How to Get Your Instagram Feed on Brand
I've been on Instagram for as long as I can remember... long before I ever had a business. Instagram has always been a love, but I never really understood it until I did start my own business and the power of marketing myself online. It took me awhile to get the hang of it, which included some serious trial and error with how I crop images for my feed, what I post, and HOW I post! I'm still trying new things here and there, but I have learned a system that works for growing my audience and also finding the balance of not obsessing over my phone.
ARE YOU HOPING TO GET YOUR INSTAGRAM FEED MORE ON BRAND? THIS POST IS FOR YOU!
As a blogger and photographer, Instagram is key to my growth, building community and working with brands I love, so it’s important to constantly improve your own Instagram any way you can if you are hoping to leverage and grow your business online! Over time I have fallen in love with so many incredible Instagram accounts! I love to find inspiration there which helps me plan out my own feed sometimes and use photos that align with my own brand and aesthetic. I'm from the Pacific Northwest and my style is light and airy, so I put that out there for the world to see. You will see a lot of green on my feed as well as clean and white imagery. Without any direction, your Instagram feed can start looking inconsistent and "all over the place", but if you have a vision for what you want it to look like, it can really help improve your feed so much and appeal to your audience! This post is designed to help you get your feed on brand.
FIRST THINGS FIRST, MAKE SURE YOUR PROFILE IS PUBLIC. IF YOU'RE TRYING TO GROW YOUR BUSINESS, YOU NEED TO BE ACCESSIBLE WITHOUT HAVING TO CLICK THAT "REQUEST" BUTTON.
There is nothing more frustrating for me when I see what looks like a business page (photography, blogging, etc) and it's a private account. I don't EVER request to be their friend, I just don't. You could be missing out on so many opportunities if you are set to private. If you are concerned about sharing your personal things, it's time to think about starting a separate Instagram JUST for your business. There’s really no point trying to grow your account if you’re not going to let people see what you’re working on.
LET ME SEE YOU!
What is your current profile picture set to? Is it a picture of the clouds, a pretty flower, or your kid? While that's all lovely stuff, I want to see YOU! You will reach more people when they click on your page and feel connected to you by seeing your beautiful face. This isn't ALWAYS true, but I can sometimes tell by just looking at a profile picture I can make the determination if I'll like their feed or not. Believe it or not, I took my current profile picture by myself with my tripod! Sometimes a girl just needs a new head shot and there isn't enough time to hire out. If you want to learn how I take my own head shots, head on over to this post on my photography blog!
LET'S FIX THAT PROFILE!
Can people figure out who you are and what you do right from the get go? In order to make a lasting first impression and to get people to follow along with you, you will want to create a killer profile that represents who you are and what you do. Right from the get go with mine I say what I do and then I have a few little *things* about me that make me special or unique. This is your opportunity to utilize this space and first impression for anyone landing on your profile. Sit down and jot down some things about yourself that you might want to share with the world! These don't have to be related to your business, but YOU as a person. I teach at my workshops the importance of HUMANIZING your brand, this is an opportunity to do that.
USE INSTAGRAM STORIES
I'll be the first to admit that I use Instagram as my own little social portfolio. I showcase my very best and favorite work on my feed to keep things consistent and on brand. I've found that by implementing stories with my account, I've been able to keep it more real behind the scenes. My life is not a perfectly consistent and cohesive space. I have a toddler, let's be honest. I use stories to share the not so pretty moments of my life and the reality of working for myself, by myself. It's not always butterflies and rainbows and I love that. I love letting my followers in on the more personal side of who I am and what I do. I've also found that the stories are AMAZING for takeovers! I love to guest post on other accounts as well as bringing people onto my account to share their own story and business.
It's rare that I don't post daily. I've hit a few blocks here and there where I have to just step away from social media all together for a day or two, but I post 2-3 times a day on my Instagram almost every day. I've found the ability to be consistent by using a tool to schedule my posts. There are several programs out there but so far my favorite is called Planoly. I'm able to schedule and design my feed exactly how I want it to look before I post. One of my goals for 2018 is to plan out posts at least two weeks in advance, and probably only post 2 times per day to keep it manageable. All these things help me stay consistent on when I post.
FIND A THEME AND STICK TO IT!
My style is colorful, vibrant, pastels, and a lot of white. This is my color palette I stick to and keep in mind with anything I post. I want my Instgram to be a reflection of what a client can expect to see with their own gallery if they hire me as their photographer.
This could be a color theme, a topic theme or all of the above. If you are a lifestyle blogger, your posts will be focused around that. So if you're able to choose a color scheme all of your photos will look great together. I keep this in mind when I'm taking pictures, always! I also work closely with my clients on wardrobe. They hire me because they love my coloring so I educate all my clients on what photographs best to help me best achieve my style and aesthetic. All of my clients greatly appreciate this help!
Whatever you choose, stick to it! It will make your feed look fabulous and totally on brand!
I use strong hashtags with all of my posts on Instagram. They max you out at 30. I don't always use all 30, I've started to narrow it down a bit to 10-15 really strong/popular hashtags. I have a huge list of hashtags in a notepad on my phone and computer that helps me choose when posting a photo. I try to keep my hashtags relevant to the image I'm sharing. Because I'm a photographer, I use Pacific Northwest hashtags in almost every post because I want to reach people here in my area! Do a little research on Instagram about strong hashtags for whoever you're trying to reach and have fun with it!
If you expect others to engage with you, you need to engage with the community! Put yourself out there, comment on the posts you love, and be present with the community! I've made some incredible friendships that started from Instagram, which still amazes me every day. Like that one time I saw Monika Hibbs drove by our cattle ranch, we connected, and I took their family pictures! Social media is amazing and building community is a passion of mine! To check out that story, click here!
DON'T TAKE IT ALL TOO SERIOUSLY, SERIOUSLY.
Let's be honest about social media and the power it can play in our lives. Quite some time ago I stopped caring about followers/unfollowers because it honestly stressed me out and made me feel bad about myself and my business. When I was able to sort of "let it go", I found a lot more joy in using Instagram. There are new algorithms and people out there saying what you should and shouldn't do... and it can get really overwhelming. So don't take it too seriously. I can guarantee by implementing the things mentioned above that you WILL see a boost in your traffic and engagement, but it's also important to not let it run your life.
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