How to optimize your Instagram Business profile

Your social media channels act as a digital storefront for your business. Instagram has 500 million daily users, so the potential for high volume digital traffic is huge. This means that your Instagram Business profile needs to make a lasting impression in order to stand out against your competitors. 

You only have a few seconds to capture the attention of Instagram users, so here are our top tips for gaining the attention of your target audience. 

1. Create an Instagram Business profile 

Make sure you set up an Instagram Business profile that allows you to gain insight and understanding of your followers in order to grow your business on Instagram. 

2. Write a badass bio

Your bio is going to be one of the first things viewers see when they land on your Instagram profile, so it deserves your time and consideration when writing it. 

Your bio will also likely influence what actions the viewer takes once they’ve landed on your Instagram Business profile, so make it snappy! 

Your Instagram bio should include:

  • Explanation of your business/products or services offered 
  • Establish your brand tone
  • Appeal to your target audience by defining your mission and what solutions you have to offer them
  • Share retail/restaurant location 

Instagram-Business-profiles-legendary social media vancouve

Check out how we have optimized some of our clients’ Instagram Business profiles below, using the suggestions above. 

3.Create a searchable Instagram handle

It’s important that your Instagram handle/username makes sense, is searchable and the name of your actual business. If the username you want is taken, try adding your area code to the end. Our client Disco Cheetah added YVR to the end of their handle which is synonymous with Vancouver. 

4. Optimize your profile picture 

When it comes to optimizing your profile picture, it’s essential that it’s instantly recognizable for users when they visit your Instagram page. For most businesses, this means using one of the following options:

  • Logo
  • Logomark (the logo without text)
  • Mascot (this would be applicable if you have an iconic mascot)
  • Headshot

Whatever you decide to use, just make sure it’s on-brand with your business and be consistent across all your social media channels.  

5. Add a CTA or link to your profile 

Instagram wants its users to stay within the platform, therefore they have limited how many URLs you can use in your profile to just one. 

If you have over 10,000 followers, you can use links in your Stories and drive traffic from there, but of course, this doesn’t work for smaller accounts. 

We recommend using Linktree which will lead users to a page with several URL options. Check out how two of our clients have used Linktree to suggest link destinations to users. 

instagram-business-profile-legendary social media vancouver

Final thoughts

Just remember, an optimized Instagram account is an active one. So remember to build your Instagram community, by following and engaging with other users. As a business, you should make sure you answer questions, DMs and reply to comments regularly. As well as creating consistent, high-quality content. Here at Legendary, we can help with content creating and social media strategy. Get in touch for a personalized quote

Five content marketing mistakes to avoid (and why they’re hurting your brand)

We’ve previously covered why visual content is important for your business’s social media channels but today we’re talking about the pitfalls we regularly see in content marketing and how to avoid them. 

Here are five common content marketing mistakes to avoid: 

1. Failure to create a content calendar 

Okay, we know this seems obvious, but failure to plan is failure to launch. Having a content calendar should be part of your business/brand and marketing strategy because it’s the framework for the ongoing story you’re trying to tell your audience. 

Reasons why you should have a monthly content calendar in place:

  • Allows for advance planning
  • Identify important dates (holidays, events and launches)
  • Essential to maintaining consistency in your content
  • Easier to review/ get approval if that’s part of your workflow
  • Visual overview of the month ahead
  • Provides a record of past, present and future content
  • Time saver
  • Coordinate assets needed in advance

Not having a calendar in place could result in you and your team scrambling to create content more times than you’d care for. 

Here at Legendary, we use Google Drive and Asana to create our content calendars, which allows us to collaborate and review our work with team members and clients in real-time. 

2. Using the same content on each channel

We know cross-posting across all your social media channels is tempting – it’s so convenient after all! But each social media channel operates differently, not to mention each one has a different demographic and audience. 

