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Instagram Marketing 101 – Part 1: Set Up

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In the age of social media, it is so important to be present online. You need to be where your customers are, and in almost every case that’s on social media. For any industry that is visual, Instagram is no doubt the best platform to show off your work. It’s an obvious favourite here at JCI, and one that gets a lot of attention. If you’re not already following @JCInstitute, get on it!

With all this technology, there are endless opportunities.  No matter the size of your audience, you need to know the basics. You could even become the next Samantha Ravndahl, Kimberley Margarita or Leigh Dickson. Anything really is possible, and you never know when your carefully curated feed could get you noticed or land you that job.

In the last few months alone we’ve seen grads (@stjohnnnn) and instructors (@elisssawolfe) really take on the IG community by storm! We love seeing our talented JCI family doing so well, and want to help inspire others to build their brand/business online.

Social media is a great tool to promote your work and find new clients, but it can be time consuming. Luckily there are lots of ways to get started, improve your content and work smarter. Let’s get ready for that close up and jump right into Part 1 of Instagram Marketing 101:

Personal vs Business

business instagram account


Most of  you probably already have an Instagram handle for personal use. If you’re a JCI student, it may even be full of pictures from your program. You have two options: 1) make a new account dedicated to your trade, or 2) convert your personal account to a professional one. Both have their advantages and drawbacks.

New account:

  • Start with a clean slate
  • Won’t bombard uninterested friends with work photos
  • 100% focused on what you do
  • Have to build up from zero followers
  • Extra account to keep up with

Convert old account:

  • Only 1 account to manage
  • Should delete any old photos that wouldn’t make the best impression with your clients
  • Have to filter what you post to keep it professional
  • Risk losing current followers by changing your content focus

Clients want to see your personality shine through, but they come to your account mainly for work-related content. Make sure you keep a good balance with either set up!


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Your name should be memorable. If possible include your first or last name and minimize the amount of numbers and punctuation. Many people choose to include something about the field they are in, or their location. If you can think of one,  you could also use a play on your name such as @hairbymess (Alyssa Messmer) or @14karatgoldie (Shae Goldie).

Remember, it is possible to edit your name on Instagram, so you can always change your mind.  We don’t recommend doing this often, but it’s good to have options. Proceede with caution, as switching it up will make it tough for old clients to find you again and breaks any existing links to your old account name.



Make sure to include a short description with your name and profession in your bio. Either type out your information or switch to a business account (Go to Settings> Switch to Business Profile) to add a contact button. You’re also going to need a profile photo, which could either be of you or your best work.

If you have a website/blog (or the business you work at has one) be sure to link to that in your profile too. Your bio is the only place you can have a live link on Instagram, so take advantage of it! Even if you have been featured on someone else’s website, consider using that. It will be visible on your bio, so use a tool like Bitly to make a long URL a little neater.


Now that you have your account set up, it’s time to get some content. Next up we will be talking photos, captions and tagging. Stay tuned for the second post in our three part series next week!

What do you think about these tips? Let us know and ask any questions in the comments or DM us on social media! We would love to hear from you.

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