Need to make a social media strategy? Here’s a template you can use today for your creative or small business social media strategy.
A branding and design package usually consists of logos, the style guide, business cards and the brand website.
In this post we will cover all of these areas and show you which tools and sites you can use to help you.
Whether you need stock images for your next blog post, website or project there are times when you just need a quick and free image. This list of 17 site offer a variety of styled stock images to corporate business images that are all royalty and copyright free.
5 Instagram Theme Ideas for a Pro Look
Instagram themes are made of the subject matter of posts, the aesthetic and sequences used. These can be changed at any time or evolve of weeks and months. The main overall purpose of a theme is to deliver a consistent quality and stay on brand so that your audience on Instagram and from elsewhere, will be able to recognize your brand and value with every post. Your theme should represent your brand perfectly so with that in mind let’s take a look at these 5 Instagram themes for a Professional look.
Creative & Romantic Services
This Instagram theme by weddingcreationsuk is not only creative by being different from her competitors but her feed is also effectively dreamy and romantic by use of the form, tones and filter. She uses images of brides, decor and scenery to create a feed that not only highlights her business services and offerings but also provides inspiration to her followers.
Playful & Bright Creative
Samantha from Lemonandthesea uses a visual play on words by utilizing lemons throughout her feed. She also has a very defined color scheme and uses workplace subject matter in most of her posts.
Her sequence appears to consist of using a combination of branded info graphics with colorful lifestyle or “work”style shots.
Modern & Chic Fashion
Janice Joostemaa uses a black, white and gold color theme as the basis for theme colors but does add the odd beige or blush too. Nails, shoes, makeup and outfits are what most of her pictures consist of though she does add lifestyle shots of her travels, meals or fun nights out with friends too. Janice's account is a pretty typical fashion and lifestyle account but what makes her stand out is her commitment to the look and feel by using similar filters and tones in all her pictures.
Fun & Earthy Family
Earthyandy uses scenic landscapes, food and intimate family portraits to share not only her plantbased diet but also her life with the world. Using the tropical backdrop of Hawaii, she creates beautiful snapshots of her family at play and partaking in their normal day to day routines. She uses her almost 500 thousand follower base to share her gluten free diet and natural lifestyle advice.
Eclectic & Artsy Decor
Eclectic and artsy aren’t usually words you would associate with either cement or floor tiles but the account by cementileshop manages to represent both quite well. This brand manages to shares the visually appealing nature of their tiles along with great photography to present an feed so attractive that they have over 75 thousand followers. If you are looking for the right theme for your brand or business you can easily interchange the adjectives from each of these titles with the type of product or service that you offer. For example Playful & Bright Fashion, Eclectic & Artsy Professional, Modern & Chic Family or Fun & Earthy Creative. These are just a few examples to get you started. Do you have other great examples? Share them below!
Let's go through the top 5 Instagram myths so that you steer clear of them!
It only works for visual products
This isn’t true at all and it doesn’t matter if your business sells services or software, Instagram is a great place to do customer and prospect outreach. Ideally you share content that provides value to your audience which can be done in a number of ways. You want to be entertaining (share pics of company celebrations, happenings etc), informative (show behind the scenes, the process, or pics with promotional info) or be inspiring with quotes or culture defining images.
It only works for big brands
Not at all, more and more companies are finding just how easy it is to reach and engage with people on the Instagram platform. No matter the size of your business you can create new fans and followers while also maintaining connection with your existing base using Instagram Posts and Stories.
You can only post photos you take
Actually Instagram is one of the best platforms to take advantage of UGC (user generated content). What that means is you can do things like run contests or request that users hashtag their photos with your brand’s specific hashtag so that you can repost their images on your feed. You can also curate content which means using other people’s content (with permission, just ask in a comment or message them) on your account while giving the original photographer credit.
Results can’t be measured
That may have been somewhat true in the past but now with Instagram Business accounts you have all types of data and analytics at your disposal. You also have detailed insights available for ads you run on Instagram whether as a post ad or now brands can also run Instagram Story ads. With new updates being released every single month to increase opportunities for business on Instagram you can’t go wrong.
