How to Create a Cohesive Instagram Brand
Creating a cohesive Instagram brand is one of the best ways to attract your target audience and get more followers.
But whether you’re new to Instagram marketing or just starting a new account, figuring out how to build your Instagram brand can be a challenge.
That’s why we’re covering the basics of building your a cohesive Instagram brand strategy to help you grow your account and reach your target audience:
Bringing Your Instagram Brand To Life: The 5 Types of Content Every Brand Should Be Posting
Do you ever feel like you open up Instagram and have no idea what to post? And sometimes end up feeling so lost that you don’t post anything at all?
You’re not alone!
Chances are, the content you’re creating last minute isn’t going to be your best content. When you’re trying to come up with a post on a whim, you end up posting just to post, instead of posting to align with your Instagram brand strategy.
To help you get started, brand strategy consultant and Instagram expert, Jen A. Miller outlines the 5 types of content every brand should be posting to Instagram:
1. Content That Shows Off Your Personality
The first type of content Miller recommends including in your Instagram marketing strategy is content that shows off your personality.
The line between professional and personal on Instagram is beginning to blur as people are becoming more curious to know the faces behind their favorite brands. This a a great news for business owners, Miller explains, as it allows them to form a stronger connection with their audience!
For instance, photographer Jenna Kutcher is a great example of someone who is very intentional about including content about her brand, while also letting you get to know her personality.
BET YOU DIDN’T KNOW: I am a mega introvert. Like sometimes I wonder if I like humans… 🙋🏼 Small talk absolutely pains me, I can’t do it and I’d be more likely to ask you what your greatest fear is than to talk about the weather. My dream day is renting a hotel room and staying in it alone, only answering the door for room service to be delivered. 😂 Drew? Well, @kickingitwithkutch is the king of small talk, the man could talk to a wall and have a good time. He literally just said, “Hey Wall, how are you?” And laughed. He gets stir crazy when he’s not around other people and being with humans energizes him where it totally drains me. ✨ People don’t believe me when I share how introverted I am because I can appear larger than life online but because I give so much here, so freely, I really have learned to protect myself, my energy and create boundaries offline! 👋🏻 I guess opposites attract! So tell me: are you introverted or extroverted and have you always been that way? Photo by: @whitleymcdonald
In other words, business owners should feel comfortable posting things to their Instagram feed that let people get to know they are. Are you a coffee addict? Do you have an adorable dog?
Your Instagram profile should make it clear you’re running a business, while still letting your followers know who you are and what’s important to you!
2. Content That Shows Off Your Brand Values
The next type of content Miller suggests brands incorporate into their media-mix is content that shows off your brand values.
This includes things you care most about and guide how you run your business. Miller notes, this is one of the best ways to show people you’re a real person, and not just there to make a sale.
Take The Wing for example, a women’s coworking space located in New York and DC. The Wing’s content includes topics related to women’s empowerment, and only makes mention of the actual space on occasion:
By using Instagram as a platform to share their brand values, they give audiences a reason to follow their feed, even if they aren’t necessarily a paying member of their space.
It can be easy for brands to focus on the sales-aspect of their brand, however Miller reminds brand owners that “You have a reason to exist in the world, and you want to get people on board with you because they share your values.” There’s a reason you feel passionate about what you’re doing, and it’s important to share that with your audience!
3. Content That Brings Your Brand Story to Life
Every brand has a story, including a beginning, middle and end. You have a journey, and people love to hear about it. Sharing this type of content with your audience is a great way to stay top-of-mind, build brand trust, and grow a devoted community of followers.
Miller recommends thinking about how you can start to weave your story into your messaging (if you haven’t already). What was the thing that got you here? What was your starting point?
Miller suggests starting off by using captions to share your brand story. By including bits of your story in your Instagram posts, you’ll create compelling content that your followers will love, while giving them a deeper understanding of your brand.
