The first thing you need to decide is what and how much of yourself are you comfortable sharing with the world.
Each of us will have very different lines of what we want to share from our personal lives in public places such as Instagram, but whoever your line is there are still ways to let people know more about who you are and what you believe in.
I am happy to share photos of my family, myself, my home whereas others may keep what they post more work related. You can post quotes, things that amuse or inspire you. Or a combination of all these and more.
Neither is right or wrong, or better or worse. Both allow our followers to learn more about our personality and connect with us on a level that is not as easy to achieve on a blog or business Facebook page (for example).
Instagram is a great place to show your sense of humor, your dreams and inspirations, your journey, and what really matters in your life. Instagram allows people to connect with you and resonate with your message.
Just know where your boundaries are as to what you feel comfortable sharing.
Keep in mind that if you want to use the platform for building your business and your brand it doesn’t make sense to have your profile on private – and going public means the whole world could see whatever you post.
Share your journey
Instagram is wonderful because it a quick way to share your story through images. As mentioned it can be about sharing your personality and what drives you but it also a great way to tell people your brand story.
It can be somewhat unedited too which helps people connect with you. Even big brands like top end magazines and fashion labels share more raw images on Instagram than they would share on their website or in their magazines as this allows the viewer to relate to them in a different way.
If you make products, post photos of your work area, or your works in progress. Don’t be afraid to share photos of failures either as that provides your followers insight to your process, technique and brand story.
For service based businesses, behind the scenes images can be just as powerful.
The key is to give people a glimpse of your creative and business journey to let your followers and supporters feel like they are a part of it.
We also share places we go, people we meet, and things we do as a business. For example, Studio Exsto shares workshop setups, meeting conversations, or events in progress. For *bespoke* it is often images of a market or a handmade expo. Both resonate highly with the followers because they too attend such events in their local area.
Let’s See It In Action
If you make clothes or jewellery, share photos of people wearing your items. If you make home-wares, or craft supplies, for example, show images of them in use. This allows people to picture themselves wearing or using your products, which is much more powerful than a photo of a stand-alone item.
Have fun styling images of your products and give examples of how people can team them up, put them to use and make a statement using your items.
Complement Your Business
Share things that might be unconnected to your business but that compliment it. Think of your ideal client. If they are connecting with you on Instagram, what things are they interested in. As an example, a yoga teacher might share other aspects of healthy living such as healthy food or relaxation places; while for a jewellery designer it might be sharing your favourite dress makers or colours for the season.
Think of what interests you that is likely to also interest your followers and your ideal client.
Like many other social media platforms, asking questions and asking people to share back is a great way to build engagement with your audience. We will talk next week about using hashtags and competitions to help but simply asking people to share or even just by asking a question can often be incentive enough.
As we mentioned last week, connect and engage with other users. Becoming a part of the community and not a broadcaster is not only a more effective way to use the platform, it’s a heck of a lot more fun.
The number one tip is to be yourself.
You can think carefully about the ways to build engagement and grow your audience, and you can be strategic about how you do this. But be sure to check in with yourself regularly to make sure your method of connection still feels authentic to you.
This week’s assignment
Find a few businesses who are in the same kind of work as you are and take note of what types of things they share. Which of their photos from the past few weeks has received the highest engagement? What is it about that type of photo that might have resonated with their followers more so than others?
Find other people outside of what you do, and notice what they share.
This is not so that you can copy but rather notice the sorts of images that resonate most with you and your business. When deciding what you might share, start there.