Instagram for Creatives: Your Guide to Staying InstaOptimized

by | Aug 1, 2021 | From the Editor | 0 comments

Instagram for Creatives: Your Quick-and-Easy Guide to Staying InstaOptimized

BY: Christine Weimer

If you’re looking for some guidelines to keep consistent as you build your Instagram, you’ve come to the right place. We’re answering all your questions and providing you the resources, tools, and ideas to keep going. 

So, you’re one of the billion Instagram users trying to use the platform to engage with new readers and writers like you. Most likely, it’s feeling like a lot of work with little gain. I’ve been there. Growing your platform among the masses may seem difficult. But the challenge doesn’t mean it isn’t worth it. It just means you’ve got to get, well, creative. And if you’re reading this, I bet you’re already one of those.

If you haven’t read my blog about the Eleven Instagram Secrets You Need to Know, check that out. It’s loaded with information to help you work with Instagram’s algorithm to improve your engagement. And when you’re done, find out the Social Media Marketing Strategy: The Step You’re Missing to understand the critical factor for social media success.

But right now, I’m getting you where you need to be to optimize your usage on the platform to ensure long-term success. I’ll be answering the top questions about when to post, what to post, and how to stay on top of the Instagame. I’m even giving you a list of content ideas to keep you consistent. I’ve got you covered.

Remember, if you’re using the platform in this way, chances are you’re taking yourself seriously as an innovative business owner. Whether you’re providing a service or selling books, you’re a business. So, don’t begrudge going the extra mile. People will only take your business as seriously as you take yourself. This is not something to “just dabble” in if you want to see success unravel. Go all in. 

When should you be posting?

The best time to post on Instagram is when your followers are most active online. That’s a no-brainer. When your account is set up as a business on Instagram, you gain accessibility to a vast amount of Insights, one of which includes the times that your followers are hanging around on Instagram. You’ll also see your audience demographic, how often they visit your profile, the posts they’re responding best to, and more. 

How often should you be posting?

Consistent posting is a necessity. Figure out your limits and work within that to prevent burnout. Don’t feel confined to a formula. But here’s what I recommend:

  • One post a day, 4-5 days per week, on your feed. (if you can make two of those reels; even better)
  • Two stories a day, 5-7 days per week, on your stories. (if you can share some posts of your friends; even better)

How can you stay consistent?

Creating your content in bulk and then scheduling posts in advance is a game-changer–I’m not kidding. It prevents you from having to come up with ideas on a day-to-day basis and eliminates the stress of remembering/wanting to post. Some days you’re just not feeling it, and that’s okay. If your posts are scheduled in advance, you’re good to go. 

Find a social media scheduling app like Later that will let you upload all of your posts for the week at designated times you choose. I’ve also heard good things about Buffer. There are more, so do your research for what works within your means. 

This also allows you to generate a weekly plan that is thematic to your niche. If you’re looking to market a new service or book, it’s a clever tactic to center your posts around something specific you’ve got going on in your world. Businesses need plans, even for social media. Get used to it. 

How do you know it’s working?

For the first three months, I highly recommend creating a spreadsheet of your engagement growth weekly. Log your follower count, profile views/website taps, and top posts for the week. This may seem like “work,” but it’s temporary, and it gives you a long-term vision of how this is going to go. This tip was given to me by my mentor, Tawney Allen, and it has been a huge help.

Besides, tracking your business’s growth is never a waste of time.

Where can you create content?

Use apps like Canva to design creative visual and video content. Over is another app not many are familiar with but has been recommended to me many times before. 

Pick a color palette or theme that resonates with your brand, and be sure to utilize it in your posting. For example, if you decide to post quotes once a week, use the same or a similar template for those weekly posts that work with your theme. It creates brand awareness and will captivate the visual stimulation you want your audience to have. Plus, you want people to know more about your personality. Choose what best accentuates that. 

Where do you find followers?

Look, the bottom line is this: if you want followers, you must post consistent, engaging, quality content that your audience will find helpful, relatable, and shareable. 

