What You Need to Know Before You Start a New Instagram Account

Whether you plan on blogging or running a business, the beginning stages can be filled with so many mixed emotions. It’s exciting but overwhelming, for sure! Many people are eager to dig right in and line up their social media accounts to start connecting and sharing with their audience, but are unsure if they should use their current profiles for their brands, or start a fresh new account.

Last week on Instagram I asked my audience to send in questions they had related to running an online brand. One of the questions I got — and one I see a lot within Facebook groups — was about creating a new Instagram account.

If you’re weighing the pros and cons of creating a new profile, here are some things to think about:

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Who is your target?

I talked a little bit about defining your target audience (or target market), in this postwhen you’re starting an online brand it is so important to get clear on who you are speaking or selling to because it dictates nearly every aspect of your brand. If you don’t know who your target is yet, make sure you ask yourself:

  • Who would benefit from reading my content, purchasing my products, or utilizing my services?

  • What age range am I targeting? What do they do for a living? Where do they live? What are their likes and dislikes?

  • How does my product, service or content solve a problem(s) they are experiencing?

Get really clear on your audience before you move forward with your social media profiles. It may sound silly, but I highly recommend creating an ideal client or ideal customer profile (also known as an ideal customer avatar), that addresses these questions. I’ll even do this when I need to refresh my brands, or rethink my marketing strategy to ensure I’m reaching my target more effectively.

Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you sign up or purchase through my link at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

How will you provide value to your audience?

Sure, posting beautiful photos is one way to attract attention, but it isn’t necessarily going to convert to traffic, sales or new clients. You might gain a ton of followers and get a lot of likes this way, but are you really contributing thoughtful, meaningful information just by posting images? Are you building a loyal community using this method? You have to serve your audience by providing them with consistent, valuable, and engaging content. Utilize your captions and stories to connect with your audience — share authentic stories, provide educational information, offer advice, engage in their DMs and comments on their own profile — give people something to connect to so you can build up a loyal community.

On top of providing valuable and engaging content, you want to remain as consistent as possible on social media. We all need breaks from time to time, but one thing that helps me is planning and scheduling content. I love using Tailwind to schedule my Instagram posts — they have an incredible hashtag finder and provide automated scheduling so you can run your content on autopilot. If you want to read more about how Tailwind can help you manage your Instagram, I wrote a detailed post about it here. You can also sign up with Tailwind to schedule your first 30 Instagram posts for free. I’ve tried so many different scheduling apps over the years, but Tailwind blows them all out of the water.

Really dig deep and think about what you are bringing to the table with your brand. Consistency and value builds trust and trust builds a loyal community that converts.

Do you mind having strangers see more intimate aspects of your personal life?

My first experience in building an online brand came with my product-based business, so I knew right away I wanted to create a separate Instagram account for that brand. However, when I became a Beachbody coach, I entertained the idea of integrating my journey on my personal profile, but decided it was best to create a new account. I simply did not want all the Internet strangers out there to see the more personal photos I only wanted to share with my close friends and family. I also didn’t want everyone I knew in my personal life to see everything I was posting on my fitness account. It was just a personal preference of mine. I’m all for sharing authentic moments and getting personal with my audience, but there are some things I just don’t want them to see, and some things I post on my personal page that don’t fall within my niche.

How much do numbers matter to you?

When I started a new account I knew that meant starting at zero as far as followers were concerned, but I knew I could provide my target audience with valuable content that would grow into a loyal community.

A lot of people are worried about starting from zero — they feel that follower count they have on their current profile will help grow their new brand, and sometimes maybe they’re right — but this is where knowing your target is so important. You want to follow and attract followers who are within your niche, and your personal account might not have many people that fall within your target. In fact, you might notice a significant drop in your followers if you re-brand your personal account and take it in a new direction. Those people who hit the unfollow button aren’t within your niche. If you’re starting anew, trust that you will find your people, and they will find you. Of course you can promote your new account on your current profile if you choose to keep them separate. Just don’t focus so much on the numbers or let that keep you from starting a new profile.

The bottom line

It’s all about personal preference. If you don’t mind sharing your brand or your journey with your current followers on your personal account, by all means give it a go. However, if you’d like to keep your personal account more private and reserved only for people you know in real life, then keep it that way. I currently run three different brands on Instagram and have a personal account. Each brand falls within a different niche, and I know for a fact there are plenty of people I know in real life that are unaware my brands exist, and I’m totally okay with that.

