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You guys may already know that we’re huge fans of Instagram. But lately we’ve found ourselves recommending it more and more to our creative entrepreneur clients. Instagram is an awesome way to visually connect with your friends, network with potential dream customers or brand advocates, and “show your tell”. But it’s also a great way capture, shape, and share who you are, and what you do – in a consistent, curated, behind-the-scenes of your life and work kind of way.
Instagram is great for creatives like life coaches and consultants who aren’t necessarily photographers or designers, but still want to show of their goods, and their personal brand in a visual way, and look good doing it.
So this is how I, myself, and Braid’s creative entrepreneur clients, are using Instagram to capture, shape and share their business and personal brand. Now “capture, shape and share” is a three step approach I talk about a lot, especially when it comes to my blogging strategy (for both my personal blog and the Braid blog.) But really, you can just as easily overlay those three principles to a platform like Instagram – like a microblog approach I mention below (but with less writer’s block).
• Capture the Details: Instagram gets me thinking about capturing the small brand experiences I encounter – from a hand stamped placemat in my favorite restaurant to the way a lemon rind and oversized ice cube sits in my whiskey.
• Capture Inspiration: Instagram is a great tool for visual note taking on the fly. For example, I’ve used Instagram to scout locations and capture test shots for brand videos.
• Capture the Process: Instagram is an awesome way to share the behind-the-scenes process and tools you use to create for your clients.
• Shape the Image: One of the things I love about Instagram is the ability to actually shape the final photograph with different filters (though, I prefer “rise”) and tilt-shift blur options. I also like to go in and add typographic overlays or multiply color over my images in Photoshop when taking my Instagram photos to my blog. But even if you’re not a graphic designer, filtering your images through Instagram is a great way to create consistency with the images you’re sharing.
• Shape your Point-of-View: Go through your entire collection of Instagram snaps and start to find patterns. What colors do you capture a lot? What subjects? Do you consistently shoot from a certain angle or point-of-view? You’ll notice that the Instagram with the most followers (like one of my favorites, A Merry Mishap) have a consistent point-of-view.
• Shape the Story: You can include a description with your Instagram images and treat it almost like a daily microblog. I often use Instagram to capture images I will later craft an in-depth blog post around later.
• Share on Instagram: One of the things I like about Instagram (vs. other camera apps like Hipstamatic – which are awesome for photo editing, as well) is the built in community designed for sharing. Just like Twitter you can explore hashtagged topics – one of my favorites is #WHP. #WHP stands for “Weekend Hashtag Project” where Instagram challenges users to capture a topic or theme like “birds on a wire” or “from where I stand” and tag it. It’s so cool to see what everyone else comes up with. Check out Instagram’s blog or follow @Instagram for interesting users and hashtags to follow and participate in.
• Share Elsewhere: You can also send your Instagram photos out to Twitter, Facebook and Tumblr as you post them to your Instagram feed. This is a great way to flood all your social media platforms with beautiful, and consistent, images that share you and your brand. Different audiences may be following you in different places but you can add more information or tidbits to avoid becoming redundant if you find you have the same followers across your social media platforms.
• Share in Real Life: One of my favorite new companies, Artifact Uprising, is designed to easily get your photos m your phone to print books and calendars. You can also use Pinstagr.am for miniprints, posters, and stickers. You can decorate your office or use these prints as self-promotional materials to send to your favorite dream customers.
Are you using Instagram to capture, shape, and share your business and personal brand? Let us know your Instagram tips, advice, or insights on our Facebook page. P.S. You can follow my Instagram account here.
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Our Braid ECourse Personal Branding: Blending Who You Are With What You Do is open for registration until February 14th. This $75 ECourse has 3 lessons loaded with tips, advice and our philosophy on defining your personal brand, thriving in the overlap between personal and professional, and sharing that brand online and off. All of that content, including worksheets and videos, will be available to you while the course is in-session from Feb. 15th - 24th. Register and find out more here.