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An Instagram Strategy That’s Completely Authentic & Effective

Author

Irene Hardy

Irene Hardy is a graphic designer, brand stylist, citrus enthusiast and the owner of Magnoliahouse Creative. She specializes in helping entrepreneurs and small businesses build graceful and exuberant brands that attract their dream clients. When she's not working, you might catch her with a cold glass of rose on the back porch, cheering for the Texas Longhorns or cooking something delicious from scratch.

Download your Instagram Action Plan!

Download your Instagram Action Plan!

Pop quiz: What’s Magnoliahouse’s favorite social media platform? Instagram, of course!

We’re completely obsessed with Instagram over here, and it boils down to two major reasons:(1) it’s gorgeous, and (2) it feels the most authentic to us, of all the major social platforms. Because there’s no way to mass schedule your posts (ahem, Twitter) and no post throttling or advertising required (ahem, Facebook), it’s possible to find real, passionate people engaged in discussions or simply gushing over something pretty, rather than a barren wasteland of scheduled and highly promotional posts.

So, lesson #1 of today: If you haven’t created an Instagram account, do it. Now.

Not only is Instagram our favorite, it’s also our most effective social platform for meeting new clients and generating blog traffic. Today, we’re giving you a peek under the hood to see how we’ve developed an Instagram strategy that is both effective for our business, fun, and authentically us.

First, get your house in order.

And by house, of course, I mean feed. The most powerful Instagram strategy in the world isn’t going to help you if your feed is full of dark, grainy or just plain ugly photos. Curate like crazy and develop a signature style. For four good ways to do this, try this post I shared on Laura James Studio’s blog a few weeks back. If you’re posting frequently to promote a launch, giveaway or sale, delete the previous posts or be sure to space them between other high-quality images to avoid your profile page looking spammy.

Lay the foundation

Next, define your goals. Who are you trying to reach? What do you want them to do? If your only concern is to increase your number of followers to make yourself feel more popular, buy a bunch on Fiverr and be done with it! Do some research to discover where your ideal customers are hanging out on Instagram. Find accounts whose audiences overlap with your potential clients. Make a list of hashtags your customers are using. Decide where you’d like to point your new followers, if they want to check out your website. You might create an Instagram specific landing page, use an existing optin page, or point them to your blog via a bit.ly link so that you can track the results. Remember: click-throughs from Instagram will show up in your website analytics as direct traffic, so you need to plan ahead if you want to be able to track it!

Ok, finally. How do you get more followers on Instagram?

Once you’ve curated a beautiful feed, decided who you’re going to target and discovered where they’re hanging out, it’s finally time to start getting yourself in front of new followers. It’s really pretty simple – all you have to do is gracefully introduce yourself! Think of this as a cocktail party or a networking meetup. Would you run over to every single person and say “Please follow me! Please like me!”? If so – let me know when your next social function is so that I can sneak into the room and watch. Of course, instead, you’d head over with a big smile and a compliment or conversation starter – “I love your dress – where did you get it?” – and start the conversation that way.

On Instagram, it’s really not that different. Seek out people you’d like to know (by using relevant hashtags, or looking at who has recently liked a darling photo by an Instagrammer your style is aligned with), head over to their feed with a big smile (aka like a couple of their photos) and leave a little note to get the conversation going. If you have a beautiful feed and a interesting point of view, they’ll might decide to give you a follow back! If not, no worries! The joy of Instagram is that there’s never a shortage of new friends to make.

To help you get started, we’ve put together a printable Instagram Action Template.

Amigas, what other questions do you have about Instagram? Be sure to leave your handle in the comments so we can give you a follow! You can find us ‘gramming up a storm at @magnoliahousecreative.

Author

Irene Hardy

Irene Hardy is a graphic designer, brand stylist, citrus enthusiast and the owner of Magnoliahouse Creative. She specializes in helping entrepreneurs and small businesses build graceful and exuberant brands that attract their dream clients. When she's not working, you might catch her with a cold glass of rose on the back porch, cheering for the Texas Longhorns or cooking something delicious from scratch.

Download your Instagram Action Plan!