I’m writing this article about how to boost your Instagram to explain how I use this social media network, to increase the number of people that know more about what I love to do, skydiving. Since building up an online community on Instagram, I was able to influence hundreds of people to skydive for the first time and also to become licensed skydivers. I was able to acquire brand collaborations with Levis, Grendene, Google, Reef, Polaroid, and other companies. As well, in 2018, launching my own extreme clothing brand called Colorful Jerseys. Besides that, today, I have a few sponsors that help me to achieve my goals in my skydiving career, such as Vertigen, Modern Camera Solutions, and Rider Sandals.
Absolutely, I can say I’m happy with the result since starting. Even though the effort (time) I spend on Instagram has decreased a lot. Still, I can reach a considerable amount of people online by sharing my passion and examples of the work I do all over the world. In 2017, I had around 1.2 million impressions (monthly) on Instagram. Unfortunately, that number came down to a little more than 350.000 impressions monthly in 2020. Even though that decrease in impressions happened, Colorful Jerseys were able to sell its colorful and uniquely designed jerseys in 23 countries during 2019. The biggest market is the United States, which is the place that I have most followers on Instagram.
What is Instagram
Instagram is a social media app that allows its users to share with their followers life experiences in photo or video format. Instagram is one of the most important social media networks, and daily has more than 500 million people using the app. According to eMarketer’s research, Instagram will double its projected growth in 2020, with more than 26.9 million new users. That explains a lot why brands and influencers are paying more and more attention to this social network owned by Facebook Inc.
Instagram was launched in October 2010, and I joined the network only in 2013. It was a private account until I found my passion for skydiving. In 2015, everything changed. From a private account to an open feed, I began sharing skydiving content from a vast amount of skydivers around the world. I was online for hours and hours looking for amazing skydiving content for my Instagram feed. I thought sharing all those fascinating skydiving images in only one feed could increase the number of skydivers and people interested in the experience of free fall.
“It’s all about asking for permission and openly crediting the original creator!” – Nikki Canning, Digital Marketing Specialist
Is it all about content?
I believe life is about the people you know and the experiences you live. Instagram is the same; to boost our social media, we need to use our best experiences and connections to excel in the app. However, we need to put work on it; and it is a lot of work. The work always comes first. We need to learn and understand how social media works. Everyone has different followers, and those followers follow us for various reasons. Understanding why they like your posts or what they want to see more often is crucial to create relevant content.
Beginning skydiving in February 2015 and around August of that year, I remembered thinking about why not that many people skydive. I felt that if we had more people in the sport, companies would be able to spend more money on technology and also have cheaper gear. Besides that, we would have more people to jump with, better skydiving center structures and lot more fun. That’s when I decided to do my part.
I began to read and study what the most famous digital marketer specialists were saying on how to create a good strategy for a new Instagram account. At first, my goal was to increase the number of people jumping out of airplanes. How am I going to do that? The answer popped up in my head after I had more information and, by sharing a mix of the best skydiving photos I could collect, my own skydiving photos and personal experience regarding my journey.
- I found a website called Later and started to schedule all my posts. I was posting 4 times a day every 6 hours. In my mind, the skydiving market is tiny. So I had to increase the chance to reach people in all timezones.
- “Like” other accounts photos and leave a real comment.
- I subscribed to Iconosquare (Instagram Analytics Tool). I needed to understand why one post was having more engagement than others.
- Instagram hack tools (DO NOT USE IT) was a great thing in the past. Instagram lets you like 50 thousand pictures per day without any retaliation. Automation was a massive thing among influencers, and it WORKED very well.
Remember to talk with a skydiving instructor before jumping with your Action Camera.
Another exciting thing that helped me to analyze my evolution on social media is comparing other athletes and niche influencers’ Instagram numbers with my numbers. That gives me an interesting perspective on how others are doing inside the industry that I’m interested in.
The other factors
Two main factors differ success and failure; the amount of work you are willing to put on something and how much do you love what you are doing. When we love something, it is much easier to spend more time working on it. Also, when we love it, people can see that, and they know it’s genuine.
Honestly, I don’t like to explain what I do on social media. The work I put into it is enormous and many times can give the impression that it is cold and impersonal (too much thinking, right?). It’s not just posting things and see what happens. Social media requires lots of planning, structure, and learning time. However, the big reality nowadays is that nothing substitutes hard work.
Even though we love what we do, hard work is irreplaceable. Love gives the final touch, the uniqueness, and the beauty that only other people that love that too can see. Skydiving is connected with many things besides extreme sports. It’s connected with nature, lifestyle, adventure, traveling, friendship, and so on. When we love something, everyone that loves something that connects with it will see how honest we are in our purpose. There is nothing better than a shining eye to engage with people. They can see the love, and that can make all the difference.
It’s a new decade, and Instagram has changed a lot since its launch. Our favorite app isn’t only a social platform anymore but also an e-commerce platform for small and big brands. Instagram has changed focus many times in the last years due to its competitors, Youtube and TikTok, to be more precise. If we try to understand how Instagram is changing and its trends for 2020, we can begin visualizing what type of content encourages more engagement.
