How to Build a Brand on Instagram: 10 Steps to Take

By today’s standards, people will question your legitimacy if they can’t find you on Instagram. With 2 billion users who spend time on the platform, Instagram is one of the platforms your potential customers will use to learn more about your business and decide whether it’s worth their patronage. 

Plus, the platform has various tools and features to help you establish a strong presence and build a brand on Instagram that leads to business growth. So if you haven’t opened an account, this is your sign to grow your brand on Instagram

Why Should You Build a Brand on Instagram?

Instagram has been around for over a decade now. While it was considered groundbreaking with its square photo-only feature during its early days, many apps have been introduced to compete with the platform since then. 

But despite the competition from the likes of TikTok and Snapchat, Instagram has been consistent in introducing more features not only for regular users to enjoy but to help businesses build a brand on the platform. 

Here’s why you should consider Instagram branding

  • Instagram is one of the fastest-growing social media platforms with the most engaged user base – Instagram has an average annual growth rate of 6.83%, and it’s predicted to grow by a whopping 38.46% between 2020 and 2025. That’s an expected increase of about 400 million users in just five years. 
  • Instagrammers love communicating with brands in-app – Instagram users don’t just follow brands on Instagram to view their content. The social media giant is also the second most popular platform after Facebook.  
  • People use Instagram for product discovery and research – According to data from Instagram, 70% of shoppers use the platform to discover new products and services. 

Through the years, Instagram has evolved from a social media platform for friends into a powerful marketing tool where businesses can connect with customers. 

Start analyzing your Instagram performance

A Step-by-Step Guide on How to Build a Brand on Instagram

1. Set Up a Descriptive Business Instagram Profile

Before publishing your first post, it’s crucial to set up a business profile and unlock business-specific features and tools like contact buttons, advanced insights, and much more.

When you work on your Instagram profile, pay close attention to the most important aspect of your Instagram account — your IG bio.

You only have 150 characters to summarize what your brand is all about. Make sure to be as descriptive as possible. Remember: your bio is the first thing visitors see on your profile. What first impression do you want to make? 

While there is no right way to craft a bio, here are some ideas that work for most companies: 

  • Describe what your brand does and how you can help your customers
  • Include a catchy one-liner
  • Write about your mission vision (if it can fit) 
  • Add emojis that encapsulate your brand personality

Don’t forget to include keywords that are relevant to your business so that you can appear on search results.  

Take a look a look at Drunk Elephant’s profile: 

drunk elephant instagram profile

It’s also helpful to include a keyword to your username or name, which will help you rank on search. For example, if you’re a skincare brand, your username can be  

Pro tip: Before setting up your Instagram business profile, do social media competitor research to find out what works best for other customers who have an interest in your niche and get inspiration. 

2. Develop an Instagram Content Strategy 

Building a brand on Instagram requires a well-thought-out social media strategy. Before diving into the exciting part, which is content creation, you need to:

  • Define your objectives – Knowing your objectives can guide you in creating relevant content that moves your audience to action. Without starting with objectives, your efforts can quickly go to waste. 
  • Understand your target audience – Having a deep understanding of your target audience — knowing what type of content they enjoy, their interests and hobbies, and the kinds of brands and personalities they admire — can help you craft content that resonates with them.  
  • Choose a theme – Having a theme for a month or during a campaign period can help you stay consistent both visually and through your messaging and therefore help your Instagram branding.
  • Plot your calendar – Content calendars enable you to visualize what your grid will look like in advance. With the right tools, you can also schedule your post during peak hours. 
content calendar example

Content calendar example, source

Pro tip: Use or alternatives so you and your team can collaborate and brainstorm your social media content strategy in real time. 

3. Decide on Your Brand Tone of Voice

While it’s true that Instagram is all about visuals, the tone of voice is still one of the most distinctive characteristics that can set you apart from competitors. Your tone of voice is your style of communicating with your audience. It could be casual, friendly, authoritative, or formal — your options are endless! 

The way you communicate with your audience doesn’t just show your personality, but it also dictates customer perception. Your tone of voice can be expressed through the use of emojis, in captions, through direct messages, and any opportunity to interact with your audience. All in all, it should be an important part of your Instagram marketing strategy when you build a brand on Instagram.

Cult-favorite Glossier has perfected its young and relatable tone of voice, using the right balance of emojis and straightforward yet punchy captions. 

Glossier Tone of Voice instagram

Your business communication style helps customers think of you beyond just a brand. Instead, you can be a friend, a coach, a teacher, and whoever you want to be. This also enables you to build a deeper connection with your audience and turn prospects into clients

4. Create a Cohesive Instagram Feed

Before launching a brand on Instagram, you should already have a brand book, which includes important branding examples and elements like fonts, logos, and colors. Use these branding elements in your feed through filters and some pops of color. 

To promote its neon collection, Away added pink and green accents to its Instagram photos. This is a break from Away’s monochromatic and toned=down feed, which follows its original line of products and sleek branding. 

away instagram profile

Away Instagram profile

It’s important to note that using logos and hard-sell branding elements is discouraged on Instagram feed content. Instead, your Instagram branding should stand out without disrupting the scrolling experience of your audience. 

