Share Your Art: Instagram for Creatives | Liz Brindley | Skillshare

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Share Your Art: Instagram for Creatives

teacher avatar Liz Brindley, Illustrator & Creative Coach

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

22 Lessons (2h 23m)
    • 1. Welcome!

    • 2. Share Your Class Project

    • 3. Gather Your Materials

    • 4. Shift Your Perspective

    • 5. Create a Business Account

    • 6. Post to Your Grid

    • 7. Create Compelling Imagery

    • 8. Create Your Captions

    • 9. Pick Your Hashtags

    • 10. Share to Stories

    • 11. Post to Highlights

    • 12. Share on IGTV

    • 13. Create a Reel

    • 14. Go Live!

    • 15. Build Your Bio

    • 16. Create a Posting Schedule

    • 17. Plan Your Posts

    • 18. Market a Big Launch

    • 19. Build Community

    • 20. Set Boundaries

    • 21. Move Off of the Platform

    • 22. Thank You & Next Steps

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About This Class

In this class, I'll teach you how to use Instagram to share your art, grow your creative business, and build a lasting community who fully supports you and your work.

I am an Illustrator who has spent the past 3 years using Instagram to build my creative business, Prints & Plants, as well as the past 2 years creating the Instagram content for a local food company. Now, I’m excited to share all that I’ve learned with you in this class.

I have poured every bit of knowledge that I’ve gathered first-hand about Instagram into this class so that you can share your art with ease while building a community who shows up for you and your creative business.

This class is for you if:

  • You know you need to be sharing your artwork, but feel overwhelmed by Instagram
  • You are lost when it comes to the words “algorithm” and “engagement”
  • You’re a total beginner to Instagram and have no idea where to start
  • You’re a seasoned pro on Instagram, but need some fresh ideas for your content
  • You want to build a loyal, engaged audience for your creative work
  • You are ready to sell your art on Instagram!
  • You’ve become disenchanted with Instagram and need a fresh perspective of the platform

In This Class, You'll Learn How to:

  • Use Instagram as an effective marketing tool for your creative business
  • Use Instagram as a powerful tool to build an authentic, long-lasting community who fully supports you and your creative work
  • The ins and outs of Instagram. From Images, to Stories, to Reels, to Lives - we’re covering all of it
  • Create a post schedule that is totally manageable for you and your creative rhythm
  • Create compelling and engaging content on your Instagram page
  • Engage your audience consistently and authentically

You'll Walk Away From This Class With:

  • Tangible tools that you can implement right away to share your art on Instagram
  • The ability to form real connections through Instagram around your creative work
  • New ideas of what to share on your Instagram page
  • A schedule for when you’ll post and what you’ll post for the next month on Instagram
  • A fresh perspective of Instagram that feels easier, more fun, and authentic

What You Need:

  • A pen or pencil
  • Blank sheets of paper for notes and ideas
  • A phone with the Instagram app
  • The Instagram Content Calendar PDF linked in the Projects & Resources section
  • A creative vision and a readiness to share your art!

Free Download: 

Ready to dive deeper? Download your free guide, What to Post: 30 Instagram Prompts for Creatives right here.

Get Social!

Share your journey! Snap a photo as you work your way through this class, and post it to Instagram. Be sure to include #instagramwithliz and tag @prints_and_plants so I can cheer you on and share your awesome work to my page! 

Further Resources

1. A Step by Step guide to set up your Business Account on Instagram:

2. Dive into the “How to Brand Your Creative Business” Prints & Plants Blog Post I mention in the course:

3. Join the Prints & Plants Table for weekly creative inspiration, tips, and special promotions:

Join the Table

4. Learn more about Marketing on Skillshare:

Meet Your Teacher

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Liz Brindley

Illustrator & Creative Coach

Top Teacher



I'm a Food Illustrator in Northern New Mexico. Most days you can find me creating illustrations for clients, teaching online creative classes, cooking up meals with lots of local produce, or exploring local farms for inspiration.


I believe that creativity can give us a greater sense of awareness, peace, and mindfulness for the everyday joys in life. Whether you express your creativity through painting, drawing, cooking, dancing, singing, or raising a family, I believe that we each have creative contributions to give to this world.


My hope is to give you the tools and skills to express your creativity with confidence so that you, too, can share your vision and cra... See full profile

