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Where to Start with Instagram 2019

Discussion in 'Advertising, Marketing, Social Media' started by jesseissorude, Jan 19, 2019.

  1. jesseissorude
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    jesseissorude Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    About me:
    I've been using Instagram since the first year it came out, but only with a personal account. I didn't want strangers following me, just friends. The app itself was all I ever needed for liking, commenting, and adding my own media.

    Now that I'm trying to grow a business profile, I'm having a heck of a time learning this stuff. Especially how to use Stories effectively.

    I've been doing a deep-dive all week, so this post is a digested version of all the notes I've taken. Take it all with a grain of salt, I'm still new to this. Hopefully this can serve as a kickstart so you don't have to go down the rabbit hole I did and sort all the wheat from the enormous amounts of chaff.
    Who this is for:
    • Business accounts with <10k followers
    • Newbies to IG for business

    What we won't cover:
    This post is tool-heavy and mostly focused on building your profile and some systems around managing content. Tools will be highlighted in green. We'll skip:
    • growth strategies
      • hashtags
      • how to partner with influencers
    • paying for anything. Once you are at 10k followers, you can buy stuff
    • running IG ads

    Ready? Me neither.
    --------------------------------------------------------------
    Contents:
    1. Optimize your profile
      1. Personal or Business profile?
      2. Bio
      3. Grid
    2. Generating content
      1. Newsfeed posts
      2. Stories
      3. Post creation and workflow . <---- this is the money maker. If you read one section only, read this one
    3. Further reading and topics to research
      1. IG gurus to follow
      2. Helpful TFF threads
    --------------------------------------------------------------

    1. Optimize your Profile
    1. Should I switch to a business profile?
    This is something you'll only really worry about when you are under 10k followers. Once you hit 10k, switch over if you haven't already because at 10k you can use in-story links directly to products.
    Personally, I'm switching over immediately as many tools require you to have a business account to auto post your content (more on this later).

    2. Optimize your Bio
    Keep it short and descriptive. This is ta great place to show your mission, value statement, etc. Keep in mind that this will be a new follower's first impression of you. Spoon-feed them what you want them to think about you.

    Emojis can be an easy way to make it more readable or separate sections.

    MUST: Add a call-to-action link to the action you want them to take.
    Need multiple links in your bio? Use Linktree
    Do you change your profile's CTA link often? Use Linkin.bio
    Optional (this won't make sense for 80% of brands): Use custom fonts on bio if it fits your branding.
    Use How to Customize Your Instagram Fonts - Later Blog to find a IG-acceptable fonts that might work.

    If you use custom fonts in your actual post captions, use an app like Fonts - for Instagram.
    3. Optimize your Grid:
    GREAT article on this. Pay attention to the screenshots: https://skedsocial.com/blog/instagram-grid-layout/
    (article is from "Sked" which is an IG image editor that I haven't researched)

    When someone is on your profile page, they're going to see all your past posts. Make sure your posts have a cohesive branding theme. This is where your follower growth comes from. Clean this up before you think about running ads. Think of it as your "landing page"

    You can do this with your Grid Layout's common theme:
    • posts by row
    • 3x3 super image
    • common themes [wood, plants, metal]
    • common colors
    • common filters/editing
    Examples:
    @recoveryeffects ; common theme of wood. Scroll waaayyy back in their history to see what their account looked like before they started doing this. It's night and day
    upload_2019-1-19_14-18-44.png

    @Coach ; they jump from 3x3 grids of similar colors. Here's one grid. The next week it was all bright colors and graffiti:
    upload_2019-1-19_14-20-19.png

    @mickey_tlj ; Checkerboard layout -
    [​IMG]

    You can also do a 3x3 grid that matches up to make a full picture. I like this for product launches and hype.
    @the_oa
    [​IMG]

    Another easy thing you can do if you are just starting with this:
    Add a color border around every picture. Just use the same border for all.
    2. Generating Content
    Goal here should be making it as frictionless as possible.

    1. Newsfeed posts
    We discussed this briefly in the "optimizing your grid" section above. Posts should have a cohesive theme + branding.

    You'll be using the same filters/fonts over and over.

    If you use the same filters/editing for each photo, eliminate filters that you don't use, and rearrange the filters so that your top 3 are always listed first.
    When choosing filters, scroll all the way to the right, click "Manage" and rearrange your filters and delete "never use" filters.
    [​IMG]
    Some apps. Experiment with all, then pick a few that match your workflow. Use them over and over. Shake it up once in a while, but you should really only be using 1-2.

    Musts:
    Snapseed - perfect for editing the raw photo. Free! Lightroom serves this purpose as well, but it's more for professional photographers who need to send the same file from phone to desktop and keep the file data. This app is a must+1.
    Canva - edit things with specific platform layouts, IG, Pinterest, business cards, basically the industry standard.

