It took me 18k followers and two years to learn using Instagram in a way that is useful to users and build deeper relationships. In this blog post I’m going to show you what I know about using videos, hashtags and finding new targeted followers that I’m interested to see photos from, and who I hope will also be interested in seeing mine.
Using Instagram and the live video feature?
I did an episode of my “Happier People Podcast,“ which now I think today is 110 days in a row. I did an episode of that and I using Instagram live by literally holding my phone out like this as I did the episode of the podcast. What you’ll notice is that there’s no evidence that I did that on my profile. The problem with using Instagram live videos is that you only get to see them while they’re live; they don’t leave any record of what they’ve done.
Now, you can upload videos as you see. Jocelyn is uploading videos here and it shows the view counts. These are uploading a video specifically as a post.
Now, there’s a live video feature, and the live video feature goes away, which if you want to do a live video that you don’t want to stay up on your profile, for example, if you’re at the beach and you want to just talk with your friends, but you don’t want to have that up on your video profile forever, then you might really enjoy using Instagram live videos. If you have a lot of partying that you do in your life and you don’t want everyone to notice it, Instagram live videos might be really good for you.
If you put up some dumb drunk video on Instagram, a bunch of people might watch it while it’s live, but then, it disappears. I haven’t found a way yet that make much sense to do live videos on Instagram because everything I do, I want to be up there indefinitely.
I don’t want to shoot a video, and then see it disappear. If you can think of a unique way to give your gift on Instagram using the disappearing video, then you might really like that functionality. Personally, I don’t see the use of putting up a video on Instagram that’s live and then having it disappear.
What kind of results did I get? 19 people came by over the 20 minutes I was live, 19 people came by including one of my friends from college that I’ve stayed in touch with. I call him every week or two, we’ve played games. He came by to watch for a little bit. Overall, I didn’t see a big value for me personally using Instagram live. However, you may have a different experience.
I hope I’ve explained the key features of it effectively here for you to start thinking about whether it’d be useful for you or not.
What about uploading videos on Instagram?
I have not uploaded any videos on Instagram yet. From Jocelyn’s profile, it looks like on videos, there’s a significantly different engagement metrics. If you look at a photo, there are different likes on the photo, whereas on the videos, it simply shows how many views there are.
I think that uploading videos on Instagram is a great opportunity to get a deeper relationship with your existing followers. So I will be trying to find ways to upload videos as well as upload pictures using Instagram going forward.
Now, Instagram seems to have a fairly short video limit, and I, as you’ve noticed, tend to make fairly long winded videos. That presents a great opportunity for me to test out different ways to make videos using Instagram and give them a try. So guess what? I’m going to give that a shot now. I will make a quick video, upload it to Instagram, and then continue with you.
My first video post using Instagram
I’m grateful today that I had the confidence to go forward and make a video on Instagram. I thought that the minimum that you could put using Instagram was a maximum of 30 seconds. I’m grateful that, as you can see in this video, that I’ve actually been able to post a video that’s longer than 30 seconds on Instagram.
Now, I don’t see any controls, at least on desktop on this video. I basically showed just the inside of my video filming setup and I showed what I’m actually doing. I showed the inside of my studio as it looks from my point of view. Therefore, an honest look just into exactly what I’m doing.
Now, the problem is when you build a bunch of followers using follow and follow back, you’re very likely to get things like this follower boosters to come post messages on your account just to try to get new followers. That’s the kind of follower you get when you do a lot of the follow and follow back method. At the same time, I’m grateful today to just try something new.
It’s scary often to try something new. What I found is that I’m often afraid of trying new things because they might work. I’ve posted two new pictures today using Instagram and I’m starting to like Instagram more than Facebook to just quickly see pictures of what people are doing. I’m starting to understand after at least a year, if not two years of being on Instagram, I’m starting to understand what people like about it. I hope I’m sharing that with you in this blog post.
What is it that people really like about using Instagram?
After two years using Instagram, I’m finally starting to get it, you might say. It’s the simplicity, the straight photos and not all the clutter. Here’s my personal Facebook profile. You’ll see I’ve got 900 friends on my Facebook profile after I’ve made a bunch of efforts to try and build up my number of friends, and then I’ve regretted it. I did the same thing on my Facebook profile. While that contributes to the clutter, that’s the tip of the iceberg. You can have lots of followers on Instagram and it doesn’t clutter everything up.
On Facebook, you’ve got all these chat windows when you have friends at least on the desktop. You’ve got then all these other text and all these information, all these photos, all over the place. All these different type of post and Instagram has this simplicity to it. Instagram has this focus on pictures and a very simple interface that I think makes it easier to just quickly scroll through and see the people I’m following, what they’re doing, to quickly show a picture of myself and to have that fit into a smaller community.
If you do a bunch of follow and follow back to build your followers, you completely defeat the purpose of using Instagram. For this reason, for a long a time, I haven’t used Instagram. My newsfeed was so cluttered up with people I was following who I didn’t know and didn’t have any genuine interest in. I found that most people aren’t interested in seeing pictures of your life if they haven’t got introduced to you in some aspect. Today, I’m grateful to start applying this across my business.
