Instagram quickly became, and continues to be, the social media app of choice for people wanting to show the world who they “really” are. The photo, video and story sharing that Instagram is famous for makes it the app of choice for many. Everyone uses it, and those that say they don’t probably do so in secret. And, arguably, that’s where the brilliance Instagram lies. Users can be as anonymous or as public as they want.
It can also be an incredibly powerful professional tool.
Professionals inevitably ask these three questions about Instagram:
- Can Instagram be good for my career?
- Can you advance your career through Instagram?
- Can Instagram hurt your career?
In short, the answer to all three of these is a resounding ‘Yes!’ But it also gets a little more complicated.
A little history of Instagram
Instagram was initially a photo-sharing app when released in October 2010. Users could post a square picture, tag a location and people and write a short comment and hashtag underneath it. It proved perfect for personal, vacation, or family photos.
After its huge initial success, Instagram was acquired by Facebook Inc (now Meta). Later they added filters, videos, messaging and story functions to enhance users’ experiences. Today, over a billion people have Instagram accounts.
Can Instagram be good for your career?
As mentioned, the answer to this question is yes. Instagram allows users to demonstrate expertise in their field of work in a number of creative ways. Any tool that allows you to “get you out there” will be helpful in enhancing career opportunities.
There are countless examples of users who have benefited professionally (and financially) from Instagram.
Instagram Fitness Tips
One field that has arguably benefited the most from Instagram has been the fitness industry. There are thousands of trainers and fitness experts who have huge subscriber numbers and are looking for their next workout video, dietary tips, gear recommendations or motivational speeches.
@krissyclimbs is the account of Krissy, a mountain climber and outdoors enthusiast who posts breathtaking shots of her exploits on mountains. While it obviously has a climbing and outdoor focus, much of the content is about fitness and wellbeing and it has proven to be quite successful for Krissy.
Instagram Tips for Artists
As previously mentioned, Instagram was initially popular for it singular focus on photos. The art community latched onto Instagram for this reason and as a way to freely circulate their talents. And now with the shopping feature in the app, painters, photographers, cosplay creators and basically anyone artistically inclined is able to benefit. The app allows them to directly make money from their work, promote upcoming shows and take inquiries.
Svetlana Quindt, whose account is @kamuicosplay, has over 870k followers who love her handmade props, costumes and tutorial videos. Her books and advertising revenue generated from tutorial videos have made her hugely successful.
Instagram Tips for Hairstylists
When it comes to showcasing their talents on Instagram, hairstylists were quick to use the app. Barbers and even salon owners who want to show off their stylists’ work to entice more clients use the app all the time. Demonstrating how to style with products, how to use professional tools, and other tips are easy to find and come from some of the biggest names in the industry.
Ted Gibson, as an example, (@tedgibson) has over 317k followers for his work in Los Angeles and the broad variety of styles he creates.
Instagram for Graphic Designers
With the introduction of video, stories and other more interactive features, Instagram quickly became a haven for the best and most creative graphic designers. Video creators and pretty much anyone in digital media can now showcase their work with captive audiences. Instagram is perfect for larger agencies and fledgling freelancers alike.
Check out how Velvet Spectrum (@velvetspectrum) from Astoria, Oregon displays their work on their account. They’re a great example of how to maximize the platform’s potential.
Instagram Tips for Musicians
While Instagram is more of a visual social media platform, performers in the music industry have been able to use it to broaden their audiences quite effectively. Plenty of musicians, songwriters, and sound technicians are able to broadcast snippets of performances and pieces they are working on. Some like to engage with fans on new work to gauge reactions and some like to interact directly with them in live chats.
Kiki Wong (@kikiwongo) is a talented guitarist based in LA who does all these things and more with her Instagram account.
Leadership Tips on Instagram
Asking whether you can advance your career through Instagram by learning is a common question many motivated professionals ask, especially on the topic of leadership. There are a plethora of great leaders from a variety of industries on Instagram who are willing to share their thoughts, stories and motivations to their followers. They inspire many and get them to reflect constantly on best practice and discuss at emerging trends.
Motivational speaker Brian Tracy (@thebriantracy) is someone who really pushes the limits of the platform through his videos, articles and blogs aimed at inspired leadership.
Study Tips on Instagram for Students
Kids and young adults love social media. That’s no secret. And Instagram does have influencers who engage with students on what good study habits are and suggest ideas to get better at it. Influencers are all over the platform, so why wouldn’t there be educational influencers too?
Career success starts from schooling and study, and Instagram knows this.
Ways to Study (@waystostudy) is a very informative account with plenty of research-based suggestions for anyone needing help with their studies.
Keep in mind that Instagram can be bad for your career, too!
It’s worth reminding those new to Instagram or wanting to expand their sphere of influence via the social media tool that there can be pitfalls with it. Lewd or explicit content might get you banned from Instagram and will hurt your reputation.
It’s important to be selective and disciplined with what you post. Be inclusive and know your audience. Remember that employers often look at candidates social media during the hiring process.
A general rule of thumb is think before you post content and give yourself some reflection time if you think a post might be controversial, beforehand.
So there you have it. Yes, Instagram can be good for your career and yes it can advance it. And it can hurt your career.
Explore all that it has to offer and always look at what your competition is doing. After all, they won’t know you’re snooping on them!
It’s great for learning and engaging with an audience or potential clients, and now the more creative among us can directly profit from it too.
We’d love to know your thoughts on Instagram. What’s worked for you and what hasn’t? Are you more in the ‘help’ camp or the ‘hurt’ camp when it comes to Instagram?
Let us know in the comments section.