Once you’re familiar with how each platform works, optimize your content for each channel. A caption that works on Facebook isn’t going to work on your Twitter account. Character count, formatting, hashtag use and URL use all vary depending on the platform.

Some posts will be suitable for multiple channels but may require small tweaks such as shortening or lengthening captions, taking away hashtags or using a video vs an image. 

 

3. Lack of consistency

Inconsistent messaging and infrequent posting could lead to your audience feeling confused and frustrated with your business.

A lack of consistency in your content could be avoided if you have a solid content calendar in place – we can’t stress the importance of having this tool enough!  

Take the time to review all your social media posts to ensure your content is consistent in voice, hashtags, keywords, images and call to actions. 

 

4. Creating quantity over quality content

Creating enough content to post every day is really hard. It’s time-consuming, takes a lot of resources and can cost money. Scale back and instead post quality content 4 times a week. 

Focus on what will keep your audience engaged and coming back for more. Ensure your contributions are valuable, informative and fun without doing a hard sell. Content marketing is NOT advertising. 

 

5. Neglecting data for future strategies

One of the biggest mistakes your business can make is not taking the time to analyze your metrics!

If you take the time to review the performance of your previous social media efforts, you can learn which posts your audience engaged with and which ones they didn’t. 

Use your data to strategize in creating your next content marketing campaign! 

 

Summary 

To have a successful content marketing campaign, avoid making all these mistakes. Be deliberate and strategic from planning to producing your content. Unsure about how to create a plan or strategy? Check out our blog on how to create a social media marketing plan

Killer design inspo for your Instagram feed

We all know content is king and when it comes to Instagram: the more curated your content, the more you will have people stopping and coming back for more. Killer visuals + catchy captions = an IG account that reigns king. 

Because Instagram is made up of scrolling feeds of images, people absorb your images before reading your content. This makes it the perfect opportunity for curating a feed that showcases who you are! 

Having a visually appealing feed to showcase your work in a way that is visually striking, but catchy captions are also important. Knowing how to write great captions will bring your feed full circle and set you up for an Instagram account that is both beautiful and interesting – the best of both worlds. 

Check out some accounts that are killing the Instagram game 

@juniperoats

Killer design inspo for your Instagram feed

We love the feed @juniperoats has created. She is a graphic artist and designer with a minimalist edge. Separately, her images are unique photo collages, small pieces of art. They are tied together with a soft pink backdrop and monotone black and white pops within her images. Together, the feed looks like a scrolling mural. 

Her feed also acts as a storefront to sell her cute home pieces via Instagram. Super creative and well put together, her feed makes us want to revisit her to see what designs she’ll come out with next.

@beyond.clothing

Killer design inspo for your Instagram feed

On the other hand, not all brands are trying to sell their pieces, but are instead creating a lifestyle around them to inspire their customers. Beyond Clothing has scattered their feed with travel photography from remote, cold locations, selling their layering technology gear. The feed at a glance reads as a travel blog, but we love the raw, adventurous feeling it gives that isn’t just photos of their clothing. The remote locations and photos of people adventuring in the wilderness are tempting us to buy a jacket and a book a flight. 

@tiffanyandco

Killer design inspo for your Instagram feed

Everyone knows Tiffany’s and naturally we would expect them to be killing their Instagram feed. With poppy, colourful visuals, their feed transitions by the season, where each photo is perfectly curated to match what’s new in the season. 

The platform is also being used to showcase and sell products and as an online catalogue of their merchandise. The jewels are sharp and basking in light, making them extra sparkly. The whole feed is tied together with pops of that classic, unmistakable Tiffany blue. 

@RiskiNovianti

Ok, hats off to influencer @RiskiNovianti and her feed that is KILLING us with her colour-blocked series. She has a brilliant way of inspiring us to add more colour to our lives and making her colourful story series flow beautifully into itself. One month it’s bright pink, one month its pastel pink, another monochromatic black and white. Her locations are purposefully and carefully chosen to match the colour of the minute, using bold and bright filters that bring her photos and her feed to LIFE and inspiring us to pay attention to the details just a little bit more. 

