Do you have a brand or are you just running a business? Your brand is what people think about you before they think of your product. It’s what makes them want to buy from you long before they even realize they need you. Instagram is the perfect platform to show your brand story through beautiful, relatable photos.
When you look at your Instagram feed do you think to yourself, “Nailing it!”? If not, this post is for you. These 13 tips will help you create a beautiful feed that will draw your ideal customer in and make them want to keep coming back for more. It will make them consistently engage with you which means Instagram will continue to prioritize your Instagram posts in their feed.
It’s not hard to make your Instagram account active and beautiful, it simply requires a plan and effort. Before people will buy your product, they will need to buy your story. Instagram is the place to not only tell your story, but show it. Instagram will drive customers to your business if you put in the effort to make your feed a place they want to interact with and visit often. Let’s get busy simplifying your social!
1. Make It Pretty
I know, Duh. That said, I scour Instagram daily and the vast majority of Instagram users don’t make it pretty. It’s the opposite of pretty. It’s bad. Lazy, undedited photos with zero plan or thought out feed. It isn’t hard to make it pretty, you just have to have the tools. Your Instagram feed is your online store front. It’s where you dress the mannequins to get potential customers to come into the store and buy the clothes. It should be the prettiest content you have.
2. Follow the 70/30 rule.
70% of your content should entertain, educate, inspire or create emotion. The other 30% can be your product or service promotion. Social media is not about hard selling. It’s about relating to your customers so they want to buy from you when you do your selling 30% of the time. Entertain, educate and captivate them before they even realize they need you, so that when they do, you are their first call.
3. Quality over Quantity
It is more important to put up good content than it is to put up a lot of content. If you only have the bandwidth to post three days a week, then do only that. But make it GOOD content and be consistent in your posting. Post every Monday, Wednesday and Friday.
4. Post For Your Ideal Customer
What does she want to see? What does she want to read? What images would make her remember to call you or call you for the first time? If you don’t know who your ideal customer is or what she wants to see from you, get clear on it ASAP. The Ultimate Branding Guide for Women Entrepreneurs is the perfect place to start.
5. Use Relevant Hashtags
I listened to a video yesterday of a social media expert telling her audience that she thinks hashtags are a waste of time. If you aren’t interested in exposure, then they are a total waste of your time. If you are interested in being seen by hundreds of people who would otherwise never see your content, use hashtags. In other words, USE HASHTAGS. If you don’t know what hashtags to be using or even where to start or what the purpose of hashtags actually are, I explain it completely in Understanding & Using Hashtags to Get Noticed.
6. Quit It
STOP comparing yourself to other people on Instagram. Right now. STOP IT. It is a total waste of time, depletes your self-esteem and makes you feel like you are failing when in fact, your hard work and effort means you are winning. You do you and you will grow. Slowly, because unless the Kardashians give you a shout out, that’s just the way it goes. Social media is a slow and effort filled journey. A long one. Put on your blinders and stay focused on your purpose. “We won’t be distracted by comparison if we are captivated with purpose.”
Choose five to seven topics you can cycle through on your feed. This will give your feed a really nice flow. It will also keep you from having to guess what to post. When you have a plan, it takes the agony out of social. This is an example of a topic calendar:
8. People Buy From People
It isn’t just a cliche, it’s true. People want to see you. They want to relate to you. Then they will decide if they want to buy from you. Show them who you are. Make sure one of your categories above is photos of you. Here’s the thing about photos of ourselves. We hate them. I get it. STOP THAT TOO. You are beautiful just as you are. People aren’t buying from super models, they are buying from real people they can relate to. Embrace your beautiful badass self and show it off. (But not too often. Don’t be “that” person.)
9. Edit, Edit, Edit
Crappy photos are lazy. You can take amazing photos on your smart phone and there are thousands of apps that will help you edit them so they look incredible. If photography and editing aren’t yet your friend, I have two posts on how to help you. The first one is Everything You Need To Know to Style a Flat Lay, the second is Everything You Need to Take Professional Looking Photos. That said, taking and editing photos is going to be one of the hardest parts of your social media journey. It’s a total pain in the ass. Learn how to do it, and get good at it. BUT set a financial goal and when you achieve that goal hire a “just starting out photographer” who is WAY better than you are but WAY cheaper than a really good photographer and have them take your photos for you. I have someone who takes monthly photos for myself and my clients. Worth every penny.
10. You Aren’t Perfect
Sure, there are “those” Instagram accounts where everything looks perfect. I get it. I have serious Instagram envy of many accounts. You don’t need to be them. Just be you. Your customers don’t care if you are perfect. They will just notice the effort and value you put into your photos and content, not the perfection. But don’t be lazy as I said above.
Don’t just open your Instagram app, put up a photo, some words and hashtags and then close the app. You have to engage with others if you want people to engage with you. I’m not talking just your friends here. If someone engages with your post, go engage with theirs. Seek out local hashtags if you are a local business like #sandiego and go engage with others in that hashtag. Seek out relative hashtags that you think your ideal client might search for. If you are a #sandiegohairsytlist that is likely something someone will search for on Instagram when looking for a local stylist. Go play in that hashtag. Comment on photos and like IG accounts that look like potential new clients. This will lead them back to your account to engage with you and if they like what they see, they will book their next appointment with you. Set aside at least 10 minutes per day for this.
12. Follow Hashtags
You can now follow hashtags. Search for a hashtag you think your ideal customers might be following. Click the hashtag when it shows up. You will be taken to the hashtag’s page. Click follow. Now that hashtag will show up in your feed just like the people you follow.
13. Use a Call to Action
Don’t just post something, post something that will inspire conversation in your comments. The more people respond to your Instagram post, they more your post will be seen. Comments are weighted highest by Instagram as “interest” from others. So the more you can get your followers to comment, the better your exposure. Ask questions! “Happy Hump Day. How is your week going so far?” “What is your biggest challenge with your hair?” “What is your go to outfit right now?” “If you could remodel one room in your house, which one would it be?” You get the idea. Ask questions as often as possible and get your followers talking!
You’ve got everything you need create a stunning Instagram feed. If you want to hear more or ask any questions you have, I will be talking through all of these tips on Facebook Live tomorrow in my private Facebook Group, Simplifying Social: Empowering Women Entrepreneurs,Friday at 10:00 am Pacific. Join me!