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Here Are Fast Company’s Top 5 Tips for ‘Gramming on a Budget

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In this session, Meyers shared Instagram essentials like scheduling, hashtags, storytelling, and photo tips, and most importantly, how to do this all without breaking the bank.

Stephanie Meyers, the Group Director of Digital Growth over at Fast Company & Inc., has a tip or two on how to build a following on Instagram — on a budget.

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While some things may be common practice (collaboration, fun pictures, lots of tagging), In a session hosted by Mansueto Ventures, Meyers broke it down into easy steps and pointed to some accounts that have mastered Instagram on a budget, including her own uncle’s cupcake and candy company!

Make It Easy

Hashtags can help you help your audience find you, according to Meyers.

Customize a hashtag and let your audience know you want them to use it by putting it all over, like on your shipping boxes, signage, and, of course, within your own Instagram account.

But before you declare your signature hashtag, Meyers advised to first search for it around different social media outlets to make sure nobody else is using it, or worse, using it in a way you do not intend.

After you have customized a hashtag, use at least 10 hashtags on a post to make it easy for your target audience to find you, Meyers suggested.

“Thirty hashtags are not cheesy, it’s the way we use Instagram,” she said.

Additionally, for small business owners or people that are working out of a space with foot traffic, Meyers recommended putting not just your hashtag, but your Instagram information everywhere. This is an invitation for people to find you on social media and, again, makes it easy!

Check Your Brand

Meyers highlighted that the top of your Instagram account is basically the homepage. Use it to share whatever you want people to immediately know about you or your company.

As Meyers said, it is not uncommon for people to take a screenshot of that information in order to distribute it easily, which can, in turn, make the reach of your account more extensive.

Story highlights are also important.

“It looks nice when you make them all match,” Meyers said, referring to the cover images. She kept it real by adding that if the titles on them are not short, nobody is going to click to see what is after the ellipses.

Meyers’ quick solutions to adjust a long title on story highlights? Use emojis. She said that is how Inc. does it, so you know you are still keeping it professional.

Mind the Mix

Giving your account a consistent feel makes it more aesthetically pleasing when users zoom out and see your content as a whole, Meyers shared.

A consistent feel, however, is not the same as repetitive content.

To keep a budget and still have good content, Meyers recommended trying a “buddy system partnership,” which means collaborating with people who may already have the pictures or products that you want to showcase.

She spoke about her uncle’s Los Angeles-based cupcake and candy company, Treat Street USA, which has reached out to bakers that would be willing to create content that they both could share.

Meyers said it is about asking yourself, “Is there a way that my most valued customers, vendors, or suppliers, or someone that’s really passionate about your brand, may want to share or create content?” and finding the answer.

Give Photos a Boost

According to Meyers, it is easier than you think to step up your photo-taking game.

Where you may see craft paper, wrapping paper, or even a cutting board, some of those ‘gramming on a budget see a nice backdrop for a photo.

Even if you do not have physical products for sale, you could use Post-its or words on mugs or tee-shirts to get your brand’s message across, Meyers said.

It creates a “storage of content that is consistent and people will know,” she added.

At the end of the day, Instagram is about photos, so quick and affordable tricks to make photos better are a big help!

Be Social

Instagram is also about being social!

You can post things and wait for the likes to come in or you could use your customized hashtags and look at what people are posting, thematically or about you, and engage.

“Everyone else wants love too,” Meyers reminded us.

She insisted that interacting with people is a sure way to get interaction back.

“Give hearts, comment, emoji comment!” Meyers said, but added to do it sincerely, not to be “spammy.”

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