They say the proof is in the pudding right? Well I guess today it’s in the follower count.
While F22 is relatively new, my time in the marketing world is not. Before I was pushed into freelancing full-time, I worked for a variety of companies doing graphic design, copy writing, and social media! (You can read more about that here!) But I picked up some tips and tricks along the way. I love helping people and companies jumpstart their online presence, so it only made sense to become a social media coach.
But enough about me, let’s talk about Keith Caldwell. Now full disclosure, Keith and I started dating during this influencer case study. What can I say I’m helpful and cute 😉
Keith is a guitar player that I’ve known for almost ten years. I actually had intended on doing a case study with one of my good friends, not Keith. But the more we hung out the more he heard me talk about my tactics, how I was coaching her, and the general complaints that come with the social media (SM) sector. He started asking me for advice, and then implementing my tips and tricks. Eventually we sat down and I asked him. “What is the big goal, what do you want to do with your channel? If you don’t know then it’s kind of hard to measure success, or get anywhere.” Well he said that brand sponsorship, creating a left handed guitar player community, and getting to NAMM (a giant musical instrument and gear tradeshow) were the main things.
So I shifted gears and became his (slightly annoying) coach! Second disclaimer. Any coach/manager/talent relationship should be about showcasing what you both have to offer. I’ve told Keith and my other clients that they are driving; I’m here to help them. Basically they are the talent and the production, and I am the teacher and distributor of their talent. Their success relies 100% on them creating content and then using my tips to get it out there. If they don’t do the work….nothing is going to happen.
SO, there are tons of guides out there about ‘best practices’ for Instagram and other social media platforms. And honestly there is SO MUCH that goes into a successful online presence. (Which is why social media consultants and coaches, like me, exist!) So these are the main five things that have helped Keith go from less than 100 followers to over 2,500 in just two months. Keith is in a very unique area on Instagram. Not only is he in a smaller niche, guitar players and music, but he wants to focus on the left handed community. Evidently left handed guitarists only makeup 5% of the total guitar base?! Who knew! So we paired his knowledge of the community and culture, and paired them with my obsessiveness of social media and the psychology behind it to get these results.
Don’t forget to follow Keith! @southpaw.reviews
Your hashtags are everything. People like to make fun of them, or downplay them, but they may be the most important tool you have. Hashtags are first and foremost for searching, and connecting with people on a certain topic. Now I plan on writing a whole post dedicated to hashtags, but here is the down and dirty of what worked for Keith.
The Mix of Hashtags
When we first were talking about Instagram(IG), we talked about finding people who like the same topic as you. I explained my personal formula for making the most of the 30 available hashtags. I recommend 1/3 directly related to the post, 1/3 related to you and your profile, and 1/3 sub-related (meaning if you’re a cookie decorator, you would also include #cakedecorations and #cupcakess). So they’re not directly related to you, but people who are interest in that are probably interested in your content as well.
So Keith, being the over acheiver that is, went back and did this for all of his posts from the past. Now he didn’t have a ton to begin with, and they weren’t all related to guitars. But he woke up to close 100 notifications overnight.
The When of Hashtags
This is impressive because. A. He didn’t post any new content. B. That means his content that he was newly optimizing was lower on the list than newer posts and C. He did this at night. Now nighttime isn’t a horrible time because of his niche (but we’ll get to that later).
I definitely would not recommend doing this at night to anyone who has a more ‘mainstream’ niche like fitness, food or travel. We also tapped into what makes Keith unique! (that’s the 1/3 about the person and profile) Keith also includes his profession, and his lefthanded-ness to boost how many people see him that can relate to him on a personal level. (Verse just thinking his covers are really cool!)
Note: With Instagram’s algorithm there is a chance for you to get ‘shadowbanned’ by revamping all your old posts at once. To keep this risk to a minimum do it over a few days!
Engagementttttt! Would you go to a party and not talk to anyone? Well maybe if it was a general party with a weird combo of people yeah. But what if everyone at the party liked all the same things you did? You’d probably talk to them A LOT more, right? That’s basically all engaging is.
I told Keith to 1. Reply to any comments he had gotten in the past and ignored. 2. Reply to all comments in the future even if they were just emojis. 3. Reach out to brands and people that you like! If someone comments on the newest Gibson colorway and you also think it’s awesome…tell them! Conversation is the name of the game. Also, commenting ups your engagement rate (that brands care about) AND IG ranks posts based on how much engagement you get right when you post it. So by striking up a conversation with people right after you post…you’re creating that party atmosphere.
