3 Ways You Can Level Up Your Instagram Marketing For Your Business So You Can Stop Feeling Like You Suck At Instagram Marketing


Does it seem like it’s getting harder and harder to “advertise” on Instagram?  We’re battling algorithms, consistency, professional photography, DONUTS, cactus', kittens... the list goes on… 🙄🍩🌵🐱
Basically, anything we post just isn’t good enough - or so it feels. 

The biggest  mistake most people make when they decide to take their business marketing on to Instagram has nothing to do with Instagram and everything to do with if they’ve done their homework first or not.

3 Ways You Can Level Up Your Instagram Marketing For Your Business


1. Know your community.  I'm not talking about your local community - although if that is who follows you - then obviously that will be helpful.  Im talking about your online community.  The people who like, comment, and pay attention to what you have to say.  KNOW THEM WELL! 

A trick you can do every day that will take you all of 2 minutes is after you make a post - click to the first 10 people's profiles who like your post and if they're real people (you know what I mean) then leave them a comment or send them a DM to let them know you appreciate their support.  Bonus points if you let them know what you like about their account or message. 

And in honour of Valentine's Day coming up - I'm thinking this will be quite the nice surprise for someone to have a little extra love in their DM box!

2. Take your own photos.  I may be a photographer, who happens to get paid from time to time so this is basically second nature to me now but there is NO excuse for not watching a few how-to YouTube videos, reading thru a few blogs or at the very least - studying an account you love to find out how to take decent photos with your phone. 

I'd say majority of us have iPhones or androids now (anyone with a flip phone out there?!) so you have no excuse of not having a camera.  Good light, a good main subject (what you're focusing your photo on), and a bit of composition know how (rule of thirds is your friend! Google is your friend!) will take you further than your competition every time.  

Don't wait until your business is doing well enough to hire someone to start documenting your brand - do the research - and practice!!! Take a photo of something that helps tell your story - and then take 10 more photos of that thing until you get something good. Throw a filter over it (choose one..only one…) and voila.  

You’ve got content.  

Easy peasy right??? 😅😳 

Show of hands - who out there struggles with taking photos they can actually be proud of with their iPhone?? Is this something that holds you back when you want to post to Instagram?  Keep reading! I have a couple videos for you at the bottom of the page that will help!

I also did a mini tutorial on my Instagram Stories (that I saved to my Photography highlights reel so you can view it any time!)  Here are a few examples of simply shifting my body and where I took my photos from to get a different shot of the same subject.  It's all about light!!


3. Tell a story in your captions that connects you, your community and your images.  This part seems tricky - and with practice it definitely gets easier.  But the biggest thing to remember when you set out to write some captions for your photos is this: 

Your people want to hear what you have to say. 

You are not full of yourself because you write from your own experience. 

Ask yourself before every post: Is it real, and does it add value? 

If you're writing honestly from a positive place - you will 100% connect with people and you will earn their trust. 

And when you earn their trust, you earn their respect. 

And when they respect you - well, you become their go-to for whatever it is you're selling, or offering. 

Want more clients? Get more real people on your side because you care about them - and make it less about what you're selling them in the end. 


I can’t leave you high and dry without some actionable steps. 
Homework time!!

  1. Get out a sheet of blank paper and jot down point form everything you feel your ideal client/customer is.  Do not hold back, get really gritty and specific when you answer these:
    * What is your clients biggest pain point that you help solve
    * Why does your client/customer get up every morning? What is the most important to them?
    * What does your client/customer find attractive or interesting about you? 
  2. On that same piece of paper, jot down 10 things you can photograph in your daily life/business that your client (that you just thought deeply about) would relate to.  What commonalities or interests do you share with them?
    Ideas could be: Coffee, donuts, nature, baby animals, plants, dirt?! Anything!
  3. On the back of that paper - jot down point form the top 3 questions you get asked all the time.  Can’t think of any?  What are the most common things you tend to hear when someone meets you, views your website, views your social media or sees what you have to offer.
    Ideas could be:
    What do you do?
    How do you do that?
    How can I do that?
    Where did you get that?
    Where can I find that? etc

Here are a few great links to help you get inspired to create better content for your Instagram accounts.  I am not connected to these videos or the people who made them - I've just picked up great tips from them! 