For the moment, videos are the new thing. Personally, I have experienced a boost on my Instagram reach using videos on my feed. The good news is that we don’t need to edit it too much anymore. A new Instagram trend for 2020 is “no-edit” edit videos. Don’t get me wrong, we need to edit the videos and make it look more beautiful with great music and more colors (I love colors), however, the video needs to look more authentic and in real-time. This culture shift is coming from TikTok.
Also, feed posts are decreasing. The post number per week is getting lower because we are sharing only the best content on the feed and posting the rest on stories. That helps our “brand” to keep the engagement high, which is very important when we are selling ourselves as an Instagram influencer. However, Instagram is trying to increase the number of posts, in other things, by restricting us to see how many likes a photo or how many views a video has.
Blogs and people I follow
Neil Patel is one of the most relevant influencers on the Internet when talking about digital marketing. He is also a best seller author from the NY Times. Forbes says Neil Patel is one of the 10 most essential marketing specialists. That’s why I think you should know what this guy has to say.
Hubspot is a platform that offers marketing, sales, CRM, and customer service. However, I don’t follow this website because of its paid services. I do because of the amount of digital marketing free courses with a certificate and also their exciting blog that also include a lot of useful information and tips on how to manage your social media strategy on Instagram.
“When it comes to marketing your business and actually driving sales, Instagram is definitely the better (and more sophisticated) platform to focus on.” – Taylor Loren, Digital Marketing Specialist
I do have other people and blogs I follow. However, these are the most important ones. I use these two websites as a reference on all my digital marketing research and learning process.
TikTok helps us on Instagram
TikTok is an entertaining platform for hanging out. I have only a few weeks playing with the app and have more than 100 thousand views on my videos. Another great thing about this app is that you can go viral (it happened with me). I have a video with almost 50k views. TikTok offers the complete opposite of Instagram. TikTok is moving towards public engagement numbers, and its algorithm is making natural for your followers to see the content you are creating.
“If you are in Brazil, Instagram launched Reels app. Facebook Inc. is trying to compete with the Chinese TikTok on the markets they aren’t that popular yet”.
I found out that when we create a video on TikTok, we can save it and share it on Instagram. Ok, not news. However, we can share our video with music. I don’t know why Instagram allows that, but, in the feed or stories, Instagram allows our videos to have great trending music, and that will boost our Instagram reach, generating a lot more engagement with our followers and on the explorer.
Tip: remember to avoid letting the TikTok logo appears when you are posting on your Instagram feed).
We want to see and read things that are relevant to who we are and also connect with the people that entertain, challenge, and inspire us. That’s why we follow and get followers on social media. In 2020, the voice will keep being a trend, and captions and comments are the best way to engage online. Captions length on Instagram doubled since 2016, and digital marketing specialists believe that this is a trend for 2020. The average caption length on Instagram that ensures more engagement is around 405 characters or between 65-70 words.
Long captions should be used only because it’s trending on Instagram. I genuinely believe we should use it to build real communities around us. That helps people to know you better, and when they engage with your ideas, it helps us to know each other better. Remember, I started my extreme sports Instagram account to help more people know about skydiving. And so, if I don’t have real interaction with them, then all my work on social media is wasted.
Instagram competes with YouTube, and the best thing they created to keep people on their app instead of going to Youtube was IGTV. Although I do not have much experience with IGTV, many digital marketing blogs say that a lot of people are spending time watching IGTV videos. As a content creator, I see a great opportunity in 2020 with the IGTV Series. Learn more about IGTV Series at the Hootsuite blog and create your IGTV videos.
I was considering making videos of 1 min and 30 seconds maximum talking about my latest blog post and connect Instagram users with my blog and Colorful Jerseys online store. Do you think it could be a great idea?
Augmented reality and Instagram stories
Everyone is nano-influencer. A “trusted recommendation from a friend” is the new thing on the internet. However, we need to standout when posting something on Instagram. AR (augmented reality) filters gave us all an incredible way to call other people’s attention. Many new filters are created every day, thanks to Spark AR. Brands and AR artists help us to boost what we share in our stories. When it looks really cool, we also can bring that to our permanent feed.
Techjury.net affirms that 70% of Instagram users watch stories daily, and 93% of the digital marketing specialists plan to post more often in stories. Besides that, 73% of influencers claim that stories are the most effective content format for influencer marketing. Analyzing these factors, I understand that stories are a punctual thing when using Instagram and growing our account and engagement. If we can create content that connects to new tools we have on Instagram and other apps, which help us to be more relevant, then we will be on the right path.
Be creative, and try to bring things that will be enjoyable to your audience. Every time we are posting something, we need to think about why we are posting it and how people will interact with it. However, don’t stop testing new things. Sometimes we can get surprised by how cool something we initially thought was lame turns out.
Keep coming back
Instagram and other social media, in general, are always changing. We need to be creative and bring new things to the table. It’s important to say that everyone has something to add to the world. That’s the beauty behind being different from each other.
If you like the article, please let me know, send me an email or a message on Instagram. I want to know about your experience and thoughts! If you want more information about how to start skydiving, skydiving gear, or have any questions related to skydiving, leave a comment, or use Facebook or Instagram.
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