As we all roll into 2021, there’s not a better time to reevaluate your Instagram strategy and find ways to level up for the new year. This year, I’m looking at Instagram as I usually do: it’s one of my absolute favorite places to connect with people, engage with my followers, glean insight and share takeaways of important life moments. I’ve always looked at the platform as more than just marketing as a place to share my legacy and write my version of my story from business success to Coco’s first words to long bike rides along the lake.
More than that, I’m excited to continue using it as a space to provide value when it comes to sharing my personal journey with entrepreneurship, motherhood, and life. There’s nothing more important to me than showing up for all of you—and for myself—and there’s also some serious business pluses to growing our engagement and staying present online.
If you’re ready to harness the power for what I forecast as the top methods to drive results on the platform in the new year, stick with me. It’s not as hard as we’d like to sometimes make it. If you’re ready to seriously rock Instagram this year, let’s dive on in.
The JK5 Method
The JK5 is my favorite method EVER for sharing intentionally in those little squares on Instagram, and it’ll change things for you on a lot of levels. The goal of the JK5 is to make sure you have a multidimensional feed that is focused on serving and connection over selling, that you’re building something bigger than just the product you sell or the outcome of your efforts. The JK5 is the way to build a true brand, not just a business.
Often times when we have an offer or we’re starting a business, we think that marketing means we’re constantly selling and featuring our product but when you do that, you’re only reaching people who know and understand that they need what you’re selling and you’re missing out on the opportunity of building a relationship and creating connection with people who might not yet understand what you do or how your offer could be the right fit for them.
The bottom line: the JK5 is all about choosing 5 areas or topics of your life and your business that you want to share regularly and then rotating through those 5 topics in your feed. It’s giving your brand pillars that people come to know you for while you create connection through the main topics you cover, having only one of the chosen 5 being about your actual paid offer. It’s the method of Gary V’s with the jab, jab, jab, right hook or the idea that you’re focusing on serving and connecting before you ever go to sell.
As you choose your 5 categories, you’ll want to focus on topics that you feel really passionate about and that you love, and they’re going to be those areas that truly allow you to connect with people. The big idea? Pick 4 categories that resonate or connect and pick 1 category that sells.
You guys know that I’m all about real-life and sharing value on my feed. I don’t think that anyone can build a successful business these days without the desire to show up authentically, and a lot of that comes down to the things you share online and the way you show up. But, there can also be blurred lines really quickly, right? Where does the brand end and the human begin? It’s a question I asked myself a lot this past year — where do you draw the line of human vs. business. My JK5 method is a great way to give yourself purposeful boundaries to what you’re sharing, and it gives you a highly effective roadmap and a super simple process to follow.
One thing to note as we talk about the JK5 framework is that it’s not set in stone, it’s meant to be fluid and to evolve and grow with you as you grow and change. These categories give you the ability to show in a way that gives you a system to follow for the days you’re not sure to post but it also gives you the freedom to swap out the pillars when you become passionate or curious about something different.
I believe that you have to earn the right to sell and I also believe that social media shouldn’t be a sales pitch so when I look at the JK5, it’s that handshake and introduction into who you are and what you’re about while gently exposing people to what you offer. You get to use those posts centered around your offers as gentle invites for your audience to go a step further with you — preferably off of the app — and it’s a great way to build the know, like, trust factor that is crucial for someone in business.
So you get the point: when it comes to your OWN JK5, think of the 5 things that the people who follow you on Instagram can count on seeing time and time again. Or, it might be 4 topics, or 6 topics… the point is to pick those topics, those pillars, and then hit on each of them throughout your feed. You don’t want to only focus on one but to mix things up so that you’re building a true personality around what you do and you’re creating a solid connection online.
The Dream 100
My buddy Russel Brunson’s technique, the Dream 100, is a list of, well, your DREAM 100: the 100 people, accounts, brands or businesses that you would LOVE to work with, talk to and partner with. These 100 people, accounts, brands and businesses are the ones that might not know you exist… yet… but that could bring huge value to your life or business, and vice-versa, if you were to become truly connected one day.
It’s the idea of first really naming the top 100 connections you want to make and a form of manifesting the relationships before they are cultivated but it doesn’t just stop at a vision board or a list on a piece of paper, it’s the action behind the Dream 100 that can make the difference for you.
When you make your list of the Dream 100 people, accounts, brands and businesses you want to connect with and work with, think of these 5 things:
- Who are the people that I’ve looked to in the past for advice and strategy?
- Who are the people that THEY’ve looked up to on their journey?
- Who has stories that I find really, really inspiring?
- What could we do for each other? What value could I offer?
- How can I magnetize these people towards me, too?
