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The ABCs of Instagram Marketing

B is for Branding



RACHEL MCDERMOTT: Hey guys, I’m Rachel from Later’s Customer Happiness team.

NIKKI CANNING: And I’m Nikki from the Marketing team!

RM: Welcome to the second episode of Later’s TTYL, a podcast dedicated to social media marketing in digestible sound bites. If you missed our launch episode, stop where you are, press pause and return to episode 1!

NCWe’re covering the ABC’s of Instagram marketing in this 3-part mini-series so you don’t want to miss out on that 
A for Audience!

RMBut if you’ve already listened to it, welcome! We’re about to delve into the next topic: B for Branding.

NCAwesome! So, we chatted about knowing who your target audience is, and now we want to focus on how you’re going to brand yourself on Instagram!

RMWell, I think focusing on your branding, is a great place to start, especially if you’re a small business starting out on Instagram, or if you’re giving your Instagram feed a revamp! 

So we all know what a ‘company’s brand’ is — it can be their name, tagline, design style, logo, or any other feature that distinguishes that company or product from its competitors. And while you might have your branding nailed on your website, brand packaging, email newsletters — whatever else you’re showing off to potential customers — it’s so important that you translate that brand onto your Instagram account. 

The ABCs of Instagram Marketing

B is for Branding

RM: Something I think we should touch on as well, are the Instagram accounts, especially for influencers or solo business owners, where their personality is a HUGE part of their brand. 

If that sounds like you, then maybe consider creating a “personal business brand,” which is sort of a hybrid between a personal account and a business account. The benefit is that it allows you to pull elements from both, which can help you resonate with your audience more.

NC: Take a look at @collabosaurus on Instagram — it’s a company that works at pairing brands together for creative marketing collaborations and it’s run by Jess Ruhfus, a wonderfully witty and intelligent Aussie woman who regularly pops up on their Instagram Stories feeds. She also has her personal Instagram account @jessruhfus if you want to follow her there too, which is this great hybrid account where we can follow Jess having cocktails in San Fran, while also talking us through the latest collaboration marketing strategies. I love following her!

RMGreat example! And I think keeping your username or @ handle in mind when you’re branding your Instagram profile is also super important. You want to make it something that’s really easy to remember — like collabosaurus! 

NCFor sure! whether you're building a personal brand, a business brand, or merging the two, you should try to keep your username as short and simple as possible. You want your username to stand out and be memorable, so don’t complicate it with any unnecessary symbols or numbers, underscores. Just keep it as simple and to the point as you can.

RMAnd while we’re on the topic of names, let’s talk about bios!

NCDon’t you hate it when you find this beautiful image on Instagram, and you visit the profile and the bio tells you NOTHING about the account? It’s one of my major pet peeves when it comes to branding on Instagram. You’ve been working so hard at building your company and brand, you want to show it off right? Your bio is the the PERFECT place to sum up who you are, what you do, and lay down what a new follower can expect from your posts. 

RMAlso this is one of our favourite tips — use the “name field” in your Instagram bio to help you appear higher in searches! Your name field is right before your bio, and shows in bold, and it’s completely customizable — so you can use targeted keywords related to your brand to attract the right followers and customers for your business.

For example, if you were a brand based on wellness products, you could add the words “Beauty + Wellness” to your name field, instead of repeating your business name, which you’ve likely already chosen as your Instagram handle.

Then if someone does a quick search for “wellness,” people will be able to discover your company and quickly learn about your products and mission by scanning your bio!

NCSo many people forget to do that and it’s incredible the difference it could make to your following!

RMThe second part of your bio should be dedicated to your link — remember you only have one place where you can share an outbound link in your Instagram bio, so make sure it works, and is something really useful for your audience! 

NCYup and I’d add that when you’re writing your bio, make sure you add a sentence just before your link that lets people know what to expect if they click here. If we use that wellness brand as an example again, you could say something like ‘shop the organic skincare collection here’. 

RMAnd don’t forget you can direct followers to the “link in bio” in your post captions, stories and IGTV posts, so there’s going to be lots of opportunities to use that link! 

NCExactly — cross reference across all your posts! Last point on building your Instagram bio for your brand is that It’s also important to make sure your Instagram Bio keeps evolving! Once you write it, don’t let it get stale over time, keep changing it up. To properly brand yourself on Instagram, you’ll want to make sure your Instagram profile keeps up with your business changes IRL!

RM: Right so, now that we’ve covered the basics on how to Brand your profile, let’s get into your feed! 

NCYou’re probably thinking that tone of voice and style ties in with the content you’re producing, and you’re completely right! But we’re going to chat more about content in the third part of this podcast mini-series, things like what makes a good caption and how to write a strong call-to-action, but for this episode — the B for Branding episode, we’re going to talk about your overall content branding, the look and feel of your Instagram feed.

