It can be discouraging to work really hard on your business, create posts about it—only to find out that no one on Instagram can even see it! Some good news for your feed: Patty Delgado, founder of Hija de tu Madre and 2019 Tory Burch Fellow, participated in a recent Ask a Founder Anything on our Instagram for advice on building your audience and your business. Delgado built her fashion and lifestyle brand by speaking to her Latinx followers who are products of more than one culture. That authentic relationship built her an Instagram following of 263,000 (and counting) and features in Glamour, Forbes 30 Under 30, POPSUGAR and more.
See what the entrepreneur had to say about how to grow an Instagram following, the posts that really count, and making jefa moves.
Q: When is the best time to post on Instagram and is it important to post at the same time each day?
A: It most definitely is! Look at your Instagram insights and figure out when your audience is most active–and keep posting at those times. We post three times a day at the same time every single day. And sometimes four times.
Q: Besides interacting with followers, what else can you do to build a following?
A: Partnering with mutually beneficial accounts. Partner with folks with a similar audience as you, that you both can benefit from. Creating content with the intention of it reaching a ton of people. Content that is relatable, funny, aspirational and inspiring tends to do that more so than just a cute pic.
Q: How do you find balance between being engaged with your audience and having a life outside of work? Is it possible to have both?
A: This one is tough. And I’m really grateful for my team that is way more customer facing than I am. However, when I was a one woman show, it was very taxing. There is so much value in being intensely engaged with your audience (brand trust, loyalty, etc.) but the price is…. you’re burnt out AF. I wish I had the right answer, but this workaholic maniac does not.
Q: Are hashtags even useful anymore with Instagram’s new algorithm? And if so what tips do you recommend for keeping track of them and knowing which to use?
A: I don’t think so to be honest. I think being more intentional about who you follow and who you’re engaging with is more strategic, in terms of appearing to new audiences.
Q: My stories and posts are getting much fewer views during this weird time. We had excellent community engagement prior to the pandemic. Any words of advice to reach our large community and continue to grow on this platform?
A: The number one piece of advice I cam give you is stop posting content that doesn’t work [for your audience]. Typographic posts do not cut it. Keep doing what works. Think about your social channels like a machine.
Q: My engagement has also slowed this year, not only because of the pandemic, but seemingly also due to the algorithm. I hear the same tips over and over again and would love to know your most unique advice on growing and sustaining an audience.
A: It’s important to remember that Instagram is an advertising platform. Do not feel discouraged because you’re not seeing the same results as before. Instagram wants you to pay for ads, hence decreased organic engagement. So what? Post more and create more value! Pretty doesn’t add value. Ask yourself: how is this content encouraging conversation? How will this spark engagement?
Q: I just launched my Shopify website this week and I have no traffic at all. I’ve done some social media ads but still not one single sale. Do you have any tips on how to get traffic to the site?
A: For paid ads to work, you need a good enough audience pool, so I suggest you re-strategize your organic channels first [Ed. note: organic content is the posts that you share without paying the platform to show it to followers or potential customers.] Paid advertising is a waste of money unless you are already generating significant traffic from your own social media, direct website traffic, email, etc.
Q: Do you feel social captions need to come from the small business owner’s personal voice? I’ve tried hiring social media people and it just feels fake and icky to me, but time is limited when you’re wearing all the hats!
A: Create a schedule, and hold yourself to that routine. Think of your brand as a character. What is the brand voice? What is the brand humor? What are the values? Create an entire persona, put it into a deck and teach it to your social media manager. It takes time, but the right person (with the right guidance) will learn.
Q: What types of content are resonating with followers and growing your audience now?
A: I love this question! Value-driven content. The days of cute content are over. If your post isn’t meaningful or value-driven, don’t post it. We post a lot of inspiration and humor, which balances the product-driven content that we still have to post.
Q: How do you stay motivated to create content especially during these difficult and isolating times?
A: It’s hard! I haven’t really made any content And mostly because I don’t feel motivated. I’m more interested in behind-the-scenes, less curated, messy, raw content. Like me just posting pics of what I’m working on, as opposed to having a whole production. The team still makes occasional content, but we’re focused more on incentivizing UGC (user-generated content).
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