I’ve spent a lot of thinking and researching this topic, because it’s at the very core of any Instagram strategy/ branding session. Whether you are using Instagram for your business/blog or you are trying to monetize your Instagram page - this topic is where your Instagram game should begin! Creating a strong brand identity on Instagram is how you will shine on Instagram - and build strong customer relations. This 'identity', or simply put how you present your brand by what content you upload, has two key components: visually aesthetic content and value. By creating this strategy and building an aesthetic, interesting Instagram feed you are at the very core of how Instagram wants us to use their platform: showing visually beautiful and valuable content that delight people. Okay, let's dive into these two components, shall we?
Before content and value, there is this thing called branding
Whether you are already advanced in your Instagram game or you are just starting, reflecting on branding (or simply put: how you want your brand to be represented) is always a good idea. Whenever I start working with a client, we always start here! Think of it this way: your business gets presented at an event as a speaker with PowerPoint in the background, how will that presentation look like?
What will the brand be known for?
What would the colors of the PowerPoint look like?
What would be the main points discussed in the PowerPoint?
Writing this down, reflecting on how you want your brand to look like will help you so much in your social media game, trust me. Knowing what your brand represents and who is your audience will help you create a solid strategy and make sure you are reaching the right people!
If you're not exactly sure how you would like your Instagram feed to look like, what colors and what style to use, creating a moodboard does wonders! You can easily create one by filling a collage in Canva with photos that speak to you. This is a creative way to figure out what you like and how you want your brand identity to look like. Use colors, patterns, objects, everything that you feel related to your brand and then step back and look at the result - trust me, you'll get many clues about what you like and want.
Your Instagram aesthetics
Did you know that people take about three to five seconds when they find your feed, to judge if they like it or not? Aka, people take a few seconds to decide if they like your brand. This is why it is very important that your Instagram should represent your brand identity and that your feed looks aesthetic.
Below are some top tips that I have learned over the past years!
1 Look at your Instagram feed as a story. What visual story do you want your brand to tell? As a yoga teacher for example, you can mix photos of your yoga classes with little yoga tutorials, meditation tips, atmosphere photos of your yoga studio, healthy living ideas, etc. Never just post product photos, but add your personality, behind the scenes, give tips. This will help people relate to you and your brand so that they trust you and want to be your customer! People like real-ness (is that even a word?!) - we buy when we feel connected to a brand.
2 Do not mix your business Instagram account with your personal account. Keep it professional! Yes, adding personality is a must - but your best friend's bachelorette party or this amazing trip to Greece don't fit in your account when you are an interior designer.
3 Plan, plan, plan. There is no way you can create an aesthetic, cohesive Instagram feed without planning it out in advance to see which photo matches with which. Preview and Planoly are two wonderful apps for this - they also provide services like caption and hashtag finders. Personally I love Preview, I have used it from the very beginning of my account!
4 Plan, plan, plan - and edit cohesively! I get many questions from clients and followers how I get my Instagram feed look so cohesive, how do all photos match so well? The one and only trick to achieve this, is by using presets. These are filters that you can use in the Lightroom app (or in Photoshop or Lightroom desktop) that have certain settings in color grading - editing your photos in one simple click. You can edit twenty photos in less than ten minutes that will all fit together in Instagram, because they have the same tones. You blues always look unite, and so do your greens, yellows and reds. It is the very best tool you can use to get a cohesive feed! Click here to see more about the presets I am selling, and feel free to send me a message for personalized presets and more info on how to use presets.
How to create content with value on Instagram
Yes, the very first thing people look at are the visuals you upload - this is the first impression. But what makes them stick around, or even better, come back for more? This is where value comes in. Value is partially intertwined with the above, because adding tips in stories and Instagram posts is adding a huge amount of value! Also don't underestimate the importance of personality here, your brand is unique because it is yours after all. There are many ways to add value to your brand on Instagram, but we'll discuss the most important one here: captions.
Put simply, a good Instagram caption is one that provides context, adds personality, and inspires your followers to take action. Context can be anything from saying something about the photo, say you are having a sale, to a topic close to your heart unrelated to the photo. Try to be creative and to be you, adding personality is very important for people to feel related to your brand.
Why is it important to add a call to action? Because posts that get lots of engagement (where people take some sort of action) tend to be picked up more by the Instagram algorithm!
I know it can be challenging to write good captions. Trust me I know, I personally find it the hardest part of my Instagram game. Not everyone can easily share, or find the right words with what is on their heart. What works best for me is to also plan captions ahead in Preview. Write them when you are having an inspiring moment! It saves a lot of frustration and energy.
Of course, this is just a brief overview of how to create a successful brand on Instagram. Their are many more factors to be taken into consideration that we'll leave for later, but when you incorporate all of the above, you're 80% on the way! It all starts with a solid brand strategy, good content and being consistent!
Questions or comments? Interested in doing an Instagram workshop/ consulting with me? Leave a comment or send me a message!