You can’t market locally on Instagram
Actually one of the best ways to focus on local markets is to use Instagram’s location search function and then interact with people posting there or search users via hashtags. Instagram now offers both Geostickers and Geotags which is making Instagram more and more location friendly!
You really only have TWO options:
Be where your customers are which is Instagram with 70% of Instagram users following business accounts and over 150 million daily users or miss the opportunity!
Tell me over in the group what’s been you holding you back from going further with Instagram!
The Instagram Stories for Business Guide - Part 1
How to Create a Story
Click on the home button
Click on the camera icon
Here's what you will see:
Swipe to the left to see Hands Free
Options on the Instagram Stories homescreen:
Live: Click this is you want to broadcast live. These broadcasts are not recordable but are viewable by people who find your live cast but don't already follow you. People are able to communicate with you via comments while you are live so that you can interact with your audience.
Normal: Click this once quickly to take a picture for an Instagram Story post or hold down for up to 15 seconds to take a video.
Boomerang: This is an app that you can download that integrates with Instagram Stories and allows you to make fun 1 second gifs.
Handsfree: Click this once to start recording a video of up to 15 seconds. You can put your phone down and position it so that you can record hands free.
You might also see the flash, night and reverse icons which are used for flash, night and reversing the camera.
How to upload images or videos from your phone
When you are on the Instagram Stories home screen. Put your thumb at the bottom of the screen and scroll up.
You have access to photos and videos from the last 24hrs that you have either taken on your phone or imported and saved to your camera roll from elsewhere (within the last 24 hrs).
The writing and decorating tools
Once you've created a post the writing tools will appear.
- The Aa is for text
- The marker is for drawing
- The stickers are for adding to your posts
Click on the Aa to start writing.
- You can use slider on the left to change the text size
- You can use scroll left for more text colors
- You can change alignment or highlight your text
Click on the market icon.
- The one on the left is fine tipped
- The one in the middle is angled (for calligraphy)
- The one on the right is a highlighter
- To change the color of your whole screen click on any of the markers, click a color of your choice and then click and hold down on the screen for 3 seconds.
Click on the sticker icon.
- The location sticker can be used for location tagging
- You can click temperature for the current temperature
- You can click time for a current time stamp
- You can select any of the available stickers and adjust their sizes with the slider
There you have it! These are the tools you can use with Instagram Stories. If you have any questions, let me know below and if you haven't already download the Comprehensive Guide to Instagram Stories now!
Skinny Me Tea was able to use strategies that drove their online sales to millions within months and all from using Instagram. Read exactly what strategies they used and how she continues to grow new business.
Name: Skinny Me Tea
Product/Services: Detox Tea
Years in Business: 4 Years
- Founded by Gretta Rose Van Riel in 2012 from her home, using Instagram managed to achieve over 3 million in sales the first year.
- They have over 15 Million followers on Instagram and a number of accounts.
- They continue to use Instagram to drive sales to their ecommerce site.
- In her spare time at work and after work she started a detox tea business
- She shared her tea with friends and saw an opportunity to supplement her income
- She had grown her own personal Instagram quite quickly so thought it might work for her new tea business
- With $24 in her bank account she started a Shopify website and an Instagram account for Skinny Me Tea and sold 4 packs of tea the first day
Instagram Strategies Used
- There were no rate limits in 2012 on how many people you could follow per hour so she followed all her friends, then their friends and then all the women in her age group in her area, then surrounding areas, then started going worldwide
- Looks for products that have some popularity on social media and then tweaks it and the sales model
- Use growth funnels that identify different verticals
- Has numerous accounts across niches in the food/health/fitness niches
- Drives followers from her different accounts to her main brand accounts
- Does not use her niche audience building accounts to push her brand, rather only posts a once in awhile post as a Shoutout to her main brand page
- Her suggestion for starting with 0 followers is to identify the content that is trending around your niche or vertical
- Content, engagement, growth and then conversions is her suggestion in that order for successfully building a converting Instagram account
- Suggests doing Shoutout for Shoutouts with other accounts that are of similar size
- To make it as a Top Post in order to gain more followers post 3 photos at once and then like them from as many of your sub niche accounts as possible (she has many)
- On the main 3 photos make the Call To Action to follow the account you are posting the photos from (this is because gaining tons of like within 15 minutes of posting will shoot your posts to the Top Post sections from which they gain new follower (this method is called “Like Bombs”)
- Be consistent on posting because you Instagram will penalize you from not keeping engagement up
- Instagram rewards you for the more consistent you are in posting and for having consistent engagement
Growing the Business
- The business grew quickly and she started out as a Sole Trader for the first year
- Reached over 600k US a month in her first year (yes per month)
- Learned quickly that she needed staff and systems for things like Customer Service, Manufacturing and Distributions
- Went on to moving distribution and manufacturing to third party logistic systems
- Learned that systems and models she created for Skinny Me were transferable for her other new businesses The Fifth and Drop Bottle
- Won the 2013 Shopify Build a Business contest, feels that her success came from audience building
- Create systems
- Multiply them (and your accounts)
- Keep momentum up (consistency and momentum are key drivers for Instagram growth)
- User analytics to know the most popular times to post
As of today Instagram is adding three new features to Stories which allows you to use URL links, tag friends and use Boomerangs in Stories.
