Instagram has quickly become one of the most prevalent visual social platforms to build a community for your brand and grow your audience to connect to influencers and foster partnerships.
On Tuesday, September 15th, Latergramme took part in the Branding for Instagram social session, which brought together a group of local Vancouver Instagram experts to share their expertise on using visual social media to build a professional brand.
Sharing Instagram insight as part of the panel discussion were Ally Matos, Christie Lohr, Tiana Lachnit, as well as Destin Jones and Stephanie Trembath who attended on behalf of Latergramme. The panel was hosted by Jigme Nehring, founder of luxury clothing boutique Mine & Yours.
Guests were treated to an hour-long panel session where they learned tips on how to create Instagram content, building an engaged audience, and how to use visual media to promote their business and connect to influencers.
How to Brand Your Instagram for Businesses
Create a Cohesive Theme
In order to transition from gaining likes to gaining new followers, your overall Instagram feed needs to be just as visually stimulating as each individual photo that you share.
- Separate business and personal by having two separate accounts. Before Jigme launched Mine & Yours, she created her own Instagram @itsjiggy. This is where she shares selfies and other personal photos, whereas Mine & Yours is specifically for product shots, announcements, and influencer collaboration | @mineandyoursco
- Share photos that are targeted to your audience. Tiana shares photos mainly about beauty and fashion. Tiana’s YouTube channel shares makeup tutorials, so her audience is mostly women and lifestyle brands who want to see the latest beauty tips and tutorials | @tianacosmetics
- Have a specific style that you use and stick to it. Ally’s Instagram photos are consistent with her photography style and are extension of her portfolio. It’s really important for photographers or other creatives to be consistent in the style and editing technique to attract potential customers and showcase your work | @allyfotografymediaco
- Only share relevant content and photos you absolutely love. If you don’t have a great photo to post, don’t post it! You should never post just for the sake of sharing something, as this will compromise your feed. Only share content that is relevant to your style, that you love, and is in keeping with the quality and aesthetic of your account | @christie_lohr
- Consider your Instagram grid by planning 3 photos at a time. This ensures your feed is visually appealing, from each individual photo to your entire feed. One way we’ve seen this done is with the use of Instagram banners | @latergramme
Instagram is one of the most powerful social mediums you can use to grow your brand and audience through visual media.Jigme Nehring
Sharing content on a regular basis is instrumental in developing an audience and growing an Instagram community. Consistency is key and posting content at various points in the day may help put your content in front of new users.
- Space out your content and schedule posts throughout the day. You don’t want to post 50 pictures all at once, this may annoy your followers and will not get you the exposure you are looking for. Your audience will come to expect new content on a regular basis, just make sure to space out both the timing and days on which you share | @allyfotografymediaco
- Post during peak times of the day when you know there will be a lot of eyes on your content. Christie recommends posting between 8-9AM when people are commuting to work, around 12PM during lunch, and again around 4PM when the day is winding down | @christie_lohr
- Plan your posts ahead of time and schedule in bulk. We see brands using Latergramme to map out their content at the beginning of the week (or even month) in one batch. If you schedule content ahead of time, you have the rest of the week to create and post relevant content in the moment when the opportunity arises | @latergramme
Connect with Brands and Influencers
Instagram provides several different ways to tag or mention a specific user, a location, or event a hashtag in your content. If you want to partner with an influencer – or want to get your content in front of a brand – there are ways to connect and share that benefit both parties.
