In my last post I shared with you guys WHAT the mysterious Instagram "Algorithm" is. In short:
The Algorithm gathers information behind the scenes as you use Instagram, keeping track of what you like, and boosting posts that are the most likely to generate engagement. Basically, it's constantly curating your feed so you see the posts you are most likely to "like", comment on, or click through to a person's profile- all based on your past behavior.
The algorithm only has one purpose: to KEEP PEOPLE ON THE APP LONGER.
What you may not realize as you're scrolling through your beautiful, customized feed is that you are only seeing 30% of posts from the people you follow. And whose fault is that? Yup. the algorithm. That's because Instagram is putting ONLY the BEST 30% of content in front of you at any given time. Which means if you want your posts to be seen, you have to work with the algorithm as best you can to make sure your posts are in that top 30%.
So basically, when it comes to the alrogithm, we can use all the help we can get!
Here's a few stats on why Instagram stories really DO matter and how you can use them to boost your engagement, hack the algorithm, and put yourself in that top 30%...
Hey, Tea Timers!
It’s October 1st, which (witch?!), in my book means it's officially Halloween Season! So, in the spirit of all things spooky, I thought I'd tackle a subject that can feel SUPER SCARY...
THE ALLLLGORITHM!!!!! OOOOOOooooooo!!!!!
I feel like the word “algorithm” is whispered in the small business world like “Voldemort” is whispered in the Harry Potter series…like it’s this mysterious, evil force that we know exists but feel like we can’t define because it’s too scary to think about it being real.
Prepare to be de-mystified and learn small, manageable ways that you can USE Instagram’s algorithm so that more people see and engage with your content…
So, you've taken the plunge and started your small business! You feel good about your web and social media presence. You feel good about your inventory/product/service. You want to start booking clients...and then that moment inevitably comes SOMEWHERE along the line where you think any one of the following thoughts:
- I'm new at this... I feel guilty for charging money.
- Other people know more than about this than I do.
- Who am I to charge for this service?
- Why should anyone listen to me?
- This was a stupid idea.
- I HATE having to chase down clients to pay me!
- I feel guilty charging my friends.
- I feel guilty charging my family.
- I hate money.
Any of those sound familiar? Read on...
Mary Poppins was right, y'all...it's way easier to get a person to invest in something they need ("medicine"- AKA your product or service), by first giving them something they want ("sugar", baby).
Picture this: It's lunchtime at work and like every other office-bound-human taking a break, you're scrollin' through the 'gram. You come across a picture that catches your eye, so you click on the profile. You dig the photos and you start looking through their feed, but as you do, you notice that EVERY CAPTION IS TRYING TO SELL YOU SOMETHING.
You promptly exit out of that feed- no like or follow for them, and especially no website click!
Question: "But, Kelsey!" you say, "I'm a BUSINESS. How do I do business on Instagram if I'm not SELLING things in my posts?!"
So stop trying to make *everyone* happy.
At my previous "day job" I worked for an awesome Women's Lifestyle site, and a big part of our job was posting videos to YouTube. While I was there, we were given the opportunity to become YouTube Certified (it's a real thing) and I took online classes, studied like a college kid, took a long-ass test, and became YouTube Certified in Audience Growth.
To be honest, the YT "Modules" were boring AF and I kinda wanted to tear my eyelashes out one by one. But lucky for YOU guys, I kept all my educational materials and distilled the most helpful information from the course into easy-to-digest nuggets of wisdom.
My main takeaway was that all the Audience Growth classes boiled down to the same basic principle:
CREATE *AUTHENTIC* COMMUNITY. Before you roll your eyes and throw up a little bit (I know I did), consider the following:
Question: Who do you actually WANT to connect with your "brand"?
Short Answer: People you'd want to hang out with anyway.
...You can only be who you are.
A couple weeks ago I was asked a question that sounds like the answer should be super complicated, but in reality is quite simple:
Question: "I'm overwhelmed...Where do I even *start* when creating my 'brand'?!"
Short Answer: "Post about stuff you like anyway."
Long(er) answer: One of the most important elements to creating a successful online presence (and one of the biggest challenges for literally everyone) is to STAY CONSISTENT. And the easiest way to stay consistent is to create content that vibes with *who we are in the first place*.
Being exactly who you are means your content is going to be one, super important word: SUSTAINABLE
Think about it this way... if you're a vegan and you're cooking vegan meals every night, how likely are you to start a business that posts about hamburgers? Not very. Because it would take a LOT of research and work for you to constantly try to come up with new stuff to say about hamburgers. Because you don't eat hamburgers. Because you're a vegan. It would, however, be very easy for you to talk about different salad recipes. And plant-based proteins. And dairy substitutes. Because you're a vegan. Get it?
It sounds cheesy (sorry, vegans), but it's true. You have to figure out who you are, before you can attract the *right* people/clients/customers to your site. And then you have to KEEP COMMUNICATING who you are in a clear, sustainable, effective way. If that sounds daunting, don't worry! It did to me too!...
Which is EXACTLY why I came up with TEA TIME:
To give you the shortcuts I wish I'd had when figuring out how to fit all the different sides of me (Actress! Writer! Feminine Feminist!) into one, consistent package while still staying true to myself.
So where do you start when you're trying to hone in on who you are? Well, there are a lot of questions you can ask that'll help you figure it out. Kinda like those Buzzfeed quizzes that tell you which 90's movie character you are. (Don't lie, you know you've played more than one. And if you're curious, I'm Winifred Sanderson from 'Hocus Pocus'.)
Subscribe to this blog and stay tuned for what some of those questions are!
Or, of course, you can hire me to help you figure it out: HERE.
Tea Time w/ Kelsey Formost
These bite-sized tips are very helpful Kelsey, thank you. Your way of not making me feel stupid and sending them with love makes all the difference. Thank you - keep them coming!