“Stunning” is the first word that comes to mind when you land on the self-taught makeup artist, Charity Leigh’s (@Iamcharityleigh), Instagram page.
Charity roots herself in her grunge + retro flavor.
And not only do you see that in her makeup pieces, but also in her Instagram Stories, under “Inspo”.
When you do a quick glance over her profile, you can tell a few things - off the bat - that she’s doing right:
REPLYING TO COMMENTS.
She replies to the comments on her page semi-regularly, even if it’s a simple “Thank You”.
I’ve said this many times before, and I’ll say it again to LOCK IT into your brain.
Such a simple task may not seem like a big deal to you, but it’s a big deal to your followers.
Even though your followers take the time to leave a comment, they don’t expect you to respond.
So when you do, plain & simple, they’ll think that’s REALLY COOL that you took the time out of your BUSY day to reply back - and it’s appreciated.
Consistency is probably one of the hardest practices for anyone, trying to create anything, to keep up with.
You can see from Charity’s profile that she’s posting 2-3X week - which is great!
She’s also utilizing her Instagram stories to promote (what I assume are) brand deals and giving her followers a taste of her personality, behind the blend job.
Charity is using hashtags in a very smart way that’s different from most.
She’s not using the generic hashtags, “#mua”, “#beautiful”, “#beautyblogger”.
She’s using the hashtags of the brands and companies that she used to create her look, and of other major makeup brands that she wants to get noticed by.
Doing this signals to these brands that she’s ready for a collaboration or brand deal
whenever they’re ready AND it gets her noticed by other makeup artists or individuals
who follow these brands and hashtags.
THE QUALITY OF HER IMAGES.
Charity’s images are well lit.
Her Instagram profile is composed beautifully.
And within the first 6 seconds, I can see: what she does, what her style is, and I know what I have to gain by following her.
I find her makeup game aspirational.
Essentially what I’m saying is that, I wanna do that too.
Now let’s get down to the plan.
Charity is currently at 60K+ followers.
And is averaging around 3-4K likes and 70+ comments per post.
Now that we’ve listed what Charity is doing right and the strong foundation she’s built, let’s go over how I would go about getting her to 100K followers on Instagram in 2019.
DIVERSIFY: REDDIT STRATEGY
I’ve written about Reddit Strategy, and leveraging the audiences in these makeup subreddit groups to grow your Instagram before.
For Charity, the plan is no different.
This is the gist of it.
STEP #1: Add your Instagram handle to your Reddit username & your bio.
(takes less than 30 seconds to do for each group)
STEP #2: Post in, and participate, in a few of the groups 2-3X per week.
(the most time intensive part, especially when you’re replying to other people’s comments)
NOTE: Charity should test posting her image, as is, vs. her taking the same picture outside where she’s in natural light and you can see the background. I feel the latter does better on these platforms as it’s considered authentic.
If Charity chose those (3) subs to focus on, some of the benefits include:
Benefit #1: Bringing traffic & growing her Instagram page (the main goal)
Benefit #2: Building up a NEW following on a highly trafficked platform (e.g., you can tell brands that “Yes, you have 60K followers and get 70+ comments per post on Instagram. AND you post in subreddits like r/makeupaddiction where you get on average 7K views per post and over 150 highly engaged comments”. Whichever way you look at it, that’s good!)
Benefit #3: Many beauty publications, from around the WORLD, search these subs to find MUAs to feature. If Charity gets featured - that’s more eyeballs on her brand and her Instagram profile.
Now, I want you to keep this in mind.
It’s always best to build your audience and brand on MULTIPLE platforms.
Yes, for Charity and this instance, the main focus is on Instagram.
But putting ALL your efforts into one platform is dangerous.
If Instagram disappears tomorrow, then what are you going to do?
Having your work published across multiple platforms, where you don’t even have to produce extra content - is to your benefit in the long run.
Don’t believe me?
Ask the influencers who built the majority of their following on Vine & MySpace.
PRESS RECORD: YOUTUBE & IGTV
I want to know how Charity did this.
Yeah. That’s Charity under there…
Yes, you can list the products in the context of your Instagram post.
You can tell me, and I’ll hear you.
But nothing beats the transformation process and people being able to watch it happen before their eyes.
And of course, a ‘how-to’ video creates a reference for people who want to repeat the process for themselves and their own projects.
YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world.
So would I make the suggestion for Charity to utilize the power of video to help uplift her brand and grow her following?
And I’m talking:
60-second makeup tutorials/trailers for your Instagram profile
And 10-15 minute full makeup tutorials for your YouTube/IGTV channel
(Note: on November 1st, 2018 - Instagram released a new feature where you can share your IGTV videos to your Instagram stories with a click of a button. You can read more about it HERE).
This is all I’d suggest.
That’s more than enough video editing for now.
GIVE YOUR CONTENT LEGS: DISTRIBUTION PRACTICES
After all of this…
Charity has images…
She has video.
