It's time for another Instagram case study, and this month I want to introduce you to an account that I am ob-sessed with! Social Studio Shop is a social media agency based in San Diego and they have really figured out how to use Instagram to promote their business.
To be quite honest, a lot of social media managers and agencies seem to struggle with how to present themselves on Instagram. So if you fall into this category, I want to take a good hard look at how this account uses Instagram because they are doing it really well!
Ok, but first, my obligatory disclaimer... I am in no way affiliated with Social Studio Shop. I have met the founder, Jessica, and she is a lovely, intelligent, and socially savvy business woman. However, even with that, I haven't discussed with her or their team how they use their Instagram account or what results they get from Instagram. I am not being rewarded, compensated, or paid in any way to write this post. This post is based entirely upon my opinions of their Instagram content from what I've seen shared publicly.
High Quality Images
There's one thing I preach to blog readers, webinar attendees, and people I talk to about Instagram. And that is the value of high quality images.
The problem is that this is so hard to "define". Because it differs for everyone and every brand in terms of what will work for them. But Social Studio has really figured out what works for them. I am legit obsessed with their photos. I haven't figured out if they travel with a ladder, light box, and professional photographer 😉 but their photos are top notch - every. single. time.
They stand out in the Instagram feed because they are quality. They are bright, airy, well aligned, and never cluttered. They aren't noisy, overly filtered, and they don't blend into the background.
But beyond just being high quality images, they tell a story of their brand. The images, though all different, are cohesive and branded through style. This is something I mention regularly - when you see one of their photos, you almost instinctively know it's theirs even if you didn't see their name attached to the image. This is power of emotional connection with your audience through imagery. It makes them stop and look because they know it's you and they want to see what you have to say.
If you've read any of these case studies to date, you know how I feel about a good bio. In fact, it's pretty much mandatory in my books. Because your bio is your 7 seconds to connect with your audience. Your photos are your first impression, but your bio is where they decide about you as a business. So this HAS to be well crafted and designed to reach your target audience.
You'll notice on Social Studio Shop's bio that the first section is all lower case. And I love that they did this because it's actually branded to their business. If you look at their website, they have forgone capital letters in headings, sections, and various content. So keeping that theme on Instagram is subtle but true to their brand style and voice.
You'll also notice that their bio isn't heavily laden with emojis or symbols and that it's very simple and streamlined. Yes, I tend to encourage people to space out their bio and add bullets or other formatting to allow their bio to stand out. But in the case of this account, I actually kinda like that it's more "simple" and "traditional" - it meshes with their brand and style more seamlessly. So, no, not everyone has to go cray cray with the formatting. Sometimes, simple is better.
Their bio also clearly states what they do and who it's for. There's no confusion. If you're not in this demographic, chances are this might not be the right business for you to connect with. And that's ok! They aren't trying to promote themselves to everyone!
Please STOP and think about this lesson for your business - especially if you're in social media management (but even if you're not) - you do NOT need to appeal to everyone! Stop and define your target audience. Then design your content, your message, your voice, your bio, and your context around that audience.
As of this posting, Social Studio is currently preparing for a live workshop event in Kansas City. Their bio is directing people to this information (via a custom, trackable bit.ly link) on their website to sign up, register, or get more information. This is what you should be doing if you're trying to use Instagram to promote an event!
Not only do I love the images they use, and the good bio, but the content they share is tailored to their audience.
They aren't oversharing photos of their weekend plans, vacations, kids, pets, selfies, or other distracting content. Although they do mix in the occasional fun post that relates to these things. But they aren't the dominant factor in their content by any means.
Instead, their content is related to their social media tips, blog posts, event promotion, business support, and business services that they offer. As a social media management company, this is paramount! You have to give your audience what they're looking for, while letting them know how and why you can help them.
Your content shouldn't be about you - it should be about your audience. Take a step back and evaluate if/how you are doing this!
Good Use of Captions and Calls-to-Action
Every single caption is informative, descriptive, relevant, or valuable to their audience. It may be a social media tip. It may be information on an upcoming event. It may be news about their business. It may be an inspirational quote. Or it might be a personalized tidbit of behind-the-scenes insight.
Whatever it is, they write descriptive and complete captions on every post. They use formatting - spacing, line breaks, and other features to allow their post captions to stand out in the feed. And while their posts tend to be a little longer, they aren't so long that you spend more time reading than viewing.
And, just as importantly, when they want you to take action, they give you a clear call-to-action to do so! While they typically direct followers to the link in their bio (you know I love when accounts do this!), they also encourage CTAs to email them, or tag people in the comments, and other varieties of action oriented statements.
Another powerful tactic they use (that so many ignore) is the value of a mock-geotag or geotag to provide more direction or clarify a call to action. Social Studio does this frequently! And this is really handy if you change the link in your bio frequently. Putting the link you want people to go to in the geotag (or post caption) - as an easy to use/remember bit.ly link - means they can still find the content after you've changed the link in your bio.
BTW, you can't actually see the geotag in this post or on desktop but if you view this on your mobile device, or scroll through Social Studio's posts, you'll see how they use the geotag section efficiently.
Because they are doing things the right way for their audience, they are seeing great engagement. They average anywhere in the 4-10% range for likes and often see double digit numbers for comments. With just over 2000 followers, these are great numbers for engagement from their audience and show that they're giving them what they want.
But beyond just the engagement from followers, they do a really good job of responding to comments on their posts. This is something that too many people just don't do. But these ladies respond - they respond with personality and a personalized response to each comment. And this is just one more reason they are growing their community on Instagram and building their business. Because they are forging real relationships with real people.
If you are a social media management company or agency, I really hope you get some valuable lessons from this account - and I recommend you follow them to see what they're up to on a regular basis! And if you're not a social media company, I hope you still look at the key lessons here and find unique ways to set your business apart from your competition on Instagram!