Welcome to the world where you really are judged only by your looks – no pressure! While you might think that Instagram is only for eCommerce brands, this isn’t always the case. Different industries are always finding a way to jump onto the ‘gram to reach a wider audience and hold up to consumer expectations of a social media savvy brand.
Before we begin… If you refer to Instagram as an app “the kids” are using, here’s a brief overview of what the platform is in terms of business marketing:
Instagram started in 2010 with only 1 million users, then grew over the last 10 years to host over 1 billion active monthly users. The primary purpose of Instagram is to serve as solely visual content – no articles and no text-only status updates. This platform essentially revolutionized the social media landscape for brands, making visual aesthetics the priority instead of information gathering.
Every industry has a visual element to it, whether it’s a photo of satisfied customers, a finished project, or team events. So don’t limit Instagram’s use to photographers or clothing brands, the sky’s the limit for you too!
Here are our 4 Instagram basics to help jump start your brand presence:
1. No, You Do NOT Need a Professional Photographer to Succeed
Don’t shy away from Instagram if you don’t have a photographer on staff or the budget to hire one. While it’s tempting to follow the age-old routine of hiring models or picture perfect lines, this platform is more about the brands that go against the grain.
There are so many free platforms that are available to help you create the perfect Instagram post, including color schemes, fonts, and correct sizing. Some of our favorites include:
- Canva – Includes templates for every kind of social media post you can think of, including quote posts, infographics, videos, carousel images, ads, etc.
- Promo – Primarily a video platform, this software creates social media ads or promotional videos with a few clicks.
Our rule of thumb for any graphic is the simpler, the better. Bold colors or fun visual elements (like a moving sticker) are a must to stop the constant scrolling of an Instagram feed. If you need a little more inspiration on what works, check out this article on the 17 best brands on Instagram from HubSpot.
Pro tip: platforms like Canva offer free stock images and videos that are a marketer’s dream when working with a tight budget or limited time frame.
2. Captions Sell Your Content
Captions are the takeaway for any post – think of these as a way to answer “so what?” for consumers. When you’re already working with a limited amount of text as it is, it makes the text you do have even more important.
But this doesn’t mean that captions have to be serious. In fact, there are several different ways to stand out with just your captions:
- Funny – We like using these types of captions to humanize our brand. For example, our own Instagram caption might say, “Hi, we’re Design Thumbprint. We build amazing apps and eat amazing apps.” (We’re clearly not comedians, but you get the jist.)
- Emojis – Adding a few fun emojis to your captions helps to break up the text and appeal to the Millennial and Gen Z audience. Click here to read more about how to use emojis in a creative way!
- Song Lyrics – Just as the funny caption, song lyrics are another way to humanize your brand and add a little personality. We love to see brands use popular song lyrics to explain photos or add more to a quote graphic.
- Informative – This can be used if you’re at a tradeshow or industry event. For example, you might say, “Hello [city]! We’re in town for [event]. Come out and see us at booth 121!”
For more caption inspiration, check out this article from Sprout Social on how to post for specific events.
3. Convince Consumers to Follow Your Brand in 150 Characters or Less With Your Bio
So a consumer likes your post, now what? More often than not, they will then click on your profile and read a little more about your brand to see if your content is good enough to follow. But just like a Facebook cover photo, your Instagram bio is the first impression consumers get. What does your bio say about your brand and what you do?
If you’re just putting a tagline in there, you’re losing out on a major opportunity to connect with consumers. Don’t get me wrong now, a tagline works great for websites and maybe even an introductory post – but it doesn’t serve the same purpose as your Instagram bio.
So what should go there then? To be honest, there’s no one size fits all model. But the good news is that you can research your favorite brands on Instagram to see what works for them and customize a bio that works for your business.
Here are a few of our favorite Instagram bios:
- Starbucks: “Inspiring and nurturing the human spirit — one person, one cup, and one neighborhood at a time.”
- We like this because it’s simple, easy to understand, and to the point.
- BOOMCHICKAPOP: “Angie’s BOOMCHICKAPOP makes #gluten-free snacks, with Non-GMO #popcorn, whole grain and big flavor.”
- Extra points for using searchable hashtags that consumers can use to find your brand!
- Chic Soul: “Fastest growing curvy boutique!💃 Wearing Chic Soul? Tag us for a chance to win a $50 GC! #shopchicsoul 💖 Want 15% off? Text INSTA to 53865. Shop now 👇🏻”
- We love to see brands using a custom hashtag, emojis, and special coupons to help track social media engagement!
Over 200 million Instagrammers visit at least one business profile daily. Take advantage of this daily opportunity by making your bio sell in your sleep.
4. There’s a Time and Place to Post, and It’s Not Every Day
As a general rule of thumb, new businesses do not need to post every day. Don’t waste all of the content that you do have in one week! Space it out over a period of time so you’re not constantly scrambling for the next graphic.
The majority of businesses post on social media between 3-4 times a week, but can also range from 1-6 times a week depending on audience size and content.
Pro tip: According to Omnicore, posts with a location get 79% more engagement.
With these 4 tips, you have all you need to get your Instagram profile going and take your brand awareness to the next level. Did you like reading this type of content? Comment below and tell us!