This is it. This is your handy dandy, no bullshit, guide to having the best Instagram you could possibly have for under $400.
1. BUY A DIVA RING
Want images that inspire and resonate within the industry? It's all about the right lighting. The Diva Ring will set you back $200 ($220 if you want a mounting stand like the Cowboy Studio Adjustable) Write it off on taxes. Ask your salon to buy one. But it's essential to creating elevated content on social media.
2. INVEST IN INSTAGRESS
Or Kickstagram. Or Boostgram. These services offer to automatically 'like' or comment on the hashtags you authorize and grow your followers. Instagress gives you further exposure on the Instagram platform. Most offer a free trial period and have easy to follow tutorials. This is one of those things that can feel a little squidgy (paying for followers??) but:
- Celeb stylists use it.
- Followers are the new credit score. This is investing in yourself.
- It's around $10/month which = 3 Starbucks drinks. Why not try it?
3. NEUTRALIZE THAT BACKGROUND
Stop it with the photos on the salon floor or in retail. Elevate the image with a neutral background. Search the premises for spots that work for you. An unadorned wall, neutral colored bricks, even a space in which you could create a custom backdrop. $50-$100 for paint or your very own branded banner.
4. COLLAGING IS DEAD
Avoiding Collaging or Mirroring forces you to train your artistic eye to hone in on that perfect picture. Keeping your image clean creates a stronger message Instead of putting all the ingredients (multiple shots) in one pot, try a more creative approach to showcase Before and Afters. Juut Salon came up with a winner of a picture within a picture.
5. HASHTAG HASHTAG HASHTAG
It's the new 'Location, location, location!' Some # offer more exposure than others. Instagram limits you to 30 # per comment, so use your discretion. In addition, for efficiency, list your top 20 # on the notepad in your phone. Copy and paste when it's time to post; it saves ridiculous amounts of time and energy. Find your mentors, the ones with an insane amount of followers and use the same #.
6. KEEP YOUR JUNK IN THE TRUNK
Go through and delete photos that no longer represent you/your brand. Less than 50 'likes' on a photo? Gone. Took that one photo while you still had your iPhone 4? Get rid of it. Does the photo have bad lighting? Stray hairs? Weird angles? Messy foils? Toss, toss, toss. Try to keep your number of posts below 500.
7. FORMAT YOUR SHIT
Especially if you cross post on Facebook or Twitter. Write your post in a way that the viewer's news feed is not overloaded with text and hashtags. Describe the image efficiently and within your brand (editorial credits, inspirational quotes, humor, formulas, etc) and try to keep the same format with all your images. Only use 3 to 5 hashtags in the initial description. Then, after your image is posted on Instagram, comment on your photo with the rest of the hashtags you want to use.
8. GIVE CREDIT WHERE CREDIT IS DUE
In the beauty industry, no one does anything alone. What brand of brushes did you use? Blow dryer? What mentor inspired you? What MUA | Stylist | Photog did you work with? Where does your model come from? What city is your salon in? What color line are you using? What products were involved? Tag the companies and locations directly in your image and include the hashtags that the tool/color/product/salon company recommends. The best exposure is re-post exposure from the brands you work with.
9. SCHEDULE YOUR POSTS
No posting at 3 a.m., and no spamming. Keep the posts well lit, formatted, and ON TIME. Peak times are crucial to reach the widest audience. Services like Latergram or Schedulegram let you upload multiple pieces and post them for you at previously scheduled times.