Written by Zoe Devitto
Everywhere you turn, you’ll see people hooked onto their Instagram app.
Millennials love to see what others are doing and similarly want to share their own social life with the world.
According to 73% of US teens, Instagram is one of the best mediums to discover new products and brands.
There’s a reason so many businesses are now flocking to Instagram to promote their brands. The platform can help you to boost content, create brand awareness, and grow your sales over time.
So, if you want to grow your exposure on Instagram, here are actionable brand building strategies to expand your reach.
Strategies to Boost Your Brand
1. Find Your Purpose
Before you start posting on Instagram, you need to find your purpose. This is essential to give your Instagram brand building a clear direction.
First and foremost, ask yourself why you are using Instagram and what you wish to accomplish with the platform.
Some common include:
- Spreading brand awareness
- Growing a community
- Obtaining new customers
- Networking and retaining current customers
- Increasing blog traffic
- Boosting social media impressions
- Improving current KPIs
Determine your goals before you start posting anything on the platform.
For instance, if your aim is spreading brand awareness from scratch, you need to start by introducing yourself to your followers. Besides, you’ll also have to monitor the new visitors you’re getting each day or month.
Linking to your site in your Instagram bio is also a great idea for an introduction.
Here’s an excellent example from Make Lemonade — a co-working community whose bio lets you know who they’re serving and brings your attention to their site instantly:
And if the goal is networking with existing clients, you might want to engage them with personalized and humorous content.
2. Create a Style Pattern
Creating a unique style pattern is another critical part of generating leads and building your brand on Instagram.
To put it bluntly, good isn’t good enough anymore.
With millions of businesses in the same boat as you, the goal is to stand out in whatever ways you can.
So, choose your style pattern wisely.
An Instagram style pattern is your signature style that you follow all through your Instagram feed.
Here are some of the patterns you can try out:
- Dark / Moody
Luckily, you can create a style pattern easily using photo editing tools like Instasize and Canva.
Elements like color and pattern are essential to consumers and more likely to influence purchasing decisions.
Previous studies have shown that color impacts buyers’ buying decisions and increases brand recognition exponentially. Thus, the color you choose will impact your bottom line.
If you already have a website, logo, or have established your brand on other social channels, you can use your pre-established brand colors.
Once you select them, you can incorporate the colors into your content. You don’t necessarily have to use all the colors. Choose a specific tone or color family and stick to them to make your Instagram page look cohesive.
Here are some examples of a green color theme:
Even if the content doesn’t match from post to post, a uniform color palette will make them appealing and add consistency.
3. Publish High-Quality Content
Instagram solely works on aesthetics since it’s primarily a visual platform.
When on Instagram, your target audiences are most definitely going to judge a book by its cover.
Thus, it’s imperative to publish and promote high-quality content on Instagram.
It’s not hard to see why many successful social media marketing campaigns rely on attractive and engaging images.
And not just attractive, they should be unique, informative, and attention-grabbing as well.
While I’d suggest hiring a graphic designer, you can leverage online tools if you’re on a shoestring budget. You can easily find apps and websites that offer pre-designed themes and templates that you can tweak and use instantly.
Whether you want to create a post for promoting a special offer, announcing a new opening time, or pushing a recipe you have shared on your blog, you can do so with a template.
Take a look at these Instagram templates for numerous niches from Venngage:
To stand out and connect with your niche audience, make sure you further personalize and customize these templates by adding your own images, logos, elements, and content.
For high-quality images, you can visit stock websites like Unsplash or Stocksnap.io. You will find plenty of free photos and pick the ones suitable for your niche.
When you run out of ideas for your posts, consider reposting Instagram content from brands in your niche. Just make sure to seek permission and give due credit.
Remember that the aim is to show your product or services in the most visually appealing way - without being too promotional.
All things considered, your Instagram posts should spur customers towards your brand and encourage them to make a final purchase.
4. Publish Content Consistently
How often should I post on Instagram?
The simple answer: Remain consistent without overcrowding your audience.
According to a survey, if you post one Instagram post per day, you’re likely to have a +3.39% individual improvement over your average reach. This number decreases exponentially if you post more content in a single day.
Here are the precise results (from a sample of 1,400 brands):
However, don’t just rely on online surveys and statistics! Make sure to monitor your own density metrics as well before you schedule your Instagram posts.
Once you identify the best days and times to post your content on Instagram, make sure to stick to that schedule, and remain consistent.
What you can do is schedule your content and plan ahead of time. You should have at least two weeks’ worth of content before you start to post. That way, when you want to post new content, you can move your content ahead. Additionally, to make things easier, you can consider using a social media management tool like Agorapulse to schedule your posts ahead of time.
5. Use Hashtags Smartly
Hashtags are the holy grail of Instagram.
Hashtags help you build instant engagement, provide instant visibility, and easily get discovered by your target audience.
For best results, use at least 11-15 hashtags for every post.
Apart from generic niche-based hashtags, create your own branded hashtag(s) as well.
The hashtag can be the name of your company, tagline, or any of your products or campaign’s name. You can even use a hashtag that aligns with your brand identity.
You can also encourage your existing customers to use your branded hashtag and give them an opportunity to get featured on your Instagram account.
