It’s no secret that Instagram marketing has become the go-to strategy for brands hoping to stand out from the crowd. A business with an Instagram account is considered about 74% more relevant than companies without one.
But what many businesses forget is that just having an Instagram profile doesn’t automatically lead to increased sales or engagement. One important aspect of successful Instagram marketing is understanding how your Instagram feed affects branding and your social media goals.
Your Instagram feed is a visual advertisement for your company and can tell your brand story or display your products. It’s perhaps the first thing potential customers learn about you after they click on one of your posts.
Instagram users make decisions quickly, whether it’s clicking on a link or following your account. And if your personal brand isn’t instantly attractive and compelling, the customer may just drift away.
Why does a cohesive Instagram feed matter?
There is no social media platform with the same visual impact as Instagram—and almost none that are as competitive for emerging brands. Consumers lured to check out a business profile after reading a clever or compelling Instagram post will see the company’s Instagram feed first. This is usually a grid of pictures and posts that makes up your profile. The feed can also include elements such as your profile pic, your Instagram bio, hashtags, links, highlights and other calls to actions. Think of your Instagram feed as the window in front of your store: what you put on it will prompt your customer either to window shop and walk away, or become intrigued enough to come in and perhaps buy something.
However, Instagram users make decisions much faster than anyone window shopping in real life. And a positive reaction to your Instagram feed doesn’t have to be a purchase. The user might start a conversation or ask you a question, setting up a long-term relationship. They might share the link to your profile and feed to others, spreading the word about your account. The higher the profile of your account and the more visually attractive your feed, the more seriously your brand voice will be taken. Use this unique opportunity to connect with consumers and potential consumers in a strategic way that’s consistent to your business profile.
Clarify your Instagram marketing strategy
This might seem like a daunting task, but it can be split up into three different questions that you should ask yourself:
What three words describe your business?
If you answered “trendy,” “fun” and “eclectic,” then your Instagram feed should reflect that in its theme, color palettes, choice of fonts and filters, and layouts. In particular, it should look very different from an Instagram feed for a business that describes itself as “efficient,” “straightforward” and “traditional.” These three words will help you focus the design of your Instagram feed and stand out from your competitors
Who is your target audience?
If you run a dessert catering company, do you provide elegant desserts for would-be brides or cartoon cupcakes for toddler birthday parties? This kind of question will help you design a curated Instagram feed that attracts your ideal customers. Are you trying to appeal to young customers or a more mature crowd? Do they live in the city or more rural areas? Do they listen to opera, jazz or rock? Who is your ideal follower? Everything from the description of your company in your bio to your hashtags to the images and text you choose should be tailored for the audience most likely to patronize your business and follow your Instagram account.
Understand how visual branding affects your Instagram audience
Here’s an Instagram marketing tip: organize and plan out your feed before you put up a single post. The first element to plan out is a well-designed and appropriate color scheme. The latter isn’t too hard—choose five or six colors and stick with those in almost every post. A good source for color palettes can come from interior decorating guides or fashion magazines. Artists and designers take the combination of colors in a palette very seriously, and with good reason. Different color schemes evoke different emotions, and you want a palette that pairs your brand with the right feeling. And if you’re stumped, an online feed planning tool can help.
This leads to the second requirement: appropriateness. A neon color scheme is not appropriate for an online antique shop. If you are selling brightly colored and cheerfully patterned children’s clothes, does a black-and-white color scheme really showcase your products? You should have two goals in mind when you choose your color palette. The first is that the colors go well together and are pleasing to the Instagram user’s eye. The second is that the color scheme harmonizes with the purpose of your business and the visual content of your brand. The combination of these elements will lead to continued engagement with potential customers and increased brand awareness.
Successful Instagram branding requires consistency and uniformity
When it comes to designing your Instagram feed, you should create a structure that works and stick to it. Along with a uniform color palette, it’s important that you use backgrounds with similar images or colors and that your filters are uniform, if not exactly the same.
A successful feed will have a variety of content, including testimonials, product descriptions, event announcements, user-generated content and blog articles. For instance, using a mix of single image, carousel posts, Reels, Stories and Instagram Live in posts can beat the Instagram algorithm. As a result, one of the best things you can do is create templates for each type of format and content so they’re easy to find on the feed. Using standard templates not only provides the uniformity that sets apart a professional brand but will also speed up your posting time.
Consequently, your ultimate goal is an Instagram feed that is cohesive, with images and other visual content that relate to each other visually and yet can stand on their own.
What’s the ultimate goal of your Instagram content strategy?
While your final goal might be increasing revenue, don’t limit your content to sales pitches. There are other types of content that can improve Instagram users’ engagement with your brand. You can offer advice on using specific products or offer comparisons to your competitors. You can review changes in the industry or ask for feedback in the form of quizzes and surveys. Also, don’t forget to include Instagram content that is simply entertaining! Humor, trivia and behind-the-scenes gossip improve brand recognition, and provide value to users that isn’t immediately calculable. Therefore, your Instagram marketing strategy should be to create an account that is entertaining, interesting or informative to a significant portion of your audience.
Posting regularly is an Instagram best practice
The final key to a successful Instagram feed that helps your brand is regular updates. You want users to check on your feed for content and images as often as possible. If you already have a structure and consistent aesthetic, then potential customers know what your brand is about. However, they will only keep returning if they also know that you frequently post new content. Updating your Instagram feed on a consistent, predictable basis means your brand will remain relevant for your Instagram followers.
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