In this episode we're talking about how to get your first 10,000 followers on Instagram…
If you’ve ever thought about starting or growing a business, this girl is your… well, girl.
Kaylene is the Director of Start Up Creative, a service-based business that encourages and guides young people to have a real crack at turning their passion into a career through workshops, one-on-one coaching, online courses and more.
She’s racked up a serious social media following along the way.
Start Up Creative has almost 40,000 followers on Instagram and 6,250 on Facebook, which are bloody impressive numbers in anyone’s book.
What I most admire about this business, though, is that it’s a really good example of how to grow a service based business (hell, any business) online the right way.
By building a real community over time (rather than shady ‘growth at any cost’ tactics). By reading your audience and giving them content they want (rather than spamming people with bots and auto-commenting on Instagram).
And by telling your story and finding clients that relate to you (rather than just talking all about yourself and your service).
People do business with people they like, know and trust, and Startup Creative is doing an incredible job at earning that trust and leverage through its social media channels.
She kind of makes it look easy, and there are a lot of other businesses out there that could learn a thing or two from the way she does things.
We interviewed Kaylene to get some of her secret sauce, especially when it comes to all things social.
Well, to tell the truth you don’t want to know what I did in the early days. I was terrible at social media! If you don’t believe me, scroll back to the beginning and take a look for yourself ha ha (don’t judge me)!
We scrolled all the way to the end so that you didn’t have to! Here’s the first twelve Instagram posts from StartUp Creative.
The best thing I did for my Instagram growth was toget clear on 3 things:
1// What time my audience was online and ready to engage with content about starting a business. It turned out that around 9pm at night was the key time. Figuring this out was a matter of trial and error. I used to post when it suited me so it didn’t interrupt with my family time. It was a once off that I posted at 9pm one night and got lots of engagement from there I figured out my audiences online habits and begun posting around that.
2// How I could add value. I got really clear on what value I was adding to my audience. When you run a social account for a business it isn’t about you and what you’re having for dinner (although sometimes I do slip in my Uber Eats deliveries every now and again!) A business account should primarily be about the value you can add to your audience. Don’t spam or talk at them, add value to improve their lives. Once I got clear on the fact that StartUp Creative was aiming to educate, inspire and grow young entrepreneurs whilst at the same time sharing our personal startup story, it became a lot easier to find and post the right content. I think our audience has grown to rely on us for that, especially the inspire part.
3// How I could deliver amazing, original content. The best, BEST thing I did and still do is to invest in good images, shareable content and product shots. The moment we made our own content and stopped relying 100% regrammed stuff is when we got a real spike in our following.
Having ‘shareable content’ like the cover of our magazine or quotes means that our audience are doing the work on our behalf.
My tip for Facebook is live video content and quality posts – try not to automate too much.
Also, sharing really honestly and personally.
Related article: How to market a service-based business on Instagram | An interview with Christy Laurence from the Plann App.
I remember being on about 5000 followers and asking a friend who had 30,000 what I should do to grow my audience. Her advice was to keep doing what I was doing and it would eventually hit 10,000, and that once that happened I would notice it growing more quickly by itself. She was right!
Hitting 10,000 was more exciting for me than 20,000 or 30,000 – although I think 50,000 will be a fun one! Ha, this is such a funny world we live in that I’m talking like this!
To be honest though, the biggest thing I do now is not to focus on getting more followers and instead to put more energy into ensuring our content is fresh and relatable, and also that I can stay/feel approachable to our audience.
It’s hard as you grow to realise just how big 30,000 people is! It’s like a stadium hey? I never want to take it for granted. I’d way rather give our current audience an amazing bunch of inspiration and resources than keep chasing the numbers. There will always be more followers to gain and it’s a dangerous race to be in if you keep chasing the numbers. There is more to life than followers, let’s be honest!
Start with what your core values are as a business and find ways to post about them. Instagram is a great way to showcase who you are as a brand without having to use too many words. For example you might say that fun is a core value of your business. What does that look like to you and your staff? Perhaps it’s you climbing a waterfall on the weekend! Or, something we did was to have a day in the pool at QT on the Gold Coast.
The trick is to do it without having to say too much. You don’t want to be too obvious, ie ‘oh look at our team having fun in the pool, we are a fun brand’. It’s more like ‘we had the best day playing at QT hotels today, thanks for having us team’.
If you’re feeling stuck with where to start with your values, there is a whole chapter and 5 pages of worksheets on it in our eBook.
StartUp Creative’s What the Hell Am I Doing ebook/workbook combo.
Other good tips for content could be:
Quotes are always sooo popular! So is anything funny that people can relate too and tag people in.
My mix is generally:
Live videos have been doing wonders for my Facebook following. Sharing popular content really helped in the beginning. For example, if I read an article from entrepreneur.com I would share it from their post so that it was more likely to come up in people’s feeds as ‘Entrepreneur and StartUp Creative shared this article’.
Not all the time, but often when I write a blog post I will boost it on Facebook for between $20-$50 for 24 hours and target people who like my page and their friends. This always seems to help with growing my following. I’ll also invite people to come and like our page from other platforms, mailing Instgram and our mailing list.
1// Invest in making your own content to share. Photoshoots is #1 for sure!
2// Be social and personal. There’s nothing worse than people spamming you with ads on ‘social’ media! Show me you have a personality and aren’t always in work mode.
3// Be consistent. Pick your strategy and roll with it. Trust that you are getting somewhere and that if you don’t give up you will see the results
4// Measure your success. If you’re aiming for big numbers, start measuring so you see the little growth and so you aren’t overwhelmed by the end goal. I used to put my Instagram following in my calendar every Monday so that come the following Monday I could see how much I’d grown. It helps you to celebrate the wins along the way
5// Be present, reply to comments, like other peoples accounts, re-gram cool shit, collaborate, give stuff away, ask for advice, be human! I hate businesses that schedule their content and leave it…so boring!
Ugly content! Pick 2-3 colours you’re going to use and roll with them.
Look at the big picture of the account when you are posting and see what colours you’re in need of. If you’re not good at the visual side of things, get advice and you will learn over time – trust me, I had to do this!
StartUp Creative’s Instagram feed.
Don’t ever post blurry pics and in my opinion I don’t like the look of the ‘regram’ app. It looks tacky! Ha ha, I’m so picky! Just screenshot, crop and tag the business yourself!
Good luck! And if you want more from me, check out my Facebook videos or book in for a StartUp Creative business coaching session.
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