Is your engagement down? Are you annoyed with the algorithm?
You’re not the only one.
Even with the best strategies, I don’t think any of us are completely immune to the fact that social media apps like Instagram are becoming more and more of a “Pay to Play” space, which makes organic engagement a little tougher.
However, there ARE ways to keep your engagement alive. You just need to put a little system in place for every post (I’m a huge fan of systems, btw).
I’m often asked how I’ve managed to keep my engagement considerably strong even with the changing algorithms, and as a business account.
I’d love to give you a million tips but I’ve always found that I’m more likely to implement and see results if I have one, maybe two, clear steps to take. Even if you do one engagement strategy consistently until you master it – until it becomes second nature – it can be massively helpful.
So, how do you boost your engagement on that post you spent an hour getting just right?
It’s important to know when the majority of your following is online, and when your best engagement times are. Regardless of how big your following is, your post is going to have much more success if you’re publishing it to as many active users as possible.
If you have a Creator or Business account on Instagram, you should be able to see this in your analytics within the app.
If you have not converted your account from a personal account to a Creator or Business on account, you can use other tools like Tailwind, to see these insights.
Once you determine the best time to post, you’ll want to make sure you take full advantage of the engagement window after you hit Publish.
How a post performs in the 20-60 minutes after it is published is crucial to its success (such as whether or not your content be shown to more and more of your following, and possibly even land a spot on the explore page).
The reason this window is crucial because within this time frame, the Instagram algorithm essentially decides if a post is “good” or “bad” based on its initial performance.
The more engagement – likes, comments, saves, and story reshares – a post has, the more it will be distributed. In other words, more of your audience will see it and it has a better chance of showing on your ideal client/potential followers explore page.
So, you’ll want to do these steps for at least 20-30 minutes after posting, which means you probably want to be very strategic about the time you post so that it doesn’t interrupt dinner with your family or a coffee date with a friend.
In other words, don’t just sit there staring at your phone for 20-30 minutes straight if you’re not prepared for it. Set aside that time ahead of time, and if you can’t do it everyday (because you know, you have a life), then only plan to post 3-4 times a week so that you can give the posts you do make a shot at better success instead of posting a ton without actually stewarding that content.
Quality over sub-par quantity will provide more value to your audience anyway.
To maximize your engagement, spend the next 30ish minutes doing the following (rotate through the steps) after you publish a post on your feed.
4. Share your post to your story and try to include a juicy headline or promise that creates curiosity. Remember, people are tapping through their stories quickly. You want to hook them and be super clear about what they’re going to get or answer they’re going to find by reading your post. Here’s an example of one of the many times I’ve done this:
For reference, this video amassed over 77,000 views – more than any IGTV video I’d posted before! It was not a professionally produced video…literally just an iPhone selfie video… but I believe it performed well because I followed these steps and also gave it a super CLEAR title that related to a large part of my audience, as many of them are newlyweds, or in the engagement (or soon to be engaged) season.
5. After sharing in your story, post 3-5 story slides with selfie videos summarizing or diving deeper into a concept you shared in your most recent post. Then, pull a quote from that post and share it as a story slide. Again, people are tapping through stories and scrolling quickly. Lots of people are trying to get them to read their posts or swipe up to read their blog or buy their widget. Also, people remember what’s repeated. So, you need to grab their attention by being IN FRONT of them and REPEATING yourself in a way that doesn’t feel repetitive. In other words, you need to find creative ways to essentially tell them the same thing over a few story slides. So, summarizing or diving deeper with a few slides of selfie videos, as well as a strong quote from the post, can be so powerful in driving people to go check it out!
Here’s an example of how I did both steps 4 and 5 on:
Juicy / Intriguing Heading + Story Series Sharing More Context on the Post I Made
Snuck in a poll for increased engagement 😉
Lastly, after that video series, I added a slide with a quote from the post. This put the same content in front of a follower three times in a row but in three different ways. The more they see it presented in a dynamic way, the more likely it is that they’ll go check it out. Plus, everyone takes action for different reasons. Some may have really resonated with something I shared in the video series, while others may have simply been curious by the big red headline on the first story slide that said, “Sorry not sorry. Needed to be said,” and still others may have really loved the quote shared here and finally been convinced they were missing out if they didn’t check out this post!
Give these steps a try the next time you publish a post and let me know how it goes in the comments below!
So you just decided to start your own creative business. You’re excited to get your work out into the world in a more “professional” way than the occasional photos on your social media feed.
You even have your website up and running and you’re ready to get some clients.
And you miiiiight be wondering if you should create a separate Instagram account for your brand spankin’ new (or new and improved) business.
First things first: It’s important to understand that creating a brand and creating a separate instagram page are not always the same thing. A separate brand can exist beneath you as a personal brand, especially if you’re just getting it started.
I actually rarely advise creatives to start a separate instagram page unless what they’re building meets certain criteria. Otherwise, they risk dividing their following instead of serving them all in one cohesive space, and are just giving themselves more work by having more pages to manage.
