Instagram tips to build your brand from Spark Social
We recently had the pleasure of meeting Louisa Chudley from Spark Social for our first virtual Gather Round Campfire Talk. Louisa is Bristol’s resident Instagram specialist: delivering workshops, training and consultancy services to help people and businesses of all shapes, sizes and flavours to tell their story, and leverage the capabilities of the platform to their best advantage.
Launching in 2019, Louisa started Spark Social when she realised she could use her knowledge of Instagram to not only coach people in the platform’s capabilities, but give them the tips and tools they need to communicate with an authentic voice, foster a real connection with their audience and encourage greater engagement with their brand. Engaging storytelling on Instagram earns more followers: and more followers mean more customers!
To introduce the Gather Round Community to Instagram good practice, Lou summarised three main areas where we should be focusing our efforts: content, engagement and collaboration. Luckily for you, we’re going to share the highlights from the Campfire Talk here! So whether you’re looking to increase your Instagram followers, learn how to use storytelling in your Instagram stories, or discover what the benefit of creating your own IGTV videos is: Louisa reveals her top tips for gaining confidence and learning how to use Instagram to engage and create valuable connections with your target audience.
What should you post on Instagram? How much do the captions to your photos matter? It’s easy to overthink what you should be posting, and sometimes putting too much pressure on your photography or writing skills can ultimately mean you don’t end up posting anything at all. Content doesn’t have to be perfect – the pursuit of perfection can stifle creativity and hold you back. Be consistent, post what feels right and test content. Find out what people engage with and what they don’t. It will give you a much clearer idea of what works for you.
Equally, post content which makes you and your audience feel positive, sparks conversation and gets people thinking. And don’t assume people know you are forever, every few months reintroduce yourself, your story and your journey – this brings your account to life, engages new followers and takes away from being one dimensional. Reflect who you are or what your business does in everyday life.
Spark Social Tips for Content
– Introduce yourself
– Share your business story
– Take people behind the scenes – share your process and show how you work
– Share creative tips, ideas and tutorials – things which your audience can take away from reading/engaging with your Instagram feed
– Be brave and show up on IG stories
– Create IG stories around your key brand values and save them as highlights to your profile
– Talk about books/films/podcasts/artists/musicians you love
– Get your audience to participate – user-generated content is social marketing gold dust
– Create some IGTV videos which offer value to your audience
Instagram usage is up by over 40%, which means your audience is online and ready to consume the content you post. It’s all very well posting pictures or stories, but unless you take the time to evaluate how people respond and interact with your content, you won’t benefit from the great relationship with your followers that Instagram can cultivate. Likes, comments, views and messages all reveal insights into your audience’s needs, and exploring how to engage with them will give you new content ideas which tap into their behaviour with greater ease and authenticity. Be personable, show your face and broadcast your activities on IG stories to make those face-to-face connections. You’ll be surprised by how much people respond if you or key members of your team physically show up.
Spark Social Tips for Engagement
– Spend time thinking about what topics your audience value most
– Review engagement with different topics
– Test, test, test. Try different times of day, styles of photography, captions or IG story formats
– Ask your community how they are – this will make your audience feel connected with you
– Ask for opinions, tips and suggestions, and share these back to your audience. It will make them feel valued
– Show up in your stories. Believe it or not, people will respond well to face-to-face interaction!
– Don’t press hit and run. Wait for replies, get back to people, like, comment, engage with your followers
– Use hashtags and make your content discoverable. Choose ones with fewer followers so your content doesn’t get lost
– Review your hashtag strategy every week, and avoid duplication of the same ones in every post
Instagram is about you and your audience, true, but together you don’t exist in a vacuum! Proactively engaging and collaborating with other accounts, people and businesses on Instagram will not only grow your following but will offer positive benefits from participating in that community. Can you find a relevant artist, photographer, destination or brand to collaborate with? For example, if you’re an artist, sharing another artist’s work will inspire your audience in the same way it does you.
Spark Social Tips for Collaboration
– Share posts from other accounts which you find inspirational
– Engage with other similar or relevant accounts
– Spend time identifying who you want to collaborate with
– Consider if they are aligned with what you do – do they share your brand values?
We hope you agree there are plenty of ideas here to make your Instagram account pull its weight and become an integral media platform to grow and support your personal or professional brand.
If you’d like tailored training and support, Lou offers 1:1 coaching services both virtually and in-person. Equally, she usually hosts a range of workshops and training events, which will be launched on a new schedule when it is safe and appropriate to do so. You can find all the information you need over at Spark Social.