5 Things I Learned From Getting 50,000+ Instagram Followers

5 things I learned getting 50,000 Instagram followers plus a free Instagram Resource Guide download.

Last week, we hit a pretty cool milestone – 50,000 Instagram followers. If you're new around here, “we” is me + my dog Mochi. She's obviously way more popular than I am.

This post not about how we grew from 0 – 50,000 followers but more about a few of the things I've learned along the way. Although you can read this post + this post!

There will always be someone ahead of you and someone behind you

This is probably the most general life + business lesson of the bunch, but I've found the need to repeat it to myself lately. I often struggle with feeling “good enough” to do things – as a recovering perfectionist, I feel this annoying need to be REALLY good at anything I do (or not do it at all) which is a really terrible thing for my mindset when it comes to basically everything I've done / tried to do for the past 2 years. I had the idea for Celebripet Boot Camp last year but it took several months for me to actually launch and make it happen (in part) because I was worried no one would want to take an Instagram course from someone with “only” 15,000 followers (when there were so many people with thousands more). And even now just a few months later with over 50,000 followers, I still occasionally feel like a small fish in a big pond in comparison to accounts with hundreds of thousands of followers.

This is silly. This is insane actually. To say that I still sometimes feel irrelevant with over 50,000 Instagram followers (which is more than four times the number of people in the city my parents live in, FYI) – kind of makes me want to slap myself into reality. You only need to know more than the person you're teaching to provide value. And just because someone else may know “more” or be further along, that doesn't mean you're not good enough. Period.

The most specific your niche is, the easier it is to find your people

I've mentioned before, niching down was something that took a few years to figure out, but once I did, magical things happened. This is something that many of my clients and students have struggled with as well – and to be honest I do think it takes some time to figure out, but when you do, it's easier to find “your people” and easier to create content that appeals to them. This post has several tips on finding your niche including 4 questions you can ask yourself to get more specific.

With that said, I don't think that you have to limit yourself to the same niche forever or even to one niche at a time!

One of the keys to growth + success is acknowledging when something isn't working and knowing when to pivot. If you aren't seeing the results you want, change something.Click To Tweet

Creating “valuable” content is really all about your audience

Here's the thing – valuable content does not necessarily mean having professional photography or swoon-worthy design or 2,000 word blog posts. It really depends on your audience and what is “valuable” to them – so whether you are educating or inspiring or entertaining your audience, to keep them engaged you need to be creating content that actually makes them give a sh*t. You can create a 12 page download with tons of great information but your audience might find more value in a simple, 1 page checklist.

I've tried A LOT of different things (checklists, ebooks, free workshops, giveaways, etc.) when it comes to converting Mochi's Instagram followers into subscribers and you know what the #1 lead magnet has been? A digital Valentine. Seriously, she offered to email a Valentine to her followers and got hundreds of subscribers in a couple of hours. Sometimes the best things are the simplest. 

Analyze, tweak, repeat

I'm a total data nerd (in another life, I worked in finance), but the truth is, sometimes the data doesn't tell you what you want to hear. One of the keys to growth + success is acknowledging when something isn't working and knowing when to pivot. If you aren't seeing the results you want, change something. Sometimes that means improving what you have and sometimes that means creating something totally new. And once you've figured that out, it will probably be time to analyze again and make new adjustments.

On Instagram in particular, I learned that some of the things that worked when we had 10,000-15,000 followers are not the same things that work now that we have 50,000+ but that's ok. In business, sometimes the things that work when you're first starting out aren't the things that work a year or two down the line. Your audience might change, your services might change, your entire business might change . Honestly EVERYTHING in my life has changed over the past 3 years (except my husband, thankfully he's still sticking around!) – but with each season of change comes new opportunities. 

Sharing your knowledge positions you as an expert

I mean duh. But for some reason, this is was somewhat of an unexpected realization for me. When I launched Celebripet Boot Camp and started actively teaching Instagram strategy through the course, but also through webinars and live workshops, more people (including people who weren't dog people) started asking me about Instagram. Almost all of my consulting clients over the past few months have hired me specifically to talk about Instagram strategy, and I've gotten a random assortment of other exciting opportunities lately because of Instagram as well. Basically my life revolves around Instagram (and my dog) at this point – and I don't hate it!

