Running an Instagram account for a brand can be much harder than for an individual. Ultimately, you’re there to raise brand awareness and sell your products – but you don’t want to come across too ‘salesy’ or other users won’t be interested. To have a successful Instagram account for your brand, you have to think about what people want to see and give them what they want. Ultimately, you have to show your personality.
No-one wants to follow an account that just shows generic product photos. Your followers want to feel inspired and get to know the aesthetic of your brand. They’ll decide if they want to follow you in a matter of seconds, usually based on the look of the top nine photos on your grid. You need to entice them in by making it immediately clear what your brand is all about.
There’s nothing wrong with sharing your product on your Instagram feed – you just have to make it exciting. If your product photography is beautifully shot and styled, on brand and adhering to your chosen aesthetic, then flood your grid with it. You could create a beautifully laid-out feed, full of images from your own photoshoots that show off your products perfectly. But to grow a large following and to convert likes into sales, you have to let your personality shine through.
How much personality you want to put into your Instagram is up to you. You may wish to style your products in your own home (@ingredientsldn), to share photographs of yourself wearing the garments that you sell (@ren.london) or to display the aesthetic of your brand through photos of your day-to-day life (@yoli_and_otis). All of the above work really well if you’re happy being the face of your brand – but what if you’d rather keep your private life separate?
It can be particularly challenging for brands selling homeware to inject personality into their feeds. You want the focus to be on the furniture and home accessories that you sell, so you don’t want to introduce people into your photographs to distract from the products. The easiest way to get around this problem is to zoom in. If you are holding a mug, a bouquet of flowers or a wicker basket – focus the photograph around the object but allow an arm or even just a hand to enter into the frame. Simply by holding an item, rather than shooting it sat on a surface, you can inject more personality while keeping the focus on the product.
Stories are a great place for introducing more personality. If you’d prefer that the content on your grid was kept to product - @pfcandleco and @elizsuzann are two great examples of brands that perfectly utilise their Stories to share behind the scenes content. Elizabeth Suzann shares fun videos of their staff wearing their favourite garments, demonstrate the fit of their clothes through video content and offer styling tips – all available to view on their Highlights. P.F Candles have a similar approach, sharing video content behind the scenes in their warehouse and introductions to their team.
You also need to think about your captions and how you respond to comments. Stay away from sounding like a salesperson and adopt a more open and friendly demeanour. Ask questions, use informal language and don’t be afraid to inject a little humour into your captions. When you respond to comments, reply as a person, not as a brand. Go out of your way to engage with other feeds