Our summer intern, Carolyn Weber is helping with more than just amazing artwork. She is also helping Kim Schlossberg Designs build a presence on Instagram. Here, she shares her experience and tips for succeeding with the platform. Over the next few weeks, watch for an invitation to follow Kim Schlossberg Designs on Instagram, to see how we’re implementing these ideas.
Teenagers and college students are constantly trying to reach top likes and followers for their daily Twitter and Instagram posts. They are able to gain a quick following because of the attention they give to their look online.
Many adults who are not social media savvy ask, “Where do I even begin?” My goal in this article is not to strictly teach you how to use Instagram, but to help you understand how you can use social media as a quick resource to build your business and personality online.
Step 1. Who is Your Audience?
It is hard for a lot of us to even think where we want to begin. Unlike a teenager with a lot of time on their hands, your time is limited to a few moments when you can spend time on social media. I advise you to take a step back and think about yourself. Why do you get online? Is it to unwind, check up on your favorite inspirations, or look at the latest gossip? What would draw you in to engage with a post more than the ads that go by? Who your audience is will determine the kinds of posts you need to make.
Here is a list of ways to think about your audience
- Generational (Teens, Young Adults, Older Generations)
- Global or Local
- Consumer, B2B, Non-Profit, etc.
Step 2. Post Variety
This will break down who you are trying to target with your posts. On Instagram most things are visually based. I myself am a visual person, and I love when something is handcrafted, direct, and not too much information. Most people are online for a good time, and they are more willing to like and share something that they relate to. Keeping posts concise and clean helps communicate your point verses leaving lengthy descriptions.
A business Instagram I chose to use as an example was the company Dribbble. They own their own website where designers upload their work. However, they also have a business Instagram to promote their site. They tend to engage their media users with their company and their clients that use their site outside of Instagram.
The first thing they do is have a link back to their website to give a direct gateway to their product. This is the only spot on Instagram you can leave a link so use wisely.
They feature a variety of post types. They have podcasts, projects that are sometimes screen captures or a collection put into a video, and interviews related to their clients.
So looking through the types of posts, it looks like their primary target audience is young entrepreneurs and designers. Their secondary audience is people who might not be designers themselves, but appreciate the visuals they provide. Doing this, you never know who is going to potentially need a designer and remember seeing your work on Instagram. It is important to not only focus on your target audience, but to leave it open ended so someone else might relate to the post.
Step 3. Schedule is Key
This is how I would approach a schedule. Never let two weeks go by. As consumers, in general, we eat so much information. If you wait too long to post something new you are making a horrible mistake. The best times to post should be based on when your audience is available and interacts with your posts. Most people are on Instagram between 8 and 9 am, and around 5 pm. Also, 2 am is a really busy time! Everyone’s audience is different, so I suggest starting with posts at these times, and experimenting with different times of day to see what works best for your people. Having several posts ready to go will make it easier for you to figure out the best time.
How to gauge how many times a week you should post.
Single person business. Once or twice a week. Have those planned out and put those on a strict schedule. On your desk calendar plan ahead the kinds of posts you do so you can keep a good variety. Don’t post too many “working in a coffee shop” photos. It’s cool to see what you are working on, but I would love to hear more about what you do or community projects you are involved in. Plus, if you engage with your community you have a better probability of being promoted through their network.
Small business with 2-10 employees. Try to get 3-5 days a week. This is better for you as a business as you are working on becoming engaged with how you can improve your business. It will spark better conversations about what you represent, also give the team a common goal. I would give one person the final posting job, but I would work with knowing exactly what will get posted on what days of the week.
Step 4. How to Keep It Fresh
This is the hardest part because it takes time and planning. This is the stuff you should think about on a walk or shower.
- Look at your competition. What types of things are they posting? What are you looking for if their product is presented on media?
- Giveaways if you can afford it. Even if you do not sell products, you could give away products you’ve obtained through other events you have attended. As a designer, I end up with really cool posters from different companies. You could give away what you bought or work with other entrepreneurs to boost each other’s businesses.
- Engage with communities. Hashtags and mentions are your friends.
Difference between # and @:
Hashtags (#) will allow you to grab an audience through the Instagram search engine. You are able to find a new audience and reach a bigger ground. Caution, don’t overstuff your posts with hashtags. At most, you can do three, but the best way to use hashtags is to look at trending topics and search for a hashtag that has a good amount of results. Instagram helps you. If you look at their search it’ll tell you the number of posts for a given hashtag.
Mentioning people using the @ symbol is also great to build your close-knit community. Caution while using the @ symbol. Mentioning someone using the @ symbol is good if you want to interact with and benefit from a person or organization while building your relationship with them. However, over mentioning people can become dangerous because it brings immediate attention. Use appropriately and it will help you.
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