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I'm Lexie — energetic business coach. I'm here to help you honour the way you were meant to be successful in your business by designing an aligned biz strategy.

Online Marketing

Instagram Updates and Best Practices Spring 2022 

May 12, 2022

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Just about everyone is on Instagram these days, including dogs and cats with their own trending Instagram accounts. Instagram is a beast and it is an amazing marketing tool that you can use for free to connect with your ideal clients and your target market. However, like with any tool, Instagram comes down to making it work for you and your business. 

But with all of the changing features and reels and trending viral post talk, how do you even know what you should be focusing on right now when it comes to Instagram? That's exactly what we're going to get into in today's episode. 

I'm excited to have Kendra from Girl Means Business on the show today to talk all about Instagram updates and best practices for Spring 2022. Kendra is a mom of two, a photographer and an educator. In 2012, she started her first business and everything changed. What started out as a hobby alongside her teaching career quickly turned into a successful business. In 2017, she left her teaching career to run her photography business full time and start the Girl Means Business brand and podcast. Now, she helps women take their business from survival mode to success mode using the same relationship marketing strategies that have been the foundations of her own successful photography business.

In this Episode We Chat About:

  • What should we be spending our time creating for Instagram?
  • Instagram Neighborhoods - different areas for different people on the app
  • Why repurposing content is the golden ticket with social media
  • How to get started repurposing your content on Instagram 
  • Are you hurting your Instagram growth if you are not creating Reels right now?
  • Stop comparing yourself to others on social media. It takes time to learn these features
  • The latest Instagram Updates as of Spring 2022
  • Where should we be going online to find the latest updates on our own (who can we trust)
  • Start using the Collaboration features on Instagram to grow your community
  • The changes to the way we view on content on our own feed
  • Kendra’s #1 top priority tip for you to build your Instagram audience in 2022
themagneticbusinesscoach

Biggest Episode Takeaways:

One

The first thing you’ve got to figure out is what area do you feel the most comfortable with as far as creating content? And then, secondly, where are your audience members? Where's your target audience spending their time? Because if you are trying to target this younger teens, early 20s generation, they're probably not hanging out in the feed. They're hanging out in the Real's. 

Knowing who your audience is and really understanding where they're spending their time, what parts of Instagram they're spending their time on should be a top priority for using your time wisely on Instagram for your business. 

Two

Repurpose your content and focus on one core content area to start with.  Continue to use all the Instagram app features (like Stories, Video, Static Feed Posts), but leverage the art of repurposing your content here so you don’t have to be constantly creating. For example: You created a Reel - take that content and turn it into a Story and a Feed Post.

Three

Kendra’s thoughts on Reels: “I know Reels are a very intimidating space to go into, because that means  you have to put in a little more production value (even though it doesn't take a lot, it does take a little more time). There's a learning curve if you've never worked with video content before. And then there's the fact that there's this idea that Reels have to be dancing and pointing and being silly and putting yourself in front of the camera, which is helpful. But I think that that's kind of the barrier that a lot of people are afraid to cross into.

The good news is there is a new trend happening within Instagram Reels where the shift is focusing from less of these trendy sort of dancing videos to more original content. So, it's starting to shift more to creating what you would put into your stories if you were talking to your camera in stories, like explaining something or sharing something. It's just put to a Reels format. Hopefully that will help make it easier for people to start doing Reels.

There's lots of ways to do Reels that are not showing your face, that are showing your product, or I know a lot of photographers will do kind of like, before and after editing type Reels, things like that that are a little more polished. I think that while there's still a lot of people who are kind of hesitant, I really feel like it's a good thing to at least test the waters with and see how your audience responds to them, and then decide, is this really a space I want to invest more time and energy into? Or is my audience really wanting to consume more static content?”

Four

Confidence comes by taking action. Relieve the pressure to be perfect or to know exactly what you’re doing when trying anything new on Instagram. The more you practice, the better you will get and it will be a natural progression. Stop comparing yourself to people who have a whole editing team behind their Reels. Get started and you will grow your confidence by taking action.

Five

Try out some of the new changes! Collaborations on Instagram Live where you can invite up to 4 people into your live and interview them similar to a video show or podcast. Collaboration by tagging someone in your post so it shows up on both of your feeds across both of your audiences. Rearrange how you view your own feed: home feed, featured or favourites. 

