Well hello everyone,
Instagram has been a massive aspect of my business, it has been amazing for sales and networking. I have loved developing my own feed and making it what it is today. Yes, there is still room for growth but you could say that about everything, right? I find it interesting scrolling through my own feed, as it follows my journey working with clay starting with my degree project up until now. It’ll be interesting to see what it’ll look like in a years time!
I initially started my Instagram for a completely different reason. Before it was a way of documenting the making stages behind my degree project and now it acts as a portfolio of my work. When it changed direction, I started researching hashtags to use so relevant people could find me. I also found different ways to take photos and followed lots of accounts that could inspire me. I am quite a stickler for only following people who I know I will engage with 99% of the time and I know I’m not alone in this.
This brings me on quite nicely to my first tip of the blog!
- Create good content
Photography is the MOST important thing when you’re thinking about setting up your Instagram to display your work. Consider it a showcase of a variety of your best work, with the most recent 9 photos being the best ones. People will scan through accounts trying to find which ones they’d like to follow. They will presume that the first 9 photos are a good representation of what your whole account is like. So even though it takes time taking decent photos, it’s worth making sure your insta-game (cringe) is always strong and keep the photos that don’t fit you feed in your stories.
Posting photos that people instantly ‘like’ without having to think about it, is key. Instagram will presume that the best photos are the ones that get the most ‘likes as soon as they’re posted. As well as the post being shown to more of your followers, your post will appear in the top photos in the hashtags you’ve used (more on this later). Instagram will also reward you for posting regularly, once a day is recommended and more than enough, although posting twice a day wouldn’t hurt. It does take a long time to come up with posts so if you don’t manage to post every day, I don’t blame you… I don’t do it…
- Allow your followers to get to know you.
With each post, you want to try and get your audience to connect with the photo or yourself. Writing a caption that resonates with people, will mean more people will engage with it by commenting. This has the similar affect to getting as many likes as you can in the first couple of hours of posting, comments will also make Instagram think you have good content and will be shown to more accounts.
It’s easier for your followers to engage with someone they think they know, so don’t shy away from showing your personality in your captions. Make jokes, tell people about your day or you could share something personal if you feel comfortable to do so. Anything that your following can relate to are more likely to engage, because it’ll be a topic they feel comfortable with talking about and they know they won’t be saying something ‘wrong’.
This is one which is a ‘do as I say, not as I do’… Chatting with your following in your stories can be an effective way to enable your following to get to know you. Having a chat about your day to day life can allow your customers to get to know the person behind the business. After all, one of our unique selling points is that we’re a small business. Our businesses are run by an individual, rather than a massive company, so it is important for us to tell people that… some may not realise! People are more likely to buy from / engage with / talk about / share an account, if they like the person behind it, because they want to support them. I have found that even people who don’t know me are my cheerleaders wanting me to succeed, which is THE best feeling.
Can variety and consistency work together? Oh yes they can. I follow a few instagrammers (instagrammers?!) who nail this. Me, well this is one of those ‘do as I say, not as I do’ moments… again. Having a colour scheme throughout your feed works wonders for consistency but allows you to have variety too. Inspired by a colour palette? Use it. By no means am I saying edit them loads in order to achieve this, go out and find them. Once you have a good selection of these photos together in the colours you want, you’ll see the consistency coming through. I have made a board on Pinterest specifically for colour palettes, take a look if you need some inspiration!
Following this tip,
- What is the focus of your Instagram for?
It is important to realise what the purpose is for your Instagram. If you’re like myself, you will be specifically curating it for your target market. Find them and you’ll know what to post without spending too much time creating content that’s irrelevant. You also don’t want to be bouncing from topic to topic without any direction, your followers will like consistency and wont necessarily like random photos of a night out.
Keeping your making processes to your stories is an effective way of combining the two, without making your feed messy. The new highlight feature is great because you can keep these videos there for longer so your followers don’t miss out on them. I also find stories a good way of showing my followers that I am busy making new pieces, even if I haven’t had a chance to post anything recently.
I think it is all too easy to get caught up in the amount of likes you get on a post, but these aren’t what’s important. What is important is the quality of these likes, you want ones which translate into sales, having multiple empty likes/followers is as effective as having none. Getting too consumed in this can leave you creating content just to get likes rather than positing what feels natural to you.
Obviously if you are selling products you want to portray your product in a way which’ll make someone want to buy it. There are different ways of doing this, lifestyle photography is the most commonly used because you’re showing different ways of using that product, to appeal to as many customers as possible. Spending too much time on creating content could make people follow you because of the photos you’re producing rather than the for the products you make. The whole point is to produce beautiful photos that full fill their purpose not to produce photos just to get followers.
- How to get an authentic following
I have heard of different ways of getting people to follow you, mainly doing the following and then after a few days you unfollow them if they haven’t followed you back. Doing this may increase the number of followers you have but they most likely won’t be people who will buy your work. I know I’ve said it before but, creating good content and posting regularly is going to be the best way of gaining authentic followers.
Hashtags are a great way of getting yourself out there. There are many ways of finding them, one of the ways is to see what other accounts are using that are creating a similar thing to you. It is recommended to use a few generic ones like for me it might be #ceramics so people who are interested in ceramics may find it, because it is overused, it will get lost quite quickly. So then you’d use a hashtag which is a bit more specific like #plantstyling (if my example is a plant pot). This’ll probably make your photo stay at the top a bit longer but still will get lost relatively quickly. To finish, you want to have a few which are either new or hardily used but are still in theme with your photo. This will mean that you’re more likely to fill one of the ‘top posts’ spots, and you may even stay up there for a while.
Another way of getting yourself out there is going on your ‘discover’ section. This section is full of posts chosen especially chosen for you, based on the posts you have liked. Therefore the discovery section is a really good tool of connecting you with other people with similar interests to you. The best bit? This’ll be the section that brings you to the attention people who are in the position to work with you. You don’t have to have lots of followers to be noticed, you just have be active and engaged.
Wow, that was a long one. Thank you to those who have stayed with me till the end. I hope that you have been able to take some advice away with you. Please use the comment section below if you have any feedback or questions!
If you’d like to follow my clay journey you can find my instagram here