Grow Your Gram | Day 1: Create

growyourgram-day1.jpg

Hi beloved, I am so glad you are here!  So here you are ready to grow your gram, gather a tribe and share your awesome with the world.  This class could be 5 weeks instead of 5 days, there is so much ground to cover.   When I say master class, I mean a class that will help you master its content.  Actionable advice and make it happen moments. Let's get this party started!

If you are joining in, I am going to venture a bold guess you are interested in harnessing the power of Instagram to build your brand.  Day 1 is ALL about identifying your tribe and creating the right profile content and signature image style.

WHO ARE YOU INSTAGRAMMING FOR?

First.  Are you Instagramming for yourself and a few friends?  If you are, no worries.  You still can benefit from what I am sharing.  If your account is personal, go wild {within good taste of course}!  But, if you plan to gram for your business or professionally, it is time to drill down and delete content that is not in line with your branding, design and core message.  If you are gramming for your brand or business, you are no longer simply posting content you want to post.  You are now posting content that will best serve your growing tribe.

PRO TIP: If you have a Facebook page for your business, you will want to connect them.  It will open up a world of analytics to help you understand what's working and what isn't. For more information to get you pointed in the right direction, check out this tutorial here.

WHAT KIND OF INSTAGRAM ACCOUNT ARE YOU RUNNING?

Is it just you?  Or does your business have your name in it?  Then the profile photo should have your beautiful face in it.

Are you a brand that employs more than 2-3 and that doesn't feature your name?  In most cases these kind of accounts, do better well with an official logo.

Are you running an account that is for the express purpose of building community?  Again a logo usually works well.  But rules are just that.  Guidelines.  Not legal mandates.

PRO TIP: Deciding what kind of account you are running will affect more than your choice for the type of profile photo graphic.  Here are the primary types of accounts: personal, professional, influencer, small business (more than 2-3 staff), solopreneur/2-3 staff, community, catalogue/featured posts.  Each has a slightly different nuance and strategy for positioning.    

POLISHING YOUR PROFILE

PRO TIP:

First, you want a professionally done head shot or designed logo (or one that could pass for it).  Then, you want a user name aligned with your business name and Facebook page.  Next, you want to write a super concise bio stating:

  1. What you do:  I champion + coach...
  2. Who you do it for: ...creative entrepreneurs...
  3. What is the value you are adding: ...helping them build authentic brands that flourish one story at a time...
  4. Additional relevant bits you want to share or a call to action: Watercolor • Weddings • Inspiration

Lastly, you want your up to date website URL. The URL should be linked to your overall primary web presence or a relevant promotion.

CREATING A SIGNATURE IMAGE STYLE

Check out the screen grabs below from 3 different lifestyle accounts.   {Click the images to be taken to their feed in a new window.}  Notice the images within their respective feeds have a similar feel, a certain quality about them.  They are recognizable. The images look like they belong to each other.  I mean I can look at Anthropologie and tell their images a mile down the road coming.  I bet you could do likewise for at least one of the key brands you love.  That's what I'm talking about when I say signature image style.

@wonderforest

@wonderforest

@dreamywhiteslifestyle

@dreamywhiteslifestyle

@anthropologie

@anthropologie

Here are a few tips on identifying and creating your signature "look": 

Styled photography isn't just about fabulous flat lays.  No siree there are multiple components in creating a cohesive visual dynamic on your feed.

  • If you don't know what style you want to pursue, find images on Pinterest or Instagram you like and that feel authentic to how you want to present your content.  Take screen shots and put them into a photo gallery where you can see them side by side.  What elements are similar?  What do you love?  What feels like it resonates? Why?  What don't you like?  Why?  Find that and you are a whole lot closer to knowing your signature style.
  • Are you airy and light, boho, classic, minimalist, white/light, darker/brooding, high contrast, moody, dramatic, soft, whimsical?  For example, if I were to describe my style, I'd say I'm white/light, clean, soft, whimsical with just a touch of boho.  
  • Once you identify your look, play around with Instagram's filters and your favorite smart phone editing apps (more on that later this week) and choose your go to combinations to create this look consistently. Resist the urge to slip into diversifying.  Folks like to be able to identify your aesthetic and know what to expect, while being surprised by your genius all at the same time.
  • If your account is managed by a team or a social media manager/assistant, come up with instragram brand protocols.  Not just for the visual aesthetic and how to create it, but the language and tone used in the caption/comments, as well as a list of hashtags you would like to use consistently.  Actually this is a great idea even if your are a business dream team of one.  It will help you stay focused and resist distraction.
  • Type your go to hashtags in batches of 15-20 in an application like Notes and then you can copy and paste the appropriate set with the right image.  Instagram limits to 30 hashtags per post and monitors repetition as well in a measure to cut down on spam.  Keeping your batches down to 20 or less ensures you can put some strategic hashtags in the context of your post message itself.  Instagram functions like a visually based micro-blog and gives you space to concisely share your story.

DAY 1: PUT IT INTO ACTION

  • Evaluate and spruce up your profile.  What does your tribe need to know?
  • If you know your signature look, write down your strategy for creating it... even if it is as simple as "take photos in natural light" and use such-and-such filter on Instagram. 
  • If you don't know your signature look, pick 3 Instagram accounts you LOVE.  Go through the process I describe above of analyzing why you love these accounts visually and how you can use that understanding to refine the way your create and communicate content to your tribe.  I am not saying "copy" them.  I am saying use them as a mirror to study your own inspiration process, learning what you truly love and how to authentically create it.
  • Follow me on Instagram @MichelePerryDesign.  I want to know you are here and begin to see the magic happen on your Instagram accounts.

I'm humbled and so excited you are here.  Please feel free to connect and ask questions and let me know how I can best serve you.  Go you!  Time to grow your gram!