Six

Kendra’s number one tip for you to grow your Instagram in 2022 is Video. She says, “I think that video is so powerful right now because people want to feel personally connected to the brands and the accounts that they follow and if you are showing up on video and you're sharing your voice and your sense of humor, it says something about who I am and my personality” 

She noticed that using video has allowed her to “become this community [on Instagram] and people are messaging me and commenting, and I'm having conversations with my audience members who have followed me for a long time but didn't really have a reason to reach out and connect with me on a deeper level. And that's where you start to build connections that turn into clients, that turn into, obviously, money in your bank account. So, I think the number one thing is building community and connections through that video piece. And again, it could be something as simple as just get on your stories and show your face and talk about something for one to two stories a couple of times a week and start building connections that way.”

Full Episode Transcript 

Lexie: Hey Kendra, welcome to the show! I'm really excited to chat with you today all about Instagram and best practices and just really bring a lot of clarity to the monster marketing beast that is Instagram these days.

Kendra: Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to be here. I love talking about this. So yeah, I could talk all day, but I'll try to keep it succinct.

Lexie: So, I know you're a photographer and an educator and that's really where you started your business, but can you walk us through your journey in entrepreneurship a little bit and how you became the go to when it comes to branding and talking about photography and Instagram? 

Kendra: My career path in life from a young child was always teacher. That's why I wanted to be. That was kind of the only path I had in my vision. And so I went to school, got my undergrad in education, started teaching for about five years, and I kind of got that feeling like there’s something else I should do. This isn't fulfilling me anymore. 

I went back and started working on my master's degree. At the same time, I was looking for a creative hobby, like something that's kind of not school related, not education related. And so I also always loved photography. It's a hobby I picked up from my mom. She always had a camera with her as I was growing up. And so, I started taking photos and learning how to use a digital camera because I grew up on a film camera and really fell in love with that. That became sort of my evenings, weekends, I would just immerse myself in this photography world. And after we got pregnant with my first daughter, I was finishing up grad school. I was like, you know, I could kind of make this a business. Teachers don't make a ton of money, and we have time off. And I was like, I can make this kind of a side job in my extra free time. 

This is pre having a baby. So I didn't realize my free time would slowly start to dwindle, but it slowly grew over time. And by the time my second daughter came around, I realized this is  a viable business. It's something I could do in place of my teaching career. And I wanted to have more flexibility and freedom around how I structured my time and how I kind of created this life that I wanted to live and the photography business allowed me to do that. 

So, I left my teaching career in 2017 ish, ran my photography business full time, started getting a lot of other photographers and kind of business owner friends, and friends of friends who would reach out to me and ask me questions about, how did you do this? What are your tips? What's your advice? And I really fell in love with the business side of business. I was able to merge my teaching background and kind of that natural teaching ability that I have with my love for business and helping other women entrepreneurs. And so that led me to create The Girl Means Business Brand podcast and now I get to do kind of the best of both worlds, and I love it.

Lexie: Oh, my gosh, I love that. There's so many parallels between your story and my story. Although I did not go the teaching route, I always thought that that's what I was going to be growing up as well. And then, same thing. I pursued my career in health and wellness and became a personal trainer and athletic therapist and nutritionist and did that for a long time. And then naturally, same thing as you got asked all these questions. But, how did I do it? How did I start my business? And the more I Dove into that, I just couldn't get enough of learning about the business side of things. That's so interesting to me that we have very parallel stories, but in totally different niches. I'm really excited to learn your tips today on Instagram.

Kendra: Yeah, that's really cool. I love when people are just kind of open to how things evolve in their lives, because that's when really amazing opportunities present themselves that you may not have noticed if you weren't really open to things like that 100%.

Lexie: Well, let's jump into talking all about Instagram. Obviously, there is so much that we could talk about. It has changed so much. It feels like it changes all the time, too. It's like, how do we even keep up with what's happening and new things? 

If you're listening to this episode, we really want to make this episode about what's new, what's happening, what you should be doing right now in the spring/summer of 2022, because we know with Instagram, it's all about finding what is working now. 

But first, for anyone who lives under a rock, why is Instagram an important part of growing a business online today?

Kendra: I always tell people, when it comes to social media in general, there is no perfect platform. And you have to find the platform that is best suited for your business, but also where your audience is spending their time. And a vast majority, especially a lot of small business owners, are working kind of with this or targeting 20s, 30s, even early 40s age group. And those are the people that are spending their time on Instagram. 

