Social media is a beast. I make no claims that I have, in any way, mastered taming said beast! I am forever learning and adapting. However, I have had some success growing my @kismet_house Instagram and as such, I believe in sharing the information and tips that I do have. Helping someone else’s light shine does not dim your own, it makes the world brighter. So here are my 10 tips on how to grow your Instagram. Keep in mind I run a home design page, so some of these tips may seem decor related but they are valid no matter your brand.
This may sound obvious, trite, even silly. But if you want your Instagram to grow, not just so you can feel superficially popular, but because you want to create a business for yourself. You have to hustle. You have to always be learning what works, what doesn’t, be willing to adapt and show up EVERY DAY. You can’t check into Instagram twice a week and give it one hour of your time (just to see how many people liked your picture) and think you’ll grow. You have to be in it. Schedule time for it. Vacations happen, people get sick. You get time off from work for these things too. You can take time off from Instagram for the real world. But in general with Instagram, when you don’t show up, people stop showing up for you. With that in mind, here’s number 2.
2. TOO MUCH IS TOO MUCH
People do not want to see three pictures of your home back to back to back. They do not want to feel bombarded by your brand. I recommend 3 posts per day MAX. I prefer 2 posts per day, NOT consecutive!! When it feels like you are never not on Instagram, because lets be real… you are never not on Instagram, it feels inauthentic. It feels like you are here to grow, and grow alone; and not to make any real relationships. It feels self centered. The reality may just be that you got a new bed and it is just so damn pretty you can’t wait to share it with the world… over and over and over again. But practice restraint. Your new bed will be even prettier if we see doses of it over time. Like medicine, pain relief feels great but too much’ll kill ya!
3. MAKE REAL CONNECTIONS
The death of your longevity comes in your inability to make genuine connections. This approach: Hey I know we haven’t ever spoken before but I love your work so much! I was wondering, would you be willing to share my page!? Ummmmmmm no. Back the truck up! I am HAPPY to share others work that inspires me, motivates me or maybe is just someone I adore. But when you have never taken the time to even say hello on a post or comment on a video to me, and then ask me to promote you, it’s not a good look. It is off putting to all of us, I promise. It also makes your “I love your work comment” incredibly insincere. I have been asked to share a friends page before, and am happy to do so. Because we built a real relationship first. I know they have 4 kids, or are a teacher, or have a kiddo on the spectrum like me. Because we have taken the time to cultivate a relationship. These are people. WE are people. We all want to be seen and heard. Treating people like the means to an end is never the way to go.
4. PLAY THE GAME
Okay so this one contradicts number 3, but only kind of. The reality of Instagram is the more you’re seen, shared etc. the more you grow. So play the game. The hashtag game that is. Hashtag games are a way to expose your work to millions of eyes. There are TONS off Hashtag games, I cohost one called #HowYouHome. The point of it is you follow the hosts, you share an original picture based on our theme of the week, and you use the hashtag. We then look through the hashtag feed each week and pick a winner. The winner is then shared on all of our accounts. Meaning potentially hundreds of thousands of new eyes see your page. That’s the whole point of hashtag games. To get exposure from people, even if you don’t have a relationship with them. Which is stark contrast to number 3, I realize. However, when playing the hashtag games we all know the point. You don’t have to try and sweet talk anyone to get shared; you just have to post a badass picture and follow the hashtag game rules.
5. USE ALL THE HASHTAGS
In addition to hashtag games, like mentioned above, there are tons of hashtags that are long running tags, no games, no themes. Such as #apartmenttherapy or #showemyourstyled. These tags are massive and could land you a “feature” on Emily Henderson’s page or on Apartment Therapy. I mention these because I am obsessed with them and I have been fortunate enough to be shared by both. Which means damn near a million eyes could have hypothetically seen my work. Meaning new audience members finding their way to me. All because I HASHTAG… and you best believe I tag like a sonofabish. You get 30, use 30, every time!