Your industry doesn’t have to be artistic for you to have a beautiful feed. There are a ton of businesses we love that inspire us every day. Whatever your style, Instagram is also a platform to showcase, sell and show off your brand, your work or your product. More than ever, your Instagram feed is becoming a second website that can be visually curated to show off your unique style and make a bold statement. 

Choosing a style and running with it is key and knowing who you are as a brand is crucial to this! Need a hand? Check out our steps to writing a social media style guide to get you started! 

Legendary’s top nine app picks for social media management

Ace your social media game with these nine apps that our team at Legendary Social Media use on the regular, to create awesome content: 

The best apps for social media management 

One: Hootsuite 

Hootsuite is probably the best known of the apps in this list. Our team uses the app to pre-schedule posts for Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter, and Pinterest. While you can use it for Instagram, we use a different app for this purpose (see below). With Hootsuite, which has a desktop web-based service and mobile app, you can bulk-create posts, schedule them right from a spreadsheet, perform basic social listening and stay on top of community management, all in one place.

Two: Later 

Later has similar functionality to Hootsuite, however, it is much more visual. That’s why we use it to schedule posts for our clients’ Instagram accounts, including Feed and Stories. Our top reason for using later? The ability to easily preview how your Instagram feed will look, based on the images you plan to use. The Later blog also has all kinds of cool articles if you’re looking for more social media tips. 

Three: CutStory 

Posting videos on your Instagram Stories? You’re gonna need CutStory. This is a fast and easy video editing app that allows you to cut and merge material you’ve shot, creating a single video, or cut a longer video into short segments so they can be used for Instagram Stories.

Four: Repost 

We love Repost because it makes it easy to share cool content from Instagram and give credit to the original creator of that content. Instagram doesn’t off an easy share option like Facebook and Twitter do, and while we see people download material off Instagram, and then post it themselves without crediting the owner, that isn’t a cool move. The original creator always deserves credit for their work, so whether you use Repost or not to share content, be sure to always tag the person whose content you’re using.   

Five: A Color Story 

Love epic images for your social media? A Color Story makes them super easy to achieve, with over 400 filters and 100 effects – oh, and then there are all the editing tools. It seems like it should be too good to be true, but it exists and it’s just as great as it sounds. 

Six: Over

Want to place some creative text over a photo you’ve just taken? Over is the answer. The app helps you design photo-based graphics with the help of templates so it’s easy to keep your branding looking fresh and consistent. 

Seven: Unfold

Unfold is a favourite of everyone from Selina Gomez to White House staffers. That’s because this powerful little app can take photos and turn them into themed storyboards. You can make your images look like all kinds of cool things from pictures printed on old, ripped paper, to stills from a movie reel. In just a few minutes, you can create images that are sure to grab followers’ attention and praise. 

Eight: Lightroom

Now we’re into a real pro tool. Lightroom is used by professional photographers for image editing, but the free mobile app is a godsend for social media management. Not only will you be able to do all the photoshopping you want, but you’ll be able to do it from your smartphone. This includes editing out imperfections, changing temperature and lighting effects with precision, removing shadows, adding vignettes and more. 

Nine: Canva

Canva is brilliant for graphics. You can create layouts and images to drop onto your social media. There are even some cool templates in case you need to create something like a poster quickly for an event at your business. So use Canva and make life a little more beautiful. There’s a web-based version and a mobile app, both of which are on heavy rotation for our team.

 

We hope these apps help you have more fun, effective your social media content!

How to get more Instagram followers

Social media is always changing. But 2019 has been like the Twilight Zone when it comes to Instagram. 

The API changes to the site have shut down mass following/unfollowing tactics that were popular before. That’s made it way harder to build a following. 

So how can you grow your followers list without employing risky tactics like using growth software, which might get your account banned, or buying followers, which looks pretty pathetic? 

