Focus on how to be social, not on how to do social.
— Jay Baer

Feeling stuck? Instagram got you down?

If you run your business on IG you have probably experienced what thousands of other entrepreneurs have experienced as well: sheer frustration and confusion.

One week your engagement, likes and growth are all up.

The following week they’re all stagnant or down, yet you didn’t change a thing in your posting behavior.

Most everyone goes through these ups and downs but if you notice your account is “stuck” for an extended period of time, no matter what you do, it means something probably needs to change.

The most obvious change many people attempt is posting at a different time of day. This might help but likely you need to dig deeper.



I didn’t have a hashtag strategy for a very long time and then when I did, I made the mistake of only using my own unique hashtags created for my own business.

But today, I’m intentional.

I’ve developed a strategy that is growing my account and allowing me to connect with relevant and like-minded people.

Bottom line: hashtags are vital to growing your account.

Using them purposefully will help you connect with other people that will be interested in your content by linking your photos to a community, niche or keyword that makes your content searchable.

Not only can you search relevant hashtags to “find” relevant communities to connect and engage with, but they also make it possible for others to find YOU.

Through a lot of research and then through my own experience, I’ve found that the most effective way to use hashtags is:

  • RESEARCH the right hashtags in your own niche and come up with a minimum of 50 to 60 (and actually, 70 to 80 is best) that you can rotate depending on the content of your photo. Having this many will allow you to “group them” into 3 - 6 different groups that you can vary depending on what you are posting.

  • USE 30 HASHTAGS each time you post a photo in the feed (as of the time of this article the max is 30) but mix them up. Don’t use the same group of 30 in every photo. Have pre-typed groups of 30 hashtags (see the note above) that you can easily “copy/paste” based on the subject matter of the content you usually post. BUT experiment with this. While I am currently using the full 30 allowed my IG, I do test out using less here and there.

  • MIX THEM UP Use a mix of large and small hashtags (meaning, how many photos are attached to a particular hashtag). Experiment with this, but here’s what I’ve found: most of your hashtags should be under 100k (but still popular and active), some should be between 100k and 300k, a few (I choose 1 per a post of 30 hashtags in a single photo) can be larger than 300k. The reason? Your photo will get lost and drop off in the sheer mass of photos if the hashtag is too large.

  • HASHTAGS FOR IG STORIES is a little different in that you can currently only post up to 10, but through experimentation, my stories show up in the hashtag content when I use 1 or 2 instead of the full 10. Also, the larger hashtags in Stories get my stories found better versus how I’m using smaller hashtags in my feed posts. Crazy. Test it for yourself and see what works for you.

  • PUT THEM IN THE CAPTION OR COMMENT SECTION? I’ve done it both ways and from my own experience plus lots of research, it doesn’t matter; It’s a preference thing. I do it in my caption.

  • KEEP IT FRESH by researching your hashtags every few months. Some hashtags may get “shadow banned” (google that up if you’re unfamiliar with it). In that case, you’ll want to drop it and replace it with another one. In any case, it’s always a good idea to freshen up the hashtags you’re using in your strategy at a minimum of every 6 months.



The number one way to go stale on Instagram is to post content that “misses” with your audience.

My question to you is this: Who IS your audience? What is she interested in? What is her pain point? What inspires her? What are her top favorite IG accounts?

I know you’re shaking your head because you’re saying “I’m a photographer (or…fill in the blank as to your niche and customer) and my audience is a senior girl and my posts consist of all of my senior work so other seniors should want to see that, right?”

Yes and no.

If all you’re posting is one senior after another after another with a similar caption is the quickest way for an account to become stale.


Unless you mix it up with OTHER content that interests her as well. Posts that stay relevant to your business but go deeper into your brand.

Here are some ideas for what you, as an entrepreneur in any niche, can consider mixing into your current brand posts for a content recharge:

Speak to your audience in their language about what’s in their heart.
  • BEHIND THE SCENES or the creation of your work/craft/business. Most brands save this type of content for Stories, but these are top posts in the feed too when done in a way that is “visually appealing”, raw behind the scenes with a true “back stage” feel. To create even more interest and engagement, create a carousel post and tell a story in 3 to 10 photos in one single post! TIP: Want your feed to stay on brand but still mix in messy and real “behind the scenes”? In your carousel, make the first photos a branded photo that works well with your feed and then post the remaining photos or videos that tell the story.

  • QUOTES that are relevant to your brand. One of the number one posts that get “saved” and “shared” are quotes. This type of engagement is HUGE. Spend some time finding quotes that align with your message, your content and your audience and then “brand style” them into your feed every 7 to 9 squares

  • INSPIRING STORIES as captions to your posts. It might just be that you aren’t posting captivating content in your captions that draw in your audience so that they are truly connecting to you. Don’t miss this! People are no longer following accounts “just for the pictures”. They’re following people and brands that they connect with. The greatest way to connect with people is to pull them into a story that they see themselves in or are entertained or inspired by. For the most part, one liners aren’t pulling people in anymore.



Pulling your own face and voice into your posts is one of the fastest ways to connect with an audience! People want to connect with brands who are human.

Putting yourself out there as the face and heart of your brand is like pouring fuel on the fire. It’s crazy amazing and it’s fast.

After leaving the daily grind of social media for 9 months and then coming back with a STRONG personal brand that included my own face and voice through videos and photos, my engagement quickly came back stronger than ever!

I understand the resistance most people have to doing video and posts centered around themselves, but when you do this with intention and start showing up regularly, your brand will grow faster than anything else that you can do.

My suggestion, if you haven’t done this at all or very little up to this point, is:

  • DO AN INTRODUCTION POST: Post a photo or video of yourself in the feed and in your stories with the caption that you want to reach out and personally say “hello” to new and old friends (if you’ve done this before, do it again if it’s been 3 months or longer

  • POST A PHOTO OF YOU EVERY 9 SQUARES, MINIMUM Why every 9? Because when people go to your profile, they can see the top 9 squares and in an effort to infuse your own personality into your brand to connect with people, you want to “show up” in the feed “above the fold. Most important, don’t miss the opportunity to post engaging content on these photos. Your opinions, your core values, a funny experience, an inspiring message. This will boost your account engagement quickly. Trust me on this.

  • SHOW UP IN STORIES. Did I just hear a moan? Promise me you’ll try this. Do it at least once a week for 30 days. That’s 4 times. You will see a pattern of upward momentum.

Personal Branding done right is one of the fastest ways to grow your audience, engagement and business, yet there is SO MUCH resistance to it because it’s HARD to put yourself out there!

I get it.

If you try the above pointers you’ll begin to see a shift. It’s been the SINGLE best strategy I’ve brought into my business in the last 10 years!

The brands who are the most human this year are the brands who will win.

I believe in Personal Branding SO MUCH that I’m teaching a small group of entrepreneurs HOW to do it. My course is coming out in just a few weeks.

Because the biggest comments I hear are “I’m too boring” and “I don’t know what to talk about”.

THAT is exactly what I’m going to walk through with you.

Want to be confident in putting yourself out there and growing your personal brand? Want a full one week + 30 day + 90 day content plan knowing exactly what to say?

I’ve included that plus so much more because I have a passion to help you through the same wall I had to walk through.

If you’re interest, click below to get on the waitlist to be notified of more details:

You aren’t the only one feeling stuck in your Instagram strategy,

With a few fixes you’ll see a shift in your engagement in no time. Make it a point to research a good list of hashtags relevant to your niche, fine-tune and/or change up your content, and consider infusing your own personality and face into your brand!

Let me know how these tips work for you by dropping me a line on the contact page!

I care. I know the struggle. I’m working it right along with you!