Let's talk about why you need your business needs to be on Instagram and how to get started created a beautiful feed.
Courtney, ah… I’m already on Instagram! Is that what I hear you say?
Sure, you might be on Instagram to show off that new haircut that I know looks amazing but are you using Instagram for your business?
And most importantly, are you using it correctly?
I know that Instagram isn't new, but I'm always surprised when I hear from people that they know they should be on Instagram, but they just... can't.
Perhaps you’ve avoided adopting Instagram because you’re not exactly sure how it can be used in your business.
Or, are you using one account for business and pleasure?
You might even have social media fatigue and think to yourself "not another platform!"
Well my friend, I’m here to help you by outlining how to start a successful Instagram for your business.
But first, why you should be on Instagram.
There are over 63 million active users each month.
That is a HUGE number of potential customers looking for what you’re selling.
Not only does it have a lot of users, they’re engaged too.
Instagram users are actively searching for content they’re interested in, content just like yours.
Folks are looking up #paleorecipes or #productivity, they're searching for the content you're producing, no matter your niche.
Whether you’re a Paleo blogger or a project management blogger, you have a whole world of new customers just a few hashtag searches away.
Let’s take myself for an example.
I’ve got a really sore neck and no matter what I do, after a couple of hours I’m in pain.
Rather than googling exercises to give me some relief, I looked up #physio on Instagram.
And this search paid off.
I came across the amazing Cirque Physio, who share quick exercises you can do to relieve pain and stretch.
Who would have thought Instagram was the place for a physio?
Whether you're a dog walker, product manager or blogger, you can tap into this hugely active and engaged Instagram user base.
I’m going to share some quick tips to help you start to brand your business Instagram account.
I know you're busy, you want this platform to be a success for you, not just another social media you spend time on, I'm focusing on images and producing consistent content.
If you’re already using Instagram in your business and have a strong visual identity, you can use these points as a way to give your feed a quick refresh.
Step 1: Take beautifully styled images
Instagram is a visual medium so you will need great photos.
You don’t have to run out and buy a fancy camera or even take a photography class to capture great shots.
The first thing to do is think about your image composition.
Image composition is how you will arrange the pieces in your image, even if that's just a laptop.
If you’re stuck for ideas, check out the way other users are styling their images and use it for inspiration.
I'm not saying to copy what they're doing directly, but get inspired by their ideas.
This doesn’t have to be in your niche either; a fashion blogger might get inspiration from a jewellery maker and vice versa.
What are the common elements that appeal to you in these feeds?
Do they have a lot of white space?
Do they feature people?
Are product shots taken on a model?
Make note of the things you like and want to include in your own images.
When you know the kind of image you want to take, it's action time.
Pull out your DSLR or Smartphone and set up the shot just the way you would like it.
The key to a great shot is lighting so make sure you’re using a lot of natural light.
Try setting up your photography space near a window.
It’s amazing how incredible a simple but well lit image can look.
Step 2: Edit images consistently
Editing your images can really make them stand out.
When you're editing, you want to enhance the beauty of the image, not make it look completely different or distorted with filters.
Subtle is what we're looking for here.
There are many amazing image editing apps like A Colour Story or VSCO you can experiment with but the Instagram app itself has great options.
I prefer using Instagram because it's simple and because I'm kind of lazy, editing in the app is one less barrier to posting my image.
So, here's how to edit in Instagram.
Open your image in the app and click on the edit button.
From here play around with brightness, contrast and warmth.
Try adjusting these features until you find a natural enhancement on your image.
You want you image to pop without looking too photo shopped.
A side note: to edit your images well, you need a great shot to begin with.
If your image is dark or blurry, no amount of contrast change is going to fix that so try taking the image again.
Once you’ve found an editing style you love, take notes of the treatment you used so you can replicate it future shots.
It's important you dedicate time to your images so you account looks beautiful and cohesive.
The ultimate goal is to have followers know an image is yours without even checking.
Quick tip: Instagram is a grid so you want to make sure your images flow on from each other.
Before posting, look at your previous image and check the one you’re about to post complements its tone, angles and editing treatment.
Step 3: Create consistent content
The best business accounts are the ones that are consistent.
They're shot in a similar way, feature similar content and given the same editing treatment.
The reason for this is people love consistency.
If they’re following your business account, they’re likely interested in what you’re offering and want to see more of what you do.
Start by looking at the days of the week you want to post and the kind of content you want to produce.
Creating similar content on each of these days will get your audience excited to engage with your latest post.
Let’s use Maker Academy as an example.
We post 7 days per week. 5 of those 7 days we share images of entrepreneurs we love and on Tuesdays and Thursdays we share podcast episodes.
Our audience knows to expect this kind of content from us and it makes our life easier too because we never have to ask ourselves what to post!
Step 5: Experiment with Stories, Videos and Live
Instagram now has amazing video functionality to connect with your audience.
These features are perfect for sharing content that doesn't quite fit in with your business like that smoking new haircut or you new puppy.
Here are some ways you can experiment with these features.
Try shooting quick DIY videos for a regular feature on your feed.
If you're a fitness blogger this might be a short clip on how to do a lunge correctly.
Show your personality with Stories
Instagram stories are great for behind the scenes or showing off your personality.
We have the worlds cutest Jack Russell so Bella often gets featured in our stories.
This allow you guys a glimpse into our work space and an insight into our daily lives.
Position yourself as an expert with Instagram Live
Instagram live is great for positioning yourself as an expert in your niche.
You can run short how-to series or answer customer questions.
A thing to note about Live though is videos disappear right away, so keep that in mind.
If you experiment with any of these features, make sure you're posting engaging content that appeals to your ideal audience.
So, are you going to take the plunge and get started on Instagram? Let me know in the comments below!