Instagram has grown into the go to platform because people still use Twitter and LinkedIn and TikTok and Facebook and all those things. But, I think there's just something about Instagram that it feels a little more friendly and inviting and uplifting at times where you go on other platforms. It can be like people ranting,and complaining and politics and all the things. Instagram is more uplifting and happy. At least that's the feeling I get from it. I think that that's a big part of why it is so popular right now. 

It also has kind of this boom in the last couple of years with business owners using it and finding a lot of success with building communities. It's the home base of influencers and developed into this place where people go to find out about their interests and about how to connect with other small businesses. When the pandemic hit, people were trying to go to support small businesses, and a lot of people just kind of drifted and ended up on Instagram. And that seems to be where people are spending their time. So, if that's where people are spending time, that's where you should be investing your time as a business owner 100%.

Lexie: I feel like I go to Instagram for everything: it's my news, it's my pop culture, it’s where I see what my friends are up to. There's so many reasons that we go to Instagram now, but like you said, it's such a good time to be involved in that because, A) it's free to use and B) people are having big success with it. 

But, I think that the trouble is (I know for me), what do I even spend my time on? Like, how do I make the most of this app? I've got a million other things to do as a solopreneur. What should we actually be spending our time on when it comes to running business accounts on Instagram?

Kendra: So there's different areas of Instagram, and I've heard them described, and I like, this description is kind of like the Instagram neighborhoods. I did not come up with that. That is Sube Zimmerman's way of describing and I'm just repeating what she said just to clarify that. But it's the idea that there's kind of these little areas where people hang out on Instagram. And so one of the neighborhoods is like, your feed posts. There are people who kind of go to the Explorer page, or maybe they just go they like, sort of like scrolling through Care sales and looking at photos, and that's where they get their fix. And there's the people who kind of live in the video, the reels. It's no longer IGTV, but the longer form video section. There are people who go through the stories, and that's pretty much all that they do. There's some that go in there, and they're more of the creator influencer type and the content creation people. And so you have these different areas.

I think the first thing you’ve got to figure out is what area do you feel the most comfortable with as far as creating content? And then, secondly, where are your audience members? Where's your target audience spending their time? Because if you are trying to target this younger teens, early 20s generation, they're probably not hanging out in the feed. They're hanging out in the Reels. Knowing who your audience is and really understanding where they're spending their time, what parts of Instagram they're spending their time on, they're still checking their stories, they're still looking at the feed, but they may do that and then go and spend half an hour scrolling through real. So that's where you're going to be focusing your time. Knowing who it is that you are targeting and what they're using Instagram for;  what's the purpose they're using it for and then focusing on that specific kind of area.

In marketing in general, you need to have core content, and then everything else kind of branches off of that core content. A good example is a podcast. The podcast is the core content, but then you use the podcast to post to social media, send emails, write blog posts, do all the things. On Instagram, I'm going to keep using the example of Reels because those are really popular right now…  if Reels are your core content, you're still going to want to branch off and post in your stories and post to your feed. But the focus always needs to be on Reels first or your neighborhood first, and then everything else kind of becomes like this little arm of that.

Lexie: So kind of picking what you feel that A) you're comfortable with being more consistent with, but B) what your audience actually wants to see the way that they want to consume content on Instagram, make that be your number one focus. But then don't forget about the other features and just do more repurposing or figuring out how you can take those Reels that are doing really well and create stories or static posts or something from them.

Kendra: Yes, repurposing is golden. I do that all the time. And that's exactly the way it is. If you have a Reel that does extremely well, and let's say it's a recipe and then you can turn that into a story where you actually share the recipe and maybe you share behind the scenes, and then you can turn it into a carousel post where you share, like: here's the ingredients you need and here's the step by step with photos. Your initial Reel that  did well told you this is a good piece of content to branch off of.

Lexie: Reels are so popular right now. So, are we doing ourselves a disservice if we are not creating Reels on Instagram? Or what are your thoughts on that?

Kendra: This is such a tricky question. So, yes, Reels are dominating on Instagram right now and a lot of people were saying, “ oh, it's just a shiny new thing,it will fade out”. But, the CEO of Instagram has come out and said “we want to lean more heavily on being a video platform, not just a photo sharing platform”. When they have said we're shifting the focus to more video based content, that should tell you something that's just kind of a key trigger there. It's like, okay, that means we should be focusing on that. 

