Getting started in the social media world can be overwhelming because every platform is different. My goal is to break down each platform and help you be more effective in whichever platform you choose. I’m starting with Instagram, mostly because it’s my favorite, but stay tuned for tips on other platforms coming soon!
Habit 1 – Post Regularly
There is nothing more disappointing than searching for brand or business on Instagram only to get to a profile that hasn’t been updated in months. Instagram is set up in a feed format, so if you aren’t posting consistently, people won’t see your work.
Habit 2 – Don’t Photo Dump
Photo dumping might be my biggest Instagram pet peeve. Someone joins and decides to post their last 20 photos of a lake vacation they took all on the same day. There are multiple reasons this is ineffective. First, all of your content is getting put out at the same time, so if people haven’t found your profile yet, you’re wasting all of your photos. Second, if I scroll past six photos from the same person, I’m annoyed and might unfollow. My advice for when you get up and running is to post three to four good looking photos and then get in the habit of posting one to two times per day.
Habit 3 – Post Good Looking Photos
Make sure you are giving your audience something nice to look at because attention spans are short and people don’t always read the captions. So if your photo is something that doesn’t look interesting or appealing don’t post it. Pay attention to the filters, don’t over do it, but if your photo is really dark or hard to see, by all means, lighten it! You want to present the most visually appealing content you can, so if it doesn’t highlight your business in the best way, maybe skip posting.
Habit 4 – Use Stories
I understand that not every moment of the daily grind is picture perfect, especially as a business owner. Your office isn’t always neat, your shelves aren’t fully stocked, and sometimes the food isn’t always pretty. That’s ok! Just because it’s not something you want to feature and have on your profile for months to come doesn’t mean people don’t want to see it. Use the story feature to give people a behind-the-scenes peek at what goes on on a day to day basis. Stories are a relatively new feature, but it’s spreading like wildfire. Make sure to tag your location in them for a chance to get on the “city” story. Tagging the location gives more people the chance to hear about you and what you’re doing. In your Instagram stories is also a place to highlight activities that might not be related to your business. For example, let’s say you’re a home builder and your feed is usually filled with “before and afters” or photos of completed projects. Your story is a place where you can post videos of the crew working, a little tutorial about your work, or a dinner with the team. People view these stories like crazy, and it’s a great place to be a little less edited.
Habit 5 – Use Hashtags
They aren’t going away! Get them on every post you have. I suggest industry terms, locations (city specific) and variations of phrases people might use to find you. (example – if you are a florist in Minnesota you can use #floral #flowerdesign #florist #mn #mnflorist #mnflowers #floralarrangement #summerflowers #mpls #minnesota etc.) I like to post the hashtags in a comment and use the bullets, so they are hidden. See below:
- #floral #flowerdesign #florist #mn #mnflorist #mnflowers
I just think this keeps your posts cleaner and more visually appealing after all, that’s what Instagram is all about.
Habit 6 – Interact and have fun!
Interact with your followers. If someone posts, “wow, so pretty,” make sure to like their comment and throw them a “thanks!” It’s great to have tons of followers but if they aren’t interacting with your posts are you providing any value? Also be sure to get in there and like other peoples posts. Search locations of where your audience might be and like their photos. Scroll through your news feed and like photos of people you are following. People like attention and this is a great way to stay front of mind. Let’s take the florist example again. If they are located in South Minneapolis, I’d recommend searching the Minneapolis, Edina, and Richfield locations and liking and following people who post that as a photo location. Let’s say you like a couple photos from one person, and they see the notification. They check out your page and like your work, and the next time they order flowers guess who they think of? You!
Habit 7 – Don’t expect instant results and be prepared to shift
It takes a little while to build up an audience. If you expect an instant following, you might set yourself up for failure. BUT, if you are consistent in your posting and interact regularly, it will come. Use trial and error on different types of posts and see what works and post more of what gets positive responses. I like to play around with different times of day when I post as well as the length of my captions. If you have a business page on Instagram, they offer insights so you can easily see what posts are getting the most attention and who makes up your audience.