How to Craft the Perfect Instagram Profile

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Your Instagram profile is your shop window. Let’s imagine: you are walking along a row of shops wearing your favourite polka dot dress. You walk past a skater shop, a wedding hat shop and a kids clothing shop. The next shop you come to has polka dot dresses and tops in the window. Which shop do you walk into?

This is the same concept with your Instagram account. When people find your account they look at your profile and decide whether or not they want to follow you. So you need to give them enough information for them to make an informed decision.

This also means that your target audience will follow you and the people who aren’t interested won’t become your clients. You see, it’s not about HOW MANY followers you have, but whether they are the RIGHT followers for you and your business. This is why you can have a successful online business with only 1000 followers.

There are 4 elements to your profile, so lets break it down and optimise each section for maximum engagement on your Instagram account.

Profile Photo or Logo

Having an awesome profile photo is definitely a winner on Instagram, and it’s hard to get it right as it’s so small! There are two types of image that you should go for:

1) If you are the only person in your business and are building a personal brand, then use a photo of yourself for your profile. It should be a good quality (not blurry) and ideally you should be looking at the camera; eye contact with your prospective followers is very important as they will connect with you on a personal level.

It’s also important that you are smiling in your photo. My favourite quote comes into play here: smile and the world will smile with you, frown and you’re all alone. So if you aren’t smiling, your expression needs to be at least positive and inviting.

2) If you are representing a company or brand, then use a logo as your profile image. If you have a logo already that’s fit for Facebook, Twitter and your website, then try changing the logo design so that followers know it’s still your brand, but it look great within the small circle.

Here’s some examples:

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The Ambition Plan’s logo on their website vs the logo they use on their Instagram profile.

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Your Name

If you are being your own personal brand, check your profile and make sure that at least your first name is on your profile! The number of times I have sent a personal message to people but not been able to say “Hi Jane” because they didn’t have their name there. It’s not so nice messaging people with just “Hi there”.

There’s a 30 character limit on your name, so make sure that you utilise this. So not only can your name go in there, but also an extremely short 2 word description of what you do.

For example, I have Charlie Garnham, Social Skills.

Your bio

This is the main part of your profile and you have 150 characters to get this right.

Make sure that you tell people the following:

  • Who you want as followers on your account. I’m not saying that you need to say “Follow me if you are 25 - 30 year old woman who wants to get fit”. But something that signals who the types of clients are that you work with.

  • What do you help your clients with and what problem do you solve? Is it social media engagement, is it weight loss or is it styling cute beachwear?

  • Call to action - this is actually a really important part of your profile, and should always be the last thing that you say which will be an invite to click your website URL which will appear just below this CTA (call to action). Some good call to actions are: download my free guide to get started, check this out to solve your problem or ring me to book your place. More about lead magnets and using them on your profile below!

Website URL

You only have one chance to send followers off Instagram and that’s the URL in your profile. You can’t put a URL in your posts because Instagram wants people to hang around the platform longer, and you can only put a link in your stories if you have more than 10,000 followers. So this link better be a good one!

Linking direct to your homepage on your website is ok, in some cases. But you want to be much more targeted than that. If you have an opt-in on your home page that pops up after 5 seconds of someone landing on it, then great to link to your home page! But if you have no way of getting people onto your email list, then I suggest another kind of URL in your profile, try a sales funnel or lead magnet.

Sales funnels and lead magnets

One of the easiest ways to get people onto your email list is to offer a free lead magnet - some kind of guide that your target market will get value from, like an eBook, how to guide, info booklet or template. To get your target market interested in the list, it’s a good idea to set up a landing page to link from your Instagram profile which takes people directly to the download page of the guide. From there, you offer the guide for free, in return for their first name and email address.

Their details go straight into your email marketing system which sends them the autoresponder for signing up. Then you can follow up with a trail of emails to help them get to know you better and engage with you.

You can set up a specific landing page on your website, or you can use something like Click Funnels which can create an amazing page and/or sales funnel for you. If you want to check out Click Funnels and the awesome funnels it can create, I recommend getting this expert secrets book on how to find your message, build a tribe and change the world. I have it, it’s not far from the best book I’ve ever read!

