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TABLE OF CONTENTS INTRO: The True Nature of Instagram & Why You Need It

LESSON O1: Why Setting Goals & Finding Patterns is the Secret to Real Results

LESSON O2: The Fundamentals of Posting on Instagram

LESSON O3: How to Get Followers That Aren’t Just Your Friends and Fam

LESSON O4: How to Build Influencer Relationships for Exponential Follower Growth

LESSON O5: How to Run Contests / Giveaways / Shout Outs

LESSON O6: How to Always Stay on Top of Your Marketing Without Being on Instagram 24/7

LESSON O7: 21 Mistakes You Can’t Afford to Make in Instagram Marketing and How to Fix Them



INTRO Every platform is different and they each have their own voices and ways of interacting with your audience. What works on Twitter, may not work on Pinterest. And what works in your newsletter won’t work on your Facebook. But you’re here to learn about Instagram. The true nature of Instagram marketing, how to use it right for your business, and how to tap into the serious selling potential of this highly visual app. Well, you’re in the right place. This isn’t just a collection of stats we’ve found from other books and blogs. What you’re about to learn are tactics we’ve learned about, tried, and have adjusted for our own business account to grow it to 15.5k followers in a year. We have Instagram marketing posts and infographics on KISSmetrics and Buffer that have made it all the way to What it comes down to is, we did our homework and passed the Instagram test. Now we’re here to give you the cheat sheet with some very specific and little-talked-about tactics. Ready to learn what Instagram’s all about, and what it’s gonna take from you?


THE TRUE NATURE OF INSTAGRAM & WHY YOU NEED IT First things first, you are going to have to think, and you will have to work. But the good thing is, you don’t have to OVERthink Instagram and it doesn’t take much time. Because it’s so simple, if you learn what works for your audience, and hustle producing that kind of content, it will become very systematic and no-brainer-esque.

Instagram is a great way to grow your audience FOR FREE. Literally… Instagram is totally free. And with over 300 million people using it, that’s a huge base of people you can potentially reach and connect with - and sell to… did I mention FOR FREE?! Once you get the right voice, look, and content strategy down, you could have a LOT of power here. And that’s exactly what we’re going to teach you how to do!

Visual Content is King - And You Need to Post a Lot of It There’s a TON of Instagram content out there with 300 million users, so the idea is to catch people’s eyes, and stay on top of mind in a sea of Grammers. So that means posting a lot of great content. We’ll get more into how many times to post a day later…



The Purpose of Your Business Instagram: To Grow an Audience You Can SELL To You gotta know why you have this Instagram account in the first place. If you’re a business, you’ll want it to grow an audience of people to sell to in a non-sleazy kind of way. If you’re a business and want to actually make money, then you have to treat this different from your personal account. Some people tell you to keep business and personal TOTALLY separate, and that’s not always necessary. You can add a human element to relate to your customers better, BUT most people take this way too far and share TMI posts that don’t relate to their products at all. And those kinds of posts, that don’t relate to your products or to your audience will lose you followers and lose you sales. But you have to keep in mind your main goal with EVERY post you share on this account. And that’s selling. So make sure whatever you post, is promoting your products, your brand, and engaging with your audience in a way that’s relevant to them.


The Right Way: Sharing behind the scenes shots of your production process. Shots of your workspace/studio (with a product in it!) Writing captions in your own voice and signing them with your name to make it personal Sharing what inspires you - as long as it relates to your followers If it doesn’t relate to your customers deeply, or doesn’t promote your product, then it’s TMI.

The Wrong Way: Selfies Pictures of your kids (unless they are modeling your baby clothes) Pictures of your pets (unless they are modeling your dog collars) Shots of your house/view from your house What you ate for breakfast today Your recent vacation If you want to share fun pictures of your personal life, then you need a personal account. These kinds of posts promote you as a person, not as your brand. Yes you might be the main (or only) force behind your business and that’s a HUGE DEAL. It’s not that you shouldn’t be known for owning your own business, and that you have to be a business OR a person… you just have to share what’s relevant and let your personal story make your products more valuable. 7

Example: If you sell products for babies and kids, then yes let your followers know you are a mom yourself. That could help them trust you because you can relate to them firsthand. SELLING POINT. Yes you can share photos of your kids (if you’re okay with that) but put them in one of your bibs, onesies, etc! SELLING POINT. But if for example, you are a mom and you sell elegant jewelry, then shots of your kids, and you with your kids is a lot harder to relate to your products. So before posting, ask yourself… “Would a stranger care about this picture?” “Does this post add value to my brand or product?” If the answers are no… then save it for your personal account.


Here’s an awesome example of a business account that manages to share the voice and personality of the artist behind the brand in a way that relates to her audience of customers.


Allie from @bloomwellandco uses a conversational tone (and even 1st person) in her captions that makes her sound like well, the human that she is. Plus, her cute personality and love of flowers TOTALLY RELATES to her customers. This is how to connect with your followers on a personal level, without TMI that scares them away.

Examples to Look For in This Guide Throughout this guide I’m going to use 2 fictitious accounts based off real businesses for examples. 1. @yogalife - a hip, trendy yoga apparel brand that focuses on wellness, self-awareness, and it’s impact on the planet. 2. @craftsupplier - cute shop that sells all kinds of art tools and supplies to crafty, DIY-ers I’ll be referencing back to these accounts to give you specific examples of strategies that work for these businesses so you’ll have a better idea of what would work for yours. (All strategies will vary based on your biz, but the basic principles are the same)



WHY SETTING GOALS & FINDING PATTERNS IS THE SECRET TO REAL RESULTS Part 1: Why You Need to Set Goals If You Don’t Want to Waste Time

LESSON 01 So imagine you’re driving along, somewhere you’ve never been and have no sense of where you’re going. All you know is you’re driving. Where are you gonna end up? WHO THE HECK KNOWS?! It could be some magical place, but it’s more likely gonna be some random sketchy town and you would have wasted all that gas and time driving with no direction. But NOW imagine you’re driving along, with a GPS. No matter where you are starting from, you can find a path to get you where you actually want to go. Growing your Instagram is no different. But instead of a destination, we’re dealing with goals here. If you don’t set goals, you won’t know what you have to do to get there - just hoping all your hard work will karmically land you at success. But what is success? You have to define it if you’re ever going to find out how to get there. Then it won’t be a matter of hoping anymore. Because you know where that is, you can figure out exactly how to get there. Example Goal: 500 new followers in 2 months.



How to Set the Right Goals The best goals are: • Specific

“I want more Instagram followers” VS “I want 500 new followers”

• Realistic

Feel free to shoot for the stars - big goals are great! But don’t set a goal that’s too crazy, or it will leave you feeling discouraged if a miracle doesn’t happen. Baby steps are a-okay.

• Measurable

Make sure you’re able to keep track of your goal. If you can’t measure it, you’ll never know if you reached it or not. Numbers are your friend! *thumbs up*

• Relevant

Set goals that make sense for your biz. If you sell indie-hipster clothing, one of your goals doesn’t really need to be getting put in Versace’s latest show, when Free People is more up your alley.

• Time-based

This part keeps you on track. Reaching 500 followers in 1 month doesn’t mean the same thing as getting 500 new followers in 5 years. Put your goals on a timeline or they don’t create the sense of urgency you need to be more productive. 13


Reverse Engineering Your Goals to Make Them More Manageable If you’re trying to get 500 new followers ASAP, that can seem pretty overwhelming. But you know that’s the number you need to really get some real momentum. So don’t aim lower… just reverse engineer your goal and break it down into bite-size pieces to get shizz done. Reverse Engineering means take the big goal you’re going after, and calculate what it’s going to take monthly, weekly, or even daily to reach that goal. Example: Goal = 500 followers in 1 month 500 followers / 4 weeks = 125 followers per week 125 followers / 7 days = 18 followers per day 125 followers per week, and 18 per day seems a LOT more do able than that huge chunk of 500, am I right? And since you broke down your daily goal, every day you can strategize and do what you need to do to get that daily goal.

