As a business or brand, it’s of utmost importance that you don’t share something that you don’t want people to read. The last thing you want is for your reputation to go in the direction you didn’t want it to go in.
You want your brand to seem human, but you also have to remember that this is your business. You don’t want to rant about your irritating aunt, show incredible fury about something no one else finds interesting, or post a random picture that has nothing to do with your brand.
There’s a fine line between opening up to your audience and oversharing. You don’t want to overstep, so there are a few things you should be asking yourself before you post on Instagram.
6 questions brands should answer before posting on Instagram
1. Is this valuable to my audience?
Across all industries, people want to make others’ lives easier. You most likely want to make a difference, too. So, ask yourself before posting if your image and words would provide value to your followers.
Is it going to help someone? If your answer is no, then don’t post it. (Unless it’s for a reason we’ll be talking about at the very end.) You don’t want to post something that will make your reader question you and unfollow you. You want a drama-free account.
2. Will this end up going bad?
There are moments where our emotions get the best of us. We could easily upload a picture with a negative rant, talk crap about someone without mentioning their name, or post something unethical in the business world. For example, you could post a sneak peek of your friend’s new song after she explicitly told you not to.
If you were to post something like that, it would hurt your reputation. You don’t want people to see you as a cheat, a liar, or just a negative person. So, ask yourself—“Will this end up going bad?” Put your joking or anger or sadness aside, and answer.
3. Am I sticking to my brand’s message, values, and tone?
Your brand should have a specific and distinct tone to it. When you were getting started you must’ve written down your mission statement and core values that you’d dedicate yourself to promoting and applying.
It can be easy to steer away from these things when you lose sight of them. Keep your values on the wall of your office (or on your desk), and before posting ask if what you’re about to post relates to your brand?
You don’t want to post about how much you despise a presidential candidate if one of your core values is “spread positivity.” Stick to what you want to promote, or else people will take notice.
4. Could this be better?
For all the perfectionists reading this, skip to the next question. If you’re not a perfectionist and you know you can ask this question without never taking action, keep reading.
Look at the picture you’re about to upload. Can it be better? Can you make it more legible? Does it make sense? Could you add more value? Is it possible that maybe it’s not as pretty as you thought?
You don’t want to aim for perfect, but you do want to upload pictures that won’t make people unfollow you. If you can say that your picture looks good, then upload. If you know it’s good, but that it can be better, upload. You don’t want to fix something that doesn’t need to be fixed.
However, if you can see that it’s ugly or messy, try making it better for your audience. Like I said, don’t strive for perfect, strive for better.
5. Will my followers care?
While this may sound familiar to the first question, there’s a difference. Posting about something your followers think is valuable versus posting about something they care about can be different things.
For example, entrepreneur Lewis Howes will upload inspiring quotes and pictures (valuable) and he will upload selfies with the people he interviews for his podcast “The School Of Greatness” (care).
He’s aware that his followers want to see who he’s with and take a regular selfie that makes him look more human. It not only gives people behind-the-scenes, but it makes him look like he’s a regular guy. This makes him easy to interact with.
6. What is the purpose of this post?
You can’t just upload pictures or stories for the sake of posting. There needs to be a purpose behind it. You get to define that purpose—is it valuable or will they care?—but stick to what you know is good for your brand.
While uploading pictures that you know your audience will care about is great, it depends on your brand, and you have to know your audience. Uploading a picture of a puppy to your audience—forty to sixty-year-old business professionals who went to Harvard Business School—is going to earn you confused looks and comments.
However, if your brand was helping that same audience take breaks and enjoy the little things, they might enjoy a picture of the puppy.
So, know your brand and know your audience. Then, ask what the purpose of the post is. If you find that it has no purpose, don’t post.
Do you need to answer 'yes' to all of these?
Six questions may seem like a lot to ask yourself, but they’re all simple. It will give you a second to think, and four of them only require a ‘yes’ or a ‘no’. If the answer is yes, post away. However, if the answer is no, don’t post, and remember why you won’t be posting for the next time you’re about to make the same mistakes.
Keep in mind that not all of these have to be answered ‘yes’ before posting. For example, branding expert Kimra Luna posts pictures of her three sons on Instagram even though it has nothing to do with her business. It doesn’t provide value, but it shows a more human side of her.
While she would answer no to the first question, she knows that her ideal audience cares about those types of pictures. They appreciate them, therefore she posts them.
Experiment with your images in the beginning to find out what your audience likes and dislikes!