Step 1: Create a Clear, Consistent Instagram Profile
One of the big mistakes we see brands make is underestimating the importance of a cohesive image.
When someone finds your brand’s profile on Instagram, it should be immediately identifiable through a few features:
The profile image. Don’t bother using different pictures on different social media platforms. Stay true to your brand and make it easy for people to recognize its official profile by using the same logo or image on all platforms.
The profile description. Within seconds of finding your profile, people should be able to identify what your page is about, who your company is, and what you sell/offer. You may not have much space in the Instagram description, but you can make your point by being snappy and concise.
The photos. When users look for a brand’s official, professional Instagram profile, they aren’t looking for blurry iPhone shots. They’re looking for professional photographs that reflect the brand’s values and products.
Additionally, it’s important that your profile presents a neat, clean feel to users. You want all of the photographs to flow together. For instance, look at Kate Spade’s officially Instagram profile. All of the pictures share recurring colors and tones, and they present an aesthetically pleasing feel to current followers and new searchers.
Consistency is key. Your brand needs to have an appearance that immediately distinguishes it from the millions of other accounts. More than 100 million photos and videos are shared on Instagram every day - how will your content and profile stand out as a well-defined brand?
Step 2: Use Your Own Hashtags
Although using popular hashtags is a great way to gain the attention of followers, that technique doesn’t do much to buff up your brand image. Include some hashtags made and used by others in your posts, but also think about hashtags that can define your brand and your business ideas.
For example, the shoe brand TOMs has created several personal hashtags, including #standfortomorrow. This hashtag reflects the brand’s dedication to providing shoes for those in need, as well as donating to causes like water sanitation and mental health awareness. Now, when other people see that hashtag, they associate it with TOMs and its company values.
Think about the movements and trends your brand associates with. What hashtags can you create that will help define your brand and encourage follower participation? There might be more than 25 million business profiles on Instagram, but your brand has unique concepts and products it can use for hashtag inspiration.
Step 3: Interact With Your Followers
No matter how big or small your company may be, engaging with your followers is a huge aspect of establishing a strong brand image. It shows that you want to forge connections with current and future customers, and it also gives you more feedback to use in your own company developments.
For example, take a look at Teva. Not only does the brand highlight user-generated content, but they also make an effort to facilitate conversation with users in the comment sections. Even when you post a story about Tevas on Instagram, they’ll likely respond with a direct message to your account, acknowledging your reference.
Respond to comments from followers. Send them personalized messages thanking them for using your products. Share their photos and videos on your profile.
You’ll find that the more you interact with your followers, the stronger your image as a brand will become. People will admire the way you engage with people on a personal level, and high levels of interaction will humanize your company and its products.
Whether you’re just building your brand image or you’re re-branding your business, it can benefit immensely from following the above tips. Your brand’s image on the platform stems from your consistent imagery, how you interact with other users, and your creativity.
Whatever you do, don’t just post pictures of your products and use generic hashtags. There’s no originality in that, and your brand will quickly wither and die when competing with far more innovative, personal companies.