Know your Goals & Intention
When it comes to any social media platform, you need to know your goals and intentions behind why you are on that platform. Your goals and intentions might look very different since they’re not the same thing. You can measure your goals but you cannot measure your intentions.
What is your intention? Why are you on social media? Why are you showing up on Instagram?
I was listening to the Amy Jo Podcast, “Help, I’m stuck” episode and she dove into intentions over goals on social media and it really hit home for me. I’ve always kept my eyes on my goals, but sometimes have lost track of my intentions, as I’m not constantly reminding myself of what they are and that’s what gets me in a social funk.
Now when this happens, I’ve learned to identify it, take a pause, re-evaluate and get back on track.
Your goals and intentions will more than likely look different than your friends, competitors, or arch-nemesis.
At construction2style, we have two sides of our business, which means there are two main goals we focus on. We have our DIY home improvement blog and in order to make money through our platform, we need readers who equal page views which equals brand sponsorships. Then we have our interior residential remodeling side, which means we need homeowners that don’t want to DIY to come to contact us to design or remodel their home.
However, within both of those goals, it comes down to getting as many eyeballs on our brand and developing relationships. And that’s where our intention comes in.
We want to build strong relationships with people. In order to build a good relationship with a complete stranger, we need to put “us” aside and lift other people up, give value, and provide inspiration.
If we thought it was about us on Instagram, we’d log on, post for the day, reply to “our” comments, and get offline.
If it were that simple, relationships would never develop.
What is your goal and intentions on Instagram?
- Phone Calls?
- Follower count?
- Pageviews to website?
- Selling products?
I encourage you to take a break and define your goal and your why behind being on Instagram or any social platform before you get caught up in the short-term trap of “likes” and “followers.”
Data will Tell
Unfortunately, you can’t measure your intentions, but you can measure your goals.
Since our goal is to get eyeballs on our brand, we focus on the reach and impressions.
Reach refers to the total number of unique accounts that have seen your post. Impressions measure the total number of times users saw your post.
As you can see, within one week we got in front of 172,351 eyeballs and reached 16,358 accounts.
If we measured by our likes on one post with all the algorithm changes, we’d probably be getting discouraged every day. Why does that matter if people are seeing your brand?
If you have a good story to tell and your intentions are pure, when they think about buying or hiring, your brand is going to be in the back of their minds because they saw you.
There are a few ways that you can view your Instagram analytics if you have a business profile. Within your actual photo, you can simply click on “View Insights” in the lower left-hand side of the post on your feed and this will give you a quick glance that appears as shown below.
If you’d like to dive deeper into your analytics, you can simply swipe up from the photo above and this, as shown below, will take over your screen and show more analytics.
Or if you’re on your main Instagram profile, you can click on the three lines in the top right hand side of your screen, click “insights” and you can see your overall profile activity as shown below.
Within your analytics, you can also learn from what’s already performing well! I’m often looking at this so I can determine what our readers want to see and what they engage with the most.
To view well-performing content within your analytics go back to your profile –> click on the three lines –> click insights –> click content.
Under the “Content” tab, you’ll be able to view all of your content that shows the best engagement, click on each of the photos, and read your comments.
Were they answering a question you asked? Did you write something personal? Were you being vulnerable? Did you share a new tip, recipe, tutorial? Or was the picture just that bad-ass?
If you click on each photo, it’s going to show you exactly how many actions were taken. Depending on your goal will also verify which content you want to create more of.
I also get the question a lot, how many posts per week should I post?
I used to say 3-5, but now with the algorithm changes, it doesn’t matter as long as your posts are valuable and have meaning. If you have nothing to say, it’s ok to take a break.
But if you’re going to take a few weeks off, you want to inform your readers, so they know you’ll be back because if you’ve built a strong relationship with them, they’ll miss you!
Give Value, Be Vulnerable
No one wants to hear you talk about yourself and how successful you are. Yes, there is a time and a place for celebration, but if you are serving your audience you need to motivate them, lift them up, show them how easy it is for them to do it too, or how much better you will make their life if they buy from you.
