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Ep. 24: Instagram growth collaborations and productivity tips with Christa Hutchins

Instagram growth collaborations can propel your business faster than almost any other targeted action!

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


Take Christa’s Quiz, “What Type of Stuck Are You?”

Check out Christa’s podcast, Just One Simple Thing

Listen to Ep. 87: Mastering Platform Consistency: The Key to Growing a Super Engaged Following

Listen to Ep. 85: 7 Online Marketing Tools for Entrepreneurs

Listen to Ep. 63: Leveraging 2023 Instagram Trends

Before we get started on today’s program I just want to mention my 12-Week Intensive, with Zoom hotseats, a supportive community, strategies to attract your target market, and an unbelievable BONUS hashtag tool! If you’re ready to harness the platform and stop feeling like you’re wasting your time, if you have a working knowledge of Instagram™ but you can’t grow your following, and if you’re ready to learn elevated tactics to take your Instagram to the next level, then go right now to the show notes and click on the insider intensive link to see if it’s a fit for you.  

Doors are closed right now for the 12 week intensive, but be sure to subscribe to my newsletter, the IG Insider, to stay in the loop for when doors open again!

Instagram growth collaborations and productivity tips with Christa Hutchins

Today’s guest is the perfect person to chat all things collaborating and productivity because she does both so well.  Christa Hutchins, of @doa newthing, is a productivity coach for Christian women leaders and communicators.  She and I collaborate on several projects to grow our businesses..  

If you are trying to grow your Instagram account and propel your business forward, this is the episode you need.  You’ll learn how Christa uses Instagram live to get in front of not only her target audience but also catch the attention of bigger influencers on the platform.  Her account has grown and thrived during Covid19, resulting in even more business and followers.  

When you hear her productivity hacks, it’ll leave you wanting to know more about how to use them in a targeted way on Instagram like she does, so stay tuned to the end because I have a special announcement for how to get in on that.

An audience on Instagram, not Facebook

R: In the early days of your Instagram account,  what were you struggling with?

C: I was struggling with everything because I just didn’t get it. I didn’t understand Instagram. And you know, of course I was comfortable over on Facebook. I knew pretty much what to do there. But I also work a full-time job. So for me, time is really important and I have to prioritize where I spend my time. And so Instagram was way low on the priority.

If you go way back to the beginning of my feed, you’ll see. It’s just kind of very hit and miss for certain tried several things and just didn’t ever really stick, but then I guess it’s been almost two years ago that I really realized that my audience, that I thought was on Facebook, that they were moving to Instagram. And so I wanted to move with them. So I started to try to get more intentional about Instagram, but I still didn’t understand it.

And I definitely didn’t understand stories. I didn’t see the point. The point. I thought it was silly. I didn’t get it. And so I started just trying to get my feed going and get it be consistent in posting. That was the first hurdle was just to be consistent consistently showing up. And that’s what I tell people all the time.

The pivot point with Instagram stories

Then I took your Instagram stories, challenge, which I recommend to all of my clients, whenever any of my clients talk about starting them, go on Instagram. The power of Instagram for building a brand, I believe is in stories.

So that was a huge help for me using, using the challenge to learn how to do stories and then. I just started.

I use stories for a lot of different types of content. It’s not all talking. And It’s not all sharing. It’s not all funny means and it’s not all behind the scenes.

There is always a good mix of things.

R: I have people all the time taking this challenge and they can’t believe it. They can change the color of their page, they can add funny gift and, that’s how you start, you just start using it and then you start implementing it with your brand. And like you said, it’s good to give a full bodied picture of all of the things that you focus on with your brand and account. And I think you do a really good job of that.

Instagram growth collaborations with live video

C: During quarantine, I started working from home instead of the office. The first week, I started doing a “lunch break live”, just to get a break from my day.

For seven weeks I invited different friends. Some of them were influencers. Some of them were just friends I knew from different places, but all of them were trying to build some kind of business or presence on Instagram.

I invited them in everyday for just a quick conversation to talk about what the quarantine was like at their house. What were they working on? What projects were they working on and what was really God’s showing them during that time of stay at home and they were amazing conversations.

I started really loving to do the live interviews, especially, when all the conferences are canceled.  People with books and products are looking for ways to get their message out. So a lot of people are saying yes to Instagram growth collaborations that they wouldn’t have said yes to before, and doing an Instagram interview is really, really easy.

Bigger influencers that normally would have said no to me because they’re so busy said yes, because they needed to get their message out and it was easy and it was something they knew how to do. So it’s been a huge boost to my brand, to my business, to my credibility.  I really, really loved doing those interviews.

Working live video into a regular schedule

And so now I try to do one every two or three weeks. Now that I’m back at work and things are a little bit more structured for most people I still try to do a lunch break live every two or three weeks. And so that is a good example of just adapting to your situation.

And. It’s also really helped me to get other opportunities out of these Instagram growth collaborations, inviting these people in and sharing my platform, letting them share about their projects, I was able to also book other podcast interviews.

I booked a summit position on one, I’ve been able to create other collaborations.

R: And you said a key word there. An interesting point is collaborations. We can leverage the power of live video having guests on, that’s so powerful. Tell me, tell me  some of the reasons that it is so powerful for you.

C: Anytime you’re trying to build a brand or build a business or a service, you need to get your message out in front of people.

And then those people have to get to know like, and trust you before they’re going to purchase for you. The best way to get over that know like, and trust hurdle is for someone they already know, like, and trust to endorse you. And they endorse you by doing projects with you.

