Instagram is a platform that is all about the discovery of inspiring photography and visuals. This makes it the perfect place for anyone who wants to showcase their baking or cooking skills.
Here is a beginner's 7 step guide on how to use Instagram to showcase your skills on this absolutely free app! (Till you decide it isn't free!)
1.Know your brand:
Before delving into content creation, understand what you want to showcase. Be it baking or cooking, if someone looks at your page, they should be able to easily identify your brand. You may think, I'm not a huge brand, I'm not a company... I don't represent one? What is my brand? The term brand refers to a business and marketing concept that helps people identify an individual and what they stand for. You don't have to be selling anything to have a brand, your work and your will to showcase it is what makes your brand. For example, if you are someone who makes a very specific kind of confectionary or cake, make sure that is highlighted on your page – perhaps even make it your logo of sorts and use it on every post, every story – so if people see that articular element, they instantly think of you. Your brand doesn’t necessarily have to be something materialistic. A quote you like, a tag line that represents what you do will also do the trick! So yes, you need to have a brand and knowing what that is will only increase your identity on a huge platform like Instagram.
2.Originality is always appreciated:
As tempting as it may seem to use free stock photos or images to represent what you do or what looks extremely similar to what you do... don't fall for it. Take a few photos with whatever equipment you have available, a phone maybe. (Phone cameras are excellent these days... so, no complaints there!) Experiment all you want. If you aren't confident about your photography or videography skills... maybe take one of the million free courses available on the internet that can help you better yourself! (If you want a list of courses that may interest you, comment below and we'll have a blog on that!) You live in the digital age. Nothing is impossible. Some very established food bloggers stand by the fact that no fancy equipment can give you the push your original content can give. Original work is and will always be appreciated.
3.Consistency is key:
Consistency when you post your content, consistency in your grid, consistency in the content and consistency in engagement. Making sure you put up 3 posts per week, 2 reels per week or a story everyday showing them your process... all this is equally important in growing your page and the only way to achieve this is to discipline yourself to reach the goals that you have set for yourself. You are your own boss in this context and you have the liberty to pick what is your definition of consistency. Once you decide on that, stick to it! It truly works wonders.
Instagram can be linked to your other social media pages such as Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. Where ever you see an opportunity to increase your visibility, go for it! One thing to keep in mind when you cross promote, is the varying audience and you need to cater to their needs in terms of content. Wrap up your content in the gif boxes these sections of people would like to see it in and how you can achieve this is Research, Reflect and Repurpose. Research what sort of content each platform wants and what works where. Reflect upon your findings and understand how it can be applied to your brand. Repurpose the content of your posts on Instagram to deliver to your viewers.
5.Stay up to date on trends:
No matter how lame it may seem, if you want to see your content on the explore page of a person who is sitting 10000 miles away, you have to give into the so-called algorithm and let it do its magic. Create what you love but the format of it can take different forms. Think of your content as water and the format (cringe reels/carousels) as the glass that holds it. Make sure your identity is never lost bin the process. In case of bakers, currently most of them seem to be doing the process of baking a cake appear as if it is magic on the reel. Each of their end product and style are different but the format is the same. Likewise, you can also adapt to moving trends but your original content will remain untouched at its core.
Find other people who do the same thing as you, look at their content, comment on it, connect with them, maybe even do a few collaborations with. Networking among the birds of the same feather will help you find that niche audience you are looking for. The audience that likes to see your type of content, your kind of food. Who knows, you may even end up finding your best friend in the process.
Last but not the least, engage with your audience. Make sure you tell them that you see them and you appreciate them. Something as simple as a reply to a comment or liking their dms will make them realize that you are there for them and hopefully this feeling translates into a sense of belonging on your page. You may ask me what is the difference between networking and engagement. Other than the primary difference: the people on the receiving end of both processes are different. Networking aids you and your fellow creators to find each other and work on collaborations and maybe in turn gain extra followers but engagement is what can translate into actual sales in case you want to sell something in the future. Even if you Ig has about 1000 followers, your engagement will only be at 25% or in some cases less, and within this 25% only about 5% will be willing to invest in any of your products. Given the right engagement rates, you only stand to gain followers and potential customers.