Once you know your intention, providing value will come easy.
Social Media algorithms are constantly changing, which can be frustrating, but providing value to your readers or followers will always win if your intentions are good. And if not, people will see right through that and keep scrolling or even unfollow.
Don’t feel the need to have to publish content every day. If you don’t have something to say that’s valuable, it’s ok to take a break for a day, week, or month.
One of the best pieces of advice I ever got was…at the end of every piece of content you write, take a second glance over it, and replace every “I” with “you.”
Then ask yourself, is this post I’m pushing out into the world for all to see going to benefit anyone else’s life besides your own? If not, you might want to think twice before hitting publish.
Remember, you need to make sure that you’re serving your readers and not yourself because at the end of the day they are the ones you are wanting to get to take action.
Be a real human. Show your vulnerability. Serve your readers.
Personal Branding vs. Applying Filters
Is anyone else constantly comparing yourself to other perfectly curated accounts??
Well, this is me regularly. Again, I was listening to one of Amy Jo’s podcasts and it finally hit me…that’s not me. I will never be that or have an account that looks like that because that’s not our intention or goal.
Sometimes we’re showing DIY, sometimes pretty design, sometimes dirty construction zones, and sometimes marketing tips. None of those things together will ever make a perfectly curated feed, especially when you work with clients that have totally different design styles and you want to show future homeowners how we can adapt to their style, not ours.
Although having those perfectly curated feeds probably works for some people, and if it works, keep doing it, that will never work for us. So if it’s not working for you, it’s ok. That is why checking into your data and reminding yourself of your intentions will always be so important. Data will always tell what is performing best for YOUR readers.
It also reminded me that applying filters is great for aesthetics, but it’s not always best for personal branding. There are ways to do both though.
The brands that I am always drawn towards do a little bit of both. However, the filters aren’t so intense that when you meet them in real life they look like a different human. That is why not forgetting your personal brand is so important!
Mixing business with your personal brand is completely ok. This is obviously up to your brand and how much you want to share too.
Some people don’t want to share their kids, which I totally understand. Think about how YOU want to connect with your readers and on what level.
If it’s family, marriage, your hobbies, workouts, meals, go for it! But again, let your readers know what you’re going to start talking about this subject and why it’s important to you or weighing on your heart to share.
If you’re worried about how to include family with personal stuff, yet remain professional-looking? Do one personal every 6 images. That way when someone comes to your feed, they’ll see your work and sprinkles of your family throughout.
I wanted to share a few of my favorite accounts that have such great aesthetics, but that also do personal branding and I asked each of these accounts to share a few tips or advice as well.
Beginning in the Middle is an account we’ve been following since day one. Like us, they are a husband and wife team that started DIY, moved into doing residential remodeling and are growing their family and they share it all.
I asked Catherine and Brian what advice they had when it came to Instagram and they said,
“The special thing about insta is that it’s great for creating connection. your goal on insta is to attract people who want to follow YOU. Find your voice and what/how you love sharing, and go with that. Don’t try to be someone or something you’re not, it won’t get you very far. If they don’t like what you post, let them unfollow so you can make room for people who actually want to be there. Everyone craves authenticity more than anything else, but they also crave beautiful things. Stories are where we love to get real and show BTS- it’s a great way to connect with your audience in a way that you can’t in your feed. We like to use our feed as a place to display our best selves and our best work, and tend to want to have that look more polished. We view it as our personal magazine, and like having our best foot forward in that space, visually; however, it doesn’t mean we can’t add extra detail or thoughts in the captions to share real thoughts and feelings.”
Another goodie is Angela Rose Home. Her focus is on all things DIY, plus she shares snippets about her family and real-life moments behind raising two boys with Autism.
I asked Angela what advice she had and she said,
“You want your followers to know what they are getting when they see your feed. If you are showing them projects and DIY, your feed needs to show you working hard, the full process, and the final beautiful projects.”
