This is a guest post by Orana Velarde from OranaCreative.com
So you have a blog where you do business.
You and your blog are branded, your content is top notch, your mission statement makes you happy, your content upgrades are amazing and everything is good in the world.
It’s time to tackle Social Media!
If you haven’t branded your blog or small business yet, it’s time to do so. It really is the best way to make you look professional and stand out in this ever-competitive content universe.
I believe in being present in all Social Media but only passionate about one or two. My all time favorite social platform is Instagram. I love using Instagram to promote my brand because it’s much more creative and subtle than a platform like Facebook.
Instagram is a predominantly visual space. Everything comes in through the eyes and the feels (yes, I said it). Instagram is also highly engaging and that is precisely how you can build a loyal following.
You’ll find brands just like yours as well as the users that will ultimately be your clients. They are all in the same place!
I will move forward on the premise that you already have an account so I can get right to showing you the ins and outs of using Instagram to promote your brand, your posts, your newsletter and your content upgrades!
MAKE SURE YOUR INSTAGRAM BASICS ARE WELL SETUP
I’m talking about your account!
This is where your branding on Instagram must be ever present but not overbearing, where your message is perceived in a way that will pull people in, instead of pushing them on to another account.
There are two parts to your Instagram existence; the profile and the feed. They are both important and they both have creative possibilities.
The way your entire account looks is very important because people will see it as a whole and if it isn’t appealing, they won’t follow you.
1. USER NAME
Your Instagram name and username are a two-part team. The “username” is what goes after the @ sign and is how people look for you and remember you.
Your “name” is what shows up right under your username and is what shows up in the search. Your name is the first line in the profile and shows up in bold letters.
In the description, make sure you use separate lines to display separate points about you, your brand and your business. Be Precise, concise AND creative. Use emojis!
2. YOUR FEED
Your feed is where things can get really fun and is what will make you really stand out.
There are many ways you can promote your brand on Instagram, but you always have to remember to stay on brand.
For example if your colors are usually muted, don’t post a photo in full vibrant color and vice versa. (Unless you have a contrasting checkered composition. More on that later)
MAKE SURE EVERYTHING YOU POST FITS WITH YOUR BRAND
Its ok to make mistakes, just delete what you don’t like and try a new approach. It’s all about experimenting!
Here are some posting ideas to get your off and running:
1. Use the same branded graphics from your blog posts and create the square Instagram version.
2. Post “coming soon to the blog” photos with messages telling your followers what they can expect to see in the next few days. Follow through with what you promise!
3. Take behind the scenes photos of what inspires your brand. If there was a photo shoot involved, show the set up and the photographer at work. If you are the photographer then have someone take a photo of you taking the photos!
4. Use quotes from your post and make images with them. Think of how you make a “click to tweet”. Short and sweet, and wording that will catch your followers’ attention.
5. You can even promote old blog posts and say something like “from the archives” and in the call to action say, “search for so and so on the blog”
6. Create a giveaway on Rafflecopter with something you can give your followers as a prize. It can be a service, a product or even an amazon gift card. Promote it on Instagram, use the link in the profile to take them to a landing page where they sign up to your newsletter to enter the giveaway.
7. Do you publish guest posts? Do a feature on your author, do a couple of shout out posts about their Instagram account and blog before and after you post about their guest post.
8. Use you Instagram as a mini blog and use the caption to write mini blog posts that you can finish off with, “read more about this on the blog”
There are so many possibilities!
HERE IS SOME SCRUMPTIOUS VISUAL INSPIRATION
I’m sure you want to see some visual inspiration (this is a visual guide after all) to get your creative juices flowing, so here are five brands who are crushing it on Instagram!
1. The Entrepreneur-Ess
Instagram account: @the.entrepreneuress
The first thing that pops out at you on her Instagram feed is the color turquoise. Its strong yet not overbearing. It’s inviting and intriguing.
Nikki uses a checkered layout for her Instagram feed. This is a very popular style of posting because it separates content in a way that maintains everything visible using contrast and composition.
When you click on the link on her profile you notice that the branding is on point. Going from Instagram to her blog is a natural process that doesn’t feel awkward at all. Her use of turquoise on the website is minimal compared to her Instagram and that is a plus because it shows how creative she can be without it being in your face.
She uses a lot of words in her Instagram images, to promote blog posts, ideas, content upgrades and freebies. Every image is branded and it all looks very professional.
Instagram account: @enthrallinggumption
My favorite part of Marwa’s Instagram account is her use of negative space and vibrant colors. Every photo is a masterpiece in composition and palette.
There are no words or logos in her images but that doesn’t matter because the way the photos are taken and portrayed are what make her brand.
Click over to her DIY Blog and find amazing blog posts about the creations in the Instagram photos you just saw. You will notice that she uses up to three different photos from the same post without it being obvious or annoying. She mixes in images about inspiration that go really well with her own artwork.
3. The Shop Files
Instagram account: @theshopfiles
If your business is an Etsy store or any kind of e-commerce, then The Shop File is the type of Instagram that catches your eye. Not only because it’s beautiful and easy on the eye, it’s also quite practical and full of knowledge.
On her blog, Kate writes about running a successful shop, her branding is extremely clean and to the point. The fierce white backgrounds move seamlessly from her Instagram account to her website.
A little while ago she ran a 14-day series that she ran on her Instagram. Every single day’s post was taken from just one post on her blog. One useful list post created 14 days worth of valuable imagery to her Instagram. We can all learn from that strategy.
4. Mae Ryan
A family lifestyle brand will usually have the upper hand in the Instagram game if they know how to play their cards right. Mae Ryan has her own style of reflecting her brand from website to Instagram.
Her instagram feed includes photos from her blog posts, her life and a great column of short quotes on black lettering. Lately she’s been separating the columns into themes, the left about food, the center with quotes and the right one about lifestyle behind the scenes shots.
It’s to the point and very efficient.
5. That Travel Blog
This is not your usual travel brand Instagram account. There are plenty of featured travel photos curated and put together to make a seamless collage of wonderful travel shots.
But that’s not all, they showcase their blog posts in the feed with a middle column of branded images promoting articles from their website.
The use of blue, green and white are perfect in how they represent the earth, which is just perfect for a travel brand. The use of beautiful landscapes and circular accents is also top notch.
6. Crazy Little Family Adventure
I put myself in this list because I want to show you how to post in groups of three. My feed is separated by rows. Each row has a theme.
Some rows are videos, some are quotes, some are photos of my kids, some are composites of blog posts or quotes taken from those same posts.
If you scroll further down you’ll see that I used the big square format a couple of times. It was a fad to do this with your Instagram account a while back, but if the cut up squares cannot stand alone as singular photos then you have to post all at once and many people really don’t appreciate that and it ends up looking unfavorable for you.
Now it’s your turn!
How are you going to be using Instagram to promote your brand?
ONE MORE THING BEFORE YOU GO…
Scroll to the bottom, because I’ve got a prezzie you’re gonna la la loooove….
Orana is an Artist of many trades. She writes, makes art, designs things and also travels the world slowly with her family. At the moment she lives in Sri Lanka and you can find her online at Orana Creative.
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