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The how-to guide: An Instagram guide to get you started

The how-to guide: An Instagram guide to get you started

Here is a guide that will help rock your Instagram game. Instagram has amazing potential to grow your brand and reputation, and it’s so much fun once you’re in the flow, so we want you to enjoy playing with it.

Australians are an incredibly active (addicted?) bunch on social media, with around 9 million monthly active users on Instagram

Instagram is a visual social media platform so when it comes to content, the sky’s the limit! But, what is key is your strategy and purpose. 

When choosing a social media platform for your firm, firstly, have a clear purpose

  • Why are you using this platform?  
  • What are you hoping to achieve from it? 

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To gain clients, to use as a recruitment tool, for personal branding, network and build on your referral source? 

For lawyers looking to do more personal branding, it’s a great way for lawyers to straddle between their lives in and out of the law, and show the world just how accurate Suits is. Check out this profile as an example. 

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Another important consideration when it comes to Instagram is style. Fashion-focussed, professional, fun, quirky, light, factual… If it’s the firm’s profile, it’s important to showcase the firm’s culture, work ethic, working environment, and service. 

As it’s a legal service, going down the corporate, professional theme would generally be the route most firms would take, but add colour to your posts! Corporate and professional doesn’t mean drab and boring in our books!

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STRATEGY

As a lawyer, it might seem a bit naff to put together a social media strategy. If you don’t, though, you’ll realise soon enough that it’s not. 

When you can post literally anything, anything at all, it starts to feel overwhelming and all of a sudden you can’t think of a single thing to post! You’ll have great intentions initially and you will have some great team snaps, or quotes or something snazzy, for about a week… Then, inevitably, you won’t have any ideas of what to come up with next, you’ll think it’s too hard and give up.

But, that’s when a content calendar is your saviour. All it is is a calendar that helps you plan your posts in advance. What you can do straight away is plug in special days, important things happening in the firm, firm events, major legal updates you are aware of coming up… That sort of thing. And then build your other posts around that. 

A general rule of thumb is to have a mix of original posts, curated content, and both images and videos. Don’t worry, you don’t need to get too creative (although, if there’s one place to unleash your creative desires, this is it.) Be genuine, be natural, and enjoy the process. People spot authenticity a mile away. 

How much do you know about Instagram Stories? It’s a feature that allows users to post videos and images that last for 24 hours only. So, it won’t be on your profile grid. It’s your chance to go nuts, show a day in the life of…, tell a hilarious story, show where you’re having coffee today, show off the office… Whatever it is. It’s but a glimpse which is really great as it doesn’t have to be rehearsed or polished. 

Another feature is Instagram Highlights, which sits prominently, and permanently, at the top of your profile page above your image grid. This allows users to view certain stories of your choosing any time. 

One tip is to weave in to your posts the branding colours of your firm, stick with a couple of fonts, and add your handle to the image. Canva is great for quick touch ups or more detail. 

Actually, another tip – humour always responds well and has great engagement with lawyers.

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WHAT YOU NEED

Instagram is a mobile app, so you will definitely need a phone. Obviously, your phone is also handy to take photos and videos. A whizz bang camera isn’t necessary but having quality shots is. Plus, you can load straight to the Insta app if you’re using your phone.

Have you used Boomerang and Snapchat? Play with them, they can be incredibly fun! (Heidi Klum has her Boomerangs down if you want to check out pro usage.) Word to the wise – they can be addictive (speaking from experience) so restrain! And, make sure the posts suit your overall purpose. 

There are plenty of social media schedulers out there but to start out with you may decide to go the simple route and just use your phone. If that’s the case, a major, lifesaving tip would be to write out your post content in Notes or any other notes-type app and then copy and paste. Instagram doesn’t allow you to put in paragraphs when writing directly into it, so it will look like one mass lot of words which is really unappealing. BUT, cutting and pasting allows for the paragraph format. And you can easily add emojis this way too. Or, you can write it on your computer and email it to yourself!

On that same thread, what we do is have a folder in the Notes app especially for Instagram posts. In that folder, we have our hashtags. Save them there. It’ll be a life saver. You can use up to 30 hashtags in any post. Thirty is a lot so it’s likely you won’t remember them, and even if you do, you don’t want to be writing them down every time to create a post. Of course, you’ll mix it up and not use the same hashtags each time, but a lot of the time you will, so having them saved altogether will save you time and energy.

The profile of your Instagram business page is a power section as it’s what people will immediately see when they view your page and that short summary should encapsulate your personality, your culture, and your services. Have a clear idea of what you want to say about your firm. Think of this as the headliner – it should be snappy and resonate with your target audience. Information to add in this section could include the type of law your firm practices, awards your firm has won, something unique, your tagline…

There’s a section in your profile for a hyperlink, the one place on Instagram with a hyperlink (Instagram doesn’t do hyperlinks in posts.) This could be your website, but as you post more you’ll want to be changing it regularly to draw people to your profile page. You might post about your new blog and then the link will be to that, for example. 

PS, in case you weren’t sure, we’d suggest you opt for a business profile. 

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ENGAGEMENT

Social media is just that – ‘social’. Be sure to engage! If people comment on your posts, already reply. Respond to other people’s posts as well, don’t just ‘like’ posts. 

You can automate this process at a cost, but really if you can spare 20-30 minutes per day that’s all you need. 

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TO SUM UP

Tag people in your posts where you can, add a location, add hashtags, use emojis, use colour, stick with a couple of fonts if you love posting inspirational quotes, draw people onto your profile page by mixing up the hyperlink, and always look at the insights. You can get a lot of analytical information from insights.

Remember, you are building your brand and your online presence, so think longevity, think about your branding and think about what it is you want to portray about your firm. 

The great thing about Instagram is that there are no rules. You can make your page what you want – just ensure that it communicates the image of your firm that you want clients, partners and the wider public to see. With these nifty Instagram start up tools, you can now forge ahead with your Instagram usage, confident that you will be creating an incredible profile and engaging, visually appealing posts.

DOWNLOAD: Have you downloaded the Social Media Startup Guide?

Let’s grow your hustle!

Hi, I’m Simran, and I’m here to help savvy new coaches and service-based business owners start and grow a profitable business and land clients with intentional action and strategy.

And, I am here to help you catapult your online visibility with confidence and authority, while being authentically you.

If you want to work with me, find out more about my coaching services.

simran@simranksingh.co