In our previous post we covered some of the most basic best practices for using Instagram to grow your creative business, now let’s talk about the most important topic of all: content.
What exactly should I post to attract clients and grow my audience? Over the years we’ve been fortunate to create a community of fellow graphic designers and creatives, and learnt a thing or two about creating engaging content on Instagram. If your goal is to post somewhere between 3-6 days per week, you’ll need a toolbox of ideas for what exactly to post. So in this guide, we’ve curated a list of the best content ideas for designers and creatives to use in order to start building an authentic connection with your audience today. Enjoy!
Before we start, don’t forget to pay attention to the first piece of content users are likely to see: your bio! This is huge. A high-converting bio always includes:
- Your name
- A concise job title (for example, ‘Brand & Showit Website Designer’)
- A short bio explaining what you do or offer to clients. (for example, ‘Helping holistic brands thrive online with thoughtful website design’)
- A link to your website (or a link which directs users to a web page with various links)
- Try to include a CTA (call to action). If you have a freebie or opt-in, be sure to mention it in your bio to encourage visitors to click sign up to your mailing list.
Share your work
We’ll start with the most obvious one first. Share your work! For artists and designers of all types, Instagram has become the quickest way to showcase your work.
So, think of your page as a portfolio. Align the look and feel of all of your posts so that when someone clicks on your name for the first time, they get a sense of your style and aesthetic.
It’s important to note that as designers, you may not always be able to share client work in its entirety until the project is finished. That’s where “teaser” content comes in.
Show tiny pieces of the project, or elements related to the project, to “tease” your audience so they want to know more!
TIP: Remember to always seek the permission of your client before you share any teasers of the project. It may be that as part of your contract, you don’t reveal any branding work until the project is completed to be sure to adhere to any guidelines in place so that you respect the designer/client boundaries.
Behind the scenes
Beyond showcasing finished pieces of work, it’s a great idea to show the “behind the scenes” view of what you do. This is an awesome way to have your audience feel connected to YOU, the designer, and not just the designs.
So, filming yourself illustrating a logo, or fine-tuning a mockup, or styling a shoot is a no-brainer. Your audience wants to know about the process, not just the finished product. If you’re not so keen on filming yourself, you could also do a screencast and record yourself editing/designing and speed it up. Us creatives love nothing more than to see the evolving design process, especially if it’s in our favourite programmes, too!
While this may not always feel comfortable to do, it’s always nice to show your own face every once in a while on your page! Or, at the very least, on your IG stories. Face your clients or audience and talk to them. Let them see who it is behind all of the work.
The most engaging IG accounts are the ones who share just enough of their personalities with their audience to make them care. If you’re comfortable with it, sharing photos of your behind the scenes or home/work life is another great way to connect personally with your audience.
Offering your audience real, valuable knowledge in your area of expertise is one of the most lucrative moves you can make in your business. This type of content establishes you as the expert, giving your voice authority. Think about the professional accounts that you follow religiously. What do they have in common?
Most likely, they share valuable content that you feel helps you to grow as a designer, business owner, spouse, parent, friend, etc.
Remember, humans inherently have self-interest at heart when it comes to taking action. When someone stumbles across your page, the internal question they’re asking is “what can this account do for ME?” Here are some ideas of value-driven content that you can use as a designer:
Tutorials: Show your audience how to touch up a tricky photo, or how to style an early morning shoot at home, or how to hold an introductory call with a new client.
Product Spotlights: Let your audience in on your best-kept secrets! Highlight your favourite apps, tools, fonts, websites, pencils, paper, etc.
Your Thoughts On ____ : Offer your professional insight on current trends, age-old design dilemmas, or entrepreneurial practices.
TOP TIP: Make this type of value driven content shareable. The more shareable it is, the more eyes you’ll get on it and the more likely it’ll lead to engagement. It’s worth spending a little bit of extra time working on the visuals for these types of posts.
Carousel type posts (i.e. those with more than 1 image per post that require users to swipe to see content) are great ways of initiating engagement and these types of posts are more likely to be saved or shared.
You could easily use carousel type posts to share your favourite resources, or post your top tips about a particular topic in each image/slide. Another fun way to incorporate multiple posts is by posting an inspirational quote in different colours/designs. That way, users can select their favourite based on their own personal connection to the colours/branding and share with their audience.
AMA or Story Q&A
Ask me anything (AMA) and Q&As are two types of user-generated content that will help you to get a stronger grasp on the interests and needs of your audience while you engage with them in real-time! This is a win-win.
So, hop on your IG Stories and let your audience interview you. Or, for a fresh spin on this one, bring on a special guest and have your audience send in questions for a live Q&A.
Don’t forget to take notes on what questions your audience sends in. This sort of activity is often a goldmine of content ideas for you to use in the future.
Highlighting clients, employees, or peers on your page is a great idea for one big reason: it’s a form of networking! When you give someone else the spotlight on your page, chances are they will return the favour one day.
So, connect with those in your professional circle and ask if you can highlight them or their work on your page. Shoutouts like this are easy to do and pay off well in the long run for you as a business owner.
OK, this last idea is a no-brainer. Don’t forget to share the glowing testimonials you love to receive on your socials. Testimonials are NOT just for websites.
Make sure you have a process in place for collecting testimonials from clients after you finish a project and then take snippets from those entries to share with your audience. This builds trust in your brand as a source of authority.
Create a schedule
Now that we’ve discussed content ideas, it’s a great idea to use these as starting points for your content schedule. You don’t have to include all the topics covered in the post, instead create a list of content topics that truly resonates with you. Not only will this content be easier for you to craft and curate, but you’ll also enjoy the process of planning it much more.
By creating a schedule where you rotate consistent topics, this helps to plan and batch your content in advance, saving you so much time and relieving the burden of having to know what to post and when. That being said, we’re always ones for allowing intuition and spontaneity to hold their rightful place with your business. After all, things change or you may feel called to share (or even not to share) certain content at specific times.
For example, there may be a week whereby you’re promoting a new product launch so all of the content will centre around that. Or perhaps you’re wanting to focus on booking more clients, in which case you may want to share more previous client work and testimonials instead.
So, there you have it! Remember, Instagram is truly your friend as a business owner. With a solid source of content ideas and a plan at the start of each week, you’ll quickly find that running a professional account can be a source of inspiration and joy, not stress.
Now you’re all set for what content to create, be sure to check out our How To Grow Your Creative Business With Instagram post for more IG strategy tips and tricks.
What are some of the content ideas you’ve tried on your account? What are your favourite accounts to follow for professional inspiration? Let us know in the comments!
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