I’ve been on Instagram for over eight years, I have over 500,000 followers and I’ve worked with hundreds of brands for influencer marketing. When I decided to launch my own boutique swimwear business, Michaela Wain Swim, on Instagram, I thought I had everything down pat.
“I’ve got this,” I told myself, but even for someone as Instagram savvy as me, there are so many challenges when starting your own business.
So, to anyone thinking about launching their own product or brand on Instagram, here are five things I’ve learnt in the past 12 months:
1. The algorithm, trends and features are always changing.
Instagram is now so much more than just a photo sharing app. You can upload videos, Instagram stories and more recently IG TV videos. So, as a business you can no longer rely on uploading a standard still image and expect your product to reach the audience you want. To be successful, you really need to understand Instagram as a whole. Not only do you have to regularly use all the features the platform offers (both new and old), but you have to create an authentic voice, persona and brand to really stand out in a saturated market.
With so many brands trying to ‘sell’, uploading a photo every day and saying “buy this” is going to get you nowhere. You will look extremely bland and impersonal next to a competitor who uploads three pieces of content a day (a photo, a video and a boomerang), shows the entire behind the scenes process of designing a product on IG stories, and uploads a weekly ‘vlog’ to their IG TV.
Instagram works off algorithms. This is how the platform chooses when it will show your photo to a current or potential follower, over someone else’s. The way Instagram works is the more you use the features on the app, the ‘better’ your algorithm is and the higher the chances of someone seeing your posts.