Becoming an influencer means running an actual business on Instagram. As with any business, branding is vital for effective marketing. This article will discuss how to brand yourself on Instagram and why you should.
Why It’s Important to Brand Yourself on Instagram
Think of just about any major company and a branding image probably comes to mind: McDonald’s golden arch, Target’s red and white circle, or the Disney castle.
This can also be an effective social media strategy, especially on such a visually-oriented platform as Instagram. Effective branding includes not only colors, logos, and fonts, but the company voice, mission statement, and slogan, as well.
Personal Branding Tips to Help You Create a Professional Instagram Account
While there is a chance that marketers will stumble upon your account through their own research or relevant hashtags, that’s leaving a lot to chance. Here are some tips you can use to attract more attention from people with your personal branding effort.
Understanding your niche and your audience is key to appearing knowledgeable and authentic. Of course, the easiest way to do this is to focus on a topic you are already an expert in, passionate about, or at least something you are interested to learn.
The goal is to be the most knowledgeable or passionate influencer in your niche. If that sounds unrealistic, you at least need to have a unique perspective to create authentic content that is better than the competition in some way.
Essentially you need to give your viewers a reason to watch your content over the next channel. Being knowledgeable about your niche will give you and your content an edge.
Look at Your Competitors
Understanding your competition can also be helpful. There are over 200 million businesses on Instagram, which means a lot of potential competition. Try to identify what your competitors do well and where they are lacking to find opportunities for your channel.
If the competition outclasses you in knowledge, experience, or ability in certain subtopics, don’t focus on those. If there are areas where the competition is lacking, focus on that to become the leading source of information on that subtopic.
You may find that the competition is simply too strong. In that case, you may want to reconsider if that niche is truly the arena you want to enter versus more approachable alternatives.
Hashtags are a trump card for Instagram that you can’t ignore. Strategic use of relevant hashtags will help portray your brand’s focuses and interests and help Instagram users find you through search and hashtag surfing.
Simply making use of additional hashtags can have a noticeable impact on your post’s reach and visibility.
Keep Up With Trends & Styles
For some niches, like fashion and makeup, trends and styles refer quite literally to current trends and styles. For other topics, it generally means staying up-to-date with the latest news and information in your niche.
For example, a brand focusing on video game art should post everyday content about the latest and most popular games. That is what gamers in your target market are currently interested in and excited about.
Stale content from old games is less likely to get the same search volume or interest (unless your niche is retro video game art). Whatever type of content you focus on, keep it fresh and on-trend, whatever that may look like in your field.
Assign Key Self-Brand Traits
Your brand is not your niche. While your brand is inevitably built around your niche, it requires an extra layer.
For example, your brand can’t just be “video game art.” That can be a niche to build off of, but your brand needs to be recognizable by branching out in a unique and interesting way.
In this example, that could be the art you are creating, with an authentic voice, style, and techniques. It could also be a specific sub-niche, such as Nintendo fan art, rare advertising art from universal classics, or licensed video game art you sell on apparel.
Create a Brand Mood Board
One way to assign recognizable traits to your brand is with a mood board. A brand mood board is a collection of assets that relate to your brand.
Mood boards commonly include photographs, images, text, fonts, logos, and colors. You may be familiar with the basic idea which is used on Pinterest.
The point of a brand mood board is to collect assets that inspire or define your brand so you can visualize your brand concept. This can be a great way to choose a brand’s fonts, colors, and logos.
Why & How to Create a Mood Board
Pinterest is an easy way to get started. With the extension installed, you can simply pin assets you come across when browsing the web, on social media, or working.
After a while, look at the things you have pinned and see if there are any patterns. You might realize you are pinning a lot of blog posts with blue backgrounds or art that makes creative uses of the color white.
That knowledge can help you identify your brand’s aesthetic and overall mood. You could make a collage for inspiration out of assets you collect physically or digitally.