How to say “screw you” to the API changes and build your social media following on Instagram in spite of them 

One: Publish regularly

With all the API changes, it’s more important than ever to stay on top of your Insta-posts and keep them consistent. The best way to do that is to create a schedule. Think about how many posts are manageable for your company to maintain. How many pictures can you handle? What about Stories? Try for a post per day, and test the results. If your followers are increasing, try posting more. Then, try posting less and see if that helps (it’s not unheard of!). Can’t make a regular schedule happen? Call in a ride-or-die social media marketing company to handle your Instagram and other social media platforms. 

Two: Keep content fresh with buckers

It’s easy to fall into a rut with your social media… but that’s not going to win you many fans. And why would it? No one wants to feel like they’re just seeing the same post over and over again. Mix it up with the idea of post buckets. Each bucket is a category of post. For example, one bucket could be “inspirational quotes”. Brainstorm 3-8 categories that’ll appeal to your followers and potential followers. Try to balance more sales-focused and more lifestyle categories. Here are some ideas to get you going: 

  • Product photos 
  • Store/office photos 
  • Weighing in on new stories related to your company’s field 
  • How to videos 
  • Quotes 
  • What’s on your bookshelf/DVR/movie “to watch” list

Once you have your buckets in place, make sure you gather material for all of them. Post from each bucket regularly so if someone comes to your account page at any point, they always see a full reflection of your account. That’ll make it easier for anyone dropping by to decide if they want to follow you or not. 

Three: Be personal, even as a brand

Most people don’t want to feel like they’re getting the hard sell on social media. But how can you sell your products or services if you can’t sell your products or services? Get to the core of what you’re really selling instead! There is always an emotional component to any product or service. Take an engagement ring for an example. Even though you’re physically selling a ring, what you’re really selling is love and commitment. Once you know that, you can create posts about love and commitment. This way, you’re not marketing at your potential followers, you’re connecting with them. That connection makes them more likely to follow you – and convert into customers down the road.

 

The Explore page on Instagram got revamped. Here’s how to show up there…

The Instagram Explore page has always been one of the most coveted social media spots. It’s the place that new followers can find you when they search for hashtags, for example. Showing up there is key to growing quickly!

Now that it’s been revamped, it’s even more desirable. But what is it exactly? And how do you get on the new Instagram Explore page?

What is the Explore page – and how can it help my social media marketing?

Basically, the Explore page is a place to peruse content that isn’t just from accounts you follow. It’s a great way to find new accounts to follow – or just find an interesting post or two. In the past, the Explore page was pretty general. That meant that you could spend a long time skimming through without finding anything you were interested in. It was one of the most general aspects of any social media platform.

That’s why Instagram just overhauled the whole Explore system! Now, your Explore page is personalized to each user. It’s made to help people find new content they, personally, would enjoy.

So how does Instagram decide what you might want to see?

Like most social media platforms, it uses an algorithm that factors in what you look at, search for, comment on and like. Instagram then uses that to decide what else you might be interested in. This also means that your Explore page will always be evolving as you engage with Instagram.  

How do I get my social media content to appear on Instagram’s Explore page?

Since the Explore page is a major way for potential followers to find brands like yours, it is important to get content on there. In order to do that, follow these simple steps.

One: Check to see if you already have content on the Explore page

You may have had content hit the Explore page without you even realizing it. So before you worry about trying to get on the page, check out your “Insights” tab. That’ll tell you if you’ve hit the Explore page and, if so, how your posts have done.

Two: Stick to your aesthetic in your Stories

Stories have a better chance of making it to the Explore page if they match the aesthetic in the rest of your content. So if you use rose gold and grey in your photos, don’t then use lime green in your Stories.

Three: Post at the best times

Your followers have times when they engage the most and are the most responsive – and you need to figure out when those times are.

Look to see when you get the most likes and comments. Experiment with posting at different times to see how quick the response is. Then, once you know the times when you get the most engagement the fastest, post at those times.

