Instagram Story Ideas

Create a Daily Question/Survey

When it comes to everyday engagement, you’ll want to ask questions that fit that specific day. Holidays can be a no brainer - but what about during an average week? Use #MondayMotivation and post what that means to you and ask your audience what theirs is, too! Need some more help? Maybe use #WineWednesdays to show off a pic of you sippin’ on rose and see what your audience is drinking, too. Or one of our favs is #AskMeAnythingFridays where you use the question feature to gain engagement from your viewers!

Story Time

Anything in particular going on in your life? What about a crazy current event that just happened that you have part of? Record yourself and put it out there! As human beings, we have a natural instinct to want to know what’s going on in other people’s lives. So telling a story about you or something you are passionate about, your viewers will eat it up!

Share a Step-by-Step Process

A step-by-step process doesn’t have to sound scary and be a lot to process. They can be so easy thanks to Instagram stories! You can take screenshots and show how to make an Instagram highlight. Making something super Insta-worthy for dinner? Walk us through how you’re making it! Or to give more insight into your life, show us a step-by-step in your morning or daily routine!

Shoutout Your Favorite Accounts

Isn’t it the best feeling when someone sends you love out of the blue?! Well, send that feeling to some of your favorite accounts! Tag them along with their feed, biz or blog, or website to promote the awesome content that you love. You can even do a little #WCW to a handful of your fellow boss babes, too! And if someone has done one for you, reciprocating that love would be super sweet!

Use the Tools!

Use what your Instagram gave ya! The poll option is a great way to get quick and easy engagement from your viewers - it’s just a click! You can ask them things like “What should I wear today - the red or green dress?” You can even ask just the question with no choices with the “Ask A Question” tab. Cheersing to a girls night out? Make a boomerang! Driving downtown at night with all the lights glowing? Add music to a video - we recommend anything Cardi B! Need something to add zest to a cute lil selfie you got going on? Use the GIF search bar to add a “YAS QUEEN” quote!

Use Templates

Templates are so much fun when it comes to Instagram stories. Everyone can participate and are available to anyone. Our favs are the holiday themed ones where you pick out all of your favorite Christmas traditions or a Fall “to do” list. There’s tons to choose from: fill-in-the-blanks, this or that, which are you, or you can even make your own for your followers! Here at InstaCrush, we have some adorable templates that we’ve made. Click here to see ‘em!

Document a Trip

Going on a tropical vacation or a gals trip for the weekend? Take some videos to post on your story! Document you packing and getting ready for your flight! Make sure you show the events you’re at or shows your seeing - or even the process of getting to there! You will also have some awesome memories to look back on later. Taking videos will not only get others an inside scoop to see what you’re doing, but it will also hype you up for your trip!

Sharing Quotes or Lyrics

Sharing a quote or lyric that gets your vibe is an awesome way for your viewers to see your feed’s mood upfront. They can also offer advice or motivation for your fellow boss babes. Go into Canva and create one for yourself with your favorite T-Swift lyric or a motivational Oprah quote! We also offer some awesome quotes in InstaCrush along with graphics you can match up and make your own!

Promotion

Just like a shout out for your online gal-pals, show yourself the same love! When a new blog post or video goes up, screenshot or if you have the swipe-up feature, promote it! If your website recently got a new renovation you can screen record to show off the revamp. If you are an influencer, don’t forget to post you with products sent to you or discount codes for your audience. And always use their handle in the story that way they can repost and promote you in return!

About Me!

And most importantly, make sure you post information about yourself! A fun way to do this is to repost a picture that has traits about your enneagram, Myers-Briggs, or astrological sign! There are a ton of accounts that are exclusive to each of those. You can even share some of your favorites like food, seasons, and places to work. Have a pet? Everybody loves pets! Share pics of your little fur-babies and their little lives. Let your audience in on the brains behind the fabulous Instagram that you are creating! It allows them to know and feel trust between the two of you. And the more personable and transparent you are, the more they will love following you and your adventures!

Curation vs. Creation

There has always been the debate of what exactly is the difference between creating content versus curating content and what should a business owner do with either. Both ways of presenting content have their own special essences they can provide for your biz!

Here’s the breakdown:

Creation:

For creating content, it is always a great way to show the world exactly what it is that you can make. You show your audience that you are capable of making relatable, self-branded material that allows for your individuality and creative side to shine through.

At the end of the day, your creations are just that - yours. No need to be asking for permission to post or worry about a copywriting infringement. Because of your full ownership, you get full rights and full profit from your products.

Viewers like to see your own special take on content, too, so it shows them that you don’t always have to rely on other brands to provide good content for you or your business!

And you will never have to worry if you feel like something is off brand for you and your audience. If you’re making it, you’re feelin’ it!

Curation:

When it comes to curation, think of it as a semi-collaboration with other like-minded businesses! You are building a relationship with another biz babe and it shows that you are down for a potential exchange with each other, whatever that may look like.

Curation provides an outlet to your audience because each, individual brand is not the end-all, be-all of that specific brand. So maybe you are creating content that your viewers love, but if you can also redirect them to someone else who makes similar content, that gives them a lot more things to choose from.

To be completely honest, no one can do 100% of everything within a business. That’s why they have employees! With curation, it saves you brainpower, time, and stress from deadlines you have set.

So Which Is Better?

Just like everything in life, there needs to be some sort of balance and every program will tell you different. What we recommend here at InstaCrush is 60% curated, 40% created.

It’s all about give and take, but also know that you shouldn’t accomplish everything by yourself - you’ll just run your awesome brain dry!

Just remember that if you’re curating content, to always ask for permission and to credit the creators! And for creating work, make sure your own personal tag can be easily found in case someone does use without permission!

What Are Micro-Influencers & Why Are They Important?

We have all seen these high-profile Instagram celebrities or the Kardashian-Jenner clan who sponsor their favorite skin care products and whatnot. You have probably even wondered how people get to these hidden levels of Instagram famous where they are able to be pretty pictures of advertisements. Typically, we see these people who have hundreds of thousands, even millions, of followers and money to spend. We might even have the misconception that you have to be ultra-famous with tons of cash and maybe even a celebrity’s BFF.

