What do I mean when I say “level-up” your Instagram? Well, speaking from personal experience I have noticed three things I, The Routine Creative, have been doing lately that have upped my gram-game in a big way. Before you read further however, you should know, I am all about organic growth on IG. I may not have the biggest following out there according the numbers but I have found fans and clients on Instagram that value what I bring to the table. At the end of the day that is all that matters to me and it's all that should matter to you in my opinion. As the age old saying goes. Quality over quantity. You can have gadgets and gismos aplenty, but what good are they if you don't have an Ariel out there begging to be a part of your world. I digress. Onto the three tips!
1. BE CONSISTENT
When I am talking consistency I am not only talking about being consistent visually (although that IS important) but I am also talking consistency with your content, voice and timing. Your feed should always reflect your brand and your captions should reflect your mission. Use those caption and comment sections to connect with your followers with your brand voice. Timing is important too. Posting consistently is probably the most important part. For example, I currently try and post to my account at least once a day Monday-Friday and occasionally on the weekends. Think of your followers as your viewers. Think about your favorite TV show (excluding binge watchable shows. Looking at you Black Mirror) and how you wait with excitement for the new episode each week. Your followers are no different. They want to hear from you on a regular basis. Otherwise it's out of sight out of mind. So don't let yourself disappear into the abyss of engagement and algorithms by simply NOT posting consistently. Of course visual consistency is still important too. Here is a before and after of my own Instagram as I my branding has become more clear and recognizable.
2. STYLED PHOTOGRAPHY
None of us live a beautifully curated flat-lay life like we see on Instagram and Pinterest (unless you are R'el Dade and Marcus Lloyd in which case you obviously do) but it doesn't matter. I see no shame in the fact that our feeds are styled and curated. I look at scrolling through an IG feed like window shopping. You are scoping out different feeds to see what fits you best. With that being said. Not everyone has a fancy camera with multiple lenses (although iPhones take some kick ass photos now-a-days) or even the ability/time to take such photos. That's where styled photography comes in. Now I will admit I am a little biased because I just created a new styled photography business with my friend and business bestie Becka but, styled/stock photos have really upgraded my own Instagram and they can for yours as well. If you search on Creative Market you can find all kinds of great styled photos but here are a few sellers that stand out in my opinion other than myself.
Twigy Posts - This lovely lady is super awesome at what she does and is constantly giving back to her community.
White Hart Design Co - These are mostly styled mock-ups but man are they killer.
Her Creative Studio - This shop is very feminine if that fits your brand and the quality is quite evident.
Sarah & Gerald - Extremely minimal with lots of negative space. Such a talent they have.
Check out these shops or search for your own. Either way, styled photos are a great that you can level-up your feed.
3. GIVE BACK
Again this is all coming from my personal experience. I have found that the best way to cultivate an engaged following is by giving back to the community by sharing my knowledge and collaborating. It's something I want to continue to do (hence these type of blog posts). I have been able to grow my own business to the point that it is due to hard work of course but, I also owe a lot to all the awesome creatives that came before me that are out there sharing their journey and being transparent with their business practices. Some great examples I can think of off the top of my head are Rowan Made, Spruce Road, Elle & Company, Ugmonk and Station Seven. Some people are skeptical do give back because of fear that they will only help their competition. But you want to know the truth! You should embrace your community over competition. I am not just saying that because The Rising Tide society tells us to. You really should. You never know what awesome referrals, collaborations or opportunities may come out of just connecting with your competition. After-all, there is room for everyone. As long as you know you are giving value back to your followers that is all that matters.
So there ya have it. All of this is for you of course BUT, this post is also here for me to refer back to and remind myself to practice what I preach. To stay true to myself and my brand and not forget my core values. Let me know in the comments below if you have any other metric free ways to level-up our Instagram game. I love hearing from you!