Oh Instagram! Do you have a love / hate relationship with it like I do? I mean, it's mostly love, but trying to keep up with their ever-changing algorithm and best practices is more than a little exhausting and confusing. Can I get an amen?!

This past year I hired a virtual assistant, Melissa Cassell, to help me keep up with my social media accounts. One of the areas that Melissa has been the most helpful to me has been in creating better consistency on Instagram. Instead of regurgitating the tips she has given me, I thought it would be awesome to invite her to collaborate on this blog post with me! The following is what she has to say in regards to how you can attract future clients to your brand using Instagram.

The best way to use Instagram as a business owner is to operate with a strong conversion rate in mind. Our end goal is to attract followers and convert them into clients. Your Instagram account should be you or your business’ visual personality. To make your visual personality appealing to others there are some intentional, conscious decisions that need to be made. The most aesthetically attractive accounts are the ones that look cohesive and consistent. It is helpful to view your posts as a whole with each post being a new piece to your social puzzle. I believe the best place to start is to decide on an overall visual theme such as bright pops of color or pastel, dark & moody, all photos cropped in the same orientation with a white border, or even a minimalist approach for example. When starting with a visual theme, all of your photos will be color coordinated, feel consistent, and look cohesive. I would also recommend always using photos that are well lit and preferably edited with no noticeable imperfections. In addition to consistency, it’s also important to have variety in your posts when it comes to subject matter. Something I like to do and recommend to my clients is to take photo breaks and post favorite quotes. In photographing a lot of portraits, I also like to alternate camera aware photos with more candid photos to make the posts more engaging, Lastly, post consistently and regularly. It is recommended to post daily, but if that’s difficult to manage, try to post at least 3 times a week. Posting regularly gives your followers a professional view of you and an anticipation for fresh content. It may take time to put these suggestions into practice, but they have been proven to increase followers and in turn increase your number of clients. I’ve have been successful following these methods and they make my social media strategies and planning easier!

Like anything we do setting goals and intentionally working towards them pays off. I’ve found social media, especially Instagram, to be no different. I’m guilty of treating social media as something to do when it’s “fun,"or when “I feel like it," or “when I have something cool to share;" however, I’ve suffered the consequences of that attitude. As business owners, I’ve come to believe that we really do not have the luxury of treating social media like it’s not a valuable part of our business - that it doesn't deserve a significant amount of our attention. If we disappear, our audience also disappears. We cannot assume that we will be at the forefront of our client’s minds. We have to engage them, show them who we are, and what we do. I’ve found that as a business/brand there are simply things that we have to do (whether we like it or not) because it’s the marketing norm of the world we live in. Not intentionally using social media is leaving free marketing on the table and speaks to our professional image. Dale Partridge says in his book Launching Your Dream that when it comes to social media “consistency beats frequency," and I believe that is so true! There are several apps available that will help you schedule, plan, and strategize your Instagram Feed. They allow you to plan ahead and not have to stress every day about what to post and what caption to write. If you choose a day to schedule your social media posts for the week/weeks/month ahead, it will allow you to strategically plan and organize, as well as remove the stress of feeling like you have to create fresh content every day. A little planning and preparation can go a long way when it comes to consistency and to making it all less overwhelming. In summary, stick to a specific style/aesthetic, be intentional about your topic choice, plan ahead, and be diligent about posting regularly. You got this!

Consistency is the true foundation of trust. Either keep your commitments or do not make them.” – Roy T. Bennett

About the author: Mary Brunst, a portrait, wedding and editorial photographer, considers herself to be a smile-loving, adventurous soul. She is a go-getter, big dreamer, and a messy perfectionist. Photography for her is a way to focus on what is good and to cherish some of life’s happiest moments. Mary loves getting to document life as it happens, creating images that reflect real life in a genuine and uncontrived way. She strives to create images that radiate authenticity and reflect the true personalities of those she is photographing. She is a 2010 Graduate of RMSP's Career Training Program and worked as a Summer Intensive teaching assistant in 2011. Mary finds sharing her passion for photography with others both fun and rewarding. She currently resides in Westminster, Maryland. Her work has been featured on The Knot, Grey Likes Weddings, United with Love, Mountainside Bride, Charm City Wed, Bayside Bride and other wedding blogs & publications.

About the author: Mary Brunst, a portrait, wedding and editorial photographer, considers herself to be a smile-loving, adventurous soul. She is a go-getter, big dreamer, and a messy perfectionist. Photography for her is a way to focus on what is good and to cherish some of life’s happiest moments. Mary loves getting to document life as it happens, creating images that reflect real life in a genuine and uncontrived way. She strives to create images that radiate authenticity and reflect the true personalities of those she is photographing. She is a 2010 Graduate of RMSP's Career Training Program and worked as a Summer Intensive teaching assistant in 2011. Mary finds sharing her passion for photography with others both fun and rewarding. She currently resides in Westminster, Maryland. Her work has been featured on The Knot, Grey Likes Weddings, United with Love, Mountainside Bride, Charm City Wed, Bayside Bride and other wedding blogs & publications.

Images created by Mary Brunst. Article co-written by Mary Brunst and Melissa Cassell.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR

Mary Brunst

Mary Brunst, a portrait, wedding and editorial photographer, considers herself to be a smile-loving, adventurous soul. She is a go-getter, big dreamer, and a messy perfectionist. Photography for her is a way to focus on what is good and to cherish some of life’s happiest moments. Mary loves getting to document life as it happens, creating images that reflect real life in a genuine and uncontrived way. She strives to create images that radiate authenticity and reflect the true personalities of those she is photographing. She is a 2010 Graduate of RMSP's Career Training Program and worked as a Summer Intensive teaching assistant in 2011. Mary finds sharing her passion for photography with others both fun and rewarding. She currently resides in Westminster, Maryland. Her work has been featured on The Knot, Grey Likes Weddings, United with Love, Mountainside Bride, Charm City Wed, Bayside Bride and other wedding blogs & publications.

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