Instagram is arguably the best social media platform today. It’s a photo-sharing app that lets anyone share their creativity, their preferences, their likes, their life philosophies and practically anything else. As such, it’s a marketing treasure-trove.
Businesses and people alike can maximize Instagram to help them build a better and stronger brand. In 2016, the platform had over 300 million active users daily. This year, it’s projected that 51.8% of social media users will use Instagram to reinforce their brand. By 2019, roughly 2/3 of millennial smartphone users will have an Instagram account.
Instagram Do’s and Don’ts in Building Your Brand
Present your product in engaging or beautiful settings.
If you have an attractive or camera-friendly product – like a flower, a book or a painting – you already won half the battle. But, if you’re marketing a mundane item – like deodorant, a permanent marker or toilet paper – you need to be extra clever on how to present the product to your market.
Think of a setting that can highlight your merchandise in an engaging manner. You can use contrasting backdrops or photograph the item with people or pets. Whatever concept you use, make sure it catches the attention of the audience in the right way.
Post behind-the-scene (BTS) activities at work.
Social media is a great avenue to connect with your market. If it’s weird or unfitting to post goofy pictures of you and your team on the company website, Instagram is the perfect place for them. Posting BTS photos and videos of how you work or what you do give the audience your “human side.”
Instagram is also an excellent platform to introduce your team to the world. You can highlight and profile one employee a week or a month (depending on how big your company is). Give your followers tidbits and funny anecdotes about your team. This is a good way to show your audience that there are dedicated people behind the product they want to try or already patronize.
Invite your followers to participate.
Participation is one of the building blocks of social media. Instagram is the best platform to crowdsource visual content. You can invite your followers to share their photos of your product using a unique hashtag. Choose and repost the photos you like. From a fan’s point of view, it can be a thrill for them to know that the brand they use acknowledges their presence. More so if their photos are reposted. The same thing goes for comments.
Build anticipation for upcoming events or launches.
Teasers for a new product or event create some buzz. The hype circulates not just within your Instagram feed, but in your niche as well. Post a sneak peek or BTS shot of the new item. This will make your followers curious about the product. And the more interested they become, the bigger the chances of them buying the item once it’s out.
There’s a big world outside of your product, your feed and your niche. Be in touch with what’s happening around you, and then make sure your brand finds a connection with it. The holiday season is a good example of this. Incorporate your product into the festivities. If you’re marketing a deodorant, you can take a snapshot of the item under a Christmas tree or cover it up with holiday ribbons and wraps.
Use Instagram only for advertisement.
Try to post nothing but your product with a sales pitch, and you’ll soon see how quickly your followers dwindle. No one wants to be bombarded with ads or marketing campaigns. Instagram is for sharing photos and engaging with your followers. It’s NOT a place for you to release all your marketing visuals. This means you need to leave infographics and illustrations on your blog and Pinterest account.
#There #is #nothing #worse #on #IG #than #a #caption #jampacked #with #hashtags. Read the sentence once more. It’s annoying, right? Just because Instagram has no character limit doesn’t mean you’re given free rein to overload your hashtag. Besides, tags can only work for your brand if you use them the right way. When overused, they’ll defeat the purpose of your keyword strategy.
Post too often.
One to three photos, posted in a timely manner each day is good enough. But if you share a lot in just 24 hours, your followers will be sick seeing your name on their feed. If you have tons of visuals to share, spread them out over several days.
Reliable Tips for Building Your Brand on Instagram
Create a business profile.
If you want your audience to take your brand seriously, present a profile that is professional. Instagram makes it easy for users to switch from one account to another. You don’t even have to log-in-and-out to check your multiple accounts. Separating your business account to your personal feed ensures that all your posts on the business profile are visuals relevant to your brand. While a picture of your kid walking for the first time is heartwarming, if your product is unrelated to the event, then it doesn’t belong to your business profile.
Also, as much as possible, make sure your Instagram handle is similar to your business name. If it’s already taken (which is something you should avoid), create a username related to your brand.
Use only relevant hashtags.
Think of your Instagram hashtags as filing cabinets. All photos and videos tagged with the same keywords are filed in one “space.” Hashtags make it easy for your target market to search for your brand. They also help you zero in on your competition. The right hashtags increase your brand’s searchability. Studies show that adding seven relevant hashtags to your photo can boost the “love-taps” by up to 23%.
Instagram has increased the length of videos from 15 seconds to a full minute. Take advantage of this update by posting short ad clips of your product or BTS videos of a marketing event or a photo shoot. You can also post videos of company milestones and celebrations. Like the pictures you post on your feed, make sure to only post high-quality and relevant videos.
Create a style guide.
Have you heard of #feedgoals? It’s a term to describe an Instagram feed that is well-curated, interesting, eye-catching and relevant others would want to imitate or hope to get inspired by it. Building a “feed goal” starts with creating a style guide. There are different ways you can carry this out. A good one is to use a particular color palette to present your visuals. Another good style guide is to choose one specific filter for all your photos and videos. When you establish a style guide, you can create uniformity which can greatly appeal to your market.
Make an emotional connection.
The best way you can make Instagram work for you – from a marketing POV – is to connect with your audience on an emotional level. Instagram is not the platform for you to blatantly push your advertising campaigns. When it comes to IG marketing, subtlety is the name of the game.
