23 Apr The Do’s and Don’ts of Instagram
In our last post we talked about the importance of Instagram for companies in the crafty community. Today we’re focusing on best practices to help your Instagram account grow and flourish to become an asset to your brand. (In addition to this article, we’ve also updated our FREE 7-page PDF Guide to Instagram, Facebook, and Pinterest with all the do’s and don’ts and you can download it instantly when you sign up for our newsletter!)
1. Always take photos in natural light. You’re much more likely to get grainy photos with lots of glare when you use a flash. Avoid this by taking photos in natural light; to avoid shadows, try to get in the shade or use diffused light from a nearby window.
2. Use relevant hashtags. This could be hashtags for your brand, industry, or specific promotion. Create a custom hashtag for your brand (and make sure someone isn’t already using it!). It could be as simple as your company name, or something a little more creative. Be sure to also use relevant hashtags for the industry. Examples would be: #knitstagram, #spinnersofig, and #spinstagram. If you’re hosting a photo contest, be sure to come up with a unique hashtag so that you can find user-submitted photos more easily.
3. Comment on photos from your followers. If someone posts a photo using one of your custom hashtags or tags you in their photo, be sure to leave a comment! They are your brand ambassadors, and leaving comments will help humanize and show people that you’re more than just a brand–you’re a company that cares about their customers.
4. Make sure your photos are in focus and attractive. These photos represent your company and brand, so you want to make sure you’re putting the best foot forward. You never know when someone will come across your channel, so be sure you’re making a great first impression with every single photo! Also be sure that you take clear photos that won’t be grainy when viewed on a larger screen like an iPad.
1. Take photos of your food. If you were a chef, food blogger, or in some other food-related industry, this is relevant. However, for the most part, your meal is far more interesting to you than your followers. You have just a few seconds to get someone’s attention, and another photo of a plate of food isn’t the way to capture your potential crafty consumer.
2. Share too many personal photos. This is not the place to share every single thing your cat/dog/baby does. Here and there is fine (and can make you seem like a real person that doesn’t just want to sell stuff all the time), but it should not be every single photo. If you feel the need to take that many photos of your cat/dog/baby, make a separate personal account so you can post to your heart’s content.
3. Too many photos of the same thing. Are you taking photos at a great fiber event, and dying to share them all at once? Stop! Pick the best ones, and try to spread them out a little. Using a photo collage to share several photos within one post can also be helpful (there are lots of free options and Instagram just released a free collage app called Layout for iOS). A good rule of thumb is to avoid posting more than 3 photos from one location: if you post 15 photos of people in your booth all in a row, you risk annoying your followers, who might unfollow you as a result. Also, if you’re posting live from an event, use the hashtag (most fiber events have an “official” hashtag, or a popular (albeit unofficial) one which attendees use when they post – make sure you’re using the right one and not something you’ve made up or that is misspelled). People at the event will search by hashtag, and if you have fun and inviting photos, they just might wander over to your booth. Even if you aren’t going to events, being mindful of what you post is important: for example, don’t just post yarn drying on a rack every single day. Yes, we get it: you dye yarn, this is mostly what you do – but how many photos of yarn drying on racks can we really handle? Try arranging the yarn in different ways, taking photos of other aspects of the process (like dye splattered on the floor, your messy apron, or your staff labeling yarn). Instagram is all about creativity!
4. No screenshots. Of anything! Screenshots are not allowed (or they shouldn’t be), including, but not limited to: sales on your website, a screenshot of your blog, the weather forecast, your fitness app, food app, etc. And never, never, use your phone to take a photo of your computer screen to post. If you have a business related item that you’d like to promote such as a blog post or a sale, take the time to make a special image which you can post to promote it. Alternatively, you could post the image of a product that you have on sale or whatever is on your blog and tell people that if they’d like to see more they should follow the link in your profile, or provide a simple short link. A screen shot says, “I can’t be bothered to take/post a proper image to promote this.” Is that really the message you want to convey?
Every photo counts. If you feel like you haven’t posted in a while, so you just need to post SOMETHING, just remember: people will often look through your entire account of photos when deciding to follow you, so if half your photos are gorgeous and the other half are blurry, haphazard images or uninteresting screenshots, you’re really diluting your branding and confusing your voice. If it’s not a good photo, it’s better to post nothing at all. That said, don’t wait 3 weeks between posts so you can get the “perfect” shot, either! Consistent, regular posting is important to keep your followers engaged, so if you keep these guidelines in mind, you should be able to find plenty of ways to keep your Instagram channel active!
Need a little more help with Instagram? Call in the experts at Stitchcraft Marketing to give your photos a pick-me-up! Click here to contact us online or call 719-539-3110 to learn more about our services.
This post was originally published on April 23, 2015 and was last updated on July 8, 2022.