For instance, Allbirds - a sneaker company, uses the hashtag #weareallbirds to drive brand awareness by reposting the content generated by their users under this hashtag.
It’s a win-win situation. Your audiences get featured on your page - and you get free promotion for your campaign AKA user-generated content.
You might also want to add specific branded hashtags in your bio for more visibility, especially if you’re running a hashtag based campaign.
6. Repurpose Content
Are you running out of ideas?
Simple! You can repurpose your content from other sources like blog posts, Twitter posts, etc. You can also repurpose your lengthy YouTube videos and turn them into animated explainer clips.
Repurposing especially comes in handy if you’re a non-visual brand. Now you can turn boring blog posts into square-sized infographics and relay information more crisply on Instagram.
Luckily, there are several ways to repurpose content on Instagram.
Let’s talk about Instagram carousels first.
According to statistics, Instagram carousels are among the platform’s most engaging post types, followed by images and videos.
With carousels, you can easily share longer-form written content from your blogs, podcasts, ebooks, and emails.
The process depends on whether you are generating native-only content or bringing people to read the original content.
In case you are generating a native-only carousel, summarize longer-form content in 1-2 slides each. You can use the caption to introduce everything and engage people enough to swipe through. On the last side, utilize a CTA to drive engagement.
Another way to repurpose long-form written content is by curating Instagram Guides. They allow you to gather your past posts into a scrollable sequence, which you can share on your own.
You can also take screenshots of your tweets and post them on Instagram. Apart from that, you can create short video clips instead of posting the entire longer-form videos and let the clips promote the full piece. It will help you curate several Instagram posts from a single YouTube video.
7. Partner with Influencers
Influencer marketing is the new big thing.
Statistics indicate that the international influencer market is expected to reach $22.3 billion by 2024.
Trust me when I say it’s a goldmine for small and mid-sized brands.
After all, not everyone can hire big-name A-listers. So, the best alternative is to hire semi-famous niche influencers to promote your brand.
Apart from the monetary element, influencer marketing also offers more authenticity to consumers.
These influencers can connect with their audience more personally and evoke genuine trust.
Other benefits of partnering with Instagram influencers include exposing your brand to a vast audience and increasing your search rankings by acquiring quality backlinks from their blogs. Apart from that, influencers can drive traffic to your site via their posts.
The best idea is to partner with influencers that have already built trust and loyalty among their followers. Plus, ensure that they are from your niche and have values similar to your brand. Another vital thing to consider is the quality of the content.
The stats below provided by Mediakix shows how to determine which influencers to work with.
Here’s a list of some of the essential characteristics you should look for in an influencer:
- Engagement - If the influencer’s engagement rate is high, it means they know their audience’s preference and can induce them to take action. Have a look at the comments section on their posts and note the number of comments and quality. They should also be responding to their fan’s comments.
- Quality of followers - Your influencer’s followers should be similar to your target audience. They should also be able to connect with your brand.
- Follower count - The number of followers your influencers have will determine your potential reach and engagement rate.
- Content quality - Analyze your influencers’ content to understand whether the content they write is relevant to your niche. While doing so, you will also be able to figure out their content quality. Your influencers will be able to naturally infuse your brand into their content without being too promotional.
- Budget - Check whether you can afford to pay your influencers. Some of them will be happy to take free products in exchange for a review, while others will ask for monetary compensation.
8. Run Contests
As per stats, if you hold Instagram contests, you will grow your followers 70% faster than accounts that do not.
A popular method to announce your Instagram contest is by asking people to like your photo, leave a comment, tag a friend, and have them follow your account.
You can name your prize and let the entrants know about the ground rules. Let the entrants comment with why they should win, or let them tag a friend to get the word out about your contest. Those users might probably enter and tag some of their friends.
If you want to hold a contest to gather user-generated content (UGC) to share online, a great idea is to ask participants to share an image on their feed using a specific hashtag. Or you can let them tag your business to find all of the entries in one place.
While rewarding your customers for their help, you will also get user-generated images to share on your feed.
9. Live Stream and Engage With Followers
The Instagram live stream is one of the best ways to connect with your followers and communicate directly and in a transparent manner. You can use it to showcase a more human side of your brand and build more customer loyalty.
Another great benefit of Instagram Live and stories features is that they allow your audience to submit their comments and queries in real-time, making it an excellent tool for strengthening the connection between your brand and would-be customers. You can also use it to get valuable feedback and insight from your customers.
Apart from that, you can increase your chances of getting discovered on Instagram. For instance, when you go live, your followers will get an in-app notification. And your Live will be displayed on the front of their Stories feed.
Brand Building Strategies: Build a Huge Instagram Following
The future of your brand on Instagram may appear bleak if you’re just starting out. The path ahead might seem challenging without any followers.
However, if you follow these tips, you can skyrocket your brand quickly.
Start by creating a style pattern, partnering with influencers, and publishing quality content consistently. As you start to gain some traction, run Instagram contests to engage and retain your existing customers, and gain more visibility.
Building your brand on Instagram can be time-consuming, but it definitely comes with plenty of benefits.
Zoe Devitto is a content marketing strategist for SaaS brands like FollowUpBoss, Mention.com and more. Bylines: Ecwid, ProProfs, Score, etc. On the personal front, Zoe is a pho enthusiast and loves traveling around the world as a digital nomad.