. Equally and maybe this says something more about me and my personal preferences, but I get bored easily by seeing brands post the same repetitive imagery because it gives me nothing fresh to engage with.
7. Share grid on stories
As soon as I post on the grid, I always share on my stories and try and write something catchy to get people to move over. And if anyone comments I ALWAYS respond and try and use that to develop a narrative. The first hour of engagement after you post is key in my opinion.
8. Why I’m doing it?
In all honesty, there must be a part ego because it’s madness to focus this much energy on one social platform when it’s statistically proven to not be the most effective for growing a business BUT this is my rational. I have a long-term business plan and part of that is to do less PR consultancy work whilst my children are young for more flexible income streams. Equally, I meet hundreds of brilliant business owners and every time I want to help them tell their story. So, for me business success is no longer measured on my revenue and staff size but on how many businesses I can help learn to promote themselves. I want to teach, sell online courses and build Wern into a brand and to do that I needed to be seen as an expert. So, it’s a no brainer to use Instagram to show my expertise. Once I secured my book deal, I realised I had almost ZERO audience to sell it to, so 2019 is a 12-month experiment to test and learn. I’m throwing everything I have at growing my platforms for one year and seeing what sticks.
9. Design help
This wasn’t part of the plan but Hadrien my partner designs a lot of my images and started by creating a load of templates for me that I could edit in Canva. Little did I know that he would end up joining the business and actually creating Instagram templates for small businesses would become a service offering that would take off. We had three inbound requests for this in the last month without any promotion, so we have now decided to launch this as a package. Still finalising details and shop page but please email us Lucy or Hadrien (at) the wern dot com if you are interested in an insta design package. Fyi – here is an image of my original Canva templates he made me.
In case it is of interest to you, I’ve also included links to my top 9 most engaged posts in the last five months (lol to the coffee rant).
My top posts in 2019 (up until May 31st)
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Ta Wern x