If you're thinking about building your business or launching a new product, one of the first things you need to do is start connecting with your ideal customers to figure out what they need, want, and how you can help them with one or both of those types of challenges.

Often that means building a community somewhere on social media, growing your email list, starting a blog…maybe creating a youtube channel.

You are looking for the right channel to build your brand, allow people to get to know you…and the “best place” to do that isn't the same for everyone.

And when I discovered Instagram, I didn't see it as the one for me…not at first, anyways.

I’ve been obsessed with Instagram for awhile now, but only this year and specifically the last few months have I really focused my attention on growing my following and use the platform more for my business.

So, today, I am going to share with you the top things I’ve done to get myself to the 1,000 milestone. I’ll update this and do another report in when I reach the 5k mark.

Why Is Instagram So Important To Me?

Over the past year, I’ve been increasingly interested in bringing more visual elements into my brand…and I won’t lie, it’s been tough. Because I am primarily a knowledge teacher and I often share in print and audio – teaching through images has felt very foreign.

But I know how photographs, colors, images of any kind impact, improve, and enhance the experience a customer has even as they are reading and listening.

It started last year when I finally gave my Fearless Launching sales site a makeover and much needed infusion of images. You can read about that over here. New members to the program actually sited the new visual style as the reason they finally joined the program!

That was enough for me to shift my focus more to the visuals.

And though my brand up to this point has been very word-heavy in many ways, I’m embracing the importance of visual branding. So many messages can be sent with images…I should know this from my film-school days…

So now, I’m embracing Instagram as the main way I start sending visual messages about my business, my values, what I know to be true, and to share concepts that I know are helpful as others go off on their journey to launch a new product or business.

7 Strategies This Non-Expert Uses To Build Their Instagram Following

I am not an Instagram strategist…I’m just a business owner looking to build my following, build my brand, meet new people. This is what I’ve done more over in the past 3 months to double my following from the “stuck at 500” it’s been at for a few years…I hope it helps you too!

[youtube width=”600″ height=”338″]https://youtu.be/o8_Bh51lSf4[/youtube]

  1. Intention – have an idea of what you’re going to post – whether it’s the topic, the subject matter, actual objects…including colors. Do what works for you. Think about what you post before you post it.
  2. Outside perspective – take a class, watch Instagram accounts you love to see what they’re doing. I’m getting help from someone who’s giving me tips on content and overall aesthetics of my feed. I’m not great at it yet but I’ve got a new way of looking at my account as part of my brand, not just random pictures to get people to know me. (See below for some more ways to get this outside perspective.)
  3. Set a schedule – knowing that I had to post 1 brand related image per day really helped me see how I could use instagram without posting a direct promotional thing. It allowed me to look at whatever I was posting and saying – okay, on Monday, I’ll post a little screenshot from my youtube video or on Thursday, I’ll share something related to the podcast that went live. On the weekends I’ll post images of my family, my daughter…and then back to the brand on Monday – Friday.
  4. Participate in the conversation. I found hashtags like #filofaxaddict #planneraddict and others and then just started liking and commenting. I found other people through other hashtags. I took part in IG challenges. (I’m even creating my own challenge over there in July. Click to follow me and you’ll be able to join in the fun too!)
  5. Look for your peeps. Whether you’re looking for new friends, want to find inspiration, or you’re looking for your ideal customer…you can find them on Instagram. But the first step is getting to know people…it’s easy, so start with the discovery tool in IG that suggests pictures you’d like and people you might want to follow.
  6. Tell people to come follow you. Tell people through whatever channels you’re already communicating–your newsletter, podcast, videos, or from your blog, your other social media platforms…that’s what I did and it’s working!
  7. Focus. Sometimes all it takes is for you to put all your focus on this one platform. Turn off Twitter, Facebook…and any other place you spend your time. Make IG your default in the evenings when you watch TV. Have it be the first place you check in the morning. Focus will pull all the above together.

Additional resources

3 Branded Images You Need To Create For A Successful Launch

How To Launch Your Next Online Program Like JLO

12 Unexpected Pinterest Hacks

20 Easy Tips To Build Visual Brand Identity

Who Inspired Me To Write This Post?

Now it’s your turn

What are you doing to grow your following…and what’s working? And if you'd like to take your first step to improving your own personal brand, build a bigger following on Instagram, check me out over there and stay tuned for my July photo challenge!

Leave a comment below so we can learn from each other!