For many, it is pretty intimidating as to how to get started on Instagram as a newbie. Especially when you’re often told that you need 100K followers to even be taken seriously by anyone. Which sound stupid to me but in some ways there is some truth to that.

Before we go any further, let’s confront some ugly truths about Instagram and social media in general.


The 3 Ugly Truths of Instagram

  1. Likes Matter – likes are perceived as your stock value. Think in that sense; whereas you as a brand was a traded security. On Instagram the number of likes you get determines the value and subsequently the desirability of your posts and ultimately your profile.
  2. Followers Matter – sadly the number of followers you have determine how cool you are. To the degree whereby if you don’t have enough followers it is as if you’re infectious and people will avoid engagement with your posts. Because why not? You are not cool enough. Yet.
  3. Unfair Criticism – aka trolling.  Whenever you toss yourself in the arena on social media; you’re essentially inviting public opinion to just about everything you do. And a lot of time you’ll be criticized on the dumbest things ever. But don’t let it deter you. Stay strong you got this.

Now let’s move onto the main subject.

How to get started on Instagram as a newbie.

Your Niche

So how to get started on Instagram as a newbie? It begins picking a niche to focus on. Be specific in terms of what you want to be known for. Your brand. Decide on a niche whether it is fitness, makeup, photography or tech reviews just to know a few. But most important make sure it something your are extremely passionate about. Something which you don’t mind spending lots of hours doing without losing interest. By picking something your love to focus on; it makes it extremely easy for your to create original content for your page. It is a lot harder to create content for something which you don’t love and are doing it just for the money.

Create Content They Want

It’s about them not you. Give them what they ordered. After you’ve posted a few times you will begin to observe a pattern. Such that some types of content get more likes, comments and shares than others. This is no accident. Pay attention those contents with higher engagements, then replicate more of them. The contents with higher engagements are a direct indication of what you followers prefer from you. Go all in on them.

Your Smart Phone

There is absolutely no reason to go out and by expensive gear you don’t need. Because most cell phones these days can do equally well what you need a computer to do. But the native phone by itself isn’t enough. You’re going to need some 3rd party apps to assist you. For recording videos get Filmic Pro. For editing photos get Enlight, which is my personal favorite. If you’re an Android user try Snapseed.

Don’t Focus on Likes

Yup. You read that right. And I know it is difficult not to. Since everything seems to be driven by the number of likes you get on Instagram. Here is why I do not want you focusing on likes. For starters likes can be bought or faked to create the perception of popularity. If you want instant gratification, sure go buy yourself some likes. But if you want to create a brand with a loyal fan base then focus instead of the content you create. Be super obsessed with creating value added content. I covered in detail in my book Instagram Unlocked about how to create content that attracts and retains loyal followers. The less you focus on likes and more on adding value and enriching the lives of your followers the better off your will be in the long wrong. And besides, if you put out great content, the likes will flow in.

Be Patient.

Do it your way. Don’t buy into comparing your progress to that of others. Because the truth is this; manner of what you see on Instagram, in terms of likes, comments…etc all can be faked and most at times they are faked. To build a real sustainable brand takes time. But trust me when I tell you, it is worth it. 1000 loyal followers are fair more valuable than 10,000 fake followers. Keep that in mind. Branding a successful brand is a long term process. It takes time.

Hope this helps you along your Instagram journey. Also I think you might find a recent blog I wrote on The 7 Pillars of Content Lifecycle.  In addition be sure to check out the 5 tips for creating social media content that resonates with your target audience a resource I think perfectly ties into this topic.


Influencer Marketing – Avoid being scammed by asking these 5 crucial questions.

Influencer marketing seems to be the hottest trend at the moment. But the truth is there are very dark sides to it and here is why.

For starters just about every visible metric on social media can be botted/faked. With that as a premise, you can believe that most people do fake these metrics in order to increase the value of their brands perception. Solution: The best way to mitigate your risk of falling victim to working with an influencer whose engagements might be fake is to ensure that you ask the right questions upfront. Here are 5 questions to ask to avoid being scammed when using Influencer Marketing


What is your daily and weekly reach count? Every serious influencer should be able to provide you this insight without any push back. The reason this is so important is that the reach metric is the only performance indicator which cannot be faked.


How often do you rank for the hashtags related to your niche? Now the truth is that ranking in the top 9 for a given hashtag requires a lot of engagement depending on the hashtag being used. If it is widely used and popular hashtag, the more engagement needed to rank for it. However, a solid influencer should be able to rank for a hashtag applicable to their niche. If the influencer hardly ever ranks for a hashtag that’s a red flag.


Have you in the past sponsored a post for a brand similar to mine and if so what we the results? While the name of such previous brand can remain confidential, the influencer should be able to share with you such results. Again here you should most focused on the reach power of the influencers profile for that specific post. If makes no sense that the post had 10K likes but only a reach of 5K. That should be a reach flag. This means that the influencer faked their engagement to create a false perception.


How many followers do you gain per day and per week? The aim here is to see how relatable their account is. An influencer who shares relevant and relatable content within their niche should see a continuous growth in follower count. Of course anyone can just buy followers on a daily or weekly basis to appear popular. That is why I highly encourage you to use a site called to verify their growth trend. Look out for sudden irregular spikes in follower growth, that’s usually an indication of fake followers purchased.


What were the engagement rate on reach for your last 3 posts? The engagement rate on reach is probably the most important metric on social media but hardly does anyone know about it. Because everyone is so busy chasing likes. The engagement rate on reach of a particular post is a measure of the reach of that post against the number of actual users who engaged with the post after it reached them. Unfortunately, you won’t find this metric within the Instagram app and most analytics apps do not have it measure but we do at umalic – Start your free 7 days trial to see it in action. Notice that the reach is not the impression – which is the number of times (cumulative) a particular post is seen. The reach out the engagement rate on reach is so important is because as I mentioned earlier the reach the true measure of performance as it cannot be faked.


Reach – the number of unique accounts who have visited your profile or seen any of your posts.
Influencer Marketing – Leveraging the exposure and or influence of an individual or brand to draw awareness and or persuade the purchasing decisions of a target demographic.