I think, therefore, that using Instagram presents an outstanding opportunity to get organic traffic if you’ve got lots of pictures to share. Whether it’s pictures of the food you’re eating, whether it’s pictures of your family and what you’re doing on your workout, whether it’s pictures of your passion, your art, your painting, your shirt you’re designing. I think Instagram is a great place to make new friends and build new followers, especially if you do it naturally. If you don’t try to accelerate the process by cheating, by doing a bunch of following and follow back.
I’m grateful to start learning today why using Instagram is worth it, and to then do things where I’d just make a post to Facebook that also goes through Instagram. If you have a picture you want to share on Facebook, why not just put it on Instagram, and then it goes over to Facebook too.
Understanding how to find people to follow is how to get found.
How do I find new people I want to follow? How do I find posts that are relevant to what I’m looking for? I think if you want to get new followers, it may help to understand exactly how you might go about following someone else. In fact, I don’t think it makes much sense to sit back and say, “I want to just get followers and yet I don’t go follow anyone else.”
This is one of the main things that I’ve messed up using Instagram. I’ve tried to get a bunch of people following me without understanding how it is people actually find new people to follow.
Here’s one way.
When I’m up on the search feature, if I want to find the people who are interested in Skillshare, I can just search for Skillshare and then I’d find the official Skillshare account here with all of these different posts.
What I can do also is search with a hashtag to find people who are talking about Skillshare. I can search for #skillshare. Now, I see people who are posting about Skillshare.
This includes most recent posts like the video I just posted. If you want to get discovered in organic results, the simple way to get discovered is just to have one of the most recent posts about something. Therefore, I’ve got my video up here in the most recent posts. You’ll see that even for something like Skillshare, there’s lots of new posts on a regular basis.
Then, if I get curious as to what people are posting in relation to Skillshare, I can click and see who has posted what..
I can see over here “My first concept character sketch for a Skillshare course I’m doing.” I understand now. Okay, this is a Skillshare student who has posted this, that’s good to know.
I can go down and continue looking through photos. You can see that this one just has a huge group of tags all on it.
Then, I might want to go look at the person who’s posting it. They’ve got 6,000 followers and I’m not sure exactly what it is they posted or are doing. This is how you can discover new people.
Here’s a top Skillshare post. What is this? This is a massive group of tag spam, there’s just tons of tags and this is working to get up into the top posts. There’s lots of tags spam essentially, and then when someone searches, as you can see for Skillshare, this is coming up in the top posts.
So, if you want to just get found by people, you can essentially tag spam and get found in specific searches like this.
Another strategy I can do aside from just looking at all the people putting all these kinds of tags on, I can look and see if there’s a particular problem I’m having.
I can look for something like “Twitter verified.” I can look for #twitterverified, and then there’s not nearly as many posts. I can look for “Instagram verified.” Now, I’ll wait and see what search result will come up and I see that there’s these verified accounts. Then, I’m not sure exactly what to do with this.
I can search for something like “how to get verified on Instagram” and see if anything comes up. Nothing comes up. So, using Instagram in a sense, if you’re used to using Twitter, is not quite as useful for finding help with technical subjects like “Twitter verification” where you can search on Twitter and see conversations about it.
However, you can’t see photos really well. If I want to look up something like “Saint Petersburg,” then I can see the hashtag on. Here, I can get tons of photos for Saint Petersburg. This will bring out both Florida and Russia.
So, if you post something about where you live, you might be able to get up there and get some organic followers, but how many times? This is one of the first times I’ve ever used the search feature. I will suggest that most of the time people are sticking to just looking at their newsfeed. If Instagram is anything like Facebook, the majority of users, something like 98% of the interaction or the time spent on Facebook is just in the newsfeed. That means one of the only ways you will be able to reach most people is to actually appear in the newsfeed.
So far, all that I know, that I’ve seen in my newsfeed, are activities related to what my followers are doing, which makes using Instagram ideal for connecting with friends and family. If you want to get organically discovered, there are some opportunities if you hashtag spam. There are some opportunities to build followers and to build an audience. At the same time, all those activities, how are they going to pay off for you?
Think all the way through to the end. You see, when I tried to build all these followers up, I didn’t consider the end. I didn’t consider, “Well, what happens when I get 18,000 followers who don’t know anything about me, who are also following thousands of other people.” Let’s say I want to actually be using Instagram as a user, I didn’t think things through to the end. So, what I’d try to do now is think things through to the end.
How am I going to be using this in a year or two? And not think of the fantasy like, “I’m now having hundreds of thousands of Instagram followers and I’m going to be famous and I’m going to be making money.”
Well, my life will probably be a lot like it is today in a year or two. What good am I going to be doing? What am I going to be contributing using Instagram? I hope thinking about this is useful for you to plan out strategies to deliver the very best on Instagram, and to do better than I did.
I share this with the hope that you can learn from my mistakes and do a better job than me using Instagram.
You may be interested to read my previous blog post about Instagram here: What Did I Learn Getting 18,000 Instagram Followers?