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2021 Instagram takeaways for business owners…
I asked my IG audience what Instagram’s enneagram would be if it had one.
My favorite answer was that it’s not on the chart. It has an identity crisis. I’ve never heard something so accurate.
So, with IG and it’s ever changing, now ALGORITHM(S) – Yes, PLURAL – what are creators and brands to do?
I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I do have a few takeaways after observing and taking active part in some of my data collection in the first six months of 2021.
That is what I plan to share with you today. Take it for what it’s worth. And remember that no matter what, consistency is the actual key. I’ve been on that god forsaken app for seven years, okay? Those who have “succeeded” either in audience size, interaction, income or all of the above, have been the humans who have done the damn thing day in and day out for YEARS. They’ve rolled with the punches or stuck to their guns and said “I do this one thing really well, and that’s what I’ll be known for, period.”
So, please don’t mistake this episode for a quick fix or some 3 steps to 3x your following in 30 days. No, fuck off with that. Gag me, what a joke. These are practical ways to play the game while like, keeping a hold of your dignity and maybe, just maybe your sanity. But I’m not making any promises.
Alright, let’s get into it, shall we?
I am sure you know by now that you can now make money directly on the app – I keep getting pressured via IG badges to sign up to get paid while going live or something else). I just have to give IG my social security number, and bank information. It’s a no for me.
Listen, that’s the point of this suggestion – remember why you’re on the app. Are you on IG to get paid by IG? Because that’s a flimsy business plan if you are.
My guess is that you’re there to build an engaged audience who you actually enjoy; and to eventually drive those audience members to your business products or services. Yes? Let’s keep our eyes on the prize. Not be distracted by the shiny objects.
Be choosey – I’ve said this what feels like 500 times on this podcast. But yes, I encourage you to always try out the new features. Because you truly can’t say if something is for you or not until you give it a go. I thought I’d hate reels and I find them so enjoyable to create now. I’ve also transitioned from doing mini trainings in my stories to uploading them via IGTV. Technically I could do both of those repurpose. My point is, never count anything out. You’ve got nearly endless tools and options with IG. Find 1-2 things you can do well. Do them YOUR WAY, and get good at them. Be choosy.
I have been encouraging business clients and FitsPRO’s to push into having fun on IG and creating what they want to simply because they want to. It can be very easy to let the algorithms and lack of consistency in the effort : result ratio get you down. To suck all the fun out of creating things.
And I truly believe that if you’re trying to build a brand using instagram, you’ve GOT to find a way to enjoy it. Why would you expect anything different than someone who hates weight lifting to repeatedly force themselves to use weight lift to get fit rather than exploring other options that they might actually enjoy? Don’t be that person, but in terms of instagram.
We can’t hate our way to success on that app. Okay?
So if hate can’t be the driving force, are you open to having some fun? Or at least taking a step back and committing to keeping it simple?
That’s my next point.
With a new feature dropping every other week, it might do you well to just NOT do it all.
Lower the threshold for content creation. Not every post needs to be banger textbook. It’s too heavy. To create, and for your audience to consume. A simple photo of you or a twitter graphic and a caption is still valuable. Sometimes more valuable than your big ol’ swipe post.
It’s not that you CAN’T do swipe posts. I actually encourage them. But not all swipe posts are made equal. Some of the best performing posts for myself and my biz clients have been a swipe graphic with large font. 10 affirmations, 10 lessons, 10 ways to do core without crunches. Simple, yet affective and valuable. Another thing I started doing when I ran out content ideas and was short on time is to take a screenshot of a Q&A question from my stories and answer it in post form. Work smarter, not harder. People have LOVED THAT. And I actually really enjoy creating them. It gives my audience questions a place to live forever vs only 24 hours.
Entertain lowering the threshold, okay? Think short form and simple. Make a concept go further. Split it up. These are just ideas to decrease the load that you feel when you sit down to create content.
I knew, for years that the stats from IG showed that users wildly favor stories to posts or IGTV. But DEAR LORD it has been confirmed.
