Manage a Professional Instagram Account
Hello! My name is Jenna and I spend quite a bit of time on Instagram. (So much time I’m developing tennis elbow, send help!) Instagram should be a portfolio of the best of your business. So often other businesses or people around town will tell our clients,“HOW can I get an Instagram like yours?” and while the easy answer is, hire Insights, there are some tips I’ll send your way to keep things looking great. Let’s dive in on how to manage a professional Instagram account.
Disclaimer: Things get a little sassy, but all in the name of having some fun and making sure these tips stick in your brain. Hope you enjoy!
Would you send it to a magazine for a feature story?
I mean this quite seriously. Picture your business being featured on the pages of an industry magazine. You know that there are photos of your product that belong in that magazine and photos that absolutely do not. If you’ve got any of those photos that you would want to kick under the rug if a big magazine called you up, just kick them under the rug now.
Instagram is your opportunity to showcase your business exactly how you want it to be seen. Your standards should be just as high on social media as any other type of marketing. Your Instagram should be something you are proud to tell customers, potential clients, or potential guests to check out. Managing a professional Instagram starts with having high standards for your photos.
Just because it’s interesting doesn’t mean it’s Insta-worthy
I get it. Having a moose walk through town, a coworker bringing a puppy to the office, or bumping into a local celebrity at the grocery store is all very fun stuff. However, if it’s not connected to your business, it doesn’t belong on your Instagram. Your account should tell us a story, not just be a collection of things happening around the office. Now, that moose photo or your selfie with Bernie Sanders really might pull in a ton of likes so you say, don’t we want likes and comments? Find that answer here.
You don’t have to post only photos of your product and business, but have a plan for why things are being posted. The example to the left is of ClearLake furniture, a Vermont-based custom furniture designer whose Instagram we manage. You’ll notice cows, street signs, and plenty of photos that are certainly not their product. However, it’s all in the name of creating a well-balanced account and telling the story about where the wood comes from, why they value Vermont-made products, and why you should too. The account grid follows the order, Vermont, Craftsman, Vermont, Furniture, Vermont, Furniture, Vermont, Craftsman, and repeat. This keeps the focus on the story, the business, and the product, all while looking visually dynamic when you see the full account.
Never post a collage
That’s it, that’s the whole rule. There is never a time when you need to post a collage on Instagram. It will immediately make your account look dated. Instagram launched the multiple photo feature for this exact reason. Trust me on this one. Get those collages out of here, it’s not 2009.
If it doesn’t fit the theme, put it on your story
Does this blog feel like I’m being too picky? Are you thinking, “Jenna, I really want to tell people about the puppy that came into work. People will love it!” That’s what stories are for. Stories capture attention, they pull people in, but they don’t need to fit the brand aesthetic quite as closely since they aren’t lined up like ducks in a row. If you want to post something but it doesn’t really make sense on your account, throw it on the story.
That’s the free-range zone as far as I’m concerned. Take a look at Bridgeside Books. I post primarily product photos and book quotes. This strategy doesn’t have a lot of wiggle room. However, if there’s a moose walking by the store, I will certainly put it on the story. That way, attention is captured, fun is being had, but the account still has a cohesive, product-focused story. You really can have the best of both worlds.
Give more likes to get more likes
This all goes back to engagement which I’ve gone into detail about in other blog posts, but you cannot simply make a post and close the app. Instagram has algorithms in place to make sure people see the accounts that Instagram believes they are most interested in. If you never interact with anyone from the account, that signals to Instagram that you don’t have any “close friends” and it will limit the number of people that are shown your posts. That’s right, just because a person follows you does not mean Instagram shows them your posts. Learn how to comment and engage as a business here.
Likes and comments do not fund a business
Likes and comments are the currency of social media. But you know what’s the currency of your business? Currency. What I mean by this is that you need more than likes and popular social media posts to make a difference. All of those likes and comments only benefit you if a person is motivated to actually make a purchase or head into your store. That’s why I try and stay away from photos like the moose crossing the road or a puppy in the office. People might like and comment, but it’s not going to motivate them to actually engage with your product. See more about what I call The Baby Photo Blitz here.
Build text-posts into your strategy
The biggest game-changer for a clean, professional Instagram is having text-posts that make sense. If you’re a business who hosts events, wants to announce sales, or share some great reviews, you need a plan. Those posts can immediately throw the look of your account off if you’re just posting ads and screenshots. You don’t want to look like spam, you want to look planned. You can see what I mean in some of the examples, but picking a text style can give you the opportunity to say things more directly to your followers without sacrificing a beautiful Instagram.
You’ll notice in many of the examples here that I have a system of text-posts. Having the opportunity to share a review, announce that your business is closed, or share something inspirational is so valuable to keeping your page looking fresh and being informative.
Nothing is Permanent
My primary goal here is to help business owners recognize what an important tool Instagram can be. You can always make changes and try again if your plan doesn’t work out how you hoped. I manage professional Instagram accounts in nearly every industry, and I follow these rules for each one. I don’t want you to lose the personality of your business, I want quite the opposite. If you make a plan for your account, set up a nice little grid to follow, you’ll find that the account will start telling the story for you.
I would love to talk more about how we can take your Instagram to the next level through individual training, group masterclasses, or digital marketing services from Insights. Let’s get to work!