Social Media is fast becoming the ruler of all things marketing. With more and more people using Instagram as a search engine, not just for ideas, but products and services, it is more important than ever to stand out in your chosen field. Instagram and Facebook ads are now officially one of the most popular and successful forms of online advertising with hits that rival Google ads. Having a great Instagram page has officially become as essential to a business or brand as a website, but what is it that makes an Instagram account stand out from its millions of competitors worldwide? What makes one fitness instructor privy to hundreds of thousands of followers and another with the same skills and experience stuck at just a few hundred. The answer is simple. It’s your brand image.
Having a strong brand image not only projects the idea that you are accomplished, professional and knowledgeable. It also makes you memorable and your page stand out from your competitors. So how do we develop a strong brand in todays social media driven society?
1: Establish Your Message
To really strengthen a brand you have to first identify what it is that you are trying to say. What is your message to your followers and is this apparent as soon as they hit your page. A strong brand would show what it’s all about before you have even read the bio. This is not to say that every image you post has to be relative to your message but the vast majority definitely should be. For example, two dancers post regular content on instagram. One of them has mastered the art of selfies but has no professionally shot images. She takes a great picture of her Pomeranian and she occasionally throws in a post of her dancing or doing yoga. The other dancer posts consistent professional photoshoots, live performance shots, rehearsals and training and has the occasional shot of her smiling on a night out with friends. Which of these two would have the stronger personal brand? Well, put it this way. One of them is undoubtedly a dancer and the other could be a Pomeranian breeding yoga teacher who takes dance classes and has great bone structure?? Who knows! The majority of your content should always be high quality and relevant to your message.
A good amount would be around 80% of your posts as studies show that a few personal shots humanise an account and therefore add appeal to potential followers.
2: Choose an Aesthetic
It’s no secret that Brands rely on their aesthetic. There are so many logos and colour schemes that are instantly recognisable. If you try now to think what colours you associate with IKEA or what the logo for Boots looks like, images will immediately pop into your head. The same can be done with your brand via a strong recognisable aesthetic.
The type of aesthetic you choose should in some way reflect the nature of your business or brand. The use of colour can be paramount in defining a brand. There is such a thing as colour psychology. We associate certain colours with feelings and emotions. Choosing a colour that is in line with your message will not only reinforce it but it will also become instantly recognisable, particularly if you create a scheme that is in some way unique. If you’re unsure what a colour will best suit you, there are many articles online about what colours say about a brand.
In terms of instagram, a light or dark aesthetic is the easiest to follow but adding a logo or a pop of your chosen colour scheme within the images is a clever way to strengthen your brand. Professional images shot on a background with your chosen colour really show you mean business. Whatever you shoot professionally is going to sell the image of your brand more than any other aspect of your online presence. It looks professional and projects the idea that you are established far more than a selfie ever could! Whatever professional shots or colours you opt for should also carry through onto your website and other advertising materials. The more content you have that has the same aesthetic, the easier you will be to identify and the stronger your message will be.
If you are particularly competent in design, there are many ways to make an instagram feed stand out. Some people alternate the type of content, use the occasional tile or add a text post with a specific colour and some even go for the eye catching puzzle feed. Puzzle feeds require an enormous amount of design skill and preparation but can look incredible once created. Whatever your chosen aesthetic, stick to it! Brands must be built and consistency is how you do it.
3: Regular Quality Content
We all know how important it is to post regularly but one trap that many fall into is that they post just to keep in the limelight and the quality of the content slips. Your goal with content is to be known for something. If your posts have the drift of ‘hope you’re having a great day’ because you are low on ideas that are in line with your brand, your audience retention will soon drop. Yes, posting regularly is a must for brands and businesses. You’re trying to stay engaged and be the first place your followers go for you, your product or service. However, if the reason they followed you disappears, they will of course hit the unfollow button pretty darn quickly. Keeping up the standard of the posts is imperative as it appears that you know what you’re doing and are therefore the ‘go-to’ for whatever you are doing.
Quality content is not just what takes people to your website or gets you those email enquiries, its what makes your posts trend and exposes you to new followers. If you want a successful brand, it’s highly important that you prep and plan your posts in advance and ensure that it meets the same standard with every post. Don’t just bombard your audience with every day content. The more professional the look of your images and posts, the more in demand, high end and busy you look.
4: Be Interactive
A sure fire way to know that your content is quality, is a trend of engagement. Likes are great but comments and shares signal that your audience are in agreement with you or absolutely love what you have posted. The way to trend is to follow a lot of similar accounts or have an instagram pod. Similar accounts will very often agree with you or repost your content as it also applies to them.
This obviously reinforces your message but gives you the appearance of popularity and shares very often mean new followers.
One thing to keep in mind is that being interactive goes both ways. Once you have a few similar accounts in your social media circle, like and share their content. If nothing else, it will help you remain active on those days where the ideas just aren’t flowing. Doing this will very often get them to repost you or like/ share some of your content. Also, like, like and like again! To stay in the orbit of your circle, like as many posts as you can! Not only does this make them remember you, it makes you trend in their feed and gets you a great deal of returned likes.
So there you have it. A strong brand in this modern world is social media and high end image focussed. Look like the best at your game with pro images, quality informative content, consistent engagement and then repeat!