At Aveda's Dare to Dream event, Sept. 11-12 in St. Petersburg, Florida, top stylists, business experts and corporate team members have gathered to inspire and grow together.

The approximately 1,000 attendees were treated to presentations from David Wagner of Juut salons, Tom Petrillo of The Salon People, Van Council from Van Michael Salons and many more—with day two promising another bevy of talented speakers. 

During Aveda's Dare to be Different panel on Sunday afternoon, Kathleen Turpel, J'Keren Sears, Shelley Simmons and Ian Michael Black talked about how to market your brand and stand out in the very crowded social media space.

Black is well-known for his carefully framed Instagram shots and expertise in receiving a strong response on social media for his work. He shared some of his top pointers for creating content that engages your audience.

Ian Michael Black's tips for a good Instagram photo

  • Find the right light
  • Shoot on a plain background
  • Use a high resolution
  • Take multiple photos from different angles
  • Don't try to show too much in one photo
  • Avoid mirroring photos or collaging
  • Try to shoot on square mode
  • Shoot with more space around the head than you think you'll need
  • Don't use filters
  • Develop your own personal style
  • Remember—it's small! It will be seen on a phone, most likely.

"Don't kill yourself over trying to take a perfect shot," Black says. "Let the hair be the hair." 

Black also recommends storytelling within your text. Of course audiences always appreciate a formula or step-by-step for how you achieved your cut, style or color, but there are a few other things you should consider including, according to Black.

Telling a story with your caption

  • Add location
  • Explain what you're showing
  • Is there a story behind the image?
  • Include formula, products used when applicable
  • Break up text with emojis
  • Utilize hashtags intelligently and sparingly in main caption (you can add more in the comments, so don't junk up the caption too much)
  • Engage with others by liking and commenting on posts; but BE NICE! Nobody likes a troll.
  • Remember most people don't know you personally

Stay tuned for coverage from day two of the Dare to Dream event!

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