When I started my Instagram account “Aktien für Frauen” (English: Stocks for Women) in July 2019, I was actually just looking for an exchange with other women on the topics finance and investing. I was frustrated by the fact that there were almost only male accounts, blogs or podcasts that never really appealed to me as a woman, because I am simply a different target group and want to be addressed differently. It is clear that there are also wonderful synergies between male and female investors, but I would still have been happy to be perceived differently.
It seemed to be the same for thousands of other women, because within a very short time my Instagram account exploded and I was able to welcome the first 10,000 followers after half a year. Today, we are 25,000 people on my account and I still can’t quite believe it when several thousand interested people watch my stories every day or put their trust in me and ask me for advice. I am all the more proud of the fact that my community consists of almost 80% women who want to take their finances into their own hands. That was my dream, which came true with a lot of work and strategy: to take away women’s fear of money and the stock market and get them to take care of their retirement planning and asset accumulation themselves.
I would like to tell you in this blog article how exactly I managed to do that and which cornerstones you need for your Instagram success.
Your goals on Instagram
First, you need to set clear goals for yourself. What do you want to achieve with your Instagram account? Do you want to act as an influencer and then use the reach you’ve built up to sell advertising contracts with companies and affiliate links? Or are you an entrepreneur and want to attract new customers or strengthen customer loyalty?
It is essential that you strictly pursue your goal and over time, always check whether your strategy really works.
Instagram is a social network. So use it accordingly! I see so many great accounts, especially business accounts, that deliver terrific content, but little interaction with followers takes place. The active exchange with your community must be your ultimate goal in order to build up your reach and become known and recognized. This means responding to questions, answering comments and messages. Users want to know who is behind the account: Show yourself!
Even if it is uncomfortable for you to put yourself in front of the camera, it is a guarantee for success! I myself notice it more and more how much my followers appreciate that I act face-to-face with them. I can assure you: Eventually it will become the norm and soon you won’t even care how you look right now. In the beginning, I still dressed up for my stories, but now I sit in front of the camera without makeup and without my hair combed. People love it, because I am one of them!
Note: Give your account personality! That way your community will trust you. Act with them as if you know them and value each and every one of them.
Find your niche
You will only stand out from the crowd in the long run if you stringently pursue your set focus and also implement it. Let’s assume you are an expert like me on the topic of finance, then it is also the topics around this niche that move your followers. It’s not only unprofessional, but can also cost you followers in the long run if you deviate from the actual topic here and there and post, for example, a picture of your dog or the last bar visit. These things have no place on a business account and belong at most in the story, where they are forgotten after 24 hours.
Note: Address your community purposefully and stay on topic. Trying to “pick up” more followers here and there by deviating from the actual focus does not make sense.
The number of followers – quality instead of quantity.
Yes, I am happy to have almost 25,000 followers. The number makes me proud, but not because it is so high, but because it is a qualitative number. What does that mean? Quite simply, I can be very sure that the vast majority of people are genuinely interested in my topic and will become customers if I offer products or services. What good are thousands of purchased fake accounts to me, except that they completely dilute my target audience? None of these people, if there is a real person behind them at all, will become my customer.
Note: Follower count is not there to push your ego! If you only have a small community, but they are loyal to you, that is worth so much more than 100,000 fake accounts.
Your profile description
Often underestimated, but so important! With your individual Instagram bio you arouse the interest of potential followers. It must be clear at first glance what they will expect on your account. Therefore, the following applies:
- Who are you?
- What do you do or what are you an expert in?
- What other channels do you have, e.g. website?
First impression counts – your Feed
How often have I received such incredibly lovely messages from users who praised me for my great feed and wanted to get tips. It’s no wonder, because as we all know, the eye eats with you. Instagram is a visual platform and at the time of its founding in 2010, the sole purpose was to share photos with other users. This intention has since become somewhat diluted, as Instagram has now become an advertising, knowledge and self-promotion platform with countless possibilities. Still, one thing remains the same: people will follow you if they like looking at your pictures. Whether you’re working with images, photos, graphics, or collages, your focus should clearly be on a consistent and appealing look. You can think about the following in advance:
Branding: Choose 3-5 colors that are recurring in your post. Also different symbols or elements let a recognition value arise. Branding also includes 2-3 fonts that you use for your images. They should be easy to read and fit together. You can find free fonts at dafont.com, for example.
Mood: How should the mood on your account be? Calm, loud, colorful, clear, reserved, bright, etc. Look at other users and get inspired. You’ll also find it on Pinterest if you don’t have any ideas yet.
