Now we wouldn’t say we're an Instagram Expert, though, we would say we have learned a thing or two by not just doubling our following, but quadrupling it the past 4 months. It actually was a 507% increase, which makes it quintuple, but no one says that.
Instagram is a funny thing. You tell a story and curate a brand through sharing photos. It is super quirky, fun to use and easy to participate. Best of all it can create amazing results for your business.
When we started utilizing our Instagram for business, we was switching a personal account to start self-promoting. It wasn’t an easy transition. Previously the followers were nearly all friends and family. And the posts were chaotic. I posted about my family, our home renovation and whatever I thought was cool at the time. It was far from curated and definitely not thoughtful.
We realized there was untapped potential here and I had to start making some adjustments. But the question became where to begin? How do you go from posting about your toilet before and after to promoting a small business marketing blog? (Side note: I did get retweeted by Home Depot and nearly had a panic attack – I think I felt guilty because the toilet seat was from Walmart!)
Creating Consistency Basics
To make your profile stand out and start working for you, you have to do some pretty basic things. It is part science and part art, so there isn’t 100% a right or wrong way of doing any of it. Regardless of the industry you are in, Instagram serves as your look book, your catalogue, and your magazine. It gives you a way to curate and art direct your brand to the world.
Begin with your elevator pitch. What do people immediately see as soon as they land on your profile? Who are you, what do you do and why should they care? And did I mention you only have 150 characters to make that first impression?
Adjust your bio accordingly. Tell your audience what to expect and why they should follow you. Give relevant ways for them to get a hold of you. I choose to list my email account and adjust my web address based on what I am posting about that day or week – generally it leads to the front page of my blog.
Take Great Photos
Seems easy enough, but how do you even begin.
Find your favorite bloggers, brands, celebrities and just normal people. What are they posting? Why do you like what they are doing? What speaks to you about their feed? Now pause a second and scroll back. All the way back to the beginning of their feed. You will probably notice their content isn’t exactly the same. It may not be as tasteful or curated as you find it today. You have to remember your beginning cannot be compared to someone else’s middle.
Be mindful of your two audiences – your current and your potential new followers. What does someone see when they are already following you and are scrolling through their newsfeed? What would someone find if they were on your main profile page and are seeing 3, 6 or even 9 photos at a time?
Use the rule of thirds. Don’t always center your content. Crop your photo to the left or to the right. Line up the focus points of the photo with where the lines intersect.
Adjust scale. Use the depth of field to your advantage. Shoot some items as close ups and some with much smaller scale. The variety is pleasing to the eye.
Create color consistency. Use a color palette across all your images that relate together. Perhaps you do jewel tones, black and white or color saturated. Find a rhythm and stick to it.
Examples of Instagram profiles with a consistent color story.
Consistency really comes down to a couple of things – how you capture and edit your photos and the frequency in which you are posting.
Capture and edit. Come up with a system that works for you. Many of my photos aren’t professional. In fact the vast majority used on my social profiles and blog have been taken with my iPhone or iPad. I could use a camera, and sometimes I do, but I find that my other devices get the job done quicker and with pleasing results. I can then move on to the next thing sooner and not get caught up in all the steps to use an actual camera, download photos, edit, share photos, etc.
I mentioned before the color story shows consistency. That comes through not only in what you photograph and how, but also in how you edit. I personally do most of my editing directly in the Instagram App or in advance in Photoshop. I try to keep my images light, bright and a little airy. Here are several apps that can help you when you are on the move:
Quadruple Your Instagram Follow (BONUS: 9 Helpful Apps) - Tweet That
- Pic-Tap-Go - $1.99 - Create filters to build a consistent editing style. Easy way to lighten up images and bring out color.
- Afterlight – $0.99 – Add some extra (and interesting) light to your photos. Add a border or crop to circles.
- Snapseed – free – edit certain parts of your photo selectively – including lighting, transformation, blur and spot repair.
- Diptic – $0.99 – Layout a variety of photos into the same square.
- Moldiv – free – Photo collage editor. More variety in angles and shapes.
- A Beautiful Mess – $0.99 – Text and graphics, many with a handmade/handwritten flair.
- Studio Design – free – Text and graphic overlays.
- Word Swag - $3.99 – A little pricey for an app, but with 2052 – 5-star reviews, it is probably worth it!
Frequency is a misnomer. You can be a successful Instagramer whether you post once every two weeks or 3-6 times a day. Your results may come at different speeds, but you have to find a rhythm that works for you and your business. I have found a groove in posting 2-4 times a day. Usually, at a minimum, I post once in the morning and once in the evening. Occasionally a mid-afternoon and wee hours of the morning post sneaks in. Find what your grove is and stick to it.
Tell a Story
The story you tell through your profile is key. Learn the key elements that every profile should include and 4 time saving systems you should implement by joining us inside the FREE Quadruple Your Instagram Following Ecourse!
This 5-Day email course will walk you through all the steps you need to exponentially grow your following on Instagram (full of like-minded, authentic, real people!). You'll also learn:
- How to create a posting style
- Developing your elevator pitch
- 9 Apps that will change your life - 3 are FREE
- Top tips for creating a professional shot
- Streamlined systems to help you plan and post
- Our secret to exponential growth
- 27 tactics to generate a follow frenzy
Need more guidance in creating an editing style? Want to know how 'gramers get those beautiful white and bright images? Check out this post for a step-by-step editing tutorial inside Pic-Tap-Go!
Obviously we love to party on Instagram and it works for our business. You should come see how we use Instagram to consistently grow our brand!