Hello. So, by now you’re read my last post about Whale Tales and are anxiously awaiting the story about how we took over Instagram. So that was probably a *slight* exaggeration but our IG following is pretty impressive. At time of posting this we have 17,873 followers which is crazy sauce! It totally blows my mind that that many people like stuff that I create. It’s so weird.
I had a conversation once with someone who referred to an artist as a “Social Media Influencer” because she had 14,000 followers. I was floored by that. Did that mean Whale Tales is a Social Media Influencer? That’s so weird! And cool! And random! And what does it mean? Do we get special powers? Do we have special responsibilities?
The truth is I don’t think that it does unless we want it to (aka start promoting or selling stuff on our account), which is not the purpose of Whale Tales. Our purpose is to share cetacean stories, to educate our followers about cetaceans and the issues surrounding them and to share awesome whale photos!
Whale photos, incidentally, are how we got so big on Instagram. Just as everyone loves a good cat photo, everyone really loves a good whale photo (we love dolphins and porpoise ones too!). Whale Tales is incredibly lucky to have received amazing stories over the past three years with some incredible photos that we are allowed to share with our followers and that is 100% why we have the popularity that we have. I would love to think that my stunning captions and scheduling prowess is behind all of this, but I know the truth. Whale photos #ftw!
So as an “influencer” what are my tips for creating a successful Instagram account? Pretty simple:
- Have a good photo. Regardless of its content make sure it is a quality photo. Instagram was created to show off photos you took on your phone but it has evolved so much since then and with scheduling platforms available it is just as easy to post a high quality photo.
- Have a good caption. If we are all honest, a lot of time on IG is spent scrolling and randomly liking pics, stopping to read the caption only happens when something is super eye catching (or its your friend’s post!) but that doesn’t mean you can skimp on your info. Make your caption informative, funny if you can and watch those typos (and autocorrects)! You can always go back and edit your caption but this is “Insta”gram. Someone has probably already seen it.
- Remember that links do not work in captions. This is something that drives me batty. I am guilty of this sometimes but its usually only as a last resort and always list the full link. Having a link shortened in an Instagram caption is completely useless and sloppy. You can have one working link in your bio on your profile page but that can be updated all the time if need be. If that’s too much work for you provide instructions in your caption so post is easily found once the person clicks on your bio link (IG analytics also keep track of website links so it’s a great metric to see if people are going to your site).
- Follow up! Check in with your posts to read the comments and see if there are questions. Answering them (be sure to hit “reply”) is a great way to boost engagement, as is liking the comments so people can see you interacting with them. I know I get a thrill when a celebrity (or semi famous podcaster, whatever) likes my comment, you could be that person to someone else (don’t get an ego, you are not Beyonce). It always adds that extra touch
- Follow other accounts. Obviously choose who you think is appropriate to your account, don’t follow every person back-can you image what your feed would look like if you followed 17,000 people??? But you can also go into someone’s profile and like a few of their relevant photos as well. Again, just taking that extra step.
- Be sure to keep an eye on tagged photos as well as your inbox. Often people you aren’t following will DM you and it won’t show up as a message unless you click on it and then see the “1 request” option.
- If you have multiple photos to go up with the same caption, please use the multiple photo option. Scrolling through a ton of photos with the same caption is really annoying now that this exists.
- Hashtag, hashtag, hashtag! Hashtags are a great way to get new followers and more people engaging with your content. But please use appropriately. #dont #hashtag #everything. And remember that punctuation ruins a hashtag. Seeing #treatyo’self instead of #treatyoself just makes me sad.
- Post as much as you can! How much is too much? I don’t know. I aim for once a day if I can and will do more if appropriate but if a day is missed it is not the end of the world. Algorithm’s are changing all the time and we are never going to know how they decide what shows up in what newsfeed so the more you post the higher your chances are. But don’t be obnoxious.
Sadly, I can’t think of a 10th tip to round this out. We will just have to live with disappointment. But at least now you know all my secrets! See you at the next Social Media Influencer meeting! 😉