Spending hours planning and creating content for your Instagram page? Struggling to convert your efforts into paying clients? We feel your pain and we’re here to help!
Spending hours planning and creating content for your Instagram page? Struggling to convert your efforts into paying clients?
We feel your pain and we’re here to help!
Instagram is an accessible, creative and cost effective way for freelancers to promote their services. It’s also a platform that’s constantly evolving and it therefore rewards it’s users who do the same.
Emma Goode, digital marketer and owner of social media agency 24 Fingers, recently held a meetup called “How to Win More Clients Through Instagram”, where she shared the content and features that are currently performing really well on Instagram.
Short on time? In this article, we highlight 8 top tips from Emma’s Meetup to help you increase your chances of landing clients on this busy platform.
Tip 1: Get a business account
Before we dive into the nitty gritty stuff, Emma recommends that freelancers use a business account on Instagram. A business account allows you to collect data and insights that will help you understand what content is performing well and what’s flopping. Win!
Not sure how to switch your profile to a business account? Follow these quick steps:
1.Go to your profile and select Menu in the top right-hand corner
2. Select Settings
3. Select Account.
4. Switch to professional account.
5. Select Continue.
6. Select a category for your business and tap Done.
7. Select OK to confirm.
8. Select Business.
9. Select Next.
10. Add contact details and tap Next. Or select Don't use my contact info to skip this step
11. Select X in the top-right corner to return to your profile
Tip 2: Don’t underestimate the power of your bio
Your bio is the first thing that clients see when they click into your profile. To ensure that they quickly and easily understand who you are and what you offer, consider how you use your name section. Does your name clearly reflect who you are and what you do?
Here’s a great tip from Emma about how to navigate the name and username sections on your Instagram profile.
“Don’t just use the same name for your name section as you’ve used for your username section. Use the name section to explain what you do.”
You can only use 150 characters in your bio. Use them to create an engaging tagline that encompasses the main points that you’d like prospective clients to know about your services.
For example, here’s a few questions that Emma suggests you ask yourself when writing your bio.
“Am I inviting people to get in touch? Am I adding value? Am I differentiating myself from my competitors?”
Finally, you can only include one link on your profile, so choose your link wisely. While you might automatically add in a link to your website's homepage, there’s another option that Emma encourages freelancers to consider.
“Most people will bounce off your homepage if they can’t easily find what they want on it. So you might want to consider something called Linktree or Link in bio, which is a web page where you can direct somebody to specific things on your website.”
Tip 3: Make friends with the Algorithm
Like Facebook, Instagram’s algorithms change quite regularly to encourage its members to use certain features or use the platform in a certain way. Here’s Emma’s top tips on how you can befriend the algorithm and use it to your advantage:
Develop conversations (and don’t forget to reply!)
“When you post on Instagram, within half an hour you want to be reactive to anyone who has commented on your post. Remember the algorithm is going to reward you for being social. You will reap the rewards if you show the algorithm that you're building up a two way conversation.”
Go outside your circle
“The algorithm notices if you only speak to the same people time and time again. It wants you to reach out to other people. Find people or brands that you want to work with and drop comments on their posts. The algorithm will love you for it and you’ll likely get more followers as people scrolling through the posts might see your comment, visit your profile and follow you.”
Be aware of the autobot (sneaky spam accounts)
“There are going to be comments on your posts like “great pic” or “great picture” and you’ll recognise them because they look quite spammy. If you reply, it sends a signal to Instagram that you're being conversational, but don't take the comments too seriously. You’ll know if it’s a bot if you click on them and their profile doesn’t have any followers or if they don’t have any posts.”
An underrated tip! Decide how often you want to post and stick with it. As Emma Explains, Instagram will reward you for being consistent.
“The algorithm is going to reward you for being social. Whatever your level of activity is on Instagram keep it consistent.”
“If you can post every day, fantastic, if you can post once a week, great. What the algorithm doesn't like is if you post daily for 3 months and then nothing for 6 months as you're going to find it really hard to build up your level of engagement again. So, whatever feels realistic for you, stick to that and be consistent and the algorithm will start to understand that you are going into the platform on a regular basis”.
Tip 4: Learn what’s resonating with your target audience using “explore”
There’s no point wasting time and money creating content for your audience that they won’t engage with. Using the explore tab helps to ensure that your content will be relevant, valuable and interesting to your audience.
“We go into the explore tab and see what kind of content is getting the most engagement, the most likes and we create a content strategy around that.”
Tip 5: Don’t be afraid of a long caption
Thought blogging was a thing of the past? Think again.
Instagram users have gradually extended the length of their captions, with some regularly spilling their captions beyond their post, into the comment sections. The good news? These longer captions are pulling readers in.
“People are using Instagram as a mini blogging site. Don’t be afraid to do really long captions on Instagram. The average caption length nowadays is about 400 characters. As long as you're adding value and your writing with passion and purpose don’t be afraid to write longer captions.”
Tip 6: Use New Features like Reels
Emma encourages Instagram users to post certain types of content (see image below) and in her Meetup video she explains the advantages of each of these content ideas.
Like any business, Instagram wants it’s customers to try out new features and therefore it rewards those who do.
For example, Emma is a big advocate of freelancers using Reels to help grow their audiences.
“Check them out. Do more of them if you're doing them already. Start if you’re not doing them yet.”
At 32 minutes in her Meetup video Emma talks more about Reels and the advantages of using the collab and remix features as a freelancer - we’d recommend you check this out!
Tip 7: Create a hashtag strategy
It can sometimes be hard to know how to best use hashtags. Too many, and your post might look spammy. Too few, and you're missing out on important opportunities to have your profile discovered.
So, what hashtags should you use? How many? Where should you put them?
“You can have up to 30 on a post, you can have up to 10 in a story”. In a story, you can hide them in the stickers. In a post you can hide them in the first comment”.
After reading Emma’s tips above, we hope that you've gained a better understanding of how to get more clients on Instagram.
It’s often the smallest changes that can make the biggest difference when it comes to standing out on Instagram and Emma’s simple tips like posting on a consistent basis, updating your bio and replying to comments are all proof of this.
If you’d like to learn more about how to market yourself as a freelancer and how to use Instagram to do so, check out Emma’s full Meetup video here.
You can check out Emma's website here and you can contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Want to learn more about how to market yourself as a freelancer and how to use Instagram? Lots of our members' have used social media to boost their freelance careers. Check out AN INFLUENCER'S GUIDE TO INSTAGRAM and HOW FREELANCERS CAN GROW THEIR BUSINESS WITH SOCIAL MEDIA.