3 Things I Wish I Knew Before I Started My Instagram Journey

I still remember the day I created my first business Instagram page.

I was taking a master’s degree in marketing, and I felt I knew exactly what to do, being that I had consumed several YouTube videos and took 3 courses, in which I invested what was a significant amount of money for me at the time: 997$ on each course.


I felt that it was the right moment to start something of my own.

It’s safe to say, at this point, that I was right.

Although, it was very difficult at first.

See, Instagram’s organic reach was much more abundant and easier to leverage, at the time.

But I still couldn’t figure out why I couldn’t leverage more than 800 followers on my first page.

It was frustrating, I thought I was doing everything by the book… and I was, kind of.

But there were several aspects that I didn’t know, that didn’t even come to mind.

If I did, I would’ve achieved much better results, at a much faster pace.

Here are the 3 key aspects that I wish I knew before starting my Instagram journey:

It’s about your audience

I started off by posting twice a day.

I was doing it on autopilot mode.

I didn’t really think or care too much about what I was posting or the way I was putting my delivery together.

That was way too much. That was saturating, for both me and my audience.

I thought that, by providing my audience with a lot, quantity-wise, I was providing them with what they wanted.

That wasn’t the case. At all.

Eventually, I couldn’t even think about posting. I couldn’t make up another caption or come up with a new piece of content to share just because.

And what I was feeling widened into what my audience felt.

That being said, focus on producing and posting quality content, even if you do it once a day, or once every two days (which would be the bare minimum for leveraging a significant, sustained organic reach).

You will thank yourself for that and so will your audience.

Niche categorization is a thing

Your page’s Niche Categorization consists in the niche category that Instagram’s algorithm inserts your page in.

If your page’s niche categorization is on point, your posts are more likely to be spread to a targeted audience whose pages have the same niche categorization – thus, are interested in the same of content, as they exclusively, or almost exclusively, interact with pages in your niche as well.

Getting your niche categorization on point is one of the key elements that enable you to increase your reach and engagement quality.

“But Filipe, how do I know that my page’s niche categorization is on point?”

Simply check out your explore page. If only content that has to do with your niche shows up, then you’re good!

Essentially, it should look like a feed of a page in your niche.

What to do to improve your page’s niche categorization:

  • Exclusively interact with pages that belong to your niche;
  • Exclusively post content that is related to your niche;
  • Exclusively visit pages that are related to your niche;
  • Exclusively use niche-related and location relevant hashtags;

Make sure that your niche categorization is on point from the day that you create your page, otherwise your health score can be harmed and your page’s reach potential and, consequently, growth potential, will be severely compromised.

Here are the benefits of a proper niche categorization:

Having your page’s niche categorization on point benefits your page the following ways:
Your posts are more likely to feature in the explore page of people who are already interested in your niche, therefore in the type of content that you share;

Your content will be recommended to users that interact / engage with content pages which niche categorization is like yours (pages that exist within your niche);

In consequence, your reach and engagement quality will improve, contributing to a more targeted follower-gain;

So, don’t do what the old me did at the beginning and follow these guidelines, it will be worth it and will save you a lot of time, as these rookie mistakes can easily compromise your page’s performance since day 1, such as happened to me.

“Copying” hashtags doesn’t work

I used to do this a whole lot, mistakenly thinking I was on my way to discover fire.

It turned out pretty badly – I got shadowbanned, and it lasted for 14 days.

That’s because as I was doing this, I started to repeat the same hashtag set within the same 6 hours (since I used to post twice a day, usually at midday, and at 6 PM).

One of the main misconceptions about hashtags is that if you use the same hashtags that someone else used in a post, just because it performed well, so will yours.

This couldn’t be falser.

Here’s why:

Hashtags’ results are different for every page and every post, as each page displays a certain momentum that affects its overall performance.

No matter how different your page is from any other, in regards to the size of the following base, the average engagement levels, how engaged the audience is, the niche that it belongs to, etc. your results will never be the same, so you will always see a variance, sometimes major, sometimes minor, while both use the very same hashtag set.

The golden rule of hashtags it to use niche related, post related and (if location plays a relevant role in the post), location related hashtags, while varying your hashtag sets as a whole, so there’s no room for repetition within 24 hours.

You also want to use a balanced hashtag set, with small, medium, and top hashtags, in order to leverage momentum from less competitive hashtags, and climb the ranking ladder towards medium and top hashtags.

The less engagement your posts leverage, the more medium hashtags you will want to use.

There is much more to learn about hashtags, this is just the icing on the cake.

I hope this was insightful!

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