    Nice to try:
    Adobe Lightroom - power tool for photographers. Lets you reuse filters / common edits you make frequently
    Over - more advanced, templates like canva, add unlimited photos
    Nebi - popular, gritty, distressed, vintage filters for photos
    2. Stories <--- Important! I've heard multiple sources say this is like IG ads lite. This is your multiple-nudge-per-day outreach to your followers.
    Make generating this content easy as hell. You can be more loose with branding since this won't show on your profile

    Musts:
    Unfold - recommended 4x (I stopped counting after that), diff layouts, focused on IG stories. Mix photos and videos together. Premium options for fonts/layouts at $1.99 each

    Nice to try:
    Hypertype - animated text. (Low priority)
    InShot - recommended 2x - edit photos and videos together, video effects, backgrounds for photos
    8mm - $1.99 - Video - rec’d 2x, make video/photo look vintage
    SNOW - make photos look vintage, add cool effects
    Splice - by GoPro, but many use it to edit instastory vids. Music, sound effects, etc
    VideoLeap - easy video editor, add effects, background, text, music sound effects
    Camcorder - video - title says it all. 90s VHS
    VSCO - recommended 2x - has “DSCO” function that does like a slower “boomerang” style effect
    3. Post Creation Workflow
    This is where we put it all together.

    Workflow:

    raw content --> photo/video editor app (like Lightroom, Nebi, or SNOW) --> layout app (like Unfold) --> post scheduler* --> Instagram's native editor**

    *Schedulers:
    Planoly - Far and away the best for IG. Schedules and autoposts for you if you have a business account. Big bonus: it creates 3x3 grids from one photo automatically.
    Hootsuite - is great if you want to manage FB page, twitter, pinterest, and IG. Excellent way to manage comments / engagement if you get a shitload of comments across platforms.
    Buffer - Also manages twitter and other platforms like Hootsuite does. No clear winner between the two, imho.
    Honorable mention: grum.co - I use this because I got a lifetime deal from Appsumo years ago. It only handles one photo at a time, and no stories.

    **Instagram's native editor:
    I won't go into this too much, but some things you need to be aware of that only get added at this final stage of posting:
    Stickers - tag people in a photo with @mentions
    Add text - offers 5 different fonts. Use one consistently.

    3. Further Reading and Topics to Research
    1. Instagram Gurus worth following

    Sue B Zimmerman on Youtube.
    Lots of clickbait video titles, but holy hell she's an info bomb. If you sign up for her mailing list, she'll do a free 15-min call with you

    Josue Pena
    His stuff is spread around, but Youtube is a good place to start. Just search his name. There's a good video on getting your first 1k subs.
    The videos are a little fluffy, but once they finally get to the point, there are some great tips.

    Also, watch random influencers' videos. They usually come up with clever tricks.
    Example: One girl suggested getting a stylus and using it to add handwritten text to your IG stories.

    2. TFF Threads to follow:


    OK, gonna stop here.
    A final thought:
    I'm new to this and am struggling to learn it all myself. There are a million tools out there, but I didn't mention them unless there were multiple sources recommending them. I SUCK at this stuff, but hopefully I make your research last 2 days (instead of my 3 weeks).
     
    Last edited: Jan 23, 2019
    William, Ben Gain, MattR82 and 8 others like this.
  2. jesseissorude
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    jesseissorude Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    updated the parent comment to add more sections under 3., and to clean up some formatting.
    I also added Josue Pena as a person to follow.

    I've been experimenting with Planoly the past week and I am VERY impressed. I don't like how it handles comments though, so I'm just replying to my users on the instagram.com site instead of through the Planoly dash.

    More stuff I'd really like to add (if you have info, I'd love to hear it!):
    • Photo editing (on phone and on desktop)
    • Video editing (again, on phone and on desktop)
    • Workflows to get content between phone / desktop / and a scheduler
     
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  3. amp0193
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    amp0193 Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Thanks for the links to some of the tools. Hadn't heard of some.

    I need to up my stories game. Gonna try some of the formatting apps.
     
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  4. jesseissorude
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    jesseissorude Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    Nice! Glad I could help.

    For stories, one part I don't touch on (but would like to add) are the featured stories in your Profile.
    Any video you would put on your website, should be considered for inclusion on your profile.
    -Product Demos
    -Tutorials
    -High value free info (with a prompt at the end for the user to take some action)
    -Your brand's story(!!!!) <--- treat your IG profile page as if it has a link to an "about us"

    Basically, think of your IG profile page as a mini version of your website. If something converts well on your site, consider adding a version of it to your IG profile.

    Again, I'm just learning all this stuff myself, but there's a huge emphasis placed on optimizing the profile page for follow conversion... then using your regular stories as if they are your mailing list.
     
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  5. amp0193
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    amp0193 Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    These are essential. I'm just starting to roll them out.

    People tend to not leave the Instagram platform. The featured stories really makes your page a "mini-website". You are wasting the potential of your Instagram account if you aren't using these.



    Haha, yes, exactly. We're on the same page here.
     
