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The Paper + Craft Pantry blog is home to our latest DIY projects, current inspiration sources, and small business advice. 

Small Business School: Instagram 101

Pei Sim

Paper Craft Pantry Blog Small Business School

Navigating how to be an effective communicator on social media can be difficult. There’s a fine line, and knowing what to share and how to share it isn’t always intuitive! So, we asked our Creative Director, Chelsea to share her tips for Instagram.

In the past 7 years, she has managed social media accounts for yogurt companies, million dollar investment companies, a beauty brand, an independent paper company + herself. So, it’s safe to say — when it comes to Instagram — she knows a thing or two. And one of the best lessons she's learned through her experience is that being genuine goes a long way. So, take it from her! Here's a list of the top ten ways you can amp up your Instagram game + still maintain authenticity to both who you are as a person and the brand you’ve created.

1) Use hashtags

Group your photos with other photos that are similar to yours, by using popular hashtags! This will bring like minded people to your page who just might love what they see and follow along. There are also several websites that are a great resources for detecting trending topics and hashtags on Instagram.

2) Styling photos is never a bad idea

Rearrange your coffee & your planner as many times as you want! No one cares... and everyone does it.

3) Take photos in good, even light

You guys! Most everyone can spot bad lighting. Good lighting is fairly simple to find too! Try shooting photos near a window or outside on a textile, table top or poster-board! 

4) Try taking your photo a few different ways

Frame it, reframe it, style it once or twice, frame it again. Mix it up and then you'll have lots of different options to choose from.

5) Edit in A Color Story, Afterlight or VSCO

Make your photos look exactly like you want them to. If you're into making your photos all look similar, you can develop a formula in these apps to give you a cohesive look and feel!  

6) Only work with brands that you like

And tell people why you like them when you post, whether it's a sponsored post or it’s an unsolicited endorsement. The people that follow you are interested in seeing what you like, but they probably might not be interested in seeing something that you don’t really like but were incentivized to post about.  

7) On that note, don't be afraid to make a media kit and pitch to brands

If you want to work with them, ask! They may say no, but if you're into establishing partnerships, it's definitely worth a try!

8) If you like someone, like really really like them say so

Interact with the posts and the people you like! Everyone loves to feel the Instagram love, plus this will make sure you see their posts! It can also make you show up in their similar accounts when other people click to ‘follow!’

9) Tell all your friends about accounts that you really love

All of my favorite accounts on Instagram have come to me by someone saying "Hey, do you follow...?" In addition to sharing IRL, I often share Instagram accounts that I love following directly on Instagram too — especially with the addition of Instagram Story!

10) Don't take any of it too seriously and be sure to enjoy your real life too

Instagram is great! Let it be fun, let it be a place where you can meet new people, and let it be a source of inspiration. If you're ever insecure or feel that the comparison game is just too real, just log out for a little bit! Know that everyone feels insecure sometimes and it’s okay to take a break!

Do you have any additional tips or tricks you use to help promote your presence on Instagram? Let us know in the comments below :)