Guess what?

Being an influencer isn’t just for people who have a little blue check mark by their names. But actually, the better option isn’t always those large profiles!

What is a Micro-Influencer?

Defined by SnapApp, a micro-influencer is someone between 1,000 - 10,000 followers with a niche audience. What makes them so special is that although they may have smaller audiences, their engagement rates are typically higher than any large celebrity account.

Just think if you were to buy a very expensive dress, but the material is cheap and falls apart after just one wash. That is what it’s like to have a large following, but no engagement. Businesses want to avoid those accounts because they will literally be wasting time and money.

However, if you only have a couple thousand followers but high engagement (likes, comments, interactions, etc.) these businesses are so much more likely to reach out to you for some kind of partnership.

There are tons of benefits that micro-influencers bring. These smaller accounts cost less to the business (they usually offer discount codes and a promise to shout them out on their profiles), are easier to get ahold of, and tend to be more willing to collaborate. I mean, who doesn’t love some 60% off discount codes?!

How to Become a Micro-Influencer:

We keep saying how great a micro-influencer is for Instagram businesses, but how do you become one? Honestly, it is way easier than it seems!

First, build trust and keep up the engagement on your Instagram. Respond to comments, give shout-outs to your loyal peeps, and share your opinions on some of your favorite things (yes, for free!) This shows to both your audience and potential collabs that you are already willing to express your opinion online with no strings attached! Don’t forget to keep it real, people love other people, not just a review robot!

Second, you’ll want to present yourself as someone open to a collaboration with companies. Use hashtags that fit your branding niche, while still targeting smaller audiences. Businesses will go through them to find profiles that fit their product’s brand and if your profile pops up and matches - bam! You will also want to upkeep your content. Use fun presets or graphics that will draw attention towards your profile versus others. And you also can’t get anywhere if you don’t put yourself into their sphere - so go follow brand accounts that you would like to partner with and make your presence known by liking, commenting, and sharing their posts!

Lastly, consider your options. Now that you are starting to land on their radars, do your research! When businesses slide into the DMs, look through their website and see if you’re interested. If you have the means, then we would recommend not taking every offer - make sure the products fit your brand and you would be able to stand by them.

Remember that sometimes you’re not always going to get a nice little PayPal notification every time you collaborate. You might be offered promo codes, an affiliate program, or they may even send free products.

And a little tidbit of advice - if you feel sketched by it, it might be sketchy so trust your gut.

The Future of Micro-Influencers

Micro-influencers are the newest branding tools for businesses on Instagram. Each micro-influencer can look completely different compared to another and each product can be as diverse as they are. There are tons of micro-influencers who do this full-time and live their lives doing just that. However, there are those who do it as side hustles or just like to get some nice discounts every now and again.

Whatever it looks like to you in your eyes, take advantage of as least trying out being a micro-influencer! There are tons of greats things to expect from it - so might as well do it while it’s still the hot thing to do!

Determining Your Target Audience on Instagram

In any business, you get struck with the idea of “how, who, what, when, where” while thinking about your ideal buyer. Sometimes you get stuck thinking, “Who am I really targeting here?” To be honest, so many businesses fail because they never elaborate on who they are selling to. They try to reach as many people as they can rather than finding birds of a feather who will stay loyal. There will always be those one-time buyers, but it is your loyal ones that will make you the money, honey! So, let’s get you one step closer to finding your ideal tribe and get your company up and going!

First off, ask yourself these three questions:

  1. Who would I want to benefit from my products?

  2. Is there competition?

  3. Will my buyers come back?

So, who is it that you want to sell to? For us, we’re not going to try to sell InstaCrush to 65 year old men who don’t own smartphones. (Not saying that’s one of our dads or anything…) Who we market ourselves to are Millennial aged women who own businesses, blogs, or anything within the online-sphere. Pretty niche, right? Get into that headspace where you think about every little detail of a person you want to sell to. Heck, even give her a name! Make it so realistic to you that you believe this is a real person you are about to sell to. Give her a personality, an identity, and a purpose. Because if you can think of a person who fits that, there are bound to be hundreds, even thousands, just like her!

Making a perfect target audience is going to take some time, so don’t rush it. Not only that, but be sure this is an audience that you feel comfortable selling to. Don’t risk being true to who you are for a couple extra bucks. Authenticity goes a long ways!

Once you figured out your perfect audience to sell to, check out your analytics to see if it’s working out. You’re going to have to be patient for this one because great things take time. But, if you really aren’t seeing any progress with sales, you might want to rethink some things.

Do your research, take your time, and look out for flaws you might have missed that competitors might be succeeding with. You need to show your uniqueness in any possible way to make potential buyers look at you before they even consider anyone else. Look at your brand from an outsider’s perspective and try to identify why or why not someone would consider you over another business! Some examples could include: “I offer a more personable service than others,” ; “My style initially is more attractive,” ; “My products offer an unique take on a service over a traditional way.”

When selling your products, you want to make sure that not only that your consumers will enjoy it, but also try to have them come back for more. One-time buyers are great for extra pocket money, but they won’t be the reason for your success. However, loyal members are what keeps your business steady and growing. Focus on and take care of them. These are the people who will shout you out on social media, be your examples of what’s working, and be your voice of reason when things need to change. Always listen to your tribe for everything good, bad, and in between!

Working on what your idealized audience may seem like a lot of work, but when you get your mind into your biz game, it is all smooth riding from there! You are going to totally crush it when you uncover your picture-perfect tribe. Do what you love and your supporters will follow you along the way!

How To Use Instagram Live for Business

Instagram is always out here throwing curve balls from left-field at us. Whether it is changing up the algorithm, adding a new function, or doing whatever they feel like that day, we sometimes get left in the dust if we’re not on top of it! But there is one essential tool that is changing the game for all Instagrammers that is here to stay: Instagram Live.

