700 million people are on Instagram. Let that sink in. With their platform, you have access to a huge audience you could potentially market and sell your freelance skills to, but you also need to be able to stand out from the masses. Unless you’re like one of the Kardashians and social media runs through your veins, growing your following and engagement numbers probably feels daunting.
We got you though. We attended Instagram’s masterclass at Facebook HQ’s and left with these top tips to help freelancers master the platform.
1. Followers want to get to know you.
Make your followers feel like they are your friend by showing them the things you do on a regular basis via Instagram stories. Remember that many (if not most!) might not live where you do, so shots of the city you live in with posts about places you frequent are interesting to them. Think of your stories as capturing ‘one day in the life of [insert your name].’ Start with showing them your morning routine, like a yoga pose you do every morning or what you’ve cooked up for breakfast. This content is easy to capture and makes you more relatable and engaging to follow. Remember The Truman Show?
2. They like to know what they can expect.
Followers don’t enjoy randomness as much as you would think. Choose “themes” for your posts and/or stories and think of them like different sections in a magazine (fashion, food, lifestyle, etc). You can post things like a daily designer shoe shot, “Motivation Monday” posts about your passion projects, or #tbt of work related posts. Doing this will make your overall Instagram look consistent and attract followers. Make sure some of your themes give insights about your personality while others are relevant to your professional work.
3. Show them some love.
Always reply to comments. Replying shows Instagram’s algorithm that you engage with your followers and will bump up your content on their feed. Since your clients are likely to respond to your comments, one way to stay on your clients’ radar is by commenting on their posts.
4. Everyone wants insider info.
Gossip magazines are successful for a reason. Give insider info on your posts like, “I accidentally slipped right before this picture was taken and couldn’t stop laughing”, so people get details about your life. This type of information can be used to make your branding more personal and memorable.
5. People love motion.
Followers are viewing 150% more video than last year. When you post a video or use video in your IG story, put the best moment at the beginning of the video to capture your followers’ attention straight away.
6. Get engaged.
People who have high engagement post 5-8 posts to their Instagram stories per day.
7. Authenticity trumps Photoshop.
“Professional” photos yield a lot less engagement than genuine, behind-the-scenes shots. Followers want content they feel they can’t get anywhere else.
8. Learn to circle your content back to yourself.
Use your stories to point people back to your profile. For example, post one behind-the-scenes shot of you working on a new graphic design series on your IG story and tell your followers to check out your profile to see the full set of designs.
9. Get creative.
You can create a ‘selfie sticker‘ and post it to your IG stories. Using Instagram’s tools and features to create more varied content is a way to win the interest of your followers.
10. It’s a chain reaction.
The best way to grow your following is by engaging the followers you already have. When your followers like your photos or comment on them, your content shows up on the search page of the people who follow them, giving new people the opportunity to discover you.