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Not a big company? Just want to gain more followers as an individual? Don’t have a product to promote, just a lot of passion? Then it’s time to start thinking like a brand! Personal branding, however, is different to the branding you would do as a business. Personal branding is managing and optimising the way you, as an individual, are portrayed on social media. There’s no image except your own, no code of conduct, and no corporate wall between you and your followers. It isn’t all selfies and snapchats, though. To effectively promote yourself on Instagram, you’ve not only got to start thinking like a brand, but also acting like one on social media. And there are a number of ways that you can do this.
Visual consistencyConsistency is the key to being memorable. When a potential follower opens up your profile on Instagram, they want to see a pleasant, consistent tone throughout all your pictures. Not only in their subject matter, but your pictures should also have a similar colour pallette, framing style, and even similar filters. They don’t all have to be the same - experimenting with a darker image, or the occasional selfie, won’t hurt. However, to build a follower base, you need to become “known” for something. Whether that’s amazing food snaps, gorgeous selfies, or surreal scenery pics, you need to be consistent enough so that your followers know what to expect, and can turn to you when they need help or inspiration.
Treat your bio like an elevator pitchThe bio on your Instagram may seem like a minor thing, but to brand new followers clicking on your Instagram profile for the first time, your bio will be the first proper glimpse of your personality. And unlike big name brands, you do not have a slogan or product to fill that space. You need to sum yourself up neatly, clearly and, above all, distinctly. Consider your bio like an elevator pitch to all potential followers. You need to show them who you are, both in the tone and the content of your writing. It’s a lot to ask from one small space - it may take you a few tries. But take a look at other Instagram bios for inspiration and write something that makes you shine!
Find influencersChances are, there are already some people you love to follow on Instagram. Maybe it’s a product that you like to use - maybe it’s a big Instagram star. Whoever they are, find them. This is important for two reasons. Firstly, they can be a fantastic source of inspiration for how you run your Instagram. Look at how they act online. How regularly they post. What they post. And instead of seeing them as celebrities, or people who you can never match up to, begin to see them as your peers and competitors. Do as they do, whilst giving it your own special twist. And the second reason to find them is so you can mention them! Don’t be afraid to like, comment, or share their photos. Give them a shoutout. Not only will this get them to notice you, but will also help establish connections you never thought possible. Don’t be shy. It is called “social” media for a reason!
Engage with your audienceThere is an advantage that you, as a brand, hold over businesses and products. Namely, that as an individual, you can connect with your audience on a personal level. When your followers like your posts, check them out. If you like what they see, follow them. If someone comments on your pictures, reply to them as quickly as you can. Slowly and surely, you will build a sense of loyalty amongst your most dedicated followers. Engaging with your audience and being an active member of the community is the best, and most fun way, of building yourself as a brand.
Post consistentlyThis is perhaps the most important part of thinking like a brand on Instagram. Especially if you are just starting out, you need to be ready to post regularly. The best average to aim for is four times a day - once in the morning, once in the afternoon, once in the evening, and once at night. There are thousands of other accounts out there. And in order to make sure that you are always gaining followers - and that the followers you do have don’t forget about you - it is crucial that you post good quality photos on a regular basis. The best way to start thinking like a brand on Instagram, is to start acting like a brand on Instagram. Post. Engage. Research. And, above all, be consistent in your approach!