Instagram Experiment: Getting Started

Instagram currently has 112.5 million users in the United States. The population of the good ole USA in 2020 is roughly 330 million people. That means 1/3 of the people of this country are on Instagram. It also means that it's probably closer to half of adults, because the population statistics for the country also include babies, toddlers and other child categorizations. Why are we starting with this? Because there are a ton of targets on the platform! Yes, you need to be on it! I need to be on it, too!

I have decided to start a motivational quote style Instagram account for the sole purpose of seeing how I can get it to grow. I will experiment and report the results in an ongoing series with the above title. You're welcome to subscribe to the blog and I will be more than happy to share what I am doing and all of the successes and failures that come with it. My biggest goal is to learn what works and what doesn't so that I can improve my Instagram skills for the years ahead. My secondary goal is to share what I learn with you, so that you can avoid the mistakes I have made. Let's wish ourselves luck!

Step 1: Create The Accounts

The first thing you will need to do is have access to an email account. While I recommend a fitting Gmail account, you may choose whatever you'd like. When I say "fitting", the email address you choose should be somehow related to your account. For instance, if you're going into fashion stuff, "billyfashion" at Gmail is way better than "Bob102341531". You may need to use this email for correspondence in the future, so make sure it is tasteful and appropriate for what you're trying to do. At the same time, don't overthink it.

As soon as your email is complete and verified, head on over to Instagram and begin creating your new account. Don't worry about the bio information just yet, but rather plug in your basic information and verify your shiny new account. We'll get everything going here in just a bit.

While you're at it, I recommend creating an account with Canva and with Buffer. Both of these places are going to be incredibly helpful with you down the road. To ruin the surprise, Canva is an incredibly useful place to create your actual posts and Buffer is my preferred scheduling program so that you can plan out your posts and have them spread out throughout the day. It's very helpful!

Finally, if you haven't done so already, it might be a good idea to create a Facebook "Page" for whatever it is you're trying to do. You can easily create this from your personal Facebook account and no one will ever know the connection unless you tell them. The page requirement is an odd feature of Buffer, but you actually don't have to use the Facebook part if you don't want to. You simply just need to have it created and active. But then again...why wouldn't you want to use it?

Step 2: Get Things Set Up

Once you get your shiny new Instagram account going, you'll want to fill it out properly. There are tons of resources and articles on how to do this. In my opinion, you should take advantage of this space and ONLY put valuable information. This is not a place to drone on and on about yourself or what you're trying to do in the world. Instead, I prefer the bullet style list with succinct and direct information. Remember, you can change it any time, so don't worry if you don't get it right the first time. Give this article a view, but I wouldn't recommend doing anything with that's actually not free.

Your Instagram doesn't exist in a vacuum, although you are only allowed a single link in your profile. If you blow up, there are other options for linking and driving traffic, but for now, you only get one. You should head over to LinkTree and get yourself an account. This will allow a very mobile friendly screen to pop up when they click your link. It's pretty awesome and you can drive traffic to a ton of different places!

Let's talk a second about your profile picture. Some say it's the most important part of your bio, but I don't quite give it that attention. As a key driver of what you're trying to do, you should post or create a graphic that is right for what you're trying to do. For example, if you're a personal brand, it better be a picture of yourself. If you're a company, it should probably be a logo. If it's something else, it should be something else, you dig? In short, pick a picture that matches what you're doing. Don't make it counter-productive and, like everything else, you can change it whenever you want.

Final note, go ahead and great a professional or business account, you'll want the analytics down the road and it's required to integrate with Facebook. To do this, simply go into your settings, click account and go to the bottom. You'll see all the account conversion options. If you can't find it, YouTube is your friend.

Step 3: Start Creating Posts

Now this is where the fun begins! Head on over to Canva and look in the Instagram posts section. Even if you took the photo with your phone, you're still going to want to run it through Canva. When you do this, it will allow you to make sure your sizes are correct and you can make sure everything looks the way it should so that you start off on the right foot. Not only that, there are a few filters and tools to make your images pop, even without the thousands of templates they have. I have been using Canva for two years and I cannot even begin to count how many posts I have made with it.

Again, it all goes back to what you want to do, but it helps to be consistent. If you create a few templates with Canva, you can go back to them and add in your custom photos or content. For instance, if you model a motivational quote thing, you'd want to use the same font and colors. If you add graphics and so forth, you can change the graphic, but don't change the arrangement. Logo? Sure, make sure to include it in roughly the same size and location to create beautiful consistency. Branding relies on your ability to do amazing things in a similar fashion over time. Remember this, it helps and it works!

Step 4: Break The Ice And Post Your Post

Here we are! Your profile is created, your post is created, and now you need to make your presence known to the world of Instagram. You can post from your phone or you can post from Buffer if it is set up properly. You can do a lot of things from the PC nowadays, but if you want to stick with your phone, that's cool, too but just make sure you feel comfortable with what you decide.

Okay, you've got your picture and now what? You need to type something! Don't worry about writing your next novel, but there are a lot of people that believe more is better in the caption. Expand on what is in the picture or even talk about what you were thinking. Remember, you can't use links, so don't even try it. If you want to stand out, tell something interesting, tag someone (using the "@"), or even ask a question.

You've probably heard about hashtags and YES you should definitely be using all 30! All 30? Yes, you get a limit of 30 hashtags to be used on each and every Instagram post you make. Here are a couple of rules:

  1. Always use 30 hashtags, there's no reason not to!

  2. Don't use the same hashtags again and again. Overlap is okay, but keep a variety

  3. Avoid spammy hashtags like #f4f, #follow, or #picoftheday

There are hashtag generators out there, but I don't think they are a good tool. The reason why is that many of them will spit out the big hashtags that will never get you much attention. When it comes to selecting the best hashtags for your posts, you need to be specific to your goals. Let's say you're doing a quotes thing like me and you want to add some tags. Obviously you could use the #quotes tag, but that is way too popular to get you any attention. Try to specific, like #TuesdayQuotes, #militarymotivation, or even #quotesaboutlove or anything that is hyper specific to your content.

Once you have your post ready to go, post that bad boy! Don't post too often, though. Try to post no more than once per hour, but at least once per day. As you get going, you will want to post multiple times per day across multiple platforms, but we'll save that for another time. Don't worry! One step at a time and you'll be on your way to amazing success.

Step 5: Come Back To This Blog

Start with three posts in your first round. Let them sit for a while. Once you start to establish a rhythm, you'll be off and running. If you don't like a post, you can delete it. If you are unsure of what to talk about or post about, simply Google something. Look at Google Trends, Exploding Ideas or simply look at the news and you will find an endless supply of ideas. Consistency is key! Post something daily at a minimum!

If you have specific questions, shoot me an email: and I'll be happy to help you out as much as I can.