Hey – you know it already. It’s probably why you’re reading this rambling right now. But, if I must assert the blatantly obvious, and I blatantly shall, social media can work WONDERS for your business. Regular posting, commenting on other accounts, cheeky DMs to other exciting SMEs – it’s all part of it. But, there’s one little, sneaky, but essential thing that can elevate your social media profile. Keep your Instagram ON-BRAND.
You’ve probably heard this little buzzword thrown around as much as ‘synergy’ or ‘dynamic’ or ‘outside the box.’ But – and it sure is a big but – keeping your Instagram on-brand is HELLA important. It is a visual platform after all!
Hold up, what do you even mean by ‘on-brand’?
Firstly, what on God’s green Earth does on-brand Instagram even mean? Well, to start with, it requires a brand. One well-defined, streamlined and altogether glorious, as I’m sure yours already is. Otherwise, this next bit may be a bit of a struggle. That is, of course, keeping your social media completely and utterly aligned with your brand.
Let me provide a little example from a website, Urban Dictionary, that has kept us millennials aligned with the modern world for decades.
Lexie: You should totally just go for that lipstick!
Reader: Nah, red is so not on-brand for me.
Reader, you know what lipstick you like, what works with your vibe, what you enjoy. So I ain’t going to tell you what lipstick suits you or not, but hey, here’s some tips on how to pick the perfect colour, foundation, highlighter and bronzer to keep your Instagram on-brand as hell.
But first folks – I’ve prepared a little quiz. Cosmopolitan-style (not the cocktail, though now I know what I’m doing this evening)! It’s only short, for disclosure, but get your social media up on a second screen and have a scroll through. Here goes…
So, How On-Brand is Your Instagram?
1: Are you using the same filter on your images? Y/N
2: Are your fonts consistent? Y/N
3: Is your colour palette cohesive and regular? Y/N
4: Is your aesthetic thematically similar? Y/N
5: Are your photos good quality? They can be taken on a phone! Y/N
6: Do your captions use the same tone of voice? Y/N
7: Do your stories/highlights reflect your page? Y/N
So, if you have a score less than 4, maybe keep reading. But hey – even if you scored high (congratulations), there might still be some tips for you! It’s like one of those ‘choose your adventure’ books from when we were kids. Who remembers those?
Tips to Keep That On-Brand Instagram, Baby
Create a Brand Board
My bread and butter. This is an INTEGRAL part of your process which will help you out of the blocks like Usain Bolt after 10 cups of coffee. Yes, I’ve been loving the Olympics.
Beginning with a brand board bang enables you to keep track of particular brand colours, consistent fonts and your general social media aesthetic. Imagine an alien, let’s call him Jeffrey. He beams you up to his little UFO, swaps bodies with you then beams himself down back to Earth (with your laptop password, of course). Your brand board should be so squeaky clear that even dear old Jeffrey, a mere tourist on Earth, can keep your Instagram totally on-brand. Ideally, he’ll avoid the world domination spiel on your socials too. That is not good marketing.
So Jeffrey, if you’re reading this, here’s a little Canva freebie to set up your own brand board for yourself and the how-to blog.
Become a Regular Post Scheduler
There’s nothing worse than forgetting to post that beautifully-crafted on-brand piece of content that you’ve worked on for hours. But guess what, and I’m throwing it back to Apple 2009 – “there’s an app for that.”
I use Later and Planoly (the free versions, naturally) to help me plan and schedule posts across all sorts of media. They save you the worry and chunks of time, plus it’s lovely to see the likes roll in organically.
It’s not the only free tool I use either. XD and Canva are lifesavers for content design. The former offers total creative control, whereas Canva gives you a little more guidance. But be wary, stick to just a couple of templates, (I know there are so many pretty ones on Canva it can be hard to choose, but you have to!) otherwise your Instagram may become decidedly not on-brand. Remember those rules!
Be Yourself, seriously
As with every brand, a gigantic slice of authenticity is key. If you’re like me, a one-woman show, then adding a sprinkle of your shiny, shimmery personality shouldn’t be too much of a challenge. Especially as you’ve gotten this far already.
It won’t surprise you but when someone sees a business owner projecting themselves into their work, it gets noticed. People connect with other people so stick to being you – wonderfully you. Shine bright you crazy on-brand diamond!
Create That Damn Content
Now the hardest bit, the actual work! You’ve already got your brand board set up, Canva waiting in the bleachers, but you still need some damned fine dreamy photographs at your fingertips. All it takes is a day behind the camera – so get planning!
Book a studio, rework a space at with an *on-brand* backdrop and work those angles like a 1960s fashionista photographer. David Bailey – eat your heart out. Try to keep your images consistent with lighting, exposure and all that, then once you’ve a mile-long portfolio, store them away in Google Drive and dive in whenever you fancy!
Just like that – my soon-to-be on-brand Instaguru – you’ve got yourself an on-brand Instagram presence. Like I always say, “on-brand, makes your social grand.” OK, I never say that, but you get the point.
P.S If you’d like a look at some business Instagrams I already love, have a look below. These guys are smashing it!
LoveAthena is a little boutique jewellery maker from San Francisco – seeing as I’m in North Thailand and I’ve never even met them – you can bet I’m impressed. The pastel, flowery colours, simple mise-en-scene and clear showcase of product makes these guys winners. As it is written, I truly LoveAthena.
Little Bay is another exciting designer, this time for prints and homewares. First up, their designs and creativity is chic, quirky and seems perfect for a quaint beachside home. Secondly, and more importantly, their Instagram is so unbelievably on point. Understated earthy colours that exhibit their designs with an omnipresent Little Bay logo throughout. Social media on-brand, indeed.