If you’re one of my wonderful Instagram followers, for the month of May you were part of The Great Instagram experiment. Don’t be alarmed! It wasn’t anything sinister, just me testing some theories on how to get the best results out of the ‘gram.
See, if I’ve learned anything about the socials, it’s that it takes a bit of trial and error to find what works. With this in mind, read on to hear my theories for Insta success and which ones held the most weight.
Theory 1 – People want to see YOU
I can’t take full credit for this theory but, inspired by the very clever Jenna Kutcher, I decided to only post photos of myself and my family. I mean, Jenna did it and her followers skyrocketed so why wouldn’t it work for me too?
No more inspirational quotes, no more stock images and no more memes. Just lil ol’me and a bit of fam. I found the thought of this one quite confronting and I can hear your shared reluctance from here. I get it, we’re all inclined to hide behind the witty meme- I mean, what if people think I’m too “up myself?!”. But you guys…it worked!
My followers grew by 227! When you compare this with the growth of 140 in April, there was a 62% increase between the two!! Not only this, I also had an 18% increase in engagement and a 25% increase in reach. My overall followers are now over 2,000 and I’m feeling proud as punch.
Theory 2 – People want you to engage
The idea with this theory was, by engaging with people on your post, you’ll get more traction.
At this stage, I was already engaging for 30 minutes each day – 15 mins with existing followers and 15 mins with people outside my following. So, to mix it up, I decided to do a full hour of engaging every second day.
This theory was less conclusive. With so many variables at play – CTAs, hashtags, day/time of posting etc. – I’m not able to say it was definitely the engagement that had any effect. Besides, when I looked at the statistics from an engagement day compared with a non-engagement day, there weren’t any significant differences.
While I’m fairly certain that if I did a whole month of not engaging I would notice an impact, this is not something I’m brave (or crazy!) enough to do. Suffice it to say, engaging should be part of your social media strategy BUT
Theory 3- great content trumps all in the world of Social Media.
Drilling down further on this experiment, I had 5 posts that got HUGE engagement in May. Let me rank them for you in order, with highest engagement first:
- A cross legged photo of me with a caption talking about a really crappy stage I was going through. This one got a massive 13% engagement.
LESSON: people relate to you most when you’re honest and vulnerable.
- A family photo accompanied by a caption about a biz coach called Clare. (If you’ve not seen this post, take a look! You’ll quickly discover how well biz coach called Clare can replace The Fresh Prince of Bel Air.)
LESSON: people love to see something different so, get creative and have a little fun with your posts.
- A photo of me at my desk with a caption sharing my home office essentials.
LESSON: people are interested in people. Even if it’s just the everyday stuff, as long as it’s relevant to your target market, share it!
- A post sharing photos on a carousel from the Business Chicks event with other accounts tagged.
LESSON: Multiple photos and tagging other accounts enhance engagement. The extra time people spend scrolling through your photos ensures Instagram sees your content is interesting and your audience are taking their time to read it. This also rings true for lengthy captions.
- The fake pregnancy shot – although it got good engagement, most people were just annoyed to see that I wasn’t REALLY pregnant. I won’t try this one again, SORRY peeps!
LESSON: if you really are pregnant/just got married/just got engaged/had a baby or you’re going through another major life event, people love to hear about it! Don’t be afraid to share your stories.
The key takeaway from all of this? Instagram wants to ensure people are getting the content they love. In order to do this, keep going back to your target audience and think about how you can best provide value, entertain them, surprise them and keep them on their toes! If your audience is happy, Instagram will be happy too.
If that sneaky cynic in your head is thinking, “I’m happy for your Instagram success but, what about sales?” this next bit is for you.
The best part about all this Instagram engagement is that May was my biggest sales month in my business, EVER!! Yes, you heard right, biggest. Month. EVER! And, I’m confident that my Instagram strategy had a lot to do with it.
Those of you that follow me on the socials will know that I didn’t go from doing absolutely nothing to undertaking this experiment. So, my advice for Insta success is: be consistent and be persistent. Keep showing up, even if you think no-one is watching. Keep sharing those stories and most importantly, be yourself.
If you’d like to learn more about how to get great engagement on Instagram, make sure you download my ULTIMATE INSTAGRAM ENGAGEMENT CHECKLIST because when it comes to Instagram, your engagement metric is FAR more important than your number of followers. This is my no-fail checklist to authentically grow your Instagram engagement and attract your dream clients + BONUS Instagram Story Ideas.