RM: In other words, your Instagram aesthetic!

NCExactly! And don’t be concerned if you’re thinking ‘what the heck is an Instagram aesthetic?’ — we’re going to chat you through everything you need to know about building one!

RM: Basically, an Instagram aesthetic is a continuation of your tone and style from your business branding — it’s about building a cohesive look and feel across all of your Instagram posts, Stories and IGTV videos.

NCAnd you might be thinking ‘why is an Instagram Aesthetic so important?’ Well, having a strong Instagram aesthetic is one of the best ways to get more followers and grow your account. More and more people are turning to Instagram to search for their favorite businesses, or even to snoop around on their profile to explore their products or services. That means, your Instagram profile is now just as important as your website’s homepage, and you’ll want to leave a stellar first impression for any new visitor that arrive on your page. 

RMPlus, if we look at Instagram Stories, there are 400 million viewers every day on Instagram Stories, so having an aesthetic across all your content — post, stories and videos — means that you’re constantly building up your brand recognition on Instagram, simply by committing to a consistent look and feel across all your content.

RMPlus, you can’t forget apps like VSCO and SnapSeed that are quick and easy ways to apply similar filters or editing rules to your photos before you post!

NCI hate to say it, but relying just on the Instagram filters like Mayfair, Hefe, X Pro II just isn't enough these days. The competition is too strong and the level of quality imagery on instagram is so high. You really need to level up your photography editing, nail down your aesthetic and put some time and effort into building your feed our with beautiful images if you want to grow on Instagram. 

RMAgreed! And we can’t forget Instagram Stories, your branding and aesthetic should translate over to your posts there too. The easiest way to create that professional look, and maintain your Instagram aesthetic when it comes to stories is again, with templates! 

NCFOR SURE! You don’t need to be a graphic design whizz or a photoshop pro when it comes to creating Instagram Stories posts that look a million bucks! 

Generally, Instagram Stories templates are pre-made layouts with graphics, text, or animations that you can edit to fit each new story. Before you turn to any apps or tools, remember that Stories actually do have lots of different editing options, so if you and your marketing or social team want to create ‘a style guide’ for any posts on Stories, like consistently using the same font, the same colour, using a specific collection of Gifs — that’s the grassroots of your Instagram Stories templates right there. 

RM: But if you want to level-up your Instagram stories, I’d recommend Canva. Canva is a free-to-use desktop program and app that comes loaded with ready-made templates — not just for Instagram Stories, but for posters, logos, Facebook posts, everything you could ever need to create graphics or marketing collateral for your brand. So all you have to do is select an Instagram Stories template that you like — remember it’s fully customizable with fonts, images, color palettes, pretty much everything — and get creative with your stories posts! 

NCThe Canva app is really amazing — I’ve used it heaps while traveling and posting to Instagram —  it’s so intuitive and easy to use. So if you prefer creating your stories on the go, just download the free app, log in, and you can immediately get started creating awesome templates for your Stories. 

We actually have a great a video on the Later blog on creating stories templates with Canva if you want to check it out, or just start experimenting with Canva straight away! Just always remember to stick to your branding tone, style and Instagram aesthetic.

NCExactly! So let’s start with your Instagram feed posts. 

You’ve probably seen beautiful Instagram feeds that have a consistent tonal quality to their images - so maybe they all have a warm, orange undertone, or they’ve got a vintage feel to them, or they consistently use bright bold colours across their feed — whatever the commonality, every photo in their feed has a similar style and tone. And the feed looks really professional, curated and a bit dreamy right? You probably pressed follow if it’s a brand or product you’re interested in… I know it’s definitely one factor that convinces me to follow a brand! 

RMSo the best way to create that cohesive Instagram aesthetic is during the editing process. Choosing the same filter, set of filters or building editing “rules”, will help you keep your photos looking consistent and “fit” together in the Instagram feed grid.

NCIf you’re looking to give your photos a more professional look, Lightroom is by far one of the most powerful photo editing tools out there, especially because you can use ready-made Lightroom presets on your phone with the Lightroom app!

RMIf you’ve not heard of Lightroom presets before, they are one-click photo editing tools that can dramatically speed up your workflow and give your Instagram photos a professional look. They’re basically a template that you can use to overlay onto your own images that will edit the photo to have same tonal quality, no matter where it was taken! 

NCThere’s a ton of different Lightroom presets out there to buy from creators - we recently teamed up with Maddy Corbin in our Later Lectures series to talk about editing with Lightroom presets and she even has a free preset you can download. You can check out her video guide in our Later Lectures training page on the Later site. 

