As an entrepreneur, Instagram is the PERFECT tool to inspire, captivate, and mentor others just like yourself. It’s true, Instagram is the photographer’s playground, but that doesn’t mean you need to be a photographer to use it to your advantage. Use it to share business techniques, creative ideas, the journey your taking! I would love to go deep into detail on the many ways you can use Instagram to grow your business. For now, I want to show you how you can create and grow a healthy community with other business owners who are going through the same things.
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I use Instagram for several different reasons. It is my marketing tool, inspiration head quarters, and the place where I have built a community with others like myself. For some, it’s just a social media platform where people post pictures of their pets, food, and stuff that I really don’t feel inspired by. Instead, I follow those who inspire me to be a better business owner, who can improve my business. By doing that, I will be able to be that mentor for those who follow me!
Building that community allows you to build each other up as you go through the exact same ups and downs. So you’re never alone! You have people to confide in and ask questions knowing you’ll get an honest answer. You can be a little vulnerable with your community because they have your back.
So! Now you might be wondering, how do you begin to build this community?
STEP ONE | CREATE A PROFESSIONAL ACCOUNT
So before you go out and follow every inspiring business owner on Instagram (holy cow, that would be a lot!), you should create what I call a business account or a professional account. For a long time, I was posting all of my creative thinking on my personal account and it was getting all mixed in with random photos of my friends, social events I was attending, travel photos and so on. My account wasn’t solid and it wasn’t clear who I was or what I was doing. Other entrepreneurs wouldn’t follow me because they didn’t want to see those cat photos that I was posting and they didn’t care about what meal I ate that night. I wasn’t getting very far so I decided to create a professional Instagram account. I kept all my personal life photos on a separate account and now my business tips and creative thinking posts aren’t being swallowed by personal photos!
STEP TWO | BUILD YOUR PORTFOLIO
Once you have your professional account created, you can take your time and start building your portfolio. You don’t need to rush and post 20 photos all at once! Just take your time and really decide on what your account should look like. Whatever your expertise is, then stick to it! Business owners who are doing the same as you will be more attracted to your profile if you stay on track and relate to them.
So get out there and begin posting!
STEP THREE | USE RELATED HASHTAGS
Alright guys, hashtags are extremely important and can be covered in a whole other series! When you use a hashtag, your photo will be put among all other photos that use the same hashtag. Your work will be shown among many others who are in the same field as you and they will all be able to see your posts. It’s amazing what hashtags can do for you. I’m not going to guarantee that your photo is going to get thousands of likes on it because you used hashtags, but I can guarantee that you will get MORE likes, comments, and/or followers because you used hashtags. I’ve done several experiments on my posts with and without hashtags. Without a doubt, I get at least 5-10 followers per post when I use hashtags.
Another important thing about hashtags, you need to use them wisely. Use hashtags that are related to your niche. For instance, I live near Nashville, so I hashtag many of the surrounding cities hoping that people who are local will see my work and reach out to me. It takes a while to get the ball rolling, but once you get the hang of it and continue to build your portfolio, people will begin to reach out to you! Embrace it!
STEP FOUR | REACH OUT TO OTHERS
Steps 1-3 are more about building your account and how to reach others strategically through your products or services. But really you’re already doing your part on building that community. You have that professional account with a building portfolio and now all of those aspiring business owners are looking up to you. Soon you’ll be getting DMs on Instagram with questions and raves about your work. Now it’s up to you to respond and be the mother goose for them.
Really dive in on how you can reach out to others to build your community. Use Instagram’s features, create group messages with fellow entrepreneurs; share ideas, goals, struggles. You shouldn’t just sit around and wait for people to come to you. You need to make the first move and search for those in your field of work. Remember the hashtags we were just talking about? You can search the hashtags that you’re putting on your photos and see what others like yourself are putting out into the world.
Go find people who inspire you and are better than you so you can get constant daily inspirations on what you can do differently. Every hour, my Instagram feed is full of new beauty that I can love on and comment to others how wonderful their work is! So don’t just sit on your butt waiting for the community to come to you, you need to reach out to your community and build a family.
Now go build your Instagram community and send them love.
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