On the 6th January 2018 Women Rocking Business is starting its latest Instagram Challenge; 'Behind the Brand'. It is designed to help your audience get to know more about you and your life, and the inspiration behind your business, in order to build a more authentic and reciprocal relationship!
This Blog Post is here to help you get the very most out of this challenge and hopefully make it easier for you too!
Preparing for the WRB 'Behind the Brand' Insta Challenge
What we will cover in this blog post:
1. Reviewing the Challenge Grid
2. Planning your Images
3. Preparing your Text and Hashtags
4. Thinking about Scheduling
5. Maximising your Posts' Potential
6. Build your IG Network
7. Optional extras: Insta Stories
Right, let's get into it shall we!
1. Reviewing the Challenge Grid:
First things first, we need to find the WRB Insta Challenge PDF and print it off. (If you haven't got this yet then go ahead and CLICK HERE) Once we have it in our hands we can start to look over the topics for each of the days and begin thinking about the best way to tackle them whilst staying true to our own brand voice and brand style. Grab a pen and start writing notes into the individual squares on what you might like to post for that day. What images would you like to post, what images do you have already and what images might you need to arrange to take/organise?
2. Planning your Images:
Let's start planning your photographs! - Remembering that this challenge is all about you stepping out from behind your brand, what images do you want to be sharing? I would suggest that a number of the images should include you in them. I know this can seem really daunting but people will engage more if they can see your lovely face as you will become a 'real person' to them, not just a business name. If you haven't had a professional branding photoshoot then try asking a partner of friend to take some snaps of you. It could be just of your face or of you sitting at your workbench, or even some more lifestyle photographs of you in your home or out and about.
You can delve deeper into planning out your images for your 20 days right now. That's right, you don't need to wait until the day to plan and create your post! By preparing in this way you are more likely to keep on top of the challenge, and are more likely to stay on track with regards to your brand. - No rush jobs for you!
The way I plan out my images and posts is by utilising an awesome free online program and app called Planoly. In the Draft module Planoly enables you upload your proposed instagram challenge images and see how they would work together in the IG grid. How do they all look when next to each other? Are the colours and styling in line with your brand? Is there too much of one thing? Do you to swap a couple of images, or maybe need to rethink a post entirely? Planoly's Draft module lets you manually move images around until you are completely happy with how they look, when you can then import them over into your Plan module, where you can now start creating your accompanying text and even scheduling the posting dates! How fab is that!
3. Preparing your Text and Hashtags:
Now we must think carefully about the text we want to include along with our images, remembering that our overall aim is to show our followers all about us and to build engagement with them. Inspiration for some of the days may be easier than others, for instance we all know what we could put for the Introduce Myself day. Other days will be trickier so utilise Planoly and start drafting our your posts now. Ask your audience questions that they will want to answer, share interesting information about yourself so they will want to know more and hit that Follow button.
What hashtags will you use? What hashtags are relevant to your post and also to the challenge? (Remember to use the three challenge hashtags #womenrockingbusiness #wrbinstachallenge and #behindthebrand so we can all follow along). Try not to overuse the same generic hashtags, be interesting and relevant,
All the while it is super important that we to remember our brand voice in our posts.
So, is your brand a chatty and informal brand, or is it more high end or professional? Consider how your target audience might talk with each other. Do they use slang or text speak, or should you avoid that at all costs? How about emoji? Are they going to convey your friendly relaxed nature, or are they just going to irritate your target audience. - This all must be considered very carefully and so using a scheduling program such as Planoly is really really useful, so that we are preparing in advance and not rushing to get a post out and therefore completely forgetting our brand voice.
4. Thinking about Scheduling:
Using Planoly (or other scheduling programs/apps such as Later or Hootsuite) to plan out your Instagram posts also means you can use it to schedule your posts for you. All you need to do is drag and drop your images into the days that you want them to be posted and then choose a time. The grid to the left hand side will show you the most up to date order that you have scheduled the posts in for so you can make sure they stay in order. It will also show little S on the images that have been scheduled, and a U on those that are currently unscheduled. Those that have already been posted don't have any letter at all. The calendar to the right hand side shows you your upcoming month as well as any posts that have already been posted.
It's a very useful tool, as it means you can sit down for a couple of hours and plan out your next few weeks of content, while ensuring it will all look pretty and on-brand when laid out together.
Whilst scheduling you just click on the images and input your posts' accompanying text and hashtags, so everything is ready to go! Then, when the scheduled time comes Planoly will send you a notification on your phone saying that you have a scheduled post, and then it copies it into Instagram for you and places the text into the virtual clipboard so that all you have to do is press Paste! Super simple!
5. Maximising your Posts' Potential:
So you have spent a lot of time crafting your posts, with their perfect image and witty text, it would be a shame to not maximise their reach potential wouldn't it! By using the awesome program IFTTT (stands for If This, Then That) you can utilise applets that will automatically post your IG posts on to other platforms too. So, for example, I use two apps in particular:
'Automatically upload your Instagrams to a Facebook Page album' - So my posts go directly to a dedicated album on my business page where followers can see and interact with them.
'Tweet your Instagrams as native photos on Twitter' - So my photos get shared properly on Twitter without being Instagram hyperlinks.
Once these were set up I literally didn't have to do anything else! And yet my reach is now tripled!
There are lots and lots of other Applets that you can explore and utilise too. Go check it out!
6. Build your Instagram Network:
Instagram is all about building up a community, and not just shamelessly plugging your latest wares. That's why it is vital that you step outside of your own personal IG feed and go and visit other peoples too! The WRB Insta Challenge helpfully has it's own set of hashtags so why not start off by clicking these and going to visit the pages of the other people who are taking part in the challenge. Like their posts, answer their questions or ask them some back, follow their page, re-gram their posts - whatever takes your fancy!
The more love you give the more love you'll get back and the better both your engagement levels will be! You might even strike up a friendship with other awesome makers and entrepreneurs that will go on to be really wonderful. You might find that others want to collaborate with you or book you or buy from you! So get out there are start building those networks!
7. Optional Extra: Plan some Instagram Stories
The relatively new Instagram Stories function is a great way to catch peoples attention that might not otherwise come across your feed. So, if you have the time, why not plan out some Stories that go along with the challenge too? If you aren't feeling super brave then you don't have to make a video, how about sharing a photo instead? IG Stories are a fab way to continue to show your behind-the-scenes long after the WRB Challenge has ended too!
I think that's about it from me, hopefully these little tips should gently nudge you into starting to plan for the WRB Insta Challenge starting this Saturday so that you get off to a flying start and are more likely to stick with it. I can't wait to follow your posts, and I will be doing some re-grams over the 20 days too to share the love, so keep an eye out for those!
If I can hep you with anything else please don't hesitate to shout!! You can email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Love Jenny xxx
Jenny Ryan is the Award Winning photographer behind Women Rocking Business and Indigo + Violet Photography.