Instagram is my favourite social platform - there are oodles of gorgeous images to look at and it's quite upbeat and easy to use! When I first opened up my account, I was surprised at how easy Instagram was for me as a beginner - it took me ages to learn to use Facebook. Some people I have chatted to are a little shy with Instagram and want to pop their business on there, but aren't sure quite what to do! So I thought I'd share a few of the things I have discovered over time that have made things work well for me and my business. This is a fairly simple post, if you want to become an Instagram pro for a living, you'll have to Google that one!
(I should mention Dolly Henry is a new business so you'll find I've only got a small following on Instagram for now. With my previous business, I reached the thousands so I am using all the stuff I learned to grow that profile on my new one!)
Having lovely clear images on Instagram is more important than it is on Facebook, as that was what this platform was originally intended for. It can be tempting to post a quick happy snap, but if you want to create a consistent look for your brand, you will have to do a little planning. Beautiful images stand out more and an Instagram profile is a little like a massive collage - you do want it to be cohesive. Like anything, practise makes perfect but don't give up before you've even really started.
So how do you get the time when you already have so much to do? You do have to schedule it in like anything that you want to get done in a day but don't think you have to spend hours upon hours posting. One good photo and post a day is fine, or even every couple of days, it's up to you. I always prefer quality over quantity myself. It's quite common for me to pack some orders, grab a photo backdrop, my iPhone and find some natural light to take a quite photo. I often use VSCOcam to edit and don't always post the picture straight away - sometimes I just save it and do that later over a cup of tea!
As for all those lovely photos with the pretty petals and object arrangements, yes well most of those do require a bit of time and practice and usually a professional camera. If you want to have a go yourself, a nice background, natural light and iPhone will be fine - and think about grouping items according to colour. It's like creating a 3D collage. I usually find an odd number of objects works well.
If you have good product images, then you already have content to post. Save them to your phone from your facebook posts and upload that way if need be. Don't be afraid to repost the same images in a week or two's time - you can recycle your favourites or repost images periodically that you find have been popular. Not all your followers will see the photos the first or second time, and if they really like them, they won't mind seeing them again! I do this quite often as I don't always get time to create fresh images.
Try to think of a theme and rule you will stick to, to help to keep your profile consistent. If you like light and bright photos then try to stick within this guideline. If you want to share only colour popping images or soft muted pastel tones, then stick with this idea. All your photos pile together on your profile like a collage, so a bit of flow and coordination is good.
Hashtags! Hashtags are essential and it's ideal if you use them to their full potential. I look my hashtags up in the search area to see how popular they are and only use them if they have at least 10, 000 hits. I don't have time to put a million hashtags on every post, but because I am always posting about my products that are similar, I copy my hashtag list on my notes app on the iPhone and simply paste them in. It's simple and fast. Also try not to clutter up your post with hashtags, they can get messy if you have a good sized amount. I always post mine in a comment so that whatever I have written isn't crowded with the tags.
And if you want to space out the wording in your profile description, you can use your notes app on your iPhone to write it out and put the spaces and lines in you want to add and then paste it in. I only learnt this a few months ago!
My instagram profile is still a work in progress. It's quite a creative platform to use because like Pinterest, it's all about the visuals. It's fun to continue to fine tune my style and continue to learn to improve my skills. Sometimes I have my sister help me with her professional camera and skillset but mostly I pop onto Instagram rather quickly - I seize the moments as they come and if the light isn't up to scratch, I just forget about it for that day. It's really that simple. Not everyone has a magazine perfect profile, but it's more about connecting with others and getting your work out there. You might get to magazine stage one day but in the meantime, keep practising and have fun! You can do a little Instgram detox every now and then if you want and clear out any old photos on your profile that you no longer deem are up to scratch ;-)
PS. If you want to get yourself some handy photo backdrops, I recommend Ink and Elm on etsy!