Blowing Up Your Instagram
Blowing up your Instagram? Are you hoping to be an outdoor entrepreneur someday soon? Do you just love photography and want to share your awesome pics for everyone to see?Instagram is where you should start.
Instagram has secured second place in the social media big leagues. By a landslide. Right now around 500,000,000 and growing. Coupled with number 1 FaceBook’s hefty financial backing. It ain’t going to be slowing growth anytime soon. Over a third of the internet uses Instagram now. That means Instagram has officially bypassed Twitter, Snapchat, and even Pinterest as far as social reach. The Instagram powers that be, even after deciding to announce Instagram as an algorithmic feed on mobile only, it still remains an incredibly engaged social platform.
So if experiential outdoor adventures is somewhere in your career path or future. You need to effectively use this platform for more than social sharing.
Blowing Up Your Instagram a living blog post
In this post I will perform the task of showing you how I am going to accomplish rapid Instagram growth. I will track and add updates each week. As my Instagram grows, hopefully. I will add more content to this post with new insights I have picked up while going through the process. I will be starting the blowing up your instagram post at 115 followers and let’s see if we can blow it up.
I have written about the millennial demographic and their experiential mindset that makes up the group in this post. We all know how visual content grabs the focus of the visitor. It works on Youtube, FaceBook, Twitter, Webpages, Ads, and SnapChat. I mean visual content collects up to 50x more shares than written content. Instagram has just nailed it! Launching their platform on close to 100% visual content! We will find ways to add text, ads, and links for sure. However, photos and videos will still dominate on the Instagram platform for years to come.
Since you enjoy the outdoors, adventure, and challenge. Odds are your target audience is also kickin’ it on this gargantuan social platform. More than 60% of the millennial audience is on Instagram. Since you are not targeting the AARP crowd. Instagram is something worth mastering. Even if you just love posting pics socially. It will be good for your psyche’ to master engagement principles. I know I am guilty of sliding down in the mulligrubs when no one likes my masterful and clever Instagram Posts. Being on top of your game adds value either way.
If you are going to utilize the Instagram to build your personal brand, drive traffic to your product or service, and you have determined your target audience is frequenting Instagram. You are going to have to DO something. That’s right. That pesky little DO SOMETHING immutable law of business I am always ranting about. You are also going to need to decide what you want out of it.
You are going to need to have a plan with a goal or two. This will require Work (I just lost 75% of you). You are going to have write out a plan and do a little math (20% more gone). So for the 5% who started this post tat reamain let’s get started.
It is critical to understand that only area on the entire platform you can link to your site or add a call to action, is in your profile. So let’s start there. As you can see I’ve added a link to my profile that goes back to my site. Is this mst effective use of that link? Let’s explore some ideas and see if there is a better way.
First things first. If you haven’t picked a handle that is your personal brand, your name, or whatever you want to build association with, lets move. It can you name or a description of who you are. Maybe, what you do. What you want to share with others as far as experience. Whatever. It doesn’t matter all that much. Just remember you can only edit your name on Instagram one time. So don’t spend a ton of time selecting something catchy. Just pick something you will want around for a while. So many people let great business ideas fall by the wayside because “They can’t think of a great website name!” It’s about action. Instagram is a constant reminder of this.
NOTE: You can change the link or call to action you place in profile as illustrated in the profile above as much as you like. And it is a great idea. Changes create relevance and this is critical for search algorithms you want to find your content.
Some key things that drive traffic from the experts and my experience on the social web for 10 years.
What to Post on Instagram
Food Porn is always huge. For me nothing gets more comments and likes. Awesome wildlife shots. Authenticity can’t be beat. Clever, quick, and a little humor can even be better.
Don’t be afraid to shock, be controversial, or make people cry. These things go viral. I don’t make the rules of digital psychology. I just try and understand it!
If you think you may one day have a sponsor and you use a product by company you love, show em’ love from the start. I love Vortex Optics! I love Vortex Binoculars, Spotting Scopes, rifle scopes, their gear and their lids. I paste them all over my posts. They will sponsor me one day. Why wouldn’t they? They are only human.
When I started my Instagram page. I knew I wanted to build a name for myself as a thought leader in the outdoors industry. I didn’t know exactly how. Or exactly what I would be doing. So I just did something. I started posting. I used @gunsandduns cause it was my twitter handle.
Create A Plan
For this test if you will. I set a goal for 2016 to get to 300 followers by December 31st. Why 300? It is achievable and I understand the rule of 3’s and 10’s. I knew if I could get to 300. 1,000 will be right around the corner. So when I bypass 300 I start planning for my actions at 1000.
Instagram has exponential properties like other social platforms (The Faberge’ Organic Shampoo Commercial nailed it if you are old enough to remember the “tell 2 friends campaign” (video)). This means it is much easier to go from 3000-3300 than 10-300. Be patient. Don’t freak out and check your stats everyday you could get discouraged. I couldn’t tell you how many FB or twitter followers I have cause I really don’t care. I have not looked in years. It is why my hair is not grey. Hurry up and take action: and be patient. Funny huh?
