A question we are asked often here at JRC is how we have managed to gain a devoted Instagram following of both local and worldwide followers. Today on the blog we wanted to share a few of our best Instagram tips and tricks to help you make the most of your Instagram account. When we first started using Instagram 5 years ago, we would post anywhere from 4-12 times a day! When Instagram was chronological this method of consistent posting at various times throughout the day was crucial so followers would know what assortments of treats would be available to them during the day. Now that Instagram is no longer chronological, we've changed how much we post but the basics are still the same; we post beautiful images of our offerings consistently that are in line with the Jenna Rae Cakes brand... and we obsess just a little over our grid. Ashley (our Co-Owner) is a graphic designer and photo stylist by trade and conceptualizes, styles and photographs all of our images. So what are our most helpful tips we can share with you? Take a read below! 1- Quality Images. Instagram is a visual platform. You'll need to put time and money into creating great images for your feed and stories that showcase the best of the best of what you have to offer. We have a little saying at JRC that goes, "make everything Instagram worthy". You want all your products to look like that perfect shot on Instagram and you want to be sure you're getting those incredible shots to share on your feed. If you don’t have a designer/stylist on staff, think about taking beginner photography/styling workshops, or about hiring a social media consultant. *Fun Fact: Ashley takes 95% of the photos that make it to our Instagram feed on her iPhone 7, and 5% of them are taken on her Sony A-6000.
2 - Develop Your Own Style. All the most popular accounts on Instagram (baking related or non-baking related) stand out because they have their own unique style. Developing your own style and continuing to evolve that style as your business and products grow is the best way to stay true to your brand while never remaining stagnant. If you look at the JRC feed from 3 years ago, a year ago and now, you'll notice a few things: that our feed still has the same vibe, that our styling is similar but advancing, and that we tailor what we are posting to what people want to see.
3 - Plan For Success. A beautiful Instagram grid doesn't happen by chance. After images are taken be sure to organize them in your phone so you can easily find what you are looking for. Create folders for each menu item, plus seasonal folders so you always know where images are. We also love using Planoly to ensure we are scheduling images that flow beautifully together. Planoly allows you to take images from your phone, upload them to a draft grid, and move the images around until your grid looks perfect! You can also add your captions, hashtag groups and schedule right from the app!
4 - Engage. We all know that social media is designed for users to be social! Take the time to respond to comments and DM's as often as you can. JRC does all of our social media in-house which means we can stay true to our company and brand and answer all questions as soon as we are able because our staff know the answers. We can honestly say that we value each and every person who comments or sends us a question or a comment because these customers will help us continue to improve our business. If you can't manage this on your own there are marketing companies or freelance social media consultants that can invest time each day authentically engaging with your followers.
5 - Remember Your Brand. We've talked about your 'brand' a few times during this blog. Your brand is all the working pieces that make up your company from your colours and logo to the voice you use when you write content (like this blog) and your captions on social media. Find what works for your brand and stick to it! Just by looking at our feed you know that Jenna Rae Cakes is a more feminine brand with a colour palette of pinks, whites and golds and our voice is friendly, fun and approachable. This isn't by accident—this is our brand and as long as we stick with it, we build brand loyalty and Instagram users find us and resonate with the messaging we have.
6 - Don't Obsess Over Numbers. It's so hard, we know! But it's also crucial to keep your head afloat in an online world that is full of competition, beauty, and algorithms. Instagram is constantly changing and evolving and it can be very easy to get sucked into the numbers game and feel upset when your latest posts are getting nearly half the engagement they normally would get due to an algorithm change. When you pour so much time and energy into your social media presence just to have your posts hidden or seen a few days too late it can be incredibly frustrating. We heard a great quote once from a friend; "You built real estate on land you don't own". Keep in mind that you're building a presence on a platform you don't control and make sure to put effort into growing platforms you do own like your blog and email list.
Instagram is such a great tool to grow your business. When we first started using Instagram to post our daily menu, we didn't know of any other bakeries who were taking advantage of this platform in the way we were. Now, through stories and follower engagement, we are continuing to find new ways to use this platform to the best of our ability and to continually improve JRC. Send us a DM on IG and let us know which tips and tricks you'll begin to implement for your business.