The Beatles get plenty of credit for being social innovators, but few people realize how far ahead of their time they actually were. Hidden between messages of free love and forward thinking, the fab four left behind lessons in something far more important. And we all know the only thing more important than peace and love: Instagram.
So, if you’re looking to grow your page, engage more with your audience, or are strictly in it for the likes, curl up with your Stg. Pepper vinyl and go down this list of Rules For Instagram According to The Beatles.
1 “And in the end, the love you take is equal to the love you make.”
Especially when you’re starting out, the amount of love you give on Instagram is proportional to the love you’ll get back. That ancient Instagram strategy of, “If you post it, they will follow,” is a myth.
The Beatles knew that you have to go like more photos than the average user and leave the comments you wish someone would leave you. Find the demographic you think should be following you and give their feed the love.
2 “I get by with a little help from my friends.”
Trying to make your mark in the brave new world of Instagram is hard enough. Don’t try and do it alone. One of the best strategies for growth on Instagram is finding a community of like-minded creators where you help each other move up and get by. Find those who are producing content that compliments yours and then reach out to them. Promote each other in your stories, pages, and tags. Do this over and over.
3 “The long and winding road.”
George Harrison wrote “The Long and Winding Road” after a bout of severe IG depression. @RealG_Harrison was posting regularly, giving the love, but couldn’t break past the 5 million follower mark. He even wrote an old b-side called, “Algorithm Blues.”
He eventually accepted that building a loyal audience on Instagram takes an incredible amount of time. If you’ve hit a plateau with your page, you may need to spice things up, but more than likely you need to have patience and stay at it.
4 “I’ve got to admit it’s getting better, a little better all the time.”
Just when you think you’ve got the Gram all figured out, a new feature, algorithm, or trend comes along to shake it all up. If you want to grow you’ll need change along with the app and get better each day. As my great-grandfather once told me, “Son, your feed may have been fire in 2015, but you’re gonna need to step it this year.”
If you don’t want to be a slave to algorithm changes or trends, here’s what you should spend your time getting better at:
Delivering high-quality photos/videos; Writing thoughtful, relateable captions that elicit some type of emotion (#Sundayvibes isn’t going to cut it…); and finding your target audience. For the Beatles, that was anyone under 40 with a pulse. You’ll probably have to get more specific.
5 “Sounds of laughter, shades of life are ringing through my open ears, enticing and inviting me.”
If you want others to engage with you and follow your page you must entice them with emotion. Look at your feed: Are you inspiring adventure? Laughter? Are you giving your audience ideas that challenge them?
Create photos and captions that entice your audience. Then, invite them to float downstream with you.
6 “One thing I can tell you is you’ve got to be free”
John Lennon wrote this after one too many brand collabs clogged up his feed and his engagement tanked. Instagram has proven to be one of the most viable places to market products and services, but if you’re asking more than your giving, you’re doing it wrong.
Whatever your angle is, you should be giving away 90% of your value for free. That’s how you gain trust and earn a following. It’s only after you’ve added enough value pro-gratis that people will support you by buying your product, course, or book
7 “I will be there and everywhere. Here, there, and everywhere.”
You don’t need a passport to travel on Instagram. But you do need #hashtags. Hashtags are your photos tickets to lands far away. Use them (all 30) and watch your photos reach new people, places, and cultures.
8 “I ain’t got nothing but love babe, 8 days a week”
There are few different schools of thought on how often one should post, but the main thing to remember is to be consistent. And if you have good content, post it! Train your audience to rely on your posting schedule and then keep delivering the goods. The Beatles released 13 records in 7 years! Feeds move fast. No time to rest on your laurels…
Regardless of how often you post, if you’re serious about growing your page you have to remember rule number one and give that love 8 days a week.
9 “I want to hold your hand.”
9 out of 10 marketing experts agree: Be human! This is where many personal brands go wrong, they forget to be relatable humans with cracks and flaws. Give your audience a hand to hold. Underneath those lighting edits, you’re just as vulnerable as they are. Make sure they know it.
10 “Turn off your mind, relax and float downstream.”
This isn’t (necessarily) a call to drop acid and get funky with photo filters. What the Beatles were trying to tell us here is, “Relax… It’s just Instagram. Have fun, make art, and enjoy the process.”
You can be serious about Instagram without taking it too seriously.
I’m sure The Beatles had much more to say on the topic on Instagram, and if you have any favorite lyrics that preach the power of the feed I may have missed, shoot me a DM at @corey.mccomb. And don’t forget to like my photos. Seriously, go like my photos…