Here we are, well into the age of ever-changing technology.
Instagram is undoubtedly one of those social networks that will keep you on your toes no matter how long you use it. That's a good thing though, because it ensures that you'll be growing and learning along with it!
I want to challenge you in the new year to take a fresh approach to Instagram with my tips. I promise I'll be doing it alongside you, since I would never ask anyone to do anything I wouldn't do myself! Here we go!
Instagram Tips for 2018 and Beyond
1. Engage and never stop engaging
You could have the best content out in the world wide web, but if you aren't talking to anyone, your posts are useless. That doesn't mean you should follow, like, and comment at random! Create a strategy that includes your target audience, when they're online, and what they like to look at, and talk to them! Engagement should be authentic, honest, and ask questions. You wouldn't want a spam content on your photo, so don't post one on someone else's. You'll be surprised at how many people will take a look at your feed because you took the time to pay attention to them.
2. Be intentional with your posts
Your captions are your conversation starters. Clearly describe your brand, product, service, etc. with a thoughtful or witty caption! This is the space for the personality of your brand to come through. Remember that you're not a robot, you're a human! What you say should be with feeling and with the intention of engaging, not with merely gaining likes and followers. Leave them with a call-to-action -- something for them to do after they've read (and hopefully liked) your post. Encourage them to visit your website or blog, sign up for your newsletter, or check out a new product you've just listed for sale!
What do you always see after a caption? Hashtags right?! Use Instagram's search feature to look up relevant hashtags. Here's where you definitely don't want to tag randomly. Only use hashtags that apply to your post. If you provide a landscaping service, your hashtag list won't include #dogs. Monitor what tags are working for you, and save that list for future use. Remember to not get stagnant there -- hashtags come and go, too.
3. Post quality images over quantity
We are not all blessed with the eye for angles but that's okay! Thank the Lord there are photographers, editing apps, and stock photo websites to make up the difference. The internet is your best source to find what you need. Make sure you're choosing the best resource for your brand/business. Not sure what that is? Look to the internet for branding agencies/individuals -- they can help with that, too!
If you're trying your own hand at taking and editing your images keeping them on-brand, keep it consistent! Use similar angles, styles, and edits. Write down and save what you do for every picture. Naturally, some of them are going to change slightly (and a little change keeps things interesting, right?!) but be careful not too dramatically stray from your style.
4. Stay focused on what matters
Social media seems to focus on numbers. While growing followers and likes are awesome, and should be part of your goal, they aren't everything. That's why I stressed engagement as the #1 tip! You may have a million followers, but if they're not talking with you they're just sitting there. An engaged audience is a happy audience. People matter more than any social network. The message you're sharing matters more than triple-digit likes. Enough said.
5. Drop the comparison
This is probably the hardest tip to follow. We all know that nothing good comes out of comparison. What's hard is how easy it is to fall into it. Instagram is at our fingertips ready to show is how much "better" someone else is. Remember: you're seeing what someone chooses to publish. We never know the behind-the-scenes part to someone's life. And they don't know yours. You can put a filter on any image to make it appear to be perfect. Life is far more messy and real than Instagram can show. Take the opportunity to be your real self every time you post. Your followers will appreciate it.
6. Have fun!
Instagram is my favorite network! Play around with their Stories feature, their stickers, and all the other tips I've listed. Try something out and see if it works for you. If not, try something else. Don't be afraid of making mistakes either. Everyone on Instagram is trying the same, so you're in good company. Instagram is a community after-all, so if you find someone doing an amazing job, ask them for some tips.
You already have an advantage, and that's Jesus. As a Christian Woman In Business, everything you do, and therefore everything you post should be for the Lord. It's a hard concept to grasp, but He's there in every edit, caption, hashtag, and story. He has blessed you with a business and a tool to use to share it with the world. Share Him along with it. Every soul you connect to through Instagram is one that needs to hear of the love of Jesus. Make that your goal and He'll see it through.
Social media needs to be a part of your marketing strategy no matter what stage of life your business is in. It's where millions of people are, and that means it needs to be where you are, too! Let 2018 be the year you jump into the Instagram world with both feet! I'll be here to help!
Forever, Amen, Lesley.