I LOVE INSTAGRAM.
If I only got ONE social media outlet, I'd pick the blog. But if I got two, I'd pick the blog and Instagram, no contest. It's just so easy. And clean. And simple. And functional.
I use it to connect with people I haven't seen in years (like people I went to high school with or cousins who live out of state). I use it to share photos of Ellerie with the grandparents (and aunts and uncles). I use it to make friends with other bloggers around the world. I use it to document our lives. I use it to get feedback on something I am working on or considering. I use it to share the best TV clips ever. And, yep, I use it to promote my business (which right now is this blog, my shop, podcast and workshops).
I don't think there is a single winning formula for successful self and/or brand promotion that isn't annoying. There just isn't. It's a balance between keeping people interested and informed without over-doing it - but you're always going to bug some people and leave others wanting more. I'm in an odd position where my life and my brand are sort of blended. I share about (some of) my life on the blog and that (sort of) supports the business. I also have a genuine personal interest in my shop and branding. Because the line between personal and professional is faint, my Instagram feed is sort of a mish-mash and looks something like this :
photo of Ellerie, photo of food, photo of Ellerie, photo of project, photo of garden, photo of coffee, photo of Ellerie and coffee and project in the background, video clip of Ron Swanson, photo of coffee and garden, photo of Ellerie, photo of shop item, photo of Ellerie, shop item, coffee and waitforit, food.
But guess what? That's because my life looks like this :
Ellerie, breakfast, Ellerie, work on a project, look at the garden, drink some coffee, Ellerie, watch Parks and Rec, work, coffee, Ellerie, look at garden, work, Ellerie, work, dinner.
I'm not ashamed of that...it's a pretty rad life.
Running this business blends right into my daily life and so it just blends right into my daily Instagraming. But that doesn't mean I am not deliberate about how I share photos and promote my business. Below are some things I have learned about promoting through Instagram.
Consider the medium. Most people (if not all) are going to be scrolling their feed on their phone. They are most likely engaged in something else too (watching TV, on a coffee break, waiting in line to checkout at the grocery store, waiting for the microwave to beep, etc.) They are not settling into your feed the way they would be curling up with a blanket and your blog post. Because of this, I like to provide QUICK, bite-sized bits of info like..."sharing XXX #ontheblog today" or "XXX just launched at elisejoy.com!" Highlighting the blog works because people can click through my profile if they're actually interested. Elisejoy.com works because it's easy to remember and just eight characters to type in. A long hyperlink (which works on Pinterest or Twitter when shortened) or a long paragraph (which works great in a blog post) might not be as successful on Instagram.
Do something special. A random pet peeve of mine is graphics or screenshots getting posted to Instagram. I think it's because FOR ME, Instagram is an inspiring place to share photos...so when I scroll my feed I want to see PHOTOS! I try to take another photo on my phone in addition to the ones I take with my big camera to promote a blog post. I have been playing with paper and pen to promote my podcasts. It's just as easy to write something and snap a photo as it is to play with an app to create a graphic PLUS it's a slightly more interesting way to share your message.
Let it spread. I personally use hashtags in three ways. First as sort of like an under-the-breath comment for the real comment. (#likeajokebutnotalwaysfunny.) Second as a way to create a collection of my own photos so I can see them all in one place (like #eliselovesmornings or #eliselovessummer). Third as a way to share business product photos AND encourage others to do the same. I do this with #make29 (and LOVE seeing others tag their photos when they receive their packages) and with the podcast (#elisegetscrafty). I feel like these days everyone and everything has a hashtag but it's still rad to see it spread.
Take a good photograph. I know, hit you over the head obvious. But whenever I am sharing behind the scenes or peek at a new product I make sure the light is right and the framing is decent and the image looks good. Just because it's not the "official" product image doesn't mean it shouldn't look awesome. My friend Marta says it best here : "when you sell an item online, you are actually selling your clients a picture of the item."
This week on ELISE GETS CRAFTY, I'm having another small business discussion with Ann-Marie Espinoza and we're chatting about...you guessed it!...social media. How we use it, what we consider "best practices" and more. Subscribe on iTunes or stream the episode here.