by Clare Drake | Featured Contributor
You see all of those beautiful Instagram feeds and wonder how you can do the same, right? Perhaps you’re looking to increase brand awareness on Instagram and build an engaged following quickly.
Here are my top 3 tips to get you started!
1. BIO/PROFILE OPTIMIZATION:
Let’s start at the most important section of your IG feed: your Bio.
A good BIO is crucial because it tells a potential new follower what to expect if they decide to follow you. It should convey the style, tone and messaging of your brand.
A good bio should not only attract your target market – it should REPEL everyone who’s not. I dont want 100k followers only to have 1% would actually be interested in what I have to sell in the future.
I want the majority of my followers to be engaged with me. My number one goal – and it should be yours too is this: PROVIDE VALUE first!
If you can provide value first, then the money will follow. I promise.
Now I could devote a whole blog post to bio optimisation, however let’s jump to the next topic of your instagram branding (and my favourite), which is art direction.
2. ART DIRECTION:
So what is ART DIRECTION? I consider art direction to be all the visuals and intention behind every image that you post.
Q1: Are you a creator, curator or both?
Will you be producing the content you post or will you be curating content from others to create an aesthetic that aligns with your brand?
I, for the most part am a curator. I select beautiful images that I know will resonate with my audience.
It’s ok to do both – but make sure the style and feel of all images are coherent.
Q2: What is your brand style?
Is your brand elegant, quirky, edgy, feminine, minimalist, etc? For every image you post you need to ensure coherency.
Before posting ask yourself – “Is this image on-brand? Does it portray our style, ethos and message, as well as meet the expectations of our audience?”
Q3: What is the aim of your content?
How do you want your audience to feel? I aim for atleast one of the following outcomes for every post I publish:
1. Does it INSPIRE?
2. Will this EMPOWER?
3. Is it EDUCATIONAL?
Q4: Are your images consistent?
Simply – chose an image dimension and stick with it. Choose square, rectangle OR circle.
You can have the most beautiful images in the world but mix the dimensions and your feed looks unprofessional. A consistent feed is also what will keep your followers loyal!
3. BUILDING AN ENGAGED FOLLOWING:
How to build your following ORGANICALLY:
You can gain followers organically by posting on-brand content that includes relevant hashtags on a consistent basis.
Many of my posts contain hashtags including #creativeentrepreneur, #femaleentrepreneur, and #girlboss etc. This helps my audience to find my content when searching for posts.
I also recommend consistent posting – I aim for 3 posts a day but have stretched to 5 on occasion. I also keep track of different time zones as it’s crucial for building my following. As I am UK based but my target market is US female entrepreneurs I make sure not to post when I wake up at 7am, which is 2am EST!
Be strategic in who you want to find your brand and when they might be on Instagram.
How to build your following through ACTION:
Stage 1: Research industry leaders, competitors and influencers.
Once you have this list – look at their most recent posts and see who’s commented.
Look at the commentors accounts and if they’re likely to be someone who’s interested in you.
Stage 2: My Rule of Three
Once you have located an engaged follower of an industry leader, competitor or influencer in your niche – engage with them! I use a rule of three which will look something like this:
- Like a recent post of theirs
- Like another post of theirs
- Comment on one of their posts
This is not set in stone and you can engage with them any way that feels right to you, but this is what’s worked for me. I also follow them when it feels right too.
I do have to say that I am always true to myself and the brand. I will only like posts that I actually like, and always comment truthfully.
Generally people will notice you in their feed if you engage with them in a few ways, which is why I focus on three interactions. If they like my account (which they should if I’ve researched right) they will reciprocate.
There you go – my advice on putting the foundations together for a great brand on Instagram.
Clare Drake is a brand stylist and website designer for creative entrepreneurs all over the world through her work at Hobbes and Co.
Clare’s passion is to create and develop iconic brands for freelancers, entrepreneurs, small business owners and bloggers that delight their audience. Join the Creative Collective community to get free access to the resource library here.
Clare lives in a small coastal town in the UK with her husband Tom and yellow labrador Hobbes. When she’s not working she loves to cook, host dinner parties for her friends and family, and drink coffee or wine (depending on what time it is!)