Social Media Tips for Indie Designers & Makers, Pt 4: Instagram

For the fourth and final installment of our series on Social Media Tips for Indie Designers, we’ll take a look at Instagram. We’ve already covered Facebook, Pinterest, and Twitter, so this week we’ll round out this series with some tips and advise on how to approach Instagram. Similar to Pinterest, Instagram is a good opportunity to visually represent your brand. Recent updates now allow you to browse Instagram accounts on your web browser (whereas it was previously a mobile-only experience). For example, check out the Bluprint Instagram account. This makes it easier to share your Instagram activity whether you’re on a mobile phone or your browser. You can’t include clickable links on Instagram (yet), but it’s worth taking note how some Instagrammers are almost using their photos as a blog post by writing photo descriptions that wouldn’t be out of place on their blog or Tumblr. Point being: Although you can’t link to your blog, website, or products through Instagram, what you can do is visually represent your brand, your personality, and your taste, and color those photos with descriptions that help fans and followers feel a connection to your aesthetic. A great first step on Instagram is to connect with Facebook to find friends you can follow. Pay attention to how your friends are using Instagram to inspire ideas for how you can approach using it to personalize your brand and promote your aesthetic.

Let’s dive into the key questions we’ve been addressing with each of these social media channels.

Should I be on Instagram?
Do you take lots of photos on your mobile phone? Do you already have Facebook and Twitter? If so, Instagram is for you. You can link your Instagram to push photos to Facebook and Twitter (among other channels) while getting involved in a fast-growing network for sharing photos. Facebook bought Instagram for $1 billion for a reason — it’s a popular, good-looking and easy to use platform for sharing photos, which is Facebook’s real bread-and-butter.

What’s my audience?
Much like Pinterest, Instagram is obviously a very visual medium. If you’re working on craft projects, or out traveling to trade/consumer shows, teaching in-person classes, or generally finding crafty inspiration in your life, snap a photo, choose a flattering Instagram filter (perhaps to beautify your mobile camera’s flaws), and share for an easy way to visually represent your brand and aesthetic. There will be audience with overlap with Twitter and Facebook, so to that end, think of Instagram as a tool for producing and sharing content for your Twitter, Facebook, and even Pinterest followers and fans.

What are my goals?
Find inspirational, beautiful shots you can share with your followers. Instagram is a great way to easily share photos, so find similar people in your craft category to follow, take inspiration from, and “heart” their photos. When you post your photos, you’ll be surprised who can find your shots to like or comment on. Similar to Twitter, you can use hashtags in the photo description to make your photos searchable.

How can I promote myself?
Instagram is a great way to share photos of what you’re working on, projects from your class, scenes from your travels, photos with your peers, and more. Use hashtags to make your photos searchable, connect your Instagram account to Twitter and Facebook to share your photos and make use of your other social profiles to close the loop of sharing your content across your entire web presence. There’s no better place to promote your classes, blog, or other web content than right after sharing a beauty shot of a project you’re working on!

For help getting started on Instagram, click here.

Are you already active on Instagram or any of the other social channels we covered in this series? If so, share your questions, comments and feedback below! What’s worked for you? What hasn’t? Do you have any questions or problems you’ve run into? If there’s more you’d like to learn, definitely leave a comment and we can follow up with more resources like this in the future!

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