Take for example, wellness and marketing coach Angie Lee. Angie’s Instagram bio is quite impressive, with a list of all her current projects and accomplishments:
However by clicking through her posts and Instagram Stories, you start understanding her journey and how she rose to her self-made success:
I wanna puke sharing this. 🤢 But I love pulling back the curtains on business. I love sharing the (financial + emotional) reality of risk & chasing after your dreams. ✨ Here’s the truth. Entrepreneurship is f-ing scary. It strips away any bullshit. It forces you to feel naked & exposed. I remember being new in biz & craving this authenticity & financial truth, so that’s why I’m sharing it with you. I love sharing the UN-SEXY side of entrepreneurship, because, well, I’m an imperfect human on this journey of life, WITH you. ✨ I may be a few steps ahead of you, but… I’m terrified, just like you. I’m putting money on the line, just like you. I question “WTF am I doing!?”, just like you. ✨ My event planner just told me that Pays To Be Brave is going to cost me $110k. I almost fainted & saw Baby Jesus. I was anticipating roughly a $50k investment, so this was double my projection. 😯 But, you can’t back out in life, when you’ve put yourself on the line. You can’t 🐔 out, when you raise your hand (shameless book plug 😂). ✨ I immediately had some deeps convos w/ my faith & my fear. ✨ “Hey God. Hey Gremlins. Um. Should I be afraid? Is this stupid!?” 👇🏻 Fear gremlins said: Cancel it & run away! Faith said: SHOW UP & do what you were meant to do in this world. I immediately wanted to 💩 my pants. ✨ But then I remembered my purpose. And, I didn’t wanna poop my new yoga pants. ✨ I began crying thinking of all the badass souls who are going to fill the room. ✨ I saw you leaving San Diego filled w/ passion & purpose. I felt the energy of all the women collaborating, growing & learning. ✨ I remembered my WHY. I remembered that my mission isn’t about me. It’s about YOU. I remembered that I’m not doing this thing called life alone, because I am always guided. 🙌🏻 This event is for you, so I can’t give up on you. ✨ I’m sharing this with you, so you see the hard work & SACRIFICE that female leaders put into their work + their events. And for all you incredible women attending, THANK YOU. Thank you for supporting me. I don’t think I can truly put into words what it means to me.💜 ✨ 📸 @3muh
This type of story brings us so much closer to why business owners are passionate about what they’re doing. By including some backstory in her captions, she forms a connection with her audience and becomes much more relatable.
Miller advises writing down one or two memorable points about your brand’s journey. This will help you form your brand story, and make sure it’s consistently shared throughout your messaging.
4. Content That Offers Followers Advice Around Your Expertise
Next, Miller suggests creating content that offers advice around your expertise. Giving out advice for free is a great way to build reciprocity with your audience, Miller explains. This will also make people want to engage and follow because you’re being so generous.
Miller uses Nutrition Stripped as an example, noting she is not only a great photographer, but also has a lot of value to offer. Along with her drool-worthy flatlays, she gives her audience practical nutritional advice in her captions:
Have you ever wondered how stress affects your digestion? It does! 🤓Stress can also cause inflammation in the stomach and gut, so you might experience gastrointestinal issues, like diarrhea and constipation. 🙌🏻Practicing mindful eating techniques, like sitting down, chewing, and avoiding screen time, helps you reduce stress and avoid emotional eating. It also allows your parasympathetic nervous system to take over. Unlike the sympathetic nervous system, the parasympathetic nervous system gets your body into “rest and digest” mode. 👋🏻Click the link in bio to get the full article and a 2-minute post-meal belly massage that can help digestion!
While there may be millions of other Instagrammers posting beautiful images of food, by following Nutrition Stropped, you’ll also get some really useful advice!
5. Content Promoting Your Product or Services
Last but not least, Miller recommends creating content to promote your product and services. While crafting your brand story is crucial to building your Instagram brand, you still want to remind people you’re running a business!
In fact, Miller suggests using the 80/20 rule when planning out your content-mix: 80% of your content should tell your story, whereas 20% should be promotional.
