How to Use Instagram to Grow Your Brand
Hey there! So, you want to spend more time dedicated to your business' brand/personal brand on Instagram and don't know where to start? Or, perhaps you're a seasoned Instagram user just looking for that extra boost? I've gotcha. In just a few best practices, you can use Instagram to grow your brand. 1. Make sure your bio has LIFE. Your bio needs to have the three essential pieces that complete the puzzle of YOU! When your followers know what they're getting from you, you'll be just that more successful.
- A description of what you do
- Something that explains to followers what they will get from following you (perhaps a few of the things you most enjoy/are most passionate about that you often share)
- A tidbit of inspiration (quote, motto, etc.).
2. Make sure your feed is unified. You might hear people talking about a "beautiful feed" on Instagram - this means the quality of the profile (or feed)'s photography mixed with the way the user edits the photos. It really is what makes or breaks your brand's image on this social network.
- Download a few apps: VSCO Cam, A Color Story, Afterlight, Studio Design, VideoSound, MOLDIV, Hyperlapse. These will help you with the overall editing of your images/video.
- Pick an app you will use 90% of the time and choose one-two filters you feel best represent your brand. Use these filters/edits universally through all your posts. This will help establish a seamless, beautiful feed.
3. Make sure you use hashtags - but relevant ones. This is a debatable topic, but in my experience there's no argument - hashtags bring in SO many more followers and engagement that you wouldn't get otherwise.
- Search commonly used hashtags that fit within your niche. Because I'm a lifestyle blogger, I often use #lblogger, #ontheblog, and because many of my posts center around my profession in marketing, I commonly use #socialmediamarketing, #communications, #marketingtips, etc. I also indulge in hashtags that fit the nature of my Instagram feed - I love to post photos of minimal things, places and experiences, so these posts get hashtags like #minimalexperience, #pursuepretty, #minimalmood.
- Input these hashtags into the comment of your photo - not the description. This is also debatable and I've gone back and forth, but I think it looks more clean for its viewers without hashtags in the description.
4. Make sure you curate others' content.
- Search profiles that create similar content to yours (perhaps some of your favorite feeds) and save images that fit within the visual theme of your brand and feed, setting aside time to post these (I aim for at least 3x per week), always remembering to credit the original poster in your description. This creates community within your niche and helps gain you recognition.
5. Make sure you engage with others. This is the most time consuming yet important piece of it all. If you want to up your followers and engagement, you cannot skip this step!
- Search commonly used hashtags (it's a good idea to search the ones you use to post your images as those will populate accounts that produce similar content as you) and comment and like on content within them--at least once/twice a day.
- Utilize Iconosquare.com to engage with others as well. You can sign in through Instagram, but the nice thing about Iconosquare is that you get a layout of multiple images as opposed to just one by one large photos such as Instagram. You will go into accounts of those whose feeds you admire, go into their followers and pick a few, comment 1x/like 3x, then continue to the next profile. Of course, you need to comment sincerely (I can't tell you how annoying those thumbs up emoji comments can be) - give them something of value and they'll love you more for it.
- You'll also want to follow feeds, at least 4-5 per day. People are more likely to follow back after you've followed them. I try to only follow feeds I genuinely love and find importance/inspiration in, not following for the heck of following.
6. Make sure you establish routine. Making sure that you post at a certain time (or at least close to the same time) every day and post around the same amount each day will enable your followers to trust that you will produce new content for them and will help yourself keep track of what needs to get done. I've created a to-do list for myself re: all my social networking throughout the day so I can keep track easily. I highly suggest you do the same.
Did these tips and tricks help? If I left something out, please be sure to leave it in the comments and share your success stories!