4 Things I Learned from an Instagram Celebrity
I will never tell you that I know everything about Instagram. I am still learning, just like you, which is why I made it a point to have coffee with a local Instagram Celebrity last week. Lex of @restoring_radiance graced me with her company and laid out her wisdom as to how she accidentally amassed a following of over 22K followers on Instagram by taking pictures of her healthy meals.
@restoring_radiance started as a completely private account. Lex accidentally hit the public button one day that sent an alert to all her friends that she was posting on Instagram, and said she had a total panic moment. After the thrust in the spotlight (meaning a few hundred followers) she kept on keeping on using her account to authentically share what she was eating and how that contributed to her health. She followed and supported other people with similar accounts. That led to more and more and more people following over time.
I am sharing her insights on how she was able to go from a few friends to thousands of dedicated followers and how you can use her wisdom to grow your business with Instagram.
Let things happen organically.
There were no thousand-follower days. Lex learned and grew and got better by observing what type of posts people responded to, what times of day she got the most engagement, and improving her photography and editing skills as she practiced. She didn’t stress too much about posting the perfect post at the perfect time and still doesn’t. This laid back attitude and authentic voice connected with her audience and grew her following over a two-year period, not over night.
What that means to you: Do not expect to amass thousands of followers on Instagram overnight or maybe even ever. Creating a small community of committed followers is just as good, if not better, for you as a small business owner. Remember, you are not in the business of Instagram, you are using Instagram to support your business. Those are two very different things!
Networking is everything.
Even with over 22K followers, Lex personally responds to every single comment on every single picture. That is over 80 people per day that she is communicating with on the platform (at least). That could be a full time job! And sometimes it might feel like it is. But Alexis is 1000% dedicated to her community. She is on Instagram to inspire and support her followers and her friends. It makes sense for her to dedicate this time to interacting.
What that means to you: My guess is your small business doesn’t get 80 comments per picture, so the excuse that you don’t have time to engage with people on Instagram does not fly with me. If you want to be authentic and build a relationship with the people who are potentially buying things from you, you must dedicate the time to reply to people who comment and like your pictures. It will take you less than 5 minutes a day.
Support your friends.
Lex has a group of friends that “came up together” via Instagram and she is a loyal “Insta” and real life friend to them. She likes and comments on every single picture that this group of friends posts every single day. They all support and encourage each other.
What that means to you: You need business besties on Instagram to show your communities that you are a collaborater and a connecter and a person. This is so easy to do, and you probably already have other small business owners as friends, so go find 3-4 of them, locally owned businesses in your area that you know, and support them on Instagram. Like REALLY support them by commenting on all their stuff and sharing the Insta-love.
Don’t sell out.
At this point, @restoring_radiance has made money from a total of 8 of posts (of her 614 posts) by reviewing products. She has some important rules when doing this in order to protect the authenticity of her posts and stay connected to her community. She limits the number of sponsored posts and uses a content calendar to be mindful of not posting too many sponsored posts back to back. She always has her community in mind. She never shares a product that she doesn’t love and continues to support and engage with her followers as a human, not a salesman. She does not let the dollars get in the way of real connection, ever!
What that means to you: As a business, you need to be mindful of how often you are “selling” on Instagram. Use a Content Calendar to plan your posts and then take a step back and look at it to see how many posts are you asking for your followers to do something. How many times are you giving them something (inspiration, ideas, knowledge, encouragement, etc). Make sure you are giving more than you are asking.
I hope this provides some helpful tips to using Instagram more effectively to connect to your community and grow your business. Want more tips like this delivered to your inbox? Pop your email contact on my list!