We all know it, heck, we might have even watched a few live videos ourselves. But, can you use it to help grow your business? Damn right you can!

Just like if you were to go on it for personal use and just virtually hang out with your Internet friends and show them what you’re doing, you can do the same for your biz!

It can seem super intimidating, don’t get us wrong! Showing your beautiful face to all your followers to talk to them about important, new, or exciting things you’re planning can be a little stressful if you think about it too much. But there’s nothing to be anxious about, my dears! We’re going to keep it real with you so that you can make leaps and bounds with using this tool alone.

Here are a couple tips to help make Instagram Live seem not so scary for a business babe like you:

  • Be Transparent

    • Starting off very blunt, we know. But if you are transparent from the moment a follow decides to join your Instagram Live, you are significantly more likely to keep them on for the rest of the broadcast. If you acknowledge why you’re broadcasting, what your goal is, and who you are, your audience will feel trust within you and that is where you start to build a relationship. Being open about any kind of ups and downs or even anxiety you may be feeling will give your audience an inside look into your life, which makes them compelled to put more trust and fascination into your work. As human beings, we are nosy by nature! Showing off a piece of your inner workings will give your peeps a taste inside the person they want to follow, leaving them more of you to wonder about! Always leave them wanting more!

  • Get Engaging

    • Ask your followers for advice. Tell them a story they can all relate to. Have them follow you over to your blog or website to get feedback. Ask for opinions on blog topics. When you have a decent amount of people watching your Instagram Live, start by asking them some questions. This kind of interaction makes your audience feel like they have a personal relationship with you and makes them want to follow your stuff even more so! Call people out by their handles if they have questions or offer some good insight to your topics. Get to know your audience, ask where they are, favorite holidays, plans for the weekend. Ask something to get them comfortable with you where you can offer a fruitful, engaging conversation back. If you are always on a broadcast never acknowledging your audience, you are missing the whole point of Instagram Live!

  • For Product Based Businesses: Strut Your Stuff!

    • If you sell individual items or have some sort of products based in your biz, show them off! If you have a new item in the works, show the blueprints and the beta-testers for it. Don’t you love it when Kylie teases her new lipsticks? Get in that mindset! You can even show a behind-the-scenes look for what it takes for you to create an idea and make that into something physical. Get creative with it - there’s no wrong way with showing how you make your own stuff!

  • For Service Based Businesses: Clientele Chit-Chat!

    • If you work with people more so than you do with physical products, try shouting out your clients! You can even ask one or two of them if they would like to join your broadcast by collabing them together into the livestream. This shows potential clients and your audience that you have a talking resume. Although you may post referrals and shout outs from your clients, nothing is better than hearing that positive reinforcement straight from the horse’s mouth! Can’t get them to show their pretty faces on Live? That’s fine! Ask if they would be able to hop on the chat box and let their opinions be known!

  • Have Fun With It!

    • It really doesn’t need to be all business, all the time. Girl, give yourself a break! As if you were literally just talking into your camera, don’t think too hard about what you need to show your audience. As long as you don’t come out offending everyone left and right, you’re going to be just fine! Your followers follow you for a reason - for Y O U. So, whatever you have to share with them, don’t think it will be the end of the world if you don’t nail this exact broadcast. Instagram is here to stay for a while, so you’ll have plenty of chances to do as many Instagram Lives as your little heart desires! And even though it’s just our opinion, we would personally LOVE to see all of y’alls beautiful faces on Live every damn day!

We hope that you have found insight on Instagram Live with these tidbits of info! At the end of the day, as long as you are having fun and doing what you love, what else really matters?!

How To Change the Colors in an Image

Stock photos are great, but if your brand’s colors are blue and green, those beautiful pink stock photos won’t be very useful, right? Wrong! We’re going to teach you two different ways to replace the colors in a photo - one for editing on your computer and one for editing on your phone.

How to replace colors on your computer:

  1. Go to https://pixlr.com/editor/ - Pixlr is a free, online tool that is almost as powerful as PhotoShop. One of it’s most popular tools is the color replacer tool.

  2. Upload your photo

  3. Select the color replace tool from the toolbar

  4. Hover over your image - this will give you the option to resize your brush

  5. Use the color selector to pull up the color palettes and choose your new color. Alternatively, you can hold down the command key to bring up the eyedropper and choose a color directly from your image.

  6. Adjust your tolerance and begin painting the new color onto the area that you’d like to change

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How to replace colors on your phone:

  1. Download the free app Photoshop Fix

  2. Upload your photo

  3. Select paint from the toolbar on the bottom of the screen

  4. Use the tools on the left to  change the size, hardness, opacity, and color

  5. To use a color from your image, select pick color from the bottom toolbar

  6. Paint over your photo in the desired places

  7. Use the restore tool to erase any mistakes from painting

    Note: Be sure that blend is selected!! Otherwise you’ll just paint over your image!

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Pixlr vs. Photoshop Fix

There are pros and cons to each tool. Being aware of these will help you decide which tool is right for you! In Pixlr, colors only replace your target color, meaning you won’t color over the wrong places. In Photoshop Fix, you have to paint over the photo very carefully and may have to erase parts! However, Photoshop Fix is mobile, so it’s a bit more convenient. They’re both free, so try them each out and figure out which tool is right for you!

The Shadow Ban

What is the infamous shadow ban?

The shadow ban is Instagram’s attempt to rid the app of accounts that are not complying with Instagram’s terms and conditions. It makes your account essentially invisible to accounts that are not already following you and inhibits your ability to reach new accounts.

why do they ban accounts?

While it sounds scary and feels really frustrating, the shadow ban exists as a way for Instagram to protect us from spam accounts. Of course there is no way to know for sure what account is spam and what is not, so sometimes regular accounts succumb to the shadow ban. It's important to avoid using growth bots or anything that is not one of Instagram's approved partners.

