Branding Your Social Media: Instagram Edition
Your brand doesn’t just stop at your logo, your business card, or even your website. An efficient brand story will carry out through every channel that you have a presence on and will always be instantly recognizable. Maintaining consistent branding on Instagram can seem really overwhelming at times and also somewhat restrictive. But I promise you, when you think outside the box a bit and just focus on keeping your feed authentically aligned with you & your brand—it will fall into place pretty organically with a little effort on your end.
Start with your profile
The profile section of your Instagram account is an often overlooked space to make that first impression. Unless you have a team or agency-like business, I highly recommend using a photo of yourself rather than your logo to humanize your brand and let people know that there’s an actual person behind your account.
When it comes to your bio, it’s best to keep things short, sweet, and straight to the point so people can get a feel for who you are and what you do rather quickly. If you have a tagline (as all brands should) this is the perfect place to put it to work. Don’t already have a tagline?
Here’s an easy recipe for creating the perfect one liner:
what you do + who you serve + the value that you provide.
Pro Tip: Create an Instagram Landing page on your website instead of utilizing a second-party service like Linktree. This keeps your Instagram funnel seamlessly branded and gives you credit for the Instagram-based traffic that flows into your website.
Coordinate your feed
The Instagram feed is where things start to feel a little scary for most on social media. The constant worry of needing to have a perfectly curated feed is enough to make people want to give up before they even start. Infusing your brand story within your feed doesn’t need to be stressful if you start with a foundation of intention. Begin by establishing the mood that you want to create within your feed. Minimal & neutral? Bold & vibrant? Soft & elegant? Whatever it may be, make sure it’s more aligned with your brand style than just your personal preferences alone. (If you need a bit of help determining this, be sure to check out my post all about finding your Brand Style.) Then you’ll want to think about the personality that your brand has along with the colors + tones that you want to be present within your feed. For instance, my brand is very feminine chic, so you’ll see shades of pink, hints of florals, as well as light & airy neutral tones mixed in. At this point, maintaining this consistent style throughout my feed feels like a natural habit and does wonders for keeping my brand cohesive and instantly recognizable.
Pro Tip: Try not to put the same colors next to each other to keep your color story within your feed varied. You can use apps like Planoly to plan your posts ahead while visualizing the flow of your feed.
storytelling over selling
Once you establish the vibe that you want to create with your brand story via Instagram, the type of content you post will start to feel more organic & intentional. Aside from just having aesthetically pleasing photos (which really does help), make sure that the content you’re putting out on Instagram is authentic, valuable, and true to your brand. Keeping your captions relatable and engaging is the second counterpart to infusing your brand story into your feed. Think about your audience and how you can benefit them simply by showing up and being yourself. Ask questions, tell jokes, share your story—and the conversations with your target audience will follow. Instead of hardcore selling or marketing tactics, I find that providing value with my own expert advice and real life experiences does the selling for me. Simply put, embracing that you are an industry expert and infusing that confidence into your content will add the most value to the brand story you tell on Instagram.
Pro Tip: Create your own hashtag to brand and organize your posts with. Do a bit of research to make sure it’s not already in use and completely relevant to your brand.
Do not neglect your Stories
While stories are a fairly new feature to Instagram, there’s incredible value that comes with showing up in your stories to boost your brand’s presence even further. Your story is a great place to show your personality, a glimpse into your behind the scenes processes, and to also continue providing value for your audience. When it comes to branding stories, I like to use templates to maintain a consistent look across the board. If you have design skills, templates are pretty easy to whip up via Photoshop, Illustrator, or apps like Adobe Spark Post. Otherwise, you can have a graphic designer create them for you or purchase premade story templates to customize yourself. Mixing in videos and photos captured in real time along with any templates you have will assist with keeping your content varied, engaging, and digestible.
Pro Tip: The newest story feature allows us to highlight certain stories to be featured on our profile as long as we’d like them to be. You can use this feature to showcase your best work, special moments, services, or valuable content up for longer than the usual 24 hours.
I hope that you found these tips for branding your Instagram helpful! Be sure to comment below if you have anything to add or if you'd like to see me cover branding your Pinterest next :)