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Instagram Share & Discussion

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So the past few days I have talked with a couple of people with common issues: not being seen on Instagram. A lot of people have this idea that IG algorithm is difficult, but in actuality it is pretty easy. Now will abiding by the rules mean you are guaranteed to make it?


Actually yes, but what separates the people who do everything they're supposed to make it and the people who do everything they're supposed to do and don't make it is one single thing.. consistency.


Now the one thing that is unknown is how long you have to keep it up before you finally have your chance to be seen, however the more consistent you are the higher your chances are to rank higher in the algorithm.


You might be thinking, "who tf are you, Fish, to give out advice when you're barely at 6,400k followers??" so I will tell you exactly what I am doing wrong and why my growth has been, while steadily moving upward, it has been a slow growth.


PHOTOS


Some people think that having perfectly aesthetic photos is an absolute when it comes to having a large platform, and while it can play a part in downfall, it isn't the end all be all.


The importance of it is to come off as more professional. People are less likely to follow an account with photos or videos that are pixelated and out of focus, however if that is the look you want to go for, make that your brand. Stay consistent with that look and it wont be your absolute downfall.


If you are producing low quality videos and photos because you don't know how to make them look better, but you want to here are some tips:


Download Lightroom. Lightroom is an Adobe program that is available on your phone as well as computer. I started using lightroom when I was a photographer. You can download presets which in easy to understand terms is like filters. The difference between filters and presets though is filters is more like a lens or a film placed over your photos why a preset changes the photos themselves. There are tons of free presets, however I personally #1 like to support small businesses so I purchase presets from them, but also because the ones that cost a bit tend to have higher quality results and have a lot more put into it. But there is no shame in starting off with free presets!


Lightroom is NOT a free program, however it takes your photos to the next level and is always worth it.


For videos, I suggest Premiere Rush for the highest quality, but for a cheaper app, then InShot. InShot has a free version with advertising. If you want something with no advertising and free, go with CapCut, but these apps wont have the higher quality results.


When using these you might still be finding it difficult to get high quality photographs and videos, which tends to all point to lighting. Lighting is extremely important for high quality photos. If you don't want to work with a light box, but instead want the "in the home" or "in the office" type of look, then you will need either indirect sun light. Direct sunlight also can work, however it can be a bit more difficult when it comes to contrast and it may wash out your photo, so I find working next to a well lit window works best.


To prevent shadowing, have a ring light on the opposite side of where your window is to blast the shadows away. I personally prefer to keep my ring light on the blue light setting, however it is up to personal preference if you prefer more of the yellow wash light than the bright light.


For ring lights, they all basically work the same, with the major differences being how they move/tilt, color variation and size. It all comes down to personal preference and budget.


If you do not have a window to work with, my next suggestion is getting yourself multiple ring lights or lighting in general. One light for the left and right side of your object, and one to light up the backdrop (unless you are working facing downward, which this wont be as important to you). You can also tell the difference is light quality with the higher end ring lights, but for starting out you do not need the most expensive to make good lighting.


A little tip with ring lights too is to use a filter. This can be a filter specifically for the ring lights which looks like a white bag to place over it, but I personally use a pillow case because why not, it works just fine. This helps prevent harsh lines from the ring and gives more of a glow.


What also helps make a great photo is a great backdrop. I personally use a white wood board I got from Lowes for a $7 and two pieces of vinyl floor panels. The wood panels are stickers essentially, so I just placed them onto the wood piece and I now have a nice looking wood background. I also use fake flowers from Jo-Ann's, however the best suggestion is using things that pertain to your own style and overall vibe you want to go with. This is the part that is a bit experimental and takes some research on your end. Look up accounts that you enjoy their look and pull ideas and inspiration from them, but avoid copying them completely, be yourself and add your own flare!


STORIES


I cannot tell you how many times I have heard someone say they don't get much action on their stories. They get frustrated because the amount of followers compared to how many views they get is way off. Stories can be tricky though. You have to really garner attention on your stories to get pushed to the front line. The more you get interaction from a story the more it will get pushed.