Without a marketing team or content manager in place, it can be TOUGH to run multiple Instagram pages while also trying to get a business off the ground and serve clients well.
Again, it’s not to say you shouldn’t have a separate Instagram page if the brand you’re building can stand on its own two feet, but after learning through a lot of trial and error in my own journey, I generally advise creatives to develop their personal brand and authority as an expertise in their space (whether that’s as a blogger, photographer, videographer, designer, coach, shop owner, or something else).
I actually did this kind of backwards, meaning I built up an Etsy shop and blog under a “pen name,” SoulScripts, and that’s what I became known for at first because the brand had a very personal voice.
I had only one account for a few years, and I think that’s actually what allowed it to grow. It was focused. People knew what they came to that account for: pretty hand-lettering paired with encouraging, faith-based advice in the captions for young women.
And at the time, it wasn’t as trendy as it is now so it was niche and unique, and that allowed it to grow.
However, I ran into tension with it as time went on and I grew as a writer (and had opportunities to write books) because when I realized it would be important to have a personal brand as an aspiring author and speaker, some people didn’t even know my name. They new SoulScripts and knew me as SoulScripts.
Thankfully, I had shared my face enough within the SoulScripts brand that most knew it was a person behind the brand, and sometimes I’d even get recognized out and about.
Except, I’d get asked, “Hey! Are you SoulScripts?”
After awhile, it started to get a little old. I was like, “Yes, technically, but I mean, well, no, I’m Jordan.”
And that’s when I began to think… Wait a second. It might be time to make a change here. My books aren’t going to have SoulScripts on the cover as the author. They’re going to have my name on the cover as the author.
So, I eventually chose to create another instagram account for my name so I could have a personal brand. I directed people from the SoulScripts page to my personal page if they wanted to follow more of my journey.
It grew quickly but eventually, it began to feel a little repetitive. I was basically micro-blogging and selling sweatshirts on the soulscripts account, and also micro-blogging and sharing my photography work (oh yeah, I had a photography business along the way for a few years, too LOL) on my personal account.
In other words, it was the same person and voice behind both accounts.
So, I made ANOTHER switch and turned the original account (which was also the biggest) that had been me and my voice all along (@soulscripts) and changed the handle to my name @jordanleedooley so I could use that for BOTH writing and personal posts.
I then turned the personal page I had made into a photography page with the handle @simplyjordanlee (my business name was Simply Jordan Lee Photography — don’t ask about the simply… my brother still teases me for that and often calls me “Simply Jordan Lee” as a joke. #brothers
Anyway… then I made a smaller account for @soulscripts and I hired a team member to run it.
That account was dedicated to solely promoting sweatshirts and new merch in our shop, as well as new devotionals or studies that we released. Basically, SoulScripts eventually became more of a stand alone brand rather than solely depending on me, and that worked well.
A couple years later, I phased out of photography and then launched a podcast, and that photography page became a page for my podcast.
For reference, had I not had that account sitting there with 70,000 followers at the time, I likely would not have had a separate page for my podcast.
Do you see what I mean when I say I’ve had a lot of trial and error with this?
And I’ve learned a thing or two along the way.
The benefit? I now have multiple accounts with large followings.
The challenge? We have a lot to manage and I’ve had to hire people to help. And it’s a lot of avatars to try and serve.
So, all this to say, there’s no perfect way or right or wrong way to do this. But I had a heck of a time figuring it out so I’m here to be a little bit of a guiding light, and help you understand what I learned when I had no idea what I was doing when it came to Instagram, so that you can make the best decision for yourself and your awesome brand!
And sometimes it really depends on the direction you desire to take your brand – and I think that’s something to really think and pray about ahead of time (because I honestly just kind of flew by the seat of my pants the first couple years, which is pretty normal, but then I found myself with a bit of a conundrum because I lacked a little clarity on what to focus on and what I really wanted to be doing).
So, if you’re still not sure what to do, I’ve included a few questions to help guide your decision.
Is the voice of the brand your voice (such as the case with the SoulScripts example I shared with you) or is it a voice other than your own? In other words, your brand NEEDS to have a voice to succeed. Is it funny? Deep and personal? Like talking to your best friend? Like talking to a clinician? Teachery? Dry and witty? A combination of a few of these? Is it a made up personality (such as @justaconstructionguy)? Or a group / collective voice with many voices contributing (such as @proverbs31ministries)?
If the voice of the brand is yours, I’d consider keeping everything under one account. A great example of this is my friend Lindsey Roman. She’s a photographer, and the voice of the photography business is her voice.
Contrary to popular belief, you can blend personal and professional, and I’ve actually found it to be more effective when you do because people connect with people before they connect with brands! Let people — yes, even potential clients — feel like your friend!
2. Do you provide the product or service or is it a bigger team?
In other words, is it YOUR hand-lettering, YOUR photography work, or YOUR design work? Do you have a team of associates creating for you or are you the sole creator?
