Use Instagram to Maximize Your Branding Potential
Are you leveraging Instagram’s branding potential in creative and impactful ways?
If your business isn’t on Instagram, it should be! We’ve already discussed the benefits of Instagram extensively in another blog post, but here’s a quick refresher: In 2016, 48.8% of brands were on Instagram and that number is predicted to rise to 70.7% in 2017.* Also, engagement with brands on Instagram is ten times higher than on Facebook, 54 times higher than on Pinterest, and 84 times higher than on Twitter.* There’s no doubt about it, Instagram needs to be an important part of your marketing strategy.
So, how you can command the incredible possibilities of branding on Instagram?
The Two Primary Ways that Instagram is Used
First of all, it’s important to understand that Instagram is used in two ways. (There are other ways too, like stories, but those are topics for a future blog post. Here, we’re sticking to the primary uses.)
There’s the “instant” part of Instagram, where people see your post as it appears (or as the algorithms allow) directly in their feed soon after you’ve posted the image. This is how people usually think about Instagram; your customers are flipping through their feed and browsing, liking, and commenting on the images that attract their attention.
To appear in someone’s feed, they must already be following you, or you can sponsor a post (using the Facebook Business Manager or directly from your phone) to appear in more feeds.
But let’s not forget the other way that Instagram is used: when people become curious about your business and they visit your profile.
Both existing followers and people who aren’t your followers yet will visit your profile for a number of reasons. This is your chance to make an impression!
People who aren’t yet your followers might be checking you out for the first time because they’ve visited your website and clicked on your social icon. Or perhaps you’ve drawn their attention in some other way—maybe they know about your business and wanted to check out your feed, or they’ve seen your Instagram handle on print materials. They might also take notice of your interactions on Instagram through others’ accounts, e.g.: they’ve seen you comment on the post of someone they follow, or have seen you tagged in a post by someone they follow.
Now think about this: no matter why or how someone ends up visiting your profile, their first impression of your content can make a huge impact on how they feel about your overall brand.
Instagram Branding that Packs a Punch
In a lot of ways, the impression that your Instagram feed makes can be as important as your business website… or even more important! Millennials and active social media users are often more likely to visit your social media profiles before they ever see your website, and the Instagram profile in particular can go a long way in shaping their perception of you.
When you think about it this way, making a visual impact on Instagram isn’t just about each individual image as it appears on its own. It’s also about the overall look and feel of how all the images fit together—this is, after all, what someone will see when they visit your profile.
What kinds of content are you sharing? Photography? Text? Custom graphics? What colours are you using? Does it all come together in an instantly appealing way? Some Instagrammers use certain filters to unify the look and feel of their imagery, while others get creative about how all their content fits together.
Overall, is the impression you’re making professional… or sloppy? What feelings does it evoke? What does your Instagram profile page say about you?
Then there’s an additional challenge: what if your business just isn’t naturally visual?
NB: In September 2017, there was a buzz around that Instagram would be changing its grid. If that ever happens, the following suggestions may become obsolete. But it hasn’t happened yet so maybe it never will!
There are strategic ways that you can pack a lot of punch into your Instagram marketing that don’t require expensive photoshoots and complicated planning. We present you with the magic of threes and our strategic branding template:
Our in-house Instagram expert, Jill Mitchell-Holmes, is a whiz at designing attractive and streamlined templates that we fill with engaging content. Our clients find this approach to be both impactful and cost-effective. Along with these custom-designed templates, we also integrate photography into the mix to “keep it real” and show a human side to the brand, but we make sure that it always fits into a cohesive, bigger picture. Our content also includes fun surprises and non-templated branded visuals to strike a balance between the overall branding and the natural ebb and flow that’s so important on Instagram.
“Grouped” or “gridded” images can be in any multiple of three, as this number works best with Instagram’s gridded profile layout. Many photographers take panoramic photographs that they break up into three images to form one long panel. In our sample image, you’ll see a large square made up of nine individual squares. Groups of six can also work the same way.
We also like the alternating checkerboard approach to visual schedules, with a clean template used for every odd image, while the even images can be a mix of photographs, blog images, and creative surprises.
Similar to the checkerboard layout is the diagonal approach, where images create diagonal lines across the profile page:
With this diagonal layout, every 4th image is template-based, allowing for images of varying types to be placed in between. Every 4th image makes up the diagonal line. This option is great for those who want to add something a little special to their profile page, but still would like the spontaneity of posting whatever they’d like in between the scheduled templates.
With this diagonal layout, four types of images are scheduled on a rotating basis, e.g.: templated quote, photo, templated testimonial, templated promo, repeat. Each image makes up its own diagonal line. This option is great for those who want a very streamlined look on their profile page, but don’t have much of a need for spontaneity.
These approaches pack a double punch, providing impactful branding with strategic use of your core visual elements and making it easier to stay on top of your Instagram content.
Making It Happen
If you need help with your Instagram marketing, you might be surprised by how affordable yet impressive our Instagram plans can be. We offer a free consultation, so why not drop us a line? We’d be happy to look at your current Instagram practices and give you ideas about how you can ramp up your branding potential. We can also give you a hand if you’re brand new to Instagram, or we can take over your whole account so that you don’t have to worry about it. Just promise us this: don’t neglect your Instagram. It’s far too important and we don’t want your business to miss out!
**Looking for information about Instagram stories for business? Check out this great infographic.