Who is your ideal customer? How to figure them out with mood boards

who is your ideal customer

 

Who IS your ideal customer, and why do you need to know?

Because if you’re trying to appeal to everyone, then in reality, you’re actually appealing to no one. You’re boring.

“Next…”

And because if your website conveys a vibrant, fun and youthful business personality, then that’s no good if your ideal customer is the mature, conservative bank manager type (OK maybe I’m being a bit mean to bank managers… I’m sure some of them dye their hair purple and listen to experimental electronica).

The point is, it’s vitally important to know who you’re selling to so you can gear the mood of your business personality towards them.

One method of getting to grips with your customer is to use a mood board (have you used one for your business personality as well? You should – just keep these boards separate – you’ll see why in a minute).

Now, I know there are lots of people who have a bit of a haphazard attempt at putting together a mood board for their biz via Pinterest and the like. However, it’s not just “whatever you like” – it needs to be more strategic and there is definitely a method to using mood boards in order to extract the information you need. That’s because you’re coming at it from two points of view – what you want your business to look like, and who your IDEAL CUSTOMER is. It’s like those Venn diagrams you learnt about in high school (you know, the ones where two circles overlap) – the area in which these two groups of things overlap is the sweet spot you should be aiming for. If you’ve got the right business for YOU, those two circles should have a pretty big overlap.

It’s most important to focus on your ideal customer, and what you want your business to look like will grow fairly naturally out of that – because you’re picking the pictures, right!? My best tip is to do this via Pinterest, because it’s so easy to find pics that suit. Better still, when you’re using Pinterest you can research things that are harder to investigate from the comfort of your own armchair (unless you’re a complete magazine/TV junkie…).

If you know exactly who your ideal customer is that’s great, but if you’re a bit fuzzy on them, that’s OK; you will probably know a little bit about them anyway.

Get a sheet of paper, and title it “My ideal customer”. Start with the basic demographics – stuff like gender, marital status and family situation, income level, education, and culture/race (if it’s important – for some products it can be).

Next, it’s time for a bit of educated guesswork about some other aspects of your customer’s likes and dislikes, and so you need to get into their head a bit more. Really, take a guess – because as we said at the start you need to appeal to someone. And as your business grows and you get to see more of your customers, then the more you will refine your ideal customer and figure out how to appeal to them. So have a think about these questions, and write down your answers.

1. What are their goals and aspirations?

2. What do they read? Magazines? Blogs? Books? You can list broad genres, but also get specific and list titles.

3. Where do they hang out – in real life, and online? There are some great infographics out there that match demographics to the different types of social media they use – for instance Facebook users tend to be a bit older because they like the chat as well as the pictures, Instagram tends to be a younger crowd; it’s more visual and faster.

4. What’s an average day like for them?

5. (And this comes back to the all-important connection between your product and your ideal customer!) What problem do they have that your product solves, and what do they hope to experience when they use your product?

 

OK! Still will me? Good.

 

Get on over to Pinterest.

Ask yourself, what magazines does your “IDEAL CUSTOMER” like to read? Are they likely to read Better Homes and Gardens? Or Frankie? Or the Renegade Collective? Or Country Living? Concentrating on these style magazines is great, because each of them has a very distinct aesthetic and focus, and you can get a very strong vision of what kind of lifestyle your customer is aspiring too and what they like to surround themselves with. You can soon figure out whether they are likely to live in an apartment in the city, or a comfy family home in the suburbs.

In Pinterest, search your magazine title, and pin a bunch of images from what comes up. Pin lots. What interior decoration images are there? What colours come up – are they muted and soft, or lots of neutrals with pops of bright colour? How does the style make you feel? For instance, Better Homes and Gardens is very comfy and family home oriented, while Frankie is younger and a retro feel with lots of ditsy floral prints in soft colours.

Work your way through the images you’ve chosen and try and pick out the common things you see – colours, patterns, textures, and how those images make you feel – heroic? glamorous? cosy?

Now go back to your “Ideal Customer” page, and go through those answers again. Is there anything that doesn’t fit? Cross it out. Is there anything you’ve missed? Add it in. Is there some new insight into their aspirations? Write some more.