Changing your URL with every post

Some bloggers will write a blog post and change their Instagram URL to the direct link to that blog post each time they publish, then do a series of Instagram posts and stories about the blog so that people click and read it. This is a good strategy but one that requires hands-on work to change the link all the time.

Also, when the link is changed, the Call To Actions in the posts then become invalid, because instead of clicking the link to read about “why you shouldn’t use popular hashtags” post, they then end up reading a “Instagram cover images for highlights” post instead and this may cause high bounceback rates on your website/blog because the content they landed on was not what they were looking for.

Link Tree

Link Tree is a free online tool that you can use which combines all your links into one link. So what happens is you put the Link Tree URL into your profile, which then gives the clicker a series of other links to follow. You can set it up and change it within minutes, and you can name your links whatever you like. For example, you can have one link to your latest blog post, one to your sales funnel which has a lead magnet in it, and one to your latest YouTube video. Each link button can have a different call to action on it.

It’s a good way to show what you can offer to your audience, but be careful not to cram your Link Tree with lots of links so that you don’t end up confusing people and they don’t know what to click on. Also, if you have one link then there’s less likely that people will get distracted and click off.

I used Link Tree at the beginning of my business to understand what lead magnet or freebie that my target audience were more interested in. I posted 3 lead magnets; a webinar, a guide and a mini eCourse and found that the guide had more clicks and conversions than the other two so I removed those links and focused on just my guide.

In my profile, I then changed my call to action accordingly.

If you are stuck and want some more help with how to optimise your Instagram profile effectively, then check out my Facebook Group: Instagram Myths Debunked by Charlie Garnham. I will give you personalised hints and tips in the group as well as answer your questions by messenger too!

If you are looking for ways to light a fire under your business’s butt and get growing, then I highly recommend the Social Media Blueprint training course that I took when I first started. Not only do you get the course, but you get a success coach to help your individual needs too! Check it out here.

NB any links found in this article are affiliate links whereby I will earn a 40% commission on the product if you purchase. If you want to know more about affiliate marketing, check out my blog post here!

Why You Should Avoid Using Popular Hashtags

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If you are a yogi and you post on Instagram using the hashtag #Yoga, do you know how many millions of posts you are competing against to get yours seen?

59,676,703 at the time of writing this post.

Not only are you competing with that many other posts, you are also being very broad with your marketing and not honing in on your target audience and niche, which is the secret to success in the online world.

Let’s face it, if you conduct yoga classes in central London, you are probably not looking for people in Australia to follow you unless they are moving to London and want to find a yoga class to attend.

In this short video exercise, I explain how you can do the research to use less popular hashtags on Instagram to be able to reach a much more targeted audience.

For those of you who don’t want to listen or watch my video and would prefer to read, her'e’s a brief summary of my video:

There’s no harm at all when using popular hashtags that have been used millions and millions of times. However, we want to try and get you to use hashtags that are less well known so that it helps your engagement.

How to find hashtags that are less well known

The best way to find new hashtags for you to use is via the Instagram search function. So let’s say you are a pilates instructor, then type in #Pilates into the search bar, but do not press search. Lots of hashtags will then drop down that have the word pilates in it, and Instagram will tell you how many times they have been used.

You want to find hashtags that are:

  • relevant to you - so #PilatesAustralia isn’t a relevant hashtag for you if you are in the US

  • have smaller usage than a million preferably, but it’s ok to pick some that are less than 10,000 and some that are less than 100,000 too. The smaller the hashtag, that more likely that you will rank in the top posts for that hashtag, which means you will get more engagement.

Using these new hashtags

Once you have found a selection of good hashtags to use for your nice, copy and paste them into a notebook on your phone, or somewhere convenient so that you can access them at a later date for your posts. It’s not good to always copy and paste the same hashtags every time you post, but using a selection of them is always helpful for the algorithm to know you are not a spammy user.

If you want to learn more about how to do the research for your hashtags on Instagram, take the Hashtag Quiz. It will help you understand what kind of hashtags you need to use on your account to be able to grow organically and increase your engagement.

How to find free images for your blog

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Stock images are expensive (and rather awful mostly!) and as a business owner, you can’t be amazing at everything! So if you are anything like me, I can produce some nice imagery for my Instagram account, but I don’t have any photography training or an SLR to do some really good shots to represent my blog posts.

