Ever wonder how businesses and influencers alike achieve those beautiful, cohesive Instagram feeds? You know – those feeds you could look at and instantly recognize who it belongs to.
The key? Branding.
If you’re anything like I was during my first few years of using Instagram, the word branding gives you the cold pricklies and your brain starts to go into shut down mode.
But wait! I promise, this isn’t complicated or complex. Double pinky promise, in fact!
With a few simple tweaks (or rather, 10), you can take your Instagram feed from a hot mess express to feed of your dreams in no time at all.
FIRST THINGS FIRST…
If you run a business, you’ve probably heard that branding is more than just your logo (and if not, listen up girlfriend!).
Branding is the entire look and feel of your business – from the colors and pictures you use to the feeling your words convey in your copy.
A well branded Instagram feed, then, is where you photos and captions and bio all go together to create one cohesive, singular vision of your biz.
Sounds dreamy, right?! Don’t worry though, a well branded feed isn’t as much of a unicorn to attain as it seems when you first start out. To show you how it’s done, I put together 10 comprehensive ways to start branding your Instagram today:
1. PUT IN THE TIME
This is really numero uno.
Branding your Instagram will become second nature, to the point where you can basically go on autopilot when planning and creating your feed, but in the beginning it takes TIME.
Set aside a chunk of time each week (like, a couple hours kinda chunk) to devote entirely to Instagram. By making the time to focus on your Instagram, you set yourself up for success for the rest of the week.
One of the biggest roadblocks to a cohesive, well-branded feed is posting on the spot. When you’ve already put in the time you can completely avoid that “yikes, what the heck do I post now?!?!” feeling.
It also takes time to develop a sense of what works and what doesn’t, so when you’re focusing entirely on your Instagram you can really delve deep into what needs to get done (instead of throwing something up while you wait in line at Starbucks).
2. USE BRAND COLORS
If you don’t already have set colors for your brand, stop right now and go figure that ish out.
Your brand colors should carry across your feed, whether it’s the backgrounds you use (which I dish all about here if you’re stumped!) to the props that you incorporate.
A good rule of thumb is to use at least one brand color in each photo. Of course, the closer you are to totally branded the more cohesive your feed will look, but using at least one color is a great way to tie in other photos that might otherwise not make the cut. Think: a colored pencil, or a flower, or something else in the shot that can still tie into your overall brand.
3. USE SIMILAR PROPS
I dish alllll about props for Instagram here, but the thing to remember when creating a cohesive, branded feed is to always use the same or similar props.
For example, I often use disco balls, flowers, flair, and girly office supplies. Even though I don’t use the same props in each photo, if you look at my overall feed you can tell that they’re all related. Those things all go with Glitter and Bold.
4. KEEP THE SAME EDITING TECHNIQUE
Whether it’s bright and colorful, dark and moody, clean and minimal, or anything in between – keep it consistent.
This applies to the filters you use to the way you crop the photo (although please, for the love of God, ditch the horizontal photos).
I use a combo of Pop, Everyday, and Chroma filters with A Color Story to keep all my photos the same.
5. FILL OUT YOUR BIO
Even if you fill your feed with beautiful cohesive photos, it won’t really do a lot for your brand if your bio leaves people hanging. While your photos will certainly catch, and keep, people’s attention, it’s the info in your bio that lets them know what your brand is all about.
Leaving this area blank or all around lackluster is wasting valuable real estate.
What actually goes here varies from brand to brand, but no matter what your business, the info in your bio should reflect the content in your feed and provide any useful info (like an address or website).
6. MATCH YOUR THEME TO YOUR BIO
Now that you’ve filled out that bio, the trick is to actually match your theme to that info.
Basically, your bio gives people the cliffnotes version of what to expect, whether that’s pics of your kiddos to the product you sell or business strategies you teach. The photos that follow should reflect what you just said you’re going to show people.
Which leads directly to number 7…
7. BE SELECTIVE
You might not want to hear this, but you need to be selective when it comes to curating your branded Instagram feed. Like, need need.
What you post will vary depending on your brand. A coach or artist might show more personal, behind the scenes looks than say, a boutique owner. Feel out what your audience wants, but keep in mind that they’re there for your brand, with a touch of you, not the other way around. If you want a personal Instagram that documents your life, get a personal Instagram that documents your life.
Give snippets (with those brand colors and editing styles, of course!), but lay off the date night dinner snaps and a million and one pictures of your cat. Link to a personal account or add more candid pics in your Instagram stories to keep your feed the dreamy spread that it is!
8. PLAN YOUR FEED
I’ve talked about why I love scheduling Instagram before, but it’s especially important if you want to keep your feed cohesive.
Planning your feed (particularly with an app like Plann or Later), lets you do a few things:
- Keep content consistent. Play around to find what works best for you, but I find that posting the same (broad) topics over and over again makes planning a breeze and my feed consistent. I wear a lot of hats in my biz, so it’s a bit more varied than yours might be, but my exact formula is: Blog post / Hand lettered quote / Promote a product / Me + Behind the Scenes / Miscellaneous (a mix between opt-ins and posts to simply boost engagement).
- Place accordingly. Besides knowing that I can easily cover all the biggies throughout the week, using a consistent formula makes placing my photos a breeze. Placing your photos is important because having two similar photos right next to each other throws off your feed. For example, I arrange my feed so that hand lettered quotes are never next to or on top of each other. You can take this even deeper and think about different products, angles of different shots (close up, faraway, etc), and colors (I love, love, love alternating color and white backgrounds).
- Get intentional. As I mentioned in Number 1, one of the biggest ways to kill a branded feed is to post on the spot. When you take the time to plan out your feed you can not only get intentional, but then schedule and forget it.
9. SPEAK YOUR BRAND’S LANGUAGE
Hopefully people aren’t just glancing at your photos and calling it a day - you want them to read those awesome captions too! The text you use in your captions should speak your brand’s language, from phrases that you use to the emojis (if any) you favor.
To help you figure out what your language is, think of 3-5 adjectives you’d use to describe your brand. Then, think of the words and phrases you use that reflect those adjectives.
In my case, my brand is fun, feminine, and quirky, so I use a mix of slang and shortened words (like totes, obvs, and fave), with a heavy sprinkling of “boss babe” and the sparkly stars emoji.
10. POST CONSISTENTLY
Posting consistently has two benefits.
The first is that if you’re actively working on branding your Instagram feed, posting consistently will quickly push those pre-branding photos down.
The second is that Instagram, and your customers, will love it.
Again, this varies by business, but I like between 2-4 posts a day.
See, creating a cohesive, branded Instagram feed doesn’t have to be a big mystery! Follow these 10 easy steps and you’ll be well on your way to the feed of your boss babe dreams!