5 Steps to Creating #InstaAwesome

“You can make more friends in two months by becoming interested in other people than you can in two years by trying to get other people interested in you.” Dale Carnegie

Ok, so I am pretty sure you do not need convincing that Instagram is the platform of the moment for so many people and businesses. And by that I mean, the impact of relationship and biz building for creative small businesses and the humans who lead them and work in them. #fact

But there are still so many myths and misconceptions on how to create awesome with the platform so I thought I would share what I know to be true and where to begin… And yes, I have written about this many times, and yes, I believe it cannot be repeated enough. So here we go…

First and foremost, as with any platform, we always start with why, as the great Simon Sinek says. The objective. As in, why are we engaging on Instagram and why does anyone care? Instead of focusing on followers, focus on creating value, consistently. Yes, consistently. Let me say that one more time, consistently.


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1. What is your story?
People respond to stories. Brands and businesses tell stories. What is yours? And while we are on that topic, what is in your about section? It matters. Why are you, who are you, and how do I connect with you?

2. What value will you bring to the conversation?
Listen more than you talk. But when you do talk, what value are you bringing to the table? This is not about self-promotion, it is about creating value.

3. What will your theme be?
All the best Insta’s have a theme. A look. A feel. A vibe. They exude energy. And your theme needs to be consistent with your brand identity. Your overall brand look and feel.

4. What hashtags will you use to connect, engage and become more discoverable?
Yes use hashtags, even more important, use them consistently. Unless you are Beyoncé, then clearly there is no need, we will seek you out. But if you are not Beyoncé, here are the general guidelines for local businesses…

a. Use popular hashtags that are consistent with your content and story. i.e. #ombre #braids #bridalhair #fitspo #athlete
b. Use branded hashtag, always. In my case, its #passionsquared
c. Use your local hashtags. In Portland, its #PDX, in Downtown LA, its #DTLA, find yours by searching hashtags on Insta or Google it.

5. How much time are you willing to invest in building relationships, engaging, and content creation?
Ok, this is where the pro’s and amateurs divide. If you are serious about building relationships, engaging, and listening, then you will invest the time. Period. How much? It depends on your content and engagement plan. I spend 2+ hours a day on Instagram. It is my primary social platform. And yes, a majority of my referrals come from Instagram. Is there a secret? Nope.

When capturing, creating and posting content, please keep these things in mind…
Take a gazillion photos so you can choose the best one. One photo is not enough. How many are enough? You will know when you get the money shot.

Only post quality stuff. Really, did Nina just say that? Duh. Yes, I did, cause it needs to be said.

What do I mean by quality stuff? Lighting, Background, Detail, Clarity

Want to see how some others are doing it? Follow these passionate and talented humans. And look for themes, quality, consistency, storytelling, backgrounds, lighting, clarity, and detail. And educated eye and is an awesome eye. And why do I share these? Because I know for a fact Instagram has helped empower their biz + their lives. And I only work with facts. Not hype. Not theory. Simply facts.


And of course, @passionsquared

Love + Awesomeness-


About Nina L. Kovner: From the shampoo room to the boardroom, Nina L. Kovner took the world of pro beauty by storm with her thoughtful attention to detail and never-ending tenacity.  After 26 years of conquering obstacles in an ever-changing business landscape and helping to build one of the most recognized professional haircare brands in the world, she respectfully walked away from a career at the top to help small business owners and artists discover and live their purpose with passion and empower their businesses. Now, as Chief Awesomeness Empowerer at Passion Squared, she wakes up every morning saying to herself… “How I am going to help people create awesome today?”

About Passion Squared: WHAT'S LOVE GOT TO DO WITH IT? Everything. Awesome creative small business owners and the people who work in them are created from the inside out and we work to empower your life and business with a focus on online + offline marketing, strategy and brand development with a heavy dose of personal development awesome dust sprinkled onto every thing we do. You can find Nina all over the social + digital web when she’s not drinking espresso or spooning her dogs…Connect with her at passionsquared, on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat (@passionsquared) and Youtube.