Story after story of poor college kid completely changing his or her life using Instagram and a smart phone hit the media in 2016. Some of the most interesting cases even became mainstream news – stories like MyLifeAsEva make the process seem easy. This begs the question: Why isn’t everyone a social media millionaire? Let’s take a look at what it really takes to start an Instagram business from your phone.
No Secrets to Start an Instagram Business
Authenticity must be the center of your brand if you are looking to create a name for yourself on social media. As such, your life must become an open book. This does not mean that you have to share absolutely everything, as niche channels discussing science, mathematics or card tricks can focus on that skill set and do quite well for its creator. However, there is always a notable personality behind the skill set. Even the most hard-core niche channel is selling the personality bringing you the information just as much is the information itself.
You absolutely must show your face and your style on social media. People will be able to tell if you are being disingenuous, so get yourself comfortable in front of your camera phone before you begin posting content. You will be able to tell when your personality is coming through because people will stop ignoring you.
Your phone has more video processing power than some of the room sized cameras that were necessary to film classic movies in the 1950s. What does this mean? It means there is no excuse for you to skip out on a day of posting. The process is so easy, especially on Instagram, where you can literally record and upload your video instantly once it is done.
Instagram Live Video Is a great tool for business because you can shorten the time to market even more than if you were recording and uploading. You can also gauge just how much engagement you are receiving from potential customers and navigate your schedule around their availability. For instance, you may catch more of your audience in late afternoon rather than in the daytime. You will never know this until you experiment with Instagram Live Video and some of the other tools that the platform provides to communicate exactly that.
Consistent posting also alerts the organic search mechanism within Instagram that you have an active profile. Active profiles are naturally given more visibility when people search for the hashtags that you include in your content captions.
Showcase Your Lifestyle
Every brand is a lifestyle brand these days. No matter what you start an Instagram business to sell, people want to see how that product is used in everyday life. With Instagram and your smart phone, you can show this easily.
This does not mean that every video and picture should become a commercial of you using your product, even in different scenarios. There are ways to brand each piece of content in a less obtrusive way so that the focus can be on the lifestyle detail that you are showcasing in the content.
Also, since you are on the world stage every time you turn on your phone, make sure that you look the part. Unless your brand is about bed head and sleep wrinkles, try on some stylish clothes and go to the barber before you produce your Instagram videos for the day. You might even experiment with different looks to see what your audience engaged as with most actively.
Two Way Communication
One of the shortcomings of Instagram before 2016 was that it relied far too much on one-way content. Other social media platforms made it a point to include communications tools at every point of contact that a content creator could have with his or her audience. Although Instagram was late, it has definitely caught up with the pack. Outside of the aforementioned Instagram Live Video, the Instagram Saved and Stories feature allow for a much closer bond between content creator and audience.
Some of the savviest content creators are using their smart phones to put together content that elicits like-minded responses from an audience. For instance, many creators will have contests that require users to make videos. If that content was produced too professionally, it could actually intimidate some participants out of the contest. Being relatable down a two-way line of communication is more important than having the most expensive camera. Keep this in mind as you produce your content.
As an aside, make sure that you have an Instagram Business profile so that you can view analytics and respond to the data that your viewers are giving you. You can convert your personal Instagram profile into a business profile as well.
The entire appeal of social media is about connecting to people in far-off places in a fun, lighthearted way. Just because you are “doing business” does not mean that you have to maintain the traditional professionalism that you were taught in grammar school. As a matter of fact, doing good business today means adapting to the authentic style that has now taken over the landscape! One of the best ways to relax yourself is to simply realize that you are actually getting paid to take videos of yourself on your phone. What a crazy world! Let it sink in, turn your phone on, and start an Instagram business today!
What other advice would you add to start an Instagram business just using your phone?
Check out these other great tips from how top brands have utilised Instagram for their business, in this cool infographic from Visual Contenting.