5 Tips to Instantly Up Your Photo Game

Take Better Shots With Your iPhone

I’ll leave you with those thoughts for now!

If you want me to give you a little extra help - send your finished homework back to me! I want to see photos of your messy brain storms on your page.    Send me a DM on Instagram any time - I would love to connect.

I know once you find your groove - you'll start to feel more in control of your Instagram content and you'll actually be excited to post it!! 

Next steps are coming - I can’t wait to get into the visual side of things with you! Photography tips, planning your instagram grids + creating a cohesive brand.  Coming soon!


PS! The images I used above were from this gorgeous woman's Business Branding Photography Session.  Interested in having me capture you and your business? Send me a message via the contact page and let's chat!

PS! The images I used above were from this gorgeous woman's Business Branding Photography Session.  Interested in having me capture you and your business? Send me a message via the contact page and let's chat!

Instagram vs. Reality

I’d like to think I can see through the bull shit when I see it - or hear it.  Instagram is such a funny place to hang out, because it’s full of BS, people trying to sell me things, people trying to pretend all you have to do in life is to “quit your job and travel the world!”…  And believe me, after a while of seeing these beautiful posts - I begin to believe it.   


I feel myself get tired of never having enough.  Time, money, patience… you name it.  It seems like some people I follow have amazing 6 or 7 figure incomes that they created for themselves (from nothing!), while spending months away on sabbaticals and letting their “dream teams” run the show.  They make it seem SO attainable and that if I just reach out and grab it, it can be mine too.  Heck, maybe they’re right.  Maybe I’m not trying hard enough…


But then life-altering events happen to those I love, and all that BS I was just talking about has to take a back seat. 


Instead of worrying about why I don’t make 6 figures, I am worrying if my friend will survive  yet another brain surgery to hug her family tight again.

And instead of wishing I could book the next flight somewhere exotic to escape, I am wishing I could evaporate the mass that is causing her life to turn upside-down with my positive thoughts and prayers.


This session with Chelsea in her mama’s back yard seemed small, but it was big. 

We both felt the weight of the last year shift into something lighter. 

Now was the time to get started, there’s no reason to wait.

This woman is on a mission to serve her talents to her community through her art, yoga, movement, and story.  Thanks to her experience, she doesn’t have the luxury of whining about a false reality on Instagram.  Instead, she’s busting her butt to achieve big things NOW.  Now that she has been given more time.

To follow along Chelsea’s journey, check out her instagram @ccardart.  She is a ridiculously talented woman especially with a paint brush, a yoga mat, or a cup of tea and an old couch.  (ok, that last one is only if you’re her bestie..but still!)

Also - if you fall into an Instagram wormhole - send me a DM.  I’m probably doing the same thing and I could use something to snap me out of it!  It’s ok when you dig in to a juicy account full of amazing advice, stories and connection - it’s not ok if you’re starting to doubt if anything you post.



3 Things My Instagram Account Taught Me About Myself

Who else feels like starting fresh is just as much exciting as it is terrifying?

I feel as though I often underestimate the learning curve when I try new things - especially techy things for my business - because I assume I should already know what I'm doing. (Lol... yeah, no pressure right?)  I mean, I know we all start somewhere, and I know that others who are doing "well" started out just like I am... but it never ceases to amaze me how much expectation I put on my ability to adapt and excel. 

3 Things my Instagram account taught my about myself, that really made me laugh, are these:

#1   I as mentioned above - everyone starts somewhere and I am very aware that I do not have it all figured out.  Heck, I admit that all the time because it's true!
Here are a few posts from my Instagram that clearly make note of my higher than average expectation for myself. 

 Look what I wrote back on December 9, 2015

And then again on Feb 28, 2016...

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 9.08.34 PM.png

annnnd then again on Feb 6, 2017.

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 9.25.02 PM.png

Lesson learned?
Relax and chill already! We're all exactly where we should be.

#2  I write really good "note to selfs" :P  Like, if I were anyone else - I would totally write it on a sticky note and add it to my daily mantras.  BUT! alas... I tend to forget just as soon as I've written it.

Post from January 24, 2017...

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 9.30.16 PM.png

And again on April 19, 2017... 

