Let Your Instagram Shine
We all use social media in our personal lives, however using it for business can involve knowing some different tricks to help us reach potential new customers and share insight, and let our businesses shine.
KNOW YOUR TARGET AUDIENCE
Knowing your audience will determine how you’ll personalise pretty much every element of your social media plan. It’s useful to think about your audience as actual people you might interact with, in the real world. Jot notes down on age, location, and interest demographics of the people you’ll be targeting with your social media posts.
Feel free to make a few audience profiles, but it’s in your best interests to have them have foundational similarities so that you can market to a consistent audience. Keep your core audience in mind when determining hashtags, imagery, and the voice you use in your posts.
- You’ve probably seen some Instagram users bombard their followers with upwards of 30 hashtags including generic ones such as #Art and the like. While that technically is within the limit numbers-wise, it’s generally a good idea to stick between 8 and 15 relevant hashtags per Instagram post. This prevents your content from being viewed as spam and also forces you to really think about the right hashtags for each post.
- The first hashtag on every post should be one that you create for you and only you. Make sure to search already created hashtags to make sure your is actually unique. For most people, this tag will be your name (#HannahBlackmore) or your business name (#thisbusinessof.art), but feel free to experiment with what feels right for your business. Following your own branded hashtag, you should only use hashtags that apply to both your content and the audience you’re trying to reach. Also, try to avoid “top” hashtags where your content will get totally drowned out in the noise of millions of other posts. For example, Instead of using #DogsOfInstagram to promote your pet portrait business, consider using #DogPaintingArt and #DogPaintings.
- Another tip that will help your posts look more polished is properly spacing the hashtags from the body copy, specifically on Instagram where a higher number of hashtags are par for the course. There are a few ways you can do this, but the goal is to leave three to five blank lines before you list off your carefully selected hashtags. This effectively “hides” the hashtags from view on your audience’s timelines unless “…more” is clicked. One to do this way is to utilise the Notes app on your phone or computer to type your caption, type a dot, click return or enter, and repeat until you have the proper amount of space, and then include your hashtags. You’ll then want to copy and paste this all into Instagram before publishing. Another way to do this is to post your hashtags in the first comment which keeps them tidy and out of the way.
WHAT ABOUT SOCIAL MEDIA SCHEDULERS?
There are mixed opinions about this as although it saves you time, some platforms will lower your reach (the amount of people your post gets shown to as a result). With Instagram in particular, the whole point of it is to share what you are doing 'instantly' with your audience. I have thought about using a scheduler in the past, but like posting spontaneously from the studio and as I go along. I keep a photo album on my phone with instagram photos in it that I can use any time, so I am rarely without anything to post.
BEST TIMES TO POST?
Everyone wants to know the answer to this, and it is slightly different for each individual industry, but here are the overall results:
- Best times: Wednesday at 11 a.m. and Friday from 10 a.m.–11 a.m.
- Best day: Wednesday
- Worst day: Sunday
ENGAGE WITH YOUR AUDIENCE
No amount of bells and whistles will replace actually interacting on a human level. While it may seem obvious, responding to questions, “liking” others’ posts, and highlighting others through your page is a great way to build a solid social media presence. Being responsive and taking interest in your audience will increase affinity for your business and will help you build trust over time.
No matter how you choose to engage, take time to interact on a one to one basis with people interested in your art.
LEARN BY EXPERIMENTING!
We are artists, so this is what we do best! The nature of social media is constantly changing, so being flexible and continue to learn about the latest best practices will be your best bet for running successful pages. Taking advantage of the analytics offered through your chosen scheduling app, or the ones provided natively, can offer insight into what’s working and what’s not. At the end of each month, take a look to see what sorts of posts are connecting with your audience. This can inspire you to try something new, or lean into a type of content even more. Don’t be afraid to tread untested waters, as something that works for one person or brand may not be the best strategy for you!
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