A Photo Worth 1000 Likes

As I continue to work on improving my social media standing after a brief hiatus, I look back on what worked for me in the past with a photo that got 1000 likes in 24 hours. Repeating my successes is important but for this post I look at what I can learn from my past, understand a little better how Instagram works and of course review some basic metrics.

In a previous post I talked about a post that ‘trended’ on Instagram and got me to 1000 followers. Trended for this post means it made the explore page and was found organically. I have had posts that have resonated well with my followers but do not always make it to a wider online audience. You may have experience that as well.

I few months ago I shared a brooch that caught my eye at a Skinner Auctions preview with my followers. It was a lady carved in chalcedony with a diamond and opal tiara that was adorned in more diamonds and opals. My picture was a bit blurry at the bottom but overall not bad. I loved it but did not expect the reaction I got after posting it. Not only was the picture liked by my followers, Instagram thought it worthy to share with a wider audience and within a day I had over 1000 likes!

What was different about this picture from others I posted? For me a few things come to mind:

 

  • Variety-I post a lot of diamonds, flowers, and big statement pieces (like David Webb). This was the first post in a long time that had a face on it. A face in blue chalcedony which is a little unique.
  • Trends-My lady had a tiara and regal look to her. This summer has been all about the royal wedding of Harry and Megan, so that probably didn’t hurt my chances of getting my photo noticed. Also, as of today #tiara has 1.4 million posts, #tiaras have over 467,000 posts and a favorite hashtag of mine #tiaratuesday has over 9,000 posts. People love a good tiara.
  • Patience (& luck)– I had been a consistent poster and I know Instagram has ways of telling who is resonating well with their followers. For me I have started to see trends for what my followers like. I keep that in mind when taking photos or making captions.

 

How much does the Instagram Algorithm play in my account’s success?

The algorithm is like Facebook, the more your followers like your posts the more likely those posts will show up at the top of your followers’ feeds. The short answer is in my opinion about 85% is determined by the Instagram Algorithm.

How can you influence that other 15%?

Posting consistently so your followers go to your Instagram page and see what you’ve got if it did not show up in their feed. Take some time out to just like your followers’ posts and show some love back. I need to do more with this as well.

What can a trending post do for my account? (basic social media metrics)

Besides growing your following, this picture in about 38 hours gave me 113 new followers. It can increase your engagement for that post and others. I had about a 10% engagement rate (Likes of a post divided by followers) from that post. It varies by industry but typically a 2-3% engagement rate is good, for example if you have 10,000 followers you should be getting around 200-300 likes per post. For me at the time of the post I ranged between 250-350 likes. The next photo I posted got over 700 likes. I kept up with the tiara trend for one more day.

Have you ever had a trending photo? What was it? Would you like to improve your engagement and attract more followers? Reach out to me and we can come up with strategies to test to grow your social media presence and your business. Return next week for more Data in the Rough!

 

Instagram changes since my first 1000 followers and what can be learned

Marketing sites and businesses keep talking about how changes to the Instagram algorithm have hurt engagement. In this post I will look at how I got to my first 1000 followers shortly before the changes took place and how my strategy to grow my following has changed since.

Looking back at all my posts it’s hard to believe I have been on Instagram over 2 ½ years! I started in early September of 2015 to help a designer start and grow her Instagram account. I knew I needed my own account to run my own experiments and see what would be best for my client in the interest of time and resources. I have since ended my working relationship with her, but my account has continued growing. I will start by how I got to my first thousand, strategies that can be helpful as you look to improve your brand.

Getting to 1000:

Once I got to 1000 followers it felt like no time at all, but it took me 4 months from the day I started until I finally got to 1000. The amount of posts was 215. It was in January and I was a bit discourage that I wasn’t growing as quickly as I hoped. I was at a little over 700 followers and decided to post on a rainy Sunday afternoon this Tiffany necklace designed by Paloma Picasso in the 1980s.

Tiffany gemstone necklace posted on my IG that got me to 1000 followers, seen at Christie’s in December 2015

One feature Instagram had was a trending hashtag section. I looked at the page where the trending hashtags were and saw #rainysunday was trending, so I worked that into my caption picking out the most bold and colorful piece to chase away those clouds! Posting around three in the afternoon I knew I’d get some likes, but I never anticipated that over the next couple of days I would get over 500 likes and about 300 followers which got me from 700 to 1000 almost overnight! I realized that my post had made it on the explore page which is why the jump in interest!

Paloma Picasso wearing her design for Tiffany, taken in 1980s. photo from Paris Vogue

Strategies to use now:

Since the changes I can no longer like pictures in real time of when they were posted unless I follow them and get notified when they post. Also, some accounts never make it to the top of my feed. So how do I try and improve my odds:

  1. Follow brands because you like their content not because you hope they follow you. I made the mistake when I first started of following accounts of people or brands that I thought would like me. The problem their feed was not always what I enjoyed seeing so I had to eventually unfollow and look at engaging with account that may never follow me but make my account a pleasant place to go to. Also, to note don’t follow them just because they follow you. They may like your posts, but you may not respond to their content as well, it comes down to engaging with accounts that resonate with you.
  2. Look at what your posting and research hashtags to use that are relevant. Mixing up your hashtags is a better way to grow your following and be in front of new people. Using the same ones can be too predictable especially if you are selling online. Look at what your posting and who maybe interested versus trying to advertise it’s for sale.
  3. Make Instagram friends. Too many small businesses and solopreneurs rely on friends, families or groups they belong to for engagement. The best compliments have been from people I have never meet but find my posts beautiful and interesting. I have even been able to meet with some of my new friends who give me inspiration and different ways to better serve my following.
  4. Experiment with different posts and times. I have read and gone to workshops about growing your following. Everything from running an IG contest to posting more about you as a person. Some ideas are helpful others I tried have failed miserably (I’ll share stories and lessons learned in later posts). For posts use the edits IG has with their photos. I try to make sure my photos are sharp, in focus and the colors vibrant to stand out better to my followers.
  5. Do not get too discouraged with slow growth or followers that leave you in the early stages. When first starting I got a lot of account follows and unfollows in hopes of growing their numbers. Instagram is still a game to many and if you worry too much about winning or losing you’ll miss the important reason for this platform to be social. Again, don’t follow just because they follow you, refer to tip #1.

 

There are plenty of other ways you can improve. Here is an article I read on Hootsuite about ways to improve your account with the changes to the Instagram algorithm. I also read an article by Recode posted early this month, that stated that your Facebook friends can play into what accounts are one top when you log in. I do not follow a lot of my Facebook friends on IG since I want to keep more focused on my business with IG.

Even though it feels harder sometimes, I am still having good success on IG growing my followers and engagement. If you would like a more personal session to find ways to improve your IG please send me an email at Data.inthe.Rough@gmail.com Also feel free to make a comment below about something you’d like to understand or an observation about your experiences with Instagram! Thank you for reading my post, I hope you return soon! Also a bonus the matching earrings to that bold Tiffany necklace, because you can’t have a statement necklace without some statement earrings!!

Matching earrings to Tiffany necklace sold at Christie’s in December 2015!