Small Business Talk For Coaches

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Instagram Trends for 2024 With Cathy Smith and Rah Gardiner

Show Notes


Rah Gardiner is a social media manager who works with a wide range of businesses including podcasters, journalists, NDIS providers and even a funeral director. Her most successful content for clients includes a post that got more than 250 comments, and a Reel that has been played over 78,000 times.

Instagram Authenticity

So what do you think we should be doing to love the platform a little more? The good news is the trend that started happening on Instagram at the end of 2023, which is continuing so far in 2024, is that you can be yourself and be a bit less polished. So the assumption that you need to have your face on your heads or you need to be sitting in a pretty location that people are going to love and have professional stylists and makeup done.

It doesn’t really matter as much anymore. You could just be yourself. You could be walking down the street dealing with the kids in the background. Anything is a go. People want to see the reality of what’s happening.

That’s definitely the way all platforms are going, being authentic. We want to know the person behind the brand and we want to know the real person as opposed to all these beautiful photos.

Be Genuine

When you meet them on Zoom or in real life and you get at the same person. Yet it’s a bit like what you imagine it’s like with online dating where the picture doesn’t match what you see when you finally go on a date with them. So try and bridge that gap and be a little bit more yourself.

And of course, it’s okay if you don’t want to be too natural. If you want to use filters or put makeup on, put a hat on, those things are completely fine as long as you’re comfortable and you can still be yourself. But if you’re if getting prepared to put yourself on camera for Instagram is what’s holding you back from doing it, then let it go.

Do Videos

Be more comfortable with doing videos. This might be a big issue for a lot of people. Even people who have huge businesses, they really struggle to put themselves on camera and it’s okay. You don’t have to be so worried about that. And the reason I’m saying that is that real reels, which is the format, that’s what Instagram calls it, video content.

So it fills up your screen and those are really popular and Instagram wants you to do those. And so you might as well lean into what Instagram wants you to do and just accept it and then just let go and just have fun with it. You can still have a conversation, you can answer people’s questions, you can refer to a previous reels and yeah, and just have that fun with it.

The other thing that needs mentioning is that you are your own harshest critics. Nobody else is going to worry quite so much that your hair’s not in the right way, that you’ve got to curl at a place or that there’s a background that’s got an issue. Just make sure that it’s clear people and that people can hear you. Be authentic. And if you’ve got good lighting, the better. There’s no reason to be worried about being picture perfect anymore. You just have to be fantastic.

Do Interaction

You should be interacting with your followers and with the people that we’re following on Instagram. Because if you think about how smart technology is and how your phone seems to know what you want before you know that you want it, the same as for Instagram, it’s noticing whether or not you are spending time on the app and whether you’re shouting into the void or others call it the scattergun approach, where you just post a bit of content and then you make off, they are going to notice that.

So if you are spending time interacting with the people who are taking the time to comment on your posts or your reels or your stories, and then also engaging with them on their own content, and then also the people that you’re interested in following. If you start engaging with them, you know, you’ll get that rapport and then you may find that traffic is coming over from these other profiles that you are interacting with.

So, make it more of a conversation and not just you with your big megaphone shouting out about yourself. That’s really important because a lot of people know that they should be engaging with their followers, but they don’t always think about engaging with other pages and other people that are commenting. So, if you’ve got a follower that’s always commenting on yours, then reciprocate.

Be Conversational

If you can, have a little bit of a chat with your followers. They will not only appreciate it but people like them who are potentially your audience will also see you commenting. So that’s another way that you can expand your reach a little more. There’s like little breadcrumbs from Hansel and Gretel. So, you’re leaving a comment and if it’s not just nice work, if it’s actually something insightful or useful, someone will notice that and then they might click through and discover who you are.

If it’s not one of these massive spammy comments that we’re all getting, our fades bombarded with that revolting yelp and you actually take the time to read it and comment on the content as opposed to just the standard cut and paste, that will make you stand out as well. Treat your followers and the people you’re following the way that you would want to be treated.

So, if they like what they’re saying on your account, they like that comment, they’re shy, they share. So, you do a bit of that and then the algorithm will start to love you that little bit more.

Use Hashtag

In the old days, you could only search by hashtags, which is why hashtags has been such a thing on Instagram and over time they have developed the app so that you can search and particular usernames will come up, particular names. Finding the right hashtags can be time consuming and it’s a bit hit and miss to find whether or not they’re actually going to work

But depending on your niche in your industry, you may still benefit from having them. So, if you’ve got hashtags that are doing well, don’t teach them, keep them in there. But if you’re on the hunt for some hashtags in the hopes of getting some more engagement, you can give it a go. But don’t be disheartened if you don’t have any success.

There are apps that can-do hashtags for you but often times, they rarely do any better than your own manual labor of looking at your competitors and saying what hashtags they use or pretending you’re your ideal client and you’re searching and looking for the right hashtags. So, go with your gut instinct. If you can’t be bothered, just leave it. But if you’re having success with them, you might as well stay on board with them. Having between three to eight hashtags is good.

Personal Touch

Get comfortable with putting something a little bit more personal about you out there. Not too much because you don’t want it to become a personal profile, but if you start showing a little bit of the underbelly of what it takes in your business and with yourself to have your business to be servicing your clients, it shows a bit of personality and it doesn’t have to be controversial.

For example, if you love dogs and then you have a client who shared photos of their dog, you will want to interact with it. If you have other clients that have pets too, it is expected that those post will do better than any other. So even though it’s not on content that’s about promoting their services or their case studies or testimonials that they may receive, but people are engaging with it, you’ve got to keep running with it because it gets people coming back.

And the more that people engage with your content, the more that you’re going to appear in their feed, in their stories, and you’ll get more eyeballs over time. And we do business with people. So, we need to get those connections and pets are a great way. Even if you don’t have a pet, you generally have a preference for a pet or you like a pet



Instagram Trends for 2024 With Cathy Smith and Rah Gardiner

Your Instagram profile should give people an idea of who you are and what you are offering. Don’t just post, interact with your audience so you can build connection because knowing the people that you’re dealing with really does make a huge difference.

Listen to the full episode of Small Business Talk episode 230.

You can also find the video versions of the Small Business Talk Episodes on YouTube.

Small Business Talk - InstagramTrends for 2024