I still remember the first day I decided that I was going to build an Instagram page for my business. I was sitting in my favorite comfy chair, sipping coffee and thought “this will be so great! I’ll create the page, link to my contact information, post good content and then I’ll enjoy a steady stream of new clients”. Yeah...so that didn’t happen.
It was more like build the page, bust my ass and stress finding content week after week, hashtag like crazy and then bang my head against the wall when week after week I hovered around 180 followers who really didn’t even engage in my posts.
Maybe your story is similar to mine, or maybe you’ve built a decent following but notice that the progress stalled out at some point. You’ve got a few hundred, or even a few thousand people who chose to follow your Instagram page and yet it’s doing nothing to actually grow your business.
You aren’t alone and, with just a little bit of digging, we can uncover what’s holding your Instagram account back and get you back up and running in no time.
Grab your cell phone, a piece of scratch paper and a pen and follow me through this 5 step Instagram Account Check-Up:
1. Are you giving the people what they want?
When is the last time you really took a look at what your followers are telling you? If you take a look you’ll notice that some of your posts get 30%-70% more engagement than others. Take a look back through your last 10 posts and make note of which got the most likes and comments. Because of Instagram’s algorithm, it’s crucial that you don’t post just to post. Everything has to be something that your audience truly enjoys or you will make it out in front of your clients less and less with each and every post you make.
Note: I fully realize that there are apps and stat trackers that do this for you, but you'll learn WAY more by actually looking at your content, comments and likes and making notes about what is truly working. Most of those tools show your top posts but don't show you your worst performing posts. You need to know what ISN'T working just as badly as you need to know what is.
Come on, humor me and try it my way.
2. Do you know your growth?
Let me ask you this...how many followers have you picked up in the last week? How about the last month? How about the last six months? If your Instagram account isn’t growing by about 3% a month, it’s a good indicator that you’re doing something wrong.
If you have a Business Instagram account you can look at the Insights directly through the app which will show you how many new followers you have this week. I personally choose not to flag my account as being a "Business" account through IG so if you're like me, don't fret.
For today, I want you to just make note of how many followers you have currently on that piece of paper and how many you'd need to gain in the next 30 days to grow your account by just 3%. Make that your new follower goal and I want you to put in effort to make that happen.
3. Is each and every post you make branded?
I love it when I’m scrolling my feed and I can tell in an instant whose photo I’m looking at without seeing their name or a watermark.
You guys have noticed this too I’m sure. You know when you see a photo and you instantly say “oh that’s something Britt posted”? That’s branding and that’s what every successful stylist has going for them. If your posts don’t have a consistent style or vibe, your business feels inconsistent and amateur.
Take a good hard look at your Instagram account right now. Real talk: is it branded or just a random mix of hair pictures?
4. Does your 9 square tell a consistent story?
Instagram is two pieces: it’s a snapshot and a full story. The single snapshot is the photo somebody sees as they scroll their feed in the morning. The full story starts with the 9 photos that instantly pop up in a grid when somebody first looks at your profile.
Our hope is always that somebody sees our post, decides they want to learn more, heads over to our full profile, falls madly in love with us and then they become a client for life.
Well, if your single post is amazing, but your overall Instagram profile is a hot mess, nobody is going to fall in love. When somebody looks at the top 9 pictures that show up right when they see your profile, all 9 have to look consistent, gorgeous and part of a complete story. If they look disconnected, or messy that prospective new client isn’t ever going to make it into your chair.
5. Analyze the purpose of your hashtags
Remember that hashtags are essentially search terms so you’ve got to know what you’re hashtagging for.
When you use #modernsalon or let’s say #redken, you’re tagging in the hopes that other beauty professionals will notice you. Those hashtags aren’t doing anything to build your clientele. When you use #balayage or #redhair, sure, those are common terms that the everyday client might be looking for, but what are the chances that the perfect person in your small town searches #balayage and happens to see your picture? Slim to none. Those hashtags are often used for inspiration, not to find a service provider
(*note: in larger markets those hashtags can be much more effective). Research hashtags that are popular locally and think about how you would find a stylist in your area using Instagram.
6. Know your patterns and monitor your consistency
Try this. Make a list of every date you made an Instagram post in the last month.
Did you post the same number of times each week?
Was it always during the week or sometimes on the weekends?
Did your posts perform better on Mondays than they did on Saturdays?
It’s important to know what works and to stay consistent with it. Some people find their followers want to see a daily post. For some, 3 days a week is a sweet spot and that works fine. I’ll promise you that no stylist is finding success posting “whenever they’ve got good content”. Every successful stylist I know has a plan and sticks to it.
Take 20 minutes today and take a look at your Instagram. Comment below with what you find out and let's talk about it.
Happy Instagramming love! XOXO