Is Instagram a bright, shiny object, or an essential part of your online strategy?
A lot of people are talking about Instagram, lately. The other day, I saw someone ask about Instagram in an online forum that I belong to. She said that she had heard good things about it, so she signed right up and was raring to go. She was immediately attracted by the bright shiny object that is Instagram.
One of the main parts of my social media work with business owners is to help them get clear on exactly which social media sites they need to be focused on, so they can stop wasting time online. If you try to be on every social media site, you’ll wear yourself thin, and you’ll quickly burn out.
Plus, your ideal clients and joint venture partners (the two main groups of people you need to connect with online) probably aren’t on every single social network.
Instagram is a fantastic site for many businesses, especially those businesses that are easily expressed in a visual manner (through photos and micro-videos), but there are some important questions you need to ask yourself before jumping in and investing time in building your tribe on this social site.
QUESTIONS TO ASK YOURSELF
1. Who are your ideal clients and JV partners? Really get clear on this.
2. Are your ideal clients and JV partners actually using Instagram?
3. Are they using it for purely personal reasons, or are they using it to connect with businesses like yours?
4. Is it a social site that you enjoy using? Do you love taking photos and making short videos?
5. Does it make sense for your business to use Instagram?
HOW TO GET STARTED
To use Instagram effectively, you’ll need a smart phone (iPhone or Android) or a tablet (iPad or Android), and you’ll need to get the free Instagram app for it. Set up your username, add your website URL and a 150-character bio, which should clarify who you are, what you do, and who you help with your business.
Start out by listening and watching how people use Instagram, as this will help you understand how it works. Follow lots of other coaches to see how they do it and get ideas for your own profile. Next, make targeted connections by following your ideal clients and JV partners. Whenever you come across a new business or coach who you admire and want to get to know better, check to see if they’re on Instagram and then follow them.
Create a clear plan for what types of photos and videos you want to share, so you can mix it up. Remember that Instagram doesn’t need to be entirely about business. You can also use it to showcase your personal side, by sharing what you do in your off-hours, on the weekend, or on vacation.
HOW IT WORKS
In a nutshell, you take a photo using the Instagram app, you choose a filter to apply to the image (or not), then you write a caption to explain what the photo is about, add any relevant hashtags, tag any people who are in the image and who are also on Instagram, select whether you also want to share the photo on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Flickr, and then click share.
You can also upload your own images, such as quote boxes or images with tips and suggestions that you create on your computer. To do this, you’ll need to transfer these images to your mobile device. Next, open Instagram and tap the preview of the last photo you took, select the specific album where the photo is located, then the specific image. You can adjust the image and the description and share it in the same way as a real-time photo. You can also upload photos from your computer using a special app, such as Gramblr or BlueStacks.
For brief videos, you press and hold the video button on the Instagram app, you can choose a filter to apply to the video (or not), next you choose a cover frame (like a thumbnail), then you write a caption to explain what the video is about, add any relevant hashtags, select whether you also want to share the photo on Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, or Flickr, then click share.
WHAT TO SHARE
There are so many different types of photos and short videos you can create and share on Instagram. Think about how you can showcase your products and services, how your products are made, behind the scenes photos, and how you help people. You can also share exclusive sneak peeks of your new projects, cover events that you attend, express your company culture, and share about charity events or activities that your business participates in.
As I mentioned above, not all photos need to be real time photos that you take on your smart phone. You can also create quote boxes and images with tips and suggestions to help your ideal clients and them upload them to your Instagram profile. You can share photos that answer frequently asked questions about your business.
You can also use your brief videos to teach or to help people by sharing quick tips that are relevant to your business. You can use them to inspire, and motivate your ideal clients to take action.
TAKE ACTION TODAY
1. Get clear on whether or not Instagram is a good investment of your time online.
2. Sign up and start out by listening and watching how people use Instagram. Follow lots of other coaches to see how they do it.
3. Make targeted connections by following your ideal clients and JV partners.
4. Create a clear plan for what types of photos and videos you want to share, and then get started!
Holly Worton helps coaches, holistic practitioners, and women in heart-centered businesses go from confusion to confidence with social media, so they can use it to build relationships online and get more clients. As a heart-centered business owner, you do amazing work, and Holly wants to help you help more people. The way to do that is through Connection, and social media is one of the best ways to connect with others and build your tribe. Sign up for her free 90-minute social media training at SociallyHolistic to start building connections online. Connect with her on Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, Google+, or Instagram.