Write it down. It’s your reference sheet, for whenever you come up with a new product idea, or a new marketing idea, or someone approaches you for a collaboration, or…    Then ask your ideal customer if it’s something they’d be interested in. If not, put the idea aside and move onto something that will be more to their liking.

And yay, look at those Pinterest boards again and you’ve got some great colour palettes to work with for your own branding as well!

 

I pinned a bunch of stuff from BHG - look at those colours!

I pinned a bunch of stuff from BHG – look at those colours 🙂

 

A last word from the wonderfully astute Tara Gentile.

People don’t buy because what you do is awesome. People buy because it makes them feel awesome. - Tara Gentile Click To Tweet

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Got any questions about your ideal customer?  If you do, pop your questions in the comments below. Do it! You never know who else might be wondering exactly the same thing but be too shy to ask.

Let’s help each other!

Julie x

(p.s. the launch of The Clarity Sessions – One on One Brand Coaching is only TWO DAYS AWAY! Get in on the ground floor and get a huge early bird discount on this service, by jumping on the mailing list below! {And there’s a free consultation as well} )

 

How to define your business personality (with case studies)

 

brand personality - jg

 

In the last post, I talked about defining your business personality with words. It’s fun, did you have a go? How many words did you come up with? If you’re anything like me, I can find an enormous list of words that fit aspects of what I do. I’m so complicated LOL! (I’m the same with colour – it’s so hard to limit myself to just a few). But with your business, you need to be clear-sighted and cull those words down quite a bit, to get to the essence of who and what you are (6-10 words is great).

To explain how that business personality is expressed visually, I thought it would be useful to look at a few great shopfronts and websites. As I said last post, Business Personality and Business Identity work hand in hand. With the visual stuff we’re getting more into the area of Business Identity here – the colours, fonts, imagery etc that you use in your branding, but the point is that it should be very expressive of your business personality.

 

THE COLLECTIVE.

If you’ve been hiding under a rock, The Collective is part magazine and part inspiration for business-minded creatives. It’s the brain-child of Lisa Messenger (and if you’ve never heard her story, you should – it’s a gob-smacker).

The Collective labels itself as “game changers | thought leaders | rule breakers | style makers”. It’s aimed at 35-ish creative folk who are intending to go places, completely on their own terms. It’s glossy, romantic and big. So, it uses lots of stylish, large-format vista-type images,  with a bold, hand-painted script font. It’s lots of black and white too, which further emphasises strength. Black and white is uncompromising.

brand personality 3

 

 

MEET ME AT MIKES

Meet Me At Mikes is a blog about life, crafting, and a whole bunch more, written by Pip Lincoln who is the author of several books on crafting, and writer for a number of other well-known places such as Kidspot and Frankie Magazine. It’s completely colourful, cosy, homey and happy. I love this header! Its collection of bright, clear colours are wonderfully cheery, its shapes are simple and clean. Using a variety of colours in this way conveys inventiveness and a vibrant interest in living, and there is always tons of colour throughout her blog. The scattering of blocks on the end only add to the whole playful effect. Her imagery is filled with retro, cute, and lots of closeups of homespun textures. It’s like she’s inviting you into her home.

brand personality - meetmeatmikes

 

 

THE DARLING TREE

The Darling Tree is an entirely different kettle of fish. Jo Klima founded The Darling Tree as a shopfront for her design services (which she still offers), but has more recently extended into surface design and products printed with her patterns. She has shifted from a quite feminine, gentle style, to one that is more expressive of her spiritual journey, and focuses on a vibrant palette of purples, pinks, and aquas, in a variety of bold, painterly patterns (her site loads a different pattern in the same palette every time you refresh). Like The Collective, Jo chooses a bold, handwritten font to be expressive of individuality and strength. The whole suggests artistic expressiveness, femaleness, strength and daring.

brand personality 4

 

 

THE PAPER MAMA

Chelsey Andrews is the force behind The Paper Mama, which focuses on DIY crafts, personal style, and food. As well as her own blog she writes about DIY and craft for companies like HP Create and Better Homes and Gardens.