Note: Your feed is your signboard. This is where you decide whether a person becomes a follower and maybe even a customer. Therefore, give it enough thought in advance and play around a bit.
Your texts to the images
Added value, added value, added value! Some Instagram users are already so saturated with the hip everyday life of influencers and their contentless posts that they are happy about content that helps them. I try to put at least a small snippet of knowledge in all my posts (but usually a big one) and offer explanations etc. in simple and few words. My followers love it and I guarantee yours will too!
If your topic doesn’t add much value, then give lots of different insights into your work, your service, your everyday life or whatever. Always ask yourself: what interests you and what doesn’t? It’s great if you always question and adapt your content yourself.
Trial and error is the motto. Try out a lot of different content at the beginning and develop the posts that are well received and discontinue the others. Don’t be afraid of making mistakes, because you learn from them and can do better next time.
Use hashtags strategically
Hashtags are a must-have in every post you make. This helps users who are explicitly searching for content to find your image. By the way, users can also follow individual hashtags and particularly popular posts will then appear in their feed and Instagram Stories. Properly used hashtags can increase your reach and make you more visible.
A maximum of 30 hashtags per post and 10 hashtags per Story can be used. These should be well researched and selected in advance. The hashtags must be relevant and consistent with the content of your post. Use both big or overarching terms, as well as more niche and specific words. In my case, these include #finance or #sharesforwomen. There are great tools that you can use to search for suitable hashtags, e.g. Keyhole or Hashtagify or the app Leetags. You can also find similar keywords directly on Instagram using the hashtag search.
Important: Vary! If you use the same hashtags every time, Instagram may consider this as spam and limit your reach.
Note: It’s the variety that does it. Combine general search terms with specific ones. Compile all the hashtags, big and small, that you’ve researched and are relevant to you. Create an Excel spreadsheet so you can always refer back to it. Also, check out topic-related accounts to see which hashtags are common here.
Join forces with others
You’re stronger together! This also applies to Instagram. Team up with other accounts that have the same target audience as you. You don’t even have to be in the same niche. For example, with my financial and stock market topics, I can work well with accounts that deal with real estate, insurance or personal development.
Make sure that you have a similar number of followers, because the willingness to collaborate is usually greater than with someone who is already much further along in building a community. You can recommend each other in the story with so-called Shoutouts, start an action or a competition together. This way, your followers become aware of each other and you also have new content that you can post.
Very important: Please do not use purchased likes, comments or followers. Users will know if you’re cheating. Be honest with yourself and try to build your reach organically. Believe me: it’s worth the effort. So-called bots are also not a good idea. Instagram is pretty good at detecting when you’re using programs that link or comment for you. In the worst case, Instagram can ban your account because you’re violating their guidelines.
Note: You don’t have to be a lone wolf! Other users have the same “problems” as you, so team up and invent cool actions for your followers. Regularity is the key to a great reach. Instagram is mean – it really is! Only if you stay on the ball and post regularly will your posts be shown to many people and you’ll get a great reach. Don’t worry, you don’t have to bang out a post every day. Between 4-5 posts a week is advisable. Be sure to check in every day and interact with other accounts as well. Like and comment for all you’re worth, so that you become visible on other profiles and one or the other user also lands on your account and leaves you a follow. Instagram means work, especially if you want to use it for your business.
It’s best to take at least 1 hour every day to engage with Instagram. Act on other relevant accounts that already have more followers and reach, reply to your messages and post stories and pictures. A nice push is also given by newly launched Instagram products like the Reel video format. Those who use it are often additionally rewarded by Instagram and better played.
So, what are you waiting for? Instagram is a great thing and anyone who wants to become known can no longer avoid this platform. Unlike Facebook, it’s still possible to reach people organically, i.e. without having to spend money. Thanks to Instagram, I have met so many wonderful people that all the hours of work have more than paid off. In addition, I can now generate an income with it, which is a great extra income in addition to my main job. I would be happy if you visit me on my account @aktien_fuer_frauen or write me.
If you liked this post and want to support our Mahina Project: Follow us on social media + we have a Paypal account where all proceeds go directly to our founders in the program.
Jenny Dressel is the founder of the German female finance portal Aktien für Frauen. The Leipzig native is a full-time graphic designer and editor and has her own online marketing agency. On the side, the financial blogger has been trading shares since 2018 and motivates several thousand other women every day to take their finances into their own hands.