I realized a few years ago that I wanted to use Instagram instead of having it use me. What I mean is when we are only consuming and not creating, Instagram can start to drain us. It can make us focus on what everyone else is doing and creating, which can get downright exhausting. Have you ever felt this way?
Don’t get me wrong. The inspiration available on Instagram is amazing but when you make social media work for you, you’re able to take control of your usage and use it to your benefit and to speak into other people’s lives. It’s a very powerful (& free!!) tool.
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So, if you want to make Instagram work for you, let’s get started!…
1. Define Your “WHY”
It’s important whether you’re starting a new Instagram account or re-branding your current account, to define your “why”. Why are you using the app? Is it a creative outlet? Will you be gaining exposure for your business? Sharing cute pictures of your dog? Creating your own personal brand to partner with companies through collaboration?
Whatever it is, define it now and write it down on your Instagram planner. Don’t worry, you can always change it later. I’ve redefined my “why” several times.
2. Pick Your Instagram Name and Write an Eye-Catching Bio
The first 3 things people see when they go to your Instagram profile are your profile picture, your username, and your name. Make sure your profile picture is warm and inviting but also bright and eye-catching.
Be sure to pick a catchy username (also called an Instagram handle – It’s the one that starts with @). You want people to be able to remember it when they go to search for you. In the name section, make sure you include your name and some relevant keywords. (Example below: Jes Lyn | fit mom lifestyle)
Next is your bio. When you’re writing your bio make sure to add everything someone may need to know about you. Include your location, email, and what your content will be about. Don’t be afraid to use emojis. Write down all of your ideas on your Instagram planner.
3. Pick Your Editing App & Filter
Everyone has unique preferences for what they want their finished photos to look like. You might like dark and moody or bright and airy. My favorite apps for editing photos are VSCO and Lightroom.
Once you pick an app for editing, choose a filter you love and use it on all of your photos. This will allow your feed to have a consistent flow.
4. Choose Your Hashtags
Hashtags are how people will find your photos on Instagram. When someone is searching for a hashtag, they will see the photos that people used that hashtag on. Try to find some accounts that are posting content similar to what you will be posting and see which hashtags they are using.
Once you have a few to start with you can use the Instagram search bar to find more. Type in one hashtag and search it. You will see a line of related hashtags that you can add to your list.
You can also use the Tailwind hashtag tool to make your hashtag research much faster. I use it every time I post a photo to my account!
Once you have a few groups chosen, (Instagram lets you use 30 hashtags per photos) you can add them to your caption or into the first comment (Tailwind can do this for you automatically!) It’s completely up to your preference.
5. Complete Your Instagram Planner and Start Posting!
Start by making a list of post ideas for photos and captions. I find it works better to write down ideas as they come to my mind rather than thinking of them on the spot. To find out my Instagram caption formula, Read This Post!
You don’t have to think of photo and caption ideas together. You can piece them together like a puzzle later. Just let your creativity lead the way. Once you have it all planned out, post a photo and have fun connecting with others in the comments section!
I hope you enjoyed these tips! I also created a Free Instagram Planner to help you get all of your ideas down on paper in one place. Sound good?
Alright, friend time to get planning. I’ll see you on the gram!!