One of the best parts of running your own side hustle or business is having the ability to call the shots while incorporating all of the things you love into your work, such as workspace decor that inspires you, marketing language that truly speaks to your customer community, and carefully curated social media content. One of our favorite platforms, Instagram, is a great way to infuse major personality into your business and brand — and if you’re already a fan, you probably won’t have much extra work to do. We caught up with Morgan Cornelius, Instagram’s small business lead, to recap some of the companies she believes are standout examples.

1. Bring your community behind the scenes. Love creating Instagram stories? Your biz can benefit from the fun content too. “This works across all industries,” Cornelius explains. “For instance, fiber artist Meghan Shimek (@meghanshimek) recently shared that she uses Instagram Stories to give her followers and customers more insight into who she is as an artist, from videos of her hiking to in-progress pieces. Packed Party (@packedparty) recently used the new interactive poll sticker in a fun Instagram Story on National Boss’s Day, having followers vote on whether or not to scare the boss on camera, and letting them watch the story unfold from there.”

2. Experiment with your content. If you’re particular about how you curate your feed or prefer to stick to a palette, you can also use Instagram stories to experiment with other content types. “Since the content disappears after 24 hours, it provides a great opportunity to see what works and what doesn’t with your customers,” Cornelius reminds us. “Mindy’s Bakeshop (@mindysbakeshop) created a story to gauge interest for a product (DIY holiday cookie kit) and had such a positive response via messages that they went for it — and it completely sold out.” When you’re open to experimenting, you’ll find brand new ways to let your personality and fresh ideas shine through.

3. Try real-time marketing by posting live during an event or sale. Live posts are a fun way to capture your community’s attention, and Cornelius tells us that posting during a key promotion is a great way to let your customers know what you’re up to. “This can encourage more people to attend an event, but you can also help those who aren’t there to experience it to feel more connected to your business,” she explains. “FoundMyAnimal (@foundmyanimal) goes live during pet adoption days to entice their followers to visit the event and adopt one of their rescue pups. They also host brief interviews with the parents and owners of a newly adopted dog, which helps them build a stronger connection between their community members while sticking with their brand and voice.” To replicate this awesome idea, come up with a unique way that you can use your voice and style to engage people who love your content and products.

4. Connect on a more personal level. Cornelius believes that one of the best ways to inject your personality into the digital brand you’re building is to share authentic stories that capture who you are and what you do. “Share personal stories from your day outside of the office, ask questions to your followers via polls that help them get to know you and vice versa, go live and answer fan questions to form more 1:1 connections,” she advises. “I love how 305 Fitness (@305fitness) uses fun polls like ‘Should we start a girl group?’ or shows off wild yoga poses while inviting followers to join in.” How fun!

5. Incorporate your customer into business decisions. For a fun twist and ultra-authentic interaction, introduce your latest ideas or creations with social media — and let your community help you decide what should make the cut. Cornelius used Woven & Wild (@wovenandwild) to show us how a company can use this tactic in a creative way. “This business recently used a poll sticker to share the newest woven with the community. This showed a more playful side of the owner’s personality, especially when she noted, ‘I think I’ll stick to neutrals’ after the results from her community came in.”

How do you use Instagram to boost your biz? Tweet us the deets @BritandCo!