Her style is definitely very feminine, with tons of flowers. Her colours are warm, rich, with some lovely soft textures in both the aqua background and the handpainted header. They are also not overly bright and a bit muted, giving a sense of the old-fashioned. The handpainted header and the not-quite-straight hand drawn chain circling her photo all evokes that  retro homey, DIY attitude, with the big blooms making it full and sensuous and very girly.

brand personality 5

 

 

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Now, if you’ve got an Etsy shop or similar, it can be a whole lot harder to convey your sense of brand personality, because so much of the screen space is taken up with Etsy’s set format. While it can be harder, it is not impossible as these shops show inventive ways to use their header space.

 

POAST

Within Etsy, you’re mostly limited to your shop banner to convey your brand, unless people choose to scroll down. But POAST (who I featured a little while ago here) still manages to create a space that is cool, modern, and very definitely Scandinavian. The Etsy banner space is quite long and not very high, so you need to use an image that uses horizontal space well. Laurie has used a misty image of the mountain forest to great effect, choosing one that has virtually no colour to complement her mostly white ceramic style. The shop name is in a clean and modern san serif font with the horizontal removed from the A, making it both distinctive and classic at the same time. It is also smack bang in the centre, giving a sense of balance and maturity.

brand personality 6

 

 

THEATERCLOUDS

Many people choose to use an image of some of their work for their header, and if it’s done with care, this can be a great idea as it can instantly capture your mood and colours. Theater Clouds  (who I wrote about here) has evoked the whimsy and serenity of her work with an image of tiny sailboats. The image is beautifully lit (as is all her work), has a lovely horizontal flow to it, and is warm and inviting with the use of soft red in the boats and text.

brand personality 9

 

WIRED BY BUD

A bit more “blokey” by the very nature of using hulking buffalo as his subject matter, Wired By Bud has created a scene specifically for use as a header. It’s kind of humorous and fun, and shows off what he can do. His shop name is in a strong, classic font that contrasts well with the wire shapes. The only thing I would tweak is the quality of his banner image, as I find it fuzzy and grainy and that’s distracting.

I know Etsy does compress images so you might not get it perfect, but if you are having any similar problems, try uploading your images as the highest quality .jpeg, or even a .png file.

brand personality 8

 

 

JEANETTE ZEIS

Of course, you don’t have to incorporate any of your work into your banner, or even any images. Ceramicist Jeanette Zeis relies on an extremely simple, hand drawn banner of her name. Why this works is that it strongly echoes her ceramic style –  there is evidence of the hand-made in its uneven lines and edges, it is soft yet strong, with a touch of the classic in the wreath of leaves, reminiscent of ancient Greek crowns. Overall it looks open and gentle, and doesn’t take itself too seriously.

brand personality 10

 

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Got any questions about ANYTHING in this post?   If you do, pop your questions in the comments below. Do it! You never know who else might be wondering exactly the same thing but be too shy to ask.

Let’s help each other!

Julie x

(p.s. I’m just about to launch into Brand Coaching for you! With Questionnaires, Skype sessions and a whole heap more. If you’d like to be in on the ground floor AND get a substantial discount on this service, get on the mailing list below!)

 

Small biz how-to: Defining your business personality

 

the wrong sea - defining your business personality

 

Business Personality? Yes, it’s a real thing. Your business does indeed have a personality; it’s part of your brand. It’s conveyed in everything you do to present yourself to the world. Even if you choose to ignore it, your business will still convey some kind of personality anyway – like confused, messy, or downright boring. Want that? I thought not.
(And please note – this is different to your Brand Identity, which is all the elements like colours, fonts and imagery that you use in your brand. Personality and Identity work hand in hand, so read on.)

You need to take control of that personality and present a cohesive, positive self to the world because it’s tied to how you want your customer to feel – i.e. their emotional response to your brand. And once you’ve figured out what your personality is, you can move on to choosing the visual aspects of your branding that confirm and project that same personality – so it’s kind of important to get your personality sorted out first! Personality also helps you decide the sort of tone or voice you should use when you’re talking to your customers.