Not all followers are created equal. You do not want to reel anyone and everyone onto your page. You will never appeal to everyone, and you shouldn’t want to. It’s about finding your tribe of like-minded people. That’s it. Keep it authentic. Following/liking posts simply for reciprocation is the worst way to build your platform. But if you want to network with new people, here’s what I suggest: 

  • Use hashtags. The hashtags you use for your posts are the best places to go on in and look for more people who like the same things as you. Create a few “hashtag banks” to switch it up and see what works best for your posts. It’s a trial-and-error process, but through your Insights feature, pay attention to which posts get higher traffic due to hashtags to inform you of which “banks” are helping you along. 
  • Use location settings. Yes, you want to appeal to a global audience. But finding people in your area is so great for connecting with people locally. I’ve made friends with many fellow creatives who are so close to me that I wouldn’t have found without using that feature. 
  • Nurture who nurtures you. Keep a mental (or physical) note of the people who always support what you do. Check who most often likes and engages with your posts and nurture those people. They’re your tribe. Some may not even be following you–yet. But y’all might jive. So, give them some love. 

What else do you need?

I’ll be giving you specific-based content about this over time. Still, if you’re a creative business owner or aspiring author, you need someplace else to drive your desired audience to other than your Instagram page. What’s the point of doing all this work if there isn’t some form of a call to action? You need an offer, a product, a service, some sort of link in that bio where people can click around to learn more about you.

If you don’t have a book, product, or service available yet, please consider running a blog and getting yourself a basic website up and running. Don’t let Instagram be the end-all-be-all. 

What do you post?

Well, isn’t this a loaded question? The thing with this one is the possibilities are endless, yet we’re constantly stumped on what to put out there. We overthink it, or second-guess ourselves, or draw a blank about content creation. That’s normal, and valid, and likely. 

You do not want a page of random posts. You want people to know what they’re going to get from you the moment they click onto your Instafeed. So, pull out your trusty spreadsheet where you’re tracking those Insta Insights and create a new sheet for you to keep a log of content ideas and general concepts that you can play off of over and over again. If you want to be an overachiever, make a social media calendar, so you know what you’re posting and on what day.

Your niche is important here. If you’re an author mom, you want to be posting writing/book/mothering-related content–for the most part. But that doesn’t have to be all. Share about your interests, thoughts, and other things you’re passionate about too. 

Here are examples of what general concepts could be for an author to reuse with fresh content each time:

  • A book they’re currently reading (or a review, if you’ve finished it)
  • A post about their writing process 
  • A post to promote their book or current WIP (maybe share an excerpt in a reel)
  • A post about their blog (if they have one)
  • A tip/fun fact/inspiring quote that relates to their niche
  • A post about their favorite things to do when not writing
  • A storytime thread about their life/thoughts not related to writing

Here are examples of what general concepts could be for a creative business owner to reuse with fresh content each time:

  • A post about their working process behind-the-scenes 
  • A post to promote their current offer (perhaps a reel to connect better) 
  • A tip/fun fact/inspiring quote that relates to their niche
  • A post about their favorite things to do when not working
  • A storytime thread about their life/thoughts not related to business
  • A post about their blog (if they have one) 

If you’re reading this saying: “But Christine, this is not specific enough for me.” Don’t worry. Do you think I’d leave you hanging like that? Tsk. Tsk. 

Here are some examples of specific ideas for authors when they’re feeling uninspired: 

  • Set up your camera on the time-lapse setting while you’re sitting down for a writing/editing session for others to see what you do. 
  • Tell us a story about the first book you read that made you want to be a writer. Share a picture. 
  • Show us your favorite writing spot. Why is it your favorite? 
  • Read an excerpt from your current WIP or currently available book. 
  • What’s your ultimate writing essential? Coffee? Tea? Chocolate? All three? Let us in on what works for you. 
  • Make a post about the book you’re currently reading and what you think of it so far. 
  • Tell us your favorite writing tip. What did you learn that changed the writing game for you? 
  • Post a quote that inspires you to keep going when you’re feeling uninspired. 
  • Tell us your favorite book recommendations in each genre of fiction.
  • Make a post that connects your audience to your current blog. What is it about? Showcase it. 
  • Post a picture or video about your family and the people who keep you grounded. 
  • Why do you write? We want to know what brought you to the craft. 
  • Share your favorite writer meme. 
  • What’s your worst/most embarrassing writing experience to date? 
  • Make a book trailer to promote your upcoming or currently available book.
  • Do an about me post/video that shares things about you your audience may not already know. 