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  6. jesseissorude
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    jesseissorude Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    bingo! From what I'm reading, the important thing is flood a user with opportunities to leave the Instagram platform and land on your cart... and the best way to do that is get them to be one of your normal followers and keep putting those choices in front of them over the long term.

    EDIT: Made a quick update on the photo editing section. I've been messing with Lightroom and Snapseed, and Snapseed is the clear winner if you aren't a photography professional (so ideal for anyone managing their business page themselves)
     
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  7. amp0193
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    amp0193 Legendary Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass LEGENDARY CONTRIBUTOR Summit Attendee

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    Right, and I think the best way to do that is with a "swipe up" in stories.
     
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  8. MattR82
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    MattR82 Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    2 important things I've found that I'd like to add.

    Be really careful of using any 3rd party apps like grum that aren't officially partnered with fb/insta. Basically anything you give your password/login details to needs to be an official partner. Instagram is cracking down on it for a while now.

    Linktree/linkinbio - if you have a website of your own, just create your own linktree lookalike page called insta-resources or something so all the visitors go to your site straight away rather than linktree.
     
  9. MattR82
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    MattR82 Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    100% agree. I'm really trying to get them off insta and get their email. Going to start running competitions with kingsumo. Keep it simple where they enter their email for an entry then have the option to share across x y z for extra entries etc.

    Oh, and blogs. Particularly for the swipe up. I just managed to get someone over 10k but they have nowhere good on their site to send people lol. Gotta teach them how to blog now. Will be a good chance for me to start playing around learning ahrefs and some basic seo anyway.
     
    Last edited: Feb 24, 2019
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  10. artKarolina
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    This is a really great starter pack post. The thing I would like to make more efficient is guesstimating hashtags. There's going to be new analytics tools coming out for business accounts, but the release is so slow...there must be a better way to figure out Insta "seo" basically. Some posts I have decent hashtag reach (30% visitors from hashtags), others is a sad 7%. I have a very good engagement rating for a small account, but I have trouble bringing in the new eyes organically.
     
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  11. jesseissorude
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    jesseissorude Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    I actually have extremely intimate knowledge of Kingsumo. I don't want to say too much more when I'm not on an Inside thread, but I'll shoot you a DM.

    To address the larger point: That's dead on. If these people are my IG followers, then I will always have to go through Facebook to access them. We saw what can happen with that when FB started to tighten down reach on their newsfeed.
    I view it the same as "don't build your business on someone else's platform. If I only sold through eBay, and that platform suddenly shut down my account one day then I'm out of a job. Similarly, if Instagram messes with the cost to run ads and my margins don't make sense anymore, I have nothing to fall back on.
    Email is king. Your list is YOUR personal audience.

    I'm super passionate about this. My most recent job was for a company that is based around growing your list.

    Me too! This guide was meant to be more about the logistics (how to get content, how to automate posting, first steps, etc). But of the sales I've made through IG in the past month, most of them came through hashtags that I added to my posts.

    Hashtags are probably the best/easiest way to increase your reach and grow your IG account. I'm a novice at this, but that should probably be the next thing I add to the guide
     
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  12. MattR82
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    MattR82 Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    That would be great! I've seen quite a few different things for running comps on, but I quite like kingsumo actually.

    As for hashtags, I've had pretty good success with them lately, quite a few of my posts getting 65 to 85% reached that aren't followers. Usually seems around 78% this last month. I bought Alex Tooby's course a while back and found it really helpful, especially around hashtags. It's pretty simple strategy - start dominating smaller tags from 5k to 50k/500k then move up as you grow. After a few months I was sitting in top 3/6/9 for sometimes a few days in tags that have volume of around a million. Good results, but still lower than what I expected.

    I'm still trying to wrap my head around it, but I would follow @Ziad thread about using a network of influencers. Basically he has some kind of pod on steroids although it's of course more in depth than that. It really seems to me like the best way to grow is collaborating with good influencers and using them to get onto explore. As well as having good content of course which is a given.

    After all the hard work I put in to optimising posts, hashtags, engaging in hashtags etc etc etc, we gained 750 followers in 12 hours a few days ago after an influencer that was only looking at working with us, mentioned us in one of their many stories. That's all. Real accounts and people that we got enquiries out of already.
     
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  13. Xeon
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    Xeon All Cars Kneel Before Pagani. Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED Speedway Pass

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    If you don't mind, how many followers did that influencer have and how much did you pay for that mention in their stories?
     
  14. MattR82
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    MattR82 Silver Contributor Read Millionaire Fastlane I've Read UNSCRIPTED FASTLANE INSIDER Speedway Pass

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    They have a little over 400k followers (adventure travel couple). However they are growing pretty fast lately and have legitimate followers. The story mention didn't cost anything. The account is for a destination wedding planner in sth east asia, they came to visit to discuss a wedding. They are getting a bit of a discount obviously if it all goes ahead though.

    It's really hard to find/figure out how much to pay people for this kind of stuff. It's relatively easy to find out if their followers and engagement is legit though. But pricing this stuff has me a little stumped as well.
     
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