NOW YOUR TURN! Goal = _____ followers in 1 month _____ followers / 4 weeks = _____ followers per week _____ followers / 7 days = _____ followers per day

YOUR DAILY GOAL: ______ 14



LESSON 01 After you set your goals, the most efficient and least time-wasting way to reaching them, is by keeping track of your stats and finding patterns. Don’t just keep putting in the work if you aren’t learning from it. You ain’t got time for that. The key is learning what works, and doing more of it. So that means:

1. Try different strategies and types of content 2. Keep track of the success of each 3. Throw out the ones that didn’t work, and use what DID

You can usually tell which of your posts go over the best by just looking at your account, but a great tool for keeping track of ALL the different factors (best posting times, likes, comments, etc) is Iconosquare. You can see which posts got the most likes:

And the most comments:

Which times of the day are the best for you to post:


LESSON 01 Do your followers like your funny, 1st person style engagement posts, or do they love the simple lifestyle shots of your products? Are they most active in the morning, afternoon, or night? To find out exactly what your followers prefer, just check for patterns and know for sure. Now this should guide everything and everytime you post on your Instagram. You have no excuse to post something that your people won’t love. Keep in mind this is a general pattern of Instagram data. Your audience will probably vary a bit, and don’t be afraid to try something new (a new kind of engagement post, or different technique). The great thing about Instagram is that if a post totally flops, you can totally just delete it. PEACE OUT. This is all a process of trial and error, especially in the beginning. So whether you’re just starting out with zero, or maybe a couple hundred followers, or have a pretty solid following, setting goals and posting based on the patterns you’ve seen of what works, you can clearly boost your Instagram to relate to your followers better, and therefore, get more of them!



ACTION STEPS: Steps for Setting Goals to Get Shizz Done 1. Take some time and decide what’s most important in your biz. 2. Set S.M.A.R.T. goals based on those priorities you came up with ^ 3. Use the Reverse Engineering Formula on page 10 to break down your larger goal.

4. Track everything you try in your biz (social media posts, kinds of products, kinds of contests, sales, etc)

5. Find what works best, and do more of it! 6. Adjust your goals as you grow (they should get bigger as you do!)



LESSON 02 You can read all the tactics you want, “how to get more followers!” “this is how you direct traffic from IG”, whatever the tip, but none of them will really work… UNLESS you understand and apply the basics of Instagram to your business account first. It’s like pouring glitter all over a poster and hoping it’ll stick… um NO, you need some glue. So in this lesson I’ll tell you exactly what your Instagram glue is so the marketing tactics you’ll learn in the rest of this guide will actually stick.

1. Know Your Audience, and Know it WELL This is always number 1 for everything in your business, really. As much as your business might be your baby, your life, and your passion, it’s not all about you. It’s about your customers, relating to them, and creating a relationship with them (if you want them to buy from you that is.) For that, you gotta know them really well! Think of it this way... When’s the last time you trusted someone for advice who didn’t understand or relate to you? Um yeah, probably NEVER. (I hope…) 20

LESSON 02 You’re going to trust your bestie who knows what you want out of a relationship, and what kind of lifestyle you live for advice on “is he right for me?!” not your estranged aunt who thinks you should just be married by the time you’re 30. You want to make your target audience think and FEEL, “Well daaaamn, they totally get me!” Psychologically, that feeling builds trust. And your customers have to trust you if they are going to buy from you. So what you need to do to get to know your customers: Go straight to the source for the easiest and deepest info! Talk to your customers/audience! 1. Choose some past customers/people in your audience a. following you on IG, Twitter, your newsletter, etc

2. Contact them to schedule a phone call (or send them an email survey)

3. Learn everything you can about them!

We go over all this in more detail with phone call and survey question scripts and fill-in Buyer Persona worksheets to guide you in our blog post: How Do I Know Who My Target Audience Is and Actually Sell to Them?

Just remember, it’s a process that never ends - you’ll always be learning and always have to be aware of how your content is being received! 21


2. Anatomy of the Perfect Instagram Post Since we’re talking about tracking the success of your posts, let’s get into the nitty-gritty of fundamentals for what your posts should look like. Keep in mind each post will vary a little bit, depending on what kind of post it is and what your goal is, but there are some basic rules to know for every time you post. Check ‘em out:

Click here for the full size image 22

LESSON 02 Follow these rules and you’ll have a solid foundation for your posting. Another thing to remember is to MIX UP YOUR CONTENT. Like I said, there are different kinds of posts that all work towards particular goals: • Sales Posts

• Engagement Posts



• Tag a Friend Posts

• Contest Posts



• Lifestyle Shots

• Customer Photo Feature



• Inspiration Posts

The goal of your IG account as a whole is to... 1. grow an audience 2. sell to them. So you’re gonna need posts that will do both of those things, not just one. AKA: Mix up your content. Mixing things up will keep your feed more interesting for followers, and if you do it right, you’ll be able to promote your products and your brand without coming off as too salesy.


LESSON 02 “How do I promote my product without sharing the same photo over and over?”

yikes! Mixing things up will keep your feed more interesting for followers, and if you do it right, you’ll be able to promote your products and your brand without coming off as too salesy. A good ratio of sales posts to other more fun/engagement posts is 1:4 So that means, every three posts or so, share something less salesy, and more engage-y and fun. The trick is using lifestyle photos and posts like that to still promote your products (just in a less obviously salesy way).


Here’s examples of a 4-post flow: @yogalife Customer Photo

Outfit Grid

Product Shot

Inspirational Quote


@craftsupplier In Use Shot

Product Shot

Crafter Quote


See, you can promote the same product in SO many ways. And mixing up the content makes you feel less pushy to your followers.


“How do I create a cohesive look for my feed?” If you want that kind of cohesive and “fit-together” look, you’re going to have to plan ahead a lil bit. If you chose your look ahead of time and stick to it, then the posts you create will look good together :) Here’s what to do:

1. choose 2 fonts you love - and stick to those in all your images! (may be a nice one that fits the vibe of your brand, and another that’s super easy to read for CTA’s, etc)

2. Choose a color palette - and stick to those! a. what kind of feeling do you want?

@yogalife example

@craftsupplier example

“How Many Times a Day Should I Post?” The more content you post, the more you will be on top of mind with your followers. Post AT LEAST 1 time per day, but as you grow aim for 2-3 times per day. (Mixing up the kinds of posts of course).



3. Your Look Your Instagram is a highly visual representation of your brand. Because it’s so visual, your images have to be a high priority.

• Only post high quality photos. IG supports higher res photos now, so stick with 1400px x 1400px for a square image

• If you’re posting a non-square image just be aware that the longer or wider ratio will show up great on your followers’ feeds, but will be cut to fit the square shape of your feed. Rectangle


So just make sure if you’re adding text to one of these images, that the text is not too close to the edges, or it could get cut off and won’t look very professional on your feed.



• The people that do really well on IG are the ones that treat their feed like a gallery! The top 9 photos on your feed are very important...

• When a potential follower goes to check out your account, those are the first images they see - we’re talking first impressions here, people!

•Delete any posts that don’t look good there in the top 9, or that didn’t do very well (not many likes/comments)

• Rule of Thumb: When posting ask yourself, “Would I be comfortable showing this off in my house?” Make sure it’s something that you’re proud of, because it’s representing your brand.

4. Develop Your Own Voice So, since you have to relate to your customers (who are humans by the way…) your business needs a kind of personality to feel well, more human and real. The way you do that is through the voice in your copy (captions, text, bio, etc anything with words!) Your voice should match the look and feel of your brand and be consistent- it all comes together to make up your brand’s personality. Here are a couple of examples with relatable, fun and engaging voices on IG:



So don’t be bland. You want to stick out from the competition, right? Make it fun, and get witty with it! The best tip for developing your own unique voice is: Pretend you are having a convo with just ONE person, and use first person. This way you aren’t faking the real.. it really is, real.



5. Your Bio Your bio is made up of 2 important pieces. The description and link. Good bio descriptions: 1. Are super clear and explain what you do 2. Focus on the main benefit or piece of value your customers will get that they care about 3. UP YOUR GAME with a CTA to direct action! The bio description is super simple, but most people either take it for granted, or they overthink it. What it really comes down to is melding your business with your customers and what they care about. Your bio should relate to your customers, and how your business/product can give them something they want/need/care about.


