Well-crafted Instagram branding is much more than a beautifully curated feed.
When done right, branding brings together all of the elements that make your company stand out, which has a direct impact on the type of engagement you receive from your followers.
Let’s dive into why branding is so important when it comes to social media platforms like Instagram. Follow these steps to create a standout Instagram branding strategy.
With roughly a billion people using Instagram day-in and day-out, it’s no surprise that brands are flocking to the platform in droves.
Instagram has proven itself time and time again as being one of the most effective ways for companies to reach potential customers and engage with them in meaningful ways.
The caveat is reaching those ideal clients in a sea of other posts.
Here’s the thing: You don’t need a megaphone to stand out online. You need a laser beam.
The point isn’t to be the loudest, it’s to focus your message so finely that it cuts through the noise.
Great Instagram branding cuts through the cyberspace clutter with clarity and precision, allowing you to stand out from the crowd and build a loyal audience, which can lead to opportunities for collaborations or even product sales.
Once you develop a great Instagram strategy, you’ll be able to reap the benefits. Here are some of the business boosts you can look forward to:
With these simple but significant tweaks to your Instagram profile, you’ll be able to represent your brand’s story, values, and personality. You can also repurpose the content for other platforms!
If you’re like most business owners I’ve worked with, you want to focus on what makes your business unique but don’t know where to start. Honing in on your one-of-a-kind value starts with clear core messaging that lays the foundation for all your Instagram content.
First, you need to start by identifying and clarifying your core message. It should communicate the values of your business while differentiating it from others.
After reading your core message, your target audience should feel something. Most businesses focus on evoking feelings of standing up for what you believe in. But, the specific emotions you want to bring out will vary depending on your business goals.
Once you’ve formed your core branding message, you’ll use this message to create all marketing correspondence from thereon.
On Instagram, this means that you’re going to base your posts on this core message. Each post should focus on the differentiating factors that your company provides.
Is your business sustainable? Are you running a small business and/or a minority-owned business? Do you include a gift with each purchase?
Get to the bottom line: what sets you apart?
You can’t have a strong social media branding strategy without understanding who makes up your target audience.
Without this crucial information, you won’t be able to determine what motivates your followers. Thus, you won’t have any idea what to post. And, your posts won’t be effective.
If you’ve already created buyer personas for your business, you’re ahead of the game. If not, you have target audience research ahead of you before you start creating posts.
Don’t skip this step!
Remember this: Your ideal audience is the person you dream of serving. You want to speak directly to this specific type of person, knowing that you’ll attract exactly who you’re looking for and repel people who aren’t the right fit.
By aiming for your target audience, you’ll still resonate with additional people outside of that “ideal persona” but you won’t waste energy by spreading your message too thin.
Once you have IDed your ideal audience, it’s time to meet them where they’re at on Instagram. But How?
You’ll be able to find out more about your target audience on Instagram by looking at your competitors’ Instagram profiles.
Look at who their target audience is and how they’re catering to that audience through their posts.
Sometimes, businesses discover a gap in their competitor’s marketing. Perhaps, there is a part of their target audience they’re missing with their Instagram page.
You can use this information to gain leverage and more holistically target your ideal customers.
If you’ve already been running your business’s Instagram for a while, then you have demographics. Using the Instagram Analytics page, you can see information about your audience, including their age range, gender, and location.
With the information from your buyer persona as well as competitor research, you can paint a clear picture of the audience that you’re trying to reach.
When in doubt, ask.
There’s nothing wrong with getting some ideas from your potential customers. In fact, we’re sure that your followers would love for you to hear them.
You shouldn’t bombard them with 20 questions a day. But, there’s nothing wrong with asking about products they want to see in the future and learning about their preferences.
Now, you’ve built a solid foundation for your Instagram branding by creating your core message and identifying your audience. From here, you need to define your Instagram content strategy to support both key components.
First, you should rewrite your page’s bio using keywords that you found in your audience research. Considering your audience’s interests and your business’s industry, you should identify a few keywords that would help new followers find your business.
Content pillars — sometimes called content buckets — are the subtopics that support your core message through the lens of serving your target audience.
The content pillars that you identify for your business will depend on the kinds of topics you want to address. Naturally, these should fall in line with your niche, but they should also answer the question — What do I want to be known for online?
For example, an exercise clothing brand may want to make content about fitness while promoting their clothes. They can talk about the ultra-high impact fabric they have or speak about the sustainability of their sourcing.
Another example may involve a freelance nutrition counselor. They can talk about meal planning, the importance of micros and macros, or what foods are inflammatory.
As you can see, you can break down each broad topic into smaller topics that are more appropriate for Instagram posts. Whether you decide to make a story, a picture, a video, or something else, you’ll have a wealth of knowledge to work from.
When it comes to content, you should always keep a running list of these ideas whether they’re broad or specific. Each idea can lead to ten more ideas, so it never hurts to write your thoughts down.
Content calendars make implementing these ideas manageable.
Firstly, a content calendar keeps you organized. Rather than compiling random sticky notes together, you’ll be able to track solid ideas to post. It will also help you see your overall content strategy and how you can make it better.
You may be able to break similar content up or create a series. Either way, you can stay confident that you’ll have your post together days in advance.
Second, a content calendar can help get your creative juices flowing. You won’t have to worry about running out of ideas.
Remember how ten ideas can come from one? That applies here as well.
When you see how one post did on your page, you’ll be able to create more around it. Even better, you can scour the comments for more ideas from your followers. They may be asking questions or asking for more information about a particular topic.
Third, your content calendar helps you stay consistent. Everyone reaches a dry spot with their creativity sometimes. It’s completely normal.
But, the Instagram algorithm is unforgiving.
You need to make sure that you’re staying consistent and a content calendar can help you do just that. When you’re feeling inspired, you should go ahead and make as much content as you can.
And, don’t forget about the list of content ideas you set to the side. That can help you create new ideas, too.
Perfectly curated feeds of the early 2000s are a thing of the past, but having a recognizable look can’t be undervalued.
Aesthetics is the visual hallmark of your brand. Make sure that your profile picture is clear. Whether it’s your business’s logo or a picture of you, your followers shouldn’t have to squint.
Having a recognizable logo, color palette, and fonts that readers can associate with your brand makes it stand out from the rest.
Design tools like Canva allow you to create custom brand palettes. These essential brand elements can be saved onto templates that you can reuse to stay consistent in your graphic design and save time in your content creation process.
I’m not a huge fan of grid patterns, but they are still a popular way to brand your Instagram.
There are several ways you can accomplish a grid pattern:
Any of these options can help your Instagram feed stick out. The problem is that you have to stick to one.
You aren’t bound to it for life, but changing it too frequently could send mixed signals to followers.
If you’re worried about maintaining your grid pattern, you should consider using an Instagram feed planner. This can help you plan out content while getting a feel for what it would look like on your grid. Then, you can decide whether to change it without having to post it to your page first.
Because the platform is so popular, Instagram branding is becoming more complicated for small business owners.
The Rebrand Your Instagram Intensive is designed for the busy business owner who needs an Instagram refresh yesterday.
In the time it would take you to plan, research, design, and write one post, you could gain clarity on your long-term content strategy and say goodbye to wasted time you spend second-guessing if you hit publish.
Get started with a free branding consultation.