The prevalence of social media means that no matter what your age, you probably have an Instagram account. This has forever changed the world of marketing, transforming online advertisement into an interpersonal endeavor that requires constant maintenance. Yet the dominance of existing influencers, organizations, and businesses can be overwhelming for someone just creating their first account.
To help new entrepreneurs overcome these difficulties and learn how to best utilize this tool, the Lassonde Entrepreneur Institute, Business Career Services at the Eccles School of Business, and the Career and Professional Development Center at the University of Utah met with three experienced entrepreneurs who transformed their passions into social media success. During this event, freelance illustrator David Habben, career coach Olga Kingsbury, and Campsire Jewlery creator Cameron Polansky shared their advice for you to use to effectively use Instagram. Below are their strategies on how to manage Instagram as an entrepreneur.
1. Realize it’s Going to Take Sacrifice
Kingsbury knows well the difficulties of reaching your target audience, as she tries to provide services to students across the globe. Within her consultations for students, Instagram is an essential tool in reaching her clients. She has worked diligently to ensure that her business strategy is transferred successfully onto her Instagram page. “Instagram favors visual content – create content specific to your services,” she said. Kingsbury emphasized the diligence required to maintain your audience. “Create consistent high-quality content,” she advised for those seeking growth on their page.
Recognizing your worth is important in setting a precedence on your Instagram page. Kingsbury cautioned against getting too caught up in the analytics of your profile – “You can sell your services no matter how many followers you have,” she said. Sometimes in promoting your business in an online space you will receive spam or “hate” from other users or automated pages. “Building your confidence in what you do and not letting other people’s voices get close to your heart is really important,” Kingsbury stated.
2. Use Your Page to Create Connections
Although Instagram is integral to building a support system as a freelance artist, Habben suggested using it in conjunction with other platforms to help further your online reach. “I use different platforms to access different demographics,” he said, mentioning Facebook, Pinterest, Behance, and TikTok as other beneficial online spaces. Linking your accounts together across your multiple pages can help save you time and effort on a daily basis. “Giving yourself set time to be on social media makes it less overwhelming and allows you greater focus when working on other projects,” he shared.
Marketing specific services or products per platform can create greater ease within your organization. “Use Instagram insights to identify who your followers are and where they are, and then post according to those timeframes,” he advised. When managing several different platforms, Habben advised approaching your efforts with a minimalistic mindset. “I try to limit what I’m doing to simple conversations – I have to remind myself that my main goal is to be making the artwork,” he said. Sharing art based on your creative interests will help to diversify your feed and build a network that is willing to explore with you.
3. Be Authentic to Your Values
Although your Instagram account should be curated to suit your branding, be sure to show your authenticity so that your followers can relate to the creator behind the page. Polansky has found that she receives the most engagement on her posts that are personal to her story on her business page. “Because my branding is centered around mental health, my followers enjoy it most when I post things that are realistic to me and my life,” she said. Experimenting with different content formats and topics can help you find what brings the most engagement on your Instagram page.
If you struggle to connect with your target audience, Polansky recommends using the interactive features on Instagram stories to get immediate feedback. “I use Instagram polls to get any instant information I may need from my followers,” Polansky said. It is important to know what your audience thinks about your profile in order to target what ways you can build engagement. Collaborating with other accounts can bring new followers onto your page, but your content is what will ensure that they stay.