Post visuals that can evoke a feeling or emotion to the viewers – something that will make them laugh or cry. Bring in nostalgia. Trigger a childhood memory. An emotional appeal is way more efficient than any sales pitch you can think of.
It’s okay if you can’t post a new photo every day. However, you need to make your account active daily. Instead of uploading a photo or a video, reply to comments on your posts. You can also leave a comment on the visuals of the influencers in your field. Engage with other Instagram users so you can build your network.
Follow Instagram accounts that get you inspired.
There are 400 million daily active users on Instagram today. One, two, a hundred of those can give you inspiration and teach you something new. Look for Instagram accounts that connect with you, get you inspired, make you laugh, make you think and so on. You don’t have to limit yourself to following the people in the same field as yours. Spread your IG wings.
Here are 40 Instagram accounts to fill-up your inspiration tank.
Current # of Followers: 170K
Hey Studio is a graphic design studio based in Barcelona. Its Instagram features the latest design trends and news from different industry influencers. It also showcases fascinating internal updates that can inspire new and pro graphic designers.
Current # of Followers: 1.1M
Seb Lester is a celebrated British artist and designer. He posts videos of his reinterpretations of the world’s most famous logos using calligraphy. Seb updates his feed almost every day so there’s always something new to look forward to.
Current # of Followers: 846K
Pantone, founded in 1963, conveys the worldwide standard for colors. Its Instagram feed offers color palette inspiration. Every caption provides additional information about the colors used in the photo.
Current # of Followers: 840K
Mike Kus is a UK-based illustrator and designer known for his spectacular creations. His Instagram feed is a mixture of graphic odds and ends, travel snapshots, geometric lines and artistic shapes. British beaches are also omnipresent on his timeline.
Current # of Followers: 54.3K
Design Everywhere is a blog dedicated to presenting beautiful graphic designs from anywhere in the world. The photos are collected and curated by Preston Tham (@prestontham).
Current # of Followers: 16.3K
Annie Atkins is a film graphic designer (The Grand Budapest Hotel, The Boxtrools, Penny Dreadful). Her Instagram account is where she posts insights and snippets of her work. She also uploads candid shots of her surroundings.
Current # of Followers: 80.9K
Daniel Aristizabal is a digital artist, illustrator and graphic designer from Colombia. He describes his aesthetic as “pop surrealism” – which shows in his Instagram feed. His photos are saturated with science references, vintage lines, retro hues and geometric patterns.
Current # of Followers: 27.5K
Bradley G. Munkowitz, the man responsible for Tron’s opening titles, runs gmunk. His IG feed records and displays his extensive work and travel journeys. Imposing architectures are also in the mix.
Current # of Followers: 174K
Stefan Sagmeister is an Austrian graphic designer who now resides in New York. Computer Arts magazine voted him as the Most Influential Graphic Designer of the last two decades. His Instagram feed is mostly critiques of design work, that people send in.
Current # of Followers: 25.1K
Kate Moross is a graphic designer who doesn’t shy away from colors. She is the director of Studio Moross and is named as one of the three most inspiring designers of the past 20 years. Her feed features bubblegum pop visuals and her love for anything Japanese.
Architecture and Interior Design
Current # of Followers: 1M
Apartment Therapy aims to “save the world, one room at a time.” The account features stylish apartments in cities from different parts of the world. It’s a great source for interior design ideas.
Current # of Followers: 1.5M
Design Milk is the Instagram handle of one of the oldest blogs online dedicated to modern design, www.design-milk.com. It features interior design inspiration, architectural projects, modern furniture and the latest trends of the industry. Design Milk is founded by Jaime Derringer (@JaimeDerringer).
Current # of Followers: 724K
Wallpaper Mag or Wallpaper* is the world’s global design authority. It features the latest trends and news about art, design, architecture, travel and lifestyle. Its feed is a great source of style ideas and design inspiration.
Current # of Followers: 201K
The Design Museum is a well-curated visual collection of design concepts. It’s the official account of the newly re-opened Design Museum in Kensington High Street in London. Visitors can share their photos from the museum using #thedesignmuseum tag.
Current # of Followers: 1M
Dezeen is a premier architecture and design magazine. Its IG feed displays stunning designs, remarkable architectural pieces and contemporary interior styles. It’s a visual goodness for people who love modern art and design.
Current # of Followers: 6454
Though it only has thousands of followers, the Material Lab is an inspired Instagram account. It mainly features surface materials – which is unsurprising since it’s under Johnson Tiles, one of the leading tile manufacturer in the world. The feed is also packed with interior and architecture inspiration.
Current # of Followers: 791K
I Have Things with Floors is a quirky Instagram account about “nice floors” and “selfeet.” The account is curated by an anonymous handler from Amsterdam. The colorful patterns and textures of the floors makes the feed even more interesting.
Current # of Followers: 121K
Dabito is a professional graphic designer. His Instagram photos manifest his creative intuitiveness and skills. He often showcases the homes of other creatives. He also posts snapshots of his vibrant home in New Orleans.
Current # of Followers: 80.2K
Grant K. Gibson is an interior designer with offices in New York and San Francisco. His Instagram account documents his love for interior design as well as his travels all over the world. He often posts classic details used in contemporary homes.