NO 1. BEHIND THE SCENES
People are curious. By showing some of the work being done behind the curtain, you are tapping into their voyeuristic nature + allowing them to see something that’s not often shared. Maybe you give them a peek at your home office, or your business’ back-of-house that’s usually reserved for “Employees Only”. You could share progress of a current project, the making of a hair/makeup tutorial or take them behind the scenes of a photo shoot. Everyone wants to feel special + be granted VIP access, so this is a way for you to make that happen for your biggest fans.
NO 2. HIGHLIGHT A PRODUCT OR SERVICE
If you’re in business, you’re most likely selling SOMETHING. Whether that’s a physical product, or you offer some sort of professional service, you should find a way to show that off in an aesthetically pleasing way. The delicate art of being a business on Instagram is really in the balancing act of sharing + selling. Meaning, you can’t just blatantly blast your advertisements in front of your followers faces 100% of the time and expect them to stick around. Figuring out how to showcase what you offer in a way that fits naturally within the parameters of a visual platform, (like Instagram), and doesn’t feel like a constant sales pitch, is key.
NO 3. QUOTE OR INSPIRATIONAL MESSAGE
Think about your business’ core values, or your company’s mission statement. Is there some way to use words, maybe through pretty hand-lettering, or clever font pairing, to convey its message in the form of motivational, text-driven images? Maybe you have a well-known tagline or catchphrase that people already associate with your brand. With these quotes + phrases in mind, you can create your own text images fairly simply with apps like Canva or Pablo. Or, if graphic text elements aren’t brand-right for your business, you could still get really creative with how you share any message. Cut the words out of a magazine (ransom note style!), spell it with alphabet soup, or have an airplane write it in the sky… I don’t know, it’s your business, go crazy!
NO 4. FLAT LAY OR STYLED IMAGE
The most popular type of photo on Instagram (aside from the selfie) is the flat lay, sometimes referred to as an outfit grid (for clothing related images). And, it’s exactly what it sounds like. The product is laid out flat and the photo is taken from an aerial point of view. You can create a flat lay image with ANY product, not just clothing. In fact, I wrote a post about 5 ways to FLAT LAY here. As always, think about your personal brand + how you can best represent your product or ideas with this sort of composition.
NO 5. CREATE A CALL TO ACTION
A great way to engage + build community is by instructing your audience to provide you with a direct response. You could ask them a question with your photo + have them answer you in the comments, or inform them about your newsletter or most recent blog post, requesting that they visit the link in your profile. Create a contest or challenge + have your followers use a specific hashtag to track the engagement. Give your fans some instruction along with your images to create a more defined purpose.
NO 6. START A WEEKLY SERIES
Once you get into the groove, you may notice some photos seem to get more likes + comments than the others. If you track your analytics through a site like Iconosquare, you can find out what type of posts are most popular on your feed. Using that information, try dedicating a specific day to a more popular concept or photo theme. Think #throwbackthursday or #motivationmonday. This will help to take some of the planning off of your plate because the content for a particular day will always be the same theme. Come up with a specific hashtag for your series + allow your followers to participate as well. And this leads me to my next content idea…
NO 7. USER GENERATED CONTENT
This one is utterly amazing, because it requires VERY LITTLE WORK on your end. If you can get your followers to engage in your CTA (Calls To Action), or contribute to your weekly series, then you can turn around + use the photos that they create (with their permission, of course) on your own feed! All you have to do is track your hashtags and scoop up the photos created by your fans, to re-post on your account. This is awesome on a couple of levels. First, you now have totally free content that you didn’t have to create on your own (saving you a lot of precious time). And second, you can now give some of your loyal followers a huge public shout out! They feel good, you feel good. Everyone is virtually hugging, UGC wins.
NO 8. COMPANY CULTURE
If you are a solo-entrepreneur, it’s probably pretty easy to “seem” human on social media, because, duh, you ARE a human. Your audience is most likely aware that it’s just little ole you, running the whole dang operation. They see you as a person, and can easily relate to you on a personal level. But if you own a company with multiple employees, operating under a company name, being seen as “human” on social media becomes a bit more challenging. However, with the right content strategy, it’s not at all impossible. Businesses, large + small, can use Instagram to showcase their talented employees, share how they give back to the community, highlight causes they support and offer an inside look into what they are all about. People like working with + buying from PEOPLE. Opening up + sharing those culture-centric pieces of your brand builds trust and shows authenticity. In turn, it might actually end up being why customers choose to do business with you, as opposed to a similar brand that hides behind their company logo.
NO 9. SHOUT OUT
Social media is really about being social, and creating community. That is why it’s best to only use it for promotion + business about 1/3 of the time. The other 2/3 should be about the sharing the culture of your brand, engaging with your followers, + celebrating others (perhaps in your same field) that you look up to. Think about someone who inspires or motivates you + give them props on your own feed. Maybe you took someone’s webinar or just learned something extremely valuable from another blogger or business owner. Posting about people you admire on your account is a way to give them applause and say thank you, and it also allows your followers to discover them.
NO 10. RECOMMENDATION
A good recommendation can go a long way. You can share a product review, post an excerpt from a book you just read or recommend a podcast that you love to listen to. Sharing information like this, not only adds value to your post, but it also allows your audience to discover a little more about who you are. Of course, like all of the suggestions listed above, you’ll want to ensure that you are giving the right recommendations for your target audience. What you share should always align with your core values and relate back to your brand on some level.