That’s not to say that if you're not doing Reels, you're doing yourself a disservice, because I know Reels are a very intimidating space to go into, because that means  you have to put in a little more production value (even though it doesn't take a lot, it does take a little more time). There's a learning curve if you've never worked with video content before. And then there's the fact that there's this idea that Reels has to be dancing and pointing and being silly and  putting yourself in front of the camera, which is helpful. But I think that that's kind of the barrier that a lot of people are afraid to cross into.

The good news is there is a new trend happening within Instagram Reels where the shift is focusing from less of these trendy sort of dancing videos to more original content. So, it's starting to shift more to creating what you would put into your stories if you were talking to your camera in stories, like explaining something or sharing something. It's just put to a Reels format. Hopefully that will help make it easier for people to start doing Reels.

There's lots of ways to do Reels that are not showing your face, that are showing your product, or I know a lot of photographers will do kind of like, before and after editing type Reels, things like that that are a little more polished. I think that while there's still a lot of people who are kind of hesitant, I really feel like it's a good thing to at least test the waters with and see how your audience responds to them, and then decide, is this really a space I want to invest more time and energy into? Or is my audience really wanting to consume more static content? 

The example I like to give is: growing up my parents owned their own business. It was a family run business, and they were in the days of, like, they would advertise in the Yellow Pages. And I remember that being like, every year they would renew their advertisement in the Yellow Pages, and it was this whole thing. And then the Internet came along, and all these other businesses were creating websites. And my parents were kind of like, we don't need a website yet. I'm not sure about that. We do just find word of mouth and the Yellow Pages saying, well, then over time, the people who were building websites, their businesses were taking off, and they were getting a way more exposure. And my family ultimately had to make the decision to jump in there, but they were kind of a little bit behind the times. And so, if you're still resistant to incorporating some form of video into your social media strategy, it's kind of like still using the yellow pages to advertise your business when everybody else is using websites. So that's kind of the analogy I like to use.

Lexie: I love that analogy. And it's so scary when we haven't put our face out there. But ultimately, for the listeners on this show, we are our businesses. People need to see your face. People need to know you're a real person to trust you, and you can't just hide behind a product or a big package or whatever it is that you're selling. It really is you - the connection to you -that people are going to buy from. I love that advice “ I think of it as I'm going to try it. I might not be the best at it, but I'm going to be ahead of the times when it comes to at least knowing what I can do on video, and I'm comfortable doing.”

Kendra: Yeah, if you go look at my Reels now, I've been doing them for about a year and a half, and I'm really comfortable now doing them. But that's not how I started. And I think it's really important for people to know when you go into Instagram and you see these people who are just killing it doing reels that there's some out there who just are naturally inclined to want to be in front of the camera. But that's not everybody's story for me as a photographer, I enjoy being behind the camera. There's a reason I'm the one taking the picture most of the time, not the one having my picture taken. And so I was very reluctant to jump on Reels. And it was kind of the push of a mentor of mine that was like, just try it. It's a new thing. Like, Instagram is really pushing these out. Just give it a shot. I did it. I started seeing results from it. And if you really wanted to, you could scroll way back on my Reels, and you can kind of see the progression of my confidence building as I did it more. And hopefully it continues to do that the more I do them. 

I'm starting to get more comfortable with trying new things and testing new theories and different editing techniques and things like that. But it's not about having the confidence and then do it. It's about do it, and the confidence will come as you do it more and more and more.

Lexie: Yeah. The confidence always comes from taking action, because you can't know everything about that action step or that thing that you're trying, especially if it's something new you haven't tried before. There's no way you can be an expert at it on the first few tries. Right. You have to kind of like, get your feet wet, put yourself out there. And I mean, what's the worst that happens? You remove them from your feet and they kind of hide the background.

Kendra: Exactly. Yeah. You can always get better. You just have to start from somewhere.

Lexie: Yes, I love that. Yeah, that's so true.

Now, obviously, we've talked about Reels, but can you fill us in on some of the other newest Instagram updates and really, like, how do we keep track of these and how do we know which are real and which are myths? I know all the time I have clients who ask me and I'm like, I don't know, go to Instagram website? I don't even know where to send people because it seems like every expert out there has their own opinion, and that kind of gets confusing. So, can you set the record straight? What are the newest updates that you're aware of? And where can we go to validate these updates as well? Who should we be listening to?