Screen Shot 2018-01-23 at 9.42.34 PM.png

So, NOTE TO SELF: listen to self.

#3    Celebration has never been my strong point - I'm always looking for the next path to where I want to go, rather than stopping for a brief second and realizing what I just went thru was fucking amazing!  I know I'm not alone with that, it's an issue among many of us ladies.. Am I right?

Typically, we might send a text - or maybe a funny meme to our bestie - and move on with our day.  Or MAYBE - call our one friend (who is sincerely happy when good things happen for us) to let them in on the accomplishments.  I mean, I'm not speaking for everyone - but to me this is kinda pitiful!  We owe ourselves the love - and cheerleading - we so freely give to other people.

My most popular post - ever! -  makes me think I should plan to celebrate and "let loose" a little more.  It also makes me laugh because I was literally dancing half naked - which is something I don't do enough of apparently. :P

You'll have to click this link to see which Instagram post made it to the top my 2017 Instagram Insight charts ---- by a LONG shot!

Moral of this story?  Sometimes we need to look back to see how far we've come (and celebrate!!!)... but sometimes we need to look back to realize that we're still stuck in the same place.  Maybe now is the right time to finally bust thru that proverbial ceiling and go for it?! 

What do you think??  Have you swiped through your old posts lately to see what common thread takes place? Do you tend to share a lot, or not much at all?  

Join me on Instagram and send me a DM to let me know what you thought of this blog post!  I have a strong urge/need to write write write this year, and I wanted to find a way to make it all work together without spending every night writing captions, blogs and emails... (Work smarter not longer right??.... or...harder? :| Maybe its the millennial in me! LOL)
Let me know if you're curious about what I'm up to!


PS - take a peek at my Instagram profile/grid to see the new look taking shape! 

Why Marketing Your Local Business On Instagram Will Help Your Clients & Your Profits


You may already have an Instagram account that you do your best to post to as often as you can, but it doesn't seem to help promote your business and make you any more money than when you weren't doing it.  Can you relate?  I want to share a few reasons and tips about why to transform your focus and make Instagram your main source of marketing for your local business. 

Why focus on Instagram?

- Instagram is visual, which means you can speak directly to someones emotions, likes, dislikes, wants and needs almost instantly without them reading a word. Fear your business isn't visual or product based? Not a problem - curating and crediting* images from other accounts that speak to those who are your idea client/customer can be used to help build your brand.  *heavy stress on the crediting part! never use a photo without proper accreditation to the owner or creator

- Your local clients and customers are already using it personally, or for their businesses. They are following small businesses who they connect to, or whose services or products they love from all over the world - so why not locally?  Creating raving customers and fans that support you throughout the year is usually the goal of any small business and Instagram can help with that in a big way.

- Instagram allows its users to have an account, post to their account, use hashtags, and interact with others from all over the world + in their own communities at no cost. Marketing can be SO expensive - and the fact that we have the option of a free account on Instagram is pretty great. Well, the cost can come later and I'll tell you what I mean in a minute.

- Above all - more and more people of all ages, shapes and sizes are using Instagram to help them find what they need - especially in their local area using hashtags and following their favourite businesses.  That means more and more business owners have to step up their visual and strategic social media marketing game to stay top of mind.

So - I guess the question for those of you who still haven't embraced the idea of using Instagram as a main source of their marketing efforts is: What is stopping you??

Can you relate to any of these blocks?

  • Professional photography for custom images of my business is too expensive and frankly, not necessary (GAH! it hurt to write that :P)
  • I don't have time to manage my Instagram account on consistent basis
  • I don't understand how to use the Instagram app (YouTube is an amazing resource! - click here for a quick Instagram 101 video I found)
  • I can't afford to hire someone else to do it for me
  • My client's aren't on Instagram (says...who?  I'll explain how to know for sure a little further down)

Ok. You get the point.  What I see in all of these blocks is the fact that the people saying them don't understand the value Instagram can give to them and their business. And because I am so crazy obsessed with sharing exactly WHY it adds value for you - you've come to the right place and you should definitely sign up for my email newsletters!! (shameless plug! had to! :P)

Let's talk about costs.