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1. Welcome!: Hey, I'm Liz. I'm a Food Illustrator, Online Educator, and Creative Coach. I'm so excited to welcome you here to the Prints and Plants studio for today's class, share your art; Instagram for creatives. I know as creatives, we hear this phrase all the time, share your art. While it's simple enough in theory, when it actually comes time to share your work to a platform like Instagram, feelings of hesitation can set in. Overwhelm from a long list of questions like, what do I post? When do I post? Does my community want to see process or just the final product? What's the algorithm? Did it change again? Lastly, how do I create engaging content? I know this can feel like a lot, but I don't want Instagram to feel intimidating to you anymore, and I definitely don't want this list of questions to keep you from sharing your art with the world. That's why I made this class. I'm here to show you that Instagram can be a powerful tool to grow your creative business, but more importantly, I want to show you how Instagram can be a tool to build a true, authentic, long-lasting community who's invested in you and your creative work. Because that algorithm, it's constantly changing. While there are some tactics to try to beat it, that's not my approach, instead, in this class, I'm teaching you how to use Instagram as an authentic tool to share your story, share your art, and build a community. In addition to using Instagram for my own creative business prints and plants for the past three years, I've also spent close to two years creating the Instagram content for a local food company in Northern New Mexico. So today, I'm combining all of the things I've learned from these experiences for you in this class. This class is geared towards beginners, but even if you've been on Instagram for a while, I think you're going to take away new insights and ideas that you can start to incorporate into your creative content. From captions, to hashtags, to stories, to reels, to going live, we're covering it all, so buckle up. Because you might still be sitting there thinking, okay, but where do I start? What do I post? I've created a free download for you called, what to posts; 30 Instagram prompts for creatives, that you can download through the link in the projects and resources section. Because at the end of the day, the world needs your art and it's time for you to share it. So you ready? Let's dive in. 2. Share Your Class Project: For your class project, you will print off the Instagram content calendar worksheet from the projects and resources section. You will then fill out a month's worth of content on the worksheet based on what you learn in this class, and share a photo of your plan in the class project section. I know this might sound overwhelming right now, but I'm breaking it down for you throughout this class so it will be totally manageable and doable. In addition to uploading a picture of your content calendar worksheet, you'll also share a screenshot of one post that you create on your Instagram account, based on what you learn in this class. That post can either be a grid post, a stories posts or both. If you have any questions, feel free to drop them in the discussion section. I can't wait to hear from you and see your new Instagram skills in action. In the next lesson, I'll let you know what materials you need for this class. See you there. 3. Gather Your Materials: The materials list for this class is short and sweet. For this class, you'll need a pen or a pencil, blank sheets of paper for notes and ideas, the printable Instagram Content Calendar PDF, included in the Projects and Resources section, a phone with the Instagram app, and a creative vision and readiness to share your story. In the next lesson, we'll talk about how Instagram doesn't have to be overwhelming or confusing, not if we look at it from a different perspective and treat it like a really fun dinner party. 4. Shift Your Perspective: I see Instagram as a really fun dinner party. It's a chance to meet so many different cool, creative people. You get to talk to the people in the kitchen over appetizers, you get to talk to the person seated next to you at the dinner table, and then after dinner you get to go mingle with the people by the fireplace sipping tea. This has become a really elaborate and long dinner party, but you get my point. There are so many people you get to meet on Instagram and it serves as an introduction just like a dinner party, and that sparks curiosity to get to know you better and to get to know the person you're talking to better. Instagram is like your hello at the party, the handshake, the brief introduction. It is where you can start a conversation about your work and the story behind your work. This conversation invites curiosity for your audience to learn more from you. Right now you might be sitting there doubting the power of Instagram, an app to create real connections. I totally hear you. The platform can feel overwhelmed with pressures to grow your account, or sell all the time, or just be about numbers, and while it is a powerful tool to build your business, it is also a powerful tool to meet new people and build your business by building real, authentic, lasting relationships. In this way, you get to share your work authentically to people who love your story, your creativity, and who want to support you on your journey. As I mentioned in the introduction, many of my current friendships in real life started with a simple message on Instagram, just like at a dinner party. This platform is all about connection. We'll dive into the many ways to make these connections throughout this course. In the next lesson, we'll discuss the benefits of a business account on Instagram and how to set one up. 5. Create a Business Account: If you are running a creative business or plan to grow your personal creative practice into a business, I recommend switching your personal account to a business account. Alternatively, if you're making a brand new account from scratch for your business, set it up as a business account from the get-go. Some of the main benefits of doing this are that one, you gain access to insights which allow you to see the demographic of your Instagram community, what times and days your community is on the platform, as well as engagement with your content, your posts, and your stories. Two. You get to add a contact button. You can include an e-mail address or a phone number to make it easy for people to reach out to you. Three. You can add a shop integration link to a platform like Shopify, where you sell your products. Four. You have the ability to advertise and make promoted posts on Instagram if you choose to do so. There are two ways to set up your account as a business account. One, if you have a personal account that you'd like to transfer into a business account, then in your personal account, go to your profile page and click on the settings icon, which is that gear symbol. Scroll down your list of options and tap on the "Switch to Business Profile" link. Make sure that you haven't set your account as a private account. It will ask you for your Facebook profile and a Facebook page to connect to for your business. Fill in those details. You'll need to be an administrator of the Facebook page to do so. Instagram will then ask you for your business contact details, write these out for your customers, including your business e-mail address, your phone number, and a physical address if you have a physical store front. Once you've done the above steps, you will officially have an Instagram business profile. Wohoo. The second way to set up your account as a business account is if you're starting a completely new account on Instagram. But you see the process is the same. You set up as a personal account and then immediately switch it to a business account. I've included a link to Instagram steps for this in the projects and resources section, if you need further clarification. In the next lesson, we're talking about that constant question, what do I post? See you there. 6. Post to Your Grid: The grid of photos on your Instagram profile page are like your handshake at that dinner party. It's an introduction to your creative approach, your artwork, and how you uniquely serve the world. Your grid on Instagram is not only your introduction, it is also your story. It is your shop for your products and services. If you are a creative who is a studio artist, it is also your visual portfolio. You can use these three themes: story, shop, and portfolio, as your guide when posting to your grid. Let's break each of these down. Number 1, story. I suggest leading your Instagram posts with your creative story because people connect with you, the human behind the product or service, before they connect with that product or service. People buy from people they know and trust. People connect to stories. Stories of how you started your creative journey, stories of why you do what you do, and stories about your creative process. In his book, Marketing Made Simple, Donald Miller says that there are three steps to build a customer relationship. One, curiosity, two, enlightenment, and three, commitment. Sharing your story first in your grid will build curiosity. Providing value to your audience will help them gain new insights and feel enlightened, which leads them to trust you and your work. When your audience trusts you, they are more likely to commit to you, your creative work, and your creative business by joining your e-mail list, buying your product, or enrolling in your course. This is where Instagram also becomes your shop or the storefront for your services and offerings. That's why you want to treat the posts to your Instagram good, as professionally, and intentionally as you would a brick and mortar shop. For example, if you are selling physical products like eggs, prints, or tea towels, you want to sell them and show them off with stellar photos. You can add decor and visual elements to set the scene like beautiful flowers next to the bag, a steaming mug of coffee next to the print, or fresh produce next to the tea towel. Think about how you would style, or a shop owner would style the display of your products in a store. Recreate this feeling in the photos you take to sell your products on Instagram. If you're selling a product like an online course, you can create posts to sell your course that feature beautiful behind-the-scenes photos or video snippets of you filming the class. You can create posts that include a short lesson from the course. You can create posts with a photo that shows you the teacher behind the course, and the story of why you chose to create this course, how the content has helped you on your journey and how it will serve your students. Whatever it is that you are selling through your business, show it off with beauty and your style. If you have an online store like Shopify, for example, you can link this story to your Instagram account. Once your story is linked, you can tag the products in your photos, which allows your community to easily click the photo and tap right through to buy the item from your site. To do this, you would go in to your profile and click to add a post to your grid. Then you would select the image that has the product you want to promote. Then you click "Next". I have this hand-printed cactus tote bag. You click, "Next". Do any editing that you want to do, click "Next" again. You could write your caption. Mine would be much more involved with just this, but just for example sake. There's that. You can tag people, but here you can see that you can also tag products. I clicked that, and now I'm going to click on the product. It will give me some suggestions from my shop. But I'm actually going to search directly for cactus tote bag, and there it is down at the bottom. The other two are different products and out of stocks, so they're grayed out. But this bottom one is cactus tote bags, so I'll select that. Then now you can see that it's tagged, it has the price. If anybody clicks on the photo, they can just click that tag directly, and it'll bring them directly into my shop to purchase, which is so simple and rat. This tag will only be an option if you've been approved for Instagram shopping. If you've applied and haven't been approved yet, don't fret. I think it took me about two years to finally get approved for the shop button on Instagram. I was rejected twice with no clarification as to how to fix it. Then suddenly, last month, I was approved. Keep going and keep trying, you'll get there. If you don't have that shop button yet and you're posting photos of your beautiful products, no worries. Just link to your product or your website in your bio. Number 3, Instagram is a visual portfolio for your artwork. It's always important to consistently share the work that you create. It's a good rule of thumb to post an image of your art either in-process or completed, at the very least every six posts. But ideally every three. That way your work will always be present in the top row of your grid. This is especially important for anyone who is new to your page, so that when they pop over to your profile to learn more about you, they can immediately get a glimpse of your creative work. It's also incredibly important to have your artwork front-and-center, so brands and businesses can easily find and understand your visual style when they are looking for artists partnerships on the platform. You can get even more specific with your posts and create a solid guide to help you write content by selecting 3-5 umbrella themes or topics that you can rotate through in your grid posts. For example, for prints and plants, my five themes are typically studio scenes with, let's say a photograph of a behind-the-scenes photo of an illustration in progress. Food, let's say a photo of a recipe, a source of inspiration, or an illustration in progress. Product; photos or lifestyle photos of products that are available in my online shop. Education. This could be a behind-the-scenes photo of me filming is Skillshare class. It could be a work in progress in the studio promoting my one-to-one creative coaching, or it could be a photograph of some of my favorite materials with a little caption blurb about why I love them and why I suggest them to other creatives. Lastly, mindfulness and presence. This might be a photo of food, a photo of nature, or a work of art that I'm currently creating. All of these themes are related to my creative business. I use these themes as a guide for my content. For example, if I am posting every weekday, I might designate Mondays as studio scenes. Tuesdays as food, Wednesdays as product, Thursdays as education, and Fridays as mindfulness. If I'm posting three times a week, I might designate Monday a studio scenes, Wednesday is food, Friday is product. Then the following Monday as education, Wednesday as mindfulness, and then begin the cycle of umbrella themes again with Friday a studio scenes. Take a moment now to brainstorm a list of themes related to you and your creative practice or business. For example, if you are a landscape painter, your themes might be, one, landscapes such as photos of inspiring landscapes. Two, behind the scenes. This could be studio photos or photos of you painting. Three, painting. This could be photos of your materials, process shots, process videos, or paintings for sale. Four, quotes. Quotes about nature, quotes about creativity, and quotes about landscape that inspire you. Five, travel. Photos of places you've been with landscapes that inspire you, or images of places that you want to go paint. You can brainstorm a list of themes and write your final choices on the Instagram content calendar worksheet in the Projects and Resources section as a guide for your grid posts. We'll dive deeper into these umbrella themes as well as when and how often to post in the plan your content lesson. By the way, for the days that you choose to post to Instagram, I recommend only posting once to your grid per day so as not to bombard your community. The number of times to post your stories per day is, well, another story, and we'll cover that in the stories lesson. Remember, Instagram is about connection and storytelling as much as it is about a shop in-store friend. Therefore, a good rule of thumb is to serve your community more than you asked for purchases. A solid rhythm is to create one sales post or an ask for every three posts in which you serve. Service in your grid posts can look like sharing your artwork. The beauty and joy you create and offer to the world is of immense value in service. A quick tip about how you work through creative challenges. Giving your audience a peek behind the scenes of your studio. Providing an answer to a common question you get about your creative practice, or a studio sale. To gain more insight into the content you want to post to serve your audience, take some time to think about who you are currently following on Instagram and what content you love to engage with. Jot down notes of any threads you find. This could be behind-the-scenes photos, it could be beautiful product photography, it could be short videos of your favorite artists talking about their process, so on etc. Just look for what you find compelling, what you find yourself commenting on, and wanting to see more of. Start to incorporate that theme into your own Instagram feed. But don't get too bogged down in comparison. Make this a brief exercise. Spend just enough time on it for inspiration. In the next lesson, we're diving into how to create beautiful imagery for your posts. 