Is Instagram the New Business Card?
Imagine-- a networking event. You’re deep in conversation with the creator and CEO of a company or brand you'd love to work with. You’re interested, invested, and dishing out great conversation. The moment arises for you to inquire about a future collaboration, and you strike. You agree to exchange information, so you reach for your pocket for your business card when she tells you to stop. “What’s your Instagram handle? Here, follow yourself,” she says, handing you her phone. You accept and add yourself to her followers. In the days after, the CEO starts liking and commenting on your photos. Success!
With millennials overwhelming the workplace, rules have begun to change. Social media has taken over our lives, and it makes sense that it would take over the business world as well. Remember in American Psycho when Christian Bale obsesses over Justin Theroux’s over the off-white color and thickness of his business card? That scene now seems obsolete and dated. Do we even need business cards when we can do so much better by scoring a follow on Instagram? We don’t think so.
"With millennials overwhelming the workplace, rules have begun to change."
Here are some things to think about when creating your social business card.
Pump Up Your Profile
What is the first thing that pops up when following a new Instagram account? Your profile page. The profile consists of four parts: your profile picture, your description, your website, and an overview of your ‘grams. Each part is as important as the next. Let’s break it down:
- Your profile picture. How do you want to represent YOU visually? If you’re Instagram is that of a brand, use your logo. That’s simple. But if you are giving out your personal Instagram handle, don’t forget that you are a brand, too. Sure, you may want a silly picture to tickle your friends’ funny bones, but is that really the first impression you want to give professional? Probably not. Pick a profile picture that shows your beautiful face, head-on, and with a smile. Don’t have one? Hire a friend or photographer to take a quality headshot. Sometimes business is business, and you have to step up to the plate.
Your bio. Some profile descriptions only feature a brand’s name or a couple of descriptive words, but if you really want someone to get to know you and your brand, utilize the space given to you. Want an absolute kick ass bio? Here are 5 ways to pack your bio with punch:
What You Do. Are you a writer, stylist, or femmepreneur? Make it known.
Something Personal. Write something fun and tongue-in-cheek, like “expert guacamole taster,” or “coffee drinker extraordinaire.” Show your personality.
Where You Live. Share your location and be sure to add drop pin emoji for extra emphasis.
Your Business Email. You should also add this if you upgrade to Business Profile.
Your URL. Share the URL to your website. The website field doesn’t always have to be static, though. Change it with your content. Have an important post you want to direct your followers to? Share it. Giveaway? Share it. And do make sure that each webpage has an easy way to direct back to your home site.
Your Instagram overview. Your Instagram needs to be pleasing to the eye-- which brings us to our next topic….
Keep a Consistent Aesthetic
Your Instagram tells a story through pictures. Much like a novel needs to stay consistent with its tenses, so does your Instagram need to stay consistent with its aesthetic. There are several ways to do this. For one, you can keep all your images the same size. If you prefer the standard square, go for it, but also consider using all landscapes or all portraits. Whatever you choose, you need to stick to it. To do this, you can use an app like Instasize or utilize Instagram’s own cropping tool by playing with zoom. Also be sure to keep colors alike. If you want to use filters, it’s a smart idea to always use the same one. Using the same filter creates cohesion between pictures, and builds your feed like a narrative. Instagram filters are great, but there are apps like VSCO that can give you more options.
Make What You Do Known In Your Content
Just like your profile tells Instagrammers know about your business, your content should, too. First impressions matter and your feed needs to make clear who you are from the beginning. Pictures can say a thousand words, and yours should say, “This is who I am and this is what I do.”
If you have a product to sell-- sell it! Take pictures of your products and show them off. Place your product against a simple backdrop or incorporate it into a lifestyle scene. Mix it up. Don’t forget to name the product in the description and also tell where to find it. (Here is a great use of updating your profile website URL to direct followers to buy.) Sell services? Upload text images to your Instagram (keep consistent colors!) describing what you can do. Feel like you aren’t creating enough va-va-voom with your images? Try asking a professional for help. You want to be able to show potential customers the power of your brand. Don’t forget that selling yourself in your Instagram bio is also just as important.
Post, Post, Post
This one seems like a no-brainer, but to some of us, it’s not. Like being consistent with your aesthetic, keeping consistent with your posting is equally important. How can a new client or potential partner understand your brand if you aren’t giving them enough of it? Ideally you want to post once a day-- even multiple times a day if you can. When you post consistently, you show your followers that you care and are invested in them. Coming up with new content can be difficult, but when you make the effort, others notice.
What do you think? Is Instagram the new business card? Tell us why or why not in the comments!