Social media has more than 3.96 billion users worldwide; over 1 billion are in Instagram. Instagram attracts (demographics). Don’t wait to build a personal brand on Instagram.
Not only can Instagram help build your business, if you’re the entrepreneurial type, but it can also boost your career. Instagram is especially effective if you work in a creative field and serves as a modern-day portfolio.
Instagram builds credibility. More of my clients are telling me that recruiters are asking to see their personal social media platforms on top of links to their portfolios. Recruiters want to know that you can walk your talk. If a company is going to hire you to build their brand, they want proof you are up to the job – they want to see your social strategy.
I will show you how to build a personal brand on Instagram in 7 short steps. But, as with anything, you will need to be consistent to build brand loyalty.
Step 1: Start with your goal.
You need to know your end-game – what is your big hairy audacious goal? What do you want to accomplish using Instagram? Decide if you will be using Instagram to highlight your expertise or build a network, or if you just want to increase brand awareness. The clearer your goal is to you, the easier it will be to craft your message.
Step 2: Optimize your profile.
Knowing your goal will help you determine how you want your profile to look, and how you want to be portrayed through social media. Include your full name, after all you’re building your personal brand! In your bio include a bit about you and your passions. Instagram is the perfect platform to let people get to the know the real you. Be authentic. Be sure to include a link to your personal website.
Lastly, you’ll want to include hashtags. Hashtags are similar to the index at the back of a book. Find relevant hashtags by searching your competitors or the hashtag itself. Use the search bar on Instagram and type # + your search criteria. For example: #contentwriter or #privatechef.
Step 3: Curate your content.
Once you know what your goals are for using Instagram, think about how you want to be known – what response do you want your images to evoke? Let me give you an example. You’re a private chef working in New York City. You want to use Instagram to showcase how you can turn simple ingredients into culinary masterpieces to build a following in New York City. Your posts will include anything from images of simple ingredients to images of food you’d expect at the finest restaurants around New York. What do you want clients to think when they see your images? How will you be defined? In this example that might be mouth-watering, simple yet perfect, and maybe even elicit a hunger response.
Now you know what type of content you want to post, you’re ready to start curating. Of course, using your camera’s phone is the easiest and fastest way to create posts, just shoot and post. Canva is a design tool that is free and really easy to use. The best part about Canva is that if you’re using more than just Instagram, you can resize your graphics to fit Facebook, Twitter, or any other platform (however, that is a paid feature). With Canva you can create a branded look for your images to include a logo.
Instagram has a lot of great features. Aside from photos, you can post videos, Instagram stories (similar to Facebook stories), stories highlights, stories videos, Instagram live (another very similar feature to Facebook live), and create IGTV. Your Instagram strategy should incorporate using several of these features, especially video. Hubspot found that 64% of consumers were more likely to buy after watching a video over seeing an image.
Step 4: Stay on point.
It is so easy to get sidetracked with Instagram. Part of that is because it is so easy to snap a photo and share. But you want to stay on point. That doesn’t mean you can’t post a vacation photo – just post one that is relevant. Using the private chef example, post an image of some amazing food you’re experiencing on your trip. Or, better yet, a video! Ask if you can get an insider’s look at the kitchen of your favorite diner to post on Instagram. Just keep it relevant. Posting what you’re wearing to the beach in Barbados doesn’t have anything to do with being a private chef in New York.
Step 5: Monitor your account.
After you’ve started getting followers, you’ll want to see what people like and don’t like. Give your followers what they like most. If very few people respond to a particular type of photo, move on. If people like your videos, create more of the videos they like.
When you receive comments, take time to reply. Engaging with your audience is the key to making Instagram successful.
Step 6: Build your audience.
Content will help build your audience. But don’t be afraid to promote other brands and companies within your industry for a boost. Tag companies with large followings. If that company likes your photo, they will repost it.
Follow companies you like. If your goals are to make connections to move up the corporate ladder, reach out to the companies through their Instagram handle, send them a direct message, or use tags. Often the person in charge of the Instagram account works in HR.
Step 7: Be personal.
Remember, you’re building a personal brand on Instagram. People want to do business with people they like, know, and trust. Create that using your Instagram strategy. Share your life while using consistent messaging. You may even consider a regular post of “behind the scenes.” What you post must reflect your goals in some way, just with a personal touch.
As you continue to update your Instagram account, but sure to follow user trends. This way you can make shifts in your content so it continues to reach your desired audience.
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