 

Figuring out your #BrandPersonality is essential to figuring out the visual aspects of your brand. Click To Tweet

 

Defining your BP is not a new idea, and it does depend a little on the country you’re targeting. But some qualities you might want to focus on as the underlying driver of that personality include sincerity, excitement, competence/skill, sophistication, or ruggedness/durability. Something else to keep in mind is that usually (but not always), your brand’s characteristics reflect the characteristics of your target customers – for the exact reason of being immediately relevant to them; your customers can easily relate to your brand.

Figuring out this personality is all about YOUR business, so think what personality words first come to mind when you’re thinking about your brand. How would you describe your business when meeting someone for the first time?

First of all, you can decide whether it’s traditional or modern. Then, think about other identifiers, such as male or female, an age group, and general terms such as happy or serious.

NOW comes the real bit – list down everything you want your business to project – choose words like sophisticated, socially responsible, friendly, boisterous, classic, serious, offbeat, high-tech/geeky, and more. (If you’re struggling with coming up with words, here’s a list of more than 800).

Once you have a list, project those qualities onto an imaginary person – and then think about how they would speak to your customers. Would they be offering serious technical advice, or would they be inviting you on a fun adventure? Would they be offering you ideas and encouraging personal expression, or would they be offering a solid, trustworthy structure for you to work within? Are they giving you a glimpse of strength or whimsy? Keep on listing those words down!

 

 

If your #brand was a person, what would they be like? And what would they say to you? Click To Tweet

 

Awesome! Now you’ve got a list of words to describe your business personality, you can use them to help you decide on fonts, colours and imagery to go with your brand (I’ll go through that in more detail next post, using real examples). You can use them in other ways too – when you’re writing your “About” page, or your product descriptions for instance. But we’ll get onto that in the next post too.

In the meantime, here’s a couple of other fabulous resources for you to check out to help you figure out your Brand Personality.

  • BigBrandSystem has got a great quiz to help you decide where your personality lies on the spectrum.
  • 99designs has got some excellently fun games to help you decide what your personality is.
  • And A List Apart has some wonderful case studies (written by one of the guys from MailChimp), so you can see how big businesses put together their personalities! He goes right back to Gutenburg in the 15thC and the invention of moveable type – it’s quite fascinating.

 

Next week, I’ll be pulling apart a couple of beautiful brands to see exactly who they are and what they’re saying, so stay tuned!

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Do you have ANY questions about how to figure out your brand’s personality, or how it can translate into everything else – your writing style, your font choices, your colours….?  If you do, pop your questions in the comments below. Do it! You never know who else might be wondering exactly the same thing but be too shy to ask.

Let’s help each other!

Julie x

 

THE 10 things to get you flying on Instagram : Part 3

10 things instagram part 3

 

Oh hey! You’re still with us? Welcome to the third post in this series on getting started with Instagram. 😀

In Part 1, we looked at how to write a great Bio – you only have 150 characters, so what you say needs to be to the point and interesting to potential followers. We also looked at your images – because images are what it’s all about, hey! We investigated what sorts of images should you be posting, how often, and some photography tips to make sure your photos are beautiful. In Part 2, we explored the types of people you might like to follow for inspiration, and how to build up your own following through following others, through hashtags and by connecting it with your other social media. We also looked at sharing other people’s photos (which is a great thing of course – the good stuff should be shared!), and how to do that in an ethical way so that everyone wins.

Today’s post is about engaging with your Instagram community, because (a) it’s social media, and (b) that’s how you build your followers and turn them into loyal, paying customers.

 

 

ENGAGE WITH YOUR COMMUNITY

Like all social media, it’s not all about you. When your followers like your images a lot, they’ll often take the time to write a comment. So be nice to them and say thank you! Let them know they’re appreciated. You need to mention them by their Instagram handle – @theirname – for them to see your reply though.

More engagement creates a sense of community, so think of questions you can ask them, or post something thought-provoking like a great quote. Sparking conversations in this way is good for everyone – you get to know your followers a bit better too.