How to check to see if you are shadow banned:

If you see a major drop in your account's engagement, this is a sign that you may be shadow banned. But don't freak out any time that your posts get less likes and comments than usual! There are many reasons why some posts do better than others. However, if you're worried that you may have been shadow banned, it's easy to check.

If you have a secondary account, sign into that. From that account, unfollow your account that may be shadow banned, then go to one of the hashtags that you recently used. Remember that large hashtags (more than 500k posts) may be difficult to spot your posts as they are being used so often. Have accounts check the smaller hashtags that you have been using.

If you see that account's post show up, hurray! You are not shadow banned. If you do not see that post, you might be shadow banned. It's good to check from a few different accounts, so ask some friends or family to check for you as well (make sure they unfollow you first).

Why were you banned?

  • Following accounts too quickly

  • Liking too many posts too quickly

  • Using banned hashtags

  • Using the same hashtags too many times

  • Posting the same exact comment on lots of different posts

  • Using apps that are against Instagram's Terms of Service

  • Other accounts are reporting your account

How to fix your shadow banned account:

First, relax. You won't be shadow banned forever, you just need to make sure that Instagram knows you are not a spam account. Here are some ways to get your account back to normal:

  • Take a 48 - 72 hour break from Instagram

  • Stop using any automation apps or websites

  • Remove any banned hashtags from your old posts

  • Report the problem to Instagram

    • Settings > Report a Problem > Something Isn’t Working

  • Temporarily switch back to a personal account

  • Follow Instagram’s terms from now on

  • Only use Official Instagram Partners

How To Download & Install Lightroom Presets

So you have downloaded some presets, yay! If you haven’t, go check out the Girlcrush Presets available for InstaCrush members!

Now, you will need to install them to your Lightroom app. There are several different ways to go about doing this, so we are going to walk you through the two easiest ways!

How To Install Presets In Lightroom Mobile (DNG Files)

  1. Download Adobe Lightroom onto your phone and create a free Adobe account.

  2. Download the preset file to your phone - save the .dng files to your phone’s Files or Dropbox (anywhere that you prefer to save files on your phone)

  3. Open Adobe Lightroom for Mobile

  4. Click on the (...) Settings Button and tap on Add Photos then From Files

  5. Choose the location on your phone (Files or Dropbox) where you downloaded and unzipped your preset files

  6. Double click on the presets .dng file you would like to work with

  7. .dng file will install in Lightroom Mobile (it will now appear as an image)

  8. Tap the .dng image to open it

  9. Click on the (...) Settings Button and choose Create Preset

  10. Type in the name of the preset, then tap the check in the top right corner

  11. Choose a picture you would like to edit in Mobile Lightroom

  12. On the bottom tool bar, select Presets and apply your new Preset!

How To Sync Lightroom Presets From Lightroom CC To Lightroom Mobile (MAC & PC)

For this option, you will need a Creative Cloud membership. This is highly recommended if you’re doing a lot of editing. You can create an account for $9.99/mo and have access to Lightroom CC, Lightroom, and Photoshop. The biggest benefit to this is that all of your content will sync on all of your devices! If you install your presets on your computer, they’ll automatically be installed on your phone. Click here to get started!

Once you have a Creative Cloud membership, it’s time to install your presets:

Open Lightroom CC Desktop App

Launch the Lightroom CC app so that it can automatically sync your Lightroom Presets and Profiles from Lightroom Classic.

Be sure that your Lightroom Mobile app is synced to your Creative Cloud account. You will then be able to see your Lightroom Classic Lightroom Presets in the app!

If it doesn't sync, or you want to add new presets, follow these next steps:

Import Profiles and Presets:

Click: File > Import Profiles and Presets

You will need to click on File > Import Profiles and Presets to open your folders to search for the Settings folder.

  • MAC users will need to use the shortcut Command + Shift + G to open the ‘Go to folder’ dialog, then paste this string in to get to the Settings folder: ~/Library/Application Support/Adobe/CameraRaw/Settings

  • Windows users can paste the following string to get there: C:\Users\user name\AppData\Roaming\Adobe\CameraRaw\Settings

3. Open Lightroom Mobile App:

Be sure that you are logged into your Creative Cloud account. If you have multiple accounts, check that you are logged into the same CC account as your Lightroom Classic and Lightroom CC desktop apps.

Once signed in, click on an image. Then click the ‘Presets’ icon to find your synced presets. Your presets will appear below the section that features Curves, Grain, Sharpening, and Vignetting.

Congratulations! Now you know how to sync Lightroom Presets from Lightroom CC desktop to Lightroom Mobile and can start using them!


Make Your Bio a Priority

When we think of Instagram, we focus most on content and building a following, but we don’t take time to realize how important the bio is. This is your first impression to keep a new client, to add a new follower, to drive a new sale to your brand!

Make it a priority to make sure you are on your A+ game on your bio!

5 Important Key Factors

  1. Who are you?

  2. What do you do?

  3. What Value can you provide to your target audience?

  4. Do you have a call to action in your bio?

  5. Do you have your location + any easy way to contact you?

Who are you?

This is huge: who are you? What makes you different? Are you a health coach, a blogger (specific niche), a medical provider, a brand?

Example: I am a blogger, so the first line in my bio is Mindset + Self Care Blogger

I also added in the name field Mindset and Marketing!

 
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What do you do?

This is important because when someone comes to your platform, they will know right away if they are your type of person or if they want be part of your community. This allows you to keep followers who will engage with you.

Example: On my Business Instagram, I add what services I provide - Social Media Management and Social Media Tips. I also add that I help small business owners tame the chaos. This way, my target is anyone who would need social media tips or social media services. This is a good way to showcase your skills or your zone of genius!

 
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What value can you provide for your target audience?

This is really important because if we become to salesy, people will be turned off. In today’s day and age, we want connection. We want to know what value we are getting from everything that we do. In the example above, you saw that I do provide social media services, but you also saw that I made it a point to say I provide social media tips. This is important because while I do have a service, but I also provide value and education daily for free!

Do you have a call to action in your bio?

