Instagram: Go beyond beautiful images to build brand awareness

Instagram can be a very effective place to increase brand awareness on social media. After all, there are more than one billion active monthly users on the platform, making it a smart choice for putting your brand in front of your audience. Just like all company assets, it’s important that this is done in an appropriate and professional manner reinforcing your brand identity and not resulting in a jumble of seemingly unrelated posts.

While it’s true that beautiful images are at the heart of Instagram, there’s so much more to a successful brand awareness campaign on the social media site. Before you ramp up your brand’s presence on Instagram, be sure to have a strategy in place that maximises its potential and ensures a coherent and consistent approach to posting.

Coherent posting to Instagram

Any brand awareness exercise should start with a focus on your business’ goals and values to ensure these do not get lost throughout the process. Each image you post to Instagram should be contributing to this overall vision of your company, so that your audience can easily see what it is you stand for, making them more receptive to your products further down the buying funnel.

This can easily be seen on the Instagram accounts of luxury brands, who have developed a strong style for their posts and stuck to it. One such way is to reinforce recognisable elements from your business’ logo through use of the same colours, fonts or motifs, because these are the ways your brand is identified to the public.

The inclusion of these elements can be subtle on individual posts, but when seen as a whole on your account’s grid, work together to provide a sleek overall impression that sticks in the mind. When it comes to Instagram advertising, such groundwork will prove itself to have been worthwhile when users instantly recognise your brand, even if they don’t stop scrolling when they reach your ad.

Implementing the 80/20 rule

Being professional in your approach does not mean you can’t use the 80/20 rule, but you may have differing ideas about what this actually is. Initially it was used in social media marketing to suggest that 80 per cent of your brand’s posts should be used to educate, inform or entertain your audience, while the remaining 20 per cent could be used to directly promote your business and its products.

Now, many marketers say they use it to ensure their grids are made up of 80 per cent about their business and 20 per cent the people behind it. This works well on such a visual platform like Instagram, where audiences like to see the faces behind a company and what it stands for. This gives you licence to share more personal content, but always keep it in line with company values and goals.

Consistent Instagram posting

A successful Instagram brand awareness campaign is not one where you post erratically when you find time between other seemingly more important tasks. To make the most of the platform you should put together a well-planned posting schedule and then stick to it. The key to the second part of this strategy is being realistic from the start.

It’s often said that you should post to Instagram once a day in order to see results, but you may be aware that such an approach will overstretch your team’s resources. In this case, aim to post two or three times a week on the same days and your audience will know when to expect new content from you.

As well as stating when a post is due, your schedule should also outline what it will contain. This is a useful way to balance your monthly posts, keeping the 80/20 rule in mind, to drive your brand’s vision forward. If it’s easier for your team’s way of working, you can then create a large number of posts in one go and place them into a social media management tool like Buffer or Later so they can be automatically published as per your schedule.

Hashtag for visibility

Once you have started implementing your coherent brand awareness campaign consistently, you want as many people to see it as possible. The way to do that is through hashtags, which are social media signposts directing your potential audience to your content. Each Instagram post can accommodate up to 30 hashtags, so you can use a number of different approaches to maximise your post’s reach.

The first is to tap into popular hashtags that are relevant to your brand, directing users to your content through their keyword searches. This can make you feel like a small fish in a big pond, so be sure to use more niche hashtags too, where you will be able to really stand out from the crowd with your well-planned and professional-looking posts.

Another trick you should not miss is to create your own hashtag, which over time will become synonymous with your brand identity. It should not just be your company’s name, but more of a short and catchy slogan that encapsulates everything that you stand for. Just remember to do your research and make sure nobody else has been using the hashtag in a way that you wouldn’t want your company associated with. Also, look at how your hashtag could read when all the words are in lowercase and squashed together.

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