She’s on - Instagram, Reddit, IGTV, and YouTube.
Are these enough distribution channels?
If, I had it my way, I’d go ANOTHER STEP DEEPER, and distribute Charity’s images in Facebook Groups as well.
And, of course, they’d be Facebook Groups that focus on makeup & fashion.
(NOTE: In reality there are also Facebook Ads that Charity could run to build her following as well, but let’s stick with this for now)
Now, why execute on this extra step?
Because it gives you the edge over your competition.
Engagement & distribution within these communities, whether on Facebook, Reddit, or Instagram, is becoming the NEW deciding factor when brands choose influencers to work with.
Sure you have 250K followers and get over 10K likes per post, but how many comments are you getting per post?
Is it an engaged conversation between you and your audience?
Have you built up a rapport with your following?
These are the new questions that matter.
We’ve talked about this question before, as in - Why a brand should choose you over someone else that has the same audience and numbers that you do?
It’s because you’ll be able to offer them something the other person can’t.
And one thing, is your ability to execute on distribution practices that get attention.
CHATTERBOX: GIVE MORE CONTEXT
I don’t know if anyone else has noticed this, but there are some influencers who are writing PARAGRAPHS in the description, or context, of their Instagram posts.
They’re telling stories.
And I don’t know about you, but it’s difficult for me to turn my head away from a good narrative.
They’re telling stories about their day.
Their thoughts on a topic.
How they felt when they created this art piece.
And you would think, because it’s Instagram, that people would want short and snappy sentences.
But the results, for these individuals who are writing these paragraphs, is that people are reading it AND they’re leaving high quality comments on their post.
They’re building a rapport with their audience.
And what I mean by a “high quality comment” is not someone who leaves you hearts and says “so cool!”, but someone who will leave a 2+ sentence comment - relating and vibing off of what you’re talking about.
It’s a conversation.
So it’s not a “so cool!” comment.
“I was having “A DAY” today, and I didn’t realize how much better I would feel after a laugh - and your post COMPLETELY made me do that and lightened up my mood. From what you wrote, I know EXACTLY what you’re talking about! I thought I was the only one! Freakin’ HILARIOUS! Thank you for that laugh! I needed it”
And if you still don’t believe me, then answer me why Humans of New York is STILL dominating on Instagram - without changing their format - for well over 8 years?
Just an image and a story.
BONUS: If you can make what you talk about more about your audience, than you - you’ll build a much stronger brand within your community.
POWER UP: COLLABORATIONS WITH OTHERS
Notice I didn’t say “collaborations with other ARTISTS”.
In my opinion, that’s limiting.
I would suggest that, ”YES. Do collaborations with other makeup artists, BUT have fun and do collaborations with people outside your niche as well”.
Go as far out your niche as you want, and do activities that you’re curious about or that you already enjoy.
And even though I’m spitballing here, try a collaboration with:
A female chocolatier
A female astrophysicist
A woman who competes in off road buggying
A female stunt coordinator
A woman who designs & creates sneakers
A woman who is actively training for the Next American Ninja (or has in the past)
A female mechanical engineer that creates roller coasters
A female tequila or bourbon connoisseur
A female skate boarder
Notice that I keep on saying “female” or “woman”.
That’s because, I’m not getting it twisted on who Charity’s REAL audience is.
And these women will most likely have a majority of female followers.
Charity and her collaborator can trade off of each other’s audience.
And this is where:
Your brand, and people getting to know more about you outside of your makeup art, comes into play.
You become relatable.
And who knows what other opportunities will present itself to you. That chocolatier could have a female Cirque du Soleil performer she wants to introduce you to.
So yes, do collaborations inside your niche, but don’t be afraid to venture outside your niche and have a lot of freakin’ fun with other interests you have.
I came across Charity’s Instagram page and, immediately, my enthusiasm for getting my ears (and other places) pierced came back.
Charity is stunning.
Her work is amazing.
She’s obviously doing well in her Instagram Growth.
So whether she takes my suggestions or not, she’s going to hit 100K Instagram followers - I would hope, before the end of 2019.
But, honestly, what’s the rush?
I hope one day to meet Charity, to go shopping with her (she and I have similar tastes in style), and then make it over to a Janelle Monae party, like…
To recap everything we discussed:
Number #1: Distribution & Engagement are the new metrics you should, especially, be paying attention to when building your brand online. Especially if you’re thinking about collaborations down the line.
Number #2: Run Reddit Strategy to lead the audience back to your Instagram profile and to build up another platform that draws attention.
Number #3: More Video. It’s not even debatable anymore.
Number #4: More content is great, but balance that off with context as well.
Number #5: As a bonus, which is optional, use Facebook Groups to add another layer of distribution to your profile and brand.
Number #6: Collaborate with people inside, and outside, your niche.
My prediction, if Charity were to embrace these strategies, she would see an uptick in her following, and other opportunities, and collaborations, will sprout from this output.
Keep it glam, fam.