7. Create Compelling Imagery: Because Instagram is a visual platform, the photo is what cause people to dive deeper into learning more about your story. This is the first step that Donald Miller talks about in his book, Marketing Made Simple and that step is curiosity. A beautiful photo such as an image behind the scenes in your studio or a stunning new mug from your collection can spark the interest of somebody scrolling through their Instagram feed. It can spark just enough interests to lead them to read the caption and then click on your profile to learn more. To craft photos that spark interest and curiosity, first think about your creativity and your creative business aesthetic. Perhaps you have already created branding guidelines for your business that guide your visual decisions, or perhaps you have a general idea of the feeling you want to share through your business. For example, maybe you want your creative business to feel elegant, refined, and classy, or maybe you want it to feel simple, playful, and fun. If you're feeling overwhelmed or stuck here, I recommend selecting three words to guide your creative aesthetic. For example, when I did the rebrand for Prints & Plants, I focused in on three words, simple, joyful, and earthed. I want my images, illustrations and services to provide joy, refreshing simplicity, and presence to my community. The benefit of knowing the look and feel of your brand for business is that it provides consistency to your community and your profile. It gives your followers a solid understanding of your look, aesthetic, and approach. Make your imagery beautiful and consistent, but that said, don't make it too perfect. The most important thing is to stay authentic to you, your creativity and your creative business. Your brand look and feel can develop, evolve, and become clear over time through posting and sharing your work. Don't get too hung up here. Just start posting. If you want to dive deeper into this topic, you can dig into the foundational branding steps in my blog post, How To Brand Your Creative Business, which I've linked in the projects and resources section. I also highly recommend the book, How To Style Your Brand by Fiona Humberstone. Once you have an idea of your brand look and feel, it's time to take photos and make your imagery. The simplest and most direct way to snap a photo is with your phone. No fancy camera required. Most phones these days take enough high quality photos to create a beautiful representation of your work on Instagram. It's easy to carry around with you and take a quick snap of inspiration, a behind the scenes glimpse photo or a staged product photo shoot. Aim to use natural light when possible. If you have a window in your house or a studio that lets in natural light, even just a little patch set up your photo station there. It gives a softness and vibrant feel to your imagery. If natural light isn't an option for your subject or the focus of your photograph, no problem. Remember, it doesn't have to be perfect. This is where filters can come in handy. One app that I have used and that many creatives enjoy is called Vsco, which has many free filters with the option to purchase more filters if you'd like to. I've always been happy with the free options. You can adjust the settings of your photograph in the app to make it brighter or softer, even if the lighting wasn't ideal when you took your photo. Alternatively, you can also use the filters within Instagram. When you select the photo to post, you have the option to add a filter and edit the photo. Typically, I love to use the Clarendon filter because it adds a pop of brightness to the photograph. You can then go in to edit, adjust the brightness, contrast, warmth, and sharpness of the photograph to be even more detailed. Another trick that I like to incorporate to get a good filter on my photo is to hop into my stories and take a photo with a filter there. Then I save that photo to my phone and post it to my grid. For example, I can hop over to my profile and rather than uploading a photo I took on my phone, I can take this photo through my Instagram stories to get a filter. I just go as if I'm adding and then after a moment, you'll see my filters pop up as an option. There they are. I really like to use autumn filter, which is this one by Soy Diego. You can see here that just brightened up everything. I'm actually going to turn my camera for this one and just snap a photo here in my stories. I'm going to take that photo and then I can save it by clicking that arrow at the top. So it's saving to my library. Now, I can exit out. I'm not posting that to my stories. I can come down here to my grid to post something and there it is in that filter, and now I'm going to edit it to turn it like so, and zoom out a little bit, and move it over just a little bit. Then I might edit it a bit more. But that has the filter on it from the story. So if there's a filter you really love in stories, that's the way to use it in your grid. Let's talk about lifestyle photography. Similar to sharing your personal creative story, you can also share the story of your products. People love to imagine how they could use the product you are creating. Whether it's a tote bag, greeting card or a mug. Your community wants to see, and know, and understand how the product that you're selling, whether it's a handmade mug or an online course, can help them in their own daily life or on their own creative journey. Let's take a look at the images for physical products first. If you are a painter, an illustrator, a ceramicist or any other creative making goods to sell. A great way to tell the story is to create a library of staged lifestyle images of your products in action. There are a couple of ways to do this. The first is to take your own photos. I like to set aside a morning or afternoon on my calendar to photograph new products or samples from the print on demand partner that I work with. I gather props such as plants from the garden, flowers, or coffee in a bright mug. I then get a large white sheet of paper or use my desk, which is white, and photograph the setup from above in natural light. I do use a professional camera for these photos because I also use them on my website, but a phone camera works great. An alternative or an addition to photographing lifestyle images of your products is to create mockups. This is a super fun process. A mockup is usually a PSD Photoshop file that allows you to directly place your product, print, illustration, or pattern into the photo. You can find mockups on Creative Market or Pexel by searching mockups. You can then insert your products or patterns, save the images as jpegs, and use them as a library for posts on your Instagram feed. This gives your community a really great sense of seeing your products in action and how they might use them in their own life. For example, I created this journal mockup using a template from surface pattern designer Bonnie Christine. She had a blank journal and I went in and added the pattern that I had created to show people what it would look like on the journal when they ordered it. I created this journal lifestyle mockup using a free template from Pexel, giving somebody a feel of what it might be like to be at a coffee house using this journal with my print on it. I also created this bedding mockup using a template from Pexel to show my patterns on bedding at home to give people a sense of what it might be like to use that design every day. Get creative and have a lot of fun with these. The beauty of making many mockups and taking many lifestyle photos of your products is that you then have a library that you can continue to pull from again and again over time. Once you create the imagery once, it's ready to go and to share your work over and over. Now let's look at how to create that imagery if you are selling a non-physical object like an online course. Let's say you're teaching an online course about watercolor painting. You could share beautiful photographs of your materials, your studio, and your paintings in progress to show snippets of what your community will learn in the class. You could show a photo of you to give your community the opportunity to better know and build trust with you, the teacher behind the course or you can share photographs of you in the process of filming and creating the course to build up excitement and momentum about the course launch. These are just a few ideas of imagery to get you started with sharing services that are not necessarily physical products. Don't forget to share you. Don't get so hung up on your products and services that you forget to show who you are. People want to know who is behind the brand, the business and the creativity. People want to see you. Just like when you chat with somebody at that dinner party, you want to see their face to know who it is that you're speaking to. This builds trust and a deeper relatability to you, the person which in turn builds more trust and confidence in the beautiful products and offerings that you create. Go ahead and sprinkle some photos of yourself into your grid every now and then. These don't have to be professional photos. They can be a quick selfie of you in your studio, a photo of you enjoying nature, or a photo of you working on a new piece of art. I recommend sharing a photo of you every six or so posts and definitely have an image of the products or services you sell at least every six posts. This means that somebody will see both you, the creative behind the business and your offerings within the first few rows of images on your profile page. Let's take a moment to talk about multiple photo posts. The benefit of multiple photo posts is that if somebody has to scroll through their feed multiple times in a day, each time that they scroll past your multi-photo post, they will see a different image. For example, when I shared a behind the scenes post about the rebrand of my business, I created a multi-photo post. Therefore, when people saw it for the first time in their feed, they saw the first photo. When they scrolled past it a second time, they saw the second photo. The third time they scrolled past it, they saw the third photo, and so on. Another benefit of the multi-photo post is that it invites more curiosity for somebody to click the post and swipe through all of the photos in one go. This can deepen the sense of connection and engagement which can then lead the person to click through to your profile and learn more about you and your business. Remember, at the end of the day, don't worry about making every image just perfect. People don't want perfect and that pressure on you is not worth it. Do the best you can, post with intention, and focus on beautiful authenticity. Focus on sharing your story, your creativity, and your creative vision, and most importantly, focus on connecting with your community. Practice makes progress and you will get better as you post over time. Really, the very first image I posted to my business Instagram was this. More recently, I've gotten better with flat lays, lighting, and photography. But this has come through trial and error, and intention, and the action of posting and learning again and again and again. So get out there and post. Your people are waiting to hear from you. In the next lesson, we're diving into what to write for your Instagram captions. 8. Create Your Captions: Now let's talk about post captions. Your audience has stopped on your post because of the beautiful imagery you are sharing, and now they're ready to dive deeper to be enlightened by reading this caption. This is the space to continue to connect with your community. In the caption, you could just share another level of your business, your creativity, your story, and you. Remember, people connect to stories, so share your story in the caption. Be real, be authentic. You can share a story from behind the scenes in your studio, you can share about the inspiration behind your drawing in the photo, you could share a quick tip for creating a painting. With every caption that you write, ask yourself before you create and share, how am I serving my community with this post? How do I want my community to feel reading this and seeing this? Does this reflect my creativity, my creative business, me? In addition to sharing your story, the caption is a powerful place to offer free value to your community and lead them deeper into your story. Remember, it's a good rhythm that for every one post that you sell an item or service, you balance it with three posts that offer free value to your people. As we discussed in the post to your grid section, value in your caption might look like a story about your artwork. A quick tip about how you navigate creative challenges. Telling a story behind the scenes of your studio process, providing an answer to a common question you get about your creative practice, information about an upcoming launch or studio sale so that your followers are the first to know when that happens. Always include a call to action, also known as a CTA, in your post caption. I typically like to do this at the end of the caption, but it can also be powerful to include it right at the beginning. A call to action can be as simple as at the end of the post where you've shared that you're celebrating the completion of a project, you ask, "What's your favorite way to celebrate? Let me know in the comments." Other call to actions could be, "Drop a thumbs up if you agree," at the end of a caption where you share how excited you are about your upcoming collection lunch. "What do you love most about this season?" At the end of the caption, where you share about your latest ceramic mug collection with a story about why you love fall. "Visit my website to learn more, at the end of a caption where you share how your community can work with you through your creative business. Or, "Download my freebie on selling your art to dive deeper into this topic," at the end of a caption in which you share your journey to creative entrepreneurship. Of course, you'll want to make your call to actions related to your specific creative business and story. A call to action is important because it calls on your community to engage in your post and to start a deeper conversation. Just like at that dinner party, after sharing a bit about yourself, you'd return the question to the person you're talking to, to learn more about them and invite them into a deeper conversation. In the next lesson, we're diving into the world of hashtags. 9. Pick Your Hashtags: Let's talk about hashtags in the caption. Include hashtags at the end of your posts for more opportunities for people to find you and be introduced to your creative work. I include hashtags at the end of my caption and separate them from the main text by using a series of dots. This creates visual breathing room for people to read the content. To break up a lengthy caption and separate out the hashtags, you can separate the text into paragraphs with dots like you see here, or you can download an app called GramSpacer for Instagram to break up the caption with spaces instead of dots. I haven't used that app yet, but I've heard really great reviews. A good way to decide on the hashtags you'll use is to sit down with each of the umbrella themes you created in the grid lesson one at a time, and brainstorm a list of relevant words or phrases that people might search for to find that theme. For example, for my umbrella topic of food, I might jot down words and phrases like agriculture, seasonal eating, farming, local food, recipes, dinner, and garden. After you've brainstormed ideas and you've run out of new words, hop to the search bar in Instagram and type in the words you've written down to search for more hashtags. For example, #food or #agriculture. When you search for the hashtag you already have in mind, you can see similar hashtags that people search for related to the one you thought of. This can give you more hashtag ideas for your umbrella topic and your posts. You can also see how many posts or tags without hashtag. I personally recommend not using hashtags that have billions of posts because it can be too general and too hard to find you, for example, #food. On the flip side, I recommend not tagging one that has less than 100 posts because it's too small. Again, too hard to find you, unless you are creating a hashtag that's specific to your brand, your product, or a collection that you've created. I recommend selecting hashtags that have a medium range of posts associated with it so that people can find your account and start following your amazing creative journey. As you place each hashtag into the search bar, jot down the related hashtags that you want to use. I recommend choosing about 30 hashtags for each of your umbrella themes. When you finish doing this process with each of your themes, you'll have a bank of hashtags to easily pull from for your posts. I recommend typing these up into a document on your computer and/or a notes app on your phone. Then you can easily copy and paste them into your posts each time so you don't have to repeat this work every time you go to Instagram. When you copy over your saved hashtags, you can add any extra hashtags that are relevant to your post as well. For example, if I were to create a post with the umbrella theme of food on a Tuesday and the image was a photo of me drawing a pepper, then I would copy over my food hashtag list, and I could also add #foodillustration, #foodillustrator, #sweetpepper, #pepperdrawing, #fooddrawing, and #foodart. Instagram allows 30 hashtags in the post, though that many aren't always necessary. You can choose how many you'd like to use, and 10-15 has been shown to be a good average to start with. After you create a post and share it to your grid, immediately share it to your story each and every time. This gives people multiple opportunities to find your work and your post. In the next lesson, we're diving into Instagram Stories. Excited? Me too. 10. Share to Stories: Instagram Stories are like the coffee date with the person you met at the dinner party. At the dinner party, your grid or the photo in the Instagram feed, you got an introduction to this person and it was the handshake, just enough to spark curiosity to want to learn more. Then, you ask them out for coffee, to get to learn more about their story, and who they are as a creative and a person. So this coffee date is like your Instagram Stories, it's that next level of building a relationship with that person. Instagram Stories are this space for a deeper level of connection for your current followers. Yes, people can definitely find your profile through stories and do, but it's a space where it can be best to focus on sharing another layer of your story with your current audience. What should you post to Instagram Stories? This is a great spot to share simple videos. For example, you could film simply with your phone, quick videos, sneak peaks of the behind the scenes process in your studio. You could share a series of short videos that show a day in the life for your creative practice, or as a creative entrepreneur. You could take people along with you in your stories if you're traveling for an art market or if you're just traveling for fun. You could share a snippet of your daily life outside of the studio, like your favorite hike or a recipe you're currently loving to whip up in the kitchen. Now, you don't want to stray too far from your creative focus or business, but this is where you can start to go deeper into who you are as the person behind your creativity. What's nice about stories is that you don't have to be perfect. I know it can feel intimidating to record yourself or post a video behind the scenes, but stories are a great place to practice because they only last on Instagram for 24 hours. There's no need to get attached to getting it just right. It's a powerful spot to share the realness and realities of your creativity and your business. People connect to people, and people are imperfect. When we let go of perfection and embrace the process, we open the door for more connection with our community. When you post to your stories, your audience is going to match your energy. So if you're really stoked about your product launch, your audience is also going to be stoked about that product launch. If you're super excited about your newest collection or release, don't dim your passion, share your excitement, your community is there to cheer you on, and join in on the excitement too. Two questions that come up a lot with stories are, one, should I post photos or videos? Two, how many stories should I post each day? I personally recommend using a variety of photos and videos in your stories. Too many videos of you talking in a row, and your community might lose attention. Too many photos in a row could lead to the same thing. Instead, if you vary the rhythm, let's say two videos, a photo, a video, and then two photos to share a behind the scenes day in the life of your creative practice, then you have an interesting cadence in a variety of engagement happening, which is a powerful way for your audience to connect to your story without it becoming too monotonous. What's beautiful about stories is, unlike your grid with standalone photos where it's most effective to post once per day, stories are really engaging if you post more than one snippet per day. Each story allows for 15 seconds of content. You can of course, record a longer video, but it will be broken up into 15 second increments when you prepare it to post the video to your stories. You can record your video directly within Instagram Stories or on your phone, save it to your photo album, and then upload it to your stories later. When I record a video for Instagram Stories, I typically aim for the length to be one minute or less. This means when I upload it, it will be