What are your thoughts on creating a new profile for your brand? Does your current profile align with your niche?

xxElizabeth

How I Increased My Pinterest Views from 0 to 120,000

Pinterest is the hidden gem of online marketing. I spend a lot of time talking about it here and over on Instagram because I fully believe you can use it to your advantage to grow your blog or online business. People are really starting to catch on and are understanding just how powerful this tool can be.

When I started my first business I had such a difficult time coming up with an effective marketing strategy that would convert to more website traffic, new email list subscribers and consistent sales. When I started blogging again I had the same issue. I started reading about Pinterest, combing through research studies, courses, ebooks, blog posts — you name it — and also did some experimenting on my own. Before we get into how I grew my Pinterest views from 0 to 120,000+ let’s touch on some important things you need to know:

First of all — what is Pinterest anyway?

Contrary to popular belief, Pinterest isn’t just for finding DIY’s, creating vision boards or saving recipes that you may or may not attempt to recreate. It’s a place to collect information, shop, and get new ideas -- and for us bloggers and business owners, it’s a space to grow our website traffic and increase brand awareness. It also is NOT a social media platform or social networking site. While you can follow other users and comment on their pins, it’s not meant to be social the way that Instagram and Facebook are.

How can you use Pinterest to grow your brand?

One of the first things you should do to use Pinterest to grow your brand and increase your website traffic is sign up for or convert your personal profile to a business account. In The Pinterest Project course I’m launching soon, I tell you why this is so important and show you exactly how to do it. You can sign up to get on the wait list for the course here. In the meantime, just know you should have a business account before you do anything else.

Once you have your business account set up, you’ll want to make sure your business name and profile description are optimized. Optimizing areas of your Pinterest profile just means you’re using relevant, searchable keywords that will (ideally) attract your target audience to your profile, boards, and pins. In the course, I go into detail on how to optimize your content, what works well, and what doesn’t work so well.

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The next thing you should be do is create boards that are related to you niche. If you’re a health and wellness blogger, do you really think it makes sense to include boards filled with pins of your dream wedding? You know the right answer to this question.

From there, you’ll want to start creating pinnable images in something like Canva, so you can upload them to Pinterest, link back to your website, and create an optimized description that will attract your target. Again, I’ll show you exactly how to do this in the course! It’s so much fun to create these images, and doesn’t take a lot of extra time. Ideally, you’ll create 3-5 different images per blog post, freebie, or product/service. Eventually you’ll want to pay close attention to your pins that are performing well, and refresh any pins that aren’t bringing traffic to your website. I’ll get into the specifics of this in another post.

How I Grew My Pinterest from 0 to 120,000+ Views

Aside from converting to a business account, here’s what I did to grow my Pinterest views in a very short amount of time:

  1. I got clear on my target audience and my brand’s mission — my target audience primarily consists of other female creatives who want to learn more about creating or growing an online brand. My target audience also wants to know about some general lifestyle topics like time management, living at home in your twenties, and quick makeup routines for busy women. Get to know your audience. Figure out what they’re searching for. Ask yourself what problems they might have and determine how you can help solve those problems. This not only helps dictate your blog content (or the direction of your business), but also helps determine how you will structure your Pinterest profile.

  2. I optimized my business name and profile description — you should be including searchable keywords anywhere that you can, especially in your business name and profile description. A business name that simply states the name of your blog isn’t going to be as effective as saying something like:

    Elizabeth | DIY Your Blog or Online Business

    As far as your profile description is concerned, you want to give your audience a better idea of what your brand is about, while still including those keywords. For example, rather than writing that I’m an “East coast almost thirty-something girl” I would say:

    Former teacher turned Pinterest strategist, blogger and entrepreneur, helping other women grow their online brands.

    See the difference there? Optimize, optimize, optimize.

  3. I created boards related to my niche and optimized their descriptions with searchable keywords — I eliminated any and all boards that didn’t fall within my niche. If I was having serious issues separating myself from certain boards, I simply made them ‘secret’ or archived them so that I could still have access to what I pinned, but they would be hidden from my audience. I then started creating boards that directly related to my niche.

    Every time I talk about Pinterest, I talk about optimization — and that’s because it’s such a crucial factor in setting up proper Pinning practices. Business name? Optimize it. Profile description? Optimize it. Board Description? You guessed it, optimize it. Add complete sentences that include those searchable keywords so users can find your boards, find your pins, and find your website.