Kendra: Yeah, so I'll start with that one. The person that I follow, and I kind of there's a couple,a handful of Instagram experts that I follow that I trust them to have done their research before they start sharing things online. But even then, I still like, I'd rather go to the source. Adam Mosseri, he is the CEO of Instagram, he will come on and he's great about getting on his stories or doing live videos where he will talk about the updates that Instagram is rolling out. And he debunks some of the myths. And he'll say, “okay, we're hearing a lot of buzz right now about the hashtags are no longer relevant and while they are still relevant, the way that Instagram is logging them and using them has changed slightly.” He clarifies all of that. So he's sort of my top of the waterfall person I look to and then everything else as it trickles down.

Make sure you have a handful of people to turn to  because there is so much content, there's so much happening and so much changing. It's hard as a business owner to spend all your time looking for the updates. You don't have 24 hours a day to sit and look at Instagram is doing this week. So, having the people who can filter it out for you that you trust and you can rely on to take in the information and they kind of feed it to you in a way that you need to hear it. Or they might tell you what’s not really going to affect us that much, so let's focus on this other thing instead. That's my recommendation for that. 

Then as far as the changes, there's so many I would say the main ones are Instagram, like I said before, focusing more on video content. You know, they've done away with IGTV and now you have a Reels tab, Video tab. And so they even are really pushing out, live stream videos, things like that. 

So, you have sort of three different ways or four different ways essentially, to share video. You can share video to your actual feed. You can share a short form video, less than 60 seconds, or longer form video is just in that little video tab. Now, I can't remember exactly if there's a time limit on that. I think it has to be like, if it's over a minute long, it puts it as an actual video. 

Then you have live video where you're going live and you can bring people on. The second biggest thing they've added is they're really pushing a lot of collaboration, which I'm loving right now. So, in the live videos, you can have up to four people going live at one time. You can invite people on, and you can have these conversations. You can do aninterview style similar to this, but it's in a live video. People can ask questions. It's really great way that they're kind of helping people to work together. And then also when you post content, whether it's in your feed or a real, you can invite other people to collaborate with you. What that means is that if I were to post something and then Lexie, I invited you as my collaborator, and you accepted that, then the content goes out to both of our feeds and both of our audiences. And so it's a really cool way for people to kind of cross promote each other, but also work together. 

There's also things like: when you can remix a Reel, where you can take somebody's Ree land put your real beside it and then it tags both people. Instagram is really encouraging us to work more collaboratively together, to create more of a sense of community, which I think is really awesome. 

The third thing is how you view your feed. You now have three options when it comes to viewing your feed. When you log into Instagram, your default is the home feed and that's what I call the algorithm feed. So, that's the one where you can see your stories at the top, and then it's people's content shown to you kind of based on the order that Instagram thinks you're going to want to see this content. It's not chronological and they're going to throw in some accounts that you don't follow. Then you have two other options you can toggle between. You can choose following, which will show you kind of a chronological list or chronological feed of everyone that you follow. So let's say you follow 500 people, and when you go to the following tab, it's going to show you their content in the order of who posted the most recently. Then the third one is the favorites: this one is where you can go in and manually choose up to 50 accounts that you follow that you are saying, these are my favorite 50 accounts, and it's going to show you only those favorite people in chronological order. That's kind of the newest update when it comes to the feeds and things like that. 

There's a couple other little things: they've now increased the character account for your title line, which is that bolded line or bio, which is really nice because people struggle to get what you want to say and that 30 characters they've extended that for us. They rearranged how the platform looks a little bit. But those aren't really super game changing for business. So, yeah, I would say those are the main changes that have happened recently, which is a lot to say, especially since it all happened in the last couple of months.

Lexie: I love having the chronological feed. I don't know about you, but I always love having the option to go back. Reminds me of the original days on Instagram. I looked at that and I really haven't explored that and so I'm definitely going to do that on my personal feed. And what you said about the collaboration, I think is such a great tip for anyone who is in any stage of their business. Maybe you can find someone who's in a similar stage as you  and you have a similar amount of audience members, you’re in parallel niches, something like that. How cool to be able to collaborate versus compare and really help each other on the platform.

Kendra: Yeah. Well, I have other business besties,other people who run similar accounts or are in the similar space to me. And we have done things collaboratively before, but a lot of times it was like, okay, let's create this post together. And then you'll post it on your feed and I'll post it on my feed and we'll tag each other. But the way they're doing it now is that it'll even say the two accounts at the same time right now.  The one I'm thinking of is my friend Katie Brinkley. And so it'll say, posted by Girl Means Business and Katie Brinkley. And so people are able to see it kind of coming from both accounts as opposed toeach posting the same thing separately. There's not as much of a cross promotion that way. This way, it's a little bit more like Instagram is letting people know to go check out both of these accounts. It also means it helps to increase engagement and exposure because you're exposing it to a whole other audience.