split into no more than four segments, which feels like a manageable amount of time from a community to connect with the content. That's not to say that I never go over a minute. When I'm really stoked about a subject, I tend to film a much longer video. But when this is the case, it can be more useful to turn that longer video into an Instagram Live segment or upload it to IGTV. We'll cover both of these in later lessons in this class. Similar to posting to your grid, filters can come in handy for your stories. My favorite filters, autumn filter by Soy Diego, and vintage mood by Marina Braun. Autumn filter gives a really bright look to the photo or a video, and a vintage mood gives that softer vibe. There are some great filter's automatically built into your account, but the way I found these two favorites was just taking note when I watched somebody else's stories, and I liked the lighting or the look of their videos. I looked near the top of their story to find out which filter they used, and then clicked it to download it to my account for free. Once it's in your account, it will appear as an option when you go to Create a Story. How do you create an engagement with your audience and your stories? There are so many ways to do this. Again, we can think of these methods as multiple doorways or entry points for your community to connect with you on a deeper level. Let's dive into some of these engagement options. One, hashtags, you can add hashtags to your stories just like you can add them to your grid posts. You can include up to 10 hashtags in the story. I personally don't like hashtags to distract from the image or photo, so after I type them, I shrink them down so small that you can't see them visually, but they are still embedded within the post and therefore searchable. As we discussed with the grid posts, you can use a variety of hashtags from the bank you already created from your umbrella themes. Two, sticker, this is where some really fun engagement can come in. Stickers in your stories can be invitations for your audience to engage directly with your story post, similar to how they would do so in a comment on your good post. Let's dive into some of these sticker options. Polls, I love using polls to bring my community into my process when I'm creating a new product or class. For example, if I'm designing a new wall calendar, I might show two illustration options for the cover with a poll sticker that reads, which cover do you prefer? I'll give the options, garlic scapes and strawberries. Then my audience can easily click the choice in the poll that they prefer. I get their results, which both helps me learn what my audience likes, and helps my audience feel more engaged and part of my creative story and process. Pretty cool. You could use polls for a variety of questions to engage your community in your process, like, which color do you prefer? Blue or red? Which class topic do you want to see next? Instagram or Etsy? Which product do you want to see next? Prints or cards? Polls, as opposed to questions which we'll discuss next, can help your audience more clearly and quickly decide on an answer. If I posted a question sticker that said, which color do you want for this design? I might not get many responses because that can feel too open-ended and overwhelming. By providing two options for your community to choose from, you give them a hand to simplify the choices, to easily make a decision. Polls don't have to be only about your process or your business, they can also be just for fun to engage with you as the person behind the work. You could ask fun questions like, what would you make for dinner? spaghetti or Burgers? Which book genre do you prefer? Fiction or nonfiction? Which do you like more? Coffee or tea? These are fun questions to get your audience engaged, but in a way where you also get to know each other better as people outside of the art and business topics. A more open ended way to engage your audiences is with the question sticker. Questions are a powerful way to gain feedback from your community, invite them into a conversation or begin a longer conversation with them in DMs. Similar to polls, I like to ask questions that relate to my creative process or planning, like what online class do you want to see next? What are your biggest questions about Instagram? What's a challenge that you're currently facing in your creative business? With questions, I recommend asking questions related to something you've just shared or discussed in a story segment leading up to the question, so that your audience can relate to and better understand the topic more deeply. For example, I might post two or three stories segments that are videos of me sharing something like, hey friends, this week I really struggled to start this new illustration, it just felt intimidating to begin. One thing I like to do when I feel this way, is to set aside 10 minutes to intentionally make bad art. I'll sit down and know that everything I draw, I'll throw away. This takes the pressure off so that I can just begin, and unusually after 10 minutes I keep going with new energy and ideas. Sometimes I even use something from the bad art session. After those 2-3 videos where I share that tip, I'd post a photo of the illustration in progress to my stories with a question sticker that says, how do you get unstuck? Sliders. This is a really simple and easy way to create engagement on your story post. If you post a photo of a work of art you're creating or a short video with a tip about creative marketing, you can place a slider sticker on the image or video. Then people can simply slide the emoji, and I usually keep it as the heart eyes to say, "Yeah, this is beautiful." Or, "Yeah, I totally agree," or disagree if they don't slide it or slide it to the middle. But you can also change the emoji related to the content you're posting about. But with the slider, your community can easily and simply provide input into your business, your process, and your creative story. This seems really simple because it is, but it's also a powerful method because any level of engagement is a step for your community to be more invested in you and feel included in your creativity. As we discussed in the grid posts, if you have an online store where you sell your products, for example, Shopify, then you can connect your store and products to your Instagram account. Then you can use the product sticker in your stories, which makes it super easy for people to click your image and go directly to your site to purchase. So once you have that Shop button activated that's connected to your online store, it's really amazing because when you go to post your stories, I'm going to use this cactus tote as an example again, I can select that. It'll show you the date you took the photo or posted it. I'm going to actually delete that so it's not in the way. Then you just come up here to this Sticker icon. So you can see right off the bat, I have product listed because I'm linked, so I'm going to select that. Then again, it will search for products within my shop. I'll just type in cactus tote, and then it appears so I can select that and then it shows the name, then I can select that there. Then once I post it, someone clicks on that and they can go straight through to purchase. So let's do that really quick as I test. I'm going to share it to my stories. Now, once it loads I can hop in here as if I'm visiting, click that, view product and then they can purchase right there, super slick. So that is the Shop button. This button will only be an option if you've been approved for Instagram shopping. Again, remember from our grid post section, if you haven't been approved yet, keep trying, you'll get there. The music sticker is just fun. If you are totally jamming out to your favorite song in the studio while you print a roundup tote bags or whip out mug after mug, then share a video of you working to your stories with that song included. This can give your audience a spark of joy and connection to your process. Maybe they love that song too, or discover they love it because you shared it. This is a fun way to add a little more of your personality to your posts. The music sticker isn't available on every account, but have patience. As you continue to grow organically and authentically, new options will become available. Similar to the shop connection and button for me, the music sticker wasn't available until recently on my account. So just keep going, you'll get more features as you grow. Mentioning other creatives, accounts, collaborators, and people in your stories, calls them into your business. You can use the @mentioned sticker to tag them, or you could also just simply type @, the at symbol and then start typing their account name and select it, click on it to call them into your story. This is beneficial for many reasons. If you have a collaboration with a company, then you want to show off a product you designed with them, so you tag them in the post. The company will get a notification that they've been tagged, click to see the story posts, and then more often than not, they will re-share your story in their own stories. This exposes your creative business and account to their audience, which can lead to more people being introduced to you and your work. It's also rad to tag other accounts because you are promoting the work that they do. For example, when I receive veggies from local farms and I make a drawing inspired by them, I'll snap a photo of the drawing, the veggies or both, post it to my stories and tag the farm with appreciation for the work that they do. Then my followers can go check out their account by clicking their name from my stories, and if they are local, they can go shop from them at the farmers market. On the flip side, an account might tag you in their stories. When this happens, you'll get a notification in your direct messages that you've been tagged. You can hop in there, check out the post and then there's the option to directly share it to your own story. So click that and done. So once you've shared it to your story, you've shared the tag of your work and their account. This is all about cross-promoting and supporting each other as makers, creatives, entrepreneurs, and people. When one person rises, we all rise. Swipe Up, like the product sticker is another powerful feature because it allows your community to directly visit the product, service, class, organization, or any link you are discussing directly from your story. It eliminates the number of steps between them hearing you rave about the rad thing and actually going to check it out. They don't have to click through to your bio to get the link, they can just swipe up right there in your stories. Again, this feature isn't available for all accounts, but as you grow authentically, you'll gain access to it. If you don't, no worries at all, I still don't have the Swipe Up feature yet, and I still make a lot of my product sales through Instagram. When people are as stoked about your work as you are, they will click through to your bio for the link when you let them know that's where they can find it. If you do have a shop connected to Instagram, then you will get the Swipe Up feature in your stories to link directly to your shop, which is really smooth and seamless for your community to buy your products. While you can't use the Swipe Up for other links or promotions, and it's just designated for your shop, it's incredibly useful to link straight to your space because from your story, your community can swipe up to see the product you're talking about and purchase it right right from your site. For the Swipe Up feature for your shop or your product, we're going to look at the same example of that cactus tote. I have that here. Rather than clicking the Sticker button, I'm going to click the Link button, and you can see a Swipe Up link, I can link to a product. I'm going to search cactus tote bag. There it is. So that's linked. I'm going to select Done. So call to action has been added. Now, you're not going to be able to see that from the same account. You'll only be able to see it by looking from another account, and I'll show you what I mean in a second. But I like to add an additional call to action like Swipe Up. Or you could say, Now in the shop. Then Swipe up. Then I would just put that above the photo because your Swipe Up link is going to show up at the bottom. I'm going to share that here. Now I'm going to hop to my personal account so that we can actually see that in action. I'm going to search those prints and plants, go into the stories, and now you see that at the bottom it says View Product. So when I select that, it brings me into the space where they can view it on my website and purchase it, which is pretty awesome. They can see more photos from my site directly. How cool is that? Quizzes are a fun way to help your community get to know you better and just have a playful approach to your creative process behind the scenes. You could do a series of story posts with the theme, get to know the artist. To use something like quizzes here, let's take this photo of the May page from the calendar and there's a mug of coffee. Rather than directly promoting this calendar, I could hop into the stickers and select quiz, so I'm going to select quiz. It already has Guess my Favorite, but I would just say, yeah, let's say Guess my Favorite. Guess my Favorite and then for this, it would be coffee. This it would be tea and then I tap which one is correct for me, so I'm going to tap A because coffee is my favorite, then I would just select done. Then it shows up like this, so then people can select what they think is correct and that will show them the correct answer. Alternatively, you can just roll the dice on a question if you want different ideas. These are just for fun. These are just more behind the scenes. People get to know you as the creative behind the work. Then I would just share it to my stories and then people could select what they wanted. More questions that you could fill out would be, you just type anything you want in here. For vacation, you could type in mountains or ocean and then you select, let's say, the one that's correct for you. You could type in favorite art materials and then you could have multiple options, pens, paints. Add another option here, pastels, camera and then mine is still pens, so that would be the first one selected. You can see, you can really put in the types of questions that you want. One more could be my dream collaboration is, you could do Marimekko for getting to know me a little bit. Taproot magazine or both. I'm going to delete that one. C is the correct answer and then I would click "Done" and then people would get to guess. That's just a fun way for people to get to know you better and add some play into your stories. You can use one or all of these stickers in your stories. But similar to switching between video and photos for your stories, it's beneficial to switch it up for engagement. A further way to promote engagement with your stories, especially with video snippets, is to include text summary over the video. Many people might be flipping through Instagram stories on mute and totally miss what you're saying. If you type a simple summary of what you're talking about and leave it over the video, people can still engage with the content and message. It can also invite them to unmute the video to learn more. For example, in this video I'm talking about the test print of the 2021 calendar being available. I could just type the summary here and then the next part of the story would be the reveal of some of the pages. This way if somebody is just watching me with their mute on, they can't hear me. They know still what I'm talking about. Further, for people who are hard of hearing or learn in different ways, including a text option is really beneficial. There are apps that you can use to create captions on your videos that dictate in writing everything you're saying. One caption app with good review is called Clipomatic and is available for $5 in the App Store. After you've created and posted your stories, save the best ones, save the ones that you create to promote a new product line, or the ones that fit very distinctly into your umbrella theme topics, or the ones that your community really loved. When you save your stories, you can post them to your highlights to keep them around for longer than 24 hours. We will talk about highlights more in the next lesson but this can be very helpful to create a section of your profile that brings attention to an upcoming launch or showcases the main pillars of your creative brand or business. There are two simple ways to save your stories. Saving your story is really simple, so here I am in my library. But let's say here, I have this tote again and I say Cactus Totes in the shop. But let's say I don't want to post it right away, so I just put the text here and then I click this little arrow and that just saves it to my library. Alternatively, if I post this, let's exit out of here and do something a little different. Let take this blank one and say Cactus Totes and put that here, so it's a little different. Now, I'm going to share it to my stories as an example. Now, once it's shared, let's make sure it uploads. Because I've shared it to my stories, it is saved into my library, here in my story library, but also when I go to photos, you can see it pops up here. Now that is because I have allowed my settings in Instagram to save to the archive. Here in Archive, you can see my stories are archived here and you can go to the exact date to find your stories in the Archive, which is pretty handy if you're looking for something specific. You could also search it by location. But I don't really tag location in my stories. But to make sure that you are set up to have them automatically saved, if you'd like to do that, then you go to your settings. You go to Privacy, go to Story, and here under Saving, Save to Camera Roll and Save to Archive, so then here you read that it saves photos and videos, so you don't have to save them to your phone and only you can see them after they disappear. You don't have to save to both, I do because it's convenient. But you can just save to the archives so that you can access them later. Let's go back here to Settings, but let's go down to Archive. Let's go to this calendar way to find it and then let's click, September 30th. Now I have this, so you can see here that I could do a few things here, I could share this back to my stories again, convenient. I could highlight it, so I could add it to one of my highlights, which we are covering more in the next lesson. But that's a really convenient thing about archiving, is that you have it saved to add to your highlights later. Even though it only lasts in your stories for a day, you have it saved to your library to access later or you can say, save video shares or poster promote, so you could run a promotion on an older story. We just talked about how to save an archive story to your highlight but also you can hop into your live stories here. I have this sneak peak post from today of the 2021 calendar, lets say I want to add that to the highlights, I have a 2021 calendar highlight button, so I can click that and then it's added to that highlight. That's another way to save your story to highlights and we are covering that more in the next lesson. 