In the world of social media marketing, one platform stands out. With over 1.4 billion active users, Instagram plays a major role in the overall marketing economy.
Well, if your business isn’t using Instagram, you should strongly consider it, as it’s arguably the best platform for company branding, and it’s easier than you may think! Let’s talk about building brand awareness on Instagram in 2022.
Why Building Brand Awareness Is So Important
A brand is not a logo and a mantra. Your brand is everything from your mission and values to the font that you use on your business cards, and this has a major effect on how your business is perceived. Here’s why it’s so important.
There’s a reason why a blank white web page with even the smallest visible icon of red, yellow, blue, and green will make you think of Google. It’s such an instantly recognizable brand that even a vague description of its homepage will remind you of it.
Granted, Google is a massive tech giant worth nearly $2 trillion. How could you compete with that? Well, you don’t have to.
No matter how small the niche of your brand is, there is a benefit to having brand recognition among your target audience. For example, there are makeup brands that may only try to sell to 10% of the population, but that 10% will be able to identify them as easily as they would with Google.
When your brand has that level of recognition, every form of marketing including social media and word-of-mouth is strongly reinforced. Think about it.
If you’ve seen an ad for a pizza shop and then your coworker tells you that shop is the best, you’re probably going to try it out. Don’t underestimate the value of awareness.
Also, there’s a reason generic drugs sell for cheaper than the “preferred brands” or why two of the same food products sell for different prices based solely on packaging. When people recognize a brand, they tend to trust it more than the ones they haven’t heard of.
Helping your brand stand out from the competition and taking on an identity of its own will build recognition and, ultimately, trust among your target audience.
Why Use Instagram?
Instagram has developed a reputation among brands for being a “cash cow”, and it’s hardly an overstatement. The platform separates itself from others in some critical ways. Here are just a few examples.
Instagram has been regarded as the best for influencer marketing for a long time, with 89% of influencers using the platform, but it doesn’t stop there. Millions of brands use Instagram to their advantage because of the platform’s widespread use, focus on visual imagery, and diversity of posts.
Also, Instagram is controlled by Facebook, which has the best eCommerce conversions on the market. However, Instagram has a secret weapon that Facebook doesn’t.
Stories, videos, and images are key components of Instagram, and the eye-catching posts that brands can display for their followers lead to strong conversion rates. Focus on visual imagery is far more captivating than text.
When you build awareness through social media, you have an opportunity to keep your customer base updated. Similar to email and notification campaigns, you can ensure the long-term success of your business by reminding your existing customers of why your brand is so great.
Remember, building customers is only half of marketing. You can market for new customers until you eventually run out of them. Focusing on keeping your existing customers always pays off in the long run.
Reach Your Target Audience
If your target audience happens to be younger Millennials or Gen Z, you’re bound to find a significant amount of them on Instagram. Instagram is the preferred platform for Gen Z, as 65% of them check their accounts every day, which is far higher than they check Facebook or Twitter.
How To Build Brand Awareness on Instagram
Okay, now that you know how building a brand on Instagram can benefit your company, you may have some questions about how to get started. Here’s what to do!
1. Understand Your Brand Identity
If you don’t already have a clear brand identity, you need one. Your message, tone of voice, font, and color schemes should be used uniformly throughout your posts.
Ideally, your Instagram brand strategy should reflect your entire digital marketing strategy, especially the content of your website and email newsletters. The devil is in the details, so ensure that you have a brand strategy to incorporate into your Instagram efforts.
Every post’s caption should use the same tone of voice (first person singular, third person plural, etc.), and every post should conform to the message of your brand. Less importantly, using similar color schemes and fonts will help boost your visual brand identity.
Don’t Forget Visuals
We’re going to keep saying it only because Instagram’s entire model is designed around visual content. There is no better place to develop a visual brand identity than here, so try to keep posts uniform. Graphic templates, logos, icons, fonts, colors, and imagery are just a few examples to keep in mind!
Have a Message
Your message is entirely unique to your brand, so we can’t offer any advice about that.
However, a major part of company branding is to find your story and your message. Using a unique visual style, develop and incorporate a message into your social media strategy that is used with every post.
However, you don’t want to just make something up. Authenticity is highly sought after in the social media sphere, so try to be genuine with your message, story, and content.
