Seven easy wins for Insta authenticity
There can most definitely be too much of a good thing. In Instagram terms that’s perfect flatlays, smashed avo on toast and Insta walls. As you have probably noticed yourself, everything has become a bit samey. Some feel we’ve reached ‘peak Insta’ aesthetically speaking, and that actually the best way to get noticed on the ‘gram is with a feed that’s authentically you.
I’d argue that this has always been the case. Often the most successful influencers and businesses, such as @meandorla & @dashapears.art have a unique look, creating it themselves rather than chasing the likes with the latest trends (pink letterboards, I’m looking at you).
The holy grail of Instagram is authenticity and if you can be genuine, that’s really powerful. But it’s not easy to really be yourself on a public stage, so here are my seven easy wins for Insta authenticity…
Have you ever been mesmerised by those cake icing videos or watching someone screen print? This kind of filming is super easy for makers and artists to do, but don’t panic if you aren’t that kind of business. Creating some content around the day-to-day running of your business can still be engaging and deliver that storytelling that piques your customers’ interest. It doesn’t have to be neat or perfect. It doesn’t even have to be that visual; I worked with a plant delivery brand recently. As well as the owner’s passion for picking the best plants for her subscription boxes, all her orders are picked and packed by the same mum and son team and delivered by the same courier. This personal touch is an important part of her brand story and provides great content as well as an emotional connection to her small business.
2. Showing up Live, unscripted
There’s a place for slick Lives, of course, but sometimes jumping online to talk about something that’s happening in the moment, or something that’s triggered a strong reaction from you in relation to your business can be hugely affecting. I’m thinking more of live streaming your excitement at getting a new office space or showcasing a new delivery of goodies for your shop rather than ranting about someone cutting you up in Tesco car park, but the point is it doesn’t always have to be scripted and perfect. People like imperfection, especially on Stories. It’s only human.
3. Showing the downs as well as the ups in life and business
We all know that social media is a highlight reel. But life is never always good, just as houses are never always tidy and sales always booming. You can’t be authentic if you’re endlessly positive! It’s OK to acknowledge the struggles too. Many people worry that putting personal content on their business feed is a no-no and is highly unprofessional. But, done right, it can be a way of revealing a little of your personality. People like to know who they are buying from and it forges a connection between your brand and your customers. You don’t have to go full-on TMI, but being honest about things in your business and real life will often spark discussions and bonding in the comments section and get some really nice authentic engagement going. You will probably end up learning more about your followers and customers, which only benefit your business in the long-run.
4. Comment with real value
It’s easy to just stick an emoji on a comment to acknowledge it and please the algorithm, but how helpful is that for your followers? Does that create a decent dialogue and the kind of rapport that helps convert followers to customers? That sounds very calculating but it’s important. I find myself turned off a brand when I notice that comments aren’t really replied to properly or the same stock phrases are used every time. It feels lazy and can even look a bit bot-like. Commenting with intention is a chance to bring your brand alive and to deliver great customer service. Even if it’s not directly to do with sales, responding to each comment adding value or asking questions of people is important in elevating your feed and business above your competitors.
5. Creating your own tone
Apparently the most imitated and asked for tone when businesses approach marketing agencies is similar to the one used by the drinks company Innocent. I can see why. When they first popped up in the early noughties their friendly, funny, irreverent tone was fresh and quirky. It’s been much copied now but it’s a stellar example of house style. Small businesses are so much about the people running them, and, as it is often just one person, it’s brilliant if you can make your tone be your voice. If you struggle, it can help to type out your posts exactly as you would have spoken them out loud to a friend. Stick to words and phrases you would use in daily life. Just because the internet speaks in a certain way, don’t feel you have to say ‘famalam’ or ‘yasss queen’ if you’re a fortysomething Boden-loving mum of three from the Home Counties. Be you, and that will automatically give your brand the authenticity people pick up on.
6. Post what YOU like
We’ve all been there: poring over analytics, seeing what gets the most likes and trying to give our followers more of what they want to see. A degree of that is important if you want to connect with your audience and encourage sales and sign-ups, of course – but it’s easy to go too far and to try too hard to get into other people’s mindsets. To keep it really authentic you need to post some of what you want and what you are interested in, rather than trying to second guess what people want to see. It’s OK if not every post gets huge numbers of likes and engagement as you will make up for that by being uniquely you.
7. Connect with others wholeheartedly
By this I mean try to forge meaningful connections with the people and brands you are truly interested in. The ones whose content gets your guaranteed like, whose Stories you seek out to watch first or whose words and thoughts you admire. It’s much more powerful than just being nice to everyone to boost your reach and follower count. In mean, be friendly of course, but go the extra mile with those who you really admire. Share other people’s content, too – even if they are a competitor. If you like it, shout about it and you too will rise by lifting others.
Like what you’ve read? I have lots more ways to make the most of Instagram as a tool for business. In fact, the replay of my FREE masterclass on 3 strategies to grow your ‘gram in 2019 can be viewed by selecting REPLAY in my new chatbot >>> here <<<