A version of this story appeared in Total Annarchy, my fortnightly newsletter that helps you be a better writer, storyteller, marketer. Get it in your inbox; you’ll love it.
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Last week, my girl Kerry Gorgone and I gave a talk at the Social Pulse Summit titled Blending the Personal and Professional on Instagram (Without Getting Into Trouble or Being a Jackhole).
Kerry is the Amy Poehler to my Tina Fey. Kerry also has a JD, so her part was mostly about how Not to Get Into Trouble.
I am not a lawyer. So my part was mostly about Avoiding Jackholish-ness. I shared about how I blend the personal and professional on the ‘gram—my favorite social network.
Have you ever committed to something and then had immediate regrets? That was me with this talk. In that process, I moved through these stages:
Seven Stages of a Creative Project
1. Excitement/Enthusiasm/Happy to Be Asked
2. Brainstorm of The Fantastic Ideas (“Wouldn’t it be awesome if we filmed this live! In a theater! With puppets!”)
3. Realization/Regret (Ideas in #2 Ultimately Prove Ridiculous/Impossible to Execute Anyway It’s Too Expensive to Rent a Theater and Don’t Even Get Me Started on the Theater’s COVID Protocols)
4. Why-Me Pity Party: Burdened by the Ask/Task
5. Acceptance (FINE. Adhere Derriere to Chair)
6. Give This Idea a Big Think
7. YAY! DONE! Pride at the Outcome! That was FUN! Let’s do it AGAIN!
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It wasn’t that I didn’t want to speak—I love sharing and educating and helping.
It was more that I’d never framed my Instagram presence as a “strategy,” exactly. So that Big Think felt a little Bigger than it probably needed to feel.
But of course… my Instagram approach IS a strategy. I realized it like duh! at the Big Think stage.
Instagram is a great branding tool. But for me it’s provided direct dollars. I don’t sell anything there (more on that in a second). But I do tell the story of who I am.
In our talk at the Social Pulse Summit, I shared my fundamental belief in the Instagram opportunity, along with my advice to you if you’re looking to grow your business on the platform.
>>> Watch the talk here. <<<
You’ll need to register for the whole event, and then navigate to our opening keynote.
How to Write for Instagram
1. Personable, not personal. Instagram is not a visual LinkedIn. But it’s not your Morning Pages journal, either, so you do need to show up with some aforethought:
👉 What’s the story you’re telling in support of your business that shows who you are?
👉 And (this is important): What are you like to deal with?
2. Captions give critical context. Don’t tell me what’s in the photo, tell me why I should care.
Writing matters here, so here are 4 questions to prompt better Instagram captions:
- What’s going on outside the frame? (h/t Erin King)
- What’s going on inside your head?
- Add a second sense, besides sight: What’s something smell, feel, taste, sound like?
- Humor thrives in the absurd: Can you take something to an improbably ridiculous conclusion? Like I did here with my baby-dog in front of my Tiny House Office:
3. Write your audience into your story. Who do you sell to? Think 1-1-1: One idea to one person at one time.
👉 What will resonate the most with your ideal customer?
👉 What signals to your prospect/customer: “I get you. You belong in here“?