Instagram is a breeding ground for branding. I mean this both literally, as it is ripe with inspiration of all juicy kinds. Inspiration that spurs you on, nudges you into thinking about your life or your business or even your next meal in a new way. And I also mean it figuratively, in that the constantly moving feed of images is ever changing, every evolving.
It is a myth that branding is something you do once, and then forget about for a few years until you perhaps get a little bored with life and want to shake things up.
There was a time I thought redesigning my logo was rebranding. I was wrong. A logo, like a personal branding photo, is a visual element of your brand. Branding itself is everything that makes up the perception of you and your business. You and who you serve. You and the results you deliver. It’s like a kaleidoscope, a moshpit of visual cues that move and blend with each other into a stream that looks and feels like you.
Back to Instagram, because it’s the key to new media and an easy way to manage and control your entire social media and online presence. There are four big reasons Instagram is a branding breeding ground:
1. It’s visual and that means engagement boost.
There’s a well touted stat floating around saying that social media posts with images receive more engagement by as much as 180%. Since all Instagram posts include an image, it naturally lends itself to better engagement. The incredible double-tap (or “liking” a post) is almost too easy for fans to give.
I’ll go out on a limb and say, better images receive better engagement. I’m not even really going out on a limb to say that. Perhaps I’m simply acknowledging not everyone wants to hear that. That said, an aesthetic environment encourages better aesthetics. I’ll have plenty of information coming in the next weeks about how to start finding and creating better visuals for your posts, the first of which came out a few weeks ago.
2. Instagram’s simple format encourages feedback.
Each post includes an image. Everything else is optional, though there is also an easy space for a caption and the image includes a way to tag those within it. Once posted, anyone can comment on the image. This is the primary way to gain feedback.
There’s been a lot of talk in the online world about the big changes Instagram made this year. One of the reasons these changes are so jarring is because Instagram is such a simple platform! That makes the changes obvious and well felt. While I’m not a big fan of all the changes (I miss my favorite hashtags autofilling!), most of the changes are going to make Instagram better for business.
The ever-flowing nature of your Instagram feed provides constant feedback to you as a business owner. If you post something and it receives decidedly lower engagement, it may be a sign it’s not hitting well with your intended audience.
3. Lack of links forces creativity
Instagram’s one single link forces you to think about what you’re currently promoting. You can’t link to five different sales pages at the same time, because Instagram’s simple format only includes one hyperlink option. So you better make it count!
Did you put out a new lead magnet or freebie this quarter? Update your link to the new opt-in page! Are you a guest on a podcast? Make that your link this week. Including relevant links to what you’re currently excited about is another way to make your posts count and up engagement.
4. Instagram’s grid view is both consistent and evolutionary.
The real breeding ground for your brand is the grid view of your personal page. Both you and any potential fans can see what you and your brand is about at a glance. This is where Instagram really shines over all other social media platforms when it comes to visual branding.
Consistency in your posts shows a viewer who you are and what you stand for. This doesn’t mean you need to post the same thing everyday, far from it! But are you posting on-brand graphics with a similar color scheme? Are you posting relevant quotes for inspiration, balanced with your own content? Are you posting on a schedule, updating your profile daily or weekly? Your fans should be able to look at your grid view and get a hint at what you offer in product or services without clicking on a thing.
Your brand moves as you move, breathes, and can flourish on Instagram. As you’re building content for a new program you can begin seeding your following with hints of what is to come. And the look of your grid view may change from time to time as you move from one phase to another. That is good! It’s the kaleidoscope in action.
What isn’t good is when there’s no theme at all to your grid view. If I look and see three or four images of you vacationing in paradise and all I see in the rest of the view is quotes overlaid on celebrity photos, it’s disconcerting. It makes me wonder what you do to begin with if all you post are other people’s words and a few trip photos you could have lifted off google.
I’m a fan of balance. Show what you do, the results your services or products offer, and keep to a consistent color theme. The occasional inspirational post or testimonial bolsters trust and encourages me to follow a person.
And that person could be you!