Instagram To Do List + How To Grow An Audience

Posted by Liz Gray on

Hi friends, it's Liz from @thegraytergood here with an Instagram to-do list + tips for your social media success. Not only have these tips helped me grow a following of 200k+, but it's a community of kind, caring, and authentic people that I'm proud to have in my little corner of the internet! 

To recreate this spread, you'll need:

  • Your Archer + Olive Dot Grid Notebook (I have the A5 size)
  • A Pigma Sakura Micron in 02
  • Black paper from the Blackout book and Kraft paper from the Kraft Dot Grid Notebook
  • A gel pen in white (I like the Sakura Gelly Roll, size 10) and one in grey
  • The new Acrylograph pens from A+O! 
  • A pencil, eraser, and a ruler

    Just remember - you don't get a dollar for every follower. Instagram isn't everything, but if you're wanting to grow an online community then these tips will help you with that journey! It's definitely a marathon and not a sprint, and it does help but it's not necessary to have a thriving online audience to be a successful entreprenuer/artist/creative.  

    For even more social media tips, tricks, and advice, be sure to sign up for my secret resource library on my website. But I know what you're here for, so let's get into it. ;) Here's a list of all the things I've done consistently to help my Instagram account grow:

    • Schedule weekly content - Create as much fantastic content as your schedule allows, and keep it consistent throughout the good times and the bad times. Why is consistency so important when it comes to building an online audience? People like to know what to expect, so even if you only post once a month, do your best (but don't stress) to keep it at a consistent day/time every month. Create your content around 3-5 topics, or 'buckets' of interest and make those your account theme. For example, my topics are bullet journaling, homebody/introvert life, being an artist/creative, with frequent appearances of my cat and a cup of coffee. 
    • Create good content - Set your phone or camera image quality to the highest that IG will accept. Keep your editing consistent, a.k.a do you like cooler or warmer tones? Are your whites yellowish or do they lean more blue? The quickest way to keep your feed cohesive is to always edit with your color temperature in mind and have your whites be consistent in your photos. Don't forget that Instagram is a visual platform, so keep improving your photo quality + composition, and don't be afraid to try new things. Above all, make things that YOU want to see instead of making things that hopefully maybe someone will double-tap ( that's the quickest way to get frustrated/burnt out).
    • Have a clear bio - What are you all about? Make sure someone knows as soon as they visit your profile. Who are you? What do you do? Who are you there to help? How can someone contact you? Answering these questions in your bio and having a clear Call To Action (aka email me, click this link in my bio for _____,etc.) will make someone more likely to stick around because they know what they're getting out of following you. 
    • Answer all DM's and comments - Engage more than you're engaged with, especially in the beginning! Appreciate the people you have without always looking to get more into your corner. Getting your first 1,000 followers can be a lot of work and you've got to put in the time and effort to respond to everyone and create genuine conversations and relationships. You've got to do a lot of reaching out and showing up and really caring about people. Want to be friends with someone online? Drop a hey hi hello into their inbox and show that you care! (And yes, there will be a few creeps and scammers here and there but they're easy enough to ignore/block and then move on.) 
    • Set up hashtag bundles - this will save you SO much time in the long run but will take a bit of work in the beginning. Once you know what your 3-5 topics are, you can deep dive into some hashtags for each niche and area. IG allows a max of 30 hashtags per post, so I'd make sure you're using a variety of sized hashtags for each topic. You can then save these bundles of hashtags to copy and paste when you post a related photo. Feel free to use a wide variety of hashtag sizes within that topic as well, anything from less than 10K uses up to 1mil or so uses. This is why hashtag research is important - you've got to actually look at all the posts/the community that's using that tag and ask yourself - do I want my photos showing up in this category and being a part of this community?
    • Caption = context - Yes, Instagram is a visual platform, but spending a little bit of time on your caption can give your audience more context and opens up a huge opportunity for connection and conversation. If you don't know what to say, ask a friend or significant other what they would like to know more about the photo. What helps me is to type out my caption a notes app instead of in IG, and it takes practice for sure, but just act like you're chatting with a friend. Ask a question or two, try to create conversation, work on your storytelling, and wrap it all up nicely with a little conclusion at the end. 
    • Hashtags part 2 - Here's another hashtag hot tip for ya: don't narrow your focus too much. For instance, if I was sharing these photos as a bullet journaling post, I would probably do 5-10 hashtags about bullet journaling, 5-10 about Instagram growth and strategy, and 5-10 about art and illustration. They all relate to what I'm posting, but they're not all about bullet journaling. They're reaching a wider audience than just the bullet journaling community and getting your work in front of more eyes. 
    • Consistency part 2  - Use consistent colors, fonts, photo style, language, etc, which is all part of your branding! This is part of what we've already talked about, but little things like using the same/similar filters on all your stories, use the same few letter styles in your stories as well, and keeping your feed looking similar to your stories will help to build your brand even more and make your content even more recognizable. 

    Just don't forget that Instagram is a visual platform, so whether you're sharing photos or videos, educating or entertaining, spend the time to make sure they look GOOD. If you're not sure how to do that - do some research on videography, mobile editing, composition, color theory, etc. And make sure that you're enjoying the content that you make instead of just trying to please someone else. You've got to find a good balance between what you want to make as a creator and what your audience finds entertaining. :) 

    I hope y'all enjoyed this spread idea + hot tips, and don't forget to share your recreations with me on Instagram by tagging @thegraytergood!