What It Takes To Grow On Instagram In 2021
Whether you're a savvy social media manager or a small business owner DIYing your social media, growing Instagram followers today takes a lot more than just being consistent, authentic, engaging with your audience and using hashtags. The reason I am telling you this is not to discourage you. Far from it!
I am a BIG fan of Instagram. I built my whole business around it and have seen firsthand so many small business owners grow their email lists, sales, and revenues using Instagram, too. Even when they have less than 1,000 followers.
The reason I am saying this is so we can work on our expectations. We are not in 2015 anymore.
The problem is not that it's hard to grow on Instagram. The problem is that we are still expecting the same growth we used to see in 2015, when all we needed to do was to add a pretty photo, a catchy one liner as a caption, a few hashtags and see the followers trickling in.
In 2015, Instagram only had 400M users. In 2018 that number grew to 1B, and although Instagram has not officially released any official milestones since, it's safe to assume we have a much bigger number of users now.
Everyone who follows us is also following another thousand (or more) accounts, so they don't have time to see all the posts from everyone. It's like the old marketing pie, more people in the space, less pie for everyone (sad, I know, because I like pie).
We have to take that into account.
What we are told, all day long is that when you scroll on Instagram you will see lots of organic posts and ads alike, where other women like you and me are telling you exactly what to do and how to do it.
"Show your true self"
"Share your why"
"Show your face in stories"
And you're doing all these things and thinking: "What am I doing wrong? Why does this work for all of them, but not me? Do people hate me?"
This is not bad advice. I agree with each of these. The problem is that they made it seem like it's *just* that and that it's easy. But it's not. Not for them, and not for you.
But what happens next is that we scroll through these accounts and start comparing ourselves with them. We see their photos, we see their likes and many comments.
What we don't see, and people seem to forget to mention: that they are models who traveled the world with a professional photographer 5 years ago when it was easier to grow on Instagram. They had a business years ago that was unique and stood out, and they made a name for themselves back then. That they have many years of experience in creative, copywriting, content, strategy, communication, and marketing. That they grew an audience by being on a reality show years ago. That they spend 5 or 6 figures in ads each month.
So please take all this advice with a grain of salt.
Manu Muraro is the founder of Your Social Team, an Instagram training membership and template shop to help social media managers and Instagram-savvy women entrepreneurs to beat the algorithm and grow their organic engagement (yes, even in 2021). This year she also launched Your Template Club, a Canva Template subscription to provide social media managers and Instagram savvy business owners with content templates designed for engagement in their inboxes.
Born and raised in Brazil, Manu moved to the U.S. in 2000 right out of college to work for Cartoon Network, where she made an award winning career in creative and strategy. In 2017, Manu started Your Social Team with the mission of helping women entrepreneurs and social media managers grow engagement and sales through Instagram, without the overwhelm.
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