I sometimes get asked for advice from folks that may be starting off their Instagram pages, or would like to see growth in participation in their little neck of the online woods. If that’s you, you’ve come to the right place! Particularly if you have a tarot, crystal, witchy or other spiritual or healing page. It can be tough choosing how to spend your energy on upgrading your stuff. Here I share some of the tips I’ve given to folks, plus some things I learned through working on my page. If you’re looking for easy formulas for rapid growth, you won’t find them here! My purpose in this post is to assist people in growing the reach of their messages while maintaining their mental, emotional, and spiritual well being. Without further ado, here are some things you can do to help your page grow in participation, sense of community, and reach–while keeping your sense of peace.
1: Be Mindful
As a spiritual worker or healer, you may be sensitive to some uncomfortable aspects of running an Instagram page, such as popularity, consumerism, materialism, corporate overtake, commodification of spiritual practices, and so on. Chances are, conflict related to those things may always be part of your Instagram journey. But, by being mindful of your inner struggle, and setting intentions for your online work, you can create a stable spiritual foundation upon which to build your work.
Motivation & Intention
It’s a good idea to check in with yourself as to your motivation for developing or growing your Instagram page, or attracting more followers. There is absolutely nothing wrong with any of those things. You have a message, that you know has been entrusted to you, and you just want to make sure that it reaches the hearts of those who need to hear it. In our modern world, in which a good part of the human collective mind sits in the digital sphere, that is very understandable. Whatever your motivations are, finding harmony with your intentions sets the stage for your online healing practice from the get-go.
Another thing to be mindful about is the virtual beast that devours the hearts of many a lightworker: the dreaded algorithm. You have probably heard of it, and perhaps even decried its depressing effects on your engagement numbers. This post won’t go into detail about this subject. But the algorithm through which Instagram chooses and ranks which content to display to users is a constant source of frustration, anger, sadness and confusion to content creators. It sucks when it really looks like the machine isn’t showing to people the content you worked so hard for. By developing mindfulness and inner coping strategies regarding the algorithm, you will be really protecting your inner peace from its often disheartening behavior. Trust me, I feel ya on this.
Although I would be lying if I told you that the algorithm doesn’t bug me (it does!), my advice from my personal practice is to get in the flow of things: through discipline and surrender. By discipline I just mean that you do what you can, you do your homework and create content that is relevant to the platform, and consistent, as you will see below. But after that, you let go and surrender, and let the post or Spirit or the Universe or what-have-you do its job. As a spiritual worker, your page is part of your practice. By embodying non-attachment, your emotional and mental well-being are not dictated by the ups-and-downs of your page’s statistics or engagement numbers. You can revisit your posts with a sense of impartiality and adjust accordingly. Or you may even decide to dedicate less effort to Instagram altogether. You could decide it’s just not worth it. Whatever your decision is, develop peace with it. Release the rest cuz it won’t serve you no more!
2. Be Consistent (I know, BORING!)
The first tip is cliché af, but here you go anyway. It’s consistency. Look, only you know how much time you can or want to dedicate to your Instagram account. Your page may be something you look into a couple of times of week, or perhaps you are looking to do something on there every day. Whatever amount of time you choose to devote, you want to use it with consistency. That means you post periodic content in a regular manner, be it through your Stories, feed or IGTV channel. People like content they can depend on! But they also like innovation, so be ready to shake things up here and there! Ha!
If you only post rarely, you may only get real followers here and there. And you may drop down from your existing followers feeds if you stop posting for too long. This causes a great deal of anxiety or conflict with many spiritual workers. Again, you may need to do a mindfulness check on what this feels like for you and how much effort you’re comfortable with. But to grow your reach, a consistent posting schedule is something you want to look at!
3. Find Yo’ Thang
Part of being consistent but also of having appeal is to develop and find your style, and apply it in a way that makes your content recognizable and dependable, but also interesting as it naturally evolves with the seasons and time. Having a style also makes things easier for you: you don’t have to develop a system for creating each and every post. You already have some preset methods in your pocket that are in keeping with your general theme.
