June 26, 2018
I’ve been working on something a little different from my typical web design projects this week. A good friend was launching her nail salon, The Base Coat Nail Boutique, and was looking to step up her Instagram game.
She already had a logo and website designed but needed help pulling all the branding together in her email and social media marketing. So, we worked with her design elements and the vision for her boutique, to develop an Instagram strategy targeted to reach her ideal clients.
Here is our approach to easily brand your Instagram in 5 steps!
Before making any decisions about what to post on Instagram, you need to have a plan in place. The first step to brand your Instagram is deciding on your content categories.
Content categories are the types of images you are going to share. If your business was a magazine, what would be featured?
Think of your Instagram categories as walking your clients through a visual story. As Hilary Rushford explains in her Instagram Masterclass, your story starts with what your customers want from you and ends in how you can help.
To develop your categories, consider:
The number of content categories can vary. I’ve heard anywhere from 1 to 9 recommended. I do believe the fewer the categories, the more consistent your message will be. Personally, I think 5 is a great number and wouldn’t exceed that.
Having 5 categories makes it easy to schedule your content in a Monday to Friday work week if you post once per day. You can take advantage of the day of the week hashtags such as #MotivationalMonday, #TipTuesday or #ThrowbackThursday.
Assigning a category per weekday spreads them out nicely on your grid. You won’t end up repeating categories stacked on top or beside each other. This leaves a nice, overall aesthetic.
For the nail salon launch, I developed the 5 following Instagram categories:
After the launch, we’ll change the strategy a little focusing more on services, shop experience and community.
Once you’ve listed out your categories, do a quick check – do they tell an overarching story?
Hashtags are an important component of a good Instagram brand strategy. Not only do they help people find your content but they also help build community and connection.
A branded hashtag is one that is specific to your business. It could be your business name, your services, your location or something you value as a business. A great branded hashtag could become apart of your brand identity.
What I love about branded hashtags is your fans can use them to share their experience with you. This is perfect for encouraging user-generated content around your business!
For The Base Coat Nail Boutique, her branded hashtags include: #TheBaseCoatWR #TBCNailBoutique #TBCLovesYourNails #nailsbyTBC and #TBCnailart
For more great tips on Instagram hashtag strategy, check out this complete guide from Later.com.
Make sure when browsers view your profile, you are taking full advantage of this precious piece of your Instagram account.
Your account Avatar should be either a great headshot of you or your business logo. Make it something simple yet recognizable. Consistency here is also great. Your Instagram avatar should be the same as your Pinterest, Facebook and Twitter accounts.
A pro tip from Hilary, your profile isn’t about you – it’s about your customer. Let’s go back to the visual story concept in step 1. If the purpose of your Instagram account is to communicate what your customers want and show how you can help then your bio should explain exactly that.
Think of your bio as the start of your marketing funnel. It’s what get’s followers off the app and into your business via the link in profile.
Your bio should concisely state who you serve, what you do and why you do it plus it needs to give them a reason to click off the app. Maybe you have a free download or offer a free consult – make this clear in your bio to get people to interact with you outside of Insta.
Here are a few great examples from ladies that are killing it on Insta:
If graphics or quotes are part of your Instagram categories, be consistent with them by creating post templates.
Here is how we’ve done this in the feed for The Base Coat Nail Boutique. Notice how all of her graphic posts look this same? Whenever one comes into my feed I instantly know it’s from The Base Coat because of the consistent visual style.
To brand your Instagram post templates, I highly recommend Canva. Pick your background, font pairings and colours to recreate branded content for your feed quickly and easily.
Finally, be consistent with the colours and temperature of your photos.
And there you have it – my 5 easy steps to brand your Instagram. Which one do you think you could implement right away? Let me know in the comments below!
I’m Vanessa, a west coast Canadian girl obsessed with all things design who left her corporate gig to build websites for like-minded creative entrepreneurs. I’d love to help you too!
Receive free checklists, workbooks, product & service updates as well as blog posts directly to your inbox! My gift to help you with all things branding & web design.