In Part 1 of ‘how to build your brand on Instagram’ we spoke about the importance of hashtags and consistency. In Part 2, we discussed how to set up your profile, how to create value and how to increase your engagement.
Now you may be thinking, those tips are great, but how do I actually put this all into practise? Once you have figured out what the best time to post is, which hashtags to use and are interacting with your audience, you may find yourself stunned with what to do next. Do you post what comes to mind that day or are you better off planning your content days in advance? Should you post certain photos before others and what if you don't have any inspiration?
Mahloe Designs is a jewellery brand with an audience that is clearly female and ocean-loving. Her categories include 'her jewelry', 'plants in front of beautiful backgrounds', 'the ocean' and 'women wearing the jewellery that have a very natural look (shot during the golden hour)'. The brand stays very consistent on their colour scheme and through the imagery they use.
A Word About Planning
While we all wish we could post what comes to mind, sadly this is often not the best strategy. Planning in your Instagram content ahead of time will allow you to showcase your brand in a much better way. Posting on the spot can result in your message getting lost and your photos looking like they are all over the place, resulting in a poor first impression.
You might think "how will pretty colours/pictures help me get business?" Take the example of people choosing their wine based on what the label looks like. This is comparable to the user experience of a company's Instagram. Based the first impression, customers can choose on whether they will buy or not. A user feels drawn to a consistent feed that is well thought-out and provides an instant overview of the business.
Getting the grid to look good is a challenge most businesses struggle with. We also have to admit, it is not easy! Enter the need for a well-thought out Instagram strategy! Like designing and building a website, the Instagram strategy will also need brand colours, brand visuals and tone of voice.
How to get your Instagram grid to look good? Choose 9-12 Themes/Categories!
Choosing categories to organise and plan your content is not a new idea. Instagram guru Jasmine Star talks about it regularly and here we would like to show how this strategy can benefit you.
Firstly, many business owner forget that their Instagram feed is not about their business, but about their customer. While planning out your content, you need to think about where you can add value to your customer. What is your customer looking for? What need are you filling or question are you solving for your customer?
Start with writing a list of items that add value through the content that you are creating for your potential customers.
The next step is to group those different pieces of content into 9 to 12 categories. Most likely, you will be short on a few categories. After all, your business might only be selling only one product! There is a limit of how many categories one can come up with around that one product.
This is where it gets interesting! Your customers are humans who have more interests than just the problem you are solving for them. Your target audience will have different topics that trigger them and that will draw them to your brand. More and more, customers are looking for a brand that aligns with their personal values.
In this final step, you will look at the other interests of your customers. Do you donate 1% of your profit to a certain charity? Include this! Are your customers environmentally aware? Write about this! Do they love a good dad-joke? Don't forget to include this as one of your categories. Remember, these categories should to be about topics that your customers can relate to, but that are not necessarily always about your business.
Crema Joe makes reusable coffee pods. They use Instagram to showcase their brand values as much as possible. This makes their brand relatable and will encourage the desire to buy. Topics that you can see on their feed are 'their pods', 'brands of coffee beans that their customers will recognise and love', 'travel', 'the reusable aspect of their pods' and much more.
What all these brands and bloggers successfully do is showing a potential customer what they can expect on the platform. They are setting expectations, being consistent and are consequently fulfilling a certain need for their target market.
Why So Many Categories?
Because this it the first thing people see when they open your profile! On mobile, a customer will see a grid of 9 squares and when they scroll down, an additional three. It takes a while to really create a consistent grid and rotating your categories will automatically result in a consistent and beautiful feed!