Harnessing Instagram for Your Brand: Part 2
Welcome to Part 2 of Harnessing Instagram for Your Brand! In Part 1, I shared the in's and out's of keeping your personal content separate from your brand's Instagram account—why I do it, what my experience has been, and how having a 2nd account has set me free in a lot of ways.
Keeping your brand's feed strictly professional is absolutely one way to practice curating your feed. You're probably wondering, why should you curate your Instagram feed anyway? Well, I'll give you some stellar reasons to start curating today, and we'll dig even deeper into crafting your branded Instagram feed. Let's dig in!
Curate what you share
When exercised consistently, curation can be an extremely powerful tool for both crafting your brand and extending your reach.
How can curate your Instagram feed?
- Only post images related to your brand. These don't always have to be showcasing your products or services, but it should always be images your customers will resonate with.
- Set quality standards for your posts and stick to them. This could include things like great lighting and a clean composition.
- Keep your editing style consistent. This goes beyond using the same app every time. Within that one app, I'm talking about using only 1-2 filters. Every time. I'll be sharing more on this next week in Part 3.
- Share things you don't post anywhere else. Whether it's behind-the-scenes shots, inspirational quotes, or insights into your treasure trove of knowledge, give people a reason to tune in. High quality content shared consistently is the best way to build a following of dream customers who actually care.
- Post only the work you're proud of and want more of. This is the big leagues of curation. It's one thing to post only images your customers will like, but it's a whole other level to restrict that sharing even further—to only the products, projects, and images you're most proud of.
- Carry the consistency even further. This should translate to the kinds of shots you post, how often you share, and even the go-to props you use in many of your shots.
A curated Instagram feed shows your brand is the real deal—no matter where you share.
Why should you curate?
Now that we've established some ways to curate your feed even further, why should you bother? There are lots of reasons to curate your feed, but here are some of my favorites.
- A curated feed makes you look legit. When your feed is consistent, it acts as a mini portfolio showcasing your skills. There are so many brand's out there with stunning websites that seriously drop the ball when it comes to the quality social media. A curated Instagram feed shows your brand is the real deal—no matter where you share.
- Consistency breeds trust. A consistently branded Instagram feed backs up your credentials and helps you build a deeper layer of trust with your customers.
- A branded feed is recognizable. When your customers are familiar with what you post, they'll begin to recognize your shots without even seeing your name. Now you're tapping into that branding magic that sets you apart from the crowd.
- Your customers look forward to your posts. Not only will your customers recognize your posts, they'll be excited about them!
- It makes your brand that much more powerful. Most people don't bother curating their social accounts, but you're not most people. When you exercise a curated strategy on Instagram, it adds another layer of depth and complexity that extends your brand further and makes it even stronger.
- Sharing only the work you love will draw more of the same. I know the temptation to post everything you make, especially in the beginning. However, the truth is that what you share is what you'll attract. So when you post the work you love—the stuff you're really proud of—more of those dreamy projects will be drawn right to you.
How I curate my Instagram feed
I realize the idea of curating what you share is a pretty vague one. You may be totally on board at this point and just wondering how to start, or you may still need some convincing. Either way, I'll share examples of what I post and hopefully this will shed some light on how you can begin to curate your own feed.
Photos are the lifeblood of Instagram, and I try to post at least one every single week. Depending where you're at in your brand's journey this may sound totally overwhelming. However, I've found that by identifying my typical shots and building them into both my process and my days, it becomes a lot more manageable.
Some photographic content I share includes:
- Project peeks (brand strategy & style)
- Rough sketches & brainstorming
- Process sketches
- Brand color palettes (via Pantone swatches)
- Collateral shots (business cards and stationery)
- Brand signage
- Peeks at my workspace
- Visual & pattern inspiration
- Photos I think my target audience will resonate with
- Personal projects & brand promos
Non-photo content I share
Since Instagram was born as a photo-sharing app, there are still purists out there that may give you the disapproving finger wag for posting non-photographic content. But I say ignore the haters. This is your feed, and all of us are going to use it a little differently. What matters is that you do what feels right and works best for you. And if that means making some crisp shots on your computer then so be it!
I love using Instagram to share behind-the-scenes shots of my sketches and process, but I like to go beyond that. I'm not just sharing peeks of my progress. I'm crafting a story. And an important part of that story is how I take the beautiful mess of how I start and transform it into polished vector designs. That's one reason I share non-photographic content, along with wanting to show the work I'm so proud of and hopefully bring my clients some extra exposure in the process.
Some non-photographic content I share includes:
- Logo iterations
- Design sneak peeks
- Finished logos
- Finished brand elements (patterns, icons, secondary marks, etc.)
- Pull quotes from my weekly blog posts
Carefully choosing your go-to props is one more fun way to add personality and consistency to your feed, while making all those posts a bit easier on yourself. I choose my props carefully based on them fitting with my bright, beautiful aesthetic. I'd recommend picking out items and backgrounds that feel cohesive with your brand aesthetic too.
Really using props
I actually use most of my props, but some I stash in my desk to help them last longer. I know some amazing accounts that swear by keeping a pristine prop box (for show only), but it's mostly a matter of personal preference. I like the authenticity of actually using my props and I try to include some other items that are very unique to me. Sure, you might be drooling over someone else's headphones, but maybe there's some local treasure or family heirloom you can incorporate instead. Those personal touches make your story even more captivating as your brand becomes even more unique.
My go-to Props
- Coffee in a nice mug
- My Pantone swatch books
- Gold paper clips
- Tombow brush lettering pens
- My Ugmonk mousepad
- My Rifle Paper Co. planner
- Old rulers that belonged to my grandfather (he was a ladies' tailor)
- My oversized vintage-looking grid notebook
- A floral pin that belonged to my husband's grandmother
- My hands with some pretty polish on (don't underestimate these)
The glorious finale
I hope this week's edition of Harnessing Instagram for Your Brand was totally enlightening and left you with some solid tips for taking your feed to the next level. Next week, I'll be wrapping up this series with Part 3 where we'll talk editing techniques, hashtags, and apps to help you streamline your sharing. See you there!