Hashtags again! As mentioned in Part 2, they’re great to help others to find you in the first place. But they can be used in lots of other ways too – for instance, create a hashtag that your followers can contrbute to. FatMumSlim has the long-running and extremely popular #fmsphotoaday, and she publishes a list of daily photo prompts on her blog. Jess Van Den of CreateAndThrive has recently started the very beautiful #MakerKinMonday – it’s a lovely opportunity to share the work of other artists/makers you admire. Spreading the good stuff around is beneficial for everybody – those makers you admire will be chuffed you love their work so much!

 

ENGAGE WITH CONTESTS

Running a contest or giveaway is a great way of getting exposure for your Instagram account and your business. There are lots of ways you can so this, but the important thing is to make sure everybody is clear on the terms and conditions. These are things such as such as what they have to do to enter, the deadlines, and when the winners will be announced. You can put the basic entry requirements into the slide (use another app capable of adding text to your image, such as PicsArt or MadeWithStudio), and in the text of your post, you can also direct them to your website page that has a full list of terms and conditions.

A competition can be as simple as putting up a photo of one of your items and say ‘Like’ the photo to win the item. You ask them to comment on your photo too, and this can also be a great opportunity to get valuable feedback.

If you want to increase your followers, you can say that one of the requirements of entry is for your followers to tag a friend in the comments, and this will increase your organic traffic. If those friends like what they see, they’ll follow you too!

You can ask them to repost one of your images (using one of the many repost apps) and tag you for an entry to win.

You can create a special hashtag, and ask followers to participate using your products in photos or creative situations where your products might be used. They will need to tag you too, so that you can track their entry. For instance, I might ask them to put up a picture of them with one of my bags in an exotic location, and use the special hashtag #tractorgirlonholidays. They would also have to tag me @tractorgirlmakes so that I know they’ve entered. Add extra hashtags to ensure the comp gets outside attention, such as #instagramgiveaway, #giveaway, #contest, and #(YourBrandName). This not only provides better exposure, it’s also great for tracking the spread of the competition.

Importantly, don’t make your hashtags too long or complicated! They can get misspelled and therefore lost, and if they’re too hard to remember, your  followers can just give up and not bother.

Instagram has a few fairly basic, sensible guidelines for running comps as well, so do read them.

 

VIDEO

I must confess I haven’t explored this on Instgram as yet, but I most certainly will in the not too distant future! And here’s why.

At SociallySorted, founder Donna Moritz interviewed a number of people who have made huge gains in their businesses through using social media. LOTS of them said that video and moving images were particularly great, because of their ability to grab attention. The people she spoke to included travel bloggers, chocolate makers, and a zoo. Truly! The short snippet of a brand new baby hippo is a winner.

Instagram allows you up to 15 seconds of video – which doesn’t sound like a long time, but it is more than enough to get your message across if you have a mesmerising image and/or use a bit of smart editing. You don’t always have to make new material either – some suggested repurposing some of your old YouTube footage, because your YouTube watchers are not necessarily the same folk as on your Instagram. (Of course, take that one step further, and share your YouTube footage straight to Facebook too!)

If you haven’t got any old YouTubes hanging around (I’m putting my hand up here), what can you take a video of? Same as for your photos of course – show off some of your process! A video of your beautiful workspace! People LOVE seeing behind the scenes. Another fantastic idea is to demo one of your products, or answer some FAQs. (If you’re feeling up to it, when you share your workspace you can even stick yourself in front of the camera and say hi! Your customers will love connecting to a real person.)

Video on Instagram has a couple of great features too. You can scroll through your video on IG and choose a still from the video to be the cover photo, in order to make it more enticing to viewers. If your video is more than 15 seconds long, you can choose which segment to show, and you can also also add any of Instagram’s filters to convey a particular mood.

Another advantage is that it integrates with Facebook (because FB owns IG) so that it plays in-line and people don’t have to click out of Facey to watch.

ALSO in the moving picture category is Flipagram. This allows you to combine a number of images into a flipbook-style slide sequence, and this is great for lots of situations. For instance, you can use it to create a short portfolio of your work. Or, when you’ve got a large number of images from an event (a market, a conference, etc), rather than annoy your followers with a million posts all at once, stick them all into a Flipagram and then do a single post.

 

SCHEDULING AND STATISTICS

When you’re really stuck for time, and/or you just want to get super-organised with your social media, you can schedule all your posts up on Latergramme, and even better you can use it to organise and schedule multiple Instagram accounts if you have them!

