6 Must-Do’s to Seriously Supercharge your Instagram Game :: A Mini-Guide for (Non-Photographer) Creative Entrepreneurs
Even now that Facebook has taken over Instagram, I think it's safe to say it's still going to be around for a while.
It's the go-to social media platform for so many creative entrepreneurs, for SO many reasons. It's visual... It's fun... You can get creative with it... And now that it's been around for a while, it's a platform that most people are on board with.
It's my fave platform fo' sho', and I've learnt a lot about it over the last few years + how to make the most of it, so I wanted to write about some of the things I've learned!
This post is not going to promise you you'll double your followers yesterday, or you'll get more likes — it's all about crafting a visual style that represents your Brand, and resonates with your dream peeps, and making a commitment to supercharging your game.
We're puttin' the soul first, and the stats are sure to follow.
Another thing I want to say before we dive in — you don't need to be a pro photographer to have a bitchin' Instagram profile! You just gotta know the few basic tips and tricks, and you'll be golden.
1 :: Curate like a mofo.
So, obvs Instagram is a visual platform, yah? If you want to truly harness the full power of Insta, your photos HAVE to be fucking high quality, and in line with your Brand.
You’re never going to gain any biz credibility on the platform if your photos are all different sizes, with 100 different filters. You gotta curate that shit. I’m not saying it needs to be pro-photographer pixel perfect, but it has to be high quality.
Think about it... When you visit someone's Insta profile, how quickly are you judging it by the visual appearance? How much more does it draw you in when someone's photos are super high quality?
Visuals matter, and people will be judging your Brand in seconds before they even know it, by the way your profile and photos look.
You gotta get ruthless.
HERE’S HOW TO CURATE
LIKE A MOFO ::
+ Choose ONE filter style, and stick to it. It doesn’t have to be the exact same filter (although this can help), but the vibe needs to be consistent between your photos. Check out the example below. Hold your hand up to the screen, and cover each block of 4 images and see how different they feel.
This is all about creating a cohesive look that people can respect. When you're using loads of different filters, it looks messy, and it can also give the vibe that you're not 100% clear on your Brand — which can turn people away.
Here's some more examples of people who nail this ::
+ Gun for premium. Try to steer clear of posting photos that are blurry or low resolution.
+ Don’t be afraid to go back and delete photos that aren’t working. Looking through your profile (especially your latest 30-40 photos), are there any photos that stand out or feel out of place? Delete 'em. See the example in the screenshot below — I've highlighted a couple that I could delete from my profile.
+ Post images that are the same size. You can't be posting images with a white border one minute, then landscape shots, then some portrait shots. Even though Instagram now automatically crops non-square photos for your profile, it still looks a bit messy and all over the place. Choose ONE size and roll with it.
2 :: Batch that shit.
You know when people rant on about working smarter vs harder, but they don’t actually give any examples and you have no idea what the hell they’re talking about? Well, this is one example! Batching any tasks within your biz can be a huge game changer, when done right.
Instead of taking small chunks of time every day to do a certain task — you might set aside one day a month, or a few hours a week, to batch together a whole bunch of similar tasks. This way you’re able to get in ‘get-shit-done’ mode, and plan for weeks, or even months in advance. You get in, you do the work, and then you can step back knowing that certain area of your biz is all sorted for at least a couple weeks.
So, try bringing this to your Instagram game!
Here’s a how to do it ::
+ Set aside one day at the start of each month, to schedule your Instagram posts. Decide on how often you want to post, and how much content you’ll need to line up. (This doesn’t include off-the-cuff posts that you can put up whenever you like). For example, you want to schedule at least 5 posts per week, for one month. That equals 20 posts.
+ Write out your mission and your goals for your biz. What do you want to help people with? What do you feel like you need to speak up about? What are you sick of? What do you want more of? These are all questions you can use to help you write content for your posts. (Refer to point #3 for some more help on what to post too).
+ Find photos to use. You can take new photos, browse through old photo galleries of yours, or get amongst some stock photo websites such as Death to Stock, Shutterstock, or Stocksy. Personally I like to mix it up between all three of these!