URL Links in Stories
Verified Instagram Users have the ability to add links directly in their Stories posts. The link itself appears as a See More text link but they will be able to send Users directly to pages of their choices anywhere without Instagram Users ever leaving the app.
All Instagram Users can now add up to 10 Mentions at a time to their Stories. This can be done by simply using the add text feature and including the @ symbol and the Usernames.
Boomerang is a standalone app that allows Users the ability to create 1 second video loops that use to need to be created first in Boomerang and then imported into Instagram. Now you can create Boomerang videos directly within Instagram from your Stories but not from within your regular Instagram feed. To use Boomerang just swipe to left to select it.
As to whether or not Instagram will roll out the URL links to the rest of it's Users it is still to be seen though this is probably the number feature that all Users want. Brands who enjoy the additional reach that Stories like Snaps give them are sure to be giving good feedback as to how they are working!
Though Instagram is a visually driven platform you still need to use smart copy and have a strategy in place for the type of images or video you use. Your content needs to:
- Capture their attention
- Draw them in
- Use a Call To Action
- Also be delivered through Instagram Stories
Capture their attention by using striking images, lifestyle images that inspire, or captivate with subject matter using either video or images. The reason for this quite simply you need to like with any other form of marketing grab their attention as they are scrolling through their feed. Your content should educate, inspire or entertain your audience as with on any other social platform.
Draw them in with a story, lead their interest. This is where you tell the story behind the picture, you can be creative and help your audience relate to what it is you are describing. Remember to not to simply describe what the photo is but go into why the photo was taken or created.The story provides the reference for the photo and can add a deeper level of interest or appeal.
Use a Call To Action. This should be short yet compelling, so be concise in telling them what to do and why it benefits them if they do so. If you have grabbed their attention and drawn them in with either desire, intrigue or inspiration then you can simply invite your audience to participate further in their experience by letting them know what is they should do next. With Instagram the user generally should be told to click the link in the bio and give them a good reason to do so that relates to fulfilling their desire, solving a problem, increasing their inspired mood or promise to deliver if you have built up their intrigue with the full story.
Deliver all the above via Instagram Stories. Stories provides another level of engagement with your followers which can not only be more personal and but more inviting as when you people view Stories they see all of your posts at one time from the last 24 hour period. This means you can tell more of a story, intrigue them further and hopefully provide thus a stronger more compelling Call to Action. Also since fewer people post Stories that means for people who check both their feed and their Stories, there is a greater chance of them to see you in Stories than in their feed. So post Stories! You can either drive people with written or verbal Call To Actions to either your post for that day or to other channels. One tipfor tracking conversions off of Instagram from Stories is to use a custom shortened URL (like bit.ly/StoriesDiscount) that you only share using Stories. That way if anyone does click on that particular link you know it came from Stories! You can direct people to direct message you their emails (which works!).
So make sure you are using a combination of the above types of content or you can even use them all in a single post!
Let me know your thoughts or comments below and if you haven't already sign up for the free Insta LeadGen 7 day Free Prep Course!