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Ep. 25: How to build a strong Instagram community (and why you need one)

Do you realize the importance of an Instagram community for follower growth?  This is the first of a 3 part series with fellow podcaster and friend, Amber Cullum of the Grace Enough podcast. Amber is also a member of my Instagram Insider community and she’s been learning how to grow her Instagram tribe by cultivating friendships.

*This episode contains either affiliate links or links to my products. Should you choose to purchase, the show will go on! Woo hoo!

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Amber Cullum, Grace Enough Podcast

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Why you need a strong Instagram Community


I realize that many of us are solo entrepreneurs, trying to grow and broaden our reach and establish a solid Instagram platform. Today I want to share something you may not be aware of. If you changed that one aspect, could radically change not only your whole approach to Instagram, but skyrocket your following!

Now, Amber is already big on community, in fact, we’re both members of the Christian Podcaster’s Association! But what she discovered by being in my Instagram community is,there is much more to learn by doing Instagram alongside a group of Christian women. Christian women who want to reach their target audience and grow their platform.  

This short conversation took place near the end of our interview and refers to my 12-Week Insider Intensive Instagram training. You can find the link in the show notes to learn more about this thriving group, and how you can develop collaborations, learn the inner workings of Instagram, and grow your platform exponentially in 2021!  

Building a platform through a strong Instagram community
Ruthie: It’s all about community. It’s not about how many likes you get it’s about how the people engage. Community is something that we really stressed in our membership this fall.

With that said, what are some things that you learned through community?

A community of colleagues

A: Obviously you’ve mentioned one of the first biggest things with insiders is  we hear that word community, but, what does that mean? Well, number one, community doesn’t happen in one month. And so month one, I was kinda like, well, is this really doing anything? Well, no,  just like real life, once you spend more and more time with somebody even online on a weekly basis, celebrating, critiquing, sharing, saving, paying attention to what they’re doing,  it benefits you and it benefits them. That’s one of the big things.

A community of followers


I also learned the value of reaching out one-on-one and direct messages. And I did that before, but it was more when someone asked me a question. For instance, I do a ” Would you rather” question, and there might be one that I just am like, ‘Who would ever do that? If there’s any person who picks this one, I’m definitely going to reach out to them in the DM and be like, really what made you say that?’

And I’ve done that a number of times now, and it’s allowed me to maybe get to know them a little bit better or just laugh a little bit. Because sometimes they’re like, Oh, I just picked that one because I wouldn’t do either one! And so I learned the value of that through, not just what you guys said in the insider group, but watching the other people in the group, just watching a variety of people and that makes a difference.

Community through Calls To Action

And then, the value of a call to action and being really careful to not make that call to action seem programmed or forced. That is a hard thing to do, but the only way you can learn to do it is by practicing it. And so sometimes they do seem a little forced, some get great responses and some don’t,

but you taught me that sometimes it’s just, “Hey, head up to the stories to get more about basically what this post is about”.

For me, it may be just laying out the three simple steps you need to do to get to the podcast. All of those things are called to actions. It’s okay sometimes to just say “drop the emoji”, don’t do that all the time, but every now and then that’s fun.  And so I learned a lot of those things through Insiders group.

Instagram community

The importance of Instagram community feedback

R: And did you find we have a feedback day? Everybody takes the turn it’s called Tuesday feedback, and one member drops a question about their bio or what they’re posting or their graphics or something like that. Did you find that helpful and interesting?

A: Yeah, I do find it interesting because, no matter what someone is asking, it’s usually something that we can glean information from because we’re all there to grow our understanding and engagement on Instagram. So if somebody else maybe needs to know it, it’s probably still applicable to me and to the other members, to say, Oh, maybe I need to tweak that on mine. Or maybe going over to their profile and just looking through can spark ideas and generate conversation back and forth. That really ultimately helps us all.

And we know, me being a Christian podcaster, that part of the way we really learn more about God’s Word is reading ourselves and engaging others in talking about it. Well, that’s true for all of life and that’s true on Instagram too. You want to know something, read about it, learn about it on your own and engage others in community to learn about it. I mean, that’s what we do in school, right?

The strategy of community collaboration

R: It is. And so it’s not just a whole strategy of just throwing up your content out there, but actually building a community and a community like we do in the insider group is just invaluable because you are building relationships and you’re really even developing collaborations and finding other people who love your stuff, and then will share it.

And, and that is how you make your message broader. You have someone on your IG live or you share their posts to stories, and you’re just supporting each other. I think people don’t realize a lot of times community is the missing link. We don’t understand it. Like you said, we don’t understand the value of it and what’s behind it, but the more you give in community, the more you get back.

A built-in Instagram Community you can be a part of!

I loved it when Amber said we hear that word community, but what does that mean? Well, number one community doesn’t happen in one month. I love that you see Instagram is Amber’s platform of choice, but for a long time, she tried to go it alone. She knew the importance of community, but not necessarily the importance of leaning into an Instagram community.

A community that gives feedback on posts or bios, or opt-ins a community that learns from the techniques others are using such as link in bio or scheduling software, a community that shares one another’s content and develops collaboration’s sometimes branching off into smaller groups on the flip side.

You need to build your own community through Instagram followers, like Amber shared developing those little conversations in the DMS, start forming a bond between you and your people. This is equally as important as building a community of colleagues. Now you can do all this on your own. But I’ve already done the work to provide both a built-in community.

Plus train you on 12 different ways to reach your target audience and grow your platform. You see inside my 12 week insider intensive, we take out the guesswork and provide the often missing link of community. I’ve already tested my community training method on Guinea pigs, like Amber in 2020 and members have found time and again, the model works. In fact, most 2020 members returned in 2021. {Doors are closed right now, but subscribe to my newsletter, the IG Insider, to stay in the loop!)

Instagram community 12-Week Insider Intensive

Join our Instagram community today!

If you’re listening to this after January 4th, subscribe to my newsletter, The IG insider, and that link will be in the show notes too. So you can stay in the loop for when the doors open again for the insider intensive. Plus you’ll receive an Instagram caption blueprint to help you get followers, to stop scrolling and start engaging with your content.

Don’t miss our next episode with Amber, part two, where she shares an  insight, actually, several, that work for her. Three tools she’s found to generate Instagram traffic, and  shares what made her reel go viral. Plus, best mom/work hashtags, and the two questions she asks every week in stories that generate audience response.

Amber Cullum is the podcast host behind Grace Enough.  I am first a child of God, saved by His grace alone, but I don’t always act like it. Wife to Sam, mom of 3, and a Physical Therapist turned stay at home mom.

I love connecting women with God, people, and resources to spur them on in their walks with Jesus and remind them that God’s grace is enough.

Follow Amber on Instagram @graceenoughpodcast_amber

Quotes:

You want to know something – read about it, learn about it on your own and engage others in community to learn about it.

Just like real life, once you spend more and more time with somebody even online on a weekly basis, celebrating, critiquing, sharing, saving, paying attention to what they’re doing, it benefits you and it benefits them.

It’s all about community. It’s not about how many likes you get, it’s about how people engage.

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