But how do you get seen?


While this may vary depending on the account and their followers, it all comes down to being engaging. Some people try doing things like polls and then wonder why they aren't getting much attention on them, they're a poll so people should be interacting and it should be getting pushed, right? Well... no not exactly. Just because you have a ton of polls and 5 or so people are interacting doesn't mean it will get pushed. What you are aiming for is not just answers to your polls, but also messages and likes.


The way you do this is "triggering" your target audience. By triggering I don't mean it in a negative way, but triggering them into WANTING to interact. So put these things into account:


Who is your target audience?

Why do people follow you? What are you offering?

What kinds of things are those people into?

Are you only presenting yourself as a business or as a person as well? By this I mean do you get personal or are you keeping it strictly business? This is where I have been struggling up until recently. I so desperately wanted to bring out me, as I am my business, but at the same time I want to stay professional. But being professional doesn't always mean keep you and your own personality out of it.


Look at Kim Kardashian for instance. She is known for being professional, but she leaves her personality everywhere she goes, or at least the personality she wants people to see and fall in love with. Or look at big companies like Mc. Donalds, Target etc. they have figured out that people like to know what that business stands for, and they really love it when they show personality to the public. Yea its an entity, but I live for the battles between Wendy's and Carls Jr. on twitter. Its funny, gives the entity a personality and people love it.


But that being said there is absolutely nothing wrong with presenting a business only, but when doing that you must understand the approach will look very different. I personally think this way is a bit more difficult as you really have to sell the shit out of your products as you don't have a personality to fall onto, but just what you are presenting, but it isn't impossible! Just really indulge into figuring out what you want. What you want to be seen as. Your true inspo of who you want to be and how you want to present your business.


Once you get that figured out, making engaging stories will be much easier.


If you choose to go with selling your products by being yourself, then let that shine through your stories. Share things that will ruffle the feathers of those you don't want following you, but that those who do would love. Something a bit controversial but you know will strike the right chord with your target audience. Post something about your own personal life, or what you are doing with your business. Funny clips or bloopers. Random things that you know people who love you would love to see.


If you choose to go with presenting as a business only, show new products, future unreleased products or sneak peaks, offer discounts if they message you from that post. Get creative!


Just know that sharing content, quotes, and having random polls or "tag your favorite artist" etc. isn't going to be enough unless you're working off an IG with a lot of followers already. When you're starting from the bottom it takes a lot of effort!


FEED


Now this IS a bit tricky. Its a modge podge of all different factors, but thankfully just hitting one can get you seen. If you don't have a lot of time to put into insta (this is why people hire and pay marketing managers so much), then try to focus on one of the aspects and try to OWN that ish, but just know you ARE more likely to be seen if you aim for all of them.


  1. Hashtags - First off what the purpose for hashtags? Hashtags tell the algorithm who you want to see your content. Hashtags also help push your content onto the search feed. The goal is to hit the top of the page! Because your goal should be hitting the top of the search, you'll want to follow a few guidelines like the type of hashtags you use. If you use too many different kinds, it can be a bit confusing. For example lets say you have a resin cat piece and you use: #resin #cat #smallbusiness #purple #fur #cute while all these hashtags may be describing the photo well, the algorithm wont know which one to send it to, or may just send it to all but each one doesn't get many hits so the algorithm decides its not content that should be pushed, so you want to try to narrow it down a bit more. Now Instagram suggests that less is more, 14 max, however there have been plenty that use as many as they can and still get seen. They say too many can confuse the algorithm and not get pushed to the right people, while keeping it minimal helps the algorithm know exactly who you are aiming for. Who knows, maybe the people who use all the hashtags they're allotted and still get seen is because they are aiming for all aspects, or it can be because they used all of them, I'll leave it for you to decide. Also: keep in mind the amount of photos and videos already under that hashtag! When you are putting in the tags, it lets you know how many are already under it. Try to think of this like getting a job. If you only apply to jobs that have a million other people applying to the same exact position, you are MUCH less likely to be noticed or chosen. Hashtags are the same way, you're shouting "PICK ME PICK ME" into a crowd of other people yelling the same thing, no one can hear you babe. Doesn't mean no one will, but it will be much more difficult to be heart/seen. This doesn't mean DONT use them though, just means don't center your hashtags off of which ones have the most content in them. A simple way of quickly figuring out which hashtags would work best for you is choose a few direct words its pertaining to. We will use the resin cat piece as example again. Instead of #resin #cat etc. use #resincat #catresinart. If you are using a specific brand of supplies, this is also a great place to get those tags in #tabletopresin #totalboatresin. Then select a few more using describing words. #blackcat #blackresincat #blackresin. While making these keep in mind of staying away from the 100k+ posts. You are much more likely to be seen in tags with less use, which will help you get pushed into the more popular ones. Which leaves us to the last hashtags to use; the popular ones. #resinartist #artistsofig #darkart etc.