11. Post to Highlights: So now let's talk about Instagram Highlights. Highlights are another layer of engagement on your Instagram profile. After your bio, Instagram Highlights are the first thing visitors see when landing on your profile page. They are front-and-center, which makes them a powerful way to show off your top stories. Highlights can be like a preview for the rest of your feed and for your creative business as a whole. As I mentioned in the previous lesson, highlights enable you to keep your stories around for longer than 24 hours to let them be seen by more and more people. This can both be a great introduction to you and your work for new followers, as well as another level of depth for your current community to develop how much they get to know like, and trust you. While you can create as many highlights as you'd like, I personally like to stick to around five total to keep it simple and straightforward. One theme that you could choose to make your first highlight about an upcoming launch. Whether that is a product, a class, or a new service. You can switch out that content of the first highlight depending on your marketing calendar and creative focus. For example, perhaps you have a new illustration collection that you're launching in three months and you've slowly started to share bits and pieces behind the scenes with your community and your stories. You can combine all of those snippets into this one highlight to show off the evolution and the collection over time. In this way, you can paint the full picture from inspiration to creation to promotion to the launch of the product. This full story arc can give your audience a point of connection with your work and excitement about your launch. Once you've launched the collection and have a new promotion coming up, you could switch that first highlight topic. You could delete that highlight and create a new one or you could click the Highlight, click the three dots on the bottom right corner and select Edit Highlight. You can then change the name, main photo, and the contents contained within that highlight to focus on your upcoming promotion. For example, let's say you've released in the illustration collection, took a breather and now you're coming up on a new class launch in two months. You could make that first highlight of promotions series of your new class. You could add the stories you created that pulled your audience for the class content theme, you could add the behind the scenes photos of you filming, your answers to questions from your audience about the class, and the details of the lunch. You could let this highlight live as the first highlight in your series for a few weeks to a month before and after the launch to continue promoting your new class. In addition to this first highlight that focuses on upcoming launches, you could create additional highlights to promote and share your services that you consistently offer. This can be especially beneficial if you are a creative who offers multiple services or products in your business. For example, in my business, I offer online courses, creative coaching, custom illustrations, and products. So I can have a highlight theme for each of these services and share photos and videos from my stories that showcase the depth of these offerings and how my community and I can work together. If you are a product-based business and you make a variety of products like original paintings, reproduction prints, fabric, and tote bags, then you could base your highlights on each of these different products. You can then show inspiration for each product, the process of each product being made, photos of the product in use, and photos of the products with shop links. Alternatively, and one of my favorite ways to use and see highlights used is to base each highlight after your umbrella themes. Remember in the grid lesson that you picked three to five umbrella topics to guide your content and posts. You can create a highlight for each of those umbrella themes. For example, my highlights would be behind the scenes, food, product, education, and mindfulness. This way, I'm still sharing my services, but I'm also giving a rounder and fuller picture of my creative approach, business, and who I am as the person behind all of that as well. You can also create a highlight called Best Sellers to show off your most popular products. This could include the behind the scenes photos and videos of you creating these products, photos from your customers who use the products, testimonials from those customers, lifestyle photos of the products in action, and images with links to buy the products directly. Another approach to your highlights could be to create a highlight called testimonials. Whether you are selling products, teaching workshops, or consulting, testimonials are a powerful way to build trust with your community and share the incredible services you offer to the world. In this highlight, you can share images or even a solid color background, each highlighting a different testimonial from your customers. These are just a few ideas to get you started with the highlights on your profile. What themes will you choose to start with? I can't wait to see them. You can jot down your themes on the principal Instagram content calendar worksheet as a guide for your highlights as you create them. In the next lesson, we're diving into the ins and outs of IGTV. Lights, camera, action. You ready? I'll see you there. 12. Share on IGTV: If you've ever wanted your own TV show, now is your chance. IGTV is another layer to continue the conversation with your community and create more opportunities for engagement and authentic connection. IGTV allows for longer-form videos to be uploaded to your account. This makes IGTV a great space to dive deeper into a topic. Stories are like the coffee date with the person that you met at that dinner party, an IGTV is like the long leisurely dinner date. It's where you get to dive deeper into conversation with your community by sharing more about your story, your art, and offering free value in the form of simple how-to videos, educational tips, and by answering your community's common questions. Here are a few ideas of what you could post to IGTV. One, short and sweet educational videos. What questions does your community ask you all of the time about your art, your process, or your creative business? Create a short segment that teaches a simple tip to answer their questions. You can also create a grid post in a story that asks your audience, what question do you have for me? I'm going to create a Q&A video that answers all of your questions so drop them below. Then collect those questions and create an IGTV video in which you answer them. Two, behind the scenes in your studio. You could create a short video that shows a glimpse into your process, you could share how you find and collect inspiration, you could show how you mix your paint colors, you could create a video of you drawing your next illustration and talking about your method. Even a video without any narration that simply shows you painting a watercolor piece or making a ceramic mug on the potter's wheel can be incredibly calming, therapeutic, and mesmerizing to watch. All of which are a service to your community. If you run your own creative business, you could create short IGTV videos that highlight different business tips that will help your audience. These could be about selling your products online, working with galleries, licensing your work, marketing your work, or writing pitch e-mails. You don't have to share every single thing you know in the IGTV segment, but you can share a tidbit of info that serves as an introduction to your wisdom so that your audience can be enlightened and want to learn even more from you. When they get a taste of what you can offer, they will likely want to dive deeper through, let's say, an online class that you offer. Four, if you've just created a body of work that you've been sharing about your stories and highlights, you could create an IGTV gallery to art to invite your community into the completed collection, you could set up all of your artwork from that collection in your studio and act as if it is a gallery opening where all of your audience joins you to celebrate and see your work for the very first time. You can share short stories about a select number of pieces and announce that they are for sale through the link in the description of the IGTV and the link in your bio. Five, you can offer a short DIY or a brief workshop. For example, you could share how to create a photo collage, how to hand letter a short phrase, or how to mix inks to get the perfect color. Pick something that is simple, that is easily achievable by your audience and that serves as an introduction to a longer class or workshop that you offer for your community to dive deeper. For example, I teach online drawing classes. A free IGTV workshop that I could offer could be focused on one lesson from one of those classes, such as blind contour drawing. That would be a topic that my community could learn for free, implement right away, gain value from, and be enlightened enough to commit to the full class to learn more. Sometimes there is hesitation to give things away for free, but offering value to your community builds lasting trust and relationships. At the root of business, and art is service. When you offer free value to your audience, you don't have to give away every single thing you know, in fact, that's not sustainable, but do offer application tidbits and resources and wisdom that can help your audience. This shows that you are a valuable resource and can help your customers in your community. By offering free value, your customers will know they can turn to you for answers to their questions and to find clarity to move forward on their own journey. In addition, when you show up again and again to provide value, whether it's an image of your latest illustration or a short instructional video, your community will remember you when they need a product or a service. They will be more likely to return to you to work together because of the solid foundation of trust and authentic engagement that you've created. If you record your IGTV video on your phone, then it will save to your photo library. If it is longer than one minute, which it needs to be for IGTV, then when you go to your grid to post the video, it will ask if you want to post a shorter clip or the full video to IGTV, you want to post this to IGTV. Then you can create a title and a description. Be sure to include hashtags to your content is searchable and relevant. You'll then have the option to select a cover photo for the IGTV segment. You can choose a thumbnail from your video, but I highly recommend selecting a photo from your library that matches the look and feel of the rest of the photos in your grid. I like to take a photo after I've finished recording my IGTV that is related to the content but matches the aesthetic of my other posts. This comes back to what we talked about in the grid lesson about brand look and feel and the aesthetic of your creativity and business. I take a photo in the portrait format because that works better for the IGTV preview. Then since it's saved to my photo library, I can select it as the cover photo for that IGTV segment. Another way to post to IGTV is if you create an Instagram live video. We'll discuss lives in more detail in a later lesson. But after your record on Instagram live video, you'll have the option to save it to your IGTV. This is similar to saving your Instagram stories to your highlights to keep the content around for longer. You can organize your IGTV videos into different series. You can think of these series as the shows on your creative TV channel like how the food network has a multitude of different chefs and shows featured throughout the day. For example, based on the earlier suggestions of topics that you could share, you could create five series titled Learn, Behind the Scenes, Business Tips, Gallery Openings, and DIY. When you are ready to post your IGTV video, you'll have the option to select which series you wish to add it to. How often you post to IGTV is up to you. You can create a rhythm that feels good to you that you can commit to. Remember, the most important thing is that you are consistent because consistency compounds. A good place to start could be posting one IGTV per month and build out your content from there. In the next lesson, we're going to dive into Instagram reels. I'll see you there. 13. Create a Reel: At this point, I'm fairly new to Reels on Instagram, but it's a fun new feature on the platform to play with, and another entry point to connect with your audience. Reels are 15 to 30 seconds multi-video clips. Essentially, rather than an Instagram story which is 15 seconds of the same video, Reels allows you to edit different video clips together for 15 seconds total of footage. You can set this footage to music, speed it up or slow it down, add an effect or filter, and when you're finished creating the content, share it to your stories or to Reels. One of the benefits of Reels, is that when you share your Reel, it has a chance to be seen and discovered by the wider Instagram community through the explore tab. You can also post your Reel to your own feed or story to share it with your current followers. If you share a Reel that features a certain song, hashtag or effect, it can also appear on specific pages when somebody clicks that song, hashtag, or effect. All of this means that the Reels can both create more doorways for people to find out about your awesome creativity in business, while also creating new levels of engagement for your current community. A couple of examples of the creative content you might make for your Reel are, a Reel showcasing parts of your creative process. For example, within the 15 seconds, one clip could be a short video of you sketching, the next clip could be a short video of you stretching a Canvas, and the third clip could be a short video of you painting the image on the Canvas. All of this could be set to upbeat music to get your community excited about and gain insight into your creative process. Alternatively, you could create a Reel showcasing the unveiling of a new product, like a new shirt with your illustrated pattern on it. The first clip could be a short video of you holding up the box containing the sample, the second clip could be a short video of you opening up the box containing the sample, and the third clip could be a short video of you using the, for example, wearing the shirt. What follows, is an example from the prints and plants Instagram page of our Reel, doing an unboxing of the arrival of the 2021 Print and Plants test calendar. What you'll see is that I didn't put together multiple clips in this Reel, I just had one continuous 15 second Reel unveiling the calendar. But I wanted to give you a behind the scenes look at what that unveiling can look like. You could also make a Reel that shows you outside of your studio, for example, on a favorite hike or segments from your recent vacation. You could include clips of different portions of the hike, or a short video clip highlights of the places you visited. Or you could create a Reel showing your drawing, painting, or sculpting set to calming music. Reels are a place to showcase your work in new playful ways, that connect your audience to your creativity and your creative business, from a different and new perspective. All right. Now I'm going to show you how to make a Reel. I'm gonna go to my story as if I'm going to post, going to add. At the bottom, you see the option for Reels, so I'm going to select that. Then you see that you can change the length, you can do 15 or 30 seconds. I'm going to keep this at 15. You can select music which I will in a moment, not right now because it messes up this recording that I'm doing, but you can select anything you want. I am going to select this song, which I'm just going to show you so that you can go look it up because it's amazing. Express yourself, but it's the version by Labrinth. Yeah, it's great. So that is what I'm going to set this video to, not at this moment, but that's how you would do that. This is the speed of the playback of your video. I'm just going to do it normal, one times. You can add a filter, if you'd like or leave it off. I'm going to leave it off for now. Then you can set a timer. This is set for 15 seconds with a countdown of three, so that would be if we were recording live. I'll show you what that looks like. Now set timers. Once that timer is set, once I click the real button down here, it's going to count me down. That's if I'm filming in real time. But I am going to use videos that I've already created, so I'm going to delete that and I do that by pressing the left arrow to go back to that. I'm going to delete. Then you can also without the timer, just hold and record like you would in stories. See exciting things at my desk. I'm not going to do that either. I'm going to hop into here and pick three videos to compile for that 15-second Reel. I'm going to select this one, and I'm going to shorten it a bit. You can see up at the top, it shows me how much of the Reel this video will occupy, so I'm going to shorten to about a third. Select "Okay". Going to hop in here and select this one, the signature, and I am going to move this guy there. But you see at the top, it's almost over. My Reel is filled up with that, so I'm going to click "Okay" here after shortening, just a little bit. We've shortened it, I'm going to click "Okay". But I am going to hop back in here to the amaranth section and trim even further, that's that scissors symbol. Trim this back a little bit, and then hit trim in the top right here. I'm going to click done for that, but then I want to add one more. You see I have that big blank spot at the top right. I'm going to hop down to this, and I'm going to let this for the rest of the Reel. This is a digital drawing, so I'm going to click "Okay". Then I would come in and add my music. Again, I'm not going to do that for the recording because of some music rights, but that's what I would do. Then I'm going to click the right arrow to see it altogether. Just imagine funky good music playing. You can put that song on in the background while you watch this. What's great about this part, is it's just like stories. You can add in type, so I could say process videos from the studio, or you can add in a sticker, or you can scribble if you want to draw on it. Just like stories, you can add those elements, and then that arrow at the top in the middle, you can save it to your phone for later, or I'm going to go down to the bottom right corner, click "Next" and then just like IGTV basically, about caption space, you get to type in your captions. I might right behind the scenes in the studio of upcoming artwork. You can change your cover photo, you can select from a frame in your video, or as we talked about, you can add it from your phone. Then after I have my caption and hashtags in here, you see here it says Share to Reels and explore. Also share to feed. Right now we're highlighted, so when we press share on this, if I were to press share, it would share to the Reels Explore tab, which people go to as a feed. So they're searching for new Reels, they're finding new content, they can scroll through that and they might discover you. Right now, Reels do have high visibility. It's a newer feature on Instagram at the point of recording this class, so it does have high visibility and people love art process videos. It's a great place to share your process. I click "Share" right now, it would share to Reels and to my personal feed. Double opportunity for people to engage. But at the top right, I could also just share it to my stories rather than my grid feed or the Reels Explore tab. You have the option there, so that is that. You could also just save it as a draft for later down at the bottom, but that is how you create and share a Reel. In the next lesson, we're going live on Instagram. You ready? Let's dive