3. What is the Name of business?
If it’s Katy Lee Photography, and you are Katy Lee, then you probably don’t need a separate page for it. It’s you. It’s your name, your brand, etc. You are the voice and service provider and name of the business. Even if you build a team under you, at the end of the day, it’s your craft and unique style. As I mentioned in the first guideline question, my friend Lindsey Roman is a great example of this. She’s a photographer, and the name of her photography business is named after her so she uses one page to share her own personal photos AND to share client work. And it’s done so beautifully! As a creative, you’re usually building a personal brand around a service or work of art, and so it’ll probably be easier for you to manage (and possibly better for your business) not to divide up your audience (and your energy) into two different pages.
If you answered “me” to two out of three of these questions, then I’d say a safe bet is to keep it all on one page for now.
If you begin to feel like you’re trying to serve too many customer avatars on one page, then you can always add another. But from someone who did it backwards and kind of learned the hard way (even though it all worked out in the end), my vote is that the simpler you can keep it in the beginning, the better!
If you need even more help with how to combine these, or what the heck to even say on your page, check out the 8 content types any personal brand or small business NEEDS to have on their feed to provide mega value, explode their engagement, annnnd effectively combine a personal + professional page into one. 🙂
Instagram has been a huge component in how I’ve built my brand over the years, and the number one tool that helped me launch a massive bestselling book (even more so than my email list of 200,000 subscribers!).
There are a lot of reasons for this but I’ll save that for another post.
In this article, I want to dive into one of the topics you’ve been asking me in DMs, comments, and more.
It’s a regular occurrence for me to receive messages from my social media followers and friends regarding how I get perfect line breaks in my Instagram captions.
I think people still think Instagram is all about pretty pictures but I can say I have built my dream career and was able to get picked up by the biggest publisher in the world to write a BOOK because I focused just as much, if not more, on creating quality, high-converting captions as I have on photos on Instagram all these years.
Not because I had the best business model.
Not because I sold sweatshirts.
But because I built a sold out community by creating killer content that converts random browsers into loyal followers.
More than that, it’s never a picture that has given me viral growth. It’s the CONTENT below the post.
Here’s an example of one of my viral posts. Not a fancy picture. It was taken with an iPhone on my front porch very spontaneously. But readers connected with the content, shared the content, and I gained thousands of followers as a result.
People have short attention spans. And while a great image is great for capturing their attention, I’ve found both the level of value presented in the caption AS WELL AS the appearance of the caption is equally as important.
Is it easy to read? Presented in digestible, bite-size pieces? Is each piece making them want to read on? Or is it a jumbled mess or one big massive paragraph with no space for the eyes to have a break?
It’s been proven time and time again that people are more likely to read an article in it’s entirety if the paragraphs are broken up into smaller bite size chunks with spacing in between each one.
Why should it be any different with instagram captions?
So, my theory is this: You’ve got to stop their scroll with your photo. You’ve got to suck them in and convert them into raving fans with your captions.
Need a hand creating those bingeworthy captions that suck people in and compel them to share? Download my free guide that breaks down the 8 types of content you NEED on your feed to explode your engagement and grow your fanbase right here.
Now, I’m going to share the EASIEST hack for creating beautiful captions that I’ve found with you because I spent years — YEARS, PEOPLE — trying to find the best way to do this.
Sure, I found dozens of articles full of all sorts of gimmicky ideas that kiiiind of worked… but only sometimes.
You’re probably familiar with some of these tips…
“Write the caption in the notes section in your phone and then copy it into the instagram caption”
“Use this code that creates spaces and paste it in between the lines of text”
If you’re like me, you’re probably familiar with this advice and you’ve probably tried these “hacks,” too.
You’ve probably tried them only to post your caption expecting it to look awesome but then notice some of the lines got messed up because you forgot to put a period at the end of a sentence and now the whole thing looks like a jumbled mess… and it’s published… and people are seeing it. *facepalm*
I honestly don’t know why Instagram hasn’t figured out how to build this into their app yet. I mean, there’s a story filter that makes your face look like a dog but we can’t make clean line breaks in captions?
That logically just doesn’t add up.
ANYWAY, I want to show you a SUPER easy, breezy way to get those line breaks without having to copy and paste weird codes into your captions, or just cross your fingers and hope it all looks good when you hit publish.
I’ve found a fool-proof solution that works every single time.
Know how I found it? Scouring the internet for a solution and digging to what felt like the ends of the earth with a spoon.
But I finally found it. And now I use it every single time I post. I’ve even shared it with influencer friends experiencing the same frustration. This was just one of their reactions:
Okay, okay, so, here’s what I do:
That’s it! It’s super easy with a flawless result every time. You don’t have to worry about punctuation or emojis messing up the spaces.
It creates consistent and perfect line breaks every single time you publish a post.
Give it a try and let me know what you think in the comments below!
Can’t wait to see you rock your IG!