LESSON 02 Here’s an example of the perfect IG bio with all three important elements:

1. You know exactly what this account is about, “Sharing handmade love + appreciation” 2. It’s super clear what value their followers are going to get from them, “Helping small shops + creative entrepreneurs grow big.” 3. There’s the CTA at the end, telling people exactly what to do, “Follow + Apply here”. Click here to download your 3 Part Instagram Bio Formula to guide you while you write yours!

NOTE! Emojis are not required, but hey they are fun! They are a great way to add the personality of your brand while still keeping it about your audience. Plus, that little pointy-down-finger literally directs people where to click! So perf. 35

LESSON 02 Here’s a couple other strong examples for inspiration:

Now for the Link In Bio This is literally the ONLY place on all of Instagram that you can use a link. A clickable link that is. Which one will get more traffic to your store? OR THE FIRST ONE! CAUSE YOU CAN CLICK IT! No one’s gonna take the time to copy and paste a link on their phone. If it isn’t linked, it won’t do you any good.



That’s why the link in your bio is so powerful. It’s the one place you can use to directly send people to your online store where they can BUY. MORAL OF THE STORY: Always, ALWAYS include a link in your Instagram bio!! But not all links are created equal. What I mean is, there are ways to use your bio to direct traffic to your online store that actually gets you sales. But having just any old link isn’t enough…

The Right Kind of Link 1. Update Your Link to be More Specific & Match Your Current Promo Get better results from the different promos you run on IG by making sure your link in bio matches the specific promo you are running. EXAMPLE! When @shopsweetthreads was running their 25% off Back to School Sale, they ran a successful promo with IG posts that included CTAs (for better results!)



Since the goal of this post is to sell more from their Sale Items, their link in bio sent customers to their store’s Sale Page, not their Homepage, or any other page that would distract from the Marketing Path.

Remember: The fewer clicks = less friction = more likely to buy. So change your Instagram bio link to match!



2. Make Your Link Look More Appealing (aka CLICKABLE, BABYYY) Aesthetically, a short, clean link looks a lot more appealing than a crazy long one: Bad



Much better!

Use a tool like or the Google URL Shortener to shorten your links if they are too long.



Track Your Links to Learn Which Posts Direct the Most Traffic The cool thing about bitly is that it lets you track any links you shorten with it. So if you’re running a promo to direct followers to your online store or website, you should track the link you put in your bio so can tell how many people actually went to your site from Instagram. This is how the bitly tracking works: 1. Shorten your link 2. Paste the link in your IG bio 3. Add a “+” at the end of the link in your browser to check stats

4. Get your tracked link data and learn from it!


LESSON 02 But if you have Google Analytics, using a Google UTM for tracking is for you (not bitly). 1. Create your link with the URL builder form

Here’s an example to help you fill all that out ^ Campaign Source: “Instagram” Campaign Medium: “bio link” Campaign Term: (don’t need this) Campaign Content: “Summer Sale Promo” Campaign Name: “Summer Sale IG Promo” Step 2: Shorten your link using the Google URL shortener Step 3: Put it in your Instagram bio, and you’re all set to track the data! 41


6. How to Use Hashtags to Reach Your Target Audience The best way to reach someone is to speak their language! And on Instagram, the language is hashtags. So here’s what you do:

1. Choose 3 of your followers. 2. Scope out their accounts - which hashtags do they use? Try and find about 5. 3. Take those hashtags and start a list. 4. Search for those hashtags on Iconosquare

Iconosquare will show you a list of similar and relevant hashtags, and in order of popularity.

5. Add 10 of those to your list. 6. Now you have a list of relevant and targeted hashtags to use on your posts!

6. Now you have a list of relevant and targeted hashtags to use on your posts!



7. Use Geo-tags for real locations AND custom locations If you have a brick and mortar shop, geo-tags are great for directing people to your physical shop. But if you don’t have a brick and mortar, you should use geo-tags when you’re at selling events (craft fairs, pop-up shops, etc) because when followers click the link, they can see exactly where you are - aka where they can find your awesome products. (Below I will show you how to do it.)

Making it as easy as possible for them to buy = always the best bet, and geotags definitely help. If you aren’t at an event, you can still take advantage of the location tag - just not with a physical location. You can use this space as a kind of secondary call-to-action, message, or link. 43

LESSON 02 @meandering_mari is creative with hers:

Note: if you write out a URL here, when clicked it won’t go to the link, only a location as shown on the map on IG. It’s more of a reminder of where to go.)

Again, it’s just another spot where you help direct your followers by telling them what to do where to go, and what they’ll get! Now that’s good marketing ;) 44


How to Create Normal & Custom Geo-tags Regular location tag: 1. Turn on your Location on your phone settings 2. Create your post as usual on Instagram - but hit “Add Location”

3. Type in your location name and choose from the options that pop up Custom location tag: 1. Create a new location on FB


LESSON 02 2. Turn on your Location on your phone settings 3. Create your post as usual on Instagram - but hit “Add Location” 4. Type in your custom location name (that you created on FB) from the options that pop up

- If the location doesn’t exist on FB, it will not show up in the options on IG - so if you’re customizing it with a different name, you’re gonna have to create it first.

Note: If you don’t want people to know where you live, you can create a tag without the location - just turn the “Location” off on your phone. As of right now, only iPhone users can use this option, sorry Android users!



8. Where to Go When You Need Inspiration If you’re ever out of new fresh ideas for content, or are just starting out and aren’t sure what you want your voice, look, and vibe to be, the best way to get inspired is by looking at other accounts. For “what kind of look should I have?” or “what kind of posts should I share?” questions, other accounts from businesses in your industry that sell similar products are a good source. For “dang, I need some fresh marketing strategies” thoughts, you can look at any industry, really. Look at what other successful accounts are doing, and tweak their strategies to make sense for your business. It’s always a good idea to follow other successful accounts because you can look beyond their cool content, and see HOW they are posting it. What strategies they are using, and what’s working for them. That should get your juices flowing and you’ll be able to make new ideas work for your biz.


ACTION STEPS: The Fundamentals of Posting on Instagram 1. Create Your Buyer Personas using the downloadable Templates here 2. Update your bio! a. Use the 3 Part Instagram Bio Formula to relate to your customers and

direct sales b. Always include a link - change it to match your current promo c. Shorten your links if too long d. Track your links using bitly or a Google UTM link if you have Google Analytics

3. Do Your Hashtag Homework

a. Take 5 followers and look at the hashtags they are using b. Make a list of the top 5 (notice any patterns) c. Search for those hashtags on Iconosquare d. Pick 5 (or 10) more relevant hashtags from your Iconosquare search e. Add them to your list f. Refer to your list every time you post, and rotate using 3-6 hashtags at a time.




What if I told you that you don’t need a lot of Instagram followers to market your biz successfully? It’s not all about QUANTITY, it’s about QUALITY people! Actually, in this case, relevancy. It doesn’t matter if you have a million followers if they aren’t the right kind of people that will actually buy what you sell. They won’t help you!!! SO, having a lot of followers is great (and you should aim to get as many as physically possible) as long as they are in your target audience! Building that kind of large and targeted audience comes down to these 3 things:

1. The Right Content for the... 2. Right People 3. Engagement

From lesson 1 you should know who your target audience is and have your buyer personas. Now let’s rock ‘n roll with content and engagement.



The Right Content for the Right People I’m gonna say it again because it’s SO FREAKING IMPORTANT: Your content has to give your target audience value, and be stuff they care about and want to see. Or they ain’t gonna like it… literally.

1. Don’t Be Too Generic By not excluding anyone, you’re also not including anyone either! Too Generic = “I sell handmade soap. Made in Oregon.” More Specific (Better!) = “Luxury soaps handmade with only organic and all-natural ingredients for peeps that care about what goes on their body.” 2. Test Content Post different kinds of content and use Iconosquare to track which posts do the best (most likes, comments, etc). Then POST MORE OF WHAT WORKS! Ba-bye guesswork. Your content, and even your voice and branding could change over time. That’s totally cool! This is how to find out where to start, and how to continually learn and adjust to better relate and target the right audience for your biz! 51


Engagement 1. Find Your Audience with the Right Hashtags

Take those hashtags you found from your Iconosquare research in lesson 2. Got ‘em? K, now you’re going to use them to find your target audience! Type in those hashtags in the Instagram search and check out which posts pop up. You’ll be able to go through them, check ‘em out and weed out which ones would be interested in your product and following you.