Ok patience is great but what about getting big? How do I do that?
Well, now that you have a profile and you are posting. It is time to put together a plan. An actual marketing plan. With actual goals that are attainable. You are going to track your progress and adjust (or “pivot” as us tech savvy dudes call it). If our approach isn’t working we will change it. For fun I know Kory Scoran is trying a slightly differing approach and I have been sharing Kory Scoran progress in his quest and you can follow Kory @scorbar5 on Instagram. Watch his progress and see if you can identify his pivots. Another great new Instagram site sharing Idaho life in all of its awesomeness is @208adventures.
What’s cool is we can follow along with each other as we knock these goals out. My goal for the end of March 2017 is going to be 3,300 followers. Seem lofty? Maybe. But I am getting close to 300 already while writing this post I my first update. Since this post this post is a working example and I am a couple of weeks in. I don’t know if I am in the ball park but I will put it out there.
I am going to have to accomplish this by using something I call (Or I stole from John Scully when he was destroying Apple), back to the future planning. I am going to have to post enough times per day in order to get the kind of engagement it will take to build this type of following. It is going to have to be both compelling and targeted. In a nutshell I will take that goal number of 3,300 and back into it based on an achievable growth rate per week. Then divide it by the number of posts per day it will take to arrive at my goal. If you are interested in learning exactly how leave a note in the comments. I’ve got a spreadsheet and analytics. 5 posts per day. Seven days a week. In a nutshell.
Blowing Up Your Instagram Tips and Tricks
Go into to your favorite instagram friends and heros, follow their friends.
Now I am going to have to use some tricks too which some may not feel comfortable. It may seem a bit pushy or just not cool. Sometimes you have to go out and ask for things directly if you want to get something. So that is what I am recommending. Ask people to follow you straight up. Ask your friends to share your link and follow you. Ask for the sale.
You amy have to say no to some people or even unfollow them to keep things manageable and build your social media empire. You know those friends I told you to follow that were your heros? They are not your heroes anymore. if it has been a week or 10 days – unfollow them.
Track Blowing Up Your Instagram
In the picture above I added a Bit.ly link to go to my site and with bit.ly I can track my call to action. There are better more thorough paid options but I am a bootstrapper. I am not ready for the big time yet. Even though I am not paying for a service I can still get some good analytics, add hashtags, and see if I need to make some changes. If I get real creative I can change my link and do a split test. If you are unfamiliar with split testing ask me in the comments.
As you can see I am growing slowly already. Discrepancy: I have way more people I am following, than are following me. Ok Now what? I’d better freshen up my instagram profile and make it more balanced. Now that it is trackable so I can see if what I am doing is working, a few more tweaks. I have simply sought out my go to on traffic. One of the foremost experts in driving traffic and digital marketing Noah Kagan founder of AppSumo and OKDork. This guy is the master of driving traffic. Noah was the 30th employee at Facebook and left to pursue his dream of helping other entrepreneurs. I love this about him.
I looked to Noah for advice on how Blowing Up Your Instagram was possible. Of course I was able to find some great pearls of wisdom. Promote others. Ask for others to promote you. As you can see so far so good. I am growing especially through promoting others and just posting with a higher level of frequency. In the update below I am Promoting The Ben Greenfield Fitness Podcast while Promoting Tim Ferriss book #toolsoftitans. If you don’t have the best business and lifestyle book of 2016 buy it here. It is phenomenal!
Two for one promotion using the “Layout” feature in Instagram. Now Ben and Tim won’t necessarily tell people to follow me, but I may get a like (I did from Ben), or I may sell a book. Who knows.
You see those Social media icons on the side of the screen floating around?
That’s Noah’s and Team SumoMe‘s doing. He is is brilliant. I am going to share what I have learned from him. First off. We have level the playing field so I don’t look like I am asking every girl attending my high school to the prom. You can’t look desperate. That means if I have been following people and offering good feedback for them along the way. Tagging them and including their hashtags #justknowaboutit. Recommending them and they still aren’t following you. They’re out. Unfollowed. They are dead to you. So we continue to post and continue to unfollow too.
Thanks to Noah’s recommendation, I use Crowdfire. A firebot that helps you execute your plan. It also helps you execute your deadbeat followers. I will add more detail on my next update to Crowfire section but they just suffered a huge unexpected change in API from Instagram and they are working through it. They will be fine. Trust me.
One thing I firmly believe is that if you like someone or something promote. For example, “Hey if you want to learn how to trade options on the market and your overwealmed. Go to www.TradingAddcits.com and check out what Jeff Kohler has been doing since he was 18! KILLING IT. Year in and Year out.” And maybe add, “Follow him on @instagram/JeffKohler“.