 

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    4. I started re-pinning content that related to my niche before I had enough of my own content to pin — There’s some speculation surrounding re-pinning. Should you do it? What happens if you don’t do it? Can you really just solely pin your own content? I’ll answer all these questions in the course, but just know that if you’re new to Pinterest or are a new blogger or business owner that doesn’t have a ton of your own content just yet, you’re going to need to start building up your profile a bit by re-pinning content that falls within your niche. This will help bring users to your profile, and in turn, increase your monthly views and engagement rate.

    5. I created pinnable, branded images in Canva to go with my blog posts — I have a very special place in my heart for Canva. They’ve made it pretty much effortless to create viral-worthy images to upload to Pinterest. They even have dimensions that are already sized appropriately for Pinterest users, and if you’re lacking in the creativity department (or just feeling lazy or a bit lost), they have tons of beautiful templates to help you get started. You’ll want to make sure you’re using appealing colors, easy-to-read fonts, and providing your logo or website somewhere on your pin. You can sign up and get started with Canva for free here.

    6. I optimized descriptions of pins and linked them back to my blog posts — Just as I mentioned before, you’ll want to optimize the description of your pins as well. Use searchable keywords that describe what your pin links to, and leave a soft call to action that will entice users to click on your pin to find out more information. Using a few hashtags at the end of your description is helpful too, but only on new pins. There’s no sense in going back to add hashtags to older pins that have already been floating around for a while.

    Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you sign up or purchase through my link at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

    7. I scheduled content on Tailwind — if you’re familiar with my blog, you know how much I love Tailwind. Seriously, the word love doesn’t even begin to describe how I feel about this Pinterest-approved scheduling tool. For me, it’s helped keep me sane because it ensures that I’m scheduling images to go live at the most optimal times. I can literally schedule out weeks worth of content, and don’t have to spend time aimlessly and manually pinning on Pinterest. The thing about Pinterest is they favor consistency over pinning a ton of content all at once at random times. Plus, Tailwind provides you with incredibly helpful insights to better structure your Pinterest strategy. You can test out Tailwind for free up to your first 100 scheduled pins here.

    8. I utilized Tailwind tribes — another perk to using Tailwind is joining tribes. You can join tribes relevant to your niche and find other images to re-share onto your own Pinterest boards. It really is a team effort in these communities — you share an image, and share at least one other image from another user. I noticed my views skyrocket after joining a handful of tribes, and really attribute this practice to a lot of the growth I experienced.

    9. I started sharing more of my own content, and less of others’ — once I had plenty of my own content to pin, I stopped re-pinning a lot of other users’ content. You don’t want your Pinterest audience to leave your profile and go to someone else’s website, right? You want them going to your page! Although this is somewhat unavoidable in the beginning, as you build up content on your website and create fresh pinnable images, you won’t have to rely on other users’ content so much. I’ll talk more about this in great detail in the course, so if you’re a little confused, don’t worry! And please — if you’re seeing somewhere that there is a specific “ratio” to follow when pinning your own content vs. re-pinning other users’ content — don’t listen to it. Tailwind conducted an interview with Sarah Hoople Shere (who is Head of Product Marketing at Pinterest) that debunked this ratio myth!

    10. I kept tabs on which pins were performing well, then refreshed others that weren’t doing as well — Pinterest and Tailwind give you access to important analytics that allow you to better understand your audience and how they’re interacting with your pins. I always recommend studying these analytics to see what is working really well. If you have a pin that is underperforming, see what you can do to change it (by creating a fresh pin in Canva), and upload a new batch of fresh pins linking to that same post, product, service, or freebie.

    Have you started using Pinterest for your brand yet? Do you want a little help? Send me an email at elizabeth@howshedoesit.co with the subject line ‘Pinterest Help’ and we can set up a consultation! If you’d rather wait for the course, you can pre-enroll here!

    xxElizabeth

    The Instagram Tool That You NEED to Be Using

    Listen, I’m certainly no expert when it comes to growing a massive Instagram following (I prefer focusing most of my efforts on Pinterest), but I like to think I’m pretty savvy on the technical side of running the show behind the scenes. Most days I’m juggling multiple Instagram accounts, on top of everything else, and I would be absolutely lost without the tool I’m about to share with you.

