If someone were to look at your personal Instagram feed, what images would you be most proud of? (Selfies are disqualified, btw.)
Would it be the many images of your homemade cakes and pastries? Is it the photos of your hand-sewn baby accessories? Or pics of leather handbags that you paint for fun?
Eventually, you start getting orders for your goods, and questions about how much you charge. Voila, your hobby has become your profession, and it’s got potential.
As more and more potential customers follow you on Instagram, you should begin to feel hesitations about posting personal photos. After all, you don’t want to share intimate moments with your kids or a pic with an audience you know nothing about. You also don’t want to bore potential customers with posts they aren’t interested in. If someone is following you to keep up with your cake creations, they don’t want to see 20 posts in a row of your dog.
Your next step should be to transition from a personal to professional Instagram account. This article outlines how to do it.
1. Create a new account with a branded handle.
You can create a new Instagram account from the mobile apps or on your desktop (you’ll only be able to upload photos from the mobile apps). If you haven’t already, decide on what you want to call your service or product.
Set your Instagram handle, and aim for something short and memorable.
Tip: Did you know you can add multiple Instagram accounts to your app? Just hit the settings button, go to “Add Account,” and log into your secondary account (you can add up to five). This is incredibly useful, because you won’t have to keep logging in and out to switch between your personal and professional Instagram accounts.
2. Set up your profile info
Your profile image should be 110 x 110 pixels and high quality. If you have a brand logo designed, then use that as your profile photo. If not, you may want to use a photo of one of your products, or you at work.
Try not to change your profile photo too often, as it’s what people will begin to recognize and associate with your posts.
Your description should focus on the client.
Descriptions that talk about your product or service are okay, but they don’t project value to the reader. You only have 150 characters to make a first impression, so you need to do it memorably.
Here are some sample descriptions of the same imaginary brand. The first one focuses on the brand, and the second focuses on the client.
Designs by Debbie creates beautiful, hand-painted leather goods. We can fashion a piece after your favorite cartoon, or something uniquely designed.
Show off your style with unique, hand-painted designs on your purses, belts, wallets and more. Add new personality to your well-loved leather goods.
Both will work fine, but the second one paints a picture. Which would you be more likely to follow?
3. Add some starter images
Populate your new Instagram account with related photos from your private account, so that new visitors don’t get put off by an empty account. It’s also a waste of eyeballs if you have people checking out your account but not finding anything there.
I recommend posting all of the related high-quality photos you have, minus the best 10 (more on that later). The reason for this is you don’t have any followers yet. That means you could post 30 images, and you won’t flood anyone’s feed.
4. Move your clientele to your professional account
Remember those 10 top images we put aside earlier? Use them to send traffic to your new professional Instagram account.
a. Add your new brand info to your images
Upload the images into Canva. This is a web-based design tool that makes it incredibly easy for non-designers to create quick yet beautiful designs online.
On each image, add text that says something like “[Brand name] has moved to [new Instagram handle]. Please follow us there to see more of [product/service].”
It’s free to sign up for Canva, but if you use any of their paid assets (ie. they have free icons, but you can also use one of their specially designed ones for $1) there will be a cost to download your image. Since you are uploading your own images, you shouldn’t have to worry about that for this exercise.
You now have 10 great images with built-in CTAs (call-to-action).
b. Schedule and re-schedule the images
These image announcements should go out over your personal account over the next three months. You can do this manually, or save yourself some of the headache by using a social media scheduling tool like Hootsuite. It’s free to set up an account, and their analytics are awesome.
In the description of each of these photos, add your new Instagram handle so that followers can easily click to your new account and follow you from there.
A sample announcement posting schedule for the first month might look something like this;
P.S. I created that image in Canva.
By the second month, most of your followers will have seen your announcements, so you can scale back to five images. The third month, pick three of the images that got the most response from the last two months, and re-share those for good measure.
5. Posting photos
Now that you have your brand Instagram set up, you should populate it with new content. Make sure your descriptions are engaging, your images are sized correctly, and keep your account warm.
Make a Website has a great infographic on social media image sizes, and even offers a free download of psd templates.
Here are a few posts to try;
- Overlay an image with your contact information. Add a CTA “Call for orders” and measure results.
- Post a video of you creating your product/service. Speak directly to your followers.
- Post a photo of your workshop or work space so your viewers can see the back-end of the products/service.
- Build anticipation for a new project with in-progress pics.
Have you transitioned from a personal to professional Instagram account? I’d love to hear about your experience.
If you have any tips to add, or questions you want to ask, feel free to send them in the comments.