To find more visuals for your feed, you can also turn to your loyal customers and encourage them to create fan-made content for you. Then, you can sign a social media release form and use these visuals on your profile as it helps to scale content creation and build brand loyalty.

Pro tip: To create a cohesive feed, it’s important to plan your content in advance, so using social media scheduling tools can be a great solution.

5. Leverage the Power of Instagram Videos

Short-form videos are considered the most engaging type of content on social media. Reels, in particular, have been highlighted by Instagram as its flagship feature, with its algorithm prioritizing brands and creators who post more Reels content. 

Instagram Reels even have a separate discovery page where users can find content relevant to their interests. 

One way to boost your brand on Instagram and Instagram branding is to post more high-quality Reels. It’s also a great idea to use trending audio to reach a broader audience and stay relevant. 

One way to ensure that the algorithm works in your favor is to be consistent about the type of content you post. This way, Instagram can recommend your videos to valuable audiences. 

Stanley brand Instagram profile

Stanley brand Instagram profile

Ever since the news came out that Instagram is prioritizing Reels, many brands have posted more Reels than any other type of content. 

Start analyzing your Instagram performance

6. Use Instagram Branded Hashtags

One effective and practical way to increase your brand’s visibility and engagement is through branded hashtags. 

By creating a unique hashtag that encapsulates your brand’s essence or campaign messaging, you establish a digital footprint that is easily recognizable by your audience. Consistently using your branded hashtags across your posts helps in brand recall, increases visibility, and fosters a sense of community among your Instagram followers

Take, for example, REI’s powerful #OptOutside campaign. While it’s been years since the campaign was launched, Instagram users still continue to use the hashtags today.

REI #OptOutside campaign

REI #OptOutside campaign

As more and more people recognize your brand, you can be more in-your-face about your branded hashtags, like Coca-Cola’s #ShareACoke campaign. 

The great thing about branded hashtags is that they can make your content searchable and are excellent for gathering user-generated content (UGC). However, it’s important to track hashtag performance as this data can help you understand whether your branded hashtag works well or not.

7. Make Good Use of Instagram Stories

Modern users are fond of ephemeral content, so it’s no wonder that Instagram Stories have over 500 million users who watch or create Stories daily. Data from Instagram for Business shows that Instagram Stories lead to higher conversion rates. 

What is more, using Stories can be one of the most effective Instagram lead-generation strategies. With a limited lifespan of 24 hours and special features like links, it’s easier to hook the attention of viewers and encourage them to take action.

One of Instagram Stories’ most popular features is its interactive stickers that allow customers to interact with brands like never before. 

IG Stories

Instagram Stories examples, source

Unlike feed posts that have to be more polished and strictly on-brand, you are encouraged to share the more “unedited” version of yourself on Instagram Stories. This is your opportunity to give people a sneak peek of behind-the-scenes moments and introduce them to the faces behind your brand. 

8. Team up with Relevant Niche Influencers

Influencer marketing campaigns continue to perform better than your typical brand-driven campaigns because most consumers trust influencers more than they trust brands. Partnering with the right influencer can expose you to an engaged audience and build trust among your customers. 

instagram influencer campaign

It’s essential to look for influencers who aren’t just famous. They should also be seen as authorities in your niche. This way, their recommendation has more weight and value. Plus, partnering with big-name influencers is more likely to get you followers rather than converting customers. To build a brand on Instagram with influencers, consider campaign tracking as it’s a proven way to measure your ROI.

9. Invest in Instagram Ad Campaigns

As a small brand, you can’t rely on organic posts to grow on the platform. Your Instagram marketing strategy must include regular ad campaigns to expose your brand to a broader audience and grow your followers. 

instagram ad example

Using Instagram’s powerful targeting tools, you can reach your dream customers, generate inbound leads, drive customers to your website, or simply introduce more people to your brand. Data collected by Instagram shows that 87% of users have taken action after seeing a product in ads. 

With eye-catching creatives and strategic targeting, your small brand can become a global sensation before you know it. 

10. Pay Attention to Instagram Insights and Data

As an Instagram business account, insights and data should be your best friends. Knowing what type of content performs best can help you plan for future campaigns and create content that continues to resonate with your audience. 

To get a better understanding of your content, you can also rely on Sotrender to track your overall performance and get a better picture of how your account is growing. With this tool, not only can you monitor your content performance, but you can also track audience behavior which helps to find what resonates with your target audience best.

top posts analysis

Monitoring Instagram content performance in Sotrender

Start analyzing your Instagram performance

Pro tip: Read an Instagram security guide to learn how you can ensure all data in your account remains safe and secure. 

The Final Word

Building a brand on Instagram has become crucial for businesses, not only to connect with their target audience but also to drive growth and establish their legitimacy. With its ever-growing user base and powerful marketing tools designed for businesses, Instagram is undeniably one of the most powerful platforms for brand building. 

With these tips and a lot of consistency, you can transform your small business into a household name.


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