Or, switch to a Business Profile and check your Instagram Insights.

When content gets a spike in engagement quickly, it’s more likely to get put on the Explore page.

Four: Tag products

There are a number of categories on the Explore page. One of those categories is a marketplace for online shopping. When you tag products, you can get added there. So get tagging!

Five: Make more videos and IGTV content

Videos and IGTV content also have their own tabs – and they are both in high demand! If you want to get on the Explore sight, give Instagram what it’s looking for. Don’t have videos to share? Add movement to your photos or create a video that switches from photo to photo.

Six: Connect with other accounts

When there are companies that are complementary to yours, tag them when appropriate! For example, if you run a cafe, think about taking a photo of beans you have for sale and tagging your roaster. Then they will hopefully cross-promote, helping everyone get more followers.

Seven: Use hashtags

Hashtags – the right ones, at least – are key to Instagram success. Make sure you are consistently using the strongest hashtags for your business. You can test this for yourself, or work with a professional to find the best hashtags for your posts.

How to use user-generated content on social media

User-generated social media is fantastic! So why do so few companies engage with it? Honestly, a lot of people don’t know what user-generated content is – or how to use it. So here’s the 411.

The basics of user-generated social media content

User-generated content refers to social media posts that users make. When talking about companies, user-generated content are posts where users discuss your business, products, or services. The advantage of user-generated content is that it feels authentic and viewers trust it more. Think about it this way… If someone tells you they’re kind, you may or may not believe them. But if five of the person’s acquaintances tell you they’re kind, you’re much more likely to believe that. After all, why would these people say this if it wasn’t true? In the same way, posts you create about your products and services can always be dismissed as being biased.

User-generated content, however, can’t.

Remember that genuine user-generated content isn’t ads you arrange with influencers. While there may be a place for these ads in your marketing plan, real user-generated content will be seen as more authentic and trustworthy as those folks aren’t being paid to say good things about your company!

Most companies share user-generated content through reposts. This not only encourages followers to talk about you to be featured, but it also increases trust in your business, products, and services and drives purchasing. It also means you don’t have to create all your content yourself, saving you time!

How to get user-generated social media content

One: Be clear about what you are looking for

Many followers want to be featured, especially by businesses they love. So put a call out for the kind of content you’re looking for! For example, you can suggest that your followers take a picture with their favourite of your products. Always make sure to say how to share that with you – through a specific hashtag or tagging you in the post, for instance.

Two: Search for content

Stay on top of hashtags related to your business, its products or services, and any promotions you are running. If you see content that’s related to you, save it and share it!

Three: Credit the poster

Never infringe on another’s copyright – meaning, don’t steal their work! You don’t want to take someone’s material, you want to share it. In order to achieve that, make sure that you always give credit to the poster. Consider thanking the poster too, especially if they have put a lot of time and energy into their post!

Four: Offer a promotion

One of the best ways to get user-generated content is to offer a promotion. A common promotion is a discount. For example, you may want to give a discount code to anyone who shares a photo of them with your product. If you are doing this, follow up with the code quickly and make sure it is working before you make the offer!

Five: Run a competition

Another great way to promote user-generated social media content is with a competition. This has the same advantages as a promotion but often costs less. Not sure what contest idea is right for you? Here are a few ideas to get you started!

Debunked: Instagram algorithm myths you’ve probably heard

Lately, there have been a lot of Instagram algorithm myths that have worried businesses. Here are the myths and the truths behind the “algorithm” that determines your brand’s success on Instagram.

Five social media myths about Instagram algorithms

One: You must post every day

This is one of the biggest social media myths. While many articles will recommend that you post daily or even twice daily, that may not always be the case. Posting more often can help with you need to grow your following, but recently, our crew at Legendary has noticed that posting too often may cannibalize the engagement you would have received on past posts. So if you’re looking for higher engagement, though, posting daily may actually be a negative, swamping your followers and discouraging them from liking and commenting on your posts.