in. 14. Go Live!: Instagram Live is a powerful way to connect with your community in real-time. Because lives are not pre-recorded, they create another level of authenticity that can resonate even more deeply with your audience. Your visibility can also increase when you go live, because lives are placed before regular stories on the top bar of the Instagram feed. If your audience has Live push notifications turned on, then they will also be notified that you are going live, if they are on the platform at the same time. They can then hop over to join you right then and there. When you go live, you open up another doorway for connection and conversation. People who join you can add their comments in the moment, which you can respond to promptly. It's as if you're in a live conversation with them on the platform. Topics that you could focus on for Instagram Live are Live Q&A. Similar to the idea in the IGTV lesson, you could also create a grid post in a story with a question to your audience that says, "What questions do you have for me? I'm going live tomorrow here on Instagram with a Q&A to answer all of your questions." Then collect those questions and create an Instagram Live in which you answer them. Alternatively, if you have a big enough community and many people who join you live, you could host the Q&A in real-time, where your audience drops their questions into the chat and you answer live right then and there. You could also go live to announce a product launch or your newest course. You could share why you're excited about this new release, the inspiration, and the process leading up to this point. You could share the details of the release and answer any questions in real-time that people might have about the product or launch. You could also host a live rather than a recorded gallery opening. You could announce weeks in advance of the date and time, and invite your community to attend. Then, people are aware that you're going to be live on a certain date, so they can be prepared to join you to see your new artwork. In this live, you could share about your inspiration, your process, and how your community can purchase your work through the link in your bio. Lastly, you could host a free live workshop. The benefit of doing a simple DIY or workshop live, is that it feels more like your community is actually in the class and can ask their questions and get answers right away for clarification. Because the members of your audience join in live for the workshop at the same time, it can create a deeper sense of community, camaraderie, and belonging in the space you are creating. I know going live can feel really intimidating because, if you feel like you messed up, you can't just stop the recording and start over, unless of course you delete it and start again, which is fine. But this is actually the benefit of going live, because it increases the authenticity and the humanity of you as a person, the person behind the creative work that you're sharing. So going live is an even greater way for somebody to connect with you on that human-to-human level. When you mess up, great, it shows that you're human and that you're not perfect, and people can relate to that. So lives just embrace messing up, embrace the mistakes. You'll get better as you go, but also that creates a whole another level of authenticity to connect to. Here are some tips for going live. Write an outline for your topic. Don't write out an entire script to read from word for word. Just simply bullet point the three to five main points you want to share so that it jogs your memory, and you can share authentically from your true voice. Be near a natural light when you record. This will give a softness and crispness to the video so that your community can see you clearly. Let go of perfection, just be you. Allow yourself to mess up, to stumble over words, to laugh when you make a mistake. Nobody is keeping a tally of how many times you feel like you messed up, and oftentimes, people won't even notice. Imperfection is another connection point which allows your community to see you as a person, just like them, that they can relate to. Another tip is that, when followers hop onto your live in real-time, address them by name if you know it, say hello, and welcome them to the space. This will help your community feel supported and seen when they show up to hear what you have to share. Another similar tip is, when followers comment during your livestream, address their comment, answer the questions that come through, address them by name if you know it, and acknowledge that you see their active participation in this live experience. Lastly, practice makes progress. The first few lives will likely feel really nerve-racking, but the more you do it, the more you learn and the better you'll get. Hey, you may even find that you come to love going live. When you are done with your live, you can select Save to save it to your camera roll. You can also choose to share it to one of your IGTV series to archive it for people to access after it disappears from the main story feed. This is a great way to help your content live on beyond the 24-hour time period of the live. I am so excited to see what you create and what topics you choose to do live. In the next lesson, we're talking about how to craft an Instagram bio that's built for connection. I'll see you there. 15. Build Your Bio: Let's dive into your Instagram bio. It might seem a little strange to only be talking about this now, since it's one of the first things people see on your profile. But creating your content and brainstorming what you'll post can give clarity on what you share in your bio section. Your Instagram bio is like your introduction at that dinner party that we talked about. When you go to a dinner party and you meet somebody, you're going to shake their hand and give 1-2 sentences probably about who you are and what you do, just to kick off the conversation. Those 1-2 sentences are your Instagram bio. Let's start with your profile picture. If you're a solo creative or creative entrepreneur, and especially if the name of your business is your name like Lisbon Lea Studios, then choose a photo of you. You want your communities to know that there is a person behind all of your beautiful creativity and see a face that they can connect with. Make sure the photo is not too far away or anything where people can't clearly see you. Select a nice profile photo that shows who you are. If you're a duo or a creative business partnership, select a photo of both of you together. Again, something that's clear, where you can see your faces. If you are a huge team or creative business, then your logo is probably the most effective for your Instagram profile picture because it encompasses the company and its team as a whole. Now let's discuss the written content or the caption in your bio. You don't get too much space to write a whole lot of information, so keep it fun, keep it brief, and keep it to the point. Show a glimpse of your personality too. This is a great spot to succinctly share what you do or offer and something unique about you. Know that this brief intro will evolve and change over time as your creative journey and business evolve and change over time. Update it as you see fit. For the last part of your bio, include a call to action. You get to add a link in your bio for people to leave Instagram and dive deeper into who you are and your business, so call them to it. Your bio call to actions might look like, visit my website to learn more, followed by the link to your website. Download my must read creative books freebie, followed by a link to the freebie. This would ideally be a brief form that somebody could fill out to join your email list, and then they get the freebie and return. Shop the latest collection with a link to your collection, or join my monthly membership with a link to your membership. These are just a few ideas to get you started. Alternatively, instead of one single link, you could use Linktree, which is a free resource to include multiple links for your followers to dive deeper. This could include five links, each one to a different product or service, or three links or two, anything that you might have more than just one link. So your call to action could say, learn more through the link and then they'll have multiple options to explore your creative business. For example, in my bio I actually recently changed my profile picture to be me, for a long time it was just my logo. But again, I wanted people to see the person behind the work. You see my profile is of me. I say what I do, a food illustrator. I have my business account, so it shows up as artists as the industry. Art and food is what I primarily focus on with my creative process. So I have that. Then I have the three main things I offer through my business; creating customer illustrations for clients, teaching creative courses online, designing products for your home. Then people can click learn more, which leads them to my Linktree. From there, they can see what's going on right now and my business. So they can join the waitlist for the 2021 calendar, they can download a freebie for Instagram prompt, they can take a time management class, they can go to my main website, they can donate to an organization I believe in. There's five different ways. I usually only keep five links at a time, so it's not overwhelming. But there are five ways that people can learn more about the different things I do. With a brief, engaging, fun, and informative bio, anyone who visits your profile page will feel a spark of curiosity to learn more. This will likely lead them to scroll down to your highlights, to your grid, click follow, and then dive into your stories, your IGTV, and hey, even join you when you go live. Remember earlier in this class when we talked about Donald Miller's three components of building customer relationships; curiosity, enlightenment, and commitment. This concept in action on Instagram as a whole could look like this. Curiosity. A new acquaintance will become curious enough from one of your posts, your photos, or your bio to follow you. Enlightenment. They will be enlightened by the free content and service you're offering, like the DIY you just did on your IGTV. Then commitment. They will want to learn more from you. So they commit to purchasing your online course, for example. In the next lesson, we'll talk about when to post, how often to post and creating a consistent schedule to market your work on Instagram. 16. Create a Posting Schedule: Let's dive into creating your posting schedule. Creating a schedule for your posts can lessen the overwhelm and burden of wondering when you'll post, how often you'll post, what you'll post, and whether or not you're feeling inspired enough to post. When you're creating your posting schedule, don't feel like you have to post every single day. If you want to do that and can do that, that's awesome. But the most important thing to do when you create your schedule is to find a rhythm that you can truly 100 percent commit to and start there. The main thing you want with your posting schedule is to be committed and consistent, because consistency compounds. For example, if you're really inspired after this class and you start to post to Instagram every single day, but then quickly realized that you can't keep up with that rhythm, so you totally drop off of the platform, then your community is probably going to be feeling a little confused and probably disappointed to not be connecting with you in that consistent way anymore. By creating a solid plan you can stick to you from the get-go, you're setting yourself up for success. It's like training for a running race. If your race is going to be, let's say, 13.1 miles, you aren't going to back out the door and run the full distance on the first day of the training, you'll build up to it slowly time. Otherwise you'd be too worn out to keep training and you might even give up on the race altogether because it felt like too much. I don't want Instagram to feel like too much for you, I don't want it to feel overwhelming because it can be such a fun, simple, and powerful tool to connect with community and it can be done with ease. To set your schedule, take out a piece of paper and look at your current calendar. Ask yourself, "What can I realistically commit to? How many times per week can I post to Instagram?" Know that these answers can and likely will change and evolve over time. You can check in with your schedule in posting rhythm once per season or once every six months to make sure it's still feels good to you. Once you have your answers, it's time to solidify the days and even the times that you plan to post. You can download the Instagram content calendar in the projects and resources section to fill out the outline of when you'll post. This can serve as a handy reference for you to move forward. For example, let's say you answered, "Okay, I can realistically commit to posting to my Instagram grid three times per week, and I can realistically commit to posting to my Instagram stories once per week." Okay, great. Now, decide which three days you will post to your grid and which day you will post to stories. Let's start with your grid. One way to decide this is to look at your business insights within your account to find the days and times that your community is the most active on the platform and let this inform your rhythm. To do this, I'll show you, you go into your profile, go up to this settings tab, and go to Insights. Right right now, it's showing my last seven days, my insights. You can see the overview of the accounts reach, the interactions, your followers, all the content you shared, the stories you shared, anything you shared. But what I want to dive into is more of the highlights of when people are looking at my posts the most. Within overview, if I go to accounts reached, you can see here, this is the accounts reached over the week span. You can see impressions, account activity, how many times people tap to go through to your website, all of the above. You can see more details here of your reach. But if you go into followers down here, total followers, this is where you can see your overall follows, unfollows, your top locations, so where your people are based, your age range. You can see most of my following here is in the 25-35 age group. Then here, you can see gender, most of mine are women identified. Then down at the bottom, most active times, this is where we get really good, juicy information. You can look at days. Basically, everyday of the week, my followers are active. Good to know. But if you look at hours, you can see more of a breakdown. This can help to inform when you're going to be posting. You don't have to be super strict on doing this exact the same every time. I like to use this when I am doing block scheduling which we're going to talk about in a moment. When I'm doing block scheduling and block content writing, I like to use this as a framework if I am scheduling my posts. But there are days where I know I'm going to post that day because for me personally, I'm committed to posting Monday, Wednesday, and Fridays, at least, onto my grid. There are days where life happens, I don't have the scheduled post, but I know I'm posting that day so I might not post at the optimal time, but I'm still sharing content. That's just a little tidbit. Life happens, it's not always perfect, that's totally cool. But this is a really good framework to use just to give you a good baseline. Let's start with Monday. You can see here the breakdown, and if you click on the grid, it pops up with the numbers too. You can see where people are most active, it looks like for me on a Monday, it's pretty tied between 12:00 and 3:00, but I'm going to go with noon. That would be a choice there. For Wednesday, it's pretty straight across 9:00, noon, and 3:00 so I would probably choose either 9:00 or noon. Nine to switch it up a little bit for Monday, but noon could create that consistency. Then Fridays, noon seems to be the winner, so I would choose that. That is just one way depending on your followers and where they're based, primarily that will effect this. You can see Saturdays, it's a little less, Sunday's, it's that mid day range again. You can just look at this in your own account Insights as you grow. Just check in every month or so on this just to see what it's looking like, and that can inform your content scheduling which we are going to talk about next. Now that you know, write down the days and times into your content calendar. Now, let's look at how to do this with stories. As we discussed in the stories lesson, this is a great place to post in the moment about something you're working on, a behind the scenes video, or a glimpse at an upcoming product. You can designate the day you'd like to post to your stories each week based on your schedule. This might be Thursdays at lunch, Friday evenings, or Monday mornings. Think about what time can consistently work for you and stay open to shifting that depending on when you feel like sharing to your stories. If you feel like you won't be consistent without a set day, then designate the day. For example, say, "Okay, for the next four weeks, I'm going to post to my Instagram stories once a week, every Friday evening." See how that feels when you follow through, the type of connections and engagement you get, and then reassess to adjust, as needed, after four weeks. As you get into a habit of posting to your stories, you may no longer need the same consistent day and time each week, and you will feel called to post to your stories at different points when you have a cool studio scene to share, a new glimpse of work, or a creative tip to give to your audience. Creating a consistent schedule like this not only helps you with creating content, but it also serves your audience because it shows that you show up, that you are someone they can trust and rely on and get to know organically over time. It keeps you front of mind because you keep showing up, connecting, and serving. For example, let's say somebody in your community is searching for a mug to give to their friend for a birthday, or a consultant for their creative business, or a painter for their next mural. They'll remember and think of you because you've been consistent, and because you've served them and built trust over time, they'll be eager to work with you on the project. When you have a posting cadence that is consistent, it is important to communicate with your audience if you are going to take time off or a time away from the platform. This can be as simple as a grid post of a photo with a caption that says, "Hey friends, I'm taking the week off to get some much-needed RNR with my family. Drop any questions or hellos in to my DMs and I'll see you next week." Or alternatively, "Hey friends, I'm taking a break from this platform to focus on my next collection launch without distraction. I'll be off Instagram for the next three weeks but you can contact me through e-mail. I look forward to hearing from you and I can't wait to share the collection when I return." By sharing your intentional shift from your usual rhythm, you are continuing the trust that you are building with your community. You are openly communicating so your community continues to know what to expect. Remember, consistency compounds, so create a plan that you can stick to and go for it. Now that you have your posting plan, we'll discuss how to plan your content in the next lesson. 