90% of users on Instagram follow a business or brand account. And yours could be the next one they choose to follow.
Instagram and the world of social media have transformed the way people learn about and interact with brands. By scrolling through the Instagram feed or watching a lineup of Stories, it’s easier than ever to connect and interact with brands.
Not only that, but platforms like Instagram have inspired new types of brands to pop up, from Insta-famous entertainers to professional influencers and everything in between.
Whether you have a product to sell or a message to spread, understanding social media branding is essential. Use these 10 ideas to make sure you don’t forget anything when building a brand on Instagram.
1. Set Your Goals
Before you build a brand on Instagram, it’s important to understand why you want to in the first place. Do you have a business to promote, or are you trying to build an online community? Or do you just want to experience the fame and luxury of becoming a solo influencer?
Understanding your motives and goals will help you stay focused and committed, especially during times when growth might stall. There’s a lot of competition on Instagram and multiple algorithms to try to understand when posting. When you feel frustrated with Instagram, then, it’s essential to know what your targets are.
Decide what kind of brand you hope to have and why it’s important to you. Also set realistic goals for how many followers you’d like to gain and according to what timeline.
Consider what kind of messages or calls-to-action you’d like to deliver to Instagram users too.
Instagram offers a variety of features, so it’s up to you what you’d like to utilize. For example, you may just hope to increase brand awareness by creating beautifully-designed posts or informational videos. On the other hand, you may hope to use social selling on the platform, linking your posts directly to your products to boost sales.
Define your goals and targets as clearly as possible to hold yourself accountable and avoid straying from your original purpose.
2. Choose a Strong Username
This may sound basic, but it’s critical to your Instagram brand: think carefully about your username.
Instagram usernames can be changed, but you should avoid doing so, unless you’re willing to accept the risk of confusing your followers. Only change your username if you find yourself in desperate need of rebranding. But until then, try to choose a strong username.
Your username should be easy to read, recognize, and remember. Try to avoid strange spellings or replacing letters with numbers.
In fact, try to keep numbers and special characters out of your username entirely, unless they’re a part of your brand or company name.
Also remember that words combined together in a username may appear differently than if they had a space between them. Instagram users may not know where one word ends and another begins, which can make reading your username confusing. If needed, add a dot or underscore between words.
And above all else, make sure that your username is professional. Unless you want your brand to be known for being vulgar or risqué, avoid swear words or anything you wouldn’t want your grandmother to see.
3. Know Your Niche
One of the best brand building tips is less about you and your brand and more about your audience.
If you don’t know who your brand is for, your brand will likely never stick. So don’t overlook this crucial step when trying to grow on Instagram.
It can help to create an avatar, or an imaginary rendering of the kind of person you want to follow your brand. Consider their interests, the other brands they follow, how they spend their time, their needs and pain points, and what kind of content they’re attracted to on social media.
Give thought to demographics as well, such as where your target follower lives and their age. This is important information to know because it will help you reach the right people when setting up advertisements.
And keep in mind that Instagram’s demographics aren’t as varied as some other social media platforms, like Facebook. Age, for example, tends to be low, with the greatest share of users being under 30 years old.
4. Identify Your Value
After you’ve thought long and hard about your ideal audience and follower avatar, it’s time to identify what makes your brand valuable to those people.
What problem are you solving, and how will you solve it with Instagram?
Instagram users tend to scroll quickly through content, but that doesn’t mean you can skimp on that content. Within those few seconds spent on each post or video, your followers will swiftly decide if it’s valuable to them or not.
That means that every single feed post, Stories post, Reel, or IGTV should offer something valuable. That value could be in the form of entertainment, inspiration, practical advice, or interesting information.
Whichever type you gravitate towards, be sure that what makes your brand valuable hasn’t been overdone before. Instead, focus on standing apart from the competition. And make sure that your brand and account has a cohesive theme, where prospective followers can quickly gather your core message and what they can gain from following you.
5. Create Your Instagram Bio
Gone are the days of business cards. Now, in the place of traditional business cards are Instagram bios.
An Instagram bio says a lot about a brand in just a few lines. Your bio will contain your name, a couple lines to explain what your brand is, and a link to your website.
And while the space in your bio can feel frustratingly limiting, it can help pull your business branding together quickly for followers.