 One tip, too, with the collaboration piece is if there are larger accounts that you follow, pay attention to how they're using this feature, because an example is there's a larger Instagram expert account that I have followed and I have had communication with them before, and they had said on a recent podcast they were talking about this topic and they kind of opened up and they're like, if you have content that you feel like it fits our niche, invite us to collaborate. We may accept that, we may not. But if we do, it will expose you to our audience. Well, I was like, sure, I'll give it a shot. I posted a Reel. I invited them to collaborate. Like, two days later, they accepted the collaboration and my views skyrocketed. My following grew by, like, 200 followers in 24 hours, period. Like, it was crazy. All because I took a chance and said, hey I'm going to invite them. Now, granted, they had said, we're open to this. It wasn't like I was just inviting random brands to collaborate, but pay attention to the brands that you follow and to the other accounts you follow. Or even, like, we take a chance. The worst they can say is, no, reach out to them ahead of time and say, hey, I'm getting ready to post this content. I think it would be really helpful to your audience. If it's your niche, would you be interested in being tagged as a collaborator and just see what they say? Because you never know who might expose you to more people.

Lexie: Oh, that is such a good tip! It reminds me of the old school blogging days when you'd submit an article to get featured on somebody's blog. But now it's so much quicker and it's video and it's fast and it's so 2022. That's a really cool tip.

All right, so which of these updates should we be prioritizing? Or what features do you feel like we should be prioritizing most? I know we've kind of talked about it, but if we can summarize again, thinking that for my audience, for the podcast is mostly coaches, wellness professionals, service based entrepreneurs. They want to get in front of their ideal clients. There's obviously going to be some research. Like you said, figure out what your client actually wants to see. But then what are your top tips on what they should be prioritizing?

Kendra: So, I definitely think video needs to be prioritized in whatever format that looks like for you, whether it is investing more time and creating stories that connect you with your audience or reels or longer format videos, more tutorial type. The thing with video that I'm seeing is that people want to feel connected to you and your brand beyond just a static photo. And I see this all the time in my podcasting situation, too. It's like, I will get someone who sends me a request to be a guest on my podcast, and all I see is a headshot and a bio. And I'm like, okay, that she seems fine, sure, let's have her. And then once I see her and I meet her and I have a conversation with her, I'm like, oh my gosh, this person is amazing. Like, we click. We have so much in common. I can get their sense of humor and their personality, and you don't get that from just a single image. And so I think that video is so powerful right now because of that factor. 

People want to feel personally connected to the brands and the accounts that they follow. And if you are showing up on video and you're sharing your voice and your sense of humor, even if it's like most of the Reels that I have done up to this point have been lip sync reels. The lip syncs that I choose say something about who I am and my personality, even though it's not technically my voice. The fact that I chose a certain lip sync audio says something about who I am and my personality. And so I have seen that since I've started implementing more and more the video content, my audience, it's grown. But it's also become this community and people are messaging me and commenting, and I'm having conversations with my audience members who have followed me for a long time but didn't really have a reason to reach out and connect with me on a deeper level. And that's where you start to build connections that turn into clients, that turn into, obviously, money in your bank account. 

So, I think the number one thing is building community and connections through that video piece. And again, it could be something as simple as just get on your stories and show your face and talk about something for one to two stories a couple of times a week and start building connections that way. Or jump into Reels, jump into live videos if you feel comfortable doing that.

Lexie: I love that. I always personally just pretend that there's a bunch of people watching and talking to people and think to myself if somebody finds this I'm just going to pretend that there's a ton of people watching and I'm a really big deal or something, but just be your natural self right at the same time. It's so hard to do. But I think if you can just start again, like we said, start somewhere and just see what happens and see how people feel about that. And who knows, you might be getting those messages and those reach outs like you've been getting as well, and then that's just a boost of confidence to keep going!

