Three Lessons from Instagram Influencers
In a previous article, we briefly mentioned how to work with Instagram influencers to grow your following. We’ve talked about the difference between using macro and micro influencers and which is best suited to represent your brand. Today, we want to talk about what to do if you don’t have the resources to hire an agency to handle your social media or an influencer to market your product, but want to have a strong presence on Instagram. Here are some lessons you can learn from influencers to grow your own brand.
First, develop your brand. Who are you? What do you do? The most common influencers are content creators or bloggers in specific sectors. Karlee Andrews (@madamandrews) is a “fashion lover & mama to be.” Her content, like most influencers, contains mostly lifestyle shots. She does focus on style, however, as she claims to be a fashion lover in her description. The key is to determine who you are, and then provide content that follows your personal description. Similarly, your captions have to be relevant to your content and personal brand. Instagram influencers have realized that Instagram is like a mini blog. The captions are usually concise and witty, with occasional longer posts that are more personal. This helps to build your voice on your account. Liza Koshy (@lizakoshy), for example, usually writes short, funny captions, since she first became famous as Vine star. One of her recent posts, however, featured this caption:
“i know i have a boyfriend but i can’t stop staring at my hot date to the VMA’s tonight. thanks for looking so good next to me mommy. i’m jealous dad got dibs on you first. Thanks to my @trl for letting me show her off! and thanks to @sergiohudson for making me look almost as good as my date.”
This personal post is longer and more personal than most of her captions, but it shows an intimate side of her life and family. This is much different than the next post, which read:
oh hey revolution, me too
Having your own voice is important, but like Liza Koshy has shown, it’s also important to have diversity in your captions to show that voice more clearly.
Having a theme is essential to being an influencer. It shows consistency, which is something people look for in content. Developing a color scheme makes your content more attractive and shows consistency in your work. A quick way to determine your current color scheme is to go to colorkuler.com. By inputting your Instagram username, the site analyzes your photos to determine if there is any color scheme. Our Instagram account, @nuvisocial, has a dark olive green color scheme.
If we wanted to keep this scheme up, we would curate our content to follow the colors provided in the color palette. Otherwise, we could create a new scheme using color.adobe.com. This site allows you to play with colors on the color wheel and create your own schemes. The wheel has options to automatically select complimentary colors, shades, compound colors, etc. to create the best color schemes possible.
Rather than create your own theme, it is also possible to hire a content creator to rebrand your work. Erica Kopp (@stay__co) has a well-developed brand but also helps to rebrand other accounts. Recently, she has created content for Annie Pugmire (@annies.c.a.k.e.s). Erica’s content features clean whites and neutrals, which Annie has started to incorporate more into her business account for her cakes.
Finding someone to help you brand like Erica can help take your content to the next level, although it is also important to take high-quality images. An iPhone can take a high-quality photo, but it can also take a terrible photo. It is important to curate your images and only post the high-quality photos. Watch a youtube video if needed to learn the best lighting for photos and the rule of thirds. Download a couple of editing apps, rather than use Instagram’s filters. Snapped, for example, is a great editing app for a beginner and is very user-friendly. Having great photos that follow your theme will make your account more appealing to potential followers.
To get your brand out there, work with other brands, both business and personal. As referenced in a previous article, other influencers can help grow your brand. Collaboration helps create new content for your account, as well as showcases your work on other accounts. This can apply to working with other individuals, or even companies. Maddy Corbin (@maddycorbin) labels herself as a “content artist / self-branding educator” in her Instagram bio. She regularly works with both Urban Outfitters and Darling Magazine to create content for them. For Urban Outfitters, she features some of their clothing and apartment wares in her photography. For Darling Magazine, she contributes various lifestyle photos to use in blog articles.
This promotes her work to new audiences and allows her to expand her portfolio. To get large contracts like these, it’s important to grow your following to attract attention, but it doesn’t hurt to practice either. Using branded content in your photos and tagging them can help gain exposure. More than likely, big brands like Kate Spade or the NFL won’t notice if you’ve tagged them, but having branded content shows your ability to incorporate it into your content. This will lead the way to the potential for contracted posts with smaller brands, and eventually bigger brands.
Growing your brand can be intimidating; however, following these simple tips can help. Being a recognized brand is more than just gaining followers. It’s more about developing and curating your content to make a more visually appealing and interesting. Followers will come, but only if you actually put effort into your content. By doing so, you can spread your brand awareness and increase your customer base.