You can be a totally badass brand marketer and have absolutely no idea how to market yourself on Instagram. That’s how I felt when I sat down to talk with creative entrepreneur and brand storyteller Lauren Maillian. Lauren has built several businesses, been a model and a television host, is a bestselling author, and has a phenomenal Instagram feed—and I was lucky enough to have the opportunity to interview her for my Facebook Watch show, “Work It.”
I’ve been building brands’ presences on social media for years and can effectively tell a story that moves the needle—not just likes and comments, but the actual bottom line of the business. And yet, when it came time to promote myself as an author and speaker, I wanted to hide my head in the sand. Eventually, I learned how to “work it” and build a brand for myself without feeling awkward. And what I learned in the process is that everyone should put a little bit more thought into how they personally approach social media. So if you’re a brand marketer who is at a loss for how to market yourself as a leader, here are some tips I learned from Lauren.
1. There’s more than one message in a single picture.
One picture can be more than just a snapped moment in time—and if you want to really get good at this, think about what the picture says about you. During our conversation, Lauren talked about how if she took pictures of herself on the beach all day, people might miss the fact that she’s actually a hardworking single mother. So she thinks deeply about the photo and the corresponding caption. Think before you post, and make sure the image represents the best of what you want to show the world.
2. Keep your feed focused.
There’s a difference between Lauren’s Instagram feed and her Instagram Stories. While her feed is perfectly curated, she shows far more casual moments in her 24-hour Stories. I found this to be really helpful because I do love posting pictures of my family in fun moments, but I don’t want to lose that as I step up my Instagram game. Lauren’s advice: Keep the feed focused and save the everyday moments for the Stories.
3. Portrait Mode FTW.
(That’s “for the win” for all you non-millennials.) I was admiring Lauren’s pictures when she dropped a truth bomb that I never realized: They’re not taken by a professional photographer. They’re taken by friends who just know how to take a picture! Some tips for us novices? Use Portrait Mode on your IPhone for the crispest focus, with a cool blurred background. And on Instagram Stories, they’ve now added a “focus” lens to achieve the same effect in selfie mode too. My pictures immediately stepped up a notch after that tip!
If you’re a brand marketer asking “Why should I do this?” remember: You won’t be at your job forever. And when you’re interviewing for your next job? You can bet your potential employer is looking at your social media. Now’s the time to take control of your brand and work it.
For more advice about creating a picture-perfect Instagram, watch the full episode.