You can also bet that for the first couple weeks I was always commenting on his stuff. You got to support your clients and your boyfriend….so I was like doubly on the hook!
Now there are two big take-aways from this section. 1. There are two types of people in this world. People who ‘batch’ and people who don’t. To make it easy on yourself I suggest you ‘batch’ or ‘group’ your content creation time. So think taking a weeks worth of pictures at the same time. OR if you’re insane like Keith, record multiple covers of songs on the weekends, and then post them throughout the day.
What time is it? Posting Time!
And then 2. Timing based on your niche. Remember how I said that Keith was one of the few that could get away doing updates at night? That’s because of his niche. Musical people tend to be night owls! So they are more likely to see his content after dinner and into the night. Add in that we live in Phoenix, AZ and his favorite brand Chapman guitars is in the UK, and it makes more and more sense for him to aim towards the evenings.
When should you post? Depends on your niche. At the beginning I did some research and found that the suggested time for Keith’s musical niche was between 5-7PM. Now we went under the assumption that mean 5-7PM OUR TIME, but it could have been any time.
You should research what time is best for your niche, and then use a little common sense. Most likely if you’re posting about food, meal times will work. Posting as a mommy blogger? Post in the 9-5 time and more likely around the ‘nap time’ of the early afternoon. Now you may find that you have to alter your timing based on performance. This is completely normal…and even huge corporations have to do this through something called “A/B testing”. So play with it until you find something that works for YOU!
This tips was the most fun for me. Keith had already seen some great traction on his newly timed posts with hashtags. But since his goals were brand centered, we needed him to get noticed. So he would post things, and then I would text him telling him who to tag and how to do it.
Now this is important. Tag everything and everyone that’s involved in the post. You’re wearing a Nike hat, but you’re a dogwalker? Tag that bitch. (Pun slightly intended) And don’t just tag them in the caption or comments, tag them in the photo. This will push your photo onto their profile, and get you noticed anytime someone looks in their ‘Pictures of You’ section.
Or get yourself a Mar that will pop up after you post a picture like that helpful little Word paperclip guy.
If you’re made it this far I’m very impressed. On the ‘Most helpful tips I gave Keith’ section, Content Quality comes in #5! Now Keith is already an amazing guitar player, so we were good there. Really all we were doing was upping the looks of his posts. Keith noticed the videos he recorded with natural daylight, during the day, performed better than his other videos. (Keith is also an electrical engineer by trade so he’s very in tune with data…which helps me a lot!) So we set out and got him a lighting system off of Amazon to replace his yellowish lamps. You can use this cheap one for everything from photography to professional shoots!
We also got him a nicer camera, which is planning to use, and discussed a visual theme. Since his genre is a little more relaxed, that doesn’t matter as much, but for some genres it matters A LOT. I would definitely invest in lightroom presets and some editing software if you’re lifestyle, cooking or general IG influencer.
Your IG account, or really any feed on a social media platform, is a visual brand board. What feeling and vibe do you want people to get when they think of you? You need to display that!
Now this is obviously not an inclusive list of all the tactics we used to boost Keith’s followers. It’s actually just chapter 1! I wanted him to get to 1,500 followers before we started working on his media kit, which would then be sent to brands to set up brand deals such as sponsorships and collaborations.
I’m very excited to see where this goes for Keith! If his growth keeps snowballing (Which I’m sure it will) I predict he will have 10k followers before July 4th and at least a couple sponsorships. Sponsored posts are a great way to negate the costs of producing content, as well as make some side money. (Keith is also really excited about getting his hand on new gear for left handed people and being able to review it!)
Just remember becoming an influencer in whatever realm you choose is A LOT of work! So check back in a couple months when I will let you know A. Who Keith has worked with B. What the posts were like and C. I’ll confirm his entrance into NAMM! He’s already cultivating an amazing left handed guitar community on IG so that goal is already meant and will just keep going!
What is your goal for Instagram or social media? Trust me when I say whatever your goal is…it’s too small! Dream bigger because with hard work (and a slightly annoying, but helpful girlfrined) you can get there faster than you think!