Optimize your bio by explaining clearly and directly what your brand is and what purpose it serves. Hashtags tend to be unhelpful in your bio, but a well-placed keyword in the name field can help Instagram users find you when searching.
If you’re looking to market your business, an Instagram bio is also an ideal place to include a call-to-action. Encourage people to click the link in your bio to contact you, visit your shop, or browse your website.
6. Pinpoint Your Visual Identity
Instagram is a visual social media platform, so be prepared to wow users with beautiful images, eye-catching graphics, and other visually appealing content.
First, plan your visual identity by identifying your content pillars. These are the topics and types of posts you plan to produce regularly. Choose only a few, such as product posts, personal photography, quote graphics, and behind-the-scenes videos. It’s okay if you haven’t committed yet to a medium—that will come in the next step.
Visual identity should be cohesive across all your posts. You might choose to follow a color scheme, always use the same font, or stick to the same photograph filter every time.
And these points aren’t only used in posts. Your visual identity can also be found in other places in your Instagram profile, like your profile picture or Story Highlights covers.
Create a mood board of inspiration from other brands to help you develop a cohesive and eye-catching visual identity.
7. Choose a Medium
Because your content will be a huge driver of your brand on Instagram, you must narrow down what mediums you plan to use.
Thankfully, Instagram offers multiple options, and they’re always developing new mediums too. Currently you can use:
- feed posts (including standard posts or carousels)
- Instagram Live videos
Try as many as you like, and if creating content across several mediums comes easily, you don’t have to limit yourself.
But remember, consistency is key. Whether you post daily or weekly, decide how often you’ll post and stick to it.
If posting consistently is difficult for your schedule, consider using a scheduling service or app that will post content you’ve created for you, even when you’re away. After all, a tool like Instagram can be useful yet time-consuming. Additional tools and apps will help you build your brand efficiently and effectively.
8. Find Your Voice
Now that you’re more familiar with the visual components of your brand, it’s time to consider your voice.
But in this case, that voice isn’t about audio or speaking. Instead, it’s about copy.
Some people forget the importance of finding your voice and writing style on a social media platform like Instagram. But when people want to learn more about your brand from a post or video, they’ll likely turn to the caption for more information.
It’s important to know exactly what your brand voice sounds like, including what language you use, the level of casualness, and even when to use emojis.
This voice is also used when communicating in comments and messages.
And in case you do put yourself front and center in videos and use your actual voice, your writing voice should match your natural way of speaking as much as possible. This is important in strengthening your branding and leaving an authentic impression on Instagram followers.
9. Respond to Feedback
Remember the goals and motives you decided earlier? Those still matter.
However, it’s okay to pivot and make changes when needed. Even some of the biggest brands and companies have updated and altered their brand identities.
If your account isn’t growing or attracting the audience you wanted, return back to the drawing board and give yourself permission to change things up.
Listen to the feedback (or lack of feedback) being provided by your followers. Not every negative comment or direct message should be addressed. But if you find patterns in users’ feedback, consider their thoughts. If they’re people from your target audience, respond to their feedback and make the necessary changes to hold their interest and loyalty in your brand.
And keep an eye on your analytics, where you can find information about your followers, which content generates the most engagement, and more. This is useful when planning and adjusting your Instagram content and branding strategy.
10. Promote Your Brand
After considering your brand’s visual identity, purpose, voice, and follower feedback, it’s time to increase brand awareness.
Ideally, your content will already be attractive enough to build your brand and follower base. Your posts should aim to be highly sharable, relevant and up-to-date, and packed with enough value that people will be eager to hit the “like” heart and repost to their own Stories.
But when that’s not enough to propel your Instagram brand, marketing strategies can help.
Social media marketing can be used to promote your brand to thousands or even millions of Instagram users. You can try advertisements, influencer marketing, strategic engagement, and hashtags to reach more people.
You can also try tagging other brands and companies to create partnerships (and hopefully, they’ll repost your original post).
As your brand grows bigger and bigger, you can expand it in more ways than you could have ever imagined.
Start Successfully Building a Brand on Instagram
There are millions of brands on Instagram, with millions of people following and interacting with them each day.
With all the competition, you must have a clear vision and plan when building a brand of your own on social media. Use these 10 ideas to create a brand identity that attracts your dream followers to help you reach your brand and business goals.
When you’re ready to market your brand beyond Instagram, head over to our other marketing articles for more ways to promote your brand or business!