Most of you will be on Instagram, or at least aware of the fact that it can be a powerful tool for becoming more visible online. Because Instagram is such a visual platform, it is ideal for showing off your products if you are an artist or maker. But also for a food related business, yoga studio, or fashion brand, posting gorgeous pictures of your products or lifestyle can create a strong visual presence online. Creating an account on Instagram is easy, but actually making it work for your business is a whole different thing. Here are some of the things you can do to optimise your Instagram account.
Choosing your username and display name on Instagram
Your username is searchable. This is important information, because it means that you need to give it some attention. If you are a meditation teacher or a pastry chef, make sure you have this in your username. No one will find you if you have a mixture of random words, numbers or a nickname in it.
The name underneath your username is your display name. This is an opportunity to say what you do. – so for example mine (username @thecreativebusiness.coach if you are not following yet) is The Creative Business Coach. You have a limited number of characters but if you can add in a keyword to your display name you will be more discoverable.
Be specific in your bio
Your bio is your shop window. Make good use of it! People clicking on your profile will decide whether to follow you not only because of the pictures in the grid below, but because of what you are about. This little shop window is your chance to pull them in. What you do, why you do it and how people should get in touch with you, these are the vital ingredients. Also, a little, well-written story does better than a random list of words and slogans.
Mine goes like this:
“I teach creative entrepreneurs how to grow their business through authentic marketing and storytelling. Join my free Facebook community: www.subscribepage.com/the-lazy-social-media-planner“
It matters who you follow
This is something that most of you probably don’t know, but who you follow is an important factor in the Instagram algorithm. Top tip? Have a review of all the accounts you follow and have a clear out. Make sure you follow accounts that are relevant to your industry, niche or ideal client. This will not only help with the suggestions Instagram gives you to follow, but also who Instagram shows your profile to.
Tidy up that grid
Your grid is the portfolio of your business. Instagram is a place to impress with visuals, so go for it! You want to show off your products or services and stick to your brand. Even if you don’t have a clear idea yet of what your brand is or should be, at least make sure the images are well-organised, and relevant to your niche. Only post good images that show off your business the way you want, and stick to a certain look, style or colour scheme to pull it all together. If you try to be consistent in content, message and colours, you will soon start seeing a brand evolving.
The deal with hashtags
Most people, myself included, have often used the same hashtags in each post. Out of laziness perhaps, or just because we didn’t know any better. But the truth is, using different hashtags every time you post will send signals to Instagram that you are fresh with your content. You can rotate your hashtags, just don’t use them all the time. Instagram wants content creators, not spammers.
Try finding that sweet spot of hashtags. Using hashtags with 5 or 6 figure popularity means there’s enough people are using it and more chance of you being seen for it. Using hashtags with too many users will make you disappear in the masses. If you go too niche, the volumes are too low.
Add variety to your content
When you are a designer-maker or artist, the temptation is to only post pictures of your work. But to build a relationship with your followers, you need to start telling your story behind your work. Think of other things you could post images of, such as topics related to your niche, for which you can then use different hashtags. Your content and profile will look fresh and will send positive signals to the Instagram algorithm.
Don’t post and run
It’s SOCIAL media after all. When you are posting, also spend a bit of time commenting on other people’s posts, supporting them and building connections. Actively collaborate on Instagram by tagging customers, colleagues in your industry and others relevant to your post. This shows you are using the platform as a community and not just to push content.