Seven Tips for Using Instagram to Better Market Your Brand
For most small business owners, successfully using Instagram to attract the right kind of online attention is more than just a good practice—it’s an absolute necessity. And that’s especially true for barbers, stylists, nail technicians, and wellness experts.
To help Booksy professionals best showcase themselves and their work on Instagram, we took some time to speak with Christy Clips. With over 70,000 active Instagram followers, it’s safe to say that she’s mastered the art of using Instagram to feature her best work and market her brand.
As a Booksy Ambassador, Wahl Select Team Member, online influencer, independent boutique owner, licenced cosmetologist, and men’s hair consultant—Christy Clips is an absolute expert when it comes to using Instagram to help open doors and spread the word about her work.
Keeping reading to gain insight and learn from her 12 years of experience in the industry. Learn the ins and outs of using Instagram. And find out exactly why we selected Christy Clips to participate in our New Year, New You campaign that’s designed to give Booksy professionals additional resources to become the best versions of themselves this year.
Know Your Goals, Find Your Audience, and Post Targeted Content
The first major step towards mastering Instagram as a business owner is to know your professional goals, said Christy Clips. And that means taking some time to think about what exactly you want to use Instagram to achieve. But remember, Instagram can open a lot of doors, so think big.
Instagram will always work best for professionals who know their goals and audience. Do you want to become a brand ambassador, an online influencer, a platform artist, or an educator? Or do you want to market your products and services to consumers and Instagram Repost Pages?
Ask yourself those questions before posting. Once you know the answers, it’ll be easier to create a vision of what you want to showcase online. Spend some time on Instagram to gather information about your audience. Find out what your audience wants to see with regards to content to help you decide what you need to post to keep them engaged.
Make Sure Your Instagram Page Stands Out
Another really important tip is to make sure your Instagram account stands out, said Christy Clips. Online viewers have an endless amounts of other content they could be viewing. So, make sure you stand out whenever possible. But do it in a way that allows your brand to stay true to itself.
For example, Christy Clips spent a lot of time creating a brand that was both professional and business oriented. But as one of the few women in a male dominated industry, she wasn’t afraid to show people her feminine side, as a way to stand out while still staying true to her brand.
Once she started creating content around that theme, it was easier for Christy Clips to keep creating and posting pictures and videos that felt authentic, while remaining consistent. However, it’s always best to keep things professional and avoid sharing overly personal details about dating, income, and uploading too many pictures of loved ones, she said.
Incorporate Instagram into Your Networking Strategy
According to Christy Clips, Instagram works best if it’s part of your networking strategy as a whole. When she started using Instagram in 2014, she made sure to promote her IG handle at trade shows, conferences, barber battles, and other industry events.
Christy Clips said that after just one event, she was able to gain over 10,000 followers. So, get in the habit of mentioning your IG handle in the same way that other professionals might pass out a business card. But remember the potential that social media can offer.
Instagram is a resource that can help you show the world your portfolio and your talent. But it can also help you connect with people from different parts of the world. And it can help you remain in touch with potential contacts for future professional events.
Make sure to spend time on Instagram networking with others who have accounts similar to yours. Instagram has a very supportive online community. It can inspire business and brand growth through professional connections, if you spend a little bit of time supporting other accounts.
Understand Instagram Analytics
Taking advantage of Instagram Analytics is one of the more important ways to succeed when it comes to mastering Instagram to better market your brand. The free analytics tool that's within the Instagram app is available for any business profile. And it can provide valuable information about Instagram followers and their engagement.
Business owners can use this resource to review their audience’s engagement in response to specific posts, stories, and IGTV videos. More specifically, you can see if more men or women are following your account. And it’s possible to see if more barbers or stylists in the industry are following you. Instagram Analytics can also provide useful data on whether you have more of a market in the United States versus another country like South America, she said.
“You can find all that out—all of those analytics in Instagram. So, after you do that research then you can say, okay so I need to post more about this or more about that because of my analytics and what followers I have and what kind of audience I have,” said Christy Clips.
Publish at the Right Times and Days
Once you become more familiar with Instagram Analytics, branch out to using other resources that can help you master the art of publishing at the right times and on the right dates, said Christy Clips.
After reviewing the data to know when you should post, it’s important to start scheduling content ahead of time. Plan out your Instagram posts days or weeks in advance to make you’re always posting to when you can get the most online traffic.
Check out sites that can provide more information and help with scheduling. Christy Clips recommends using scheduling apps like Later.com. “It’s really good—it tells you all of your analytics. And you can schedule out posts Monday through Friday and choose what time frames,” said Christy Clips.
Although planning out your social media content may sound like a full-time job, some of the leg work is as simple as dragging-and-dropping images and creating catchy captions but doing it ahead of time. Christy Clips schedules weeks in advance, especially to make sure to keep holidays in mind and to promote events or giveaways.
Get Help with Quality Pictures and Videos
Spend a little time learning how to create quality pictures and videos. To make that happen, definitely take advantage of online tutorials. Christy Clips recommends spending more time taking video content. While that may seem a little pricey, it’s okay to use a smartphone for taking a short video. Then publish that content, so that your online audience can watch you perform haircuts or styling services.
But if the stress of creating engaging content ever gets tough, collaborate with other professionals. Work with experts who are passionate about creating engaging photography and videography content.
It’s not at all necessary to break the bank or set aside a huge budget. Instead, collaborations are key. In the past, Christy Clips has exchanged haircuts and grooming services for a professional photo or two from a less experienced yet talented freelance photographer or videographer who wanted to get their work circulated.
Use Various Resources to Engage Followers
Lastly, it’s important to remember to use a variety of different tools to keep followers engaged. Consider using the Instagram Reels tool or IGTV for creating video content to make sure your account stands out and that followers take note of your work, said Christy Clips.
Another tool to get more followers interested and keep their attention is to provide a Call to Action. This term is used to describe an advertising tool. It entices people to make an immediate response or follow an immediate course of action. Common Call to Action phrases include "click here" or "add to your cart."
“It’s kind of like a hook just for them to get engaged. And I do recommend using Call to Actions. It helps my followers stay engaged. It lets them participate and feel like they’re in a community and interacting with me and supporting what I’m putting out there,” said Christy Clips.
Examples of Call to Actions include a directing people to your YouTube channel, providing a link so consumers can look at your Amazon list, publishing a website with information on an event you’re planning, or asking followers to take a look at an online ebook that you’ve published on creating the perfect fade or some other tutorial.