6.21.2017

How to Use Instagram to Elevate Your Brand



A few folks have asked for the notes from my presentation from last Friday for The Baltimore Business Journal. So I've done one better—here are the take-aways from my talk.
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This is my car, the one my husband found for me last October. It's a red Mini Cooper Countryman, and as I soon found out—it's the only one like it in all of Garrett County. I told the story of how I was stopped by a gentleman in a restaurant and asked about the car. He proceeded to tell me he had “seen me around.” This has now happened to me several times!

Creepy, right?!?

The reason I told this story is because, as anyone in marketing can tell you, we all have brands. We have personal brands, and we have company brands. My Mini Cooper has become part of my personal brand in Garrett County, but also is in line with my CurlyRed brand, because, duh, it’s red, but also it’s well-designed and memorable.

Instagram can be used much the same way.


When we moved, I decided, without a lot of intention, to post one picture a day to my Instagram feed. Now I’m up to day 294. Each day I find something beautiful or interesting to photograph. As you’ve seen, I even add a quote in Photoshop from time to time. Posting each day to Instagram helps to remind myself why we moved here, espeically on the days when the weather is less than ideal or I find myself face-to-face with homesickness.

Capturing new sights and adventures on my Instagram feed has led to the doubling of the size of my following. So I also occasionally feature CurlyRed work we create that I’m especially proud of—like this new website for a custom woodworking shop in Maryland.

Ok, Kendall, that’s nice and all, but what about me? How can Instagram help me?

I adore Instagram. It’s my favorite social media platform by far. I love that it’s primarily visual. I love that (for the most part) it has side-stepped much of the nonsense you find these days on Facebook. Over 600 million people are currently using Instagram, with 400 million of those users on the site daily.  55 percent of all 18- to 29-year-olds in the United States are using Instagram, but the platform has a broad age range in usage, unlike some other platforms.

BUT—I DON'T love that Instagram allows advertising. I don’t like how it messes with my user experience. Every bit of building my following has come organically from my content.

That being said, In March 2017, over 120 million Instagrammers visited a website, got directions, called, emailed, or direct messaged to learn about a business based on an Instagram ad. So it clearly works. If you are interested in building your brand or investing money on Instagram, let’s look at some best practices:



 This might go without saying, but your content MUST be visually compelling.
The copy should be the support, but the photo or video content must tell the story.




Tag People Involved. If this is a collaboration with other individuals or companies,
tag them to increase exposure and share the love.


Use Hashtags Often. This is the best way to get discovered by others,
and should be related to your content. A branded hashtag is a hashtag that’s
unique to your business. It can be as simple as your company name, tagline,
or the name of one of your products or campaigns.


Use Geo Locations. This is another way to get discovered,
espeically if you're a small business local for local customers.
Image Carousels. If you’re going to advertise,
it’s a great way to feature multiple products. 




Instagram Stories ads. This feature changes the way Instagram
users interact with ads—allowing users to feel like they’re in the ad.


Instagram Insights (business accounts only). 
Analytics are good for tracking what's working and what's not working.
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I hope these tips have been helpful! If you need additional help taking your
Instagram presence to the next level, please contact us.

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