Being a freelancer, there’s a natural ebb and flow when it comes to workload. Sometimes you’re inundated with work and other times? Well, other times you live on baked beans. Amiright? What if I told you there was a way you could generate leads, grow your profile and get seen by the right people?

There is. It’s simple. Enter Instagram.

Did you know there are 9,000,000 monthly users on Instagram in Australia?

Of that, 19% of small businesses, 39% of medium businesses and 20% of large businesses are on Instagram. Meaning if you’re not hanging out there already, you’re missing out on the party because one thing’s for sure, your potential clients are. [Source: Sensis Social Media Report 2017]

So, how can we as freelancers leverage this social media platform to gain exposure, land clients and build a reputable street cred? Well, it’s all about putting yourself and your work in the spotlight. As a service based business, your aim is humanise your brand and engage business owners. It’s more than that though. You need to get social, personal and most of all, position yourself as a knowledge expert. It may seem like a tall order but fear not dear freelancers, I have the ultimate Instagram how to laid out for you below.

Instagram Handle

First off, you need to set up an account. If you’ve already got one, well done amigo! If you haven’t, it’s time to get busy. Choose a handle that mirrors your business name / personal profile. If you trade under your own name, use that. If you have a business name like me, check if it’s available.

You may need to add a _ or an au at the end if that name is already taken. Don’t stress too much though, as long as the name mirrors your freelance business, you’re good.

Instagram Bio

Creating a good bio is crucial if you’re going to kick butt on Instagram. You have 150 characters to entice potential followers so make it snappy. Don’t waffle on, inject a little personality and make it memorable.

For example, if you’re a graphic designer you could write something like:

Disruptive Design

Branding Strategy

Logos, Website Design, Print & Digital

I elevate brands

I’m a copywriter and social media marketer so my bio goes a little something like this:

Words & Socials For Your Biz

Kickass Copywriting ✏ Savvy Social Media 🤳🏼 Exceptional Email Marketing 💌 MARISSA – Chief of all things SAVVY 💁🏼‍♀️

Notice how it’s clear who I am, what I offer and who I’m targeting? It can take a few go’s to get it right so play around with it.

Instagram Link

Ah the link. Gotta love how Instagram only allows one clickable link on your page. Enter Linktree. Linktree has a free and paid version but essentially, it allows you to create a myriad of links hosted on linktree.

For example, my profile shows but upon clicking that link? My followers gain access to:

  • My Portfolio
  • My Packages
  • My Facebook Page
  • My Contact Details
  • My Blog
  • My Email Opt In

This is THE way forward if you want to generate leads on Instagram.

Instagram Styling

Instagram is a visual platform so it goes without saying, you need to bring the goods visually. First point of call is to determine your brand colours and choose an aesthetic that compliments your brand.

A mish mash of filters, colours and a messy feed will turn off potential followers in a BIG way. So keep it cohesive. A few of my top tips:

  • Choose a colour palette and STICK to it. Are you all about neutrals? Are you a monochrome maven or do you like the odd spot of pink? Choose one and never post anything that doesn’t fit.
  • Make it flow. Choose cohesive fonts and style to make sure the layout is pretty.
  • Invest in photography. If you can’t snap it yourself, get a specialist in. Grainy photos are an absolute NO NO. Just don’t do it.

Instagram Strategy

Posting on socials without a clearly defined strategy is like baking a cake without an oven. You could give it a whirl but bets are, you’ll be waiting a while for that cake to rise. Give some thought to your target demographic, what content do they want to see? Is there a particular type of content that gains more engagement than others? Why is that?

Have a look at your analytics and figure out when your audience are online. Strategise content that will add VALUE to your followers. If you’re simply posting promotional post after promotional post, I bet you a million bucks you’re not selling much.


While your images matter most on Instagram, crafting a killer caption comes in close second. If you’re posting images with lack lustre captions, you won’t receive the engagement you seek. Think about the purpose of your post, is is to inspire, educate, make people laugh…sell? Ensure your copy is strategised to convert.


These little babies are your secret weapon to reach your target demographic. I see so many accounts not making use of them correctly. First up, you can use up to 30 at once. I would suggest a minimum of 25 per post. These are like little search engines that get your post seen by more people.

Do a little research to determine what kind of hashtags your potential clients are using. If you’re targeting creative entrepreneurs for example, #creativeentrepreneur is a wise choice. Just steer clear of hashtags that have become vulgarised. How can you tell? Click on the hashtag, is there a mish mash of content that doesn’t relate to the tag? OR / is there lots of posts within that hashtag? It’s ideal to use tags that have 500k of less posts within them as it gives you more chances of getting seen.


Engagement is the HOLY GRAIL of social media success. If your current social media strategy is to simply post and run, you may find your social media following and engagement dwindling. That’s because social media should be SOCIAL. You can’t talk AT people. You need to have a conversation.

Some quick tips to get you engaging like a pro: .

  • After you post, spend at least 20 minutes engaging with your target demographic
  • Respond to all comments as quickly as you can
  • Use Instagram stories to promote your newest post
  • Engage via your chosen hashtags and comment on target accounts
  • Be very clear on your call to action – if you want a like say double tap, if you want a comment ask for a comment

So in a nutshell, yes, building your Instagram following will take time, but if done correctly? Those Baked Beans might just be a thing of the past.

Marissa Batty

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