Of all the social media platforms out there, it could be argued that Instagram is the one that has the most edge in terms of marketability and relatability to general audiences. Why? Because this is a society that wants information quickly and completely, and visuals are the most streamlined way to go about achieving that.
The Instagram aspect that’s getting the most traction is the Stories feature. It can be live, it can be a narrative, it even be like a PowerPoint presentation. You can create one for a short time, or save it to your profile permanently. Either way, whenever you create a Story, your followers can’t miss its placement at the top of their feed. If you do a live Story, it can even become a chat right there on the video for instant feedback. So, why not use all of this to your advantage in your freelancing endeavors?
Although (at least, as of this writing, anyway) profile pages can be perused on a standard PC/laptop/iPad/etc., all the fun updating and stories can only be accessed via the free smartphone app. Very few people are without smartphones these days, and it couldn’t be easier to check in with friends, celebrities, locations, and brands all in one place throughout the day while, inevitably, multitasking. Additionally, the app is now structured in such a way that you can toggle between personal and business profiles without having to log out of either.
Of course, before you jump right into the Instagram Stories pool, make sure you’ve built a decent following on your chosen profile. By decent, I mean engaged – those who “like” and comment on your posts, and who have active, meaningful Instagram profiles themselves. It’s one thing to have hundreds or thousands who just sort of sit on your followers list, it’s quite another to have a small-but-interested group – it’s the quality that counts.
- Admittedly, it was easier to build followers when Instagram first started, but it’s still doable. Be the follower you’d like to attract. Follow, comment, and like pages mindfully. If you just try following bunches of people in the hopes to up your follower number, and your content seems too contrived, Instagram could very well disable your account.
- Whether you want your Instagram story to be a slideshow of pictures, actual video, or a combination of the two, bring the audience into this space by including the Story tools at your disposal, like polls and question boxes.
- If you have actual products that you’re selling, a link to them in your profile bio can be helpful. Take it a step further, though, by incorporating another great Instagram Story tool, shopping stickers, directly linking to those products there.
- Teresa Heath-Wareing wrote a great post for Tailwind’s blog that provides additional ideas: “How to Use Instagram Stories to Get More Sales”
Speaking of Instagram Story tools, it can get a little overwhelming to figure out what sort of font to use, how to position it just so, what emojis to use, how many things to add. It really can be compared to creating a work of art. Familiarize yourself with as many of the tools as possible. If you have two separate profiles, try a test Story on one that you only share with the other.
- In the interest of maximizing your creative potential, you might want to download additional apps. Check out Lexie Carbone’s blog post for Later, “14 Apps for Creating Gorgeous Instagram Stories” to get some ideas.
And finally, although it’s great to have a plan in place, don’t overthink the Story process too much – a stressful Story does not a happy freelancer or audience make. Remember, Instagram is meant to be fun, so embrace that, and keep a lighthearted perspective while using this platform as part of your freelancing journey.
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