You’ve developed a new product or service, drafted your business plan, and set up your web site. And now you’re ready to hit the ground running and promote your business. You know segments of your target market are heavy social media users and that they spend an inordinate amount of time on Instagram. So how do you go about building your brand on Instagram?
Outlined below are 12 ways to grow your brand on Instagram.
1. Choose an account name linked to your brand
Choose a name that is easily tied to your business or brand. If your business name is too long then you could consider abbreviating it, however, try and use the full business name if you can. For example, I decided Mama Bear Communications was too long as a social media handle so I chose to use @mamabearcomms on all my social media accounts including Instagram, Twitter, Facebook and Pinterest. National Geographic has also opted for a shorter account name, which is @natgeo.
2. Use your logo in the profile photo
It’s best to use your brand’s logo or a graphic element as your profile photo. Keep in mind it will be cropped into a circle. Since my logo is quite detailed (and the available space for an image is quite small) I asked my designer to create a small graphic of the polar bear for all my social media network profile shots.
Nike on the other hand simply uses the swoosh for their profile photo.
3. Decide on your key message
What does your brand stand for and what is your key message? Ensure that you stick to your focus in order to create a coherent image for your brand.
For example, when you look at the Lululemon account there is no denying that the brand’s key message is about healthy living.
4. Set goals
What are your goals for your Instagram account? Is it to drive sales to your online shop? Is it to create awareness of your business blog? Is it to drive traffic to your web site? Whatever they are they should link back to your business goals. Re-visit these goals every once in a while in order to ensure you stay on track.
5. Decide on a visual style
Every image you post should be in line with your brand and visual style. Your feed should look coherent and easily recognisable to your target audience. It should also look different to your competition in order to give you a point-of-difference.
Establish connective elements across your images and videos – it could be a colour palette, a type of font, a photographic style, or editing filter.
Kinfolk Magazine, for example, has a mostly monochromatic / neutral colour palette to their images which is in line with their brand.
Decide whether you will share only product shots or whether you will share quotes, behind-the-scenes shots, employee shots and stories, or target market shots using your products.
6. Share high-quality images
No one likes a blurry image! If you take the time to develop high-quality shots for your web site, brochure, catalogue and advertising, then do the same for your Instagram account. Just because it’s free doesn’t mean you should lower your standards!
Not everyone has access to professional photographers like National Geographic, but it doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn the basics of taking a quality shot or at least outsource the task to a professional.
You can even enlist Instagram influencers to use your product and submit their shots. Oreo, for example, sent their biscuits to key influencers to use on their Instagram accounts in a clever way. The image below is an example by @brigadeirochoc.
7. Watermark / brand your images
Some people are divided on this one. On the one hand, Instagram is a visual medium, and watermarking can detract a person from enjoying the visual content.
On the other hand, if you are creating content that is sharable then the watermark will help build brand awareness and lead people back to your Instagram account or web page.
The watermarking also detracts people from stealing photos and posting them as their own which is another advantage.
8. Post consistently
Consistency matters because you want to stay relevant to your target audience and also you want to show up regularly in their feed. Ideally, you want to post 1 – 3 times per day onto your account. If you are posting three shots for example, try and space them out throughout the day.
Use analytical tools such as Iconosquare to determine the best time to post for your audience.
9. Use relevant hashtags
Think about your target audience and what hashtags they will be using to search for products or services like yours. Try to avoid generic hashtags such as “cool”, “beautiful” or “fun” as they are not specific enough. If you are a small business owner who creates beautiful prints for the home then you might consider using tags such as #artprint, #paperlove, #typography or #homedecor.
10. Be social
In order to create a stronger engagement with your audience, you need to be social! Respond to comments and also visit your followers’ accounts and engage with them.
All this information helps you to zone in on defining your target audience more clearly and helping you to find more like-minded people that may be interested in your brand.
11. Promote your Instagram account on your other networks
If you have a web site, blog, or other social media account then refer them to your Instagram account so that they can follow you there, too!
12. Create a strong call to action in your biography
This is a very important step that should align to your goals listed in point 4 above. If your goal is to drive traffic to your web site then state that as a clear call-to-action. If it’s to drive sales then direct the follower to your online shop.
Which of these 12 methods do you use to grow your brand on Instagram? Are there other strategies or tactics you use? Let me know in the comments field below!
If you require more information on Instagram for business then read my previous post titled “Six Easy Ways to Grow Your Followers on Instagram”.