17. Plan Your Posts: If you already know me as a creative and a teacher, then you know that I love planning. Planning the content for your Instagram posts can help you be prepared for upcoming launches. It can clear your mind off the nagging, "What am I going to post?" question so that you can focus on your art and creative work. It can also give you a bird's eye view of how the moving parts of your creative practice and business fit together. You might be thinking, "Yeah, okay, but I like to post in the moment when I feel inspired." I totally hear you and there's value in this too. Let's break down the pros of planning your posts versus posting in the moment. So the pros of planning out your posts are; that you get that bird's eye view of your creative practice and business. If you plan on weeks worth of posts or months worth of posts, then you can start to see when and how you are leading up to promote a launch, how often you are showing your process, and the ratio of how much you are promoting your different products or services. When you get this bird's eye view and you get to see everything connecting, you can adjust accordingly. If you see that you are completely leaving out a product or hadn't thought about when to post about your upcoming class, you can see that with ample time to correct and plan the content accordingly. You can see the ratio of how often you are serving your audience to how often you are asking your audience for something in return. Remember in the what to post section of the grid lesson, the rule of thumb is to serve three times as much as you post. When you plan out your content, you can see if you have a good balance between serving and asking. You can prepare for bigger launches. If you have a huge product line coming out in two months, planning your posts can give you a solid rhythm and peace of mind to consistently promote that launch with plenty of lead time. As creatives, it's our job to make our art. Marketing can easily be its own full-time job. It can be easy to get caught up in the creation and production of the products and forget to give ample time to warm up your communities with a launch and sale of those products. When you plan out your content, you can have peace of mind that you are consistently marketing the new product and your audience will be well aware of it by the time it's available. Perhaps one of the biggest benefits of planning your content is that you are prepared in case inspiration doesn't strike. How many times have you been creating in your studio thinking, "Okay, I need to share something today. I need to post something today. But what in the world am I going to post?" Planning your content will take these questions away and give you that mind space back to focus on your creative work and business. Planning your content means you can batch work. Batch work is one of my favorite things to do because it is such an efficient way to get things done and gives you more time for your creative practice. Batch working is all about combining similar tasks together into one designated block of time to knock it all out at once. For example, writing your Instagram content for the month the first Wednesday of every month from 9:00 AM to noon. Boom. After that, you have a plan, content, and marketing set on the platform for the next four weeks. We'll talk more about batch working for Instagram shortly. Now let's look at the pros for posting in the moment. Sometimes posting in the moment can feel more authentic and organic, especially if you're feeling particularly inspired. If you are really loving the painting you're creating and can't wait to share a glimpse of it with your audience, your excitement will shine through in that post for assure. This can be magnetic for your community to match your excitement and feel inspired as well. You can address what is happening in that exact moment in time. For example, if there is a big world event that is affecting the majority of the population, you can address it and make a post relevant to it then and there. Or alternatively, if you are working on a new mug and it just came out of the kiln, you can create a post about the reveal right then and there. This can have more of a live and organic feel. You can connect with your audience right away in the comments. When you post in the moment, you are on the platform, so when your community comments and engages with your post, you can respond right away, creating engagement, conversation and a deeper sense of connection. So should you plan your posts or post in the moment? My recommendation is to find a balance between the two. I recommend creating a structure of planned posts and then adjusting as needed. Let's look at three examples. One, you have a month of posts planned. Your content will automatically post every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday. But let's say that this week you have a post plan for Wednesday promoting your newest launch, but the proof still hasn't arrived from the printers. You can replace that planned post with an in-the-moment post sharing that you're still waiting on the proof and can't wait to share it as soon as it's available. Two, let's say you have a post planned for Friday to launch your latest course, but a major world event occurs that needs to be addressed. You could cancel the planned post, address the world events, and share that you are changing the launch date to a future time as needed. Three, you have your posts planned for Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of this week, but Thursday you're in the studio and you absolutely adore the color combination you just created in your painting and have to share it. By all means, create a post and share it. When you have the structure of planned posts, it gives you the freedom and head space to sprinkle in the live moments of inspiration too. I feel that the best place to create in the moment posts is in your Instagram stories. This is the spot to show people what's going on at that time and invite them to the live present moment. When you schedule your posts, I recommend hopping on to Instagram at the time of your posts for 10 minutes to engage with your community, respond to comments, send them more info, or follow up with the direct message. Spend 10 minutes connecting with your community and letting them know you're there. Let's talk about something really fun, batch working. As I mentioned, batch working is grouping like tasks together and checking them off of your list at the same time. So let's batch work your Instagram posts. Take out your calendar and find the time that you can block off to write all of your posts for the next week or month. I personally like to write content for the month because it gives a wider bird's eye view so I can see all of the connections. But if you want to start with one week, that's great too. If you do start with one week of content, I recommend jotting down a rough idea of your posts for the rest of the month. This doesn't have to be detailed or in depth by any means. It can be as simple as preview of new collection or photo of a print or studio photo. Just give yourself a rough outline to see the bigger picture for the month. Let's say, for example, that you set aside the first Wednesday of the month from 9:00 AM to noon to write your content for the upcoming month. Awesome. Now, let's pretend you are sitting down to write during that time block. You have a fresh mug of coffee or tea, your desk is clear, you have your trusty planner or calendar and you're ready to get this done. Have the Instagram content calendar PDF by your side to recall your 3-5 umbrella themes you decided upon earlier in this class, as well as the frequency and times you decided to post. For this example, let's say that you are posting every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday at 9:00 AM, 12:00 PM, and 3:00 PM. Let's say that your umbrella themes are behind the scenes, product and online classes. Awesome. Now you have your framework to start writing. I like to use Google Drive, but in your own filing system, create a folder called Marketing and a sub-folder called Instagram. Within this folder, have a document with your bank of hashtags, a document with your umbrella themes, and a document with your posting cadence. You can also just upload your completed Instagram content calendar PDF to have all of these elements in one place. Then create a new document for the upcoming month of planned post content that you are about to create. For example, I like to open up a blank Google doc and title it Instagram Posts underscore month period, year. For example, Instagram Posts_November.2020. Then I go into the document and write down the day and date for every Monday, Wednesday, and Friday of that month. At the top of my document, I'll write as a reminder of my umbrella themes. Monday, behind the scenes, Wednesday product, Friday online classes. This way I'm clear on what I need to focus on. Then I take a look at my calendar and see any class launches or product launches I have coming up, so I'm aware of when and how to market these in the posts. I don't need irrelevant dates at the top of the document as well, even and especially if they're a month or two months out. Once I have all that in place, it's time to start writing. Let's start here. Monday, November 2nd, for this example, let's say that in a month I know I'm launching my new fabric collection. This post might look like this, in the back of my head, I know I'm going to have an image of either a photograph of wild flowers or an image of my illustration on progress. Then the caption might say something like, "I've been so inspired by all of the wild flowers growing at the farm lately. The mix of colors, the fresh scents, the way they gently rustle in the breeze, they all bring me back to a feeling of peace and serenity. Their beauty gives me permission to rest and enjoy the moment. They are a reminder to find joy each day. This new pattern is inspired by those wild flowers, and I can't wait for it to bring you this same sense of peace, joy, and presence into your own home. Stay tuned for the launch of this pattern in my newest fabric collection." Then I would put a few dots to separate the caption from hashtags and copy over my behind the scenes hashtags. I'd also add hashtag wildflower pattern, hashtag surface pattern design, hashtag fabric collection. Depending on the company collaboration and terms of the project, I'd tag them in the photo and add their hashtag as well. As that fabric collection launch got closer, I'd ramp up the number of posts related to it. I might replace the typical umbrella themes I normally use and focus entirely on the lunch for a week instead. By the way, you can totally change up your umbrella themes. The themes and the schedule are all just a structure to give you a solid foundation. But from there you can shift as needed. We'll cover this in more depth in the market a big launch section. I'd continue to go through the document to fill out the posts for the rest of the dates listed based on my themes and marketing plan. When I was finished, I'd read back through, make any final edits, and feel so stoked that I have a plan for Instagram for the whole next month. Once my content is all written out in the document, ideally, I'd take a quick break to stretch or go for a walk. Then I returned to the content and open up my favorite scheduling app called Later. There are a wide variety of apps to schedule your content. My favorite is called Later, which you can find at Later has a free plan that offers up to 30 posts per month to Instagram. You can schedule the days and times of your posts into their calendar. Once you do because you're linked to your Instagram account, the app will automatically post your content to your Instagram without any further action from you. Pretty cool. Later also allows you to schedule out your Facebook and Pinterest posts. It's really nice to have everything in one spot. Another scheduling app that I have not used, but that gets good reviews is Planoly. If you search for scheduling apps, you can find the option that works best for you. Now I'll open up my Later account. Here you can see that there is a library of images on the left side where I can upload the photos and imagery I want to use in my posts. This is very handy to load your photos and for the month ahead so that everything is ready to go. Let's say that you have a behind the scenes post planned for three weeks from now, but you haven't started that artwork yet. No worries. Once you're closer to the post and have that image, you can upload it into Later and schedule it then. Now I'm in Later here and I have my document that we worked through together just next to Later in a tab to be able to easily access the content. I'm just going to start copying over the content for Instagram. What I'm going to do here is for about Monday post, we talked about what the wild flowers, here's the pattern. I'm going to drag this to Monday. We are looking at Monday, November 2nd at noon. Says a little bit about the image. I'm going to delete that, I'm going to hop over here to Monday, select "Copy", "Paste". That is it, I make sure here it's correct. Sometimes it changes to like 12:05. I just come over here and make sure that time is correct. Make sure it's on auto. Instead of getting a notification. If it's on auto, it will just automatically publish to your account. I can "Save" this here. Then, just as a quick tip, while we're in here. This is scheduled, so let me exit out of that. While we're in here, you can just hop right over to your Facebook connection, your Pinterest connection, and drag and drop this same content a little bit different. For Pinterest, you might want a different sized image to fit their platform optimally. But basically, I could just drag this over to my Facebook one and do the same thing, and change up the links if I need to. Instead of linkinbio on a product, I would directly link that link here in the Facebook description. But not to get too much into Facebook and Pinterest right now, just sticking with Instagram. That is scheduled, ready to go. Amazing. Then Wednesday that was my product day. I'm going to "Copy" over this calendar image, hop in here to Wednesday. "Copy" over the caption, "Paste" it, noon, good, "Save". Again, don't forget that you can check your analytics to see in your insights, to see when the best time to post is, when to schedule your posts. Friday is the online course on my learning day. I'm going to copy over this image from Paxil for my Instagram class. What I have in this caption is a tool for creatives to have ideas of what to post. I'm prompting them to download a freebie through the link in my bio. I have that saved. Now I have these three scheduled for the week and I would just go through for the month and get that ready to go. You can go over here to Month view to see your schedule. You can go to Preview to see how it looks in your grid before it's posted. We have this repeat image because this is an example. You can see how it looks with everything. When you're coming back to brand aesthetic and brand look, you can start to think about how that ties in as a whole, which is another great bird's eye view component of planning out your posts like this. Then I'll go back to Week view. That's it. Then it shows you up here, I'm on the free plan, you have 27 Instagram posts left, which is great. Then it shows you here too 30 Facebook, I haven't done anything here yet, so 30 left. Pinterest 30 left. There you have it. Really simple, really great tool. After just one morning of batch working, I now have a structure for marketing and sharing my work on Instagram to connect with my community. I have more headspace and I can dive right back into the studio. Pretty rad, right? In the next lesson, we'll talk about how to adjust your Instagram marketing plan for a big launch. 18. Market a Big Launch: Now that you have a general structure and plan for the rhythm and content of your posts on Instagram, let's talk about the specific case of if you have a big launch coming up. This big launch might look like a flagship course, a new collection, a brand partnership with your artwork, a new set of prints, or a myriad of other fun projects. When you're planning for a big launch, you'll want to shift around the plan of your post a bit to be relevant to the upcoming release. For example, instead of rotating through your umbrella themes throughout the week, you'll want to replace some of your typical themes with post that focus on your launch. Let's say you have a big fabric collection releasing in six weeks. Let's use those six weeks as your runway, or buildup to the big launch. You could write up your Instagram marketing calendar like so. Let's say November 17 is the release date. Six weeks prior would be the week of October 4. During that first week of marketing, you could include one post to your grid about the fabric collection and one post to your stories. Both posts could be a behind the scenes look at your process to create the collection. Then, in the second week leading up to the launch, you could create two grid posts highlighting the collection and one post to your stories. In these posts you could show more insight into the process, glimpses at the patterns, and a call to action for your audience to join your e-mail list, to be the first to know when the collection is available. In the third week leading up to your launch, you could create two grid posts, two stories, and one Instagram Live about the collection. The live could feature a sneak peek at the samples you ordered to show off what's to come. In at least one of the grid posts, you could include a call to action to join your e-mail list to be the first to know about the release. During the fourth week leading up to the launch, you could have three grid posts and two posts to your stories. If you are partnering with a brand for the launch, you could talk about the brand, you could share more about your inspiration or what you hope your audience will receive from the collection. For example, a sense of joy and peace in their home, inspiration for the items they could make with the fabric, and so on. You could include calls to action for your audience to sign up for your email list or ask you any questions they might have about the collection. In the fifth week leading up to the launch, you could create three grid posts and three stories. In these posts, you can highlight more of the details of when the collection will be released and how your audience can easily purchase the items. You can include a call to action to download a freebie, like an art print with one of the patterns, for people to get on your email list to be notified of the launch. During the sixth and final week leading up to the launch, you could share four or five grid posts, one story each week day, and go live one more time. Each day you could highlight a different pattern from the fabric collection. You don't have to reveal every single pattern, and in fact, I recommend keeping quite a handful a surprise. But you could show a select few as product markups, those products being used in your home or the fabric being sewn into beautiful articles of clothing. Your stories could show more tangible behind the scenes glimpses at the samples. The live could be a live Q&A to answer your audience's questions and get them so excited about the launch. Then, during the week of your launch, you launch. Share that the collection is now available for purchase with clear details of where your audience can buy the items. Share about your collection consistently on launch week. Share about it everyday. Don't be afraid to talk about it. A week or two after the launch, you'll want to be sure to take a breath from marketing, both for yourself and for your audience. This is like the exhale or the pause after a whole lot of work. It gives your audience time to rest and receive the beauty you've created and it gives you time to rest before your next big product or launch. Marketing is cyclical. It's important to incorporate this time of rest and service after a big push. This doesn't mean to never post about the collection again. But it does mean to dial back the amount and number of times per week you're sharing about that specific launch. You can slowly start to incorporate your typical umbrella themes back into the designated days and you're marketing calendar as you slow down the buzz around the launch. Start to focus more on service again after the many weeks of promoting and asking. In the next lesson, we're going to dive deep into more ways to build a solid, lasting community through Instagram. I'll see you there. 