Patti Cake Wagner is another great gem! She is local here in the Twin Cities and I’ve had the pleasure of becoming friends in real life.
Patti shares about their rehab rental units, their own home, family lifestyle, and all the inspirational homes she finds out walking the streets. This girl is just as sweet in real life as she is in her posts and always leaves a smile on my face and is full of inspiration.
And lastly (even though I could go on and on) is my girl, Erin from fran cois et moi. She is an interior designer, although she now only designs her own homes, and gives tutorials all along the way while sharing her family lifestyle. Erin also lives here in the Twin Cities and I’m lucky to say, she is of my dear friends.
I asked Erin for advice on Instagram and she said,
“In a world where so many people have beautiful photos on Instagram, you’ve got to find a way to go deeper and connect with your audience (in addition to those pretty photos). Write your captions like you’re talking to a friend IRL. ‘Authenticity’ is a term bloggers throw around a lot, but truly it’s important. People want to know that they’re following and getting to know the real you.
I’ve also found that being consistently social, (i.e. commenting on others’ feeds and stories, responding to DM’s, etc.) is key to building a strong following IG. For example, when you comment on other people’s feeds, chances are they will do the same for you. Good engagement on your posts and stories tells the Instagram algorithm that your content is worth showing to a wider audience. Greater exposure typically translates to more likes, comments, and follows.
Use comments and questions to fuel your captions and stories. If someone asks a question, chances are they aren’t the only one who’s curious. This seems like a no-brainer, but if you want to grow your audience, create content that’s inspired by and created for your audience.”
Erin uses: Filter: VSCO A6
She even did a full video tutorial on how she edits her photos HERE.
Hashtags are a Thing
Hashtags are another big debate but definitely use them. Hashtags are used as a search engine within social media.
They can look spammy, but you can use them tastefully and they work if you use them intentionally. I may use just one or two in the content of my posts, otherwise, I will throw in up to 30 as a comment once other people start commenting so that they get buried in the comments.
I don’t always use hashtags, but when I do, it makes a big difference. As you can see in this post below, 8,769 impressions came from hashtags. If I wouldn’t have used hashtags in this post, we would have been down thousands of views.
People are now following hashtags instead of accounts, such as #handmademodernhome, which is actually one francois et moi started.
You want to make sure that you are using hashtags that are specific to your images. For example, I wouldn’t use #bathroomremodel within a kitchen post.
You also don’t want to use broad hashtags such as #bathroomdesign as it has over 1.2 million posts within it, which means your image will drown as fast as you put it up. You want to be as specific as you can.
So if I were doing a bathroom post, I’d type “bathroom” into the search bar and make sure you’re searching under tags and use posts that won’t get lost right away. If I’m featuring the vanity, I would use #bathroomvanity and if you keep scrolling down the hashtags, they get more narrow in search.
I always suggest using tags that have less than 100K and more than 10K because you also don’t want to use a hashtag that no one uses for search.
I use the app Later for scheduling my Instagram posts and they have a hashtag suggestions feature for each picture I post.
Building relationships in real life is just as important as online. For years we’ve had “Engage! Engage! Engage!” being drilled into our heads and while that is still important, more and more people just don’t have the time.
They’ve tried engagement, follow, and other tools and have quickly realized you get punished and blacklisted when using these. The most beneficial tool I’ve found the most successful in building relationships and doing things such as cross-promoting.
There are a few different ways we linked up and cross-promoted with other accounts. Some of which are Friday favorites, blog hops, giveaways, and in-feed features.
Within any of these cross-promotions with other accounts, the relationship and permission are crucial. You’ll find it a lot more successful when doing these promotions if the other accounts are joining in as well.
I really hope I was able to give some good advice today when it comes to marketing your business. This is something I could talk about for a while, so if you have any additional questions, please drop a comment below and I’ll be happy to help!
Now, get out there and serve your audience with intention!