  2. Grid: Your grid is your storefront. Its the first thing people see when they check you out. If they enter and it looks like a mess, people are much less likely to stay and click around. The difficult part about this though, is figuring out what is messy. You can post the most random things but if they all have the same consistent look in some way, it makes it feel much more clean, whether it be a filter, or theme, the more consistent it looks the more "attractive" it is. Unless a complete mess is what you are shooting for, which even a mess can be a mess that makes sense. One way you can make this easier on yourself, rather than going from day to day figuring out what to post and how to make it flow well, there are apps to help you plan your grid out. I personally use Planoly, its an app that you can upload several posts, and even slice a single photo to turn into multiple posts. Not only can you pre plan your posts and layout though, you can also schedule each post and have it post to not only IG but other platforms as well. Its a pretty awesome tool that I highly suggest any small business owner or creator to use. Instead of spending every day on IG you can set out a single day to plan out the entire week for you, if not longer.

  3. Post your new post to your stories! Let your followers that are swiping through stories see that you've made a new post!

  4. Sharing it to friends. Be careful with this, as it can get tiring getting messages from people you barely know, asking you to like and comment on their content. Only share to people you know will help boost by interacting.


REELS


Reels can get a little tricky, as they seemingly work off of luck, but there are ways to boost your chances of making a good reel by implementing what you know makes a good stories and feed post, but adding music! When it comes to sounds, if you don't want to hunt around looking for trending sounds, there are people you can follow that specifically shares trending sounds to hop on to. These people dedicate their time to finding sounds that are growing quickly and at their beginning stages. While you can get a lot of views out of a sound that has been used a lot already, using sounds that don't have a whole lot of videos but get great views is much more likely to get you seen! But don't forget about sticking to the aesthetic vibe of your business and how you want to present yourself!


ENGAGEMENT


All social media platforms work off of one goal: to get people to stay on the app. The more you stay on the app, the more companies are likely to purchase ads, and ads is where they make their money. Because of this fact, they award people who stay engaged on their apps. IG doesn't just want you to post to their app then not use it. Network with people in the same genre as you, engage in your followers posts (reminding them you exist is always a sure fire way to bring back people who might have forgotten about you), engage with other peoples stories. Bonus points is that this also gets other people wanting to engage with you back!


The last, but most important thing to get all of this to work for you is.. CONSISTENCY!! And this is where I fail. I personally struggle with time management and memory so I forget to post of my day ends up becoming a mess and I don't find the time to do it. Which is where Planoly would come in handy.. but again I am working on it lol But that being said, when I am going through my spout of being consistent is when I have my spirts of growth and the algorithm picks me up.


Now if you're reading this and thinking "I don't have the time for all this" then you will need to figure out your own priorities. Is it important to you to be seen and make sales off IG? Then you'll want to either find the time, or hire someone to do it for you.


The thing that separates the businesses that make it and the ones that don't is persistence and the unwillingness to allow yourself to have an excuse. To power through the roughest patches. The beginning of starting a business is hard because you are starting from the bottom and can't afford all the guns and whistles to do it all for you, which means you're going to need to do it all and its HARD. But you cant give up if you truly want to make it!


Don't stand in your own way.





M

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