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Grow Your Brand on Instagram | No Magic Wand Here, Just Solid Advice

Instagram is all about community, creativity and being your gosh darn beautiful, wonderful, talented self. But for many creatives, it doesn’t always feel that way. There’s a sense of pressure to have a perfect feed, sell your work on stories, and show up every day. It’s overwhelming, and it often stops people from sharing their work at all.

Thankfully, it doesn’t have to be that way. 

Growing your brand on Instagram can and should be a stress-free, creativity-filled, community-driven experience! It’s all about creating a strategy for attracting your ideal audience, increasing your engagement, and building your brand online, without losing your mind! 

8 Tips for Growing Your Brand on Instagram 

1. Provide value to your audience

Providing value is the best way to become a must-follow account on Instagram and grow your community online. The more valuable your content, the more people will want to follow and engage with that content. So think about what value you can provide, and share that with your audience. And value doesn’t just mean teaching what you know. 

Value could be: 

  • Education
  • Entertainment
  • Engagement
  • Inspiration
  • Insight

So for example, as a painter, you don’t have to teach people how to paint. You could share soothing, entertaining timelapses of your painting process, inspire people with your finished work, share insights about the creative process, create funny reels about being an artist, or create a discussion with your audience about what brushes they use. The options are endless, and your value isn’t limited to what you can teach. 

2. Direct people to your Instagram profile

Chances are, Instagram isn’t the only platform you’re using, or the only way that you’re making connections, right? If you’re doing other things like creating TikToks, sending email newsletters, writing blogs, meeting people at events, or handing out flyers, make sure you’re directing those people to your Instagram profile. 

3. Make the most of what Instagram has to offer

Instagram has a lot of tools available to you as a creator, and they love when you use them! This doesn’t mean that you have to always use them all, but you might as well make the most of the ones that can help you grow, right! 

Some features you can try are: 

  • Reels
  • Stories
  • IGTVs
  • Guides
  • Live videos
  • Carousels
  • Videos
  • Timelapses
  • Boomerangs
  • Hashtags
  • @ Mentions
  • Location tags

4. Reward your existing community-members

It takes much more time, effort, and money to attract new followers and customers, than it does to keep existing ones. Your existing followers are magic, and getting referrals and recommendations from them is an amazing way to grow your audience with social proof on your side! So before you stress about getting more followers, think about how you can treat your existing ones like the amazing people that they are! 

You could: 

  • Have more conversations with existing followers
  • Respond to comments, DMs, poll votes, etc 
  • Provide follower-only downloads and deals in your shop
  • Give early access to products and services
  • Run giveaways for existing followers

These are just a few ways that you could reward, celebrate, and love on your existing followers so that they feel like part of your community and can’t wait to share your account with their friends. 

5. Collaborate with your community

If you are trying to grow your audience, reach new audiences, or find people to bring over to Instagram, a great way to do that is to collaborate with people. Whether they’re a fellow creative or a brand, collaborating is a smart way to make connections, share your value, and reach new people. 

You could collaborate on things like:

  • Products
  • Instagram live trainings
  • Workshops
  • Podcasts
  • Resources
  • Instagram content

Collaboration is an amazing way to have fun in your business, meet new people and try new things, and get introduced to your collaborators’ audiences!

6. Mention, tag, and credit others

As a creative, I’m sure you know how much it means when someone shares your work, raves about your content, and recommends you to others. You can do the same for the creatives in your community. This shows them that you value their work, shares their magic with others, and starts a conversation with them! Tagging them when you mention or share their work is a great way to start growing relationships, increasing your visibility, and increasing your network of creatives who you can start connecting and collaborating with. 

  • Collaborating on a project
  • Featuring them on your podcast
  • Eating at their restaurant
  • Listening to their music
  • Watching their vlogs
  • Quoting them
  • Sharing their work

Please only tag people in relevant posts, though. So don't make a post and tag 50 people in the post who are not related to the post at all because you just want them to see your posts. It's very spammy and that’s not what you want! You want genuine, engaging connections with people who you respect and value and do the same for you!

7. Engage with your community

Want to increase your visibility? Then be a visible part of the community. 

Firstly, engage in your own community! Don’t just post and ghost. Reply to comments, answer DMs, respond to people who engage with your stories, comment on your followers’ posts, and create a two-way dialogue with your people. 

And secondly, engage in other people’s communities too. Support the creatives around you, share their work, comment on their posts, join their FB groups and be an active member of the community. Showing up and being a supportive, active friend will help you make connections, find friends, start collaborations, and grow your network. 

8. Have fun!

Last but not least, have fun. It's so important to have fun on Instagram and make sure that what you're doing is a great time, you're enjoying doing it, you're learning something, and you're having fun engaging in the community.

People can tell if you’re on Instagram and posting out of obligation. The passion isn’t there. Whereas if you’re having fun, creating your incredible work and having a great time sharing it with your audience of wonderful people, you and your followers will notice the difference! 

Those are my 8 tips for building your brand and growing your following on Instagram. Like I said, there’s no magic wand here. None of these things are going to give you 10,000 followers tomorrow, but they are going to help you to grow your brand steadily and consistently over time in a fun, chilled out, community-driven way. 

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Hollie stands resting her hands on the white desk behind her, wearing a black t-shirt tucked into orange pants and clear glasses, and smiling into the camera.

by hollie arnett

The brand coach for creatives, hand-lettering artist for herself, and cup of tea lover forever.

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