social media. it is a funny thing isn't it. like many of you I just dove in...head first. all my friends were doing it so I should too right? ;) today I am starting an Instagram challenge and I invite you to join me.... over time I have noticed the difference between doing it "just because" and those who are "doing it right"... here is what I have discovered (just my own 2 cents, *disclaimer: I am not a professional social media interpreter*). I have read and researched a few different ways to reach your followers via instagram and I am totally intrigued and want to give it a try!
after research I have discovered that you have to have purpose, that you must have a clear definition of what you are wanting as an end result from your instagram. If you are just wanting to document your everyday so nanna can see how the new puppy just chewed your coffee table, then that is fine...but what I am more interested in is as a business... how am I connecting to my followers.
a few things I have realized... like anything else in life, there needs to be a plan...I know, plan shman...but lets give it a try. I mean...whats 30 days right?
I have been a little confused by my instagram feed. I love looking at very pretty and visually appealing feeds however, when I tried to make my own instagram "pretty" I noticed not many people cared about my perfectly frothy latte and homemade gluten free pop tart sitting perfectly on the distressed wooden table in the perfectly moody light. I know, right? I mean that makes for one "perfectly perfect" image am I wrong? but not one comment. nothing. just a few likes and that was it.
so do my followers not want "perfect and pretty"...I have realized I am not defining my followers. I had no clue who they are and why they are there, following ME? it wasn't until recently that I have started getting a little more clarity as to why they are there...but I am always learning more...
so lets make a plan...
STEP ONE: lets find out WHO our followers are! Why are they there, why did they hit that "follow" tab and why have they stuck around.
STEP TWO: lets define why YOU are there? why do you have an instagram and what is your message? I read that you need to treat your IG like you would a blog and create categories... be consistent and have a REASON behind each post... ok y'all we can do this. let's write down FIVE categories you want to break your IG into. what do you want to share? I read somewhere about "percentages" of what content you should post and I'd like to keep that in mind but I am not getting that technical about it sooooo if you are a numbers person and a "rule follower" go search that out. I am just going to try being generally aware of what I am posting and why. :)
mine: 1. photography (my work) is my main category 2. my personal life, who I am, my kids, my home life, etc 3. travel images. 4. local attractions/food, I love visiting and sharing fun places in Austin that I love! 5. behind the scenes, at work, on shoots, basically "a day in the life"...it is as simple as that. but now I know where to begin when I am needing to post!
STEP THREE: create a theme... it sounds similar to what we just talked about but it isn't... a theme that isn't content related but COLOR and MOOD related. having a feed that is color consistent is just more visually appealing and more likely to make people like it and stick around to see more! so write down a few words that describe your overall feel. I love IG feeds that are bright and airy, but that isn't me... I am a little more moody and muted so that is what I post...and remember to be consistent, once you commit stick with it!
STEP FOUR: commit to 30 days of interacting with other instagrammers... respond to your commenters and maybe comment on a few posts you follow... interact with others.
STEP FIVE: be intentional with your bio. let people be clear who you are, what you do, and for the love of all things holy if you run a business PLEASE list where you are located! There are so many photographers posting their beautiful work, work I'd love to hire them for but I have no clue what state they are even located in... i know it is easy for people to "figure it out" but make it simple, don't lose potential clients bc they don't have the time to dig and play clue.
ok so lets start with a fun 30 day Instagram challenge. I'd love to have you join me. use the hashtag #dreambig2016IGchallenge **change these up a little to best fit your categories, this is geared a little more towers photographers so change it as you see best fit for YOU**
also...I have seen some people do a weekly prompt, for example "on Mondays share something personal, on Tuesdays share BTS of your business...etc) For me, and I haven't at all gotten it all figured out by any means, but I do more so what is visually appealing on my feed, for example, I TRY not to post 2 black and whites in a row or that will line up on top of one another, I also try not to post busy images in a row by breaking it up with a close up or simple/clean landscape etc... so you do what works best for you and your personal instagram goals.
here we go....
day 1: selfie. introduce yourself to your followers... I know, I know... a SELFIE! but for real, you get new followers and you can't just assume they all know who you are so TELL THEM!
day 2: get to know your followers... post a pretty picture from one of your five categories and prompt conversation. ASK them about themselves. leave a call to action and encourage interaction.
day 3: #BTS or workspace...let your followers in. share a glimpse of YOU in your everyday environment and ask them a question that relates (ex. where do you get most of your best ideas, while working at your desk, while laying in bed, or while you fold laundry, etc?)
day 4: landscape/places. post an image of one of your favorite views/places... maybe the view out of your office window, maybe the beach, or the skyline to your favorite city...tell us what you feel/remember as you look at this image and ask your followers to tell you their favorite view.
day 5: post an informative image... maybe a picture of "whats in your bag" or "whats on your desk" and ask what is one thing your follower can't live without.
day 6: personal. depending on our personal categories, post a fun "day in the life" maybe you cooking with your kids, or your daughter riding her bike... ask your followers their favorite time at home with their family.
day 7: client. post an image of your recent work. .
day 8: #BTS. of you working...tell us how your week is going and ask others how it is going for them.
day 9: personal. share your "to do list" for the day or the book you are reading or a fun quote that resonates with you at the moment.
day 10: free time. post an image of a hobby or craft you do or wish you did... ask your readers if they had extra time in a day how would they spend it?
day 11: landscape. choose from one of your categories and post a landscape/travel image or food/fun and tell us your favorite places to go.
day 12: everyday. take a picture of something you see everyday, but capture it in a way that is new and unique.
day 13: personal. "day in the life" image of you at home, around family, or just doing what you love to do to relax.
day 14: client. revisit an old client session and post an image you have forgotten about.
day 15: reflection. post an image of something that means something to you or represents growth or change. tell us about it.
day 16: landscape. if you could go anywhere in the world where would it be? post an image and tell us why!
day 17: smile. share your smile and tell us what makes you happy. ask others to share what makes them smile too!
day 18: activity. what do you love to do? jog, knit, bake? share with us what you love or what you have created.
day 19: friends. who influences you and how. ask your followers who their influencers are.
day 20: goals. share your current 3 goals and ask others to share theirs.
day 21: selfie. tell us something unique about YOU and ask your followers to share too.
day 22: street art. capture life. what intrigues you about this image? the light, the people, the stillness? what makes this image speak to you?
day 23: personal. what are you working on? share a client image or anything you are currently working on.
day 24: city. where do you live? tell us a few things you love about your city and ask others to share about this city.
day 25: #BTS of you working...tell us something fun that made you smile today. prompt others to share too.
day 26: share. tell us something you have learned or something that interest you.
day 27. client. again share some of your work with us.
day 28: personal/business. share one thing that makes your business unique.
day 29: thankful. tell us what you are thankful for and ask others to share their thoughts with you.
day 30: reflect. post an old image. show us how you have grown...personally or work related. you decide.
after you do this 30 day challenge, go back and look at your posts. how much interaction did you get? what post resonated with your followers the most? let it help you to navigate through what your purpose is and who your followers are. happy gramming friends. make sure to come tell me how it is going and what you are discovering through this challenge! :)