Iconosquare is my all-time fave Instagram managing tool. It works on your desktop, so it’s super easy to see your last hour or two of feed, and super super easy to like and comment, so you can engage with the people you follow quite quickly. Better still, it has a fantastic array of statistics for you to explore, showing you what are the best times for you to post, your most popular posts, your growth rate, who’s unfollowed you (this is fab because you can have a think about WHY they’ve unfollowed you and whether you need to lift your game), and heaps more. Best of all, it’s free. (*Although they do have plans to split some of the services off to premium users only later in the year, so get onto them now.)

 

 

Lastly, here’s a couple of great infographics on other ways of engaging your followers –

* Quicksprout – How to increase your Instagram engagement This has some great tips on the types of images that get the most likes and shares, and has lots of great tips for hashtags too.

* Fast Company – how the most successful brands dominate Instagram – some excellent ways to use Instagram, including showing off customers using your products, and some great statistics on why Instagram is better for business than some other platforms.

* TWMG – A fab infographic on how to create an optimal feed .

 

 

SPAM ( 🙁 and other nasties)

As with all other SM, there are spammers. Spammers are yukky. Don’t be one of them. And if you see it report it.
You can delete comments on your own postsreport abuse, and block  spammers.

Keep Instagram nice for everyone!

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OK, that’s it for this three part post. Hope it’s helped you make your Instagram experience just that bit more beautiful! As always, if you’ve got any questions about anything, just let me know in the comments below, and I WILL find you an answer! 

And you can connect with me on Instagram over at @tractorgirlmakes. See you there 😀 😀 😀

Julie X

THE 10 things to get you flying on Instagram : Part 2

10 things instagram part 2

 

Instagram is great fun, it’s true! But if you’re using Instagram for business, you really need to be strategic about how you use it – you do not have unlimited amounts of time to faff about, no matter how much fun it is. These tips are aimed at helping you get the most out of it, by pinpointing the most effective methods of building your audience and your brand style.

In Part 1 of this series, I talked about WHY Instagram was great for business – including its rapidly growing rate of new users, and the fact that everything you post gets seen by everyone who follows you, unlike Facebook and its tricky and limiting algorithms. This post is about how to find your ideal followers on this great social media platform, to get your best business advantage.

 

FOLLOWING OTHERS

It’s true that the fastest, ethical way to build a following on Instagram is to follow other users and interact with them. However, don’t just follow anyone! You need to concentrate on the people who fit your brand. Not only do you feel way more comfortable with and genuine about interacting with them, you are more likely to attract them as a customer.

But Instagram for business is not all about having customers either – there are a few types of people you’ll want to follow, including those that totally inspire you (so many good ones! but some faves include @LisaMessenger, @sydney_jewellery_school and @swallowsanddamsons), and your peers (people around the same business level as you – great for cheering you on your biz journey!).

Don’t go overboard on following tons of people in a short space of time. There’s no official word from Instagram, but anecdotally there are several folk who say that there’s a limit of about 150 new followings per hour, and if you go faster than that your account will be limited, stopped, or removed. In any case, there is an official total limit of 7,500 users you can follow with your account now, and Instagram states that this is to stop spam and bots.

From this post on Shopify, the rates of follow-back increased substantially in direct proportion to the amount of effort you went to in interactions – i.e., for just a follow, the author got a 14% follow-back rate; for a follow and a like or two on their images, it jumped to 22%, and for a follow, some likes and a comment, it jumped again to 34%. But when you’re commenting, don’t just stick in something lame like “lovely” or “cute”. Spend some time in crafting something a bit meaningful, and a better response is guaranteed.

 

SHARING OTHER PEOPLE’S PHOTOS

Instagram doesn’t actively promote sharing, and they have no tools to do so within their app. They DO always encourage people to post original content, and they care about copyright, which is all good!