I polled my audience a while back – which is completely subjective – but asked them where they spend the most time on IG.
Not on MY IG, but just generally on the app.
The options were stories, feed, reels or IGTV.
Stories was 78%????
I then had DM’s rushing in through that week from people screen-shotting results of their own audiences. Same, stories 75-87%.
Then feed, then reels then IGTV.
Now, if someone follows you, and everything you post (feed, reels and IGTV) is posted to your feed, we can basically consolidate those. Knowing that 1% or less are actively going to IGTV.
I expected reels to be higher. So that’s just a note. But it seems that most of my audience is going to reels in order to research and save audio or get ideas for their own posts.
Moral of the story (PUN INTENDED) is to prioritize stories of you aren’t already because it is WIDELY where the masses are. Which makes sense. Stories are the most “real” place IG has to offer outside of going live. We can respond and connect through stories.
I know. I know. But that’s why I also encouraged you to lower the threshold for your posts. Simple, relatable, valuable, consistent.
Especially if you want to GROW, or MAKE MONEY in your business from IG referrals, I encourage daily posting or working to build up to that.
Growth is not likely without daily posting and engagement. If you’re like “Annie, that’s so much.” I get it. But I’m going to push back a bit here.
I shall ask you to look at how much time you spend consuming on the app or other social media vs creating.
I think there is a trend here. This is not backed by science. But as we create more, and spend more time in the output + interacting phase, we tend to consume less.
Yes? No? Idk. I mean I know it’s true for me, but I’m certainly not everyone. Nonetheless, I think it’s a fair question to ask if you want to grow but don’t want to post every day. Good ol’ time management.
Remember that there are ALWAYS new people in your audience. I lose and gain 800-1000 followers every month.
So you might see 32,000 but 1000 of those people are in fact new.
If you don’t currently look at your insights, maybe take a peek. Which I know, can be scary to look at. But if you can remove yourself from those numbers and simply take the data as objective information, it might be helpful!
Show up for your oldies and your newbs. Be excited people, ANYONE has decided to punch the follow button. And serve them well. Learn about them, give a shit.
You’ll see that all of these tips require time and trial on your part. This is not an easy game. No road to success is easy. Period.
If you’re building a personal brand or business, remember that your life is not boring. People connect to people. Your morning cup of coffee is relatable. When your significant other does or says something funny or annoying, it’s relatable. I think too often, and this is speculation, people hear “show more of your life” and think that means your kids, and your deepest troubles or secrets. They go the heavy route. While yes, those things can be immensely powerful as well. Relatability and sharing more of YOU does not need to be so grim.
In FitsPRO Foundations, my online business course, we create what I call your “social media code of conduct.” This allows you to create some clear boundaries about what you do and don’t share on your business social. Because it’s your choice. No one else’s. This can be helpful in making your decisions about what you share and what you don’t – namely in regards to IG stories. I see this as the most “life-y” or raw area of the gram.
Being aware is required for that, and it can be exhausting to constantly be making these decisions. I get it. That’s where the code of conduct comes in. OR simply having your go to things you share – cup of coffee, daily walk, making your bed, whatever you do on a daily basis that doesn’t take brain space.
I make this point because now more than ever people are overstimulated and constantly bombarded with information. It truly is an overload. I was just talking to a business client about IG circa 2014 when all you could post was a single pic, with a caption. And how enjoyable that was. Simplicity sure does have it’s place. But gone are those days! So we must learn how we as an individual add to the ol’ gram.
If you’re overwhelmed as a consumer, your audience probably is too. So, think about how you can meet them there, with more simplicity, repetition and daily life.
Hope to all things holy that at least one thing in this episode was helpful for you.
If you find value here, on The FitsPRO Podcast, then pretty please head over to iTunes, subscribe, rate and review the show. It means the world to me when you spread my message to more humans.
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I'm an adventurous introvert from Vancouver, Washington who lives on sleep + "me time." I'm a lover of lifting weights, dinosaurs, real talk and traveling with my husband. I am here to help you move better, lift more, bust the myths of the fitness industry, and inspire you to love the process.
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