Monday, February 29, 2016

Instagram for creatives, part 1: About your IG account.

Hello and welcome to my blog and to the first of a series of blog posts about Instagram! For those new to my blog, my name is Iveth Morales and I'm the designer/maker behind The Angry Weather, a playful and simplicity-oriented line of sterling silver, bronze, brass and gold jewellery. One of my favourite things, beside making jewellery, is taking photos of anything that I find interesting, beautiful or inspiring, so it's no surprise that when I joined Instagram in 2011, I fell head over heels for it and the love story just keeps growing.

Before we start, I want to put out there that I don't have a "recipe" for a popular account and/or thousands of followers, I honestly don't. As with most things I enjoy, I don't overthink about what I do nor do I tend to plan that much (in short, I like to go with the flow!), but that doesn't stop me from always taking notes of the things I discover are useful along the way, and then applying them again and again with great results. And this is where my experience on IG comes in handy: along the years, I've learnt a thing or two to make the best of Instagram and taking my account from a humble start to 50K+ followers and what's most important, having fun with it! 

Now, I decided to start these series of post with the mindset of giving a bit of guidance to people who are starting IG or are struggling to reflect their creativity on their IG images, which makes the first two chapters of these series a bit like an IG 101, basically. So, if you are an IG veteran, you may feel like skipping this chapter and maybe check out the next or the last lesson where we'll discuss a bit more about what makes a successful IG account, but remember, a little reminder of the basics is always a good thing so you are cordially invited to keep reading and, if you fancy, share your IG story/experience in the comments!

I've divided this project in three parts that will be posted one every week + three interviews of some of my favourite creative Canadian Instagramers that kindly jumped in to this project! Their names will be revealed in due time, don't you love a good surprise?! for now, let's focus on the lessons: 

1. Your Instagram account (which you are about to start reading!).
2. Three basic techniques for great phone photography.
3. Key points to improve your IG account + reach a bigger audience. 

So, why is Instagram important for creatives? 

There’s no doubt that having a great social media presence can help you make your business/brand,creative endeavours flourish but it doesn't stop there.

For me, it's about the community your build around you: from local organizations, craft shows, fellow creative peers, fiends, schools, shops, etc to global marketplaces and social media. The most rewarding way to grow in what you do is to have the support of a community; people who understand your struggles, cheer your endeavours, celebrate your victories, give you advice and put their money, literally, on your dreams. Social media helps you connect with people who enjoy what you do and that otherwise, you might not have had the chance to meet (due to geographical reasons, age differences, etc). And right now Instagram is probably the easiest, most enjoyable and rewarding way out there for building a supporting social media tribe.

About your IG account.

So, if you have a creative soul and need to find a way to put all this energy out there, document your journey or are planning your next creative adventure and don't have an IG account or you do but seldom use it: hi, you are in the right place! 

When it comes to IG, I tend to pick who I follow consciously. Why? because I enjoy looking at the photos, I enjoy making connections with whom I follow/follow me and if I go following a ton of people then how can I possibly keep up with them in the 10-20 minutes I have to cheek IG? Sometimes I'd come across a very interesting account with beautiful pics or what looks like interesting content but if the account is not properly filled up (profile pic/name/description) I would not follow. Why? because I don't have 10 minutes to go though a feed to figure out who is this person, what he/she does and why I think it'd be nice to start a connection with him/her. I want a hint, a trace of personality, a preview of what I can expect if I start following. I want to make connections with people, I want to know stories, I want to see how life is in other places of the world and if this person is not giving me any of this on their intro, how could they temp me to make room for them on the 20 minutes I spend checking out IG? This is why your should introduce yourself properly.

A name carries a lot of weight. The simplest, most straightforward your name is, the easier will be for people to familiarize with you and remember you, and believe me, you WANT that. Stay away from usernames that don't say anything to your followers and to you, specially if your use your Instagram to promote your brand, blog or any creative venture. Good thing about IG usernames: if you don't like your current one you can always change it, YASSS! But beware, don't change it often or you'll confuse your followers and they'll be asking themselves who are you and why are they following you!

Profile picture. 
This is the first thing people will see when finding your account. Never, never leave that space empty! If you don’t have a profile picture, most likely people won’t even bother to look at your account as there won’t be a connection to the person behind the photos. The best thing to do is to post a clear picture of yourself or your logo. Personally, I enjoy seeing a photo of the person behind the brand, it makes me feel more interested in knowing about what this person is up to and thus follow. A logo works great, too, especially if your account is mostly business related. 

A simple “your-name + what-you-do” works fantastic but you don’t have to stop there! Elaborate as much as the space allows if you feel like it: you can describe yourself, your interests, what you do or in which city you live (remember IG is a global community and it’s nice to know where people are from and enjoy knowing about life in their particular geographical point), etc. Having a strong About section makes easier for people to have a better sense of who you are and make them interested in keeping up with you. 

If you have a working online shop, blog or website, this is THE PLACE to put that link! Give people interested in knowing more about you and what you do the information they need to support your creative adventures outside Instagram. Never underestimate the power of sharing your links!

So now you know why it's super important to have a strong IG profile!

And with this, we finish the first IG lesson. Keep an eye open for an interview with one of my fave local Instagramers this week and for the next lesson happening next Monday: Three basic techniques for great phone photography. If you have questions or want to share your take on the basics of having a great profile on IG, please share in the comments bellow. Let's keep the conversation open!

Thank you!

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Tuesday, February 23, 2016

Instagram workshop for Les joailliers du dimanche


If you kind of have been following this blog for a while, you may have noticed that I'm a huge supporter of the idea of joining creative communities. Being an active participant in the Etsy and Montreal community has helped me get to places that otherwise would have been a struggle to get to on my own or without advice and support of like-minded people I admire and respect. Plus the journey wouldn't have been half as fun as it has been! 

Some of you also know that as part of my involvement with my local peers, I'm part of the Joailliers du dimanche collective. Les joailliers du dimanche is a network of local jewellers that support each other through advice, counsel, events and online promotion. Being part of the collective for a number of years now is one of the most rewarding things I've got to experience since I started working independently as a jewellery designer/maker. 

As part of our support projects, I decided to give a couple of workshops regarding social media, specifically, Instagram. Is no secret that I freaking love Instagram and that is by far the social media channel I enjoy the most. Taking photos is part of my everyday life: I love to document the little things that inspire me and how I see the world around me. Thanks to this, it wasn't hard for me to pick up IG and love it from the start plus develop a certain understanding on how the thing works. 

So, for the workshop I prepared a lot of info to share with Les joailliers du dimanche about my experience and advice on IG and I was so motivated by the response and feedback I got from the workshop that I don't want to stop there: I would love to share it with you, too! 

If you want to read about my take on IG or need to learn a thing or two, from how to take great photos with your phone to how to reach a bigger audience and run a successful IG account, don't miss out the series of blog posts I'm preparing! I'll be posting them here and also in Les joailliers du dimanche website, weekly. First one goes live tomorrow so stay tuned!

Thanks so much to Les joaillers du dimanche for your interest and attending this workshops in great numbers! As always, I feel immensely satisfied of being part of such a great group of awesome creatives!


One of the two groups of joailliers attending the workshop, it was great fun!