Now I can see you! Instagram strategy: how to get seen and geather more folowers

If you ask me what is the best social network for promoting your business, I will say with no doubt - it is Instagram. It is easy to use, it is full of inspiration, it is quick to check  and post, but the main things about it - you can speak to your followers through the main universal language that every person on this planet understands - through visual  storytelling. No matter is you are speaking Portugal or Dutch, there is no problems if English is not your first language, just like mine, you are able to communicate and translate your vision through pictures and that is what Instagram all about.  As someone said: if you’re not making money on Instagram, you’re doing it wrong. No matter if you are new to Instagram or already have an account and struggling to promote it through. 
I started my account about 18 month ago. In first 10-12 month I manage to get only a 200 followers after posting about 200 picks. Mostly my friends were following me, which is really sweet but not helping with grooving a business. So I've started to look for solution and thinking how could I make myself and my jewellery seen on Instagram? in next 6 month I gathered 5 time more followers with only about 120 pictures and without even allocate special time in my daily schedule for Instagram promotion. Another great hint about Instagram - you can easy multitask Instagram posting while waiting for the bus or putting kids asleep.
I am not a professional  blogger or marketing specialist, I have never been trained for it, but I have some experience I would like to share with creative minds to help the grow their brands. 

So, here is just basics you should know to start your business account on Instagram.  .  

All social networks are about likes, comments and followers: The more you get , the more popular you are becoming, the easier you are to find. Let's see how can wee get new followers and likes.

1. Basics. 
    - Your account name should be your brand name or your own name if you use it for the business. It is great to have a personal connection with customers, but if you are posting gazillion of you pet, kids, food, selfies shouts - better to separate all of those to the different account. If you want to sell product or service, than people should clearly see what you are selling. Don't confuse them with your "only me and my grand my could understand this" pictures. 
    - Do not set your account private for your business. No comments here.
    - Fill your profile and put the link to your website or shop. Don't forget to speak  with your customers about your product, not just about yourself. I know you are amazing person, so you are already translating your lifestyle and your values through your products, let them speak for you!

2. Clear and nice visual style - the fastest way to perform  information and also the most common leading perception type around all people  is visual presentation. Dye to evolutionary reasons we all programmed to perceive and recognize visual signals faster then acoustic ones or any other type of signals.  This means - to show something is better and more efficient than to present the same information in any other form, especially speaking about internet. Use it! Make your visual style unique, clear and pretty. Let your account give its message from the first look - what are you selling, what style do you have, how does that fill to own your product etc. Make it clear to everyone! 
    - Use same color scheme, do not overuse irregular non-square crops or use only one type of crop (rectangular or circular, or any other - but only one type then). I love blue hues, so for me it was just natural to use them, however if you check my account and scroll it down - you will see, that it was not always like that. It took me time to set up my style. 
    - Do not use too much different filters, choose couple of them to use permanently and that's it. It will help you to make your account looks consistent, solid and nice for the eye.
    - Use other apps to provide great visual content - you can upload shots from your SLR-camera to Dropbox or Google drive and use them for posting from phone.
    - No messy, blurry  photos. They mean you are don't care your products to be be shown in all their glory, and your customers will feel like you don't care about them. Try to do the best of what you have now.

3. Copy and posting. Relax, Instagram is about visual story, so you can put just couple of words under the pic. But if you actually like to write, here is some tips.
    - I know it is hard to make  pattern-braking copy every time, but it will help. Speak with your own voice, with words you are using everyday. Don't be too sophisticated. 
    - There is no need to sell something with every post, but you can put some other calls to action - ask your followers about something   (their favorite color or place to visit), involve them into the creation process through asking what option is best (blue or red ribbon for the necklace, to make a long or short chain for the pendant, etc.). And listen to the answers! Replay and speak to them back. We all like to communicate, right? Don't worry if you will get no answers, I fill like there is only one the time for a dead silence in comments under my post but when I am asking something.
    - Be as short as you can. At my opinion, there is not a lot of those who using Instagram for reading. 
As to the posting, there is different opinions but here is two main tips - do not post a lots of pictures, about 2-5 per day is ok. And consume timing - figure out when your potential customers are the most active and post in that time to get best gathering. 

4. Hashtags. Use them. Yes, that's simple. You will probably spend some time figuring out what hashtags works for you best and that's ok. I found mine following next hints
   - Use  not only the hasрtags for objects on pic (#spoon, #ring) but style, occasions, materials and technics they made with (#woodenspoon,  #rusticplate, #bridalring, #wirewrapped etc).
   -  Browse your competitors to get some hashtags ideas. Browse your followers and your competitors followers also could be a discovering for what you should use in meaning of content or hashtags.
   - Set up your own hashtag and couple of hashtags to make your clients easy to browse your feed, especcially if you are doing different ranges of products, let's say - watercolors postcards and beaded bracelets. I am using my own hashtag #moondomeuk and some different hashtags for my paintings and lifestyle photos (#moondomeuk_art, #moondomeuk_life)
   - Use hashtags of matching communities and accounts those who features products (#craftcurate, #dawandaseller  #etsy). I found couple of palls browsing through #creativelive.
   - Host your hashtag that other people could use too  #myfridayearrings for example.
   - Put your hashtags in first comment under the post, so you can easy renew it and push your post higher in news feed for a specific tag. 

5. Communicate.
   - Comment posts from people you following, answer on comments you are getting, like peoples photos under your top hashtags. 
   - Sometimes it is great to introduce yourself through taking part in challenge such as "10 days of happy news", "what are you crafting now". 
  - SFS (Shoutout For Shoutout) - posting pick from other popular accounts to get chance to be featured on their feed. Think first if your style and values are suitable to feature somebody or  the been featured  by other person.
  - Follow for follow - not the best option, but sometimes it could work.

6. Sponsoring, Give away and competitions. Well, that is a dark field for me personally. But I think they could be an option too. You can easy find on web loads of tips how to host a giveaway or loop giveaway, there is nothing new in this field. 
As to the sponsoring (get featured by somebody for giving to this person your product) and payed feature - newer work well for me. But if you know who is you perfect customer and who can feature you with maximum response, than go for it. You can receive offer from other person or reply to offer posted on public in specific account, or pick a user  you suggest have similar auditory that could be interested in your products  and Send a Direct message to her. 
Competitions also a great fun. Just be strategic and plan it all ahead. It is also could provide you with some new bright ideas for your products. 

Don't worry if all of this tips will not work immediately, but they will help you to build a strong base for your business. Keep trying and be consistent, remember that you are speaking with your folowers, but now just promoting yourself.

Good luck, my creative friends!