Here are some examples of specific ideas for business owners when they’re feeling uninspired: 

  • Set up your camera on the time-lapse setting while you’re sitting down for a work session for others to see what you do. 
  • Tell us a story about the first memory you have that made you realize what you’re currently doing now was a passion of yours. 
  • Show us your favorite place to work. Why is it your favorite? 
  • Post a sneak peek at your current or upcoming products/offers.
  • What’s your ultimate work essential? Coffee? Tea? Chocolate? All three? Let us in on what helps you. 
  • Make a post about something new you learned about your niche. 
  • Tell us a fun fact, hack, or tip within your niche. What did you learn that changed the game for you? 
  • Post a quote that inspires you to keep going when you’re feeling uninspired. 
  • Tell us your favorite recommendations for things within your niche that your audience would want to try.
  • Make a post that connects your audience to your current blog. What is it about? Showcase it. 
  • Post a picture or video about your family and the people who keep you grounded. 
  • Why do you do what you do? We want to know what brought you to this passion. 
  • Share your favorite meme. 
  • What’s your worst/most embarrassing professional experience to date? 
  • Make a reel to promote your upcoming or currently available offer.
  • Do an about me post/video that shares things about you your audience may not already know. 

What do you offer?

On the surface, you want to offer posts that have good lighting, include engaging captions, and inform your audience of things they’ll care about. But it goes much deeper than that. 

You want to offer something other than content. Remember how I said earlier that you need something for your audience to take action on driving traffic outside of social media? This is what I meant.

I don’t care if you’re a writer, author, crystal miner, painter, computer programmer, or doctor; if you’re trying to use social media to generate leads to your business or product, you have something to offer that you want them to take action on. Ask yourself what that thing is. 

I recommend running a weekly/monthly blog that keeps your audience engaged in your journey through the process. If you’re a writer or an author, find ways to express the writing/publishing journey through a blog format. If you’re a service provider, find ways to give your audience bits of information related to your niche that will help build your connection and credibility with them. 

This is necessary because you don’t want to feel like you’re spending your time selling products to people. No one wants to be sold to, and you don’t want to feel like a cold-sales person. Earn the trust and establish a relationship with your desired audience. Serve them. 

If you’re looking to take this to the next level, I cannot begin to tell you how many positive results I’ve seen from those who have a FREE offer to their audience. On top of a blog, consider generating a piece of free, downloadable content for your audience. If you have a niche skill or specific expertise in a particular area, structure it and formulate a downloadable guide about it. 

Plus, it’s a no-brainer as a way to get people to subscribe to your email list or newsletter. Gain that credibility. Earn that authority. You deserve it. 

Download an app like Linktree, which allows you to host all of your links and offers in one place. It’s free and you can attach it in your bio for your audience to connect to you wherever you are.

Keep in mind, social media is not the only means of marketing your business, brand, and/or book. 

If you’re an aspiring author looking for book marketing, editing, or publishing services, head to our author services page to learn how Our Galaxy can help you with your book and brand. 

If you’re a creative entrepreneur looking for creative copywriting and marketing services, head to our copywriting services page to learn how Our Galaxy can help with your business and brand. 

And that’s all I’ve got for now. Let me know if there’s something you’re specifically missing in your social media plans that you may need help with. I will do my best to answer your questions to help you feel secure in the process. But check out our blog about Social Media Marketing Strategy and Eleven Instagram Secrets to keep you going. 

Until next time, writer friends.

Christine 

Christine Weimer is an entrepreneur, creative copywriter, two-time published poet, and writing mentor from Queens, New York who sought an innovative way to amplify women’s voices and advocate for their stories. In 2019, she co-founded Our Galaxy Publishing, a one-stop-shop press collaborating with aspiring authors and entrepreneurs to instantly improve their storytelling and accomplish their creative desires. Learn more about her here. 

 

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