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Help with Instagram

Featured | Traders- Hints & Tips

Find out what we’ve discovered about Instagram – we wanted to share it with you.

We all know that Instagram is proving a huge challenge for lots of people and small businesses at the moment. It often feels like a war with the algorithm. You might be looking for help with Instagram via blogs like this, webinars and tutorials. In this article we look at why people do well – and we get a bit controversial!

The annoying thing is, when you work hard all day to make your products and photograph them, only to find they bomb in an Instagram post, it is so freakin’ annoying! We feel your pain!

Instagram have introduced a way to hide ‘likes’ so that you can’t see how many ‘likes’ are on a post – sometimes this is useful if you find yourself constantly worrying about a post’s performance.

Here at Pedddle we have a private Members-only Instagram account, where we’ve set up ‘hubs’ – group chats for our members. We use DMs (Direct Messages) to work with our stallholder community and support one another, especially when our posts bomb and times are tough. It’s so important to stick together on this and we all need to share ideas and support our fellow makers accounts – and you’ll receive support in return. Sounds like something you might be interested in? – click to see what else our Members get.

We wanted to take a look at why some accounts perform so well, taking inspiration from small businesses that do a great job. We don’t want to copy, but taking inspiration from others is always useful. Below we’ve listed some accounts both big and small, that are great at interacting with their audience and customers.

Please note: All comments made are our own opinions about these accounts and Instagram grids only, as of November 2021. They are all positive, but it is subjective and there are so many great accounts to choose from. The trick is to find accounts that inspire you and are akin to your business, and see what works well for them.

Engage & Interact

We see the terms ‘engagement’ and ‘interaction’ popping up a lot. Instagram wants you to up your engagement game – it’s called ‘social media’ for a reason, they want you to be social!

These accounts do well at getting responses from people, as they ask questions, respond to comments well, and interact with everyone:
Tink & Reu
The Happy Chappo

They are very different accounts but do an amazing job. Question is, do you know your audience and do you give them what they want?

Interaction is key – like and comment on others’ posts, watch their stories, perhaps give them a follow, and they’ll do the same for you.

Mix up your content

Don’t feel you constantly have to post about your work and products. This can be exhausting. Your audience want to see what your entire business is about, and that means getting to know the maker behind the products too.

By all means mix up your content type too; a mixture of one image, carousels, video content – Instagram gives us endless options. But it’s also about the type of content you post too, and that means not just your product offering.

Here are some accounts that mix up what they post. They post great images, but it’s not always product-based. However, they are still great images and make their grids look fantastic and cohesive. they always use high quality pictures that have a common colour theme or style.

Darwin & Gray – Stacey posts mostly about her work but occasionally she uses other pictures that are beautiful and perhaps thought provoking, or she uses a quote.

Indie Roller – Leona is a creative business leader. She has a definite theme on her grid – using lots of colour and ‘keeping it real’ in a positive way. She doesn’t always shout about what she does, but she lets people into snippets of her life too – the bits she is happy for others to see. This is important to note, as she lets people in in a controlled manner. It’s ok to share your bad days, but also be wary of over sharing – remember it’s still a professional business account. We don’t need to see images of your last meal or get deep into your family history on your Instagram grid – save that for a personal account if you want to post it. Remember that quality content is important on this image-based platform.

Lauren Aston Designs – Laura’s account is mostly about herself creating fun images and this enables people to connect with her brand on a deeper level.

Let people get to know ‘you’, whether that’s your face or your humour, and be true to it. Stick to it, as this is what forms your ‘brand’ – and that is what your audience will connect with. People want to find their tribe, and follow accounts they identify with.

Controversial opinions… is authenticity key?

We’re going to be slightly controversial here – ‘authenticity’ is NOT the single most important thing! It’s a BIG thing, for sure, but it’s not the only factor in your business.

Hopefully, when you post, you are being authentic to yourself and saying things that are true to the person you are. However, the things that your audience keep coming back for are QUALITY and CONSISTENCY. There – we said it.

People come back time and time again to see the person they love to follow. The fun, the humour, behind-the-scenes, the images, the designs. What actually makes people continue to follow your account is consistency.

Think about it. There are some people you follow – but why? Are you asking yourself how authentic they are being? Do you care?

No! It does help you to connect to them of course, but you go back to see these people as you know what you will find or look forward to what they will do next. You identify with their business ethos – however truly authentic that is. Don’t forget, you don’t often know many of the people that you follow on Instagram personally – you’re following a version of the consistency and branding that they are conveying.

Whatever your reasons for following a certain business, as soon as they start to sway from that thing or start producing bad quality content or change somehow and lose their consistency, it challenges your strength of connection with that business. Even if they are being ‘authentic’ at the time.

It happens to the best of us at some point – we can venture off our well-trodden path to try a new thing, a new style or product, to see if it is something ‘our audience’ are into – but watch carefully when you do this, as consistency is key. Your followers need to know it is you, and has your stamp on it.

Getting serious with analytics

How often do you check your Insights on Instagram? Do you know the average age of your audience? Do you know what area most of your audience is from? Check out the Insights tab and you might be surprised!

You can use Insights to your advantage – take a look at which posts performed best, got most likes and comments, and see which day of the week and what times are working best for you, and make sure you’re posting content at that time / day. You could even look at which posts performed best and re-create them, or tweak them slightly so that they don’t seem like re-cycled content. 9 times out of 10, images of people work best – people love seeing pictures of people, and they want to see the face behind the business!

Take a look for yourself – click the menu bar at the top right of the Instagram app, click ‘Insights’ and explore.

Final thoughts…

All of what we’ve mentioned above applies to your Instagram grid only – Stories are a whole different ball game! Never mind Reels, IGTV and so on…

Looking for more Instagram tips? Click here to check if you’re Instagram ready, or click here for some creative hashtag ideas.