2. Like and Comment On Potential Follower’s Posts You can’t wait for people to find you (even if they are in your target audience, that doesn’t mean they will necessarily know about YOU). So you have to go to them, and get your brand seen by them. Do it with a comment!

The trick here is really reading what the person wrote and offer a comment that adds value or shows that you get them.

None of this: “Cool photo, bro.”

Get creative and start a real convo with them, and comment AS MUCH AS YOU CAN!

This can take a little bit of time, but it’s honestly just work that you’re going to have to do in the beginning. (Once you grow and start getting momentum, you won’t have to do all of these little things so much.) 52

LESSON 03 3. Respond to Comments/Questions

It’s always a great feeling when you get a comment on one of your posts, am I right? Likes, sure, that’s easier. But when someone takes the time to write out a comment on your stuff, that means they REALLY liked it.


When that happens, it’s YOUR job to make them feel the love right back. In the beginning, always make sure to respond to all comments.

Once you start getting hundreds of comments then that will be harder to keep up with, but when you’re only getting a few, take advantage of that one on one time you have with your followers. You can learn a lot from them...

Extra points if you ask them a question,

“So glad you like it! What’s your favorite part?” Questions you can learn from to make your products/biz better for your audience.


LESSON 03 4. Enlist the Time-Saving Help of Instagress A lot of people are afraid of using bots because they don’t want to come off as one of those annoying, spammy, and inhuman accounts that we all hate.

But if you use a bot right, it isn’t annoying or spammy. In the right hands, bots are just time saving, and cheap apps that act as extensions of you - a HUMAN.

Just like you use Buffer, or Edgar to schedule and post your tweets. Are you posting those yourself? Nope. Does it make you fake? Nope.

Instagress is no different.

How To Use Instagress to Save Time As a Human

We’re going to teach you how to use Instagress in particular because it does a really good job of keeping you out of trouble since you have complete control over all the settings you need to keep things real.

What Instagress does: Likes, comments, follows, and unfollows users for you.

We recommend just using the “Like” feature ‘cause it’s not spammy like the others, and that’s the one we’ll teach you how to use.


LESSON 03 The comment, follow and unfollow features come off as spammy (pretty much no matter how you adjust them) and attract spammy followers - neither of which will do your biz any good. The like feature however, isn’t spammy because it’s taking the exact same action that you would take - clicking a button to like a photo. It just does it for you, so you can do other (less tedious) things to grow your biz with that time!

Here’s how it works. 1. Select the Like action and set how long you’d like that action to run:



2. Choose your settings (how frequently Instagress likes, how it chooses which posts to like):

(You can change the speed from fast to slow after a little sprint to make sure you stay out from Insta’s radar)

3. You can like posts based on certain hashtags (that you choose), based on their location, or even based on who they follow (usernames). Insert the hashtags you researched here:

Then just hit “Start” and Instagress will get to work!


How to Respond to Negative Comments and Spammers It sucks, but sometimes you’ll get some negative or spammy comments on your posts. Say you get a frustrated customer who comments something like, “I didn’t get my order on time, it was 3 weeks late this is unacceptable I want a refund!” If there was just an honest misunderstanding or mistake, respond politely and deal with the matter in a DM so you don’t carry on the convo in front of everyone. “I’m so sorry about that @person’sname. I will direct message you now and we will work something out right now.” There’s no need to delete these comments as long as you respond to them politely like this. If your account has a good amount of followers they could see that you deleted a negative comment, and that could open a whole can of worms itself. (You don’t want people to think you have something to hide). If it was a totally uncalled for comment, then the person will probably just make themselves look crazy. Your polite, calm response will be seen by your other followers who will appreciate the way you handle it. If you have a negative commenter who just won’t stop, it is your call whether or not you want to delete the comments and/or block them. It is you account and you can do what you want. Just know that if you block someone you could make them mad. 57

In the case of spammers… Just delete and block straight away. Spammers make your account look unprofessional and can turn off other real followers. Definitely, definitely just get rid of them. You don’t owe them a DM giving them a reason or anything like that.

What To Do When You Aren’t Getting Engagement from Your Followers If you’re just not getting the engagement on your posts that you’re looking for, you gotta try something new. If it isn’t working, change it!

If our yoga account is posting pictures of beautiful locations, but they aren’t getting any likes or comments, then stop posting those. They could try posting pictures of people (wearing their clothes) in different yoga poses with captions like, “Have you mastered this pose?” or “What’s your favorite pose?” 58

If you’re trying different kinds of posts and none of them are sticking,

1. give them time - you need time to see any significant patterns 2. try something new - even if it means something simple and small like more direct questions in your captions 3. look to other successful accounts for inspiration - what’s working for them? if you have similar audiences, then there’s a good chance those types of posts will work for you too! 4. literally ask you followers what they like and don’t like - shoot followers a DM and ask them why they followed you and what they would like to see more of

If you keep posting consistently, eventually you will notice patterns. So be patient and consistent. Remember to use Iconosquare to track your most successful posts!



ACTION STEPS: Steps for Getting More Followers That Aren’t Your Friends & Fam 1. Clearly define your target audience 2. Find what hashtags they use 3. Create different types of content you think they would like, and test them 4. Keep track of what types of posts do the best on Iconosquare and post more of that!

5. Engage With Your Target Audience to bring them to you!

a. search for the hashtags they use

b. like and comment on posts using that hashtag (weed out the ones

c. respond to comments and questions people leave on your posts

d. Save time and use Instagress to “like” for you

who could be potential followers)



LESSON 04 Getting new followers one by one SUCKS. It’s like putting each and every rainbow sprinkle on top of your fro-yo one… by… freakin’… one. Oh heeeeeck no. You don’t have the time, energy, or patience for that. If that’s how it worked, nobody would even touch the sprinkles and just go straight for the easy-squeeze chocolate syrup. But hey, you can have your chocolate syrup AND your rainbow sprinkles too. I’d like to introduce you to the magic topping that will grow your following SO MUCH FASTER when you use it in addition to the strategies from the last chapter. It’s a little something I like to call, The Partner Process.

What the Heck is the Partner Process & How Can It Get Me More Followers Faster? The Partner Process is a way of finding “partners” in your industry that have a similar audience to yours, and getting your content seen by their audiences. Think about it... There are other businesses, clubs, and organizations in your industry that already have the same or similar audience as you. Why start from scratch when part of the job has been done for you?




WARNING: The Partner Process is called a “process” for a reason. You can’t just hit up someone with a huge audience and ask them for a favor… it won’t work! You have to go through the process of building relationships with these partners and offering them value if you want to get anything from them. Here are the steps:


LESSON 04 3 Ways to Find the Perfect Potential Partners If you’ve gone through the Buyer Persona exercise, then you should have a pretty solid grasp on who your target audience is. (THAT’S MUCHO IMPORTANTE!) Now it’s time to find groups of them that are already organized.

“Find a partner to collaborate that is related to but not a direct competition to your business that you know your customer would enjoy seeing and supporting.” ~ MadeFreshly store owner: Shella, Shop Sweet Threads

1. One (more direct) way to find cool IG accounts to collab with is to learn straight from your followers. Look at who else they follow. Pay attention to the accounts they follow that aren’t their friends (you’ll be able to tell). You should find other businesses, brands, and groups that they follow. Check those accounts out and see how many followers they have, and if their audience is similar to yours. If they have a pretty solid following, and their audience would care about your business and what you offer, then they would make a good partner!



IMPORTANT: Keep in mind that if you don’t have a large following yet yourself, then it’s going to be harder to get in with the accounts that do. When you first start out, look for accounts with around the same number of followers that you have. Then, as you grow, build more relationships in your industry, and become more known and credible, the bigger dogs will want to work with you.

2. You can also search for partners outside of Instagram. All it takes is a Google search! Ask yourself, “Are my followers in online forums (related to my industry)? What clubs would they be a part of? What blogs do they read and engage with online?” These are the places you’ll want to get in with. So let’s say you’ve invented and sell the latest and greatest, miracle (like seriously, it’s really non-stick) baking pan. You know the people that would buy your miraculous pan are probably going to be bakers. What kind of places would you find bakers?