RM: And, for bonus points, if you’d rather work with Photoshop templates, there’s also that option! You’ll want to have a basic level of proficiency in Photoshop before you start ….

NCPlus a reminder that Photoshop isn’t a free tool from Adobe! 

RMYup, that’s right! But if you do have Photoshop software, and prefer using templates there, we have a collection of ready-made templates — made by our super-talented Later in-house designer Chin — that can be emailed directly to you, for the grand total of ZERO DOLLARS.

NCYup, they’re free and completely customizable so you can apply your brand colors, aesthetic, insert your own images, whatever you need! We’ll link to them in the description for this episode, or just check out the 
freebies section of the Later site! 

RMSo I think that pretty much covers everything we can in this little sound bite of TTLY. 

NCMe too! It’s been a whistle-stop tour of Branding your Instagram feed!

RMThe key takeaways are that you really do need to set aside time to think about your Instagram branding, your business’ tone and style and building up a consistent and cohesive Instagram aesthetic. 

NCAnd remember that it doesn’t need to come at a price — you don’t need to hire in graphic designers, or spend hours trying to navigate Photoshop, there are so many hacks, tools, template, and editing cheats that you can use to get you started with your new Instagram aesthetic! 

Thanks for joining us to chat about all things Branding, we hope you’ve learned a few things that you can put into action today to help you grow your account, reach new audiences and create that killer Instagram profile!  

RMJoin us for episode three, where we’ll be covering some top tips on content, how to make yours awesome, and really stand out from the crowd! 


This episode of TTYL was hosted by Rachel McDermott and Nikki Canning — thanks for listening! 
If you enjoyed the show, please give us a review wherever you get your podcasts from. Later’s TTYL is available on iTunes, Stitcher, and Spotify right now. 

TTYL Podcast is a podcast by Later, the #1 marketing platform to visually plan & schedule Instagram posts. This episode of the podcast was hosted by Rachel McDermott and Nikki Canning. Sound engineering by Andrew Linn. Artwork, design, and graphics by Chin Tan. 

NCRight, your brand and business needs to stand out from the crowd, especially on Instagram! And not only does it need to stick out, but it also needs to be appealing, enticing, and welcoming for new followers who have stumbled across your profile and want to know more about your business. And the good news is that there are so many ways you can translate your business’s brand onto your Instagram feed! So let’s dig into a few together now.

RMLet’s do it!

NCFirstly, let’s start off your overall brand tone and personality. I’d say that putting time into considering your brand tone and personality is one of the best first steps you can take for your Instagram marketing strategy — especially if you’re a new brand to market! 

RMAgreed! Essentially, it’s the way your brand engages with your audience, and sets down the foundations to how you’ll speak to your customers or followers, in a tone and approach that really resonates with them. 

You’ll want to consider your actual product, and especially your target audience here, because it will determine whether your tone and personality is going to be upbeat, cheerful, cheeky, playful, or formal, direct, or professional. Or anywhere in between those on the ‘tone and style scale’. 

What you don’t want to do is get the tone wrong for your audience — like for example being a company that arranges pet funerals and opening an Instagram Story with ‘Hey guys, hope you’re having an awesome day!’ 

NCPlease don’t do that. Basically, read the room, always revert back to WHO your target audience is, and find a tone, approach and personality that will really click with them. 

RMIf you don’t know where to start when you’re drafting your Instagram bio, it’s a good idea to segment your bio into two parts. The first part should quickly explain who you are, who you’re for, what you do, and how. Remember you have limited space to make an impression here, and it’s important that you can instantly let your visitors know what your business actually is about.

NCRight, Instead of making your bio all about you, try to focus on your target customer and how your Instagram profile will help or inspire them. Imagine you’re a potential customer who knows nothing about your brand or business - does your Instagram bio give them a good explanation? 

But you only have 150 characters to play with, so don’t be afraid to use emojis to save space and add some personality to your profile!

Oh and if you’re wondering how you can add line spaces to your bio, you know when you have each sentence on a new line? Sometimes when you’re editing your bio directly in the Instagram app’s profile editor, once you save your new bio, the content can all be smushed together without any line breaks. It’s really ugly! 

The trick is to write out your bio — including any emojis or hashtags you want to include — in the notes app, or a word doc and them copy and paste it into your profile editor. It works best on desktop, but I’ve done it on my phone too — it works and it really looks a hundred times better! 

Ready to hone in on your Instagram branding? In this episode, Nikki Canning and Rachel McDermott cover business branding basics — along with some helpful hacks — to finding a killer Instagram aesthetic for your feed and building a consistent look and feel across all your posts.   

TTYL is available to download on iTunes and Stitcher.

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