Always have a link in your bio, whether it’s to your latest blog post, to a special going-on, a link to your service page, sign up forms and YES - FREEBIES! Later has a link in bio where you can link each of your posts to a relevant URL. It’s definitely good for multiple offers!

If you want to lead your audience to multiple links, be sure to check out the lesson How to Create an Instagram Landing Page.

Do you have your location or any easy way to contact you?

Make sure you contact information is easily accessible and add your location if it relevant to your business. This way people in your area can find you, and potential clients / collaboration opportunities can contact you quickly and efficiently.

How To Write Engaging Captions

We’ve all been there, right? The struggle is real when it comes to writing the perfect Instagram captions. Do we use a song lyric or a cheesy motivational line? Do we go with something Drake would be proud of or our Mama? Don’t you worry one little bit, little bit! We got some fabulous tips on writing a killer caption that will interest your audience and be related to your content, too!

Start with your content

Ask yourself these three questions:

  1. What/who is in this picture?

  2. What do I want my audience to take from it?

  3. Can I tie in a recent life experience with this picture?

Asking those three questions will give you some sort of insight as to what you should caption your pic. You don’t have to implement all three questions - one is enough! But if your creative mindset is in hyperdrive, then go all in, my girl!

Listen to music while writing

Whether you’re the kind to preplan your Instagram feed with apps or you like to feel how the day is going to determine your posts, music is one of the best ways you can discover what message you want to convey or even to feel inspired by lyrics. While doing your work, have your fav music playing app in the background with a playlist that you’re feeling. If you’re feeling energized and excited - listen to some pop or your favorite 90s/early 2000s throwbacks. If you want a more serious vibe, turn on coffeehouse tunes to flow with your thoughts. And at the end of the day, there’s nothing wrong with using lyrics. I mean, have you heard Ari’s “Sweetener”? You better believe I’m using her lyrics for every post for the rest of the year.

Think about your brand.

So what is that message that you send to your audience every time you post? That you’re a mom with a plan and want to upkeep wholesome content with a warming, inspiring vibe? Or how about a boss a$$ woman who likes to keep it uplifting with a hustler’s mindset? Depending on what you’ve determined, you can go from there. Think outside the box with it. And sometimes, go outside of your brand! Changing up your style here and there won’t hurt anyone (honestly, it’ll keep things interesting!)

Research, Research, Research!

Listen up! I’m going to tell you this tip while everyone else may never like to admit it.

Look up your inspirations online! Go through their feeds and see what is working for them. Granted, their brand and ideas are their own, so don’t be a complete copy-cat. However, if you see little things in their captions that you also do (or would like to incorporate) find a way to make it unique to you and your brand!

For me, I like to go to other female bloggers and see the types of things they say for people to start conversations in the comments. And listen, if you feel a little guilty for rebranding an idea of theirs, I’m sure they wouldn’t mind a comment or a DM of you giving them a thank you and heads up!

Feel better, my girl? Good! Because YOU got this. And I mean, if all else fails, that’s what we’re here for. Head on over to our Fill-in-the-blank captions or our Quote Vault if you need a little lift. ;)

How to Create an Instagram Landing Page

One of the major bummers about Instagram is that you can only put one link in your profile. And you can’t put any links at all in your captions. So basically, all of your posts need to direct to one single link. Chances are high that you have multiple places that you’d like to drive traffic to, so creating a landing page is a great option!

What is an Instagram landing page? Well, it’s really whatever you want it to be! You create a new page on your website that is not linked to your main navigation and insert whatever you’d like to drive traffic to. This could be blog posts, your shop, your freebies, your other social media platforms, etc.

Creating a landing page will be different for different website platforms.

Squarespace

If you use Squarespace, creating a landing page is super simple - go to the backend of your site, go to pages, then scroll down to unlinked pages. Add a new page there.

Wordpress

If you use Wordpress, you’ll want to go to the backend of your site and create a new page.

The biggest benefit to creating your landing page on your own website is just that - it’s your own website! You’ve already got your followers where you want them and don’t face the risk of them leaving along the way.

But if you’re not tech-savvy at all, have no fear.

There is a very simple alternative called Linktr.ee. It is a free tool that allows you to create a list of links to send your followers to. There’s an option to upgrade to a premium plan ($6/mo) which gives you some more options. The downside is that there is much less customization than if you create your own landing page.

instagram+landing+page (1).png

Designing Your Landing Page

Designing your landing page is very much up to you and your taste. However, there are some standards you’ll want to follow:

  • Keep it clean and simple - when sending your followers to your links, you don’t want to distract them

  • Use just one column, no rows

  • Use your colors and branding - stay cohesive

  • Don’t share too many links, it can be overwhelming

  • Be sure to add the links to your other social media accounts

Understanding Your Analytics

Analytics. Sounds pretty intimidating and overwhelming, huh? Well we’re going to break it down and simplify it for you, because understanding your analytics is KEY to success.

You have two great options for tracking your analytics:

  • Your Instagram Business Account

  • Iconosquare

Instagram Analytics

Activity

The activity section shows you statistics on how your overall account is performing on Instagram.

Here, you’ll find statistics on:

  • How many users viewed your profile

  • How many users clicked the link in your bio

  • How many users clicked on your email address/phone number/location

You’ll see the stats for the current time period and how it compared to the previous time period.

You can see a graph that shows when all of these interactions took place.

The discovery section shows you how many accounts you reached over the time period. You’ll see when you reached the most users and how many impressions your account had.

Content

The content tab shows you data on your specific posts. This is important information as it should help you determine what type of content performs the best on your account.

You can also tap on an individual post to see its stats in detail. Under this tab, you’ll also find information on Instagram Stories.

Use this data to find the content that’s performing best for you, and look for trends that can help you discover why.

Audience

The final insights tab is Audience. This, of course, shows you data on your audience. It starts with how many followers and how many followers you gained or lost over the past week.

You can see the locations in which most of your followers live in - view by city or country. If you tap on the bar, you’ll see the percentage of your followers that are from that location.

Below that is data on the ages of your followers. You can view this information by gender.