Of course it’s great to give props where credit is due, and sometimes there is totally beautiful stuff that you’ll want to share. There are also times when the people you follow actively encourage you to repost (for instance with a competition). However, don’t just take a screenshot and feed that in, because a lot of users scroll through pretty quickly and it can kinda look like it’s your photo if they don’t bother to stop and read. But there’s ways to share and keep everyone happy. And you should share – other people love being recognised for what they do! I’ve been taking part in an initiative by @CreateAndThrive, called #MakerKinMonday, where every Monday you share an image by another maker/designer that you admire, and also describe what it is about their work that you love. It’s fab! You get to see a whole bunch of beautiful new work from makers around the world, and everybody wins.

There are several apps that you can use to repost if you wish. These are great, because not only do they help people to share the good stuff, it’s also very obvious it’s a repost because they add a noticeable graphic to the image to let everyone it’s a repost, and they also give a text credit to the original Instagrammer. My fave app for this is Repost App. It stamps the image with a graphic, copies over the original text with credits, and also lets you edit that text so you can add further info if you want before reposting it into your timeline.

 

CONNECT IT UP WITH YOUR OTHER SOCIAL MEDIA

This is almost a no-brainer. These days, you can set up most of your social media accounts so that when you post on one, it will automatically feed through and post on your other sites as well, saving you a lot of time in getting your images and messages out to all your followers.

On Instagram, it’s super easy to connect it up – click on the little cog icon at the top right of the screen, and scroll down to ‘Linked Accounts’. Click through, and it will come up with a list of several popular social media sites. Click on the ones you want; Instagram will ask you to log in to that site, and then just follow the prompts. And if you have more than one Facebook account for instance, you can decide which one you want Instagram to post to.

Then after you’ve set it all up, when you post to Instagram it gives you the option of pushing your image out to your chosen social media sites as well.

 

HASHTAGS

Hashtags are a great way of finding other people to follow, and getting other people to find you too. Just click on one, and Instagram will bring up all the images that have been tagged with that word most recently.

There are several lists out there of what are the most frequently used hashtags, but really those sorts of lists are not very helpful. They do include really broad ones, like #photooftheday and #design which are kind of OK, but they also include ones that are next to useless if you’re trying to get like-minded folk to search you out. Who’s going to do a search on #me, #selfie or #day? And as I noted before, you’re not trying to just get numbers, you’re trying to narrow in on your target market – #followme, #like4like, #tagsforlikes aren’t going to cut it either. You want genuine followers who are following because they really like your work – i.e. potential customers; you don’t need random heads or worse, bots.

Using general tags that are a bit more specific to what you do is more useful, for instance #handmade, #kidsclothes, #handmadeaustralia, or #vintagefabric. You can also use ones for things that you find visually interesting, such as #colourlove, #patternonpattern, or #landscape, because chances are if you find those tags interesting, someone else will too and will find you. Another good one to use is your location – e.g. #Australia, #Riverina or #WaggaWagga – so you can help local folk to find you. But only ever use tags that are relevant. What’s the point of tagging your handmade chocolates with #design, just because it’s a popular hashtag? People who search for #design aren’t searching for chocolates, so they’re not going to bother with you (well… maybe. Because chocolate. But you get the idea?).

You can even make up some tags that are completely you, such as #tractorgirlmakesnewtops. I tag all of my clothes with this on my IG account, so that people can easily click on that and see all of my clothes together, instead of having to scroll through my feed – and I also mention it in my profile blurb.

Don’t get carried away with hashtags – around 4 or 5 is enough. Those posts with around 20 look like you’re screaming for attention. Take some time to check out what hashtags other people in your niche are using too, and use them as well. When you’ve compiled a list of relevant hashtags, note them all down somewhere (like an Evernote file) so that next time you post something you can just copy and paste – you’re not scratching your brain trying to remember what the hell all those good tags were.

 

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That’s all for today, but I’ll be back with the third and final post in this Instagram series real soon! (Part 1 is here.) Part 3 will be all about how to engage with your community (and you absolutely most of all want to build a sense of community into your business), so stay tuned…

And in the mean time, catch me over on Instagram at tractorgirlmakes. Let me know you found me via the blog – I’m always up for a chat and I love connecting with you all!

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Have you got any burning questions about Instagram?  Please ask away! Let me know in the comments below and I will find you an answer. Guarantee! 

With love, Julie.