19. Build Community: You may be skeptical that you can build a true authentic community through Instagram. But I will tell you that I've met some of my now closest friends through Instagram, and have started awesome collaborations through the platform. It always began with me reaching out to the person or the company that I resonated with, and if they were local, sending them a direct message that said, "Hey, I'm Liz. I'm a food illustrator, and I absolutely love the work you're creating. I'd love to hear more about your story. Do you want to grab coffee sometime?" Then, more often than not, they agreed, we grabbed coffee, and started an awesome friendship. For people who aren't local, I've said the same thing, but I've asked about grabbing coffee virtually over Zoom instead of in-person. For companies rather than people that I have a question for, I might send them a direct message that looks like this, "Hey, I love the work you're doing and the products you create. Are you accepting artists' submissions right now?" Sometimes I'll get a response and sometimes I won't, but it doesn't discourage me from continuing to reach out. To build an organic, long-lasting community, you have to reach out, reach out, reach out. Be friendly, be kind, be curious, and be you. Reach out to the accounts that you love, ask that artist what materials they use in their studio, tell that brand you love their latest fabric collection, reach out to the local creative and say that you love their ideas and want to get to know them better over coffee. When you are genuine, and kind, and reach out, you can build real sustainable friendships and business partnerships through this platform. I know that sounds weird, building relationships through a screen, through the app, I get it. But remember that it's just a starting point. It's not the end point, it's just the place to start building these relationships which can then continue to bloom, and flourish, and blossom outside of the platform as well. There are so many ways to reach out on Instagram because there are a multitude of connection points. You can reach out to people directly through the feed by commenting on their photo, in your grid, by responding to comments that people leave for your own photos, by starting a conversation with someone who left a comment on a post from your favorite artist. Maybe they commented on that artist's post and said, "I love this painting. I paint too, what paints do you use?" Perhaps you're also a painter, so you have a connection point." You respond to their comment and say, "Hey, I'm a painter too. I just checked out your page and love your work." Through stories. Connect through Instagram Stories both by posting to your Stories as we discussed, but also by responding to any messages that people send you in response to your Stories. In addition, hop over to other profiles, watch their Stories and engage with their content. Do they have a poll? Respond. Are they asking a question? Respond. Are they posting a beautiful photo or video of their work? Send a message and respond. On IGTV, again, you can reach out by creating your own IGTV videos and responding to the comments that your community leaves on them. But you can also watch and comment on IGTV videos that other people in your community are creating. Search for other illustrators, painters, or artists, and watch the IGTV content that they are making. Maybe they're offering free DIY sessions or a coming series of them working in their studio. Go find them, get inspired, and engage with their content. Through Instagram Live. When you go live, acknowledge the people by name, if you know them, who pop on live with you. Respond to their questions and comments that they send during your live in real time. Also hop onto the live videos of people you follow and comment with your own support or questions. Reach out, let them know you're there and present for them. Highlights. Include polls and questions in your own highlighted stories so people can engage over time. Hop over to the highlights of other accounts, watch them, and send messages in your response with your questions, or to share what you love about what they are creating. In your bio. Make your bio brief, warm, and welcoming. Invite people to learn more or by including that call to action in a link. But you could also even say, "DM me to say, hey, I can't wait to get to know you." You can go to other people's profiles, read their bio, and follow through on their call to action, whether that's visiting their website, joining their email lists, or checking out their latest product launch. You can also read their bio and then send a message to introduce yourself and share something that resonated with you, either about what they do, offer, or love. As you can see, all of these connection points are two-way streets. You can reach out within these methods on your own account, and you can reach out through these methods on the accounts of other people. When you feel like you're not getting any engagement on your account, you've got to get out there and engage. Engagement leads to engagement. When someone likes your photo, go check out their page, and like and comment on their posts as well. Respond, simple. Respond to every comment and DM; unless the DM is really weird and from a spammy user, just ignore those. Here are more ways to strengthen engagement with your Instagram community. One, include that call to action in every post. Two, again, as we talked about in the stories lesson, use these tools in your stories. Pose questions, the scale, tagging, quizzes, behind the scenes clips and videos of your process, and you, the creative behind the work. Three, giveaways. You could increase engagement by hosting a giveaway. You could offer a free print from your upcoming collection to one lucky winner who comments on your posts, by tagging two of their friends and sharing where they'd like to display the print in their home. Then after a designated time period, like one day or a week, you could randomly select the winner and announce that winner in another post. Four, schedule the time you will reach out. Work out 10 minutes per day in your calendar, or 20 minutes per week to start, to directly reach out to people on Instagram. Spend this time checking out the accounts who engage with your content, like their photos, comment on their photos, send them DMs to share that you love their work, to ask a question and to show your support. Just like when you're building relationships face to face, over time, these intentional likes, comments and DMs will lead you to not only building a community on Instagram, but off of Instagram as well. Five, stay open. If you don't get a response, no biggie. Keep reaching out to more accounts that you want to connect with. Try again later with the ones you don't hear back from. Stay open to their requests and questions that come your way as well. You never know who might be your next creative buddy or business collaboration. Six, listen. Listen to what your audience says in the comments and in your DMs. Notice which posts and photos they like and resonate with. Listen to their questions, listen to their likes, listen to their stories. When you listen to your audience, you build trust in your community and understand what it is that they truly want and desire. When you understand this, you can serve your community in even more powerful and authentic ways. Seven, tag people. Tag people in your posts, in your comments, and in your stories. If you see a post that you think a friend of yours would love, tag them in the comments. If you create a post that's, let's say, a behind the scenes photo in your studio and you have a handmade coffee mug in the picture, tag the maker of that mug. If you share a story in which you're using your favorite paints, tag the company. If someone else tags you in a poster or story, reshare it to your account. These are all powerful ways to cross promote, and support each other. If you're just starting out on Instagram or feel like you have trouble finding people you're really stoked to engage with, go get inspired. Go to the search bar and search for hashtags you're interested in or that are related to your industry. For example #oilpainting, #foodillustration, or #surfacepatterndesign. Searching these hashtags will help you find new artists and creatives to connect with. Check out their accounts, their work, go like, and comment on their posts, and begin engaging with them and their content. Get inspired and uplifted by the work of others. We're all in this together. Let's talk numbers. It can be easy to get caught up in the pressures of the numbers on Instagram; the number of likes, the number of followers, the number of story views. But remember that behind every single number is a human being, a person who is seeking connection, inspiration, and true community as well. Put your main focus on the person instead of the number. A small and engaged community on Instagram can be more meaningful and powerful than tens of thousands of followers who don't really look at your work and don't really want to engage. Serve the people who are already there for you, and serve them well. Rather than rushing out and about to collect bigger and bigger numbers, be present to the people who are with you, supporting you, and engaging with you right now. Serve them, talk to them, be present to them. This is like eye contact at that dinner party. You know how it feels to be telling someone you're creative passions at a party while they keep glancing over your shoulder at the rest of the room, wondering who else is there, who else might be more important to talk to? That feels so not good. That's the same thing here on Instagram. Give your attention to the people who are here now. Not only is this a genuine way to build deep relationships, but also those people will feel so seen by you and so heard by you, that they'll rave about you to their friends who will then want to come check out your party too. A good reminder for this is the power of one. Focus on one person at a time, hear their story, their passions, their questions, respond, engage. Serve one person at a time. From this intention, you will build a solid, authentic, and lasting community. In the next lesson, we're diving into the importance and value of setting boundaries on Instagram, so I'll see you there. 20. Set Boundaries: How many times do you hop on Instagram to check one thing, and then 30 minutes later you're still scrolling. It can be really easy to get sucked into the many posts, beautiful imagery, and stories of your Instagram community, which can take away from your own time in the studio or working on your creative business. At the end of the day, you're creative and the main thing is to make your work. Yes, it's so important to share your work and use it as a bridge and means for connection, but to do that, you have to make the time to make your work. Because of this, it can be incredibly helpful to create an intentionally-planned boundaries around your use on the platform. You can schedule these boundaries into your calendar so you know, when you'll be on and off of the app. For example, you might decide that you will spend 15 minutes each weekday morning from, let's say, 8:45-9:00 AM and 15 minutes each weekday evening from 5:00-5:15 PM, hanging out on Instagram. You'll also hop on when you're scheduled content posts for 10 minutes to respond to comments and DMs that come in right away. You might decide to take some days off completely and not check the platform at all. Write these down in your calendar and set reminders if you feel that you need them to go off when your time is up. There are also apps and settings on your phone and desktop to limit your app usage, if you feel you need this as a tool to stick to your boundaries. You may decide to set an even bigger boundary on the platform for a vacation or focus studio time for a big launch. You may choose not to post it all in this time or to only have scheduled posts. Either way, remember to let your Instagram community know that you're stepping away from the platform for a bit so they know what to expect and don't lose connection with your consistency of showing up. Boundaries are really useful to stay focused on your own creative work and business and not get too distracted so that you don't get done what you said you'd get done. Boundaries are also incredibly useful to limit comparison fatigue. There can be a fine line between inspiration and comparison on Instagram. For example, if you're feeling particularly stuck on a project or doubting your creativity, Instagram can start to feel like you're comparing your work and journey to everyone else's instead of finding inspiration. In those moments, it's definitely good to take a break, step away for a walk or a hike, a delicious meal or something else that brings you joy off-screen and out of your studio in order to then dive back into all the value and beauty, you have to offer. To dive deeper into setting boundaries and a schedule to make more time to make your art, you can take my time management for creatives course here on Skillshare. It's also important to set boundaries for yourself with the content that you post. Decide how much you want to share about yourself and your story. You definitely don't have to share everything and it can definitely be a very healthy choice to keep your personal life personal. This might look like decisions on whether or not you'll share about your kids or your partner on social media. For example, what are their boundaries with the platform? How much you share about what you're going through behind the scenes? Or how much you choose to share about your time away from Instagram? You get to decide how much to share. It can be really valuable to write these personal boundaries down in advance so you know what you feel good about posting. Also, if you're running a creative business, it can be incredibly important and valuable to write down what content fits within your brand and what doesn't. For example, let's say you're a photographer and you create a lot of content featuring your photographs of weddings, families, and graduates. In your personal life, you also totally loved horror movies and watch them once a week. You may not want to include posts and stories about the horror movie love because it can muddy the feel of your creative business and brand. This is not to say you shouldn't ever share this personal passion at all, remember, you still want to show you, but you don't want it to dominate your business content or account. You don't want it to muddy what people think you do or what you offer. So set the boundaries you need to set in terms of content and the time you need to take care of yourself. Because of course, as you know, when you take care of yourself then take time for yourself, you can better serve others. In the next lesson, we'll talk about how to lead your Instagram community deeper into your story off of the platform. I'll see you there. 21. Move Off of the Platform: When you create opportunities for your Instagram followers to dive deeper into building a relationship with you and your business, you get to build an even stronger community. At the end of the day, Instagram is an app, it could disappear, shift, or change over time in unpredictable ways. That's why it's important to have multiple ways for your community to reach you and be in touch with you. When your Instagram audience builds trust with you and decides to commit to you, your story and your creative business even further. They want to engage with you in other ways, such as your creative Facebook page, your weekly e-mail list, your online courses, or your online shop. This means that if Instagram changes which it will, then your community is still in touch with you and even more committed to your work through other platforms. How can you call your community to these other platforms? Just ask them. Provide different calls to action in your grid posts, in your bio, and in your stories that invite your community off of Instagram to learn more. You can ask them to like your Facebook page or to join your e-mail list. You can ask them to visit your website or your online shop, or your brick-and-mortar shop. All of these are solid ways to continue building trust and serving your audience without only relying on Instagram. I highly recommend asking your audience to join your e-mail list. If you send out a monthly or weekly studio e-mail, you can build a deeper story and connection with your audience there. This is when that coffee date of Instagram stories, or the dinner date of IGTV, turns into becoming best buds or a committed relationship. When you give a call to action, you can refer your community to the link in your bio, which can be that single link to your website, or a form to join your e-mail list. Or as mentioned previously, it can be a Linktree link, which includes multiple ways for people to leave Instagram, and connect with you on many other platforms. Further, you can always say, "DM me for the link." This encourages your followers to message you so that you can give them the link directly, and also start a conversation by asking how they're doing, or just to say you're really excited for them to join your e-mail list, check out your shop or visit your website. Whatever your call to action may be in that moment. By bringing your community further into your story off of Instagram, you're going to continue to build that strong relationship, and really support one another through this creative journey. All right, awesome. You've made it through this class and are now ready to be an Instagram pro. In the next lesson, we're talking about your next steps to dive deeper. See you there. 22. Thank You & Next Steps: Thank you so much for joining me here today for this class. I really hope you're walking away with new tools that you can implement and a new perspective of Instagram that helps you build a long-lasting, true, authentic community that supports you and your creative work. Remember to upload your class projects to the projects and resources section so I can see the amazing work you're doing and creating, using the tools you've learned in this class. Don't forget to dive deeper into this content by downloading your free PDF that I've made to go along with this class. It's called, "What to post: 30 Instagram prompts for creatives." You can download it through the link in the projects and resources section. I can't wait to get to know you better. So let's hang out on Instagram, you can find me @prints_and_plants. If you want to learn more about my work as a food illustrator and creative coach, you can visit my website at If you loved this class, be sure to follow me here on Skillshare for more creative courses. Remember the world needs your art. So get out there and start sharing it and tag me on Instagram @prints_and_plants so that I can follow along and see all the beautiful work you're creating and sharing with the world. I cannot wait to see you again soon and until next time. Stay creative.