You can see your followers by gender.

Lastly, you’ll see the time of day each day in which your followers are most active! This is an important statistic because it can help you determine when to post each day, based on when your followers are most active.

Iconosquare

Iconosquare is a free third-party analytics tool that has premium options as well. It’s highly recommended if you’d like to thoroughly analyze your Instagram. It’s also an official partner of Instagram, which is always great because you don’t have to worry about the third-party app affecting your Instagram account.

Overview

Your overview shows you your total followers, your evolution (growth/loss), your impressions, your reach, and your average engagement rate by post. You can view these stats for different periods of time, such as last 7 days or last 30 days.

You can see the average love rate by post (Average love rate for the posts published over the chosen period. The love rate of a specific post is based on the likes received divided by the number of followers at the time of the post.)

Your average talk rate by post (Average talk rate for the posts published over the chosen period. The talk rate of a specific post is based on the comments received divided by the number of followers at the time of the post.) and your average engagement on reach (The average of engagements on reach per post published over the period. The engagement on reach of a post is the total engagement divided by the reach.)

Community

Your community page will show you a graph of your follower growth for your specified period of time. You’ll also see a graph with the age and gender of your followers and a graph of the languages spoken by your followers.

There is also a map of the world that highlights your top countries and top cities so you can see where your followers are located!

instagram+analytics.png

Content

View your post history and your post distribution. There’s a graph that shows you which filters you use most, and how that impacts your engagement.

Your post density graph shows you how many posts you share each day of the week. You can also view statistics on the hashtags that you use and how it’s impacting your engagement.

Engagement

This is a really important one! View how many likes and comments that you received in your specified time period.

instagram analytics
instagram analytics
 

VSCO Tutorial

VSCO (short for Visual Supply Company) is a powerful photography app for iPhones and Androids. It’s simple to use for both shooting and editing photos. The subtle filters and presets are far superior to most of the other photo editing apps out there, which often have harsh, dramatic filters.

When editing your photos, there are tools for manually adjusting the images and there are lots of filters (referred to as Presets). First you’ll want to pull up a photo to edit.

If you take a photo using VSCO:

It will be saved to your studio, which is the double square icon located on the bottom.

If you’d prefer to import an existing photo:

Tap the + icon in the top right corner of the studio window. This will bring you to your camera roll. Tap your image to import it to the VSCO studio.

VSCO tutorial

To begin editing a photo:

To select an image to edit, tap it in your studio. The image will become highlighted and the icons on the bottom of the screen will change. Tap on the second icon to the left, the adjustments icon, to begin editing.

To begin editing, apply a preset (filter) to your photo. VSCO comes with free presets as well as the option to purchase more.

To view the presets, tap the icon in the bottom left corner (the square with the three dots below). Then you’ll see all of the available presets and you can tap each one to see how it looks.

Once you have selected a preset, you can adjust the strength of the filter by tapping it a second time. This will allow you to adjust the intensity.

The app also has a toolkit that provides even more adjustments, such as exposure, contrast, fade, clarity, skin tone, temperature, and more. To access these tools, tap the second icon to the left on the bottom of the screen.

Creating and Using Recipes

Recipes allow you to easily edit and recreate your favorite looks. This is such an awesome feature because when you create a look that you love, you can save the exact edits that you used so you can easily apply it to other photos. It’s a great way to keep your photos consistent and your Instagram feed cohesive!

How to create a recipe:

  1. After editing an image, tap on the circular arrow icon on the bottom of the screen (3rd icon) then tap on the “+” to create a recipe.

  2. Once the recipe is created, you will see it in your recipe dock. Tap on the X to exit the edit view.

How to apply a recipe:

  1. Tap on an image in your VSCO studio, then tap on the edit icon (2nd to the left).

  2. Tap on the circular arrow icon on the bottom of the screen (3rd icon).

  3. Tap the recipe you’d like to apply.

How To Grow Your Email List With Instagram

Building your email list can feel very challenging at times. But while you’re building an audience in other places (i.e. Instagram), you might as well encourage them to join your email list! When someone chooses to follow you, they’ve signaled that they are interested in you/your brand. Chances are, with a good enough lead, they’d join your email list too.

Maybe you’re thinking, “I am growing my Instagram, why do I need to grow my email list too?”

Great question. Instagram owns your Instagram account. They can choose to shut down your account at any time. This goes for all social media platforms. Your email list is the one and only asset that you truly own. No matter how new your business or blog is, you should be growing your email list. Also, the average ROI for an email list is significantly higher than any social media ROI!

Haven’t started an email list yet? We highly recommend ConvertKit!

So, here are some great ways to entice your Instagram followers to join your email list:

Landing page in your bio

You want to make it as easy as possible for your followers to join your email list. Having a complicated opt-in process will cause followers to exit before leaving their email which is an unnecessary loss of a potential subscriber.

The easiest way for someone to subscribe to your email list is by providing a direct link to your landing page. Don’t have an Instagram landing page? Click to read the Instagram landing page lesson.

Reason to leave Instagram

People receive tons of emails, so it’s very rare for someone to just give out their email for no good reason. You’ll have a significantly easier time growing your list by offering your followers something in return for their email address.   

Mention it often

No one can sign up for your email list if they don’t know about it! Be sure to direct your followers to your bio so they can sign up. Mention it in the captions of your posts as well as in your Instagram stories. If you have 10,000+ followers, you can even insert a link into your stories so all your followers have to do is swipe up.

Run ads

Boosting an Instagram post about your email list is a great way to get new subscribers. Even just $5 can go far on Instagram! And you can target users pretty specifically, so you know you’re reaching your ideal audience.

How To Start Your Own Engagement Pod

Before reading this tutorial, be sure that you are familiar with the concept of an engagement pod. Check out our lesson, Instagram Pods 101: What? Why? How?

Engagement pods are very beneficial for your Instagram growth and engagement. They allow you to trade likes and comments with similar accounts, significantly expanding your potential exposure among similar audiences. But the absolute best way to ensure that you’re in an engagement pod with the right accounts is by starting the engagement pod yourself.

