You’ve started a blog. You’re trying to find devoted readers. You set up a social media profile. What next?
This is the part that throws most people off, and the reason there are so many abandoned social media accounts out there. Frustration over a lack of followers and engagement drives people to give up on the dream of having an audience and influence. You might be reading this because you have a popular enough profile, but not as large an audience as you’d like. You also might be reading this because you want to start social media but just don’t know where to begin. You may well be reading this because you’ve been doing fairly well but hit a rut due to a new algorithm, or competitor, or platform that is more popular than the one you’re using. That’s is the thing about social media: it’s unpredictable.
This is why I want to share with you today the reasons it’s not working. I grew my instagram to 15k from scratch, but I could have grown it even larger had I known what kinds of things to avoid. Whilst it may not be Instagram you’re interested in particular, these problems and solutions should generally work across the board for all platforms (I have a fair amount of practise in setting up social media for personal use). I promise you, whatever problems you’re having can be solved if you stop making these mistakes. I got there eventually, and you can too! You’re not interacting with your followers
1. You’re not Interacting with your Followers
Every time I think about this I can’t help feeling like it’s obvious. You’re on social media, so you talk to other people online, right? Yet I’m still often amazed when I comment on a social media post by someone who has a relatively humble following, because they don’t reply. I don’t understand how anyone, unless they have heaps of comments flooding in, cannot find the time to respond. More than anything, I don’t understand why. One of my favourite parts of Instagram is having the ability to discuss my favourite interests with people who share them.
If you’re seeking interaction – clicking on blog post links, liking photos etc. -from your audience, you have to give them something in return. Followers will assume you to be a bit conceited, or generally hostile, if you don’t. Often bloggers beg for comments by asking questions to their readers. No one is going to answer or respond if they think you will ignore them, because being ignored isn’t a great feeling. If you ignore a follower who has tried to interact in some way, chances are they won’t stick around.
2. You’re not Active Enough
Once your profile is set up and looking glossy, it can be tempting to set your phone down and head off to work on something else. This is a bad idea. Social media takes time to grow, and it needs consistent effort. If your account isn’t doing a lot, chances are it’ll be recognised by the algorithm as inactive and won’t be returned as often in search results.
I’ll admit that this is the part I struggle with, though. I know people who have grown their social media in no time by constantly liking pictures under certain hashtags and interacting with their targeted followers. Those people, though, tend to have a lot of free time on their hands. Not everyone is so lucky. If you’re like myself, and you lack the ability to spend hours typing, tapping and scrolling, maybe get some automated help. I use Upleap – I’m on a free year-long trial with them after I reviewed their site on my last blog – and it makes a huge difference. My account is constantly active, liking photos by followers of some of my favourite bloggers; in the hopes that they’ll follow me as well. You can sign up for a free trial here, and then decide if it’s worth purchasing.
If you don’t have the money to invest in Upleap – don’t panic! Manually interacting with other users is perfectly fine. It may take a little longer to see any results, but it’s not worth giving up on. When you begin to take your account more seriously as a business you can invest in help with someone like Upleap. Do make sure to pick a trusted company, though, if you do decide to invest – there’s nothing more damaging to a social media account than the purchasing of fake followers.
3. Your Feed is Messy
This is fairly specific to Instagram, but it is important for you to acknowledge how any social media profile looks to a potential follower. Whether it be the things you write or the photos you take, you need it to come off as organised and professional (unless you’re going for a more ‘relatable’ approach, though even then, people still want to see an visually pleasing layout).
If you’re worried you don’t have the camera, editing skills or props to take good photographs, again, don’t panic! I’ve always taken my photographs on my phone, and used a few random cushions for any backgrounds. If you’re blogging about something related to consumerism, like I do with beauty, simply photographing the product on the same colour of background at the same time of day – for the lighting – will tie all your pictures in together. I use a white background, as do most people, but your colour scheme is entirely up to you. I absolutely love looking at different people’s accounts and taking ideas, so maybe check out what other people in your niche are doing to give their feed structure. I would also recommend that you don’t edit your photos too heavily; I used to border and filter mine, and looking back now I think it looked a bit childish. Then again, I was a child at the time…so maybe that’s why!
4. You’re Using a Business Profile
Business profiles have been a great addition to Instagram: you can track your audience and monitor interactions that regular users can’t, such as how many people have ‘saved’ or direct messaged your pictures. There is an issue, though, in your exposure.
For some reason, business accounts aren’t as promoted as personal ones. I don’t really understand this, but some Instagram users do recommend sticking to a personal profile when attempting to grow a following. I’ve also read that some users switch between personal and business fairly often to get both the promotion and profile statistics. I’m on a business account, and I’ve seen a definite decrease in my exposure. I keep it though because I’m happy with my audience for the moment – plus I love having the swipe-up link feature on stories.
I would just recommend that you play about with this one and see which account settings work best for you and your profile. It’s probably not a huge contributer to your account’s lack of growth, but it’s something to consider.
5. You’re Posting about Unrelated Things
Getting the balance between being human and being a brand is a tricky one. Followers like to keep up with you as a person, but they also want to hear about only the things that relate to you and your niche.
If you blog about electronics, for example, no one wants to see pictures of your Summer holiday to Fiji. It’s just not what your followers are there for, and they’ll begin to lose interest because of unnecessary spamming. If you want an audience, you’re searching for followers beyond those who know you personally. So keep the family pics for a personal account, with the people who want to keep up with your life.
These are the most basic reasons you’re probably struggling with social media, but I’m aware that sometimes, thanks to algorithms and such, you can be doing everything right and still be stuck in a rut. If you would ever like some personal advice don’t be afraid to contact me via email or Instagram DM (both linked at the end of all my blog posts). If you’re interested in more blogging advice click here or here, and if you’re interested in Pinterest click here. Do you have any other social media mistakes you’ve recovered from that you can comment below?
Thanks for reading,