- Tag all of the brands in your photo. If you want to connect with a brand you haven’t previously reached out to you can also tag that brand in the photo. This will help you get their attention. Worst case scenario, they do nothing. Best case, you start building a relationship | @tianacosmetics
- Share user generated content by reposting photos that you like. We make this really easy with Latergramme’s search and repost feature that lets you add the photo to your media library and schedule to your media library when you’re ready to share | @latergramme
- Take several photos from a different perspective to target unique audiences. If you manage multiple Instagram accounts, you can share a different photograph of that subject on each account. This allows you to promote the brand to unique audiences without sharing the same content. Targeting more than one audience is a great way to pitch yourself to the brand or influencer you want to work with | @christie_lohr
Engage with Your Community
It’s not enough to pop in and post a picture. Instagram is a community-based platform, and in order to grow your audience online you need to connect with the members in the community:
- Hashtags are one of the best ways to make sure you content is seen by other users. It’s one of the ways that Tiana grew her following, Tiana adds hashtags to all of her posts for other Instagram users to find her content | @tianacosmetics
- Like and comment on the photos of users that fall into your niche. Interacting with content similar to your style or industry may foster a relationship between you and the creator. There’s a much higher chance of the person following you back or reaching out if they have similar interests or a similar aesthetic | @latergramme
- Network, use the app to connect and talk to your community. Instagram is one of the places that Ally profiles her photography and it also provides a space for her to meet new clients or collaboration partners. It’s really important to be online and have conversations with other users in the app | @allyfotografymediaco
Make Time to Style Your Photos
If you’re styling the perfect flatlay photo or just taking a selfie, spending a few extra moments to create your photo will ensure that you get the best shot possible.
- Style your flatlay photos with a simple backdrop. Mine & Yours uses a white brillo board to allow their audience to focus on the product in the shot. Mine & Yours has sold items within minutes on Instagram, because of they take the time to make each photo visually appealing to their customers | @mineandyoursco
- Shoot in natural lighting. Natural light really does wonders for bringing out the best colors. You can do so much more editing to photos when you have more light in them. It’s easier to take away light than it is to add light when photos are dark | @allyfotografymediaco
- Take as many photos as you can, and then take 10 more. Sometimes you have to take 50 + photos (or even 300+ in the case of Kim Kardashian) before you get just the right shot but if you plan ahead and provide enough time, it’s worth it | @christie_lohr
Your Instagram account should be like flipping through a beautiful magazine. A beautiful magazine about you.” Christie Lohr
Play with Instagram Video
Video is a great way to share a compelling story, promote your business, or generate traffic to a website or alternate social channel. Tiana Lichnit has over 100k Instagram followers and over 40k subscribers to her YouTube channel where she provides makeup and beauty tutorials.
Some of Tiana’s video tips:
- Use iMovie to edit your videos. iMovie is great for editing specific clips and allows Tiana the flexibility to speed up each clip. This lets her fit in a full makeup tutorial while adhering to Instagram’s 15-second time frame.
- Make videos specifically for Instagram. Instagram has become another way for Tiana to promote her business by taking her YouTube videos and sharing them to a new audience.
- Provide context for your photo in the caption. Use the caption to explain what you’re doing or elaborate on what you’re trying to illustrate in your video. This way, you optimize the 15-second clip with visuals and anyone who wants to read what you’re doing has the option to do so in the caption.
- Tag all brands and members involved in the caption. This is a great way to notify the brands or influencers you want to work with or collaborate with in the future, and also provides credit and shares the products that you use with your audience.
Thanks to Mine & Yours for including Latergramme in the event and thanks to all the other incredible panelists:
Christie Lohr, Founder of Style Nine to Five | @christie_lohr
Christie is also a regular fashion expert on CTV Morning Live where she shares industry insider styling tips and tricks. Christie has built her business and personal brand intelligently and stylishly leveraging Instagram.
Tiana Lachnit, Founder of Tiana Cosmetics | @tianacosmetics
With over 100k Instagram followers, Tiana is a self-taught makeup artist who shares straightforward makeup tutorial videos on Instagram.
Jigme Nehring, Founder of Mine & Yours Co. | @mineandyoursco
The Founder of Mine & Yours, a luxury and designer resale clothing store and e-commerce site, Jigme manages her personal and professional branded Instagram profiles to encourage business to her e-commerce site and connect to new audiences.
Ally Matos, Founder Allyfotografy Media Co. | @allyfotografymediaco
Ally is a professional marketing, wedding, fashion and portrait photographer and founder who uses Instagram to showcase her photography.
Header image by Volkan Olmez via StockSnap