Some folks have a clear sense of their style. Others are still figuring it out. But everyone changes and evolves with time, oftentimes with improvement. The secret is to keep on trying. Sometimes it may take a while to get a more definite sense of your style. To help, look at things or themes that you like. Maybe you like the look and feel of Autumn leaves and wood. Or perhaps you are into space or cosmic stuff. Find inspiration in those, so that you may express yourself in your work.
You may want to look into all the amazing accounts in Instagram and find inspiration. Go on, everybody does it! Ha! How do they edit their photos? How to they organize and decorate their Highlights? How do they incorporate the objects and themes that are unique to them?
What items do you have at your disposal? You’ll notice that many pages normally feature on their posts the same recurring variety of crystals, bones, herbs, statuettes and a menagerie of witchy little trinkets. What do you got? What do you like? Incorporate them into your photos, and play around with them! If you are a tarot reader, your tarot decks will play a role in the look of your page. You can find inspiration for colors and themes in your own tarot decks!
With time and practice, your style will surely come through. Have fun with it. Try new things and watch for your followers’ reactions. What posts did the best, in your opinion? Take note and use that style for new ones.
4. Post Good Shit
Posting good-quality, well composed, or thoughtful photographs goes a long way. There may have been a time in IG yesteryear in which a just-ok photo may get you by with lots of likes. And in fact, that still happens. If you look at your Explore page, you will notice that there are plenty of posts with more basic photography, with several hundred or thousands of likes (very good for the witchy niche, that normally has a lower range of engagement numbers compared to more mainstream topics). Maybe their creator is a reader or healer that is dear to the community and popular, perhaps the caption is incredible. Or maybe they just won on Instagram lottery, who knows? Lol. But, IG is still primarily a photo/video platform. Having thoughtful and nice-looking photography can really help you out.
Some types of compositions may not gain as much engagement as they would before. For instance, I noticed that shots taken from above of objects on a flat surface (or flatlays) of tarot cards or other items may not get as much attention as they did before. They are a very popular type of photo and standing out can be challenging. To fight the numbers, make sure your compositions are thoughtful and innovative and taken with good lighting!
You don’t have to tie yourself up to anyone else’s numbers, however. You can be totally OK with engagement levels that are a little shier than average. Your page is still there despite any numbers, and can simply be the corner where people can find you and where you can post updates whenever you feel like. Or, you may be the type that is primarily concerned with your text and captions, using Instagram as a word blog. Myself, I mostly give my written readings the most importance. If that’s you, it helps understanding that even though some posts get picked up due to their amazing captions, they depend in large part on the qualities of the accompanying photo. Knowing where you stand on this can help you gauge what level of engagement to expect from your content. But by posting good stuff, you help get some eyes on you!
5. Be Yourself
You want to find a couple things that you can share with your followers on a regular basis. You will notice that content creators often have a couple of things that they are known for. Decide on something that you like to do, so that you have motivation to keep doing it. It could be collective readings as captions on your posts. Or video readings on IGTV. Popular options are pick-a-card posts, astrology forecasts, tarotscopes, card meanings, altar or inspirational photographs, photos of cards or crystals, and so on. Or you can come up with something radically new. Through your Stories you can also post quicker content such as mini readings, page updates, or just fun things, besides communicating with your peeps. Try out a few different things, find that which you enjoy doing and is well-received, and stick to it so that folks know to come back to you!
You can even create unique titles for your types of content, to make them more recognizable. For instance, you may post daily readings called “Daily Vibez”… or some shit like that! Just make it your own. Once you feel confident in the types of posts that you share, you can continue trying on new things. That keeps both you and your followers engaged and entertained, besides potentially opening new doors onto new types of regular content. Remain open to possibilities and creativity, while remaining true to yourself!