+ Schedule your posts using an app like Latergram. This makes it super easy, and you'll just get a notification on your phone when it's time to post the image. (Instagram doesn't currently allowing posting from 3rd party apps, so you'll always have to post images manually).
p.s. When you come across a certain article or quote that resonates with you, save it, and remember to use it for your next months posts. I do this all of the time, and it means I end up with a library of quotes + captions to use in future posts.
3 :: Know who you’re talking to.
The thing we sometimes forget with social media is that we’re not obliged to share our whole lives on there. This is especially important if you’re an entrepreneur and your social media profiles are public, and a part of your business.
I absolutely believe in sharing parts of your day-to-day life on Insta — just to help create connections and remind your tribe that you’re a real person too — but there’s still a line where you can get all TMI on your peeps.
You have to know who you’re talking to, and direct 90% of your content towards them.
For example, if you're a Website Designer and your mission is to help people craft online spaces that reflect them + grow their businesses to crazy new levels, do you reaaaally need to be posting photos of your Breakfast every day?
This is all about being clear on your message and putting it out into the world. Stop distracting people and give them what they want.
Here’s two people that are really
damn good at this ::
Gala is all about self-love and #girlboss vibes, and her Insta is a reflection of that. She throws in random posts with her friends and her man, but 90% of her content is in line with her message — self-love.
(All photos via Gala Darling's Instagram)
Kayla is KILLING it in the fitness world these days. She knows who her tribe is (women who want to live a more active life, and work out for THEMSELVES) — and pretty much all of her posts are related to health + fitness. The same as Gala, she throws in a few ‘life’ posts here and there, but it’s all about her mission.
4 :: Add a call to action in your profile.
Your Instagram profile needs to be short + sweet + to-the-point, but if you have a website or somewhere you want to direct people, tell them about it!
The basic idea here is that you write one sentence about what you’re offering, and then change your profile URL to direct straight to that call to action. People don’t have time to be copying and pasting shit — you have to make it HELLA easy for them.
Here's a few ideas that you can link in your profile ::
+ Link to your latest blog post
+ Link to a new YouTube vid
+ Link to a new product
+ Link to an opt-in
and Here are some examples of people who are doin' it right ::
5 :: Think about what resonates with you, or what you want more of.
Think beyond Instagram for a second — what Brands resonate with you, and why? Do they have really solid copywriting? Are they really good at showing vulnerability and opening up? Are they all about building a community?
Think about what YOU love in other Brands, and how you can bring that same vibe to your Instagram game, in a way that works for you.
For example — Maybe you LOVE transparency and behind-the-scenes stuff, and you would genuinely love to see more of it yourself, so you could start posting sneak-peeks of projects you’re working on, and sharing some of the process on your Insta.
Be the change. Lead by example.
6 :: Keep re-posts to a minimum.
From an ethical standpoint, I don’t think it’s right to create a profile based mostly on re-posts, unless you have written permission for each post.
You gotta be creating your OWN work and sharing that with the world. Taking photos and editing them in a way that reflects your Brand is not hard, you just gotta know the basics. Re-posts or shout-outs here and there are awesome, but to grow your following and your Brand authentically, you have to keep it real, and be original.
Think about it this way :: if you do love sharing other people's photos and fully crediting them, keep those posts to a maximum of around 20%. The other 80% should be original photos that you've taken.
This also applies if you ever plan on being featured on Instagram as a Suggested User, or getting featured on other various accounts. I got selected as a Suggested User in 2014, and I know that was partly because I’m so big on posting only my own photos. (And besides, it’d be weird for Instagram to highlight people who don’t post original content, lol). If you want to read more about how Suggested Users work, check out this page on Insta's website.
I hope this post was helpful for you!
If you're on insta, you can find me over at @sianricho
Here's a pin-ready image for ya ::
TWitter go-er and wanna share the love? Here's a tweetable ::
This post is a little taster of what you’ll find inside my new mini-course on Instagram Photography!
If you want to stay in the loop + get first dibs and behind-the-scenes peeks, enter your deets below.