As the third most used social network behind Facebook and YouTube, Instagram has made a name for itself in the online marketing sphere. More than one billion people log onto Instagram at least once a month, and half of those people do so on the daily.
That’s a massive user base with massive opportunity to spread your brand. But what’s the best way to optimize your brand on Instagram? Read ahead for a few simple tips for Instagram branding.
First, Know Thyself
To optimize your brand on Instagram, you first have to know exactly what your brand is. This involves having certain values your brand stands for, specific ideas about what your brand’s style and vibe are, and a direction for it to grow into.
Before develop your online marketing strategy, brainstorm and compile a list of key words that you either would or would not associate with your brand. These can be descriptors, like “sleek” or “rustic,” or more abstract concepts like “family” or “disrupt.” This can be a great exercise for the whole company to engage in, if you have multiple employees, to get on the same page and realize a vision.
Once you’ve got a good list of associated words, you will have a better idea of what your brand really is. Combine that with a plan for what you want your brand to become and grow towards, and you’ll be well set-up to bring your branding to Instagram.
Invest in Good Design
Good design, especially in visual medium, can go a long way. Since Instagram is such an image-centric platform (as opposed to the text-based Twitter), well-designed graphics can give your brand an edge over others.
Design in the 21st century has become an investment, not a cost, according to Fast Company. Designers also do more than just make things look good; they can help you streamline your work and make a big difference in the highly competitive online e-commerce world.
It may well be worth spending some money hiring a good graphic designer or two to curate content or come up with templates and a portfolio for your product and service ads, and your general Instagram presence. A polished image and striking visuals will help you stand out amongst the myriad of competitors online.
In line with having good design, having consistent design is just as important in any marketing strategy. Especially on Instagram, where users scroll past thousands of posts a week, a consistent throughline can make users more likely to remember you.
Try implementing a certain visual cue that repeats in all your posts and advertising. This could be a logo in the corner, a similar format or template for related posts, or something as simple as a unique color scheme.
Over time, Instagram users will associate that visual cue with your business without even necessarily needing to remember a brand name. If you produce good content (the basis of any good Instagram presence), they will start to be primed to look for your branding and will respond more acutely to it.
Another area in which consistency is crucial is in your tone. Just look at Wendy’s, whose snarky Twitter voice has become inextricably tied to its brand. In all your social media branding, across all platforms and websites, your tone should be consistent. This includes in private messages and customer service responses to customers.
By maintaining consistent visual and verbal branding, your brand can become familiar and trustworthy to consumers, who will start to see your Instagram presence as friendly, not just trying to sell them something. Combine that with posting consistently throughout the week, and you’re one step closer to your optimal Instagram brand presence.
Engage With Your Audience
Another easy, fun, and important way to optimize your brand on Instagram is to focus more on engaging your audience.
No one likes to be talked at constantly. Just like good conversations, social media interactions should involve a back-and-forth, an exchanging of ideas. But as a brand posting on Instagram, how do you avoid simply talking at your audience?
The best solution here is to encourage your followers to engage with you and talk back. This can be as simple as including polls in Instagram stories, including sliders, or asking a question in your post captions. Instagram users love having a say, and even the simple act of responding to a poll can make them feel more engaged. Plus, as a brand you get a better sense of who is really reading and responding to your content.
For even more benefits, encourage users to post something on their story about you, or hold contests that involve connecting to your page somehow. This not only brings your followers more enjoyment, but spreads your brand to their followers as well.
Partner With People
Finally, one of the most effective ways to market your brand on Instagram is to engage in direct or indirect partnerships with accounts on the platform. This can mean teaming up with other brands, or working with influencers and brand ambassadors.
Teaming up with other brands can be useful to expand your reach and is a benefit to both sides. Consider letting another related brand do an Instagram takeover from your account for a day or week. This brings their audience to your page and your audience to theirs, all the while providing newer and more exciting content.
Working with brand ambassadors or influencers can be very effective, as these users often have huge followings and your partnerships will be more organic and authentic than simply putting up an advertisement into the feed. Brand ambassadors can often be hired through job boards or even event staffing agencies online, and are much more cost-effective than traditional marketing methods.
Overall, many general marketing principles apply when you’re looking to optimize your brand on Instagram. Planning, vision, and implementation are all key factors.
By getting intimately acquainted with your brand’s image and path for the future, you not only make Instagram branding easier but have something to draw upon in all parts of your business journey. Make sure to stay consistent to your vision in all parts of your social media presence.
Try investing in good graphic design early, to avoid the hassle and confusion of redesigning later. A good design plan draws users to your brand and makes it a familiar face in the rapidfire world of Instagram. Once your visual design plan is in place, maintain that consistency in both your posts and your text communication.
Engage with your audience, and let your audience engage with you as well. By using polls, sliders, and calls to action, you will build deeper connections with your followers and they will be more inclined to stay connected with you. Lastly, consider investing in partnerships with other brands, influencers, and brand ambassadors.
By integrating yourself effectively into the world of Instagram, your brand can tap into its billion-plus users and make the most of their time and money.
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