In this video training, I will show you 2 ways you can find royalty free images that you can use for your social media feeds and blogs.

Firstly, I will show you how to change the search settings on Google Images to find free photos. Then I will show you an amazing website called Unsplash where photographers from around the world upload their photos for you to use for free.

Click the play button below to begin!

How to create cover images on Instagram highlights

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Ever wondered how to create cover images for your Instagram highlights that match your brand, stand out and make people want to watch them?

This article is for you!

What are Instagram Highlights?

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Highlights are when you use the Instagram stories that you have previously published and publicly archive them in your profile for visitors and new followers to view. Stories will only last 24 hours, but highlights are a good way to bring your stories together under 1 or more categories and they will be available forever as long as you have them in your highlights.

Here’s my four top tips for highlights:

1) Use between 1 and 4 categories for your highlights. Any more and they won’t be visible on mobile and users would have to scroll across to see them

2) Don’t cram each category with lots of stories; people won’t want to watch through minutes of stories to see what you do. Three to 8 stories per highlight would be preferable!

3) If you have over 10,000 followers, it’s good to ensure that at least one of your stories in each highlight has a call to action to swipe up to find out more, leading to a landing page or product webpage.

4) When you create a highlight, Instagram chooses an image from your stories that you put into the highlight as the cover image. It looks much more professional to have specific cover images that match your brand, so watch the training below to find out more about how to change the cover image on your highlights.

Want to learn more about how to use Instagram for your business? Join my Facebook Group: Instagram Myths Debunked.

What Is Affiliate Marketing?

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I started my journey in marketing when I was 23 and most of my jobs were in business to business marketing (B2B). During my 10 years of marketing before owning my own business, I didn’t come across affiliate marketing much, although I did understand what it was.

To start with, I noticed it happening with Amazon products. Influencers with thousands of hits on their website per month with crazy high social media following were directing people to specific products on Amazon that they recommended. If you brought that product, the blogger would then get a percentage of that sale from Amazon for recommending it.

So this, in essence is affiliate marketing. Recommending products to people so that they purchase them and you get paid a commission.

Here’s 3 reasons why an affiliate marketing business is a great idea for your first business.

1)     Low overheads.

In a physical business, you have all sorts of costs that you have to be aware of, and sometimes it can take a long time to start making any profit because your sales have to exceed those costs. These are things like overheads, inventory, hiring, staff, storage, equipment and office space.

With an affiliate marketing business, you have very low overheads because most people will have access to some kind of laptop and internet to start with so you are set! The other costs involved in an online business are tools that you may wish to use to help you set your business on automation. So things like scheduling tools or email marketing software that sends autoresponders. Depending on the tool, they can cost anything between $7 and $97 a month when you first start out. You website costs can be very minimal too, with domain names starting at around $10 for two years, and when you buy a website builder like Wordpress or Squarespace, you can get hosting for $15 a month! So a very cost-effective start up.

2)     You hate selling.

You may have realised from my description of affiliate marketing, that essentially you are a sales person when you do it. Because earning a commission is all about being in a sales type business. But this is not the case!

To recommend a product is very different from actually selling it. Essentially, if you are an affiliate for a company, they should be selling the product for you, all you have to do if drive traffic to their website using your own affiliate link. I mentioned earlier about my business to business experience in the marketing world. These days, it’s more about human to human - so people selling to people by attracting them to themselves, rather than pushing out sales messages that turn people off. For example, instead of posting “buy my product” in a social media post or Facebook group, attraction marketing or “human to human” marketing is more about imparting your own knowledge in a niche field (mine is Instagram marketing) and building up a relationship with people who want to learn more about Instagram marketing. Once they know, like and trust me, the “sale” is then made but it doesn’t feel like selling.

3)     The earning capacity.

Being an affiliate on Amazon has a very low earning capacity – with a commission of 3 to 10% per product sold, the average product being $40 to $150 each, you would have to sell an awful lot of products to make $5000 per month. This means thousands of

There’s so many affiliate marketing companies out there now though, who give 40% commission on $3000 sales. That way, you earn $1200 per sale, and you only need to make 4 sales a month to make $4800! Imagine that, owning a business where you have to make 4 sales a month by talking to people and getting them to know, like and trust you…

If you reckon affiliate marketing is for you then check out this free 5 day email video course which shows you everything you need to know to make your first affiliate sale.