These 100 people, accounts, and businesses are ones you really want to connect with for a variety of reasons: you relate to them, they relate to you, they share your values, there’s likely overlap in some way, and you can both learn a ton from each other.
You probably already have a list of people building in your head, and that’s all you need to start! Feel free to get messy with it, and scrawl them down, cross them out, and refine your list over and over again. Plus, keep in mind that your Dream 100 can be fluid, and it also doesn’t have to be 100 people, either. It’s all about tweaking the strategy to make it work for you and your business.
So it doesn’t just stop with a list, that’ just the beginning. Next steps? Take time each and every single day to follow, engage with, and watch that Dream 100 on Instagram and the other platforms you’re curious about.
Russell literally sets notifications for his Dream 100 so he doesn’t miss what they are up to and when he logs into Instagram or any platform, he’s doing so with the sole intention of engaging with and keeping up with his Dream 100. Not only is he paying attention to what they are sharing and what’s working for them, he’s watching for an ideas of ways he could provide value for them.
Plus, don’t forget that you might be on someone’s Dream 100, too! In fact, I’m sure that you are. Be sure that you’re also sharing content that other people might find valuable too, and position yourself as the firecracker brand expert that YOU are. So much of success in the digital age we’re in is all about finding connection points to others, and that goes for you, too.
Let Instagram do its thing
I always knew the Explore page was there and ready for me to click on, but I never really messed with it until my friend Natalie Ellis taught me how much value lies in it. The explore page can serve as your inspiration, your way to curate content, and provide clues as to what’s resonating on the platform.
When you’re clicking on and engaging with content that you actually like and find valuable, your Explore page literally finds more of it and shows it to you. It reveals more accounts, shows you the trending content, places things before your eyes that it thinks you will click on and it gives you a chance to look at your own consumer habits and see if your ideal clients might be similar to you. The best part? You can spend just 5 minutes on that explore page saving the posts that caught your attention and plopping them into a folder to serve as creation inspiration for you for the days you get stuck or you’re not sure what to create.
Hello! It takes so much of the work out of it, and it’s so fun to scroll through. I’ve found everything from new friends to Goal Digger guests via that Explore page, and I love the process of setting a timer and just going through and saving posts that I find particularly helpful or was inspired by.
All this to say, it doesn’t have to be super complicated, just take advantage of your Explore page right alongside your Dream 100, and you’ll unlock a goldmine of ideas, potential connections, and a new strategy that might have seemed elusive in the past. I mean, who knew that Instagram was actually built to help you succeed? Yes, please!
How to view the algorithm this year
While the algorithm might frustrate you or you feel like it’s set up to defeat your dreams, the algorithm is really your friend. I know, the algorithm is the friend who has tricked you and failed you and not responded to your texts in the past… But let me tell you, when we work to feed the algorithm and don’t revolt out of frustration, when we give it what it wants, we see the engagement and interactions and response we want to see in return.
I’ve given advice in past episodes about beating the algorithm, and the advice still stands… But when I released those episodes I wasn’t really telling you how to out-smart the very advanced technology behind the squares of your feed, my tips and tricks were the strategies we all needed to make the Algorithm happy.
As Instagram changes, so should the way you show up and use it. Follow along as they guide you on what content is landing and performing, they are the ones with the giant teams and the technology to see the strategy in process.
So as you look at Instagram in the next year, consider leaning into what’s working versus staying stagnant in methods that used to be effective, but aren’t delivering you the results you used to be accustomed to. Things like Reels — let me tell you, video content is something I fought for so long — but sure enough, as I started to experiment with this new way of connecting with my Instagram audience, the engagement I was missing came back, and I even had a simple little Reel go viral… Thanks to my sweet daughter and her deep breathing exercises.
What I mean to say, is although the algorithm changes can be frustrating, and it feels like the Instagram powers-at-be are always finding new ways to make it more difficult for you to see success on the platform, give yourself time to experiment with the things that are working for others, celebrate the new challenge of learning short form video strategies that work for you, and let the algorithm be your friend.
The Big Picture
Let’s use Instagram as a place to connect, to spark joy, to write our legacies, and reveal our personalities behind our offers. There are so many ways to use the app for good, I promise—and if you’re feeling like it’s bringing too much comparison and pressure to your plate, it’s time to refine what you’re doing.
If you’re needing more help or resources, head to jkinsta.com where our latest and greatest Instagram content lives and get your hands on our best information on the platform. That’s jkinsta.com and here’s the thing, I promise, it’s all so much more simple than we like to make it out to be. With intention and connection at the forefront of everything you do in 2021, you’re going to have a rockstar Instagram strategy in no time. I’m so proud of you!