Let’s talk about local business + Instagram for a minute.
If you own or operate a 4 wall brick + mortar, like a hair salon, a restaurant, a local boutique or a gym— your interest in social media probably lies more heavily in wanting to use your feed to get warm bodies into your establishment, rather than gaining a million followers who never will.
Or at least that’s where your interest should be.
There’s a quote from author, Bob Burg, that says, “All things equal, people will do business with, and refer business to people they Know, Like, and Trust”
This makes total sense, right?
I mean, we’ve probably all been in a situation where someone has asked us for a referral— for a doctor, a hair stylist, a place to eat— and we default to someone/somewhere we personally know/go.
It’s not really a huge surprise, but I’ve noticed that many business owners tend to focus all of their efforts on Instagram into growing a following.
Some will even gauge the “success” of the account strictly by the number of followers they acquire.
And sure, while it’s great to have a large number show up in that little box labeled “followers”, that isn’t necessarily putting any money in the bank.
Ok folks, let’s talk about it- The Great Debate.
Should you be focusing on SnapChat, or Instagram Stories for your business?!
Both? Neither? HALP!!
Now, I certainly have an opinion. But in order to better understand my personal position on the subject- let’s begin with a little history…
I'm in the business of social media management + visual content creation. Because of this, I've used more than my fair share of the latest + greatest scheduling platforms + editing apps.
Since I'm not only creating content + managing accounts for myself; but for a variety of other clients in different industries; I've been able to test out a plethora of different tools + resources for Instagram.
The following list contains my top 20 Instagram tools, apps + resources.
If you’ve ever tried to direct your followers to a specific place on your blog or website from Instagram, you know the pain of only having a single link in your bio to do that.
At this time, Instagram doesn’t allow for clickable links inside any of your actual posts.
It would seem that those who make + sell physical products have it a little easier when it comes to creating styled photos for their Instagram feeds. And by that I mean, at the very least, there is always a tangible item available to photograph.
Not sure what to post on Instagram today?! Grab that awesome item that you sell, toss in a few related objects + snap a photo!
It might seem like a no-brainer to get permission before reposting someone else’s image on Instagram. However, people ask me all the time what they should do in situations where someone has posted an image that belongs to them, (without their prior knowledge, and without proper credit being given to them).
We all saw this coming.
When Facebook acquired Instagram back in 2012, there was immediate speculation about how long it would take before the feed that we all knew + loved would be subject to the same sponsored advertisements + algorithms that Facebook had become so infamous for. And, since we've been seeing the ads for a hot-minute, this news was clearly just around the corner.
Like it or not, selfies have become a cultural norm. And while there have definitely been times when I have bashed them - because, I mean, not every selfie belongs on your feed, (unless you're my new Instagram pal, Mr Pimp Good Game ), they also happen to be one of the most popular styles of photos posted to the platform.
Listen, we've all been there.
We snap the perfect photo, edit + filter it, then pop it into Instagram. But, before we can post it, we have to come up with a clever caption to go along with it. And sometimes, it doesn't come to us all that easy. So that annoying little blank space just sits there taunting us, keeping us from moving on with our busy lives.
As a Store Merchandising Manager for Urban Outfitters, I spent my days styling forms, deciding where all of the new merchandise would live, creating seasonal environments for each new floor set with my display artist + oversaw the entire visual team. As glamorous as a visual position sounds within a company as edgy as UO, it was crazy-hard work. However, I spent my days creating, alongside some of the most amazingly talented people in the industry... what could be better??
When I'm working with a brand or creative biz owner on their Instagram content, they will often hear me say that using the platform for marketing purposes is more of an ART than an exact science. That's because there aren't really any rules when it comes what you can + can't do. There isn't a "one-size-fits-all" strategy that can be implemented to improve your traffic or sales. We try, we analyze + we adjust as needed.
One of the most popular types of Instagram photos, (aside from the selfie, of course), is the Flat Lay.
Sometimes referred to as an outfit grid (when photographing clothing), the flat lay is iconic in the world of Instagram, + for good reason. The art of arranging objects in a visually pleasing way + shooting from above is something everyone can do to showcase nearly anything they want. From food to fashion to random objects found in the junk drawer, (hello #thingsorganizedneatly), the possibilities seem endless for styling images this way for your gram' or your blog.
One of the challenges of maintaining a consistent presence on Instagram for any brand is constantly having to come up with engaging content to share with your audience. Each post should have purpose + relate in some way to the business. This can make the task of updating on a regular basis even more of an obstacle.