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The Secret Behind My Most Liked Instagram Posts EVER

If you’ve been hanging out on Instagram and following me for any amount of time, you know that my feed isn’t just filled with marketing tips or sales pitches, it’s filled with long captions (sorry, not sorry) and a lot of heart. In my feed I tell stories of my marriage, my life, our travels, the hard crap, and I, of course, share my work. If you’ve ever attended an Instagram webinar of mine or listened to the episodes where I talk about my approach to social media, you’ll know that it’s so much more than just a marketing pitch for me: it’s about connection, real connection that can reach through phone screens and settle into the hearts of strangers.

“Jenna, How Did You Get Your followers?!”

So many people ask me how I grew my following, like I have a secret and the truth is: I don’t really believe that secrets exist. I grew my following because I became a master at creating connection online… the kind of connection that leads people to talk about me like I’m their best friend and the same kind of connection that leaves people telling their friends about me. That, my friends, is the secret to growth: serve the people that are showing up for you SO well that they come back and they bring friends.

It’s no surprise that I’m a big fan of analytics. I LOVE numbers, in fact, in episode 15 I shared that I was afraid to tell you how obsessive I can get with numbers. For me, in a creative world where very few things are concrete and measurable, numbers give me relief and so when I started to dig into my Instagram analytics, I wasn’t entirely shocked at the results, in fact, I smiled because 90% of my top performing posts had nothing to do with marketing or anything that I was selling, they had to do with something I’m passionate about and something I’m struggling with: body confidence.

How Do We *Really* Reach Our Audience?

Now, hear me out before you think I’m about to tell you to show up online in your underpants (because I’ll be honest, I know you probably won’t do that… although I have to tell ya, it’s not as scary as you might think.) Sometimes the things we are most insecure about, most scared to share… those are the things that will form the deepest connections.

So what does this teach us? It teaches us that we are all hungry for connection. Think of your favorite people to follow online: there’s a good chance that these people are showing up in a way that allows you to connect whether that’s your mutual love for home decor or the fact that you both can’t eat gluten, maybe it’s your love for seeing new outfits or the fact that they might look like you or have walked a similar road to you. It’s easy to sit back and watch other people put themselves out there and think that your message will be lost in a sea of others or that the world doesn’t need you: but I value your story, the world DOES need it, what if you could change ONE life with it? Would it be worth it?

Ways you can incorporate more connection in your posts:

  1. Not ready to show up in your underwear and tell the world you’re not content in your skin like me? Worry not: start with my JK 5 method. (This is detailed in the episode and is a game changer!)
  2. Passionate about something, find an organization or business that you can team up with to help share their mission with the world and connect your personal story to their cause! I’ve done this with Aerie and the partnership has been incredible and it’s also giving us both a place to share our mission and for a relationship that helps further the cause.
  3. Not everyone has to understand and love it. There will be critics, it might fall on deaf ears but if you can make a difference in even one person’s life, it will have been worth it. You don’t have to share it publicly, maybe you start with just writing your story down, but in time you will be able to shine a light on it, acknowledge it, and bring it out into the open in a way that gives you (and others) freedom in the hardship.

    As entrepreneurs, we often try and turn our social media feed into one big marketing pitch: proving that we are experts, sharing our products and services daily, signing our own praises and sharing testimonials, but let me tell you something: every single human being out there is struggling and sometimes when we can share that struggle, it can make more of an impact in this world than any marketing pitch ever could.


What Is Your Story? Grab Your FREE Guide “How To Write Your Brand Story”!

by Jenna Kutcher 

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  1. Kayla Stout says:

    This is so helpful Jenna! It encourages my anxious heart to know that just being genuine and not having to push for attention or try to sell something is what connects me to others out there. I’ve never been one to successfully stay informed on the outset of trends, so basically trying to connect on Instagram just feels like me trying super hard to be cool haha.

    I do have another question though that I’ve been thinking about since I read this; keeping up two instagrams (one for my photog things and one for my personal private life) seems too difficult to do well and authentically, and the existing network on my personal one is significantly larger than the one I tried to start for my photo things. Therefore I want to just switch it all to one and keep things most honest and simple. Here’s my question:
    How do I SAFELY do this?? I’m a big proponent of utilizing internet safety and not allowing for potentially nefarious people to have unwarranted access to me OR my clients, like being able to figure out where we live or use the info I share in some other scary way. My personal IG is private, so obviously to merge these two I’d have to open it up to everyone. IS there even a feasible way to do this?

    I’m sure you get lots of questions and comments and I’d understand if you don’t have time to answer this one individually. Your resources have been SOO helpful to me though, as they inform me and instill more confidence in my plans to pursue photo full-time with the knowledge I’ve gained. You help me be more fearless and help me want to be more of myself and not put on a persona of what I think clients want to see or hear ALL the time. So thank you for that!!
    Best wishes and blessings!

    • Hey Kayla, Caitlyn here! I’ll add this to the list for a future “Ask Jenna Anything” episode where she answers questions live on the podcast! And good luck with merging your accounts, I think it’s super smart.

  2. Lisa Manis says:

    Jenna, I was VERY inspired by this podcast #123. I have had my full time photography business for 24 years. I started it right after I got married. I have always been very guarded about my personal life, but in this industry, your clients are more like family. Long story short, My husband passed away in a terrible motorcycle accident early last year. I know my journey to finding myself as “just Lisa” instead of “Lisa and Mike” would probably help others. However, I am very strong and independent and the last thing I want is for anyone to feel sorry for me. So, I just tell everyone I’m doing great (which overall, I am). Is this something you were worried about when you shared your story? Which, BTW, I admire you for.

  3. […] that she calls the JK5. She suggests keeping your Instagram content limited to 5 categories. (Jenna Kutcher Source) So lets use the example I created above and make this an imaginary person and let’s name her […]


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