Harnessing Instagram for Your Brand: Part 1

 
Harnessing Instagram for Your Brand - tips & insight for defining your brand's Instagram strategy - Melissa Yeager
 

A couple weeks back, I opened up to you guys about my belief that absolutely nothing is ordinary. My theory is that it's just a matter of shifting your perspective to discover the magic in your everyday life. Sounds great, but a bit vague, right?

Well, we're going to dig deeper and explore how you can channel this philosophy into your social media, specifically on Instagram. This is going to be another two-part post (I know! It's been a while) so buckle up. I'll share my own strategy, some practical examples, and recommendations for harnessing Instagram for your own brand.

Keeping It Separate

Just after our wedding last June, I stopped posting personal content on my Instagram account... cold turkey. I wanted to start building up momentum for my brand, and I knew posting only design-related shots would take me a long way in that department.

You see, it's all about the proportion. Back then I posted a few design-related shots, but there was so much personal noise in my feed that they got completely lost. I had to be completely honest with myself, and I knew that potential clients and other designers didn't want to see a ton of my personal life. Sure, the ones that actually know me might, but we're talking about using Instagram for your business here. While a few personal posts sprinkled in are fine, that's not what your brand's followers really want.


truly worthwhile things take time and a steadfast commitment.
Don't give up.

Tweet this.


I knew what people were really after when they looked me up. They wanted to find a mini portfolio with more behind-the-scenes and a whole lot of branding insights. I was more than up for it. Back then, I couldn't freelance at my job and I knew I had to build up momentum for my brand somehow. This was my ticket (and blogging weekly, but we'll dig into that another day).

Admittedly, it was a very difficult transition, especially early on. It takes time to build up a new feed of shots that push your old ones far enough out of the spotlight. It's been about a year of me posting at least weekly and you still don't have to scroll very far. But truly worthwhile things take time and a steadfast commitment. Don't give up.

Disclaimers

1. This isn't for everyone.

I will say this isn't for everyone. If you work full-time for someone else, maybe this won't be your cup of tea. And it doesn't have to be. If you're not trying to build a following for your brand, then do what feels right for you. If you already have a following, you can clearly live by your own rules, so keep doing what you're doing.

2. Start fresh if you can.

By all means, if you're not building your brand with your own name, just create a separate business account. You'll need to build your following from scratch, but it will be much simpler this way. When I made the switch, there was a very confusing period of knowing my current followers weren't necessarily my target audience. Trust me, those are confusing waters to navigate so I highly recommend starting fresh if you can.

3. Be prepared for some resistance.

When I first decided to stop sharing personal content, I got some major opposition from friends and family. It's understandable since they wanted to stay in the loop with what we were doing, but I knew this was the right thing for me and my business.

I'm also a very hyperattentive person, so I knew I couldn't mess with having 2 accounts, at least not yet. I needed to channel my energy and go all in on this business account. It took a bit of time, but my loved ones got on board and have been an awesome source of support over the last year.

Having a Second Account

I recently created a second account strictly for personal use. I mean, we're planning on getting a puppy soon and starting our family in the next couple years, so obviously those photos gotta go somewhere! I thought it would be completely overwhelming having two accounts, but it's actually been really nice.

1. It's easy to switch it up.

In their recent updates, Instagram's made it easier than ever to have multiple accounts and to toggle back and forth between them.

2. You can keep the pressure low.

When my content was a mix of personal and professional, I felt a lot of pressure for every one of my photos to be amazing. With personal photos that can be really tough, since we all know those priceless nights out with friends always have the worst lighting.

Now that I've got a separate personal account, I feel less pressure to make every shot perfect and to post as frequently. Now I can focus more on cherishing the actual moments and posting what I want when I want.

3. I see you, and I actually know you!

Over the years, I've accrued a lengthy list of people I follow on my melissayeags account. And yes, if I'm being totally honest, the proportions probably go something like this.

 

Accounts I Follow on Instagram

 

Suffice it to say, the people I actually know are so buried in that feed that I was constantly missing their posts. Now my personal account is reserved for real-life friends and family, and it's really refreshing to scroll through a feed of people you actually know. It's also much more manageable to keep track of.

All in all, I'm a big fan of sharing your work in a genuine and personal tone. However, when it comes to harnessing Instagram for your brand, I highly recommend keeping your personal and business lives separate. It's absolutely a challenging exercise, but it has also helped my brand and I grow in so many ways.

So how about it?Are you up for the challenge? Let me know in the comments below!

To Be Continued

Next week I'll be picking up with Harnessing Instagram for Your Brand: Part 2. I'll be sharing more practical tips, prop ideas, and ways to streamline your workflow while actually posting more.

Until next week, happy sharing!

Melissa Yeager

West Chester, PA, USA

Logo and brand designer who helps passionate, creative entrepreneurs channel their excitement and all of their ideas to create a visually stunning, cohesive brand that feels right for them while working wonders for their business.