I’m part of a number of entrepreneurial Facebook groups and, frankly, I’m getting a little tired of all the Instagram chat in there. From people sharing their “secret” Instagram hacks, to creating pods and follow trains, it’s all becoming a bit much. I think we’ve all forgotten the real secret to social media – being social. Building a real connection – not just basing your self-worth on a bunch of vanity metrics that really don’t mean much at all.
So, step 1 to improving your Instagram game is to just be social and to genuinely engage with others. But what can you do to make sure your Instagram content is worth double-tapping?
I’m sure you’re getting sick of the mixed messages about how you should be using social media. Particularly Instagram. Some say you should use Instagram to show what’s happening behind the scenes in your business, so you can be real and relatable to your followers. Others stand by the idea that Instagram should show only the highlight reel. The aspirational stuff.
Personally, I stand somewhere between the two camps. Your content depends a lot on your brand personality too. Even the most relatable brand should be aspirational enough that people want to buy from you because it’ll make them a better person somehow. But not so aspirational that you lose sight of what your brand stands for. It all comes down to knowing your audience and what they want to see.
Instagram is a highly visual platform, and people often decide to follow you on a single impression of your overall feed. The key is to create a feed that people want to follow. Instagram Stories is a better option for behind the scenes snaps that your audience can relate to.
Unless you yourself are the brand, avoid posting personal content. By that, I mean that family snaps shouldn’t form part of your business Insta feed – unless you’re in the business of selling holidays or children’s products. What about those funny pics from Becky’s hens night? No, they don’t belong on your business feed either. And don’t even think about posting political rants! If you can’t resist posting these things, I suggest you start a personal account that is separate to your business one.
Think about it from your viewer’s perspective; they’re quickly scrolling through their feed on the bus to work and they see a personal photo of someone they don’t know. They’re going to think it’s a personal account and hit unfollow.
Every time you post something on your business feed, consider whether it’s something that could polarise or turn off your potential customers or clients. Sometimes even the most innocent-seeming posts can annoy your followers enough to make them hit unfollow. You’ve worked your butt off to get those followers; don’t lose them by posting something you shouldn’t.
I come across so many Instagram images that could be improved by simply using better lighting. Food photos are best taken with plenty of natural light. In fact, most photos are best with natural light. Time and time again, I see food photos in awful low light, casting a yellow tinge. Or worse still – food photos that were taken with flash.
Move your setup a little closer to a window to make the most of the natural light – but avoid photographing in direct sunlight as it will cast harsh shadows on your images.
If natural light is hard to come by, you can buy lighting setups on Ebay for fairly cheap. Trust me when I say it’s worth it.
You know those Instagram feeds you can’t help but swoon over? The ones that seem to flow effortlessly, whilst drawing you in and making you want to keep scrolling, scrolling, scrolling until you’re 2 years deep? Pick your favourites and I can almost guarantee they will have something in common: consistent colours throughout the entire feed.
The most effective way to do this is to use similar colours to your brand. It may help to map out a brand moodboard first. If your brand is bright and floral, your Insta feed should also be bright and floral.
Instagram templates can also help you to achieve the consistent, stunning Instagram feed that you dream of.
It can help to plan your feed out in advance using a scheduling app, this way you know what it will look like before you post it. Our pick is Planoly; it’s simple, user-friendly and a great way to plan your posts in advance.
If you haven’t already figured out your brand voice to a tee then please stop whatever else you’re doing right now and start brainstorming! Your brand voice is so important. It’s everything from how you chat with suppliers to how your employees talk to customers. So, obviously, it’s pretty key to how you talk on social media too.
I’m not just talking about keeping it appropriate – sure, every second word out of your mouth might be a four letter word, but unless your brand is an extension of you, you should keep it a little cleaner for social media.
What I’m really on about goes far deeper than what your Instagram caption says. Your brand voice is a projection of your brand’s values and personality. If you are trying to show the world that your brand is innovative and disruptive but on social media you use passive language and boring images, your potential customers are going to have a hard time believing you. You know what they say about walking the walk? Yeah, it works for social media too.
If you’ve made it to here and you’re wondering where the so-called Instagram “hacks” are, I apologise. These tips might seem like common sense (and they are), but sometimes we overlook these things in favour of quick-fixes that might not be as effective. Try all 5 of these ways to up your Instagram game, coupled with a little patience, and you’ll start to notice a difference.\
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