So you’ve decided to start a pod. Now what?

Decide who you are going to invite. You’ll want all of the accounts to be around the same size. For example, if you have 2,000 followers, you should invite users who have 1,000-5,000 followers. You’ll also want the accounts to be within the same niche. The idea is to share audiences, so you’ll want accounts who have the same ideal audience as you. More likely than not, a few accounts have already popped into your mind. Write them down.

Note: Instagram pods are in Instagram direct messages, which allow up to 15 members in each group message.

To find more accounts to invite, search through the posts with hashtags that relate to your account. Scroll through the top posts and recent posts and look for accounts that look a bit like yours. Follow them and write them down!

Start sending out those DMs! The best way to be sure to get the right people in your pod is by reaching out to them directly! Not everyone will respond or want to join, so you’re going to need to send quite a few DMs. You can copy and paste this message to your invitees:

Hey [insert name]! I absolutely love your Instagram account and truly enjoy following you. I am starting an engagement pod for [insert your niche] accounts and would love to have you. We will be liking and commenting on each other’s posts on a regular basis to help boost each other’s reach and engagement! Let me know if this is something you’re interested in and I’ll add you!

Create a group message in your direct messages. As users begin agreeing to join your pod, add them to the group message. Begin introducing yourselves until there are several users.

If researching accounts and sending dozens of messages sounds miserable to you, you’ve got another option! Write a post in the Girlcrush Collective Facebook group, or any other Facebook group that allows you to post, and say that you’re looking to start an engagement pod.

Describe the kind of accounts you’re looking to add, then tell group members to comment with their Instagram handle if they are interested in joining. This will help you fill up your pod faster, but the quality of accounts may be lower as you’re not hand-picking them.

How To Make Your Instagram Story Longer Than 15 Seconds

Instagram stories are cut off at 15 seconds. So how come you see some that are longer? Well, there are ways around it! Here's what to do if you want to share a video to your story that is longer than 15 seconds:

Because Instagram stories are 15 seconds, you will have to split your video into 15-second clips. This is actually much easier than it sounds!

How to split a video:

  1. Record your video on your phone camera (not on Instagram as it will cut off at 15 seconds)

  2. Download the free app CutStory for Instagram Stories

  3. Open the app

  4. Select the video icon in the bottom left corner

  5. Choose the video that you would like to split

  6. You have the option to add stickers, text, and background music, but it is optional

  7. Click on the save icon in the bottom right corner when you're ready to split the video

  8. Select the duration you'd like it cut into. In this case, you'll select Instagram

long instagram story
long instagram story

How to upload the clips to Instagram:

  1. Open the Instagram app

  2. Pull up your videos by clicking the icon in the bottom left corner

  3. Select the first clip

  4. Add it to your story by clicking the plus icon in the bottom left corner

  5. Repeat for the rest of your clips!

long instagram story

How to Change the Font in Your Instagram Bio

Have you ever seen Instagrammers who's names and bios have a different font? It's actually surprisingly easy to do! We'll walk you through it step by step.

Pro tip: create your bio in the notes app on your phone. This will let you add separate lines, whereas if you create your bio in the Instagram app, it will not let you enter.

instagram bio font

There's an awesome website that'll translate your bio to cool fonts that can be used on Instagram!

All you have to do is go to here and paste your bio into the first box, and choose a font from the second box!

instagram bio font
long instagram story

After you have chosen your font, copy and paste it into your notes app. From there, you can paste it into your Instagram bio! You're able to change both the Instagram bio, as well as your Instagram name (see below)!

instagram bio font

Must-Have Apps for Instagram

The single best way to grow your Instagram account is to treat it like a business. You must be actively posting strong content and engaging with users. Instagram is a very saturated platform and it is too easy for your profile to get lost in the crowd.

These five apps will help you plan and edit your content, post at the right times, find and engage with followers, and more. You will make your life easier if you use these apps in addition to Instagram!

PLANOLY

Planoly_GuestPost-1.jpg

Do you ever wonder how some Instagrammers get such beautiful, cohesive feeds? They use an Instagram planner! Planoly is my absolute favorite. It is a visual Instagram planner that lets you drag and drop your images around to see how they'll look in your feed. 

You can write out your captions and schedule your posts ahead of time. I like to have my posts scheduled out at least a week in advance! Consistency is crucial for Instagram growth, so planning ahead of time will help you stick to a posting schedule.

THERE'S MORE. Planoly even has a library of free stock photos for you to use! And you can schedule your Instagram STORIES too. Literally you can have your entire Instagram scheduled in advance. Ahhhh-mazing.

Planoly has a hashtag list feature that allows you to save lists of hashtags and not have to type them all out every time you post an Instagram. I have lots of different categories of hashtags saved so I can quickly insert hashtags into any post! 

You can view your analytics - see your top posts and track your growth via your number of likes, comments, and followers. View weekly, monthly, or yearly analytics. The comment management feature lets you view, like, and respond to comments right from the app. 

And finally, Planoly is perfect for small business owners because it allows you to create a SHOPPABLE FEED! Imagine having your followers make a purchase straight from your Instagram post. Fabulous.

PRIME

prime+app.png

You have probably heard tons of different theories as to what the best time to post on Instagram is. This is because there is a different "best time" for everyone. With the millions of users on Instagram, it wouldn't make sense that there is one specific time on one specific day of the week that will guarantee you get the most likes. 

Prime is an app that analyzes your specific followers and tells you the "prime time" for you to post each day, down to the minute. They'll give you a list of suggested times to post each day and a graph showing when your followers are most active. It's nice to have Prime open while you are scheduling your posts on Planoly. And it's free!

LINKTREE

Linktree is the Instagram resource you have been waiting for. You know how you can only add one URL to your Insta bio? NOT ANYMORE, LADIES. With Linktree, you can add multiple links! 

