How to Use Instagram to Build Your Brand

Ah, Instagram. The final frontier (maybe for my mom) but a gold mine of potential. It’s where I post compromising photos of my cat, Ozma, or where my girlfriend showcases her animation portfolio. It’s where online entrepreneurs like you can further advertise what they’re selling online, and it isn’t just because Instagram is photo-based.

What makes Instagram a great addition to the ecommerce world is that it’s built to be personable; because most Instagram profiles belong to individual people, the platform’s developed into a culture of person-to-person communication. Online businesses who successfully use Instagram are able to reflect this laidback culture by welcoming comments and likes, direct messages, and an opportunity to network with their consumers.

With some of Instagram’s more intuitive features, it’s easy to integrate yourself without forcing the issue, and you can start showcasing your product without seeming like an awkward marketing campaign.

Build your online persona.

Because things are more relaxed on Instagram, you can truly be your authentic self when posting about your product. Maybe you have a great sense of humor (like someone else we know) or love using emoji. Feel free to punch up your post’s captions with a joke and a few relevant emoji! Anything that is reflective and enhances your brand will do wonders.

With each post, will come the likes and comments, and while not every comment will need a response, acknowledging followers is a great way to build up a relationship with them. Answering questions and providing communication shows off the integrity of your business, and potential customers will value you that and be more willing to shop.

Master Instagram’s hottest features.

While it’s easy to just share photos and videos, to truly immerse yourself into Instagram (and consequently, get the full exposure you desire) you’ll have to utilize their features. Instagram’s Stories (and the related Live), carousel posting, and the Explore page are some of my favorites.

Stories, taking a cue from Snapchat, last only twenty-four hours, and people use them a little more casually. For a business, it’s a great way to introduce followers to the people behind your business, show off the space where you’re producing your goods, and to have a little fun. The expectation is less of a polished post and more of the human quality behind the business. With Live, found within Stories, you can literally go live and broadcast to your followers, while they have the option to comment as the live video goes along.

The carousel feature, introduced earlier this year, allows users to post multiple pictures in a single post. Pictures are viewed by scrolling through. I love this feature for a number of reasons (going back to my cat, I can post in succession a series of her licking her butt) but business, it’s a great way to showcase several products without posting multiple times, keeping things tidy and not overwhelming followers with back-to-back posts.

Finally, the Explore tab has been kicking it since Instagram was incepted, but it’s lasted for good reasons. Explore connects you with similar profiles, as Instagram pays attention to what you like and search for. The profiles you find through this feature opens a wealth of opportunity: you can network, you can hire people, you can find customers, and you can get inspiration. And guess what? Others who use the Explore feature will be able to discover you too!

It’s easy!

The best part about using a platform like Instagram is that it’s simple… and you’re probably already using it too! Moving from personal to professional use is a piece of cake, and you might find yourself feeling surprised by how stress-free the experience is.

The truth is—everyone’s using social media, and it always has been and always will be your secret weapon. So why not give it your all? Instagram won’t just only boost your store’s traffic, it’ll take your followers and make them customers for life.