Are you ready to start collaborating with brands on social media?

Listen to The Geeky Gentleman Podcast Episode 18: Inhumans Rebooted In The MCU & 7 Beginner's Tips To Becoming An Influencer On Instagram here!

One of the questions I get asked a lot is how I got into the whole Instagram content creation game. For me, I started around 7 years ago and did what everyone did at first and posted pictures with my friends. Also, I posted a lot of pictures at the beach because I was always there and that’s when I got hit up by my first brand.

They were willing to send me swimwear, for free, if I tagged them in the photos. That’s when I realized that there was something here.

If you’re wondering where to even start then I got some tips to help you. Remember, this isn’t something that is going to take off overnight and will require time and effort. But be patient, who knows, maybe you'll take off overnight once you put the work in.

1.) Define Your Niche

Your niche is the topic of your Instagram. Will you be posting about fashion? Fitness? Travel? Food? Or all of the above?

For example, my niche is men’s fashion & grooming, travel, with a spice of geekiness. But I wasn’t all that at first.

At first, I was swimwear and then morphed into more of a fashion account and so on. If you’re starting, I would pick a niche that you can become an authority on and speak with a strong voice and grow from there.

2.) Create A Unique Instagram Handle

Your handle is essential your new calling card so you want it to stand out amongst everyone else. Sure, you can use just your name but odds are someone else has it.

Personally, I don’t like handles with numbers in them.

For the longest time, my original handle was @dcal25 because my birthday is on the 25th of February and @dcal was taken. But every time I would say it aloud or think about it I would just think that 24 other people had this handle before me. So I wanted something cool and different.

My tip for you guys if you're trying to think of a cool handle is to play with alliteration. Alliteration is the occurrence of the same letter or sound at the beginning of closely connected words.

Stan Lee did a good job using alliteration with the real names to some of his most popular superheroes. Scott Summers, Reed Richards, Peter Parker, Stephen Strange, Bruce Banner, the list goes on. Names with an alliterative element are easier to remember and flow off the tongue with ease.

I made a list of all the d-words I liked that fit my niche that I could put in front of my nickname DCal. Dapper, dashing, and debonair were a few and then I hit drifting!

An avid traveler and self-proclaimed “fashion wanderer” drifting stuck out to me and then that’s when I changed my handle from @dcal25 to @driftingdcal.

3.) Follow Your Hashtags & People In Your Niche

Now that you know your niche and have an epic and memorable handle it’s time to go into your Instagram and follow your hashtags and people in your niche. If you're posting about fitness then you need to find out what the popular hashtags are within that niche and follow them just like you would follow a person.

You’d probably follow the hashtags #fitness, #fitnesstips, #workoutroutines, etc.

Since I post a lot of men’s fashion content I follow #mensfashion, #mensstyle, and #menwear.

You want to be following these hashtags because then you'll be connected to all the other people posting around your niche. You want to follow those people in your niche that are posting content that you find inspiring. That way you'll always be inspired to be creative and also see what others are doing in your niche.

4.) Create High-Quality Content

Now, this is where people find it difficult. You have to go above and beyond just a normal picture because there's a lot of amazing content out there. I’m not saying go buy a new camera but you have to be clever and put the time in to get the photos that will resonate on Instagram.

Any decent smartphone can grab amazing pictures. Some of the pictures I post on Instagram are still from my iPhone XS Max. But, blurry pictures or lack of lighting in a photo will just look poor on your Instagram. Remember, you want to be creating this content so that when brands look at your feed they know what they'll be getting if they want to collaborate with you.

If you don’t know what makes a good picture, because it does require a good eye and skill, then I recommend you read up on photo composition and good lighting.

Your content needs to match your niche. For me, I always make sure to take one epic photo in my full outfit so that my followers can see it clearly on my feed. That way, they can see the whole look and brands I collaborate with have a shot to use on their on social media.

Then, I take detail shots of my shoes or accessories to highlight them too. Instagram is already full of content. Check your hashtags to see what other people are doing to get an idea of what you should be aiming for. The content that ends up on your feed will be your calling card to brands so you want to make sure that everything on your feed is top quality.

5.) Develop An Aesthetic To Your Feed

This is something I wish I knew when I started on Instagram. You want to create a cohesive feed that’s aesthetically pleasing for your audience. Now, do you need to do this? No. But, this is one of the things that set people apart from the masses. The ability to plan ahead and know how your feed will look while editing your photos, in the same way, will make a cohesive feed and keep people on your Instagram longer.

Which is what you want because then you have more of a chance for higher likes and engagement.

I recommend learning a photo editing software like Lightroom. I use Lightroom for all my pictures. I usually create an edit for each season and then I keep that edit across all my pictures so that they look cohesive. Find a design that works for you and keep consistent!

6.) Commit To A Posting Schedule

As you go on creating content for Instagram you want to try and maximize your time to get as much good content as you can. This way, you can begin developing a consistent schedule to post regularly on Instagram. Try to work yourself up to at least one post a day. But, don’t worry about trying to hit that if you’re barely starting off.

Always keep quality over quantity!

7.) Engage, Engage, Engage

You can’t just post on Instagram and expect everyone to come to you. Go out and search people in your niche and engage with their content! See who’s commenting and liking your content and engage with those accounts. It’s all about building a community and answering those DMs and replying to your comments.

There you have it guys. Seven Instagram 101 tips to help you get your Instagram prime to begin collaborating with brands. Get your Instagram profiles ready and in an upcoming podcast, I’ll give some more advanced tips on how on to continue developing your Instagram profiles and get on the radar of your favorite brands.

Listen to The Geeky Gentleman Podcast Episode 18: Inhumans Rebooted In The MCU & 7 Beginner's Tips To Becoming An Influencer On Instagram here!

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