4 Signs You Should Fire Your Boss and Work on Your Own Terms

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I waited until I was 33 to start my own business and become my own boss, but I knew I would be an entrepreneur all the way through my 20s. So whatever doubt or fear you have had about being your own boss and quitting the 9 to 5 grind, don’t worry I’ve been through that too!

Here’s 4 reasons you should work on your own terms, and live the life you truly deserve.

1)You have a passion but you can’t use it in your current role

This is so common when you work in a hierarchy at a 9 to 5 job. Most people will be passionate about various things, be it hobbies, lifestyle choices, or even a dream of what they want to do when they get a new job. Sometimes, they see a colleague in another department doing something and they want to know more.

Some people have passions that are completely unrelated to what they are doing. Perhaps you want to be a coach or a masseuse, but you work as a contracts executive in a publishing house.  Leaving the comfort of your paycheck to completely change your career is daunting but totally do-able! I did it, and so can you.

If you want to find your passion in life, or you know what it is, quitting your day job is probably just about the most empowering thing you can do!

2)Your boss doesn’t listen to you or take in your ideas.

When you are your own boss, you can do what you want. Yes, sometimes you make mistakes, but you pick yourself up and start again and well… you’re stronger now. But a boss in a corporate office stops you from making those mistakes, but that also means that you are confined to never being able to try the ideas in the first place.

I found that I was talked over a lot in meetings when I worked in a large business. It was a male dominated world and I was very happy to say what I thought, but my thoughts didn’t count at all.  Most of my ideas weren’t taken because my colleagues were too confined to the restraints of the sector we worked in.

If you feel this way too, you’ll know it’s draining and hard work trying to impress people to produce better results, but knowing that the ideas wont be taken is just demoralising.

Working for yourself means that you can join other entrepreneurial communities and surround yourself with like-minded people who will push you on and help you develop ideas. And when you have a mentor or business adviser, it’s hard not to flourish with ideas!

3)You live paycheck to paycheck

When you are in a 9-5 job, everything is structured, and that’s great for some people. I was very happy getting out of unemployment at the age of 22 and into some form of structure where I got up at the same time every morning, got home and ate at the same time at night and did the same things at the weekend. But it also meant that I had a limited lifestyle. I couldn’t have random days off because corporates don’t allow it. You couldn’t work at different times, and sometimes you are even made to feel awful that you have a Doctor’s appointment!

It’s also hard to visualise your future, whether that be the short term where you want to go away for the weekend or on your next holiday – you might just be able to afford it but you might have to scrimp and save.

Being an entrepreneur means you are in control of your own destiny. With the right money mindset, you can manifest what you want to with your job; set the right price for your clients or product and get your marketing right and you will find that living from paycheck to paycheck is no longer necessary. You will start to realise you can afford impromptu weekends away in another country, or that you can buy that iWatch you have been eyeing up.

Put your fate in your own hands, not in someone else’s. I always like to say – if you don’t follow your dreams, you will end up working for someone who did.

4)The maximum number of weeks you can take off a year is 5 but that’s just not long enough to travel

In England, the legal minimum amount of holidays is 20 days plus bank holidays, and most corporates offer 25 with extra time offered for length of service. So this is 4 to 5 weeks annual leave per year. If you are looking to go travelling, you need a bit more time than that!  So this is why so many people don’t go travelling once they are out of university and into a job, because of the security of having a paycheck and not having enough time off.

If you work for yourself, you can decide when and where to take holidays. If you are an online entrepreneur, you can put your business on automation whilst you are away so that you can even still earn money whilst you are gone. These are things like scheduling social media posts and using autoresponders on emails. Within the first 2 weeks of setting up my business, I went away on my honeymoon and came back to 12 leads in my inbox!

So what are you waiting for… fire your boss already!

Working online is NOT a quick win, or get rich quick scheme BUT with the effort that you put in, it can happen much quicker than a traditional offline business. You don’t have to have thousands of followers on Instagram to make your first sale. Check out the exact Social Media Blueprint that I used to learn about how to start an online business.

NB the link above is an affiliate link where I will receive 40% commission on the $7 sale if you choose to purchase.