My friend came to me and said, “I want to start an Instagram account. How do I get started? I don’t have a blog. I don’t have a name for myself or an existing audience to draw in. I’ve never done anything online like this before”.
Where to Get Started
FANTASTIC! She was coming to the right person. Especially since I also built my account and audience from the ground up with little to no presence online, no blog, and was in the same boat.
My first questions for her were:
- What niche do you want to do it around?
- Think of a handle that will let users know what your account is before they see it. What do you think you will use? Bonus points if it has a keyword from your niche in it.
Figure Out Your Niche
She told me she wanted to do children’s books (that’s her passion, she’s a children’s librarian in the Philadelphia area).
Perfect. I told her to go create an Instagram account. Told her to start getting clear, bright photos up that pertain to the subject and niche (try to dump in 10 in a row if you can initially) to have a base on the account. I told her to try to have a niche specific keyword or play on keywords in her username.
To Buy Domain Name or Not To Buy a Domain Name
Then, I told her to go to Godaddy and register her Instagram handle as a domain there. We were able to get a year of domain hosting for under $20 (yeah, I just did it for her. It was getting late on the East Coast there for her and I wanted to speed up the text conversation). I advised her to not worry about getting the hosting and blog setup just yet, but to add that in down the line in a month or so when she gets the hang out this all. *Note, this step can be skipped. But you should definitely consider doing it before hitting 1k followers. I like to recommend to just get it out of the way.
Start an Instagram Account
So she went to work at 11:30 P.M. on Tuesday night. Less than 12 hours later, she hasn’t read Guide 1 yet, got started on Guide 5, already has 34 niche specific followers by 2:00 PM the next day (she hasn’t told anyone about it).
Her tasks for the next 2-3 days are to get in ten posts. Then, slow her roll and post once to twice daily. Once, if content is hard to create.
After 4 days, I advised her to join a comment pod. Then, I advised her to get Guide 4 and spend two hours after reading it to implement her hashtag strategy. Fortunately, she will be grouped with many book accounts in the comment pod when she gets placed, and she can quickly bounce ideas off the comment pod for where to get started with common book hashtags to start her hashtag strategy (instead of having to search around on Instagram to figure out the base of the strategy).
She should keep doing Guide 5, should already have Guide 2 and 3 down flat. After 2 weeks, once she has the process down and starting to understand how Instagram works, I advised her to Read Guide 7. She’ll want to begin getting in the correct suggested users early on and keep focused there. She’ll also want to understand how the algorithm works so she knows how to avoid spreading her efforts thin and avoid going down the Instagram Rabbit hole.
Now that she has some content, she’ll want to make sure she keeps up with her engagement on her photos on Instagram. Week 3, I recommended she read Guide 6 and implement strategies there now that her account will be growing fairly rapidly.
Defining Your Instagram Goals
At week 3 too, I told her to ask herself what her goals are with Instagram now that she probably has a better understanding of Instagram. Is it to become an influencer, is it to sell books, is it to raise awareness of the Library system in the Philadelphia area? Or something else. She should define that goal and start implementing more strategies to go in that direction.
If influencer is the route she wants to go, she should start keeping an eye on what other accounts in her niche are doing for sponsored posts and keep a list of companies they are working with and what is the account size at the time of the post. She’ll come back to this list later.
If selling books, she should ask herself: is her plan to become an affiliate for book companies directly, to sell her own books, or to become an amazon affiliate?
Figure these out and start working your strategy towards the goal.
By week 3 or 4, she may notice people doing giveaways and loop giveaways on Instagram and wonder if she should buy into one. I personally told her to be very cautious about these, and recommended she read Guide 8 and make an informed decision on if she thinks it’s right for her account and overall Instagram strategy.
Build An Extension of Your Instagram Account to Direct Your Audience
Week 4, she should consider buying a hosting plan for the domain name she bought and getting her blog (err, Landing Page for her Instagram audience as an extension to her posts) setup and running. More on how to do that coming soon.
I hope this gives you some insights into how to start an Instagram account. We’ll check back in in a few weeks and update where she is at with her account!