Focus on Customer Service
Social media is a great place to respond to customer feedback, questions, and comments. When responding to customers, always remember that you are in the eye of the public, which means you must display your brand’s values at all times. Part of that should include strong customer service.
Remember, it’s great to be personable, but it’s better to be consistent. Interactions should always be seen as professional and on-message. Also, sharing user-generated content is great, but always ensure that it aligns with your company’s message and values before sharing.
2. Optimize Your Account
To get started on your Instagram brand strategy, you need to open an account and optimize it for business. First, you should open a business account, and then follow these guidelines.
There is no better brand identifier than a profile picture, so it’s important to get it right. First, it needs to be clear and legible. A clean logo is perfect for this.
If you’ve ever used Instagram on a mobile device, you know how small the profile picture appears. You can’t even make out a face, so don’t choose any complicated imagery. A logo or bold text is ideal.
The name of your account should be as clear and concise as possible, both for the handle and display name. The handle should be professional, and you should try to avoid numbers if possible unless your brand’s name uses them.
Social media branding starts with recognition, and this is the first thing people will see. There should be no confusion involved, and that’s not always easy to do.
For example, if your name is “The National Aeronautics and Space Administration”, then that’s not going to work. Not only is that less recognizable than “NASA”, but it’s also going to be cut off by the character length. From there, users will say “I don’t even know what ‘aeronautics’ means, and turn away.
If your brand’s name is long, find a way to condense it for the title. Acronyms are great, or you can take the keywords from the title and feature them.
Also, you want people to understand the nature of your business. An ice cream shop called “XYZ” won’t get anywhere, but “XYZ Ice Cream” will. Give every indication possible about your brand in the fewest amount of words.
The same logic will apply to your bio. You will only have two lines to portray all the information you want, so make them count. Try something like “Local ice cream shop in Lincoln, New Hampshire” followed by a link to the company website.
From there, you can add any other relevant links or anything else you want, but users will only see them if they click “read more”. Try to add the most important information into the first line.
Finally, ensure that your account is public, and your account is officially optimized! If you’re waiting for us to mention the blue checkmark, don’t worry. That will come with time.
3. Time Your Content
Creating content in advance is highly recommended, especially over the long term. Sometimes, you will have follower-generated content to share or interact with, new deals to promote, and new information to offer. However, having plenty of backup information is a great idea when you don’t have much to say.
From there, you can save your content to upload at the most active times. Not only will this help you spread your content out more evenly, but it’s also an easy way to expand your reach.
4. Use Hashtags Wisely
Trends and hashtags are excellent ways to expand your reach on Instagram, especially when timed properly. Using relevant trends, you can expand your organic reach when people are searching through trending posts, which may bring in some relevant new followers.
However, they need to be used correctly to be the most effective. You want to tread the fine line between overusing and underusing trends and hashtags.
Essentially, you don’t want to be spammy or try too hard with your hashtags. You don’t need to get your brand’s name out with every single trend, especially if they are irrelevant to your brand.
Although, you should still try to use hashtags in every post. One to five hashtags are fine for each post, but learn how to pick your battles on trending topics.
5. Give Your Brand a Boost
Much like a PPC or SEO campaign, giving your social media strategy an initial boost can generate the momentum it needs to flourish.
However, there are many companies offering follower accounts by the thousands, but they’re usually scams. Luckily, you don’t have to spend money if you want to give your posts a little boost! You can even get free Instagram likes to help your campaign reach its goals!
6. Be Consistent
Once your strategy has begun, it’s important to remember that social media is an ongoing process. Unlike other types of content marketing, social media needs to be updated daily, and you will need to respond to users on a regular basis.
If your staff are not yet on board with your social media branding, then we recommend hosting meetings with any staff who will have access to your accounts. Discussing the message, rules, and guidelines will ensure consistency throughout your campaign.
The key to an Instagram strategy is always in the long term, so sit down with your team and discuss your content preparation, timing, and social media branding strategy for the best results.
Let It Grow!
Going into the new year, your company needs to put a focus on building brand awareness. By the time 2023 comes around, you’ll be glad you did!
Give your brand the boost it needs, remember your message, and most of all, be consistent! Stay up to date with our latest news and feel free to check out our blog for other recent marketing updates!