So I’ve been experimenting with Instagram and here’s what I’ve learned.

I’ve learned that pretty wins the day.

That motivation is what people crave.

And that stories are the key to setting yourself apart within the platform.

Click here if you’d like to download the Checklist.

I’ll walk you through exactly what I did to add just under 100 followers and over 200 likes on 3 posts in 3 days.

First, though, let me tell you where I was 3 days before this epiphany came to me.

Often, when I’m floundering (and that’s often when you’re still building your business), I’ll surf Facebook.

I’ll contribute to other’s posts in the hope that good Karma will come my way (is that a contradiction?).

I’ll respond to comments and questions, and I’ll try to engage people and learn from those high along on their entrepreneur journey. Because that’s what it is. A journey, and we’re all at different points in the journey.

That day, I engaged in a group I had just joined for women entrepreneurs. It caught my attention because of the name of the group. The Affluent Female Entrepreneur. If that isn’t great branding then I don’t know what is.

Someone made the comment that everyone in the group posted promotional material and nothing else. This individual wanted some value from the group. She wanted people to help each other. The problem? These women seemed to have it all figured out and needed (read wanted) no help.

It was a balls-y post. She called out the owner of the group (not unkindly) asking for a little facilitation.

So I chimed in (naturally). I asked, since we were being honest, I would love help driving traffic and building engagement among my platforms.

Immediately, the balls-y one answered with several questions followed by long and detailed posts instructing me on various ways to build engagement and drive traffic.

It was great value, and the response created a bit of chaos.

Suddenly, I was having conversations with dozens of affluent female entrepreneurs. All of them at different places along the journey.

Looks like that balls-y commenter got what she wanted. And so did I. One of the women I had a conversation with was a business coach.

To be honest with you, I have mixed feelings about business coaches.

Part of it is ego. I’m not sure what they can offer me that I can’t research and figure out for myself.

Part of it is money. I’m not yet in the place in my business where I can throw money at someone for advice. Or am I?

One free consultation later and my entire approach to my business had suddenly changed.

I pride myself on my ability to see the issues in other entrepreneur’s brand, copy and website. I’ve helped drive traffic and engagement to many brands that aren’t my own.

And yet, the very mistakes I correct for others, are right there on my website or in my own brand copy – and I was completely oblivious.

This is natural, of course. We see the flaws in others that we cannot see in ourselves. Our business is a reflection of ourselves, so logically, it’s difficult to spot the mistakes that cause all the trouble.

She gave me a long list of things I could fix, and those changes are coming, but one little sentence stood out.

We like pretty.

She was referring to my Instagram. Previously, I would filter the same posts between all of my social media platforms.

Click here if you’d like to download the Checklist.

After all, who has time to create different posts to schedule out daily across a dozen social channels?

Not this mama, let me tell you.

But that little sentence stuck with me. Instagram likes pretty. Well, if Instagram likes pretty, what about the other platforms.

So my testing began.

First, with Instagram – and here’s what I discovered.

Instagram likes pretty (stay with me here). My images in Instagram were designed in Canva from a social media template. I can’t go wrong, right?

I did go wrong.

They were over formatted. There was too much text on one picture. The copy was short and factual. The hashtags sparse and purposeful. My posts were being directed to only the people who were most relevant to my niche.

Wait, that sounds like a good thing. Isn’t it?

Let me answer that question with a question. How many likes did it get me? Not many.

So, I tried pretty. I found flattering images that were relevant to what I wanted to say. I filtered them lightly, but otherwise left them be. I added short, click-worthy text. Nothing more.

Hmmm, still not much action.

So I took it a step further. I looked at the Instagram of that coach I spoke with, and what I saw popped the top off the Instagram can.

She had long posts. Like, really long. Her Instagram posts were like mini blog posts.

I tried it out.

Click here if you’d like to download the Checklist.

I took those pretty posts with the sparse, ambiguous words, and I added a story.

It was a motivational story about failing and trying again. Or it was a story about taking the risk to get the reward. And then another story about dreaming bigger without fear.

It was too easy. And because of that, I completely overlooked the potential this formula had.

Then, to top it all off, I added 30 hashtags to the bottom of the story.

Just so you’re aware, 30 is the maximum amount of hashtags Instagram will allow you to publish with your image. And that’s how many that coach added.

I kept researching. Many Instagram giants with thousands (or more) of followers were following this format.

So what happened next?

In 3 days, I’ve gained almost 100 followers (bringing my small Insta-family to just over 300) and over 200 likes on my Instagram page. I’ve received positive comments and requests for work.

In 3 days, Instagram was suddenly a driving force for my business instead of an obligatory afterthought.

If you haven’t looked into Instagram to help promote your business, I highly recommend it. But don’t over think it.

Just remember, “Instagram likes pretty”. – Navae Lukas, business & branding coach. navaelukas.com

Click here if you’d like to download the checklist.