Instafamous: How to Build a Personal Brand on Instagram

Author Clodagh O'Brien

Perhaps more than any other social media platform, Instagram offers you the opportunity to really create a buzz. 

Connecting to like-minded people who share an interest and want to see more of the same information allows you a rare opportunity to gain followers that will love you. 

That said, it still takes some skill and thought to stand out from the potentially hundreds of others accounts they are following. Here are some tips to help you become Instafamous. 

Get Strategic on Instagram

Like any of your other marketing efforts, you want to get creative on your Instagram account. Outline a plan and strategy by considering the following factors:

  • Goals & Objectives: As with any marketing strategy you have to decide what you want to achieve with your account. Is it getting some email addresses, web visits, brand awareness, sales, or something else altogether? Determining your goals will help you come up with your content.
  • Your Target: You will also want to consider your ideal target, as this will also help you develop your content plan as well as show you what types of Instagram accounts you should be following.
  • Finding Your Niche: Choosing a niche will allow you to focus on how to become the go-to for whatever you are selling. Look at your competition to see where they see themselves. Niche it up, and you will become a thought leader people want to listen to.
  • Planned Content: Set out a schedule so you can remain consistent with regular posts. You also want to have a plan to determine what you will post, how often, and when. Your program should also include the hashtags you will use for each post.
  • Assessment: Make sure you are taking the time to track your results including comments, likes, followers, traffic, conversions, and any changes in sales.

Brand It Well

The better you know your brand, the easier this step gets. You need to understand who you are and where you are coming from to come up with the best way to draw people into your world. Play-Doh has branding down pat

They know who their audience and customers are and keep them intrigued with their posts every day. You need to show followers value, not just with your products and services, but with the content that they will be looking at. You want them to say, "Hey, I like this! Show me more." However, you don't want to get caught up in trying to be too unique so that people can't figure you out.

Play-Dog Instagram

Don’t forget that your branding should remain consistent across all your marketing efforts, so your tone and manner should not differ from any of the other marketing you have done or are doing. Be consistent with your branding colors, fonts, and logos. Think of what people will see and if they will be intrigued enough to follow you. 

You need to keep things attractive to your audience and make sure your current clients don’t get turned off because you are not staying true to the brand they love. You need a cohesive theme that is clear and concise, so your brand resonates with your customers. 

Don't Forget to Hashtag

Brands get discovered using hashtags. They are the breadcrumbs that lead to your door, site, or service. Learning how to hashtag well will help you get more engagement. Don't be afraid to get inspired by the competition and see what they are using. Hashtags speak to your niche. You can also look at some of the favorite accounts you might follow and see how they are using hashtags. That provides you with some ways to get creative with your hashtagging.

Obvious choices, of course, include your products and services. If you are not yet a hashtag guru, here are some ideas to get inspired:

  • Images you are using
  • Your niche and industry
  • Your expertise
  • Your community or where you might be at an event

Use at least two words in your hashtags when possible and don’t be afraid to zero in on those industry buzzwords. 

Share and Share Alike

The most popular Instagram accounts tend to be people who are prominent in the community who are doing some following of their own. 

Influencers in your own industry and community are a good place to start as this allows others in the community see you engaging with them. It's a world of you like me, and I'll like you, so sharing is essential.

Interestingly, Instagram is the number one Instagram account. How do they do it?

Instagram account on Instagram

They leverage the very best accounts and share their posts repeatedly. You don’t want to be perceived as the stuck-up account with no time for others. You have to forge relationships by supporting others in the community. 

You can do that by liking and commenting in a positive manner, which lets people see you and helps to say, “See, I’m cool too.” It gives you that much-needed street cred and then gets people curious to see what you are all about. Once they get to see you, they will want to follow you too and soon find your value.

Be careful not to get carried away with sharing. Always make sure it is relevant to your brand so that you keep your followers engaged in the story you are trying to tell. If you love puppies so be it, but if puppies have nothing to do with the jeans you are selling, keep the puppies to yourself. 

Keep It Up, Keep It Engaging

Social media can be a challenge and takes time. You have to be on Instagram constantly, so you can be consistent and active for people to see you. It takes effort. Post at least once a day using valuable and interesting posts. And mentioned, it’s a two-way street, so you also have to keep up with the likes and comments for the accounts you are following and that are following you.

Instagram is a high-profile platform where visibility and participation are everything. Remain consistent and keep up with your posting in order to remain top of mind. Chanel is one of the top-rated Instagram accounts

Chanel on Instagram

They use historical references to not only Coco, the founder of the brand, but fashion flashbacks that keep fashionistas engaged. Keep things exciting and make sure your posts have everything needed to engage your followers including:

  • Images: Excellent quality imagery is a must to keep people interested. Images should match your brand and intrigue and entice curiosity.
  • Location: Tag your business location or an event your company is holding to boost engagement.
  • Captions & Text: Remember the eight-second rule for attention, so write clear captions that are engaging and unmistakable in their messaging.
  • Call-to-action: Get those clicks and shares.
  • Hashtags: A must, to keep you attracting new fans.
  • Engage: Do unto others as you would have them do unto you, and keep those comments coming to encourage others to do the same to you.

Call for Engagement

This aspect of Instagram is crucial. You want to add some form of a question that will get people engaged in your posts. It may not need to be done for every post, but you should do it often. Asking a question is the easiest way to get people engaging with your posts.

 Here are some ideas:

  • Do you prefer rain or snow?
  • List a few items or images and ask: Which do you like best 1, 2 or 3?
  • Ask them to use a specific emoji to show they liked your post or found your post helpful.
  • Ask a yes or no question.
  • Give them a scale of 1 to 10 about a new product.

Get them to tag a friend they think should see your post. 

Be Neighborly

Instagram is very 'nichey' and community-based. It is a good thing as it helps you to foster relationships with other accounts that have the same aesthetics and interests. 

You can create relationships to leverage other followers and see if you can come up with creative ways to keep your connections. Some people will start a story that is continued on another account. Doing this encourages people to follow you and encourages others in your community to see you as a team player. You, of course, will need to put some effort into these cross promos and reach out to the accounts that you want to work with, but it can prove to be worth it in the end.

If your budget allows, consider using influencer marketing. These micro-influencers have tens of thousands of followers and provide strong community exposure. Because you have to pay to access an influencer’s audience, try it out first to see if it increases engagement and enhances your reach. 

You can also look for obvious increases in traffic and conversions, not to mention sales. 

Final thoughts

Instagram is the best social media platform to give an inside peek into what your business is all about. You can share posts about events you have held, especially if they have strong ties to the community. 

Nike is a perfect example of how to engage followers. They use motivational ads to inspire performance that works both on and off the court, so to speak. Charity events, points in the news, and even a story about a staff member all add a human touch to your business. You still have to maintain your brand tone and manner but tell stories that help people see your value in an intimate way.

Use these tips, and it won’t be long before you become Instafamous. 

Clodagh O'Brien
Senior Content Specialist