6. Videos Are Your Friends
Videos, either posted to IGTV or your feed, are an amazing way to captivate your audience. They are excellent to showcase your guidance style, and to give folks a taste of what it would be like working with you, particularly if you have offerings in the form of video readings or advice. Now that IGTV lets you post a preview to your feed, there is even more incentive to do them. Plus, you can ride the wave of Instagram working hard to promote its video platforms. Here are some tips to get better at it:
- Keep practicing. At first, creating videos can be awkward, challenging, and embarrassing. You feel like you don’t know what to or how to say things to the camera, thinking you look like an idiot. Lol. I know, I did, and still sometimes do. There is the element of posting it to the public, as well. But you won’t get better unless you keep doing it. As you rewatch your videos, you readjust your language, the lighting and technical aspects, you get more comfortable speaking like yourself for the recorder, and it just keeps getting better.
- Get a bit of equipment. You don’t have to spend much money on this. Depending on your resources, you may want to invest in some simple yet game-changing equipment for your video recordings. You can start off with a simple tripod that will help you set your phone up for an amazing recording, or even on a light ring with mount. Both items have been of immense value to me, and were relatively inexpensive.
7. Attract Your Crowd
Now this is the hot topic you may be waiting for! How to grow your reach in terms of followers. To attract your crow, you want to post good, regular content, as mentioned before. That will keep a steady stream of eyes on you that may want to follow your page. I notice that when I post quality content over a stretch of time, my count grows. Posting just on your Stories may not get you that many new followers in my experience–they mostly come from hashtags, the Explore page, or from Instagram recommending your page to folks based on interests and mutual followers. However, Stories are an amazing way to stay connected to your people, and to highlight your content, so post away! Plus, if your Story gets picked up by a hashtag–that’s some good exposure for ya (more on that later). But what attracts your crowd is a combination of your posts and content, plus your own follow policy.
Your Follow 4 Follow Policy
If you are just starting off your page, or have a lower count of people that you yourself follow, you may want to go out and starting following people. I know I certainly did when starting off! By searching hashtags, usernames, and looking at your IG follow recommendations, you can find plenty of amazing and inspiring accounts to follow and magic to fill your feed with. Plus, many of those accounts will give you a follow back. When people follow you, you may be suggested to even more people. In order words, by following and participating with established members of the online spiritual community, you are essentially introducing yourself and making room for your practice. However, you want to remain ethical in your following endeavors!
You probably have heard of one of the most hated following practices, the oft-denounced-on-Stories, follow-unfollow method. You are going about your merry way practicing casual witchcraft on Tuesday morning, and get a notification that someone followed you. They may even be a significant account with many thousands of followers. It fills your little heart with joy that you are getting seen by the community, and you give them a follow back. A couple of days latter, you notice that your follower count dropped. Upon closer inspection, that cool account you thought was following you, is no longer there. Maybe you wouldn’t have followed them to begin with if it weren’t for their initial contact. You feel cheated.
And you should, because follow-unfollowing sucks. Just don’t do it! Be honest, organic and authentic in your approach. Gaining large amounts of followers with little effort often leads to a follow base full of fake or low-engagement accounts. How many people should you go out and follow? That’s up to you, but you may notice that many accounts have followers proportional to their following, because of the follow-back ratios. My personal piece of advice is to at first go ahead and follow a few hundred folks and grow from there. You may develop your personal policy on this, following so many more folks as you get more followers. You may want to keep a good ratio of following to followers, keeping a higher number of followers to how many accounts you yourself follow. Here’s why.
The comparison between the amount of folks that you follow versus how many people follow you is called the follower/following ratio. It is said to matter because it affects the apparent quality of your account. This article explains that “it is a metric some users use to judge the quality of your account. Those with low follower/following ratio are typically low-quality accounts that depend only on the follow/unfollow method to gain followers, whereas accounts with high follower/following ratio are influencers and celebrities.” The word “influencer” aside (lol), that means if you have 4,000 followers but only follow 1,000 people, you make a much better impression than by having 4,000 followers but also following 5,000 people. It just shows that, in all likelihood, you have followers mostly for your content, not from getting follow-backs. Again, decide what works best for you, including perhaps having a policy of no automatic follow backs, as folks often do.