For example, Brit & Co., the women’s media company, has a great balance of educational and promotional content. Their Instagram feed doesn’t bombard visitors with promotions but rather includes useful information sprinkled throughout their content:
When it comes to promotions, Miller recommends sharing content with your audience in a way that feels organic.
Miller uses S’well as a good example of a brand that promotes their product with context. For instance, you never just see a S’well water bottle on a blank backdrop but rather, their feed is filled with images of their product all over the world:
While promoting their product, S’well shares their mission to reduce plastic waste, and gives every day ways to use their bottles.
We’ve partnered with brand strategy consultant, Jen A. Miller, to help you learn how to bring your Instagram brand to life! In this video, Miller teaches you what types of content your brand should be posting, how to create a cohesive Instagram feed, and more!
Plus, to make things even easier, we’ve put together a free Social Media Style Guide Worksheet to help you craft your own Instagram brand strategy!
Tying It All Together: How To Create a Cohesive Instagram Aesthetic
Next, it’s time to put it all together! Miller notes, creating a cohesive Instagram aesthetic on your feed will require some pre-planning, and should be reflection of your brand style.
If a new visitor looks at your website and then switches over to your Instagram profile, it should be clear the two go together. To help you make sure your branding is consistent across platforms, Miller suggests writing out a few goals before getting started.
Ready to create your Instagram brand? This free worksheet define your target personas, develop a posting strategy, tell your brand’s story, and more!
Define your Instagram Brand Identity
First, Miller advises businesses define their brand identity. By writing down 3-5 “personality pillars” your brand is known for, you’ll have a much easier time telling your brand’s story!
The easiest way to do this is to imagine that your brand is going to be introduced as a keynote speaker at an event. How would it be introduced? What would the biography include? How would people talk about it? What would it be known for?
Knowing exactly who you’re talking to and what your brand represents will help you craft a more consistent brand message and make sure you’re reaching the right audience!
Build a Moodboard To Guide Your Instagram Aesthetic
Next, Miller advises brands to create a moodboard to help make their brand “come to life”. When creating your moodboard, Miller recommends including a mix of colors, textures, patterns, and quotes to help you better visualize what your Instagram feed should look like:
Once you’ve created your moodboard, take a step back and decide what words come to mind? Your moodboard should be a visual representation of the Instagram brand pillars you wrote down earlier.
If you feel like there’s still a disconnect, Miller advises brands taking a step back and trying to “translate what you’ve written, into how that starts to look visually.”
Create a Social Media Style Guide
Once you’ve defined your brand pillars and have a clear vision of what your Instagram brand should look like, Miller suggests creating a social media style guide that outlines the look and feel of your posts.
The first thing to consider is the media you are posting. This can include photography, illustrations, GIFs, videos — or even a mix of them all!
The next thing Miller suggests thinking about is perspective: Do you like close-up shots? Flatlays? Landscapes? How do you want your brand to come to life? Is there a certain perspective you want to be known for?
Lastly, you’ll want to decide what types of filters you will use on your images. Do you want your feed to be black and white? Will your images have a colored-hue?
Generally you’ll want to pick one or two filters for your photos, and stick to the same editing process for every image to create a consistent and cohesive aesthetic.
Making Your Instagram Brand Come to Life: Posting with a Plan
One of the most important parts of building your Instagram brand is posting with a plan. While creating your content calendar, Miller suggests focusing on posting quality images, crafting your brand story, and keeping a consistent balance of content on your feed.
To help you create a cohesive Instagram feed, Miller advises brands use a visual Instagram planner to help you make sure there’s balance in the types of content you post.
Later’s visual Instagram planner makes it super easy to design the perfect Instagram feed! You can easily drag and drop your photos onto the visual planner, rearrange them to see how they’ll look in your Instagram feed, and then save to schedule them!
And thank’s to Later’s new Auto Publish feature, you photos will automatically post to Instagram at the scheduled time — no push notifications required!
Crafting a cohesive Instagram brand is a great way to attract new followers and show off your personality. By taking the time to create your own social media style guide, you can take the guesswork out of posting, and spend more time focusing on other important areas of your Instagram marketing strategy!