Do you feel overwhelmed about launching your new business onto Instagram? All of those perfectly curated feeds and streams of consistent content that other businesses are creating can sometimes feel like they are taunting you. You might be thinking, “this is all too hard!”
Don’t worry! In this post, I’ll help you to grasp what it takes to transform your new Instagram profile from a blank canvas into a digital marketing masterpiece.
Firstly, remember that we all start somewhere. Most of those perfectly curated and consistently active accounts that you admire didn’t start that way, and it takes time to build up to being able to manage all the things that social media demands these days!
So, we start at the beginning: A basic checklist, broken down into tasks, for one overall goal. Simply step through each one, one at a time. After you’ve completed these steps, you can then move onto other things as you feel comfortable. Later, you can experiment with features such as creating reels, enjoying collaborations, setting up your highlights, create a shop, or even making live videos! These are all optional of course, and don’t forget that social media is meant to be social, too — don’t just focus on the media part!
For now, here are the basic tasks, in my opinion, that you need for successfully launching your business onto Instagram:
When you are first naming a business, the first things you should check is if your desired social media handles (and website domain) is available, and not taken by somebody else.
Left it too late? Has your name been taken? Not to worry! You can be inventive and find alternative ways to find a username that still reflects your business name.
The key things to remember is to keep your username as easy to remember as possible, so that your customers can easily find you when they want to tag you. This means keeping it short and concise, and minimise using numbers and unnecessary symbols or characters. Sometimes, simply adding your location can be a simple and good-for-SEO way to customise a username that is already taken. Incorporating a full stop (.) or an underscore (_) can be useful, too.
You’ll need at least a primary logo, a system of fonts, and a colour palette that will help you to build brand recognition as you market your business across the platform. Remember — the more consistent and cohesive you can be, the greater people will remember you. And this becomes so easy when you have branding designed to convey who you are, what you do and attracts your ideal audience.
A social media profile picture
Usually your logo, or a headshot photo (professionally taken, of course).
This is the text area below your profile image.
For your name, directly underneath your profile image: depending on your business, you can put your business name, or your own name, plus what you are (if you have room). Or, simply what you do. This helps people searching for your services to find you. For example, mine is Leysa Flores | Brand Designer. Or, you might have Modern Wedding Photographer, Sydney. Remember that you also have your business category showing immediately below, so it isn’t necessary to double up if you don’t want to.
Your bio should clearly state your brand vision, or what you do and who you do it for. (During the branding process, I always write a social media bio for my clients, because it’s so important to clearly capture this when people tap into your profile!) Also, include your location, to optimise relevant searches related to your business, if you can. Tip: use the last line in your bio as a CTA (call to action) for the link you leave below.
This is hot real estate on Instagram! Include a link to your website, or where you want to drive visitors to (for example, a musician might want to link to a YouTube channel instead).
Don’t have a website yet? Don’t worry! I recommend to at least get a landing page set up in the meantime, until you’re ready to build a website. I offer this service, because I believe having a website is so important. The beauty of this option is that you’ll get the full initial website setup on the back-end like my custom websites, so when you’re ready to build, I won’t charge you for setup, because it’s already done! Learn more about this over on my website design page.
Launch graphics or post templates
When you are first launching your business, creating content can feel difficult. Having branded templates ready to go makes it easier to create graphics for your feed that you know will be on brand and cohesive.
If you don’t have software such as Adobe Photoshop, you can create an account on Canva to design your post graphics and templates. Or, you can get a designer, like me, to do it for you!
It is so important to make sure everything you create is in line with your branding. Only use your brand fonts and colours, and stick to a consistent style. It can be tempting to play with design, but it will only confuse your audience. You need to stick to your brand guidelines if you want to have a cohesive and clearly recognisable aesthetic.
Perhaps you prefer to have a suite of graphics ready to post all in one go upon launch? This can be a popular option when you want to start with a feed full of beautiful graphics ready for people to tap across to when they discover your new business. Sometimes, people like to do one large graphic broken into a grid for an effect that makes an impressive impact.
If you need help with either of these options, please reach out — I’d love to help you prepare branded templates or bespoke graphics for your launch!
Whatever you do, try and post at least six graphics when launching your business. And if you can’t — it’s not the end of the world either!
I highly recommend this, because having brand photography makes it so much easier to create content. I can just go into my personal image library and grab and go! Plus, it elevates your brand to that next level of professionalism.
If brand photography is not something you can afford yet, try and save up for it. In the meantime, practice photography. Use natural lighting and, if you use a filter with software such as VSCO app or Adobe Lightroom, make sure you use the same one every time.
What will you post about? This is also an area that stumps many new businesses. Defining some key topics that your business will post about will help you to create content that is relevant, valuable to your audience and consistent.
Here are some ideas:
Educational: Share tips, facts, how-to’s, guides, your process, or favourite resources, in relation to your business.
Entertaining: Share memes, funny reels, post a quiz or a poll, share a joke, or something funny that happened to you, in relation to your business.
Promotional: Share a testimonial, offer a deal, host a giveaway, showcase your work, advertise your services or products.
Inspirational: Share what is inspiring you lately, create a moodboard, write a case study, show a before and after result, share your vision and dreams for your business, share what motivates you or keeps you accountable in your business.
Personal: Behind the scenes, family life, about you, fun facts, your interest and hobbies, your pets. Always keep personal content either relevant to your business or in line with what you think your audience will resonate with.
Love them or loathe them, it helps to have a few hashtags to make your content more discoverable. Do a little research into what tags will be relevant to your content.
You can look at what other businesses in your niche are using to get an idea, but mainly think about relevant search key words and consider where your audience hangs out, too. In other words, related content. For example, if you’re a florist, your audience might also be searching for wedding inspiration or interior decoration.
You can also use a hashtag generator like displaypurposes.com to help you generate similar hashtags around some main ones.
This is something even I still struggle with, so know that even seasoned businesses don’t always have it together!
It’s fine to start small, because consistency is more important. Even more so, to keep things sustainable. And even as I write this, I chuckle at myself because I know there have been plenty of times where I don’t post anything for a month!
So, keep in mind that it’s not the end of the world if you ‘fall off the wagon’ every now and then. In fact, I personally think we should all have time offline at times. We’re only human, and it is important to take care of our mental health.
- Decide how often you will post. Start with once a week, perhaps.
- Use Stories more often to practice sharing content. There is less pressure, as they disappear after 24 hours.
- You don’t have to show your face straight away if you feel nervous. But know that people love connecting with people, so try and get used to the idea! It also helps people to remember your brand.
- Utilise a social media planner such as Planoly, to help you plan your content in advance. It’s also good to see how your grid will look in advance, and you can tweak as necessary.
These days, it can be easy to forget about the ‘social’ aspect of social media and focus entirely on the ‘media’. But social media is meant to be interactive and fun, too!
Make sure you actively engage with others (authentically! don’t be a spambot), and respond to their posts and stories. Spend time building relationships and always respond to comments and DMs.
Don’t worry too much about numbers, either. In my opinion, you don’t need a massive amount of followers to have a successful business. At one point, I culled a lot of obviously-spam accounts that were following me and I now have a lot less followers, but much higher engagement and better relationships, which I think is much better, wouldn’t you agree?
I hope this guide has helped to take away some of the overwhelm when it comes to launching your business.