Reminder: you don’t have to do any of these things or pay any of this any mind. Again, these are just suggestions for growing your page. But developing strategies and ethical parameters for your following practices can most definitely help you significantly grow your page, while remaining mindful and ethical. Also, if you like following a shit ton of folks, it’s cool! The above is not meant as judgment–simply some marketing analysis.
As you develop a follower base, you will want to demonstrate you are grateful for them being here with you and to keep in touch. You can do this though your Stories, where you can share more informal, funny and personal content. But, you can also keep talking with your community by interacting with them in the comment sections of your posts, replying to DM’s if that’s your policy, and just overall making sure that your followers know that you are there. If they took the time to comment on a post of yours, they should be getting at least a like and preferably a comment back. Be yourself, and foster a sense of community on your page. It keeps people in and generates interest. If you can’t keep up, that’s OK. Just do your best!
8: Ew, Hashtags
Here we go, y’all. Let’s talk #hashtag. Making good use of hashtags is pretty important with helping your awesome posts get all the reach they deserve. Hashtags help your posts be discovered by popping up on hashtag pages, on the feeds of folks who follow those hashtags, and so on. You can use up to 30 hashtags (post more and your caption will be erased). Here is a pro article on the subject, but I’ll just share my personal hashtag policy. Take it with a grain of salt because I don’t get crazy numbers of likes on my posts. I like to maximize my hashtags, using 29 or 30. I separate them into three types and use a mix of the 3. The types are: very popular hashtags, regular hashtags, and niche hashtags. Very popular ones have many hundreds of thousands or millions of posts, like #tarot, with over 5 million posts. So many people use that hashtag, that your post may not get much exposure there. Mere seconds after you post, hundreds of new posts will have replaced yours at the top of the hashtag page. But your post may very well be picked up by them! So I use them anyways. Regular hashtags for me have up to a few hundred thousand posts, and chances are your post will be picked up. An example is #tarotdeck with 266K posts.
Niche or smaller hashtags have maybe just a couple dozen thousand posts, but may help you anyways, plus your post will forever be part of them. For example, #theempress, if you happen to have pulled The Empress that day. Good for you! That one only has 44K posts. To find out which hashtags to use, start typing # and enter a keyword, and Instagram will suggest hashtags for you. Or you can simply check out posts in your niche community and see what the hell kinda hashtags people are using these days (*shakes fist*).
A note on hashtags on your Stories. If you ever used hashtags on your Stories, you will notice by clicking the “seen by” button that sometimes your Stories get picked up and shown to people who follow that hashtag but don’t necessarily follow you. In my experience, hashtags with lower post counts don’t generate many views, if any. Myself, on my Stories I only use “very popular” hashtags ( the ones with hundreds of thousands or more posts). Depending on your Story that may give you hundreds or thousands of additional views! But the Stories are not always picked up. In any event, hashtags matter and should be part of your posting strategy.
And that’s it for now, I guess
There is a way to grow your page that takes into consideration your spiritual path, your emotional and mental well being, and your objections to the platform. You do so by being mindful of your motivations and intentions; and by seeking to grow your page ethically, doing your best to post good quality content that uniquely reflects you, on a regular and consistent basis. You take advantage of the tools that Instagram places at your disposal, while keeping an eye out for changes in the way people view and interact on the platform. Having a good strategy that supports your growth while keeping in mind your spiritual, mental and emotional integrity will set you up nicely for long-term goals and efforts. I believe this can help us avoid breakdowns, burnouts, and disappointment. By many accounts, Instagram does not have the same easy growth potential it did in the past. But, by working with it, you can still find reach and audience through this incredibly large platform. Blessings of mindful growth to you!