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How to Grow Your Instagram

… and your sales!

Followers are not everything. I’ve made many sales when I had 500 followers.

What is most important is engagement – how many people like, comments and share your posts and that the people who see your posts are interested in what you’re sharing.

Here I will share with you the tips I’ve used to both grow my following and my engagement on my Instagram account. I’ve gotten 5.000 more followers from January to June of 2020, but I’ve been active on Instagram since February 2017.

The first year I didn’t even use my stories and though I posted regularly I didn’t really have any planning regarding what, when and how I posted.

1. Name
Choose a simple name. Something that is easy to read, remember and write, so that people easily can search for you and quickly identify you.
My first Instagram name was Crochetedtops, which I think was too anonymous. It doesn’t tell me anything other than it’s an account with crochet tops. Then I changed it to Mati_Crochet and later to Mati_Denmark because I wanted to make sure people knew that the products are produced in Denmark.

2. Picture
Either use a picture of your logo or a photo which is easily recognisable – maybe with colors or an outline so people can tell what the picture is, even from just seeing the small icon on their smartphone.

3. Bio
In your bio you can write a few words or sentences either with your slogan, your first name or simply describe what your brand/Instagram is about.
You can also insert a link to your website/where you sell your products and attach an email or address (when you change your account to a professional account).
I’ve changed my bio (and will continue to change it) beause me and my brand changes all the time. It is for me a lot about defining my brand and that is something I think I’m continuing to do, because I have a hard time actually clearly defining what and why I do what I do in a way that makes sense to others as well, the more I keep changing my bio and my “About” page, the more I also figure out in myself where I am going, who I am and what I do.

4. Posts/captions
Post what you like to post. Post regularly and consistently, wether that be once a week or twice a day. Just get into a routine of posting, so people know what and when to expect something from you.
If you feel like writing something, do so. If not, it’s okay to just post a hashtag or an emoji or a few words.
I’ve noticed that long texts often don’t get alot of responses, but engaging with the audience like asking for advice or asking “which picture do you like the best, 1 or 2?” is a great way to get people to engage with your posts.

Sharing you insecurities, post that are not a great quality or doesn’t show your best angle is just as great, to show that you’re human too and not perfect. It gives your audience something to relate to as well.

Your feed doesn’t need to be perfect, with a color scheme, the same filter on every photo or planned all the time. People will feel the authenticity when you just post what you like to post, instead of what you think people want to see.
Play around with it, post whatever you want and see how it makes you feel, what response you get and what you like the best.

I’ve tried to take and post many different photos the past 3 years. This way I’ve found out what photos I like the most: like close-ups, photos in nature, photos focusing more on the clothes rather than the face and photos of customers. And all these are also the most popular posts.

5. Story/highlights
There is really no “right” way to use Instagram stories. Only 1 out of 9 followers watch my stories so I need to keep that in mind, if I have something important to share, this might be better to share in my posts, so more people will see it.
I like to post stories of behind the scenes, inspirational pictures, other peoples posts and also lifestyle photos – like what I’m eating that day or if I’m going somewhere. I like to see the stories as a way to get to know the person behind the Instagram more. The stories is also a great way to post something you sell. I’ve found that posting a layout with multiple items + the price and size of each item is the best way to make sales. But sometimes just posting a photo of a product I have for sale can work just as well.
Stories have so many features that are great for engagement: make a poll, a quiz or ask a question – a good idea is to ask something of your followers, because people always want to share about themselves, so give your followers the opportunity to do so!
I try to only have a few highlights regarding what I know most people are interested in.

6. Engagement
Share others posts that you like.
Repost when someone shares your posts.
Comment on and like the pictures you like. Even if it’s just an emoji.
Respond when someone comments your post.
Make polls, quizzes, ask questions etc. in your stories.

7. Influencers
Offer a free product to an influencer with more followers than you, this way you can get free exposure. Just make sure to find someone that you think can represent what your brand stands for or someone that fits your existing customers/audience.
Write them a short message, asking them if they would like to receive a free product and in return they post a photo with that item to their Instagram (and tag you). This is a great way for new people to notice you!
I’ve used about 4 influencers in my time on Instagram and that has been a great succes and all gotten me multiple sales.

8. Hashtags
I post hashtags to my comment section, so it doesn’t show in my caption. In “Notes” on my smartphone I have saved all the hashtags so I can just copy-paste. I try to use both popular hashtags but also hashtags of the name of my product (like #mirabeltop) and my own hashtags like #matidenmark and #maticrochet (which was my last Instagram name). You can search on google for popular hashtags in your niche.

9. Business Instagram
A great way to track your audience and their behaviour is to change your account from personal to professional and choose which area you work in. This way you can see which posts were saved, liked and engaged with the most. At what time of day your audience is most active, which countries your followers are from and much more. It’s such a game changer, if you want to grow your Instagram and also it just gives a much more professional vibe to your account.
Go to your profile. Click the three lines in the top right corner, click Settings, go to Account, scroll down and there you’ll see: Switch to professional account.

10. Act like you already have a huge following
This tip I got from one of my followers (and one that I also follow: and I thought that tip was so great. Write, post and act like a huge amount of people are already following and seeing your posts, even though your stories and posts only have 10 likes or 10 view, act as if it was 1000. Ask people for advice, share whatever you like, as though a lot of people were there to witness it.
It’s one of the mistakes I’ve made – and still sometimes make – that I forget that people are watching.

And I think this is why I didn’t write that many captions in the beginning, I thought people didn’t care about it or that people weren’t seeing my posts, but making captions and stories where you share what is within you is such a great way to let people really see and know you!

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