It has been about a month since we started our Instagram journey. And drum roll…. we have 185 followers. Yeah. I know. Your gran has more followers

But that’s OK. We have learned a lot in the last month. And the strategy was always going to start out and produce some content, learn the platform and see how much traction we get from just using hashtags.

Well as you have seen we get hardly any traction at all. So starting now I am going to do what I am calling the race to 1,000. I am going to interact with as many people as possible and try and get to 1,000 followers. Because I think the first 1,000 is the most important.

In this post, I am going to cover what we’ve learned about Instagram. How we’re refining the unique selling point of our page. And how we plan to manage the page going forward.

What We’ve Learned About Instagram

There are lots of great accounts not doing very well. Good pictures aren’t enough.

Seriously, there are so many Instagram accounts that have taken a lot of work, have been going for years, and have amazing pictures. But yet have hardly any followers.

  1. One problem seems to be marketing – they’re not doing enough to get their account in front of the right people.
  2. But also I think their problem is that they’re self-focused and don’t provide any value to their viewer. Yes, some accounts do well just showing their travel pics. But the much more consistent ones provide some value to the viewer.

Accounts need to be useful for the viewer

If that is showing off your nice bum. Well, that is useful for some people. If it is great recipes your viewer can recreate. That’s great too. If you have a ridiculous lifestyle, that can work. If you have funny memes, even better. If you’re always having drama, that can be fun to watch.

Just good pictures don’t work. You need to be useful.

Being location or niche-specific helps you be useful

For instance: BaliTravel will do better than SouthEastAsiaTravel which will do better than WorldTravel.

TunbridgeWellsFoodie will do better than UKFoodie which will do better than WorldFoodie.

I think that is because they are much more useful and you have much less competition. If you’re in Tunbridge Wells, then food pics from Mexico aren’t much use. Likewise, if you’re going on holiday then you will want to follow accounts that focus on the areas you are going to.

For instance, this is one account we are following in Canggu (a town in Bali).

It’s great. We look at it all the time to get tips on where to go to eat that day and what deals are on. But it is also pretty limited in scope.

But being niche puts a maximum limit on your following

Canggu foodies is a great account and one we have been avidly following. But it’s useless if you don’t live in Canggu.

Likewise, a very popular account in Brazillian-Jitsu is BJJ_Steroids. A meme and humour account poking fun at the rampant steroid abuse in grappling.

It has a larger audience than Canggu Foodies but is still limited by the size of the BJJ community.

Our Strategy For The Page

Being Useful

So based on that, how do we make our Instagram account niche and useful? But not so niche we limit our audience.

We have refined our strategy a little bit. It is still a travel blog focused on middle-income digital nomads. But we have refined the USP to make it even more obvious with the tag line: “Living the good life on £100 a day”.

I have this theory that most people are going to just glance at your page so they need to understand what is going on immediately. A page full of travel picks with that tag line is pretty obvious. I may change the text later to make the value proposition even clearer.

So how is that useful for our viewer? Well, I am hoping for a mix of aspirational and informative.

Just like you might spend lunch breaks looking at pictures for your future holiday. A future digital nomad might salivate over the food and the type of life they could be living if they weren’t in London. And also get a good idea of what the cost of living is really like.

We’ll see. That might change.

Marketing

But there is no point having the best page ever if we don’t have a way for people to see it. What we’ve learned is that when you only have a hundred or so followers, you never get any momentum from hashtags to appear in searches or recommendations.

So to begin with we need to put in all the effort and collect those initial followers one-by-one. How are we going to do that?

Pretty simple really. We are going to find people on Instagram who are in the same niche and like and comment on their pictures. This is not automated, but manual with each comment being relevant to their image.

How do we find people like that? By targetting the followers of other similar accounts in our niche. If they follow that one they’ll follow us too, right?

Well, we shall soon find out. Hopefully the next post will be in a few weeks and will be celebrating that 1,000 follower mark. Wish us luck!