Raising my hand to admit I am not the hippest social user among us.
Are you surprised?
Don’t bail on me just yet. I’m going somewhere with this, and I think you’ll be glad you stuck around.
I admit to being proficient, crafty, with a knack for whipping up workarounds as needed, but there are many creatives out there with talent and ability far beyond me. (Spoiler: There is always someone better.)
But, why would I share that with you now?
Because you have to get comfortable in your own skin, find your own strengths and use them confidently instead of sitting quietly with comparison.
Will you trust me when I say you are qualified and capable to use Instagram to give a worthy voice to your business?
**Updated March 2023: The author of this post, Katie Taylor, is now the founding owner of The Outsourced COO- your savvy solution for less hustle & more help for your growing organization. You can learn more about her current offers by visiting her at outsourceyourops.com or on Instagram at @outsourceyourops. You can also contact her directly anytime here.
There’s nothing magical about these resources except that they are easy to use and take your Instagram content from looking like everyone else’s to something that is clear, well-articulated, easy to read and engage with, appealing and professional.
I’m sure you’re already imagining how this helps you stand out no matter how saturated your market is or how many followers you have.
I began using Canva several years ago to create documents for a 5000 person event without having to outsource to a graphic designer. It was a great resource even then, and I am such a supporter for how Canva has changed the game for every-day business owners like you and me, who need a strong, professional online presence but don’t want to hire out, or spend time ourselves, inside a more compicated program like Adobe.
I 110% recommend upgrading to the Pro account so you can upload your own fonts + brand colors to easily access every time you login to create. Systems, even simple ones, save us time and free up energy to devote elsewhere. These simple systems add up over time to create margin for the big moves.
Simple systems add up over time to create margin for the big moves.Katie, Abundant Collab Co.
Canva is great for removing photo backgrounds as well as text graphics. If you visit my Instagram account, you can see a variety of images I’ve created all from within Canva.
Canva has amazing free tutorials offered with non-designers in mind. If you don’t see what you’re looking for there, you’ll definitely be able to find a Youtube tutorial to help you out.
By creating graphics with your own consistent branding your audience will begin to recognize your content. And when someone new arrives, you will promote total confidence that they are making a great decision to engage with your business because you are a pro at what you do and offer.
If you’ve ever wanted to throw your phone across the room because Instagram won’t give you the line breaks you want, I’ve been there too.
Textspacer allows you to type your caption with the exact formatting you want to show up when you hit “post”.
I use textspacer.com from my phone, and it’s so incredibly simple. Here’s what you do:
We know that online audiences have short attention spans, want to be entertained or educated, and tend to skim content quickly.
When you create short 1-2 sentence paragraphs and use frequent line breaks you’ll help your reader stay engaged longer, find the value that matters to them, and encourage them to read the content you’re putting so much time into sharing in the first place.
I’m truly hesitant to give this one to you because I love it so much for giving my own content an edge, and I know a day will come when everyone catches on to these not-so-well-known symbol options.
Simply put, it’s like expanding your emoji keyboard with 100’s of new options.
But, since I’m sharing… here are my personal favorites to use:
Many industry competitors try to beat each other out by offering a lower price. The greater victory is when you instead elevate your customer’s experience and win more business of those who truly value what you offer, even if your price isn’t the lowest.
You better believe that creating well-thought out content and delivering it in a way that is enjoyable to your audience can and will help you maintain an edge on attracting great customers.
I am not a professional photographer. You either? Great. Then you’re going to like this one too.
Lightroom is a free to use app on your phone where you can install Photo Presets to help give your images a cohesive look time and time again.
It’s like having your own photography pro come in and tweak the lighting, exposure and contrast, and give it a final touch to look professional and appealing.
For nearly two years I’ve been using a handful of preset filters I purchased off of Etsy for less than $10 a set, and I am continually asked how I maintain great photos on my social feed. If you live in part of the world that doesn’t have beautiful weather and sunny skies year round, you’re really going to benefit from this.
Have you ever heard the saying, “dress for the job you want”? Think of that here. You wouldn’t show up to work in your sweats without a shower, so don’t let your business show up online without putting some care and effort into its appearance either.
Stock photos aren’t what they used to be… thankfully! Unless you’re fortunate to own a beautiful business space, the rest of us are left lacking when it comes to visual imagery to help enhance our brands.
Stock photos are probably the best way to help you save on time, limit costs, and execute professional ideas quicker.
There are many great sites out there, and you’ll have no trouble finding them with a google search.
I am sharing Social Squares because I’m always going to cheer on other small businesses, and even more so, because their monthly membership comes with current marketing education to help advance your efforts even further.
Take initiative with your stock images and assess options that strengthen your business’s visual story by choosing colors, activities, and style that are consistent to your own brand.
Needless to say, today’s small business owner faces an unprecedented high demand for fresh imagery to keep their clients engaged across a variety of online platforms. Social Squares makes owning an online business easier than ever by functioning as your one-stop-shop for all of your image needs.-Shay, Founder and CEO of Social Squares
Whether you get started with one, or you are eager to try them all, the key is to get started! Find what works for you and don’t worry about the rest right now. And shameless (but sincere) plug, get help if you need it.
You have a business to run and if you don’t want to DIY your own social marketing plan, there’s no need to feel bad about that.
But don’t not have one just because of that. It’s a common cost of business nowadays, and even more so in the next few years. Sharing your business on social media is a proven and affordable marketing solution, worth taking advantage of while the rewards are so attainable.
If you have another favorite Instagram resources, would you be so kind as to drop it in the comments for others to check out?
If you’re reading this today because you’ve tried other tactics for social marketing that haven’t worked, or you’re looking for a better way- you’re not alone.
Here’s what I hear often from others like you:
They don’t know what questions to ask…
-Are followers the most important thing?
-How do I use hashtags?
-What should I be posting and how often?
And they don’t know where to turn for answers they can trust…
Honestly, there’s plenty of great information out there. The problem is figuring out how to know which information is the great kind, and which will lead to failure and frustration. As a business owner it takes a lot of time, energy and trial and error to know who and what to trust.
“When I started my business I wish I had all of this information and just took one piece at a time week by week… Early on in my business I spent a bashillion hours googling all the things Katie has put into one resource. It’s stunning and rich and comprehensive and amazing.”
Interested in the specific resource she’s talking about?
Check out Master Instagram Guide: A Dream Guide to all things Instagram for today’s modern small business. And please reach out with any questions. I’m a real person typing up these free, helpful content pieces for you because I genuinely care about your success, and removing unnecessary obstacles from your path. You can also email me anytime at email@example.com.