Very recently a client and I were discussing their business using ‘Instagram for Business’. The client then asked me a question in an email, “Posts posted to Instragram just have to be interesting and generally in the realm of what my business provides yeah? Not necessarily of my work all the time?!

This is a very good question.
It’s a simple question, but to serve my client (or any client) correctly, I can’t provide a simple answer, unfortunately. If I did we would be skipping crucial planning steps, which could lead to negative outcomes.

Planning is definitely required when deciding to use ‘Instagram for business’. Same too when choosing to use ANY social media channel (and/or more than one).
If you don’t have a clear plan:

  • You won’t have defined your goals for using it, or written them down.
  • This then potentially leads to giving up/ using the channel less and less… and eventually not at all (because it gets seen as a ‘time suck’ that is not actually aiding the bottom line growth of your business… or helping you achieve your goals. So you give up and not persist.
  • There are strategies that need to be learned.

If you’re a creative free-spirit reading this, you may be thinking something along the lines of, “No, you don’t need a written plan, it’s easy, creative and fun! Just jump in and start, learn by doing, and just run with it!”
I am a creative person and deep down that is how I think. I know though from coaching people over the last 5 or so years, that that is not how everyone thinks or behaves. In more recent years I myself have also found greater results in using methods like those described in this blog post.

I’m not saying don’t have fun though, nor am I wanting to ‘preach’. As per anything I say or write, it’s simply what I have found works well, and what I’ve found works effectively for the wide variety of people (and personalities) I work with.

If you have been in business for any length of time, you know that there is always a mountain to climb, and that momentum is required to reach the summit. The momentum leads to a ‘compounding effect’, which leads to growth, which then leads to results!
As per anything in life, “You only get back what you put in.”
If you are new to business, please note that giving up too soon, or going about something the wrong way, won’t get you where you want to go.

I digress. Back to the specific take-aways of this blog post:

Like anything, being very clear on WHY you want to use a particular channel or platform (including Instagram), and WHAT your business goals (outcomes) for using it are, are the first key steps to success.

Once you have written down your goals, some of the next steps include:

Step 2: Ask yourself: “How do I want to be perceived?” EVERYTHING related to interacting successfully with other people, whether it be in marketing, business, branding, and life is about ‘perception’. Most of us know this intuitively. After all, it’s helped get us this far in life.
Step 3: How will you ensure your posts on Instagram help you achieve your defined goals, vs potentially ‘backfire’ and negatively affecting your intended ‘perception’,
Step 4: Learn how to use the platform (and what to post) to achieve those goals. This requires coaching, observing how other successful people use Instagram successfully, and some online training (if needed)

Another key thing to always remember: First and foremost always remember that social media is about ‘being social’.

As an example, if your ‘step 1’ WHY’S and your GOAL’s were:

  • To help more ‘ideal’ potential clients discover your work and your business
  • To attract more interesting projects and expand your customer base
  • To help with gaining more business growth
  • Aid with your other ‘time-based’ business goals written in the ‘Concerns, Challenges, Problems and Goals Document’ (which is a document we supply to clients we do Growth Coaching work with. You can also download it within this blog post on our website).
  • To aid with your S.M.A.R.T. goals that will help me achieve your larger 12 month, 2/3 year, 5 year, 10 year, 15 year, 20 year, etc goals (ideally written in the above-mentioned document)

We would then write something like this for ‘step 4’ (mentioned above):
“I will learn to use Instagram and learn what to post (and when) to:

  • Help people better learn about ‘my personal brand’ (as a representative of my business) and my ‘business brand’
  • Help build authority, trust, etc
  • Help build new and further existing relationships
  • Inspire and provide design ideas
  • Showcase existing work
  • Show some of what I am currently working on, including project updates (for projects where I have permission to do so)
  • Show ‘proof to support claims’ including customer testimonials
  • Demonstrate my likeable personality
  • Show my professionalism
  • To gain REAL enquiries that will lead to MORE real work/ projects … and more clients… and ultimately more business growth”

By writing a plan, you then have a plan to follow. It is ‘out of your head’, one less thing circulating in your head (which frees up your mind for new ideas, new inspirations, new thoughts, etc). You also then have a plan to use as a reminder and to review.

Then it’s about implementing the plan:

  • Writing a posting schedule and sticking to it so you are accountable and you create a new ‘habit’ in your brain.
  • Writing a ‘content publishing plan’
  • Get in the mindset that ‘you are now a ‘photo-journalist’ for your own business… and have FUN with it!
  • Brain training so the whole process becomes easier over time,… and even enjoyable.

A good thing to also remember: Our brains make decisions based on ‘pleasure’ and ”pain’. You can turn a job or activity that you don’t much like doing into ‘pleasure’ if you:

  • Turn it into a habit
  • You know (are assured) that you are doing the activity correctly
  • You start to see results. You get a dopamine hit every time you have success in life and/or accomplish something (and at other times too of course). It’s a reward from your brain. Using this to your advantage wherever you can in business helps immensely. It helps you keep going. This is ONE of the many reasons why business guides, mentors and coaches will always say, “Celebrate EVERY win, no matter how small”. Each and every little win adds up!

Side note: Like anything, you aren’t always necessarily great at something initially. Some things take time, practice and patience. Clients work with us when posting on social media so we can help guide them, help teach them, help ensure their posts are really good right from the get-go so they can avoid the ‘pain’ that can come from using social media the wrong ways when first starting out.

Like anything in life that requires skill, being coached correctly from the start avoids bad habits, teaches you the ‘right ways’ quicker, leads to fewer mistakes (if any), gets great results quicker and ultimately gets you MUCH further ahead!

Partly why I have written everything (above) in this blog post is because I have seen some people give up:

  • They think it is a waste of time
  • It didn’t work for them (apparently)… cause they didn’t do it right and/or didn’t stick with it.

The proof though is out there: 1000’s upon 1000’s of businesses and people have helped build their brand, helped grow their business, etc via using Instagram.

Like anything worthwhile it takes effort …and a good plan. The implementation of the plan, the follow-up, the consistency, the tenacity, the ‘not giving up’, AND the reviewing of the performance (aka: reporting, including KPI Reporting) is also essential! Theory is great and all, but we only get results if we ‘implement’!

Jay Daniells

About the Author: Jay Daniells

Jay Daniells has been doing advanced Search Engine Optimisation (SEO) work for clients since 2010. He is an SEO specialist. He first started doing SEO work in 2005. He has also been creating websites full-time since 2003. Amongst things Jay is also a graphic designer, digital marketing consultant and creative person. His focus is helping businesses, community groups, clubs, charities, organisations and other entities achieve their goals. He is the owner of Green Valley Digital.