Have you ever just felt lost as to how to grow your Instagram? Does it ever feel like you’ll never get to a place where people follow you, love your content, and click on that link in your bio? I was there once. At the beginning of 2018, I had only 100 followers,and they were all my family and friends. I was not using Instagram to its full potential. However—there IS a lot of potential. You just have to have the right strategies.
Over the past 5 months, my account has grown to over 2000 followers! And I’ve learned a LOT along the way. But I want to save you the trouble, so you don’t make the same mistakes I did! So here it is: 5 key strategies I have learned that will help you be effective in marketing your business on Instagram.
How to Use Instagram as a Marketing Tool
Step 1: Find Your Niche
Okay, so this is pretty basic, but it is really the foundation of all the next tips I’m going to give you. What is a niche? It is a specific subject focused on one idea. If you have a crochet business, your niche should definitely be crocheting. Here is the basic idea: if you’re posting about a bunch of random stuff, who’s going to want to follow you?
Instead, people need to know the main idea of your profile. If I posted pictures of crocheting, beading, papercrafting, food, etc…my profile would look jumbled. Instead, I need to pick a topic and stick to it. People need to know what to expect from you if you expect them to keep following you.
Step 2: Follow Others in Your Niche
After finding your niche, the very next thing you should do is follow people in your niche. By this I don’t mean just following the “top” people. Sure, you can follow Lion Brand yarn, Joann Stores, or big bloggers with 1000s of followers. I follow those people too. But just following them isn’t going to necessarily grow YOUR follower list fast.
Here’s the honest truth guys: your instagram isn’t going to grow magically. You can’t just sit around and wait for people to find you. This might work if you want it to take years to reach 1000 followers.
I don’t know about you, but that never sounded very appealing to me.
So how do you get real followers fast? You have to to reach out to them. You have to find people who would love your products, and follow them first. If you don’t put in the work, it’s not going to happen. Want to learn more details about how to go about finding those people? Look out for my follow up post in a couple days—it will be dedicated to this topic! I will outline my exact methods for finding and following people in my niche. Want to be notified when it goes live? Enter your email below to be the first to know!
Step 3: Post Great Content
You’ve probably heard this before—if you want followers you have to have good content. And, as much as we all hate hearing this again and again…it really is so true.
So what is great content? On Instagram, you have to have an appealing profile. Basically: don’t post random pictures. Don’t post photos with bad lighting. Try to have some consistency to your content. Find your style, and stick with it.
I’ll tell you now—this one actually can be hard. It has taken me a long time to find a style that works for me, and be able to stick with it consistently. It may take some experimenting, and that’s okay. But at least while you’re trying to find that style that fits your brand, still make sure that your photos are clean and well-lit. This will help immensely, trust me.
Step 4: Post Regularly
This is another key to using Instagram effectively. Think of it like this: you are a crochet blogger. There are a lot of other crochet bloggers out there with lots more followers than you. Not only that, but the average crocheter might follow, say, 1000 other crocheters. If you just post once and awhile, no one will remember who you are.
I know that sounds a little harsh. But it’s nothing anyone does on purpose. It’s simply that when there’s SO many people to keep track of, what’s to say your one post is going to draw volumes of attention?
So how do we overcome this? Try to post as regularly as possible—at least when you’re starting out. I try to post every day except Sundays. You have to keep reminding people who you are. And you have to establish yourself as someone they can trust. Chances, are, if they see one of your photos every day, they will be more likely to remember you, and engage with you.
Step 5: Use Hashtags
Okay people, I can’t emphasize this one enough—USE HASHTAGS! This is super important to the growth of your Instagram. Personally, I love hashtags. Let me tell you: it is so much easier to get people to your Instagram profile than your Facebook Page. Why? Because of hashtags! Hashtags allow for people to find posts about specific things they love.
For example, I might post a picture of a crochet top that is a free pattern on my Blog. I use the hashtag #freecrochetpattern. Then anyone who is looking for a free crochet pattern will see my photo!
Now, there are several things to keep in mind when you use hashtags. This is important, so bear with me here. I’ll go into some detail so you really understand what needs to happen with these.
Use Relevant Hashtags
Here’s my first point. You MUST use hashtags that correspond directly to the photo you’re posting. If you don’t, that hashtag is worthless. For example, let’s go back to that crochet top I talked about it earlier. Here are some hashtags for that photo that would NOT be relevant: #finallyfinished, #checkitout, #funday, etc. Those hashtags may sound cool, but they aren’t going to be very helpful. They’re not going to reach your target audience.
Understand the Types of Hashtags
Okay, the next thing is to understand the types of hashtags, and the popularity of the hashtags you’re using. When you type in a hashtag, make sure and look at the number next to it—that number tells you how many photos have been posted with that particular tag. If a hashtag has over a million posts, it’s definitely popular. In the crochet niche, some of these tags would be #crochet #crochetersofinstagram #crochetaddict, and so on.
Now, at first, I thought, “Oh, these are the popular hashtags, so they’re the ones I should always use!”
However, that is not always the case. You might get a few likes from hashtags like those. But since hashtags are time-oriented, it will be a matter of minutes before your photo just completely disappears into the bottomless vortex of photos.
So, in light of this, what you should also do is find hashtags that aren’t quite as popular. It’s good to use some in the 100,000 range, and even more in the 5,000-10,000 range. If you use less popular hashtags, you will ALSO have a better chance of landing your photo in the “top” section, rather than the “recent” section.
Use All the Hashtag Space
Last point, I promise. Let’s talk about where your hashtags can be. There are two places: in your post caption, and in your post comments. People debate which of these is better. But did you know you can actually use both? That’s right! Here’s exactly how I do it:
I keep a list of popular/semi-popular hashtags that usually correspond to all my posts. With each post, I copy and paste that list into the comment section right after posting. You can have a maximum of 30 hashtags in the comment section.
After that’s done, I go back to my post and edit the caption to include more narrow hashtags that correspond directly to my post—something like #crochettoppattern, #shellstitch, etc. I don’t want to overwhelm the people reading my captions, so I usually include 10-15 hashtags in that section.
Whew! I know that was probably a lot of information to take in. It is probably overwhelming to think about implementing all these strategies. Maybe you’re even wondering how you’ll have the time to do it all.
As an encouragement to you: as you implement these 5 strategies for using Instagram to market your crochet business, make sure and have fun with it! Don’t let Instagram consume your life. Don’t let your follower number consume your life. Implement these strategies one at a time. I promise it will get easier as time goes on.
I hope you have enjoyed this tutorial. If you have any questions at all, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I would love to help! Don’t forget to follow me on Instagram and Pinterest for lots more inspiration!
— Rachel 🙂
P.S. Remember, a follow up post will be coming out soon with more details about how to grow your followers! Enter your email below to be notified about when it goes live!