    Lately I’ve been seeing a ton of people ask about the best planning and scheduling apps for Instagram, whether they intend to schedule content for themselves, their businesses, or their clients. After throwing my two cents into countless Facebook threads, sliding into a questionable number of DMs, and adding comments to posts on Instagram, I figured I’d tell you about my secret weapon in this blog post to make all of your lives (and mine) a million times easier.

    I kid you not when I tell you that every time I mentioned this tool in a social media thread or DM, no one else knew it existed (at least for Instagram). Most people were suggesting other apps and I wanted to scream to all of them that they were seriously missing out — there is something much, much better that you can use other than your average planner app.

    Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links. I receive a small commission if you sign up or purchase through my link at no additional cost to you. Thank you so much for your support!

    If you’ve been here before, you might remember this post where I talked about using Tailwind to take your Pinterest game to the next level. Well my friends, you can use that SAME tool to master your Instagram skills, too and save yourself so. much. freaking. time.

    Besides how much I love all the features Tailwind has to offer in conjunction with Pinterest, I am equally as obsessed with the features they have for Instagram. Here’s what you need to know:

    Automated Scheduling

    I remember being SO frustrated by other apps and their “scheduling” features that really weren’t scheduling features at all. They required you to approve before your photo published to Instagram, and often made you paste in your pre-written caption before your image went live on your feed. Other apps claimed to have a scheduling feature when really all they did was send you a notification reminding you it was time to post. What the hell is the point of that!? If you’re going to schedule something, you’re going to want it automated, right? Well, this is where Tailwind comes into play.

    With Tailwind, you can upload your content to post directly to your Instagram without having to deal with pesky reminders or extra steps — but Tailwind will also give you the most optimal times to post so that your photo goes live when your audience is actually looking at your account. You can even add additional time slots that are suggested by Tailwind to make sure you’re reaching your audience at the best time.

    Smart Hashtag Finder

    I don’t know if there’s a truly legitimate confirmation yet (there’s lots of speculation though; everyone has their own opinion), on whether or not it’s best to include hashtags in the caption or comments section of an Instagram post. I always opt for the comments because I think it makes things more organized and visually appealing, but regardless, Tailwind makes it nearly effortless to find the BEST hashtags to use in each of your posts.

    All you have to do is upload your photo, start typing your caption, add a hashtag or two and Tailwind will automatically start suggesting the best hashtags to use for your photo. You can even see how many people are using that hashtag. I can’t tell you how many times I scheduled a photo and started adding hashtags only to realize I wasn’t choosing the best tags. Tailwind shows you a ton of possible hashtags in a few different formats that are color coded according to usage.

    To really break it down for you: orange hashtags are highly competitive, meaning there are likely millions of others users adding the same hashtag, so it’s very possible that your photo will get lost in that feed if you use that particular hashtag. The green hashtags are the best way to go — light green hashtags are categorized as “good” and dark green hashtags are categorized as “best.” Grey hashtags are specific to your niche, and usually come up if you’ve been using the same hashtags over and over even before you started using Tailwind. I have yet to find another tool that suggests hashtags more effectively than Tailwind.

    The Desktop Feature

    Another thing I love about Tailwind is that it’s not only available as a mobile app, but it can be used on a computer as well. A lot of the scheduling apps we are so familiar with aren’t able to integrate beyond a mobile device. I personally do a lot of computer work, and only use my phone to check up on social media, so this is a huge seller for me. I can easily create my social media graphics in Canva or Illustrator and directly upload them to Tailwind in order to schedule them out.

    Pin From Instagram

    Since Tailwind is also a Pinterest scheduling tool, you can choose to schedule pins directly from your Instagram. This means more people could potentially see your Instagram by coming across your images on Pinterest. Keep in mind that it’s best to pin photos that have a text overlay of some kind as these perform better than images of faces, scenery or flat lays that don’t include any text. In order to pin an image from your Instagram to Pinterest you have a couple options:

    When uploading and scheduling a new photo for Instagram, you can choose to cross-post to Pinterest. If you already have an account with Tailwind for your Pinterest, you can sync your Instagram account, navigate to the sidebar, select “Pin from Instagram,” and Tailwind will pull up your feed so you can choose an image from there. They really make it so easy!

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    In all the apps I’ve used to manage multiple Instagram accounts over the last couple of years, Tailwind takes the cake over and over again. If you’re ready to work smarter — not harder — and make your life so much easier, you can sign up for your free trial with Tailwind here that is good for your first 30 scheduled Instagram posts, or first 100 scheduled pins. I promise you won’t regret it!

    xxElizabeth

    how I tripled my blog traffic in one month as a new blogger

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    Throughout the years I’ve had several blogs about various topics, but none of them stuck for very long. I never posted consistently, and would go months in between posts. This time around I knew I wanted to write about things I was passionate about and focus on actually growing my blog.

