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 • A Guide to Instagram – Branding, Marketing and Growing your Audience Organically
  1. Branding and Authenticity

To properly brand yourself, you have to ask yourself certain questions so you can truly identify who and what you are.

Some of the questions to ask includes the following:

Who are you?

What makes you different and special?

What do you believe in?

What’s your vision?

What’s your purpose and goal?

Who is your audience and which demographic do they belong to?

What’s their style and where do they shop?

What do they need?

Where do they work?

What do they do in their free time?

What’s your niche?

The answers to these questions will help direct and create the right brand and image for yourself and your blog, event or business. In addition to being authentic, you also want to stand out and showcase your individuality.

See example in “1 Year Later, Dreams to Reality

  1. Theme

When creating content, products or services, you always want to have a central idea and subject focus. This helps you remain cohesive and enhances your brand message.

There are different ways to create and maintain a theme to best reflect your brand authenticity.

Some questions to explore are:

What image are you trying to portray?

Do your clothes, settings and interests portray that?

What inspires you e.g. Colors, Quotes?

What’s your style and what mood are you trying to evoke?

How do you want your page and edited content to look?

How do you want to place your pictures and products?

What do you want to say or write and is it consistent with your brand?

Do you posts match the right season, holiday or event?

Showcase your reality and be authentic with what you share. People generally connect more with you and trust your brand when you are open and honest. Use trending themes if it fits with your brand and blog. If not, create your own trend. Be confident, unique and memorable. Also learn to evolve and show growth.

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See example in “Fashion and Fitness, Hapari Style

  1. Content Creation and Consistency

This is the heart and soul of what you do. You can build the most amazing brand, theme, audience etc. but if you don’t have amazing content, products or services, you will lose your audience. Create valuable content specific to your niche and create content that they can’t wait to read, use or experience.

In creating your content, you have to meet the needs of your audience by either sharing solutions to a problem, entertaining or openly sharing content to inspire, but always stick to your brand message and theme. Also timing and consistency is key because this is what builds trust and loyalty e.g. posting consistently at a specific day or time by creating a schedule of posts, staying true to your theme, brand and ultimately yourself. Be consistent in the quality, time and pattern of posts.

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See example in “Brick and Lace – 10 Things to Learn from Michelle Obama

  1. Pictures

Create and edit pictures that align with your brand, theme and enhances your image. You should always create pictures that are clear, attractive, interesting and engaging. Specific details to consider when taking pictures are the resolution, focus points, props, lighting, angles, types of shots, layouts, shots details etc.

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See example in “Fun Facts and Fun Colors

  1. Engage

Engaging with your audience is very important. It’s the only way to find what they need and to get an honest feedback to improve. It is also the only way to find your audience, connect, grow and retain them. Ask questions or have your audience take surveys.

Below is a list of ways to attract and engage with your audience

  1. Use great pictures and captions to connect and engage with your audience e.g. share something new, different, ask a question, have a call to action etc.
  2. Use numbers and emojis to make the caption more interesting and break up long sentences to make it easier to read.
  3. Share the story or cause behind the image or purpose behind the content
  4. Share some humor, inspire others
  5. Use appropriate Hashtags to target you audience. Use 15-30 hashtags and be strategic by having some broad and some specific hashtags related to people with a similar interest. This increases your visibility to people with a similar interest and help you grow.
  6. Engage by liking, commenting, having conversations and following other peoples that you genuinely like. You should also respond quickly, answer questions and give audience options on how to connect with you.
  7. Thank people that feature or tag you. Also engage with followers that like your content or a similar one and are in your niche/industry.
  8. Socialize, network and collaborate with other people like bloggers and brands in your industry and niche.
  9. Geotag your posts to attract people in the same location.
  10. Connect all your social media platforms with your website and share content across all platforms
  11. Engage with new and old audience right after a post
  12. Advertise through social media, affiliates and brand ambassadors
  13. Use videos like Instagram story, boomerangs to engage better with audience and make it more fun.
  14. Host contests and do giveaways to appreciate your followers and motivate people to engage.

See example in “Being a Boss in Heels – A Modern and Classic Look

Instagram like any other social media platform should supplement your blog or business. Each IG post should send traffic to blog by redirecting audience to get more details, shop the look, register etc.

Remember that the goal is quality over quantity. Stay true to your brand, theme and quality of content. Also use storytelling to create an emotional connection between your audience and your brand, products, services or cause. It’s not about how many followers, but how much of an impact you make in someone’s life.

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See example in ‘ModChic Couture Summer Style

 

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