Instead of choosing which link is most important for Boss Babe Co's Instagram, we have this link: https://linktr.ee/bossbabeco. This pulls up several links that we have entered, including the website, the Facebook group, the resource guide, and the blog. If you get the premium version, you can even see which links are clicked on most. Pretty cool!

 

ICONOSQUARE

Iconosquare is the best app for tracking your analytics. 

Here are the things you can track with Iconosquare:

  • Follower growth

  • Engagement score (percentage of followers that engage with you)

  • Hashtag performance (which hashtags are bringing you the most engagement)

  • Impact of filters on likes and comments (did you even know that was a thing?!)

  • How reachable your followers are

  • Locations of your followers

  • Best performing posts (most likes, most comments, most engaging)

  • Best performing post times

But Iconosquare has much more to offer than analytics. You can add three competitors and track their analytics too. You can view charts that show your analytics in comparison to theirs. If you are targeting the same audience, studying the competitors habits and altering yours can be very beneficial to your Instagram strategy.

You can also track hashtags the same way you can track competitors. Choose three hashtags and you can see how often they are used, the locations of the users who use them, and the growth history of the hashtag. It is a good way to decide which hashtags to use in your posts.

The comment tracker allows you to keep track on the unread comments on your posts. As your Instagram grows, it can become difficult to keep up with the comments on your Instagrams. But engaging with your followers is very important, so it is helpful to check the comment tracker every few days and see if there are any comments you missed.

Iconosquare has a feeds feature, automatically adding a feed with your media and a feed with the posts that you have liked. You can create more feeds, adding hashtags and users so you can view only the posts you want.

There is a scheduling feature that you can use if you do not use another Instagram planner.

The advanced media search is one of the coolest features in my humble opinion. You can search hashtags and filter them by: media type, number of likes, number of comments, number of followers, number of followings, number of user media, words/phrases in caption, mentions, and date. PRETTY PRETTY COOL. And you can track brands and influencers.

VSCO

instagram apps vsco

There are thousands of photo editor apps. I've probably downloaded nearly 50 apps before finding one I really like. VSCO is a photo editing app that I think is unparalleled. The preset filters are amazing and you can create your own and save them to easily use them again. The app is free and comes with some filters, but there is also a VSCO shop where you can purchase more filters. I suggest finding the perfect filter for your style and then using it on all of your Instagram posts - it'll keep your profile nice and consistent. 

You can also use VSCO on your desktop - once you know there is a filter that you want to use for your photos, you can install the VSCO presets on Adobe Lightroom for photos that need a little more editing than you can do on your phone.

How To Create Your Very Own Instagram Highlights

$1.80 Strategy

A great way to step up your Instagram game is by adding some Instagram story highlight covers! There are plenty of ways to do this - you can pay someone to make them for you, you can purchase premade templates, or you can DIY it! Creating your own Instagram highlights is easier than you would think, so I have put together this step-by-step tutorial to walk you through it.

What are Instagram highlights?

Instagram highlights are stories that you choose to keep on your profile for more than 24 hours. Normally, when you post a story to Instagram, it stays visible for 24 hours and then disappears. But the highlights feature allows you to permanently save stories on your profile.

Instagram highlights are front and center on your profile - right below your bio and above your feed. They are a powerful way to choose what you want your visitors to learn about you or your business as soon as they come to your profile.

Why create highlight covers?

Because highlights are front and center on your profile, you want to capture your viewer's attention and entice them to click on your highlights. It is a way to brand your profile and keep it looking clean and organized.

Instagram Highlight Inspiration

Instagram+highlights.jpg
instagram+highlights-1.jpg

How to create Instagram highlight covers with Canva

Canva is a free, simple, easy to use, web-based design platform.

If you are choosing to DIY your Instagram highlight covers, Canva is a great option.

1. Go to canva.com

2. Create a new design using custom dimensions - 1080px x 1920px

instagram story highlights

3. On the left hand side, click on background

canva instagram highlights

4. Canva has some free backgrounds that look great on highlights. You can also purchase a premium background for $1 on Canva or purchase premium backgrounds on Creative Market. Some of my favorites are:

5. Once you have selected a background, decide what categories you are going to create.

instargam highlights

6. Now it's time to select some icons. Canva also has a great selection of free icons that you can use for your highlights. You can also find icons on Creative Market.

7. Duplicate the page and change the text and icon for each category.

8. Save your highlights by clicking download in the top right corner.

instagram highlight canva

9. Upload the highlights to your Instagram stories.

instagram story highlights
instagram highlights

The $1.80 Strategy

Have you heard of the majorly successful entrepreneur, Gary Vaynerchuk?

Gary Vee started his career with his family's wine business, which he grew from $3 million to $60 million. He then branched off and started his digital agency, VaynerMedia.

He created an Instagram strategy that I cannot recommend enough. It's called the $1.80 strategy (and no, you do not actually have to pay $1.80 to use it)!

Here's how it works:

You leave your .02 cents on the top 9 Instagram posts for 10 different hashtags that are relevant to you. By doing this every day, you will see major growth. This is because while other Instagrammers are out there leaving their .02 cents, you are leaving your $1.80 (top 9 x 10 hashtags = 90. Multiplied by .02 - leaves you with $1.80)!

Implementing the Strategy

To get started, you'll want to choose your 10 hashtags. To choose the very best, you'll want to refer to our Hashtag Library and strategy.

Once you have your 10 hashtags, you're ready to get started.

Search your first hashtag and you'll see the top 9 trending posts for that hashtag.

Comment on each with a meaningful response. Don't just say "love this!" or add an emoji, as that will make you look like a bot. Aim for at least 5 words on each comment.

The more value your comment provides, the more it will stand out among the rest. This will draw more attention to your comment, driving more traffic to your profile!

Making things even easier...

There's a website called Dollar Eighty that allows you to connect your Instagram account, then add your 10 hashtags. Every day, it will give you the top 9 posts in each hashtag - just click on the post and add your comment!

It is a bit easier this way because you can just open each post in a tab on your computer rather than going through all of them on your phone!