All of my audience knows that I trust Ruthie and, and they will all go to Ruthie for Instagram help when they need it, because they know that I trust her and that I’ve recommended her and that I’ve done projects with her.

So it’s the same when you do collaborations with them. Their audience now sees you as someone that they can get to know like, and trust. It’s the fastest way to get over that hurdle and get to a point where people are willing to consider your products and services.

Instagram growth collaborations

Instagram growth collaborations to grow your platform

R: Has your audience grown a good bit then during these last seven weeks of going live every day?

C:Yeah, I think my audience has grown about 20 or 25% since the early part of the year.

So it’s growing steadily, every day, new followers, it’s not been a huge, viral thing, but it has growth has been steady growth that I can keep up with. I don’t know what I would do if I woke up one day, I have a friend who did, she did something a little bit controversial and woke up the next day and had.

Yeah, 8,000 new followers and, um, you know, phone full of DMS. And I’m like, I don’t know what I would do if that happens to me. So I’m happy with just slow, consistent growth that, um, that I can, it’s still, it’s still small enough that I feel okay if I’m practicing things and it’s, you know, I can try things without feeling like 20,000 people are going to see it.

I can just try things and if I mess up it’s okay and my audience knows that you know, that I’m working on it and they’re working on theirs too. So we’re doing it together.

R: That brings up a really good valid point, not to despise the day of small things.

People come to me wondering when am I going to get as many followers as you? I’m not even at 10,000 yet, but it’s enough for me to manage right now. You have to start somewhere.

Just start because you gotta put one foot in front of the other, that’s just how it.

Productivity posting tips for Instagram

R: I want to delve in a little bit to some of your productivity tips when it comes to Instagram and running your account. Share that with us.

C: I do have to plan ahead if it’s going to happen, but it also has to be something that I can do on the run. Now I have not yet started using any of the schedulers that will automatically post for me, It’s so important that those first 20 minutes after you post on your feed when people comment on it for you to be able to comment back.

And so for me, with my schedule at work, I want to control when I post so that I post and I know I’m going to be able to engage in that first half an hour or so after the post goes live. I have a Trello board for all of my social media and I try to plan out my Instagram content in two week blocks.

I try to post on my feed four times a week, Monday, Wednesday, Friday, and then sometime over the weekend. There will be a sequence of, different types of posts that I rotate: personal educational, aspirational, promotional, relatable, transformational, Conversational, and inspirational.

What I like about that is that it’s not specific to my business. So on the conversational day, if I want to have a conversational post about my business, I can, or I can have a conversational post about,  what I did that weekend or about what I learned at church that week.

It keeps my feed fresh and keeps me from being totally focused on my business because you in the coaching group have been encouraging me to show more of my personal side. And so as I have done that, having these types of posts has really helped me rather than having specific categories of business, personal,  whatever.

Trello as an Instagram Posting Tool

I plan it out in two week blocks of those eight things, I put the caption in Trello and I put the picture or meme or graphic or whatever I’m going to use on my camera, roll on my phone. So if you see me miss a day, it’s because I didn’t have time to do my two week block. And then, then I start having to scramble and that really frustrates me. And it reminds me why it’s important for me to set aside time to do my two week block. Say I organized my Instagram.

Trello, I use for everything in my, in my organizational world, in my business world. So that’s where I live is in my Trello board. So that’s where I am rather than having to open up and learn something else. Just like you said, you have to start where you are. So start with what you’re comfortable with, what’s easy for you then once you get the hang of it, then now maybe I’m ready to try something like later that I know you recommend, um, and try to use something else that is more customized for Instagram. I’m sure it will be more productive, but for me, productive part of productivity is.

Instagram growth collaborations
Instagram Growth Collaborations move the needle forward faster in your business as a posting tool

R: I’m a big proponent of a scheduler, especially because that’s my world. That’s where I live. I teach Instagram and make sure that I have my plan together. Every, at the end of on every Friday, I have it set up for the next week and I may tweak as I go during the week, but at least I have my graphics all up loaded in there.

And I have my copy in there. I’m ready to go when it’s ready to go. And actually you can auto-post  with the paid version. But even with,  the free version, you’ll get a notification from your phone and  can post it then. But again, I really, I admire that you have correlated all that with Trello and you practice what you preach about just the whole productivity thing.

How to catch Christa’s Workshop on Trello Organization for Instagram

ollowers are always asking for better, faster ways to get the posting process done.  Christa did a workshop showing us exactly how she uses Trello to cut her posting time in half!  You can access this training with a handy guided checklist right inside my 12-Week Insider Intensive community.  It’s one of the 12-focused trainings you’ll access, including Driving traffic from your bio, Image planning and design, and more! And here’s another secret – I’m doing a workshop sharing my personal scheduling secrets using my favorite scheduler   This special training is closed right now, so subscribe to the newsletter, the IG Insider,to get scoop on when doors open again. 

Hashtag formula toolkit

You’ll gain immediate access to my Hashtag Formula Toolkit with Workbook, worksheet, and hashtag spreadsheet!  However, if you missed the sale, be sure to keep your eyes peeled when doors open again! This is the biggest, best, most focused Instagram training I’ve ever done, and when you finish, you’ll have all the tools in your back pocket to make the platform work for you

Christa Hutchins

Christa Hutchins equips busy communicators and leaders with project management and problem solving skills so they can turn their big ideas into a successful ministry or business. Follow her on Instagram @doanewthing

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