Since its launch in 2010, Instagram has quickly become one of the most popular social media platforms, with over 500 million active users every day. Facebook, Twitter and Youtube are all popular social media platforms, but there’s something about building a brand on Instagram that’s unique.
As all users of Instagram will know, the platform changes and adapts with the most modern aesthetic, fashion and design trends. And while doing so, it remains relatable. We expect to see a window into somebody’s life, be charmed by an image of their brunch, or their puppy, but Instagram has become much more than that. It is now a great tool to use for companies to build their brands.
Instagram’s combination of the cutting edge of design trends, with the accessible and real content we are used to seeing, means that customers are far more open to advertising. If you choose to build a brand on Instagram you will be investing time in a platform which has created one of the most seamless browsing processes out there: blending shopping and advertising into everyday social interactions with brands and friends alike, seamlessly fitting in with user’s feeds, in a format which consumers actually like and engage with!
There are many well-known techniques for engaging your audience on Instagram, gaining more followers, and building your brand. To help you get your head around these, and discover the latest trends within them, we’ve broken down these trends and tips into 5 categories to help you build your brand on Instagram.
Your profile is the face of your brand on Instagram. It’s the first thing potential customers see from you on your page and sets the tone for the rest of your posts, and your brand identity.
The top three areas to consider in your profile are: photo, profile description, and URL link.
For your photo, the latest trend is to use images (especially of people, or your most popular product) rather than logos. This personalizes your brand and makes it more likely that people will engage with you. If you decide to use your logo instead, just make sure it’s consistent across all of your marketing platforms.
In your description, be authentic, realistic, don’t oversell, and try and encapsulate briefly what the customer will get from your brand or see from your brand identity. Research keywords regularly which are relevant to your brand, to keep your bio current.
One of the biggest latest trends in the images on Instagram is authenticity; the most popular filter at the moment is Normal (No Filter). Current consumers respond most favorably to less staged, more authentic images.
The other most popular filters at the moment are Clarendon, Juno, Lark, and Ludwig. Consider choosing one or two which represents your brand identity, and using them interchangeably throughout your images.
Another trend in Instagram images is adding illustrations on top. The stark difference between the two mediums is visually arresting and can lead to more engagement. If you’re not a graphic designer, don’t worry, Canva has lots of pre-made illustrations that you can easily add to your images.
The style of your Instagram posts is the visual representation of your brand identity. It’s also one of the most regularly changing aspects of creating a brand on Instagram, with new trends often emerging. If you stay up to date with these trends you’re more likely to reach Instagram's biggest demographic: users under the age of 35 makeup 71%, the majority of Instagram. These consumers know all the latest trends, and they know what they like. - so give it to them!
The first approach in this category is making the most of the 3x3 grid. There are a few successful ways to do this, to make your brand really stand out, and keep up to date with the most recent trends:
- Posting consecutive images that create a larger image out of the grid
- Choose a color and post different hues of that color
- Follow a trend in fashion - color blocking. Consider 6/9 images all in same color/s to create a wall of color, visually breaking up your feed.
- A gradient effect: subtly changing color from one image to the next in sequence to draw the eye down the page, through the rainbow spectrum, or another range of your choosing.
Canva has ready-made templates to help you decide on the right approach for your brand.
Secondly: think about your brand’s color scheme. The most recent trend is bright, arresting colors. This is an aesthetic trend which has also been influenced by the fashion industry and has been copied by design and visual trends worldwide. Bright colors make your images pop - and draw positive attention to your products. You can use Canva colors to help you select your palette, research color meanings, decide for your brand, look at the color wheel, save colors and exact hues for later for consistency, inspiration and ideas.
The third trend in style is for bold type, often in caps, in the sans serif style.
The most important thing with your style is to decide on your message and brand identity, and which style represents it. Sometimes you can mix it up for variation, but other than that, stay true to your style to really build your brand.
Instagram allows up to 30 hashtags, but be deliberate with your hashtags. Don’t just use 30 hashtags on a post because you can. We would recommend you to use 11-15. To choose your hashtags, it’s important to research which are the most successful for your products and to research the most popular and current hashtags.
Using hashtags effectively makes you more likely to reach new users and gain new followers. The 5 most popular currently are:
The most popular hashtags change over time, so keep up to date, and if you can use them, do!
However, the most popular hashtags are not always relevant to your brand. To find relevant ones you can use free online tools such as Webstagram.
Some further tips for finding the right hashtag are:
- Go onto old posts and add more hashtags
- Find 5-10 that are most popular for your product, use for each product, and 5-10 that most fit your brand identity, and use for all posts
- In Instagram stories you can hashtag using hashtag stickers, or in the caption which means you could be seen by users that follow that hashtag
- Use geotags/ location to optimize local discoverability
Videos are a great way to personalize - adding a face, voice, and message to your brand.
They are also a great way to sell. An Instagram user will be catching up on their friend’s news and stories, and a video or photo pops up from a sponsored brand. At the bottom of the story, there’s a button they can click on to learn more, shop or buy now. By clicking the shopping bag sticker the user is taken straight to the webpage, while remaining in the Instagram app, for more details and to purchase the product.
Because these ads are integrated into stories, customers seem to engage with them, in a way that they do not on TV and other social media. So optimize your video ads to build your brand. This will lead to more engagement, and ultimately: more sales!
You can also utilize the one minute allowance of timeline video, which is enough time to engage the viewer, convey the relevant information, but not put them off. Furthermore, consider utilizing the Highlights feature, which allows you to organize your stories (which usually only last 24hrs) into these or categories, and keep them on your profile for as long as you see fit. Marketing with live videos can also be a very effective tactic to build your brand. Live videos attract more followers than recorded ones, and allows followers to receive information about your brand in real time.
It’s very important when building your brand on Instagram, to post regularly - daily if you can.
To decide when to post, research and plan for trends or holidays - i.e. black Friday. Note in your calendar and plan posts for these in advance. You can also analyze what times have worked best for you in the past, using an online tool. You could use a free tool like Social Blade or IconoSquare for analytics, and insights into the demographics of your followers.
Once you have decided when is best for you to post, schedule them, using an online tool like Hubspot or Later.
When building your brand on Instagram, consistency is key. Decide how often you will post, your style, color palette, fonts, and your layout or grid choices, in advance: and stick to your branding decisions. This will lead to increased trust in your brand, and more followers, more engagement, higher conversion rate and ultimately: more sales!