The cost of marketing is anywhere from free to tens of thousands of dollars a year - heck - maybe even hundreds of thousands?!?!  But for now, lets stick to what it really costs to run a great Instagram account for your business if you are managing it yourself.

  • Cost for Instagram use: FREE
  • Cost to preschedule your posts to allow yourself time to breathe and NOT do Instagram while scarfing down some lunch or getting your kids ready for school? FREE
  • Cost for taking some of your own photos with your iPhone or mobile device and editing them yourself: FREE
  • Cost for curating and crediting content from other accounts that you love, your clients love and that supports your visual branding vision: FREE

So - it IS possible to do this for no cost, but if you want some help or you're ready to step up your marketing game and truly stand out in your niche - here are a few ways to do that.

  • Professional brand specific photography: (starting from $1000+ depending on who you hire)
  • Visual branding guidance and consultation: (starting from $500 depending on what you may need specifically)
  • Scheduling and analytic programs: ($50-$150/year if you'd like all the bells and whistles)
  • Full time social media manager or assistant to do it for you: (starting at $35,000 + /year)

The benefits to stepping up your marketing will be clear to you after you've put in the time to build your account organically.  You'll begin to see upward movement in your sales and in turn, create raving fans and followers.  At this point, it'll be a no brainer to hire the professionals and gain even more momentum for your business but it is definitely not necessary to get the results you want while you're just starting out.  You do have to put in the effort and work yourself, however.

How can you be sure your clients/customers are using Instagram?

The easiest way to find out if your clients and customers are using Instagram is to ask them.  Ask them in person, via email, or on your Facebook or Instagram pages.  Just ask!
Get comfortable spending time on Instagram and responding to every comment that comes your way and truly listening to what is being said.  Not only on your account, but on other accounts just like yours.  What are people connecting to?  Where do your clients and customers need help? How can you become someone they trust before they even think to hire you?  Be on Instagram to have great conversations with people - not just to sell your products, services or "convince" them to come into your store.

After doing this research, you find your clients are NOT on Instagram - what do you do?  Well, considering how fast our society moves and adapts to new social platforms - I would still advise you to spend some time marketing there.  Technology can change over night and your clients are becoming more and more comfortable with this method of advertising.  
Chances are: there is someone else in your field or line of work who IS using Instagram successfully - it's just a matter of paying attention to what works and honing in on your message and visual brand.

Hashtags + local businesses = #goldmine !!


Hashtags are like free advertising for your business but only if used correctly.  Because our clients and customers are using Instagram as a way to search businesses, places to eat at, activities to do and where to shop before they get to where you are - it's SO IMPORTANT to use location based hashtags when adding to the comments on your posts.  
For example: If I were a yoga instructor, looking for more local students - I would most definitely use #yourtownyoga or #yourtownyogastudio or #yourtownyogaclass.  Basically, any words that can be used as keywords in a search, you're going to want to use all variations of that. Think as if you are a potential client- what would you enter as a keyword to find you on google?  

Always use the "add location" option when creating your post to put yourself on the map. AND! If you use a business Instagram profile account (check your settings) - you can add your location to your profile and Instagram will direct your clients and customers right to you with one click of a button.  Pretty cool, hey?

**HASHTAGS TIP** Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags to be used per post, and rumour has it that they are cracking down on any accounts that use the same hashtags over and over - so create at least 2-3 different "sets" of hashtags to copy and paste to your posts that you can cycle through.  I personally keep mine in the notes app on my phone for copy and pasting.

Don't know how to find your targeted hashtags?  Start by seeing what your competitors (who are active on Instagram) are using.  Just always make sure you check the hashtags before using them in your posts!  You don't want to be using any that might be inappropriate for your company, or that are completely overused and your post will be lost within seconds.  Aim to find hashtags that are used anywhere from 1000 times to 100,000 times.

What did I miss?

Did I miss touching on anything you'd like to know more about? Send me a direct message (DM) on Instagram or connect with me below. 

I know this has a lot of information to digest, but the main point I want to hit home is how important it is to get really clear on who you are, what you offer, how you can help your local clients and customers and translate that into a carefully thought out Instagram account. Doing this WILL increase your income, profits and authority in your local area.  

Tired of trying to figure it all out on your own?
Connect with me to find out if I can help you along your Instagram marketing journey!