Online recipe sites, and baking/cooking blogs of course! Then think outside the box and find some schools, programs, clubs that offer baking and cooking classes. They would be interested in your product because they could use them during their classes, which would be instant promo and awareness for you. So literally Google search: “best baking blogs” and “baking classes in Orange County” (or wherever you are). Filter through the sites and partners you find, and make a list in a Google spreadsheet, or word doc to keep track of all your potential partners.



3. Follow the Twitter Trail My personal favorite way of finding potential partners is on Twitter, because one good find opens the trail for way more. It’s similar to what you do on Instagram, but on Twitter it’s easier to find a partner, and look at who THEY follow. That’s how you find the other credible people/businesses in your industry, because chances are, that partner has either trying to use the Partner Process on them, have already collabed with them, or is learning from them. So find one person you’ve worked with (or someone with around the same number of followers as you if you haven’t worked with anyone yet) and click on who they follow. Scroll through and you’ll find lots of “influencers” they work with, or look up to. Click on those profiles, check em out and see if they have IG accounts. Save them on your spreadsheet of potential partners.



THEN this is where things get really cool… Look at who THEY follow. You’ll find more and more potential followers, and as you go along the trail you will become familiar with a good chunk of who’s popular and credible in your industry.

Through your research in finding partners, you’ll probably get inspired with some collaboration ideas. The best way to get a feel for what kind of collab a partner will like is to really take a look at their IG feed to see what kind of content they share, what kind of contests they run, and products/services they sell. Your collab idea should be relevant to their business, and offer them tons of value if you want any chance of them saying yes. A large, relevant follower base, a cool product to give away, etc. You’ll probably have to start small in the beginning. Just ask yourself, “How can I help them more than they help me? You scratch their back, and they’ll scratch yours – in the form of giving you access to their larger customer base. 68

LESSON 04 In general there are a few different types of collabs you can pitch to potential partners: • Shout out for Shout out • Offer their audience/customers a deal on your product (with an exclusive coupon for example) • Run a Partner Contest Depending on your business, and their business, the ways you can collab will be different. Be creative and use your best judgement. For our @yogalife account, you could do collabs like:

- run a bundle giveaway with a yoga class brand

- do a shout out for shout out with another activewear brand

- share one of their inspirational quotes (with person wearing their clothing in the picture) on another account with a similar audience 69

LESSON 04 For our @craftsupplier account, you could do collabs like:

- sending bigger profile crafters r DIY accounts your supplies and having them shout you out

- run a contest with another craft supplier with the supplies needed to complete a chosen craft project

We’ll get more into how to run shout outs and giveaways in the next lesson!



Alright, so now it’s time to pitch your awesome product and collab ideas with your potential partners. But WOAH there, slow your roll homie. You can’t just cold-pitch most partners. Most of them (especially if they are more established and popular) get a ton of emails sent at them on the daily, so even if you have a great pitch, sometimes you won’t be able to get through to them that easily. (And then again, if your pitch is fantastic, some people will get right back to you). BUT, there is a way to seriously up your odds of getting your potential partner to open your pitch, read it, actually consider it, and say the magic word: YES. Remember, the idea is to form a relationship with these guys before you ask them for anything. How do you do this without coming off as a clingy web-fan boy/girl? Start a conversation with them, and contact them in different formats. 71

LESSON 04 This is the method I use, and I’ve noticed that potential partners are a lot more willing to work with me after I’ve connected this way and shown that I’m genuinely interested in their work, before I pitch them anything. Since you want to work with them ON Instagram, it’s a good idea to build your relationship there first.

But you can also build your relationship outside Instagram, and this could get you some brownie points. If you can find their website, blog, etc. it shows that you took the time to get to know their brand.


By connecting with them here first, you can let them know in a comment that you’re going to send them a DM on Instagram. “Thanks for sharing this, @ name - I have a cool collab idea I think you’d dig. I’ll shoot you a DM!” This way they will:

1. Be expecting your DM, so it will stand out in their inbox

2. Already be more interested in what you have to say

3. Be more likely to seriously consider your pitch since you aren’t just a rando sending them yet another message – you’ll be a real person they’ve already talked to

Example IG Comments: Lame...

“Cool photo!”


“Thanks for sharing, this is perfect for ________ (kind of audience)!”



IMPORTANT! Remember, this is all just a numbers game. There are plenty of people out there, so don’t get discouraged if it doesn’t work with someone the first time, by the time you grow a bit, they could change their tune. The smaller peeps will care about your product more, than the big dogs - they will be more engaged and invested cuz its a bigger deal for them - they comment more, and spend more time on it - which is better for you! We’ll get into specific ready-to-use scripts for the different kinds of collabs you’ll run in the next chapter...

What to Do When Partners Say “No” or Don’t Respond :( If you follow the influencer engagement checklist, then you should get some responses back. Now, I’m not guaranteeing a 100% response rate, and even with the best execution and pitch sometimes a partner will just say no or won’t respond, for whatever their reason. Maybe they don’t like doing collabs, they only do collabs with bigger companies, or they’re just too busy at the moment. (But hey, these reasons are making them say no NOW. That’s not to say you can’t work with them in the future!)


LESSON 04 If a partner says no, make sure to use your manners and still thank them for their time.

A quick, “No worries, just thought I’d run it by you. Thanks anyways!” will keep your relationship going and a line of communication still open for future collabs. Keep commenting on their blog posts, retweeting their tweets, etc. (Use your best judgement and don’t do this too much and seem creepy. 1-2 comments per week is good.) If you haven’t heard word back either way within a week of when you sent your pitch, go ahead and follow up.

If you can’t seem to get a hold of, or get a response from someone, try contacting their homies and working with them first. If a big dog sees that you’ve worked with others in your industry, it will put you on their radar and give you some major credibility points. AKA you’re setting up your FUTURE - remember, it’s all an ongoing process!

The Post - Collaboration Relationship Once you’ve worked with a partner, the relationship shouldn’t stop there. (And you won’t let it if you know what’s good for you!) 75


Your partner relationships are like any other relationships. You have to stay in touch to stay close! Once you’re done running a promo or collab with a partner, don’t stop with a follow up “Thanks, that was great” email. YES, always send a follow up thank you email, but don’t close the door to future collabs.



“I’m working on this other project, that I think you would be perfect for. (Give some deets here). Would you be interested? Let me know!” Then make sure to like, comment on, and share their content from now on in the future. Like you would with your own friends on your personal accounts. Email these people when they launch something new, saying congrats, and ask them good questions about the stuff they are working on/sharing. Show that you are genuinely interested in their work, and you’ll have a stronger relationship. Then when you hit them up for a new collab, they’ll say yes! Once a partner, always a partner! *handshake



ACTION STEPS: Steps for Building Influencer Relationships 1. Research to find partners with similar audiences

a. Look at who else your followers follow b. Google search for businesses/clubs/groups in your industry c. Use the Twitter Trail: Look at who potential partners follow on Twitter - and who they follow on Twitter, etc.

2. Brainstorm collab ideas

a. check out what kind of content your potential partners share, and what kind of collabs they’ve done in the past

3. Use the Partner Outreach Checklist to get on a potential partner’s good side

4. Reach out to potential partners using the downloadable scripts 5. Follow up

a. If they say “no”: thank them for their time anyways b. If they don’t respond: try contacting them on other platforms (FB, Twitter, email) c. If they said “yes”: follow up with big thanks and an idea for future collabs!

6. Make it a habit of sharing partner’s content whether they say yes or no keeps you on their radar!



LESSON 05 What’s the point of running contests, giveaways, and shout outs? They create hype around your brand and products, are interactive for your followers, and if you run them right you get more exposure, more followers, and more sales. First, let’s start with the simplest of the 3, Shout Outs.

How to Get Instagram Shout Outs Shout outs are really simple collabs, where both accounts share each other to their respective audiences. It’s a win-win.

Both get their brand seen by the other’s audience, in a way that gives them both more credibility.


LESSON 05 Why more credibility? Because when my audience sees that I’m introducing another account to them, they trust that I’m sharing something valuable with them, because they already trust me, and value the content I give them. If I’m sharing it, then it must be good. In other words, it makes it easier to get more followers.