The social media scheduling app Later has a great article that breaks it all down.

So what do you do? Test what works for your account. If your followers engage with daily posts, great! If not, try posting every 2-3 days so you get better engagement on each post.

Two: If a user swipes past one of your Instagram Stories, they won’t see your future posts

This myth circulated on Instagram, warning users not to swipe past Stories unless they never wanted to see posts from the creator again.
Of course, that isn’t true! But it did worry brands into thinking that if they didn’t have amazing, engaging Stories every single day, followers would flip past them and then never see content again.

Real deal? Stories gauge interest based on likes, comments, etc. But if someone swipes past a video, your content isn’t going to be hidden forever. So don’t stress about every one of your Stories being “perfect”. It’s more important to just be authentic and share so the right audience can find you.

Three: Comments only count if they’re over three words

There is a popular rumour that Instagram’s algorithms only count comments over 3 words. Again, not true: Instagram’s algorithm doesn’t look at length, it just looks at genuine engagement. If you’re finding that you’re not getting the attention and engagement you want, here are a few things to try:

  • Ask questions
  • Run a contest or giveaway
  • Sharing personal stories that followers can connect with

So you can stop worrying about word counts and start focusing on the social part of your social media.

Four: Swapping to a business profile will damage your standing in the algorithm

At one point, there was the belief that individual profiles got more attention than business profiles. That made companies reluctant to have a business profile. Again, no need to worry! Instagram doesn’t prioritize individuals or businesses. They are given equal weight in the algorithm.

Just choose the appropriate profile and get posting!

Five: Instagram’s algorithm hides posts  

Another huge myth is that Instagram hides posts. For a while, a ton of businesses were sharing posts asking followers to like or comment on posts so future content wouldn’t be hidden.
Instagram’s algorithm decides what content is shown first and what content is pushed down further – it doesn’t hide content per se.

So just post what works for you and focus on engaging naturally with your followers!

How to grow your Instagram? Gary Vaynerchuk’s $1.80 strategy

Instagram – the holy grail of today’s social media.

Everyone from entrepreneurs to CEOs of multi-billion dollar companies has been told that the key to success is an on-point Instagram game.

For MOST businesses – not all – having a killer Instagram account is essential to your online marketing strategy. But how you build your social media following in Vancouver in a world where “algorithms” are making it increasingly tough to grow?  

How important is Instagram for your Vancouver business?

Is Instagram the be all, end all for your biz? Of course not! Nothing can be the key to all social media in Vancouver.

But Instagram is vital to building your business – and especially connecting with teens and young adults (those bizarre creatures we call Millennials).

Growing a social media following for your Vancouver business

There are a ton of online courses and webinars promising to give you the keys to the Instagram kingdom.

Which one should you go with?

None!

Don’t get caught up in the hype and promises. However you feel about Gary Vaynerchuk, his approach is a no-BS concept that truly works.

Add your 2 cents

The first half of Gary V,’s approach is putting in your two cents.

This means commenting on other people’s posts… not with a smiley face emoji, or “Love it!”. With something thoughtful and meaningful.

The goal here is to prove you’re not a bot – you’re a human with a brain and something interesting to contribute.

Connect with others on a genuine level – and build your following. People who see your comments will be interested to follow you and see more of what you have to say.

The “social” part of social media implies that it’s a two way street. Make that your mantra and you’ll reap the rewards.

Elbow grease

If you want to gain followers, you’ve got to follow other users, liking and commenting on their posts. Instagrammers with the biggest (real) followings do this for hours every day!

Those accounts that follow zero or one person are intimidating and just plain obnoxious. Be social. Follow cool people. Put yourself out there.

That’s how it’s done. Nothing magical, no “formula” required.

Don’t have the time to build your Instagram following? Let us take care of the social media for your Vancouver business for you! Drop us a line and we’ll take care of you.