Instagram

Overview

First things first. I am not an expert, and most of the time I actually loathe the constant tedium (and vulnerability if we're being totally honest) of social media. 

But.

Instagram has almost single-handedly allowed me to pursue my creative work full time. On average, I can generate between $100 and $500 of revenue with each well-crafted post. Instagram serves as my main driver of traffic, afforded partnerships with brands like Martha Stewart and West Elm, provided an incredible community of makers, and greatly challenged my creativity. (Oh, and it introduced me to my best friend, who I met for the first time at her wedding).

This section is designed to guide you in making the most of your account. Note that there is no silver bullet to flourishing on social media. It requires well-researched thinking, diligent application, and an honest attempt to maintain a healthy personal balance between reality and the highly curated platform. (Yes, I will be covering the importance of regularly logging out.)

 

Audience

Who is following you? Are they knitters? Crocheters? Or do they purchase finished knitwear?

Your audience will likely shift over time, and it's integral to have your bearings on who they are. When I started, I was just selling knitwear, and I had anticipated that my following would be people interested in buying my scarves. With time, I had grown in rich community with other makers, which meant that a large portion of my audience was no longer who I was selling to, but other sellers themselves.

It would have plateaued my business to ignore this fact. Instead, I expanding to selling patterns, and eventually maker resources (like this one), to serve the audience I had gained.

More practically speaking, I regularly...

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Content theme

In addition to your actual craft, your feed should have an overarching theme to it. In a saturated market, what makes your version of knitting unique? Do you...

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Application

Exercise 1:  

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Organized Urban Cool
Outdoorsy Modern Clean
Detail Oriented Traditional Adventurous
Cozy Approachable Frank
Innovative Fun Goofy
Colorful Playful Serene

 

Exercise 2:

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Exercise 3:

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Post Quality vs. Quantity

Instagram began as a platform to share candid shots of our daily happenings. It slowly transformed to a place where we then filtered and highly curated our "daily happenings," opting to post them at prime-engagement-time rather than when they actually happened. And now...

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It's an incredible opportunity as an entrepreneur to have people literally sign up to follow along with your content, but the pressure is higher now than ever to output not what is actually happening, but some magical version of it. Oh, and this is just an add-on to all existing business responsibilities.

For the longest time, most advice on the internet pointed to posting regularly to ensure your following had daily exposure to your work. With the latest trend in...

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My recommendation is the following:

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Here's why:

  • Followers will engage with your brand on a deeper level of thoughtfulness.
  • The <content removed> of posts can foster anticipation, and result in greater appreciation and engagement with your content.
  • It adds strength and character to your brand, making it more memorable and distinguished in your space. 
  • It is a practice that will both expand your creativity, and minimize the number of administrative hours actually spent in posting and monitoring.
  • Algorithm. Instagram shows "better" (ie. more highly engaged) content, to more users (both a higher percentage of your followers, and on the explore tab). The more you create highly engaged content, the stronger your engagement to follower ratio will be. (Ever seen an account with 500k followers, and only 700 likes and 3 comments? Keeping your ratio strong is an ongoing homework assignment).


Application:
From pretty to over-the-top

Same product. Same colors. Radically different engagement (and thus, radically different sales leads via this post). Challenge yourself to skip the straight forward post, and create one that intrigues.

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Application: 
From pretty to highly relatable

The only thing I love more than faux fur poms, is beautifully organized faux fur poms. But alas, this will only intrigue a niche of a niche market. When crafting a post, move beyond your own interests to engage with the interests of others.

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Application: 
From pretty to magical

If we all had a dollar for every coffee mug on Instagram, we'd all be on the beach right now remembering that one time we ran a small business. But alas. When creating your content, pay attention to what is trending on Instagram, and then bend it in such a way that your offering shines through.

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The Gallery

The composition and aesthetic of your gallery (feed, grid, page, etc.) is equal parts as important as your individual posts. It makes the first impression of your brand, and serves as an invitation for the follower to click into your site and become an actual customer.

To achieve a cohesive and visually pleasing grid...

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Stories

Instagram stories really changed the game. They provide a unique opportunity to constantly share content in a way that posting does not allow. They also take the pressure off composing the perfect post, as the expectation for stories more closely mirrors the original intent of Instagram...candid content.

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Content Ratio

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Stay On Brand

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Get Real

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Swipe Up

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Check Your Data

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Freedom

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Presence

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    Technical Notes

    Planning

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      Photo editing

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      Posting times

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      Engagement

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      Hashtags

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      Time Well Spent

      Your time, eyes, and heart, are resources worth guarding (both for your business and personal well-being). With the caveat that engaging with the community and finding inspiration are all good things worth pursuing, it is integral that you establish boundaries and set limits. 

      I personally try to avoid the explore tab (though it feels almost impossible to not get sucked in). I can lose considerable lengths of time here, and never leave encouraged.

      Just avoid it. Life-giving inspiration lives elsewhere.
       

      Noise

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      So, who should I follow?

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      Log out

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