Kick start a pro Instagram account like a (Girl)Boss ✌🏼

Instagram can be so frustrating sometimes when you see those beautiful feeds around and you feel like it’s just impossible for whatever reason: time, skills, etc. I felt the same, many of my friends felt the same, that was enough for me to investigate. After giving two personal lectures in the last two days (hello Orlagh, hello Sarah!), I decided to write make a blog post out of it. Easier to share! So below is what I learned on how to manage your Instagram feed and what I do.

CREATE A MOOD BOARD

CURATION

You don’t need to be a creative to pull out great content! It’s there everywhere starting with Instagram itself, where you can repost other accounts providing you tag them (good for cross-promotion too). Out of the Gram, my favorite sources are Unsplash (for great pictures), Pinterest with its on point board feature, Tumblr (no censorship!) and KissPNG (for transparent .png).

CREATION

Canva! Canva! Canva! That tool is so easy to use and makes your content look so nice. Let’s say you want to post quotes but don’t like the look of them, with Canva, you can create quote posts with your own graphic identity (colors, font, etc.). It’s also good to show your own pictures to broadcast your products, your clients, etc. for this I use VSCO and Snapseed.

ASSEMBLY

You have your content ready! Time to pull it together in a mood board. For a month of posts, I create a file that is 3000px x 10000px with Photoshop (Gimp is a free equivalent). With the guides feature, I create a grid placing guides every 1000 px horizontally and vertically to obtain a blank canvas of 30 images for my Instagram feed (VIEW>NEW GUIDE).

 Pure blank canvas

Pure blank canvas

 Cheat sheet kinda canvas

Cheat sheet kinda canvas

Above is what it looks like! Don’t be disturbed by the French-speaking Photoshop… On the right, I numbered the tiles so I know which day it will be and I also indicated when I plan to post a blog article so I know this tile must be about the blog article I am posting. You can annotate with anything useful to your strategy. It won’t show when you export as you paste content over it. It’s just a cheat sheet!

I then use this blank canvas to assemble my content: pictures, quotes, drawing, etc. You can add here and then transparent .png of texture that use your colours. You can also play with content going across several posts and content that stay in a post. Doing so, if you need to post something last minute, you can still cancel this type of scheduled posts.

 @kantoutacou the profile of my card game on sex

@kantoutacou the profile of my card game on sex

 @iamsophiemona my personal profile

@iamsophiemona my personal profile

Write to me if you want my Photoshop blank canvas or one of these files above for inspiration, I will send with pleasure!

POST your content

export

Your mood board is ready? You like it? Export it as a .png file and use Pinetools to create 30 images ready to go into Instagram. Crazy right? It works like magic! Then to schedule their posting, I recommend to use Later, like I do, or UNUM, which is free but then you won’t enjoy Later’s automated posting feature (which may not be such a big deal though…).

TIMING

Best thing to start here is to post during the week when your followers are not working, think 11am to 1pm and 7pm to 9pm (followers’ timezone!). Saturday lunch time why not, forget about the rest of the weekend, especially Sunday. If like me, you use Later and you have enough history, they have this great feature that tells you when is the best time to post.

CAPTION

Make it engaging! You want to trigger comments so you can reply to these comments and Instagram’s algorithm likes you… There is a tendency lately, don’t know if you’ve noticed, captions tend to be longer, like mini blog articles. I tried it last year on my personal account while I was on holidays and I did see good results. It’s worth it.

HASHTAGS

Research competitors and check out hashtags statistics, how many times do they come out. If you have under 10,000 followers, go for hashtags that have been used between 100,000 and 1,000,000 times so you get to be seen. Also mix popular hashtags and niche hashtags, location if relevant to your business (ex: #reiki #reikiwomen #reikilondon).

MAKE IT bloom

share for share

Identify accounts of your size to cross-promote your brands and suggest that you do a share for share (S4S): you post a call to action (CTA) for your followers to follow them, they do the same. Make sure you agree on the caption and the timing (see below about timing). This usually brings good results to grow with quality followers.

follow/unfollow

This is something used on Twitter too. Look at your competitors followers that engage with their recent posts and follow them. They’ll know about you and if your content appeals to them, they will follow you. Give it some time and unfollow them. You can do 60 follow/unfollow per hour to stay under the radar.

engagement

Engage with your competitors to be seen by their followers, engage with their followers, engage with anyone using the hashtags you have identified as being relevant to your brand. Make it fun and have fun!

That’s it! Let me know in the comment section if you have any questions or ideas that would be relevant. I’d love to hear from you and how you are doing with Instagram. And don’t forget that…

 Photo by  Sandrachile .  on  Unsplash