Reaching Out for Shout Outs Again, you have to think, “What can I give this partner to make it valuable for them?” With a Shout Out for Shout Out, it’s an even trade (if you have the same number of followers) and a lot easier to get “yes’s”. If you have 5,000 followers, and you want a shout out from an account that has 100k followers - sorry, it’s just probably not gonna happen, YET. Look for other accounts with around 5,000 followers (or a little less) and they will have waaaaay less reason to say no, because they’re going to benefit from it, possibly more than you. Then as you grow, you can contact the bigger accounts.


LESSON 05 Remember to Follow the Partner Outreach Checklist Before Contacting:

Then once you’ve gotten on their radar, you can hit them up with a DM on Instagram.

If the DM doesn’t work, you can always email the partner, DM them on Twitter, or send them a message on Facebook. Since you want to work with them on IG, that’s the most direct place to contact them, but at the end of the day, you just want to get a hold of them, so the others work fine too!

Paying or Applying For Shout Outs Are Options Too With collab shout out for shout outs, you are “paying” by shouting out the other partner on your own account. BUT you can also get some accounts to just shout you out (you don’t have to promote them on your account) if they do paid shout outs.


LESSON 05 Paying is worth it if they are a large account and have an audience super relevant to you because you should get more followers that will care about your content. However, there is no guarantee that these paid shout outs will be worth it for you. It depends on their audience and if they like your content enough to follow you. If you’ve been sharing great content that your audience really likes, then chances are you’re fine. BUT don’t expect these shout outs to get you a thousand new followers in one day. If a paid shout out on a certain account costs you $50 and you get 25 new followers from them, that’s $2 per follower. If you can afford that, and that seems worth it, then do it! If that isn’t quite up your alley either:

1. maybe don’t do it again and focus on your free engagement strategies learned earlier, or 2. find a different account to work with that’s cheaper.

These accounts will either have an application for shoutouts (or features) on their IG accounts or website:


Every app will be a little different, depending on the kind of account, but for the most part they give you pricing details, and let you know the terms of your shoutout. Then they’ll ask you to enter some info like: • high quality image as an example of what you’d like to be posted • be VERY clear on how your account relates and brings value to their audience • IG account name • shop name and/or website link • description of your biz/product and what makes it unique • email address • PayPal email

You’ll be notified if you are chosen. If it is not a paid shout out, they aren’t obligated to shout you out, but as long as your content is quality and relevant their account, you’ll have a good shot. Just think of it this way… if your content makes them look good, there’s really no reason for them not to shout you out. Now on to the more exciting of the 3… Contests and Giveaways


LESSON 05 WATCH OUT FOR SCAMS Sometimes you will get approached by accounts saying they have a huge following and want to feature you. Usually they ask you to send them one of your products for free. How do you know if they are legit, or if they are trying to rip you off? Sometimes it’s hard to tell… The fact that they reached out to you could possibly be a sign that they just want your free stuff. But that isn’t necessarily always true. The best thing you can do to tell if someone is a spammy account is to look at:

- their ratio of followers to how many they are following (if they are following a LOT of people, then they are probably using the “follow-un follow” technique, which is spammy)

- who their followers are. spammy accounts follow other spammy ac counts

- the engagement on their posts. If they get a lot of genuine comments that sound like they are from real people and not promotional robots, then they could be legit.


You can also ask around in your community or industry. Ask other sellers and accounts you know and trust if they’ve heard of the account, and if they know anything about them. Use your best judgement, and if it feels too good to be true… you can always pass.

How to Run Contests and Giveaways That Work If there’s ONE thing you remember from how to run contests/giveaways, it’s that the SIMPLE ONES ARE THE BEST. The simpler and easier it is for your followers to understand, get excited about, and enter, the more people you’ll get to enter, and the more successful your campaign will be. So it’s back to basics. Each campaign you run should have one main goal, and everything around the campaign should work towards reaching that goal, and that goal only.


LESSON 05 Here are some examples of strong and simple campaigns you can run:

• tag a friend (or 2) • tag a friend and they win too • like and tag and follow • collab contests

How to Run Partner Contests As you learned in the last chapter, working with partners is the simplest way to instantly double (triple, or more!) your audience reach. So if you can, boost your contest and get a partner in on it!

Click here to download partner pitch scripts for Instagram, Twitter, FB and Email.

Now, whether you are running a partner contest, or just your own, here’s what you need to know.



What Should I Give Away? Your products, duh! Okay, to be more specific, you want to offer a product (or bundle of related products) that’s got enough value for your followers to be really excited about it (otherwise they won’t take the time to enter) but not something too crazy that you’re shelling out a ton of money. Think of it this way… If a tee shirt giveaway usually gets you 300 new followers, and your tee shirt costs $30, then that’s a penny per follower. That’s worth it! If you sell a really expensive product, and you only have 1,000 followers, you can give away something else (until you run a bigger campaign with more followers, and maybe a partner to make it worth it). As long as the prize is relevant to your biz, your followers, and is something they really want, it’s all good. EX: don’t give away something as general and random as an iPad if you sell leather jackets. You could give away a gift card, or a leather care product. Relevant, but doesn’t break the bank.



Bundle Giveaways Maybe you’re working with a partner on this giveaway, and you’re both offering prizes, or you’re just bundling your own products. Sweet, ‘cause bundles add more value to your campaign and offer more incentive for your followers to enter. If you’re working with a partner, make sure your prizes make sense together. Chances are, if you picked the right partner with a similar audience, they offer products that relate to your followers (if they don’t, then you might want to rethink running a contest with them!) Remember, you want the prices to be WANTED by your followers (from both accounts) so keep it super relevant, and don’t be cheap about it. If you’re working with a big partner, give away more than a tee shirt - give away a backpack loaded with 2 tees, a tank, and stickers. Why? Cause they have a bigger audience and the return will be better! If you’ve ran contests just giving away tee shirts and you only got a few people to enter, you know that’s not enough value to make them want to enter. So bundle it up! 1 tee, 1 tank, and a sticker. Like everything else on IG, trial and error is a big part of it, just make sure you notice the patterns and stick with what works!



How Long to Run Your Campaign How long to run it really depends on what kind of campaign. 3 days is kind of the magic number for typical contests, but here’s the specific breakdown: If you’re giving away something fun and small (like a journal, stickers, etc): 1 day If you’re giving away something cool that’s a bigger deal (something like a valuable eBook or a quality tee shirt): 3 days If you’re running a huge partner contest, giving away something really big: 5-7 days But you’ll notice people start to leave and lose interest with anything over 1 week. You’ll learn how long your contests keep your followers’ attention spans and can adjust your time frames to work specifically for your biz and your audience!



How to Create Images and Captions for Your Campaigns For your campaign images, you’re gonna want to post different (but relevant) kinds of images so you don’t look repetitive and spammy. Keep your followers interested and excited if you want to get more entries and more followers! Day 1 - Engagement post (tag a friend) to get more eyeballs and excitement on your account before you drop the contest!


Day 2 - Contest Announcement - with product/prize in photo

Day 3 - Lifestyle / Engagement photo (get them to comment!)


Day 4 - Winner Announcement - name of winner in image, or another fun photo that relates

You should still post other content that’s not necessarily promoting your contest specifically, but you don’t want to waste those posts - you can use them to boost your contest! A “tag a friend” post done right, will get more people to see your contest! When your followers tag a friend (or 2) those people check out that post, and hopefully your account - which means potential followers, and people to enter! Make sure to write “check out the contest from our last post” to direct people.



Include CTA’s in Your Images As you can see in the images above, you should include CTA’s straight on your campaign images. This makes it even more clear what action your followers need to take to enter (which is your job, man!) Write the rules of how to enter CLEARLY and with as FEW WORDS AS POSSIBLE. Captions that are way too long, lose people. Which means they don’t enter. NOOOOOOOO! Don’t make them read so much! Keep their attention on the excitement they feel about possibly winning, and make it as easy as physically possible for them to enter. Just enough info that they are super clear on what action they need to take to enter. Include a CTA in the caption as well! This should be ingrained in your brain by now… but make sure you don’t forget!