Instagram has changed my life in so many ways over the past year, so I'm pretty passionate about the platform and sharing what I've learned along the way. Click below to download my Instagram Resource Guide which includes everything you need to plan, create, and schedule your Instagram content!

Instagram Resource Guide for shooting, editing, scheduling photos

How To Know For Sure Which Social Media Networks To Use

How to know for sure which social media networks to use? An infographic for brands / small business owners.

A guest post by Cara Chace

Whenever I start discussing social media strategy with a group or potential client, the conversation inevitably turns to them asking questions about which social media networks to use for their brand or business.

It usually goes something like this:

Business Owner: “Should I be on Pinterest (insert any platform here)? I really don't get it, don't like it, and don't want to learn it. Do I have to use it?”

Me: “Well, that depends…are your clients and potential customers on Pinterest?”

Business Owner: **BLANK STARE**

 

It does not matter which social media networks you like and/or use personally. If your clients are on Pinterest, you damn well better be on Pinterest.

How To Know For Sure Which Social Media Networks To Use

Identifying your target audience first, then determining which social media network to use for your brand based on those demographics, is the only way to know you are where you should be in the social media universe.

How do you do that? Easy.

Step 1: Look at your Google Analytics for your website and your Facebook Insights if your are already on Facebook as a business. Note your top-level demographics such as age and gender.

Step 2: Do a quick Google search to identify what the demographic breakdown is for each social media network you are considering.

Step 3: Pick 2-3 social media networks that overlap with your website traffic and/or Facebook analytics.

I typically recommend that brands only use 2-3 social media networks to start. Building a following and consistent, relevant content takes time and lots of effort. If you are trying to use 6-7 different platforms, you'll drop the ball and inevitably let a few of those accounts die a slow, painful death.

Usually what happens is a small business tries to post on every platform, but ends up auto-posting the same content everywhere. Fans are savvy – if they see you’ve auto-posted a photo from Instagram to Facebook, they know you’re not really present on Facebook and they won’t really bother to engage with you there – thus defeating the whole purpose of being on Facebook.

It is of note, however, that as soon as a new social media network pops up, or you even maybe, kinda think you might want to use it in the future – you should create an account to claim your name/business immediately.

If you have no immediate plans to use a social media account, in whichever about/info section it provides, you should let people know which social media networks you ARE on, or point to your website.

For example: “Hey peeps! Thanks for finding your way here, but my social media party is over on instagram.com/carachace – see ya there!”

The other part of this equation is that you need to consider the types of content you are going to share. Is it mostly text or mostly photos? Both? Are you talk to other businesses or to consumers?

You could come to the conclusion that you only need to be on one social media network to start – that's totally cool and you can/should rock the shit out of that network.

Regardless of how many social media networks you decide to use, remember that EACH account should align with your brand voice and brand topics. You must know the types of content you are going to share on each account – some overlap is ok, but all the same content across all accounts is not.

Building a following and consistent, relevant content takes time and lots of effort. If you are trying to use 6-7 different platforms, you'll drop the ball and inevitably let a few of those accounts die a slow, painful death.Click To Tweet

Remember, the keys to any social media strategy are to 1) give more than you get, and 2) BE CONSISTENT.

If you know which social media networks make the most sense for your target audience and the content you want to share, then everything else is just fine tuning your strategy!

XO,
Cara

 

Cara Chace

Cara Chace is a social media Bosslady. Cara’s goal is to empower small businesses with the tools and knowledge to end their frustrations with social media. Formerly in law enforcement, she believes in “just the facts ma'am” when it comes to creating social media strategies for clients.

She has worked with everyone from solopreneurs to a world-renowned band – at one time managing 13 million social media fans on her own.

With her creative awesome sauce and to-the-point strategies, she will bring you a well-rounded, easy to understand plan to help you use social media like a rockstar.

Find Cara on Twitter / Instagram / Pinterest / Facebook

How to Improve Your Social Media Scheduling with Pocket

How to improve your social media scheduling with pocket - this time-saving tool makes it easy to save and share relevant content. Click through to find out how bloggers, online entrepreneurs, and virtual assistants can use Pocket to save time!

A guest post by Miranda Nahmias

Back when I first started to use social media as a tool for my business and strategically schedule out my posts, the whole process was kind of a hot mess.

I would randomly do Click to Tweets or re-pin some pretty-looking posts, but I didn’t exactly have a strategy.

