Instagram seems to be the social app that every creative business is hanging out on. And, for good reason! As a visual platform, it’s a great way for designers and other creatives to show their work while also getting to know their community better.
Whether you’re just beginning on Instagram, or you’re a more experienced user, you can always improve your process and learn new things that can make a big difference. I’ve been improving my Instagram game just by following a few simple steps that, I’m sharing with you today. I hope you’ll find these tips helpful and I look forward to seeing how you’ll apply them to your own account!
If you’re creating images outside of the Instagram app, make sure that you export your images to meet the minimum size requirements, which are 640px wide. Although Instagram no longer requires that your images are square, I still prefer to use a nice simple square image so, that all of my content is consistent. I design all of my Instagram images at 1000px x 1000px and save them as optimized JPG or PNG files.
The information at the top of your profile is the very first thing that people will see and, because of this, it should be treated with the up-most importance. First and foremost, your Insta handle should relate to your business in some way. Ideally, it should be the same or very similar to your website URL. Next up, upload either a photo of yourself or your logo as your profile picture.
Your description should briefly describe what you do and how you can help your audience. Think of it as a mini about page that gives just enough information for a person to want to find out more. And what do you know? You can add a link back to your website right below your description. You could also use your description as a call to action to click the link to learn more. This is especially helpful if you are featuring an opt-in on your website or a new course that you want to highlight.
If you have multiple links that you want to feature on your profile then you should definitely check out linktr.ee. It allows you to link to everything that you have going on in one place! This means that you don’t need to keep changing the URL on your profile whenever you post a new blog or create an email opt-in.
If you’ve been using Instagram for a little while now then you probably understand the importance of a nice looking grid. Think about what kinds of images best represent your brand. Now curate your feed to only include images that embody this kind of look and feel to ensure that your feed always remains consistent. A follower of your account should instantly recognize one of your photos, before even seeing the caption or your avatar, because they all have a specific look about them.
Not sure where to get started? I began by gathering photos online that I felt represented my brand. Then, I put them into a grid mock-up in Illustrator so that I could visualize what these photos would like when they were all together on Instagram. I found that I liked sharing images that were bright & light with pops of color. Now I have a better idea which photos best represent my brand. I stick to images that fit that consistent look and don’t post anything that doesn’t.
I also use a scheduling App call Planoly, which allows me to upload a bunch of photos at once. I can move them around to see exactly what my grid will look like before I post. This is such a helpful tool because it saves me from having to go back to that Illustrator document every time I want to post on Instagram.
Using relevant hashtags on your posts is a great way to broaden the audience that sees your images. When I first started my Instagram, I did some research on which hashtags would target my audience and saved them in the Notes app on my phone. Whenever I post an image on Instagram, I will go into Notes and copy my hashtags. Then, I post the hashtags in the comments so that they aren’t visible as a part of my caption but still apply to the photo.
A lot of times, I do add a few extra hashtags to the end of this list to reach a specific audience. For instance, if I’m posting an image about a yoga studio’s website launch, I might add a few other relevant hashtags like #websitelaunch #wordpresswebsite and #yogastudio.
Instagram is a social media app after all, so it’s very important to get to know other people! Think about the kinds of businesses that you would love to work with and then seek them out by searching using hashtags. Don’t directly pitch your services to these strangers but leave genuine, supportive comments that can spark a deeper conversation later on. Liking a few photos, leaving a comment and following someone can go a really long way. This method isn’t likely to lead to an immediate sale but will start some interesting conversations and potentially a sale later on down the line. And, I bet you will find that you get a few more likes and comments on your profile as well.
A good rule of thumb is to include a picture of you once every 9 images. This ensures that your smiling face is always seen on your feed before anyone needs to scroll down to see more. The reason that this is so important is, because people respond to images of other people, more than they do anything else. As the face of your brand, it’s important to remind your followers that you’re an awesome human being and not just some kind of crazy robot!
You don’t need to have professional photos taken, just keep the photos consistent with the rest of your feed. For instance, if all of your photos are bright & white with pops of greenery, then go outside to take your photo. Try to get a friend or loved one to take a few photos of you so they will look a little more professional than a selfie.
This is something that I personally need to improve upon in my own Insta account. As an introvert, it can be a little hard to break out of my comfort zone and post a picture of myself. Plus, it doesn’t help that I rarely take the time to change out of yoga pants and almost never wear makeup…haha. But seriously, I need to get over this, actually get ready for the day and take some photos of myself.
I recently started using Instagram stories and I don’t think I’ve entirely utilized them to their fullest potential yet. I like to share things here that are a little too personal to put on my feed. For instance, my dog is just adorable, and I pretty much want to share images of her on a daily basis…but I don’t because they don’t quite fit in with the rest of my feed. Instagram stories are the perfect place to snap a photo or a quick video of us on a walk together.
Going beyond personal images, this is the ideal place to post sneak peeks of things your working on or a little video of you giving advice to others. People love following people, who share what they know, and genuinely want to help others.
If you’re like me, you might find it a little nerve racking to talk directly to the camera. Luckily, you can upload any photos or images that have been taken within the last 24 hours to Instagram Stories. I will use the camera setting on my phone and record a few takes of myself talking to the camera and then choose my favorite one. Then, I add all of the fun stickers, try not to overthink things, and post! Remember, it only appears on your profile for 24 hours so it doesn’t need to be as perfectly curated as your feed. So, for example, if the lighting is a little off or you didn’t say everything you wanted to, you don’t’ need to dwell on it.
And there you have it! Just a few simple steps that can up your Instagram game and grow your following. I really hope that you found these tips & tricks helpful and are able to utilize them in your own feed!
I’d love to hear from you! What are some of your favorite ways to grow your following and engagement on Instagram?
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