So, you’re a small fish in a small fishbowl, huh? I understand. It can be intimidating for a small-town freelancer to snag what few bigwig clients exist in a country town. Enter Instagram! It’s your best chance at getting social and personal with the big-fry and putting yourself and your business in the spotlight.

Except, you might only get one shot at casting out your line.

It only takes seven seconds to make a first impression on another human being, according to a Harvard study of communication (ATD, 2017).

Just like when you meet someone face-to-face, Instagram followers also make snap decisions about accounts based on brand voice, style and tone. It’s therefore important as a freelancer to get the basics of your Instagram account right so that when local businesses do start nibbling, you can reel them in hook, line and sinker.

Six tips for marketing your freelance business using Instagram:


Before you start getting social with your list of potential local clients, make sure you do a little sleuthing first:

  • What accounts do they already follow and why?
  • What type of content do they respond to best?
  • What hashtags do they follow?

An empty Instagram account is like an empty fishbowl—boring!—but it’s worth taking the time to define a clear content strategy and schedule before you start filling the tank:

  • Determine your brand voice and colour palette
  • Choose an aesthetic that complements your brand i.e. cohesive fonts, filters and post types—photography and video
  • Invest in specialist photography or check out sites like Unsplash for beautiful, free photos

Over time, followers will get accustomed to your content and schedule, and you’ll be top of mind when they need someone with your expertise.


Your bio on Instagram is your ad channel and will help potential clients find out who you are and what you do, so use the 150 characters to inject your profile with personality i.e. have fun with emojis:

  • Use a professional photo or logo
  • Ensure your username reflects your business
  • Identify your skills and services
  • Provide contact information
  • Use the one clickable link on Instagram to direct traffic to your website

Writing witty Instagram captions is not as easy as it sounds—they need to convey tone and style in just 2,200 characters. So, before you weigh down your line with too many sinkers, work out the purpose of your post. Is it to inspire, educate or make people laugh? It might help to find a FREE online course to sharpen your copywriting skills.


Hashtags are like bait and will help your posts lure potential followers. Do a little research to find out the relevant hashtags the big-fry in town are using i.e. local council, entertainment venues and tourism groups; and search them to scope out likely clients. Although you can use up to 30 hashtags, the ideal number is 12-15 per post.


Once you start reeling in those local businesses, use Instagram’s built-in analytics with business accounts to track engagement with your posts and use the information to create better content:

  • How many people clicked on your post?
  • When did people click?
  • What is the best day of the week to post?

There are over 25 million business profiles using Instagram worldwide (WordStream, 2019).

So, chances are many of the businesses in your country town are on Instagram and angling for a reliable freelancer that does great work—that’s you!

And the best part? Once you’ve caught all the big fish in your country town with your savvy Instagram net, it’s a big wide world out there, with plenty of bigger fish to fry.