By Delania Barbee • July 08, 2018•Writers in Residence, Careers
Instagram is a highly visual platform, but it is not limited to the occasional selfie. If used correctly, Instagram can be used strategically to build a professional brand. Instagram has many features that now make it many attorneys’ platform of choice. Like other social media platforms, Instagram is often changing, so you will want to experiment with it. However, as of the date of publication, below are some of the top ways to use Instagram to build a professional brand.
- Be sure to use your “bio” space to create interest in your page and to link to other content. The “bio” section of your profile gives you the opportunity to add your name, a limited summary of who you are, and a link to a website. This space gives your profile visitors the first introduction into who you are, so you should think carefully about how you structure it to communicate your brand. First, you can choose to add only your name into the space designated for your name, or you can add your name plus a title. The benefit of a name plus a title is that, if someone searches for a title, they may find you based upon the title. Alternatively, you may prefer a short name and opt not to include the title. Second, in your limited summary, you want profile visitors to quickly understand who you are. You should consider either (i) an outline using emojis as bullet points (not necessarily smiley faces!) or (ii) an elevator pitch style (e.g., “I help creative entrepreneurs protect their work”.) Lastly, you want to bring the relationship with your profile visitors off of a social media platform that you have no control over. Provide a link to your website, if you have one, to allow visitors to learn more about you.
- Post photos but provide a mix of still photo and video content. While consistent, branded imagery is ideal. The imagery used should vary in some manner. For example, a selfie everyday might not be the best way to keep people visiting your page, although a weekly selfie mixed with other content might be okay. (You can choose to post no selfies, as well!) Video content is also useful, because visitors can hear your voice and get a more personal connection. A content calendar can be help you to think in advance what you want to post. This will also create less pressure, if you know what you will post and when.
- Use Instagram stories. Instagram stories are generally for people who already follow you on Instagram. These people have already become interested in your page and want to see more. Instagram stories are a great place to show the “behind the scenes”, depending on your level of comfort. Unless you save your Instagram stories, they disappear within twenty-four hours.
- Use hashtags. Similar to Twitter, hashtags help others find your content. However, you should be strategic with your use of hashtags. Also, similarly, you should search for hashtags used in your industry. Check the hashtags being used by others who do similar work and consider adopting some of those hashtags to use when you post.
- Interact with others on Instagram. Never lose the fact that social media is about being social. Your following can only build if others know that you are present. Comment under others photos, videos, or during their live streams.
*BONUS* While Instagram Live, which permits you to live stream and have the live stream accessible for twenty-four hours, has been available for some time, Instagram TV recently debuted. It allows you to add videos (no less than 10 minutes long) to your profile. You may want to experiment with it.
Do you use Instagram? What are some of your favorite strategies? Comment below!