6. TAKE QUALITY PICTURES
If you share low light, grainy, blurry images you will not succeed. Your pictures won’t get liked, or shared and they will fall into oblivion with the new Instagram algorithm. Instagram can be your friend, it can promote you in hashtags and on news-feeds, it can suggest you to new followers… IF/WHEN your pictures do well. Translation, if you post things that aren’t “like worthy” it’s as if you did not post them at all. Is that a bunch of crap?…yes. Is it still the truth?… also yes. Your images need to be clear and bright, and your gallery should be cohesive. The best compliment to your brand is when people know your work before they even read who posted it. Being a recognizable product is gold. Hello, labels and logos are a thing for a reason. Taking quality images of your work is the path to creating a recognizable brand. Having a recognizable brand is a path to success. *Bonus tip: people prefer full room shots over vignettes.
7. FOLLOW & COMMENT
Find all the pages!! All the pages that inspire you. follow them. You are not cooler for following less people, follow all the people who will help inspire you. Once you follow actually take the time to comment. Make yourself seen. Commenting is a way to engage, meet new people, and get seen. Being seen, equals follows, equals opportunity to build relationships, equals growth. Taking the time to let people know both, that you’re here and you see them too. Relying on people to just find you somehow or hoping people will follow by chance is not how it works. Comments are your megaphone, I have followed more people from comments that they left me on a post or story then by any other means.
8. USE THE STORY FEATURE
The Instagram story feature is gold. The reality of Instagram is people don’t want to see the ugly parts of “real life” in your squares. People say they do, but they don’t. Please see number 6. People like pretty. BUT that said your Instagram Stories are a way to share the real messy you! People truly do want to connect with the real you. Not just your pretty squares… yet they only want to see pretty squares… but want to see the real you….? Wait what… “I eat because Im unhappy, and Im unhappy because I eat; it’s a vicious cycle” (fat bastard moment sorry lol). Look I realize it’s confusing; but it is what it is. Which is why stories are great. They let us share our messy house or makeup free face while keeping our page posts clean and crisp. We can talk to our audience and hopefully they comment and you can laugh with each other, and learn more about each other. It’s an incredible way to connect on a real level. I adore the stories. I have regular stories I tune into daily because I feel like Im seeing my friends in person. If you are trying to grow, stories is not a feature you should disregard. Plus they have that sweet ass swipe up thing for us business accounts which is the bomb dot com.
9. MAKE YOUR PAGE A BUSINESS ACCOUNT
This is a topic for debate among some of my fellow Instagram biz accounts. Some said they switched to business and their engagement dropped. I never experienced this. In my experience it is a must. It allows you to see your “peak posting times”, track your views, likes, and audience demographic. It allows you to use the “swipe up” feature in your stories which can link people directly to products, websites and blog posts. I have only ever seen a positive return from my switching to a business account. I am on team yes. You can take this tip or leave it; but I personally think it’s the right move.
10. BE AUTHENTIC
I cannot stress this enough. This is the best and most important tip of all!!! Comparison is the thief of joy. Instagram is a big crazy world of comparison and it can be overwhelming and deflating. When I began Instagram one and one half years ago I tried to be what I saw trending. Farmhouse. Im not a farmhouse girl. I don’t like styling little vignettes. I don’t have styled trays on my bed. It is not authentic to me. Yet here I was shooting Easter vignettes and styled trays trying to be someone, feeling frustrated and lost. This frustration led me to find my people. My people were others who had small accounts, like me, but were styling their homes in a way that I loved, genuinely. When I found my people being true to myself came easy. I wasn’t a farmhouse girl, and Im still not, and I succeeded in spite of not being the trend. Don’t get me wrong, I can admire, appreciate and love farmhouse accounts. I think they’re beautiful, I’m just not one, and thats okay! When I learned to be okay with NOT worrying about being the trending style, and just being MY style. That’s when growth happened. People can see through the bullshit. They can see when your passion is truly behind something. Authenticity is the most important key to success in my book. Be YOU, you’re the only one who can!
Like I said in the beginning, I am not the master of social media. I am learning and growing and trying to navigate these waters every day. I am not the wizard of OZ, I’m the way less cool guy behind the curtain, just trying to figure this whole thing out. That said I truly believe in my 10 tips on how to grow your Instagram and hope they’re helpful for you! Now I will leave you with one of my favorite quotes, one I think of every time I start to let the fear of failure deter me… “If your dreams don’t scare you a little bit, they probably aren’t big enough”. Get scared people xo.