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Do's and Don't's for Instagram

I am so excited to have Sophie Coffey of Sabazel Creative as a guest blogger!

Do’s and Don’ts for Instagram

Words by Sophie Coffey

We all know that Social Media is here to stay, and while many equine related businesses have been slow to jump on the bandwagon, now is the perfect time for you to join Instagram if you haven’t already. While you’re at it, join Facebook, as the two platforms are linked (Facebook purchased Instagram several years ago) and hand-in-hand can be a formidable tool to grow your business, regardless of what your specialty or discipline might be.

DO – Get your content library created ahead of time

With Instagram, you want to be able to post one high quality image a day to start – this will build your feed (the images that are present in your account) quickly, and more content means more credibility. Ask friends and clients for images of your farm or videos of lessons – creating a DropBox or other online folder where people can directly place images will help immensely. Before you launch, you want to have a solid amount of good pictures and videos to choose from.

DON’T – Tag any junior clients without getting their parents' permissions

Most of your content will come from your junior clients – they are never without their phones and they understand the medium better than anyone else. Chances are, they will be your first followers and your biggest fans! That said, ask all parents in the barn if you have permission to tag their child in any image or video, or if you have permission to post their picture on your feed. 99% of parents will say yes to this, but it’s a good legal box to check!

DO – Be SOCIAL on Social Media!

The whole point of Social Media, in theory, is to create relationships and spread the love of whatever your passion happens to be. For horse related businesses, this means reaching out to other riders, trainers, tack shops, vets, feed stores, saddle reps, and any other aligned industry partner in your area, and making them a part of your feed as well. This can be done in the form of reposting (a very popular method of picture sharing – just ask permission to repost first!), tagging, or creating contests and giveaways to promote your business and grow your followers.

DON’T – Post low quality images or videos on your main feed

Your Instagram feed is like the mood board for your business – you want it to feel as professional and polished as your business truly is. For that reason, only post the absolute best pictures or videos on your main feed. Not every image needs to be created by a professional photographer by any means, but don’t post pictures of the barn that are out of focus, poorly cropped, or when your aisle isn’t necessarily at its best. You want to put your best foot forward every time!

DO – Use Instagram Stories to capture everyday life

More content is being consumed on the Story piece of Instagram than on the main feed, sometimes. This is the place where you can post that in-the-moment video of the barn cat snuggling with one of the horses, the awesome lesson that’s happening right now, the moment when a client is surprised with her new horse or pony. Stories do not need to be extremely high quality or polished – in fact, taking advantage of memes, stickers, sound effects, Boomerang, and other silly or over the top elements makes stories even more interesting.

DON’T – Overthink it

Ok, after everything that’s been said in this blog post, this might be a bit counterintuitive, but remember that playing the game at ALL is the most important piece. If you sit on the sidelines, you’ll never get that Instagram feed up and running. So don’t let doing it “perfectly” prevent you from doing it at all! You might make some mistakes and your feed might be slow to grow, but getting an account name and posting your first picture is the first step – then, have fun!

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