We don’t know what we don’t know until we know it, which is sort of freeing and overwhelming at the same time, isn’t it?! When it comes to social media especially, there are a lot of unknowns and challenges that can make you feel like you’re behind. So today, I want to talk about 5 life-giving things you didn’t know about Instagram for your business (and why they’re actually a good thing).
Using Instagram for your business can feel like an uphill battle a lot of the time, but it doesn’t have to! From engagement to growth to converting followers into real-life paying clients or customers… wooooo, there’s a lot to focus our efforts on.
It’s important to remember that this is a marathon, not a sprint. Or maybe even a triathlon: a race that contains multiple activities and ultimately requires stamina and resilience to succeed.
Drew did his first triathlon this past summer, and I watched as he trained steadily and stayed consistent with his goal to prepare for the race. That same steadiness and consistency is the main thing required of us to create an impactful Instagram presence. We don’t need to show up perfectly—we just need to show up!
5 things you didn’t know about Instagram
So, let’s leave behind all the “rules” about when to post, what to post, and how to show up as a carbon copy of someone else—and instead lean into an Instagram routine that FEELS good and leads to true business growth.
1. You don’t need 1000s of followers to make an impact.
You just don’t. You don’t! I get that the number of followers you have feels like this big, important thing to focus on, but I promise it’s so much more valuable to engage with the people you DO have in your corner than ignore them and try to chase down even more.
Think about it like this: if you were speaking to an audience of 1,000 or even 500 or 300 people at an in-person event, that’s a pretty incredible opportunity to impact a huge number of people. So why do we look at those same numbers of Instagram followers and scoff at it like it’s small potatoes?
Even if you *know* not all of your followers are your target audience, I’d bet that at least roughly half of them are. So speak to those people. Connect with them. Serve them content that they find interesting, funny, engaging, educational, inspirational, or aspirational. Focus your efforts more on showing up for the people already there for you rooting you on, and you’ll get so much more use out of that little app.
2. Likes/comments aren’t *as* important as we think.
Ahhh, another vanity metric that we’ve been tricked into thinking is the end-all-be-all of Instagram. 🙂 I know that likes and comments appear to be important because it’s what everyone can see, but what should be WAY more important to you is the conversions and ROI from showing up on IG.
- When you post a CTA, how many people follow through on it?
- How many people land on your website or reach out after landing on your Instagram profile?
- Do you have people saving and sharing your posts?
That last one? That’s an engagement metric that isn’t available for the public to see, but that should mean more to you than likes or comments. It means people find your content amazing enough to share with their friends OR save for themselves for later. It’s a deeper investment and interest than a simple double-tap, and it tells the algorithm that your content is important.
3. The Instagram algorithm isn’t evil.
Actually? The algorithm’s main goal is to get your content in front of the right people. It’s not out to get you. It’s not trying to ruin your life. It’s actually… trying to help you? Believe it or not.
Actually, according to Later, Instagram has MULTIPLE algorithms for the different content you post on IG, for example:
- For in-feed posts, an algorithm prioritizes and pushes up profiles that get the highest engagement (comments, shares, saves, profile clicks, likes). So posting CTAs and highly interactive content is beneficial for your static posts.
- For stories, an algorithm prioritizes those stories that get viewed most often. So posting regularly on your stories is smart to make sure your stories are regularly being viewed by others, since most people binge-watch stories and will end up on yours *if* there’s something there to see.
- Another algorithm also prioritizes people who use Instagram’s new features (like Reels).
Knowing the best practices in accordance with the algorithm(s) ensures you’ll continue growing and reaching the right people.
4. Hashtags aren’t dead.
There’s this narrative out there that hashtags are dorky or “trying-to-hard,” but really, they’re still a super smart Instagram strategy that you should be incorporating every time you post!
Hashtags basically file your posts away under certain categories (the hashtags) so that people who are interested in those topics and categories can easily find them. It helps your posts reach a greater quantity AND quality of people—meaning, the ones who care about your industry or niche, and would most likely want to follow along with your profile or brand.
5. The best way to stand out is to stand for something.
We don’t need ANY more copycats of the same types of influencers and digital marketers that are sort of all over IG already. You have a special something simply because you’re *you*. Show your personality. Be clear about your values and what matters to you. Share your goals. Be HONEST.
While so much of Instagram is curated feeds and pretty pictures, I’ve found the people who I follow and connect with the most have something important, different, and real to share. It’s their voice that impacts me way more than their visuals. Focus on honesty and authenticity over aesthetics, and you’ll begin attracting and connecting with the right people.
(Hint: the right people AREN’T just people who agree with you, but people who respect your beliefs, background, and path, and appreciate your transparency along the way.)
Let’s normalize making life online way easier. Let’s normalize less bending to pressure and rules, and more finding the right strategy that makes sense for our individual goals, impact, and growth. Let’s also normalize taking time away from social media and enjoying life offline, too, because that’s just as important as all the best practices and hot strategies.