Use Consistent Visual Elements
Once you have identified an aesthetic theme for your brand, try to stick with it whenever possible. While you don’t want to limit your content based on visual elements, consistency is key to brand recognition.
Take a look at this example from @tinyforestsoapcompany.
You don’t need a graphic designer to create consistent, recognizable visual branding elements.
An easy way to be consistent visually is with fonts and typeface. Try to find some fonts that complement your brand and use them when feasible. Think of Netflix as an example, and how distinguishable their font is.
That doesn’t mean finding a fancy cursive font for your wine-tasting page and using it for everything. But consider assigning distinguishable typefaces for different uses like graphics, image texts, and your logo.
Color themes are essential for branding on Instagram. In order to be instantly recognizable, brands often make use of a bold color palette. Different colors are even thought to have a psychological effect on consumers.
Think of major brands like Coca-Cola or Pepsi. You should instantly think of the bold red and blue cans.
That is the power of color themes in branding. As another example, we all know what color is associated with Mountain Dew.
Update Your Instagram Profile to Reflect Your Personal Brand
Once you have found some shape and form for your brand, apply it to your Instagram profile where possible. Consistency across your socials, website and marketing material will help build cohesion and brand presence.
If possible, tie in visual branding elements for your profile photo. That does not mean making your profile picture your company logo. Instead, consider wearing your company colors or branded merch. If you use a digital background, make it your company color. Again, these simple tricks can help with cohesion and brand presence.
Your Instagram bio is a great opportunity for links to your website or other socials, company slogan, or maybe even mission statement.
You may have other information you want to include, but try to maintain your branding on Instagram. If you can, add some colored text or emojis that suit your brand and tie in your bio!
Post Strategic Content
Instagram is a great way to make people feel like they are getting to know the real you. Finding the perfect blend of authenticity and influence will help you move beyond posting just for your friends and family, allowing you to reach a wider audience of people and eventually brands that will want you as a partner.
Here are a few tips that can help you make the leap from an Instagram user to an Instagram influencer.
Grid posting is when you publish everyday content strategically so that the thumbnails form a pattern on your wall. This can be as simple as alternating images and videos or as complicated as creating a rainbow pattern with your background colors.
In this example from @william.wanderlust, we can see him using the grid to combine larger pictures. This creates a very eye-catching visual effect!
However you do it, grid posts can give your Instagram page an intentional, professional look.
Diversifying your Instagram content can help you reach new users and appeal to different audiences. Over 90% of Instagram users watch videos on the platform at least weekly, including Stories, Reels, and regular video posts. The limited lifespan of Stories also encourages your audience to check back daily, and you can also sort them into Highlights.
At the same time, leveraging Instagram Stories may mean committing to daily posts to ensure content is always available.
Inspired by TikTok, Instagram Reels are short videos that get aggregated differently than other Instagram content. Reels can help you reach new viewers by diversifying your content. The goal is to catch users who are swiping through Reels with the hopes that they will click through to your profile and become followers.
Instagram offers many ways for brands to spend their marketing dollars, from sponsored images and stories to inter-video and shopping ads. Paid ads are a good option for companies who want to take a more hands-off approach to Instagram marketing (compared to collaborating with influencers). Still, they can also be a good way for personal brands and content creators to reach new users.
It may seem strange to pay for advertising as an Instagram influencer, but paid ads can be an effective way to jumpstart your brand.
Below are some answers to common questions about Instagram branding.
Scale Your Brand With Scalefluence!
One of the best ways for new influencers to find brands with similar audiences, mission statements, or personal appeal is to join a marketing platform. Scalefluence specializes in pairing influencers with brands looking to spend their marketing budget on social media. This can accelerate your career as an influencer and create new opportunities to grow and learn.
On top of creating high-quality content and growing your influence organically, cold-calling companies you are interested in partnering with can be a real shot in the dark. We offer business growth coaching that can help you learn how to brand yourself on Instagram, and our networking service can help match you with brands looking to collaborate.