If you’re like me, you LOVE Instagram as a platform to grow your small business. It’s visual, it’s less time consuming to plan an Insta post than a blog post or email, and best of all…it’s free! Instagram is a great tool…IF you know how to use it to drive your brand forward. That means not treating every post like a sales pitch and laying out a solid strategy for your grid.
It’s not always about the products.
I get it. You’ve put your heart and soul into this AMAZING product and now it’s time to sell, sell, sell. BUT, your consumer needs to learn to love the product like you do and can’t do that via product image after product image. Remember — Instagram is special because it’s a window into someone’s story. Your goal is to create a genuine connection with your followers — these people love your brand, advocate for your products and (most importantly) they are your return customers.
SHOW YOUR FACE. First and foremost, you’ve got to show your face (or someone who is representative of your brand). This let’s people know who they are supporting (especially with small shops) and allows for a deeper emotional connection to your products.
KNOW YOUR VOICE. With the above in mind, now you can choose 3 - 5 “topics” or things representative of your brand’s personality and make sure to rotate your Instagram posts through these traits. This is a great way to add variety to your grid, and break up those sales pitches. The idea is that your followers will establish such a great connection with your brand that when it comes time to buy, they buy from you!
Here are the traits that make up my business, Folk & Cup’s voice to give you an example:
DEVELOP YOUR BRAND MESSAGE. Ask yourself these branding questions when thinking about your voice:
But, how do I make it look good?
I know, I know. You’re wondering about the photos! Not everyone is a photographer, how can you compete with those hiring professionals? Here are my tips for the visuals.
STUDY YOUR FAVS. Study a Instagram feed you LOVE and write down three reasons you love it. Color used? Composition? Styling? How can you take what you’ve learned and make it work for your brand (without copying, of course!)?
IT’S ALL ABOUT THE GRID. What’s the first thing you do when you come across a photo you love in your “popular” feed? You check out their grid! You should always be thinking about your Instagram profile as a whole -- not as individual images. New followers will always check out your grid before hitting “FOLLOW”. Does it look cohesive? Are you offering followers a variety of content? Are you inspirational? This means...
So, you wanna be genuine? Offer some support.
You’ve probably seen the phrase “community over competition” floating around the Internet. What’s more genuine than lifting up others with your Instagram profile? There is plenty of success to go around, folks! Let’s use our platform (no matter how small) to share our tips and tricks, cheer each other on and team up with those who are also deep in the trenches of growing their reach. You could…
Be yourself. Be yourself. Be yourself.
It’s not cliche, and it matters. Your gifts are a gift to others. Share your story. Shine your light!
Connect with us via Instagram -- @folkandcup
(Originally posted here. Email hello[at]folkandcup.com for collaborations!)