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Instagram Done Right | Melissa Camilleri

We're excited to have a guest post today from Melissa Camilleri, founder of Compliment, Inc. The modeling world has changed drastically with the advent of social media and it's crucial that models know how use Instagram to their best advantage. Did you know that for most of the major show castings at New York Fashion Week models need to have 10,000 Instagram followers just to audition?

Now is the time to start growing your following and Melissa has some terrific tips to help you.

Instagram Done Right

As long as you haven’t been living under a rock the past couple years, you’ll know that Instagram should be a key component to your online marketing strategy, especially as a model. Instagram has bolstered the success of many models, helping them carefully curate their public image and become household names. Clients make hiring decisions based on how many engaged followers models have because that audience translates to their brands. With over 400 million+ active users, Instagram is a powerhouse.  So, it behooves you to show up there, too, with a little strategy.

Likely, you already have a presence on Instagram.  If you’re anything like I was when I first started using the platform, your growth has been slow going and your reach not quite multiplying in the way you see it happening for other models.  It’s frustrating to be in this space.  In fact, I know that feeling well.

It took me one full year to grow my following on Instagram to 1000.  But I was determined and focused.  I observed and took action. I put in place some key strategies that took my Instagram (@shopcompliment) from 1000 to 17,000 the following year.  These days, I’m adding an average of 1500 new followers per month and get 70% of my website traffic and conversions from Instagram. 

To make sure your efforts on Instagram are giving you a solid return on investment for your time, here are four things you can start doing today to grow your personal brand on Instagram:

1. Show up consistently.
It is essential that if you have an Instagram account, you are posting at least once a day to maintain a part of the conversation.  Posting consistently will keep you top of mind in your advertising clients’ heads.  Did you know that studies show that a potential client has to interact with a brand a minimum of 7 times before ever taking action to hire them?  The more you post, the quicker this will happen.  I suggest posting no more than 3 times per day, with your posts at least 3-4 hours between posts. Anything more frequent will just clog your followers’ feeds and get annoying.

2. Get social.
Interact with the people who comment on your photos.  @Mention them back.  Ask them questions.  Share your gratitude.  And don’t be afraid to leave comments on other people’s pictures, too. Be generous with your likes.  Follow back people who are consistently interacting with you.  It’s called a social network for a reason!  Let people get to know you, and seek ways to get to know your followers. 

3. Post with your ideal client and/or follower in mind.
What does she like about your style?  What is on her mind at the time of the day you’re posting?  What does she talk about with her friends?  Where is she when she buys from you?  What are her dreams?  What are her problems and how can you help her solve them?  When you write the captions of your photos, keep her in mind.  Write directly to her.  You’ll find that your engagement will grow authentically with people who are excited about what you’re putting out into the world.  This is a big mindset shift for those of us who started posting things on Instagram just for ourselves or our friends.  You want to remember your purpose.  If you aren’t able to draw a clear line between the personal and professional, consider opening another account for your personal postings.

Many advertising clients may consider their production details secret and proprietary, including locations of shoots, etc. Always check with production before posting anything. And never, ever post if you have signed a non disclosure agreement. Fashion clients LOVE social media posting but advertising clients, like car or tech companies for example, most definitely do not love those things shared until after the advertising has been unveiled.  Complying with your client’s wishes is key to growing your personal brand with integrity.

4. Understand that your numbers are less important than engagement.
Don’t get me wrong, the number of followers you have is definitely important.  Followers act like little votes of confidence and give you credibility.  And because people do what they see other people do, the more followers you have, the more followers you will get.

But, what good is a bunch of followers who don’t ever like your pics?  (I’ll give you a hint: NO GOOD AT ALL.)  Numbers aren’t everything. Authentic engagement is what matters most.  You build engagement by building relationships. 

By putting some key strategies into place (like the ones listed above), you can make sure that you are building trust and turning the followers you do have into raving fans and eventual clients.

Melissa Camilleri is the Founder + Creative Director of Compliment-- a gift brand she launched in 2011 while she was a full-time high school English and AVID teacher.  She credits Instagram for helping her grow her business from a production line on her dining room table to the socially-responsible corporation it is now.  At the urging of her business-owner friends who wanted to replicate her marketing success, Melissa dusted off her teaching hat and created the 21-Day Insta-course to help others market their products, services, and brick and mortar shops.  Tens of thousands have attended her virtual courses, participated in her workshops, and studied under her guidance.  She believes we rise by lifting others™.  She lives and loves in Northern California. 

Say hello to Melissa on Instagram @shopcompliment.

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