This year I started creating some content both on YouTube and Instagram. Today I'm here to share with you how was for me to run my developer Instagram page to 17k followers: what worked for me and what mistakes I made.
This was my first Instagram page so it was an interesting journey for me to see that in just a few months I can go from 0 followers to 17.000 followers with YouTube tutorials and a lot of work. It took me around 2 months to reach 10k followers.
Why should you create content as a Developer? First of all, I'm sure you've learned a lot of things online, so it would be nice to give a little back to the community. Secondly, this will help you build your brand, getting noticed by employers and clients, and showing them you are a passionate developer, always learning new technologies.
Before we move forward, what you need to get started is a computer with an internet connection, some software to make your posts (I used Figma), and ambition.
🚀 Start your account
Pick a niche
This is your first step in becoming the next Cristiano Ronaldo of Instagram. First of all, you need to pick a niche (don't just make one post about C++, another one about CSS; this will confuse your audience and will be a lot harder for you to be consistent because you'll have to research a lot of subjects). There are two ways you can go about this:
- share your developer life
- post programming tutorials/tips
Pick your name, description and avatar
Now, you'll need a page name, description, and avatar. Make sure you include in the page name some relevant keywords like:
Razvan | Freelance Web Dev that will also be present in your description
Freelance Full-Stack Developer with 4+ years of experience [...]. Make sure you tell the users what you do and what should they expect to find on your page. As for your avatar, make sure it's good quality; you don't want your page to look cheap.
You should also add your website (if you have one) and your email, so others can contact you with different questions or collaboration proposals.
✏️ Make your first post
There are a few types of post you can make:
- single image post
- carousel (multiple images and videos)
- IGTV video
Pick a theme/define your brand
Before you start making your own posts, you need to define your brand. You want to be consistent on how your posts look like, what colors they use, fonts, etc so people can recognize them easily. Let's think of Coca-Cola for example. You say 'Oh! that's Coca-Cola' just by seeing their font. Here is an example of one of my posts: I used this theme(colors, fonts, icons, style) across all my posts and profile.
As I said at the beginning of the article, I use Figma to create all my posts. It makes it very easy to remain consistent.
Make a schedule
It's important for both the Instagram algorithm and your followers to be consistent. Don't just post today 4 times and not post for the rest of the week.
Try and be organized, make a schedule depending on how much time you want to invest in your Instagram page. For example let's say you post every day Monday to Friday at 10 AM.
One tip I have for you: try and plan your week in advance. Pick a day, let's say Saturday, and make all your posts for the next week. You can use Creator Studio, a tool made by Instagram to schedule all your posts (so you don't have to go every day at 10 AM and post).
Post description and hashtags
Try having a strong post description that will really add value to the user. Let's take for example the post from above, about the reduce method: A bad description:
A better description:
👉🏻 The reduce() method executes a reducer function (that you provide) on each element of the array, resulting in single output value. 👉🏻 The reducer function takes four arguments: 1. Accumulator (acc) 2. Current Value (cur) 3. Current Index (idx) 4. Source Array (src) 👉🏻 Your reducer function's returned value is assigned to the accumulator, whose value is remembered across each iteration throughout the array, and ultimately becomes the final, single resulting value.
Also, is important to mention in the description some relevant keywords from the post. For example
reduce, method, function.
Try and ask a question on every post so this way you'll engage the audience and start a conversation in the comments. Basically, this will tell Instagram: Ah, this must be an interesting post, lots of people are commenting on it.
As for the post hashtags, this changes pretty often. Every few months there are new best practices. So, depending on when you read this you should better Google something like
Instagram hashtag best practices.
Your IG story is I think the most direct and personal way to reach your audience. You need to make sure you always have something posted on your story (so that purple/red/orange circle is around your avatar). This way users will see that you are active and is worth following you.
What can you post on your story?
- Share your timeline posts
- Ask questions/Make polls so you get to know your audience better
- Do a quiz
- Announce important things like future posts/videos
- Share tips&tricks from your work
- Share things from your developer/personal life as long as you feel comfortable doing that(you are human after all, you have a life 😃)
Stories show up on the explore page now so make sure you always include a relevant hashtag on your story.
👥 Your audience
Maybe the most important thing is your audience. They follow you, they support you, they must be the reason you do this.
Engage your audience
You should always be close to your audience. I mean, there's no reason you don't do that. For example, me, with around 17k followers I could easily respond to most DMs and comments 🤨. If you see that some questions pop up more often, try to make a post/video about it.
Don't let the "fame" reach you and say things like "Oh, I have 3276 followers now, I don't have time to talk to all of them so I won't read the comments and DMs anymore".
Remember that you started this to help your audience, your followers and they will help you grow.
A great way to see what posts your audience likes, at what hours do they engage the most, etc are the Analytics. Always pay attention to analytics, test different kinds of posts/messages, and see what works for you and what doesn't.
🚫 My Mistakes
- I think my biggest mistake, that made me drop/pause posting on my IG page was burnout. At first, I did 3 carousel posts a day. That's a lot: find the subject, research, create the post, sometimes write some code. After that, switched to 2 posts/day but that was also too much (2posts * 5days = 10posts/week) considering I was working as a freelance web developer and posted on a YouTube channel at the same time. I think if I did something like 2-3 quality posts/week and more stories where I share my dev life, it would have been better. Yea, maybe it would have taken me longer to reach 17k followers, but in the long run it would have been a lot better.
If you want to reach me (email, LinkedIn, etc) check out my website statescu.net.