Contest/Giveaway Rules You Need to Include! I’ve seen accounts get completely deleted from going against Instagram rules… IT SUCKS!! But if you follow the rules you’ll have no problems. If you want to be sure your contest or giveaway doesn’t get you in trouble with the Instagram gods, include this little blurb at the end of each post you share promoting your campaign: “Per Instagram rules, we must mention this is in no way sponsored, administered, or associated with Instagram, Inc. By entering, entrants confirm they are 13+ years of age, release Instagram of responsibility, and agree to Instagram’s term of use.”

What To Do AFTER Your Campaign to Get the Most Out of Your New Followers Now that you’ve run a campaign and have some new followers, don’t just end your promo!


You’ve got some new fresh eyeballs you need to show your products to while they are still HOT and interested in your stuff!



Because remember, you don’t want more followers just to have a bunch of followers. Follower do your biz no good unless they buy, or tell others to buy. And it’s your job to get them to do both of those things. After you run a campaign and convince them that they are interested in you enough to follow you is the perfect time. Don’t let them go stale or you wasted a HUGE point of campaigns!


LESSON 05 To help you plan out your campaigns and be more organized (and less frazzled) during your campaigns, we’ve created the Instagram Content Calendar. You can get all your images and captions ready ahead of time and scheduled on the calendar so you know exactly what to post when. Click here to download.



ACTION STEPS: Steps for Getting Shout Outs 1. Find partners with about the same # of followers as you 2. Use the Partner Outreach Checklist to get on their radar 3. Contact them using the DM script OR 1. Find accounts that do paid shout outs 2. Fill out their application 3. Make it clear what value you are giving THEM


ACTION STEPS: Steps for Running Contests 1. Choose what kind of contest to run

a. If collab contest, reach out to partners using the Partner Outreach Checklist

2. Decide what to give away of value 3. Create images with CTA’s 4. Write exciting and engaging captions that clearly state all rules, and include a CTA.

5. Mix up your content during the contest

a. Promo images + lifestyle shots b. Post other regular content mentioning, “Did you enter our contest from our last post yet?”

6. Announce the winner! 7. Promote your product soon after the contest to reach new followers while they are still hot!



Now, you just learned a TON of fantastic info here. Which is all stuff you need to know, but at the same time, it’s probably got you thinking, “How the heck am I going to manage to do all of this, and do it RIGHT (so it’s worth my time, without spending ALL of it on Instagram)?

“How the heck am i going to manage to do all of this, and do it RIGHT (so it’s worth my time, without spending ALL of it on Instagram)?”

Well, #1 like I explained in the first chapter, DON’T OVERTHINK. The more you do this, the more you will learn about your customers and the more second nature it will become to post content that they care about. Even so, here are some helpful (duh, why didn’t I think of that) ways to manage all your killer IG marketing and save some time and sanity getting it all done:



Use Dropbox to Create a Go-To Image Folder It’s a LOT easier if you have a bunch of post images in one spot, that you can easily get to on your phone than having to go to your computer, email the image to yourself, or something annoying like that. Keep all your images in one place, all on your phone for easy access by using a dedicated Dropbox folder. Download the app to your phone and you won’t have to go through a million steps to save them there - where you are actually Instagramming in the first place.

Pre-write Your Posts in an Email If you want to save even more time and post without having to think about it AT ALL, pre-write your captions. Send yourself an email with 3 days (or go ham, and do a week’s) worth of images + type out your captions for each. Don’t forget to include any (already shortened) links that go with any of those posts. This way you’ll just have to save, copy and paste into IG when the time comes. Yes, you’ll have to set aside 20 minutes to do this, but it’s a heck of a lot less stressful to knock them all out in one sitting than realizing “CRAP, I should have posted 30 mins ago… which post should I do?!” and then having to pick the right image, right the caption, and update the bio link on the spot. 102


Create a Google Doc Content Calendar If you want to be extra organized, a content calendar is a great way to organize your images, captions, and links PLUS what days/times each post will be posted. This is an awesome way to make sure you are on schedule with promos/ contests, or just making sure you have the right ratio of sales content to other content.

Cool Apps for Managing IG Other than planning ahead and keeping all of your content in an easy-to-snag place, there are some cool apps out there that make managing your IG easier. These are especially helpful if you want to streamline all your social media accounts and manage multiple ones while saving time. Try these out and see which one you like the best:







Cool Apps for Image Editing/Adding Text Overlay By now you know how important CTAs are for your marketing, and you’re going to be using them a LOT with your Instagram. So let’s make the process of adding text to your images easier shall we? Here are some easy to use apps that we love:







If you got the skills - Photoshop!




Since I run the MadeFreshly Instagram account, I’m active every day checking out the feeds of small businesses, creative biz entrepreneurs (and even the big dogs!) trying to grow their Instagrams. And every day I cringe at the simple tweaks they could be making to their Instagram accounts that would just open the floodgates for growth and engagement. If you’re making any of these mistakes, PLEASE take the time to fix them now, so what you’ve learned in these lessons will have a chance of working.

MORAL OF THE STORY: IF YOU’RE POSTING JUST TO POST, YOU’RE HURTING YOUR BUSINESS. So I’ve compiled a list here of every single mistake I’ve seen on Instagram and how to fix them so that you won’t be one of those cringe-worthy accounts. Are you guilty of any of these mistakes?…


LESSON 07 1. There’s No Link in Bio to Drive Traffic Of all the mistakes you can make as a brand on IG, not including a link in your bio is one of, if not THE HUGEST. Instagram gives you a whole space dedicated for a hyperlink (that means people can click it) so USE IT! Link to your store or a particular product page if you’re running a sale for example. The easier you make it for followers to find your store, the more traffic you will get.


LESSON 07 2. There’s No Description in Your Bio – Or It Just Sucks What defines a sucky bio description? boring all about you only about your products What’s even worse? NOT HAVING ONE AT ALL. It makes you look unprofessional. What defines an epic bio description? describes the “why” or mission/philosophy behind your products concisely describes what you do/sell 3. Crappy Resolution Photos Are Scaring Away Potential Customers Think of it this way… the higher the resolution, the higher your level of professionality. Or at least that’s how it looks on IG. So take advantage of that. No matter how big your brand is, you should look totes professional if you want sales. Here’s a lil trick. Make the resolution of your photo 2x the recommended size so when it gets compressed it still looks fab. So for IG, your images should be 1280px by 1280 px.


LESSON 07 4. Your Photos Aren’t Sized Right If your images aren’t the right size then your awesome products get cropped funny and important stuff gets cut out. With Instagram’s latest update, non-square images are now allowed, BUT while they show up in your original ratio (wider, or longer) they will still be cropped as squares when they show in your feed.

So if you’re going to post long or wide photos, make sure you are okay with the way they will also look cropped square. That means, make sure any important CTAs in your images are safe within that square area so they aren’t cropped. 1280px by 1280px is the best size for square photos. You can crop images straight in Instagram, or use an app like Instasize (for iOS and Android) to properly size them ahead of time.


LESSON 07 6. Where the Ever-Important Lifestyle Photos At?! Like mentioned before, it’s not enough to just have product photos. Those are good for focusing on product details, but you ALSO need lifestyle photos showing your products in use. Why? Because they give context and your customers will be able to imagine themselves using your products! If they can’t imagine themselves using them, there’s no way they will spend their moolah on them. 7. All Your Posts Look Exactly the Same I see a lot of newbie feeds that are just photo after photo of basically the same thing. You have to think about how your feed looks as a whole, not just as individual pictures showing up in your followers’ feeds. You have to keep things interesting or your followers will have no reason to keep following you. It’s okay if your products all look similar, or if you only offer one kind of product. Your job is to make things more visually interesting by mixing up your posts. Photograph your products with different backgrounds. Add lifestyle photos. Incorporate other content that’s relevant to your audience (not necessarily product photos). 111

LESSON 07 8. You’re Posting Inconsistently I see a lot of people who are too sporadic with their posting habits. The most common thing I see is that someone will be super active and post 3x per day for a week, and then drop off the face of the Earth for a month. You can’t do this! Your followers need to know what to expect from you! So being consistent it key. 1-2 posts per day is solid… as long as you do it every day! 9. You’re Posting At All the Wrong Times It’s super simple.Don’t post when your people aren’t on Instagram! Post when they ARE. (PST, there is no one BEST time to post. It varies from business to business, from audience to audience). If you aren’t sure when your audience is most active, test out some different times of day. Then use Iconosquare to view your statistics. It will show you which posts did the best, and when your optimal times are for posting.


