Want to be an Insta-pro? Here are some tips to make the most of this nail-friendly platform.
Post regularly. Getting your post frequency right is important for Instagram. It’s tempting to post a flood of photos when you’ve got a bunch saved up and ready to go, but you don’t want to overwhelm your followers. Studies suggest that it’s best to post once per day, so spread those posts out and make the most of them.
Hashtag. Hashtagging properly and effectively is a tricky business. You don’t want to throw hundreds of hashtags at your photos just to see what sticks. Instead, look at your favorite accounts to see what hashtags they are loving and use them to contribute to the community, too. Think of what a potential client would be searching for in order to find your work. And if all else fails, Instagram can help you find related tags: Just enter your tag in the search bar and select the “tags” tab to view more options.
In addition to the more popular and generalized hashtags, create one that’s unique to your brand. It can be used to help connect your client base and create a network of nailfies (that’s a nail-selfie!).
Think outside the square. Don’t be afraid to push yourself when it comes to your photos. Use the full-size format when it makes sense, and don’t feel like you have to stick to the square. Play around with apps like KiraKira+ or Boomerang to mix things up on your page. Curate photo sets so you don’t have to limit yourself to just one shot. Try new things, but then be sure to pay attention to what works for you and your audience.
Convert to a business profile. Business profiles get to enjoy certain benefits that regular accounts don’t have access to. They allow you to add a phone number, email address, and physical address to your page, so when people click your “Contact” button, they’ll be given options to call, email, or even to get directions to you. It’s an easy change to make that can facilitate turning your followers into clients. Converting your account to a business profile is also the only way to access Instagram’s analytics tools (more on that in a sec). You’ll also open up the option to promote posts, if you’re so inclined.
Track your stats. Using servivces like Iconosquare, Union Metrics, or Instagram’s built-in analytics tools can help you learn how to manage your account more effectively. These services can show you data like best times to post, most effective hashtags, most popular posts, and even which account is your biggest fan. Using these stats can help you determine which types of posts perform well for you and drive your content decisions in the future. Many of these services offer both paid and free options, so you can figure out what fits the needs of your business best.
Video is king. Video content is having a moment! All it takes is one look at the Explore page to know that having quality videos is the way to your audience’s heart. But while videos can seem overwhelming at first, there are plenty of options for newbies to play around with. Try sticking to your strengths at first. Instead of tackling a full-on tutorial, ask a salon-mate to film a short clip while you apply chrome powder or stamp on a pattern. Are you a master of acrylics? Film a video while you work that bead of L&P. Viewers just want to see you in action, so worry less about perfect presentation and show off what makes you you! (Just make sure that your client doesn’t mind, first.)
Say yay to flat lay! “Flat lay” style photos combine props and everyday objects with items you want to highlight, for a casual chic vibe. It’s an easy way to show off items that you retail or new nail styles you’ve added to your menu. Lay your selected items out on a simple, non-distracting background, and fill in some of the remaining space with things like sunglasses, a book, or a cup of coffee. Pro tip: Aim for lots of natural light in your flat lay photos to keep them looking effortlessly airy.
Stay true to yourself. Above all else, your Instagram feed should be a reflection of you and your business. Make sure that every decision you make is in line with the way you want to be seen. Have fun, try new things, and push the envelope, and you’ll be sure to find success.
NAILS’ social media columnist Sarah Waite is a licensed nail tech and the creator of the popular nail art website www.chalkboardnails.com. Follow her on Instagram @chalkboardnails.