Updated: May 16
I hate Instagram… but I respect its power and you should too. These words come from a very logical place in my brain, so trust me when I say this…
Take the platform seriously.
Instagram is an incredible tool that allows you to transform your image at all hours of the day and night – even while you sleep. Social media in general has the power to market independently for you and if you have a great following (not to be confused with ‘large following’) then it can do wonders for you and your brand. For the time being, it’s completely free for the end users and businesses alike and is a tool that only 25 years ago public relations professionals would of told you that you’re nuts for envisioning.
From a design perspective too, it’s very equal in it’s ‘space’, literally, meaning everyone gets the same amount of space no matter how much money they have – I’m looking at you newspapers and Magazines. The value of the tool completely lays in how you use it, and how important you think it is to your business.
If you are a small business owner or a young professional looking for a marketing opportunity beyond anything every imagined, get on Instagram.
Or start on Instagram.
Just make sure Instagram is in the mix.
Believe me when I say this… there is nothing more powerful than an audience who promotes your products and ideas natively because they believe in you and your services. This ‘word of mouth’ advertising is free too but requires effort in reaching that level of passion in your audience.
Why do followers matter?
There is no reason you shouldn’t be building a following of people who promote your brand or service and while not every business will fit a surface-level template for Instagram, images have always attracted people and marketers have always gone where people are.
It is officially beyond opinion … and now, it’s truly marketing fact. Instagram is a gateway to the greatest marketing method known to humanity, word of mouth advertising, and if you don’t understand it’s value then either your ego is too big or you’re thinking inside the box. Both are fine, you just need to admit it to yourself.
So, what do I use Instagram for?
You’re not selling your products directly on Instagram, you’re selling your brand, your image, your connection and your message. If you product flog, you will fail. People want stories on social media, not salesmen – I’ll save that for another post because there is a good 1000 words there alone.
How do I use Instagram?
Lastly, take it seriously. Sit down, find a time to brainstorm – with other people in your business if able – and start building an online identity. Define a plan on how you’re going to do this and write down what your online personally is going to be – this is like how you’re going to act, say, and post. This is called building a ‘social media plan’ and by clearly defining your goals in this stage, success it just around the corner. Allocate roles, time frames and regular posting schedules. Don’t be worried about stuffing up one or two posts, saying the wrong thing n occasion, but at the same time, take full responsibility for the mistakes you make (don’t delete) and try and learn from it. They didn’t work because your audience didn’t like what they saw… not because they didn’t understand it. If they didn’t understand it, its still your fault.
Learn from it, don’t make excuses for it, and fix it – simple.
Here is a quick video featuring Gary Vaynerchuk explaining how to get started and grow your audience.
Go out there and start.
Open an account and fill in EVERY box. Yes, I mean every box. Don’t skip any because it is too hard or you don’t understand it. It will come back to bite you in SEO and trust me, you need SEO. Find the answer and FILL IN EVERY BOX no matter how long it takes.
If you have a 100 characters limit in the box, use all 100 characters, because every word you type is another search keyword a web crawler can use in boosting your search result impressions.
Put all you pictures in and design them to fit with photo editing software – I personally recommend Pixlr if you want to do it for free without installing software, or Adobe Photoshop CC if you want to invest in something great and stand out.
And, lastly, add the ALT text – if you don’t know what that is, once again, subscribe and I’ll explain to you the importance of it in a post soon. There is so much to learn in each on of these categories that this is one blog post is not enough. There will be heaps coming, a book deal, a HBO series and a live theater performance… So stay tuned.
And once it’s all done, look up people or businesses in your industry and figure out how you are going to fit in and stand out. Do you research and know what hashtags to use, find how your brand, product or personality adds value to the world, and connect with your audience.
SIDENOTE: The other tools in Creative Cloud will come in handy and are awesome resources for content creation. This is not sponsored content. I just recommend it.
I’d love to hear from you about what you found works in the social media space as a business or young professional. Hit me up in the comments or on social media and lets keep the conversation going.