LESSON 07 10. Less-than Engaging Copy Isn’t Strengthening Your Images The copy you write in your descriptions is the 2nd most important thing to your post behind your images (it’s in our DNA to process images 60,000x faster than text). Your copy should supplement your image and back it up with any relevant and important info you can’t include in your images. If more engagement is what you’re looking for, then try asking a question. But make sure you ask a DIRECT question, not an open-ended question. If the answer is in the question, you’ll get way more answers from your peeps. Direct Question = Would you buy blue or black? Open-ended Question = What do you think? 11. Your Copy is Waaaaaaaaay Too Long & Distracting I was checking out someone’s feed one time and clicked on a super cute photo (‘cause I mean, it was super cute) but the second I had to scroll to read the novel-length description I immediately clicked away. I can’t even tell you what the image was for… I was too turned off by the hella-long “omg this project was so special to me” speech written under it. Your post descriptions are not meant to be long! Keep them as short as you can while still offering the essential information and a little bit of pizazz… or you’ll lose people just like that. Rule of Thumb: Don’t make your peeps have to scroll to read! 113

LESSON 07 12. There Ain’t No Call-to-Action in Your Copy IF you want your followers to do something, you’re gonna have to flat out tell them. Even if it seems overly-obvious to you… it may not be to everyone. So don’t let potential customers fall through the cracks by not directing them. If you want them to visit your store, say “Click the link in bio to shop this look!”.

13. Being Too Salesy & Killing the Fun, Social (and Beneficial) Part of Instagram Marketing The number one turn off for potential followers is directly asking them to follow you or buy when you’re personally engaging. Whatever you do, DO NOT EVER respond to comments with: “Follow me, I’ll follow back!” “Buy it in my Etsy store here…” “It’d be great if you could shout me out!” Car salesmen have the rep of being obnoxious for a reason. People love to buy, but they hate being sold. It’s okay to use a Call-to-Action as mentioned in Tip 12 if your post is promoting a product (you need to give them enough info so they CAN buy if they choose to) but when you’re engaging in comments, you should keep things lighter and more personable. 114

LESSON 07 14. Not Using Hashtags for Exposure Instagram posts with 11+ hashtags get the most interaction. That’s because they don’t just get buried under your more recent posts, but are archived in the hashtag group they are tagged in where people can find them forever. Let’s say you tag your photo with #inspiration. If anyone clicks on any #inspiration hashtag or searches #inspiration, your photo will show up with any others that also use the hashtag. Like this: Do some hashtag research on Iconosquare to find the relevant ones to your audience and post 4-5 as a comment on your posts. After 30 minutes, delete that comment and write a new one with 4-5 new relevant hashtags. This way you get the exposure of lots of hashtags without looking spammy.


LESSON 07 15. Irrelevant Content Turns Away the Right Audience Always, ALWAYS post content for your audience and no one else. No matter how much you love that hilarious llama picture, if it has nothing to do with your audience then JUST SAY NO. If you post the content your target audience wants to see, those are the kinds of people that will follow you – not just llama lovers. And when you build a strong, relevant audience, that’s when you can convert them to CU$TOMER$. 16. You’re Running Contests When You Don’t Have an Audience Yet Instagram contests are a great way to boost engagement and excitement about your products but, I’m just gonna be honest with you… if you only have 80 followers, a contest isn’t going to do you any good right now. The last thing you want is to run a contest and get more cricket chirps than entries… it will make your feed look kinda sad. So right now, focus on growing your Instagram audience before you try running a contest, and then hit it hard when you have the right audience!


LESSON 07 17. Expecting Followers to Just Come to You Unless you already have a well-known, highly searched brand, then chances are your Instagram account won’t just be found by potential followers. It’s up to you to bring them to you. How do you do that? You find them first! • Use the hashtags your followers use because then your images will be categorized with the photos they are already posting and looking at… TA DA they can find you there. Use Iconosquare to do some hashtag research. • Search those hashtags and comment on the people that use them (theoretically these should be your target audience). Write nice comments, “Diggin’ this photo!”, etc. They will appreciate the fact that you found them and took the time to engage with them… and that appreciation often translates to followers. 18. Your Incohesive Look Makes Your Brand Unrecognizable When you think about bigger brands like Nike, Anthropologie, Urban Outfitters, you imagine a certain look and vibe, and that’s a huge part of how you recognize them. The reason they are recognizable is because they have a cohesive look. You need your brand to be recognizable, and be considered as professional as the bigger brands – so you need a cohesive look for your Instagram. Iterate Social has an awesome free downloadable Instagram Style Guide with 6 key things to consider when creating your cohesive look.



19. Why Are There Selfies?! It’s NOT About You No joke, I’ve seen way too many brand feeds with selfies. If that’s you… please stop! It’s one thing if you’re Marie Forleo and have built a brand around your persona (because then your face on your Instagram makes sense) but if you are a product based business, selfies really have no place here. Remember, ALL your content is about your AUDIENCE, not you. 20. Following Way More People Than Follow You Some people think that if you follow someone, they’ll follow you back. That’d be great, but it’s really not the case. So if you are following 5,000 people and only have 500 followers, that makes you look bad. You want to look credible, and your followers let others know that they go to YOU for your content… not the other way around. 118


21. You’re Not Using Geo-tags for an Engagement Boost! A cool option each of your posts has is to include a geo-location tag, basically to tell your followers where you are posting from. Posts using a geo-tag get 79% more engagement. This is PERFECT ammo for anyone that goes to events. Say you’re at Renegade in Los Angeles… geotag that shizz! Let everyone know exactly where you are.

Or if you’re at a networking event, geo-tag your post and other cool people you’d like to meet will see where you’ll be. Use custom geo-tags as a place to add extra CTA’s and your website link. (While not clickable, these are useful little “reminders” on your posts. See lesson 3 for full details on creating custom locations with the new Instagram update.


Post With These Things in Mind and You’ll Be an Instagram Marketing Master! Whatever you do, don’t post blindly. If you keep these mistakes in mind and avoid them at all costs, your posts will be primed for growing exposure, more followers, and increased sales!


Makin’ Sure I’m Not Makin’ Mistakes Checklist Go down this list and check off any mistakes you are making on your Instagram right now. Then, go back and fix them! Your goal = no check marks There’s No Link in Bio to Drive Traffic 2. No Description in Your Bio – Or It Doesn’t Direct Customers 3. Crappy Resolution Photos Are Scaring Away Potential Customers 4. Photos Aren’t Sized Right 5. Terrible Lighting is Downgrading Your Products 6. No Lifestyle Photos 7. All Your Posts Look Exactly the Same 8. You’re Posting Inconsistently 9. Posting At All the Wrong Times 10. Less-than Engaging Copy Isn’t Strengthening Your Images 11. Captions are Waaaaaaaaay Too Long & Distracting 12. There Ain’t No Call-to-Actions in Your Copy 13. Being Too Salesy & Killing the Fun, Social (and Beneficial) Part of Instagram Marketing 14. Not Using Hashtags for Exposure 15. Posting Irrelevant Content that Turns Away the Right Audience 16. Running Contests When You Don’t Have an Audience Yet 17. Expecting Followers to Just Come to You 18. Your Look is Incohesive - Isn’t Creating a Brand Image 19. Posting Irrelevant Selfies 20. Following Way More People Than Follow You 21. Not Using Geo-tags for an Engagement Boost!


NOW IT’S YOUR TURN! Now quit reading this book and get to work! Since you know what to do, the only thing standing between you, and a killer Instagram that brings your biz new customers and sales is doing the work! The best thing you can do now is take just ONE action to improve your Instagram game. Whether it’s updating your bio description to better relate to your customers, or testing out a “tag a friend” post right now - try SOMETHING. If you ever have any questions, just holler at us. We’re here for you, homies. Facebook Instagram Twitter


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Instagram Marketing Guide 2.0  

Instagram Marketing Guide 2.0