Kendra: Yeah, and another thing I'll say, too, is think about how you personally use Instagram because you're also using it for your business, but you're probably using it as a consumer as well. Like, you're consuming content. You are following accounts that make you feel good or that you're interested in. I love home organization stuff. I'm obsessed with pictures of really beautiful, organized closets and kitchens and things like that. I follow a lot of the accounts and I've started taking more notice of what type of content I enjoy the most and which accounts do I feel the most connected with, and why is it the ones who are sharing the prettiest photos usually not? Is it the ones where I feel like I have a friendship with the people and I've never actually spoken to them before, but it's the ones that I feel like I know them and I feel like I know their life and know who they are. I feel like if I were to meet them in real life, that we would go have a cup of coffee together or drink wine together and be totally chill, but I wouldn't know that just from their pretty pictures. And so that was kind of the light bulb moment for me of the missing piece that I didn't have in my account. My business was that personal connection. So pay attention to what are the accounts that you follow that you feel kind of the most connected to and why? And then implement that into your account as well.

Lexie: That's such good advice. Okay, I have one more question for you. When it comes to growing our account, I feel like, again, there's so many strategies and we've already gone through so many different updates and so many different options for growing your account. Would you give the advice to follow, one specific strategy and stick with it for a period of time, or what is the biggest way that we can track our progress towards growing our account? I guess is my question. Should we be doing it for a month? Is it only two weeks? How much time do we need to track and kind of figure out if this is actually working for us?

Kendra: That's a great question. This is one of pet peeves or struggles with social media is that everybody wants instant gratification. They want to post the one piece of content that's going to go viral and it's going to blow up their account, and it's going to change everything in their mind. And that's just not the norm. It's the exception to the norm. And so the real trick to social media is that it's a long game you're playing, the long game you are in it to test and try things out and figure out what's working, and then just realize that in six month it's probably all going to change and you have to change your whole strategy again. 

So, as far as how long to test something, I would say 30 days is a good block of time. You’ve probably 30 posts in 30 days or whatever and other challenges they're doing. But that's because it takes time for your audience to get used to the content. It changed. If you've been posting just really pretty static image content, and all of a sudden you're posting reels every day, your audience has to take time to adjust. Also, the algorithm has to adjust because you're now feeding it new content, and it has to go. Wait a minute. Okay, let's figure out what we need to do with this type of content or this new strategy that discounts following. So 30 days is a good amount of time. 

If after 30 days, you're seeing steady growth, but it's maybe not as big as you want, but at least it's kind of in the upward direction then give it another 30 days. And if it kind of flatlines, then maybe it's time to change it up. 

If in 30 days, it hasn't really done anything to chang your growth, or maybet's either been completely flat, or maybe it's even gone down a little bit (like your engagement is down your following), then that's a sign that this strategy is not working. Let's change up a little bit. I never say abandon the strategy completely, but use your analytics, use your insights, use the testing that you've done, and dig in to the positive side. Use that data to tell you how your audience really wants more value from you and ask yourself: how can I give them that in various ways and then start testing that piece of the strategy in other areas? 

Unfortunately, there's no quick strategy and then you're going to take off. It's these little small tweaks and changes, and you see what happens and that's where the analytical side of my brain gets really excited, because it's like a puzzle to solve. But I realize not everybody gets that excited about it. They just want it to work. And unfortunately, you have to put in the time and the effort a little bit to see the results that you're wanting.

Lexie: Yeah. It's like, stop throwing spaghetti at the wall. Just follow a recipe, and then see if the recipe actually makes you spaghetti. And then if it doesn't, it's like,” oh, should I add a little bit of salt? Should I cut back on the pepper?” Making sure that you actually have sounds like a strategy that you're going to follow.

 Again, the strategy could be as simple as I'm going to post 30 reels in 30 days. Or it could be I'm going to try five voiceover and five of this or whatever your strategy is, but kind of like having a plan so that at the end of your 30 day cycle, you actually have something to compare to and go, okay, how did I do? Did I grow? Was my engagement better? Are people messaging me more? You have something to actually say, yes, this is working, or I'm not quite there yet.

Kendra: Yes, exactly. Well, it needs to be consistent too. I think that's a good thing pointing to there. That's why these challenges, like the 30 Reels in 30 days works for a lot of people because it's the consistency piece. If you say, okay, I'm going to post 30 Reels in 30 days, but you only end up posting seven Reels, you really aren't going to get the results. And I always say, inconsistent posting gets you inconsistent results, inconsistent action gets you inconsistent results. And so if you're not going to be consistent with whatever the strategy is that you implement, you really can't rely on those results to tell you if it's working or not.

