Hey start-ups, before you consider PR, let’s get those socials looking good and firing. Or at least Instagram. Yep, you can’t bank cheques on credibility with the media until you’ve got some actual credibility happening. And that takes time as well as good content. Assuming you have a killer logo, supporting design assets, website, tone-of-voice and copywriting sorted by now you’re ready for Instagram.
I could be here all day to talk about this. But for the sake of keeping things simple, let’s stick to the basics. These are my top eight tips to build your business on Instagram for start-ups.
Nail Logo Placement
Refer to the above. Must first have a great logo. When it comes to Instagram or any social platform for that mater you need great brand ID including a logo asset that has been designed especially for social media. It’s called a roundel. Which is a fancy design word that can also be defined as ‘a small disc; a decorative medallion’. It sounds logical but make sure that thing is looking lovely in the social icon won’t you?! And for artists and industry Influencers who wont be branding their business or personal grid with a logo; place a made to measure pic of yourself in keeping with you and all that you do.
Get Clear on Your Tone-Of-Voice
Before you start flinging out content you need to know what your tone-of-voice is first. Again if you’re an influencer, creator, maker or freelancer just be YOU. And if it’s for your business Insta profile get clear on who your target audience is first and what type of language you’re going to use. Copy is important. Words are everything. So if you’re launching an eco-friendly, sustainability, conscious-living loving brand talking to forever fourites that’s going to be vastly different to how you’d sound if you were a youth retail brand.
Secure a Content Strategy
To create a content strategy, get clear on your content pillars. Or in other words, define the three to five core values that set the tone for your brand. Then create a plan for how your content will roll out. Don’t just post for the sake of it. For example, at least loosely follow a structure in which you allocate a purpose for your posts. A post that offers value through information and links to a blog, a post that sells or markets your product and links to your website and a post that engages with other like-minded accounts by reposting or sharing their content.
Get a Visual Strategy
The truth is, people don’t want to read things that don’t look good. By good I mean visually pleasing. Be sure to take some time to consider positive-negative space and outbreak images in the mix of what you’re actually trying to sell/market. Avoid posting the same type of image placement next to each other. Bottom line, no one is going to consume your content if it isn’t aesthetically pleasing. Take a step back and consider how your nine to twelve tiles will actually look as one designed entity. This can be achieved through branding, colour/tone, consistency, edits/filters and what we call ‘pattern shots’ (aka: an image composed in a way that is either repetitive in nature and creates a pattern or the elements within it create harmony). I explain more about this here.
Have an Influencer Marketing Strategy
Forget numbers when it comes to influencers. Let’s be real. Most of their numbers are fake. It’s no good collaborating with an influencer who has 20K followers if you have different audiences (or they’re not real to begin with). Work with someone who aligns with your core values so you know you’re reaching your target audience whatever the size. Scout them (on social media); were they snapped drinking out of a plastic straw last weekend? (BU-BOW), do you agree with and support the other brands they’ve worked with in the past? Are they a good cultural fit? There are plenty of things to consider when looking for influencers to work with; finding one that is best suited to you, fits your budget and genuinely likes what you do will be something you’ll have to research, test and trial.
Collaborate with Like-Minded Brands.
Leveraging secondary brand associations is basically about teaming up with other like-minded businesses or events to build your brand equity. Collabs allow you to tap into an already captured audience that aligns with you/your business. For example if you have an ethical product or are an ethical retail fashion label starting up then perhaps reach out to Earth Hour, Plastic-Free July, Who Made My Clothes, Business Clean up Day, World Wetlands Day, International Women’s Day (…want me to keep going?) whatever your niche; utilise these existing campaigns and audiences by asking to get involved in the action. When done properly this can be super effective.
Execute a Digital Advertising Campaign
Due to Instagram’s algorithm it’s no longer enough to post good quality content to get engagement. The free lunch is long gone. There needs to be an above-the-line strategy (paid ad strategy) in order for your posts to be seen. Don’t rush into this though, we recommend at least a year of organic, consistent and thoughtful social placement before you start advertising. Credibility and building an engaged community takes time. That hasn’t changed. Be happy with slow and steady, be patient.
The above leads me to this point. Be patient. What’s that saying about a sturdy tree trunk and a seed? Everyone wants to be successful. But redefine what success means to you and be patient when it comes to social media. We here from start-ups all the time who are worried their content isn’t good enough, or their voice isn’t not strong enough; we say have the patience to let it play itself out. Refine your craft. Watch and learn. It doesn’t happen over night. And expecting that it will creates unhappiness. Winning on social media comes at the expense of time. Hard work, effort and talent put towards it while you’re friends are out for dinner or your baby sleeps. Steal those moments when you can and be patient. Don’t give up after four months, or two years. It takes time. And if you hand it over to an agency; yes you’ll be able to speed up the process and avoid mistake-making; but it still takes an incredible amount of patience. There are no overnight successes.
Most of all, be yourself, be transparent and have fun with it. People love connecting with and relating to other people/businesses so a personalised approach is also valuable.