Do you want to boost your career through social media but don’t know where to start?
You’re not alone. With so many different social media platforms, account types, content styles and best practice ‘rules’ to decipher, even the most experienced social media managers can sometimes feel like they’re navigating a minefield. But if you manage to create a social media plan that works for you, you’ll quickly begin to reap the benefits.
Whether you want to impress your boss, build your career, do some online networking or try something completely new, Instagram is an amazing platform to help you build your personal brand and put you in front of all the right people.
Digital Strategist Kamila Zawadzka shares eight things you need to start doing to up your Instagram game, boost your personal brand and your career.
- Find your niche
‘Jack of all trades, master of none’ is a fantastic skill for life, but sadly not a good approach when it comes to social media. In fact, the more targeted your Instagram account is, the more likely you are to build a loyal fan base and really take off. Just take a look at some popular accounts who’ve used this method to build a cult following, like @slimequeens, @symmetrybreakfast and @frenchwords. Of course you don’t have to go quite that niche, but the more specialised your content is, the more likely you are to build a large and loyal audience – quickly.
- Don’t always mix business with pleasure
If you’re serious about using social media as a way to boost your career then you need to consider setting up a separate ‘work’ account. While your friends may love seeing close-ups of your weekend brunches, snaps of your dog in cute costumes or #tbt holiday selfies, your potential colleagues, investors or future collaborators probably don’t. Keeping business and pleasure separate will make sure your ‘work’ account stays niche, relevant and focused on the task at hand. Plus, you’ll get to be completely yourself on your personal account.
- Use your insights to learn about your audience
Make the most of Instagram’s insights tool by switching to a ‘business account’ and getting to know your audience. Even knowing a little can go a long way. Instagram’s insights use really easy-to-read graphs to show when your followers are online, where they’re from and which content they find most engaging. Getting some background information on your audience can give you a huge advantage when it comes to knowing what you should post and when to post it.
- Consistency is key!
Be consistent with what you’re posting and when you’re posting it. The look and feel of your content should be consistent and represent you and your personal brand. The amount of posts you put out each day or week needs to be consistent too. If you set a posting strategy and stick to it, your followers will quickly learn your online behaviours and know what to expect. Eventually, whether you show up on their feed or not, they’ll know that if you post every day, they can visit your profile and expect a fresh post every 24 hours.
- Always consider the bigger picture
There are two ways that people see what you post – one piece of content at a time, or all together on your profile. While most people focus on perfecting their individual posts, they often forget to think of the bigger picture – how they all work together. Treat your Instagram profile like an online magazine. When people visit your profile they should not only see a well-designed collection of images that look great together, they should also get an instant snapshot into what you have to offer. Keep your posts varied but aligned to your creative direction and overall goal.
- Up your reach to up your game
There’s no point spending days poring over your social media plan only to discover that your posts have reached a total of 30 people. As social media platforms continue to evolve, reach continues to get harder to achieve so you need to play smart. Do everything you can to make your content as easy to find as possible and increase your total reach. Use hashtags, tag your location, tag any relevant people or brands. If you have some budget, invest in paid media to push your posts even further. Share your content across other platforms and don’t be afraid of using things like Stories, IGTV and Live Video – these typically get more reach than your generic image post.
- Make an editorial calendar
Taking a more disciplined approach to social media can feel a little overwhelming at first. But regularly setting aside time to outline a plan can really help. Create a social editorial calendar for the month and plot exactly what you want to post and when. A calendar will help you see the bigger picture – what are you posting too much or too little of? Are you posting consistently and at the right times? Does your content have the right look and feel? Are there any special events coming up that you need to create content for?
An editorial calendar can be as simple or as detailed as you like. Write it down in your diary, use an app like Preview to plan your Instagram posts, or register for an online scheduling tool like Buffer.
- Build a connection with your audience
To really succeed on Instagram, you need to build a genuine connection with your audience. You want them to know, like and trust you. Avoid being too ‘me me me’, overly corporate or unreachable. Ask questions. Be responsive. Be human and relatable. Reply to comments and start conversations. Follow hashtags to stay in-the-know and comment on other people’s content. On Instagram you really get out what you put in, so get out there and get socialising!