Sharing Our Heart Behind Making Instagram Authentic and Enjoyable
We’ll just come right out and say it: Social media is confusing.
And no matter how many times the Instagram algorithm changes or how little we even understand what an algorithm is anyway, we have always kept our fundamental goal in mind:
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Serve the amazing audience we already have by providing content that you all truly find valuable. In addition, we want to create ways to make it easier for others to find us and join us on our journey!
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The good news is that we have learned quite a bit already. The even better news is that we have met incredible fellow creatives who know a thing or two hundred more than we do :) So today, we are excited to introduce you to Kenzie! Her Cup of Kenz blog and Instagram account are faith-filled and inspirational, and she keeps things real and relatable by always keeping her heart FULL of gratitude.
Together, we’re showing you how we use our Instagram profiles to connect with our followers. We’ll show you:
What to post and when to post it
How we plan ahead
Writing prompts you can use to kick-start your own plan
More than anything, we hope you can glean some insights that encourage you to find your voice and maybe bring some joy to your own feed!
What to Post - Visual Tips
In general, people want to see - Your face! Your projects! Things that inspire you! In essence, connect yourself directly with your brand (we’ll cover more on this below)
Kenzie loves to share things that are encouraging and authentic to day-to-day life. “Instagram and society today pressure you into thinking that you need to have all of these perfect pictures of yourself. That’s not fully realistic for my lifestyle and the heart behind my blog and I’m ok with that!”
If it makes sense for your content, create a consistent filter to establish your aesthetic.
While Uncommon does not have one, Kenzie used to. And after some reflection, she decided to move away from using that filter. Here is what her feed used to look like, alongside a post where she shared the heart behind her decision to be more authentic!
Is there something that you post about regularly?! Create a graphic to make it easy for your followers to find that content quickly. Uncommon uses this consistently for our Uncommon Acts of Kindness announcements, as well as our “Be Encouraged” blog posts.
Uncommon Acts of Kindness: We use this format to show a relevant quote and add our call to action in the caption below it:
Be Encouraged Blog: We pull an image from our blog post that can grab people’s attention, and then we add our custom graphic to it using Adobe Illustrator:
Got the idea? Try one of these:
Think about something that you post about often. How can you keep those images consistent and easy for your audience to identify? Can you create a filter, a color scheme, a graphic or an icon to grab someone’s attention as they scroll through your profile?
Think about your upcoming week. When can you get pictures of yourself and of other content you might want to share? Kenzie does this to a rough idea of when she might have a chance to take some photos during the week. But! “It all depends, I like to feel out the situation and sometimes I honestly just forget to get a picture. That’s intentional living I guess haha.” Again, the more authentic, the better!
What to Post - Written Content
So now the question is - what the heck do I write?!
We’ll start off with some writing prompts for you to consider. Remember that your audience wants to see the real you and be encouraged by you :)
What is something super simple that you do to get yourself in a better mood?
What’s your go-to outfit and do you have a photo of you having a great time in with your friends - go ahead and tag those friends!
What do you want to know from your audience - what’s a quote or insight that’s inspiring them?
Kenzie loves: What is a simple way you find joy in your day-to-day? How did you experience life this week?
Have some ideas on how to engage with your audience in a fun, simple way? Good! Let’s get into some more specifics:
Caption Lengths - It can be great to switch up your caption lengths. Kenzie taught us at Uncommon to follow something like this:
1 - Something short, sweet, and relatable. About 1-2 sentences are perfect. Kenzie adds, “Even if I post a picture of my coffee, I try to put an encouraging spin on it.”
2 - Something a bit longer and full of encouragement. Kenzie adds that it can be as simple as a “story and what you learned from it. Or at the end, challenge your audience.”
3 - For a business account, try a mid-range length caption that includes a question. This really helps you get to know your audience and them to get to know you!
Here’s a low-hanging fruit to gain a little more exposure: Tag the location, tag people in the photo, tag companies involved, or link to other social media profiles, if you have them.
Use hashtags to your advantage! Create a hashtag list that you can rotate when you are posting related content.
To take it a step further, take that list of hashtags, search for them on Instagram, find similar hashtags and other posts using these hashtags, and get curious about what those accounts are doing well. Keep that growing list as a note in your phone, and add a handful of relevant hashtags to each of your posts.
When to Post
We love to plan at Uncommon! Here are some of our favorite tips:
Use apps like Later to plan how your images will look together on your profile. It makes it super simple to draft, edit, and post from Later so you can plan your posts in bulk. And we accomplish everything we need just using the free version!
Take advantage of Instagram Insights for your business. Link a Facebook account (even if it is a super simple page), which will allow you to create a Business Instagram account and see insights on your impressions. Post when most of your audience is typically using Instagram.
Kenzie adds: “You can also look up the ‘most popular times to post on IG’ on Google and it will give you good times to post. This is a simple way to get your posts in front of your audience at good times.”
In general, Uncommon and Cup of Kenz like to have a feed that looks balanced but fluid.
Cup of Kenz:
Some accounts go all-in on coming up with a rigid pattern that they are diligent about sticking to, like @_abbyjeanphotography @luft.baloon and @wisdomfeed to name a few:
Uncommon will sometimes do a short-term series that follows a pattern, like when we introduce our Uncommon core team:
No matter what you decide to do, be intentional about how your individual posts work together visually on your profile.
Again, in general, people love to see YOU! As often as you can, create a post with your face or someone who is close to you.
*Idea Starter: Find a photo of you that you really love, whether it be new, old, with others, or alone. Hopefully, the photo inspires a great caption for you to share. If not, we have some more ideas below!
Still feeling like you need something else to revitalize your Instagram presence? We’re hoping that this list can help to inspire you to connect with your followers:
Share some behind-the-scenes photos or videos
Link to a blog post, new or old
Share a teaser of an in-progress project
Link to some finished projects on your website
No matter how pretty or complete, show a personal project. It could even be one that’s frustrating you - you could ask for insights on how to finish it!
Share a quote you love
Get personal and reflect on something you’ve learned recently
Celebrate people you love - Show how you share time with them, the gifts you love to make for them, or the experiences you love to have with them
Show things you love from your home, with or without a story. A tool you use, a photo frame you love, a game you love to play
Share something new you’ve discovered that’s inspiring you - a great thrift store find, a tile pattern you dig, or your new favorite barista
Vacations and trips, whether it be big or small. If you took a “trip” to a local park you’ve never been to, that definitely counts!
If you’re planning a trip - make a post asking for recommendations from your followers. Where to stay, what to do, what to eat, what to pack - let them guide you!
Ask your followers about their favorite ___ (thing to do in the summer, brand of comfy shoes, TED Talk)
Share one thing you love about your morning routine and ask your followers to do the same in the comments.
Ask: What is one thing that brings you joy in your business?
Always remember to thank your followers for following your journey
Also, support other accounts and repost content with their permission - this is definitely something we would love to do more of!
Be sure to engage with others, comment on others’ posts and respond to those who comment on yours!
In your Instagram Stories, include snippets of your day, personal or professional insights, and post a poll to ask a question about what your audience wants or likes.
We are certainly not the experts here, and we always love to learn from each other! We want to know - what are you most excited to try? And what have we left out?! There are so many ways to approach this, and we want to learn from YOU! Tell us about your favorite tips and tricks below!
Tagged with Love,
The Uncommon Team