    I’ve been blogging here consistently for a little over a month; while I’m certainly not an expert I wanted to share with you what’s been working for me in driving traffic to my site. While my views aren’t insanely impressive, they’ve grown drastically in a short period of time and I want to show you all the real process of growing this new blog. If you’re wondering how I tripled my blog traffic, here is a list of exactly what I’ve been doing:

    Disclaimer: This post contains affiliate links, which means I will make a commission at no extra cost to you should you click through and make a purchase. Thank you so much for your support!

    Posting consistently

    I can’t stress this enough. Whether you decide to post once a week, twice a week, or three times a week, it’s important to remain consistent. Going weeks or months without posting anything certainly isn’t going to help increase traffic. The other piece to this, though, is providing quality content and not just posting for the sake of posting. You want to make sure you are providing your readers with well written, thoughtful content that isn’t just being slapped together — really take the time to write your posts and produce something of quality.

    Utilizing Pinterest

    Being active on Pinterest has been a total GAME CHANGER. Once I figured out what my domain name would be here, I made sure to sign up for a business account with Pinterest (if you haven’t done this yet, go do it right now!). This allows you to set up rich pins, link back to your blog or website, and see how many people are viewing and pinning your content. My monthly views on Pinterest continue to increase (more on that later), as I stay active uploading my own pins and re-pinning relevant content onto my boards. I sign in to my Pinterest to do this all the time but I also use Tailwind to schedule pins and post to a few different tribes. This saves me SO much time and is such a helpful tool for growing your Pinterest. I’m working on a post all about Pinterest and Tailwind, but for now you can sign up for Tailwind here. You can also learn more about my Pinterest Management services if you want to learn how I can help you with your Pinterest

    Staying Active On Social Media

    A lot of what I read about growing your blog tells you to focus on one or two social media platforms so you don’t overwhelm yourself. I personally focus on Pinterest and Instagram. While my Instagram is still a work in progress (figuring out a cohesive feed can be soo frustrating), I post there daily, use my stories and comments to connect and engage with my followers, and make sure my blog is linked in my profile. I get a decent amount of traffic to my blog from Instagram, and make sure to let my followers know when a new post is up.

    Connecting with Your Readers

    Don’t ignore your readers! After all, they are supporting your work when they visit your blog and read your posts. When someone comments on a post I always make sure I take the time to respond. I’ve also recently set up an account through MailChimp so I can start building an e-mail list to connect with my subscribers and let them know about new posts, updates to my design shop, and share more content. I use MailChimp for my business and find it easy to navigate and schedule emails to customers, clients and readers.

    Joining Facebook Groups

    Besides Pinterest, this has been a huge reason I’ve seen growth here. I’ve joined a handful of Facebook groups for bloggers and it’s not only helped increase traffic on my blog, but it’s helped grow my Instagram too (I’m not a fan of Instagram pods, so Facebook groups are my preferred option). I’ve gotten to connect with so many other amazing bloggers and have learned so much about blogging through these groups. You can search on Facebook for “new blogger” groups or blogging groups pertaining to your niche. A lot of them post threads daily or weekly that will allow you link back to your blog, Instagram, Pinterest, Facebook, etc. You usually have to engage with others who post their links as well, but this is a great way to find other blogs and accounts. Not only does it help your blog, but you help others grow their blogs as well!

    My Actual Stats

    One thing I wish I would’ve done right off the bat when I started my blog was link to Google Analytics. I did that recently, but it would’ve been so helpful to have done that in the first place.  Squarespace does have an analytics tab, though, so I’m still able to track my traffic from there every day too. The first image below is a screenshot of my analytics from September and the image below it is from October. You can see below how my blog has grown from the beginning of September to the end of October. While I realize these numbers are small in comparison to some other bloggers who have numbers into the thousands and ten thousands, I’m excited that I was able to more than triple my traffic over the course of a month! I’m planning on sharing my analytics every month so you can see how what I’m doing is effecting my traffic.

    If you have some great suggestions for how you’ve increased your blog traffic, I’d love to hear them! I’m looking forward to seeing how my blog grows this month and sharing that with you!

    xxElizabeth