STARTING OUT WITH SOCIAL MEDIA SCHEDULING

Once I decided that I was going to take social media a bit more seriously, I signed up for Buffer’s Awesome plan (which I highly recommend) and got to work, bravely attempting to share posts for my business 20% of the time, and posts for other people’s blogs and businesses the other 80%.

This is a technique that has been encouraged by many role models within this niche, and is something that I personally very much believe in. My philosophy since starting my blog has always been to give and support as much as I can, so I make an effort to follow through with that in my social media scheduling.

I set up my Buffer to post 12 times a day at the optimal times that were best for engagement on my specific account (check out this tutorial from Nora Conrad on how to set up your Buffer like this!) and got to work!

At first, most of my “other people’s posts” were just retweets of interesting stuff that I’d found throughout the day. But I didn’t want to just do retweets!

Taking the time to personally tweet about someone else’s blog post will result in a much higher engagement and that blogger will be even more appreciative — it’s just an all around good thing to try and do. The task then became to find a whole bunch of interesting content and write a custom tweet for each one.

Enter the Pocket App

When I originally discovered the Pocket app, I honestly wasn’t too impressed. I thought it was a good concept, but couldn’t quite figure out how to make it work for ME. I would save stuff, but then never go back to it, and was only using the app on my smartphone.

Eventually, I realized that Pocket also has a Chrome browser extension. That’s when things started to get interesting.

Has this ever happened to you? You’re scrolling through your Twitter feed on your phone, find something that you want to read, but totally do not have time to read the whole thing!

Well, with this ingenious little app, you can just save it to your Pocket and access it later…on your laptop or your phone! Problem solved.

(Oh, and just so you know — Pocket is not sponsoring this article or anything. I just really like using it!)

Let’s Get Even More Organized

After using Pocket in this manner for a few weeks, I knew that there must be some way to harness its power in an even more effective way.

The problem that I found was that most of the posts I find, I’d like to schedule to both Twitter and Pinterest. But my Pocket was just a jumbled mess of articles, some even totally unrelated to business or not something I was interested in sharing on social media.

It took some digging, but finally I realized that you can use TAGS in Pocket! The tags pretty much work as folders so that you can separate the articles from each other, and each article can be given multiple tags.

Pocket Save with Tags

 

When you’re on the page of an article that you want to save, just click the Pocket extension (or, on your phone, choose the “Share” button in your browser, then “Save to Pocket”).

To create a new tag, just type in the text area and hit enter to save the tag. If you already have tags created, just start typing in the name of the tag, and it will autocomplete. Hit enter to select that tag, and then you can add more!

For example, if I find a great article (like Wonderfelle’s recent How I Found a Niche When I Stopped Looking For It), I’ll add it to both of the tags “Twitter” and “Pinterest.”

Taking the time to personally tweet about someone else’s blog post will result in a much higher engagement and that blogger will be even more appreciative — it’s just an all around good thing to try and do. Click To Tweet

Scheduling Tweets from Pocket

When I’m doing my Twitter scheduling with Buffer, I just pull up the Twitter tag in Pocket.

There’s actually a really fast way to schedule each post to Buffer — just click on “Share” > “Buffer” (or “Share” > “Twitter” if you don’t use Buffer) and it will auto-generate a tweet for you with the article title and blog’s name.

Pocket Share to Buffer

Personally, I don’t like doing it that way, because it doesn’t include the blogger’s Twitter handle. So instead, I choose “Share” > “View Original.” This will open up the post in a new tab and allow you to find their Twitter handle and write the tweet from that page instead (if you have the Buffer extension installed, you can do this even more easily).

If I want to schedule it for Pinterest, I just go to Pocket, open up the post’s page, and use the Pinterest or Tailwind extension!

Since Pocket is such a great tool for storing other people’s content, it’s also a great resource for virtual assistants. I use it all the time with my clients! If I come across an interesting post that I want to save and share on their social media accounts, I can simply add the content to a tag that’s specifically reserved for that person.

Really, the options are endless!

IMG_0109 small squareMiranda is a graphic designer who specializes in ebook and opt-in freebie PDF creation. She blogs about all things business, blogging, and graphic design over at http://www.MirandaNahmias.com.

Find Miranda on:

Twitter: http://www.twitter.com/mirandanahmias
Instagram: http://www.instagram.com/mirandanahmias
Pinterest: http://www.pinterest.com/mirandamowbray