So you have an Instagram account for your business, but how do you make your Instagram feed look good and take it to the next level? Read on to find out how to build a consistent and one-of-a-kind social media brand identity that resonates with your customers.
1. Plan, plan, and plan some more
You should aim to have a few weeks worth of content planned out, including what days and times you want your content to be published. There are a lot of free apps out there for planning your Instagram feed, like Preview and Later, which will allow you to upload images into a grid that mimics the look and feel of your Instagram profile. You can then click and drag the images around the screen until they have a cohesive feel.
Some of these planning apps also give you the ability to not only plan your content visually, but also to schedule it so that the app posts to your Instagram for you at a scheduled time. This is a great way to ensure you don’t forget to post! Experts suggest posting an average of “1.5 times per day”, but remember that quality should come before quantity. It is better to post amazing content a few times a week than mediocre content multiple times per day.
As you schedule your posts, try to think of what your customers will be doing when the post appears on their feed. For example, something that you post at 1 pm on a Tuesday will probably be seen on a lunch break. Whereas, something you post on Friday at 5 pm might be seen while your customer is sat at the pub winding down from a long week. Try to match the language you use in your captions to these situations.
2. Take advantage of trends and hashtags
While planning, you may choose to have certain post types that repeat each week. This could be in the form of a commonly used hashtag like #MotivationMonday, #TipTuesday or #WednesdayWisdom, or you could make up your own hashtag that relates to your business. Having a structure like this will take some of the burden off of you when you’re trying to think of post ideas.
3. Stay on-brand
You’ll want to make sure the images that you post on your Instagram represent your brand and its message. Your goal should be to represent your business positively and accurately. Think about the things that your customers associate with your brand. This might be certain colours, textures, images, sounds, etc. Your Instagram feed should be filled with these things.
Avoid posting overly-personal content that might be better hosted on your personal account. For example, you shouldn’t post a photo of your lunch or afternoon coffee on your business Instagram account, unless the photo incorporates your product or food/drink is a big part of your overall content vibe. Similarly, you may want to avoid posting pictures of your pooch on your business page, unless you’ve found a way to tie your furry friend into your brand identity. This doesn’t mean removing personality from your business, it just means you need to be more intentional.
A great example of a cohesive brand feel is US-based Tito’s Vodka. If you visit their Instagram, you’ll notice a running theme of cocktails, vodka bottles, the colour orange and dogs. Their product has nothing to do with dogs, but they’ve chosen to take on the tag line “vodka for dog people” which means they get to inject a bit of extra personality into their feed.
4. Use original content
When you are trying to increase the frequency of your Instagram posts, you may be tempted to use photos that you find on Google, Pinterest or stock imagery sites. While this is okay every once in a while, you should aim to use as much original content as possible – try to stick to 70% original content at a minimum.
You don’t need to be a professional photographer to take great photos for your social media accounts. Modern smartphones come equipped with excellent cameras that can take some really powerful photos. If you do have a bit of budget to spend on images, consider hiring a photographer to visit your brick and mortar shop (if you have one) or create a set for your products and take a handful of photos that you can use across your website and social media channels.
Another great way to get original content for your Instagram account is to encourage your customers to post photos to social media and tag your page. You can then repost these photos with permission from the customer. This is called user-generated content and it is a great way to not only collect content for your feed but also to generate word of mouth advertising in the form of a post on your customer’s personal account. If someone takes the time to post about your product on their personal feed, they must really like it and would most likely recommend it to friends. It also helps increase your accounts audience reach.
5. Use a filter
One of the novelties of Instagram, when it was first released in 2010, was the variety of filters it offered when uploading photos. These filters still exist within Instagram, although most seasoned social media users now opt to use external editing apps or presets to help achieve the ultimate streamlined aesthetic.
Using a specific filter on each one of your photos will help pictures that have dissimilar colours to appear cohesive. You can either use the same filter each time or use a “filter pack” that contains a few filters with the same feel but slightly different colouration on each one. VSCO is a common app for filters, many of which are free or you can choose to buy additional filter packs as well. Other Instagrammers purchase filter packs (often called presets) on Etsy.
You can see in the image below how much of a difference using one filter has made in this example feed, it really creates a brand identity that is bright and exciting and is much more visually appealing.
6. Take advantage of the “Archive” feature
Once you’ve decided to take hold of your Instagram’s look and feel, you might look back on old posts and decide that a few of them are bringing down your otherwise gorgeous curated timeline. Before you go and delete these forever, there is another way!
Instagram has a feature called “Archive” which will hide these posts on your profile, and instead store them away in a private folder that only you can see. If you ever want to see them or bring them back to your feed, it is very easy to access them and put them right back on your timeline if you wish.
7. Be active
Don’t forget, there’s a reason they call it social media. It is meant for building connections! Don’t just post photos and call it a day. Instead, follow accounts that are similar to your business and interact with them.
Respond to customer comments and like their photos. Your followers will be more likely to engage with your page and your content if they can tell that there is a real person behind the account.