Lexie: Okay. And one more question. I'm going to sneak in here. When it comes to testing things like this, I'm going to assume here you're a big fan of batching, like recording a bunch of Reels at once or creating things at once. Is that kind of what you recommend for doing a challenge like that or doing a trial like that, so you don't feel like you're actually having to create every single day or what's your advice on that?

Kendra: Yeah, I'm a big fan of batching content, especially when it comes to things like the Reels, because obviously, I'm not going to do my hair makeup every single day! Alot of times I will do it either weekly or biweekly. And I like to, especially with the example of the 30 rules in 30 days, I probably wouldn't do all 30 at one time, because that's a lot, especially if you're new to creating real estate. Take a little bit longer. But if you set aside, like, one block of time a week and you're like, okay, every Tuesday, I'm already going to have my hair makeup done, because it's also my recording day for podcast, or it's the day that I'm going to go have lunch with the friend or whatever. That's your day. You kind of get yourself ready, and that's your batching day, and you record enough content, reals, videos, whatever, for the whole next week, and then the following week, you do the same thing again. 

But, yeah, having that sort of backstock of content is super helpful. And a lot of times, if I'm scrolling through Reels and I see one that I really like, I save it. And I have in my saves, I have little folders I created, so we'll save it to my Reels folder. And then that way, when I get ready to batch, I have all my ideas there. I kind of will also get into, like, a notebook the day before and kind of write out, okay, these are the six I want to really focus on. And a lot of times I may have six in mind, but I'm, um, like, okay, I've got a few extra minutes. I'll do two more, and I just kind of keep them in my drafts. It's like, well, if there's a day, maybe I got behind my schedule. I didn't batch that day. I always have something kind of waiting there that I can post. The other key is with content. And I'm getting a little bit on, like, a content side trail here, but is reposting content you've already posted. 

So if you're doing 30 pieces of content in 30 days or whatever, it doesn't always have to be brand new content. Use your insights inside of Instagram, see what was your top performing content in the last year or the last six months, and then just take that content and repost it. Nobody's going to remember, nobody's going to scroll that far back in your feed. But that way you're still putting out content, and it's content you know, has already performed really well. 

You can do the same thing with Reels. You can go to a website calledInstavensta.com. You can copy the link to whatever Reel, because a lot of times I don't always have it if it was posted six months ago, I don't have that Real still saved in my drafts or on my phone, but I can go and I can download the video off this. Then download the video and the audio and everything and then I can go and repost it as if it was a brand new Reel. I used the same caption and everything, and then I didn't have to create something new that day. So, consistency doesn't mean something new every single time. It just means you are following a schedule and making it as simple as you can. But with batching and repurposing your content.

Lexie: Those are golden tips. And I love repurposing content. Uh, I love that. And you could take that video, you could put it on Pinterest, if you're on Pinterest or TikTok, or even just post it like in your Facebook stories. Video is everywhere!

Kendra: Exactly. The more comfortable you get with that repurposing, I think you can use it for other areas of your social media strategy as well. 

Lexie: That's a great tip. Well, thank you so much for sharing all of this information. I feel like there's so much here I want to go back and listen to for myself as well. But the biggest theme or the biggest takeaway I'm getting from you is we have to actually create a strategy and really get serious. Put our big girl pants on if we want to use Instagram for our business. If we want to grow on Instagram, sit down and create an actual strategy, plan it out a little bit, have a little bit of thought in place in terms of what you're going to post each week so that you can track it. You have the stats, and you're being really efficient with your time. Would you say that's pretty much the biggest takeaway or what?

Kendra: Absolutely. Yeah, absolutely. Again, I'll say if you're putting in random work, you're going to get random results. So have a strategy, have a plan. And there's other things. Like if you plan where what was that? If you failed to plan, you plan to fail. It's kind of that as well. If you're just going in there like, okay, what am I going to post today? What do I feel like you're going to start to see inconsistent results. So, yeah, definitely have a strategy and then work smarter, not harder. I'm just going to throw in all the cliches here!

Lexie: I love it. So where can people follow you on Instagram? And where can people learn more about, uh, your business and your podcast? Yeah.

Kendra: You can follow me on Instagram. I'm @ Girl Means Business, same as the podcast is Girl Means Business website, all the things. I've got tons of resources. And obviously in the podcast, I talked a lot about Instagram, and I have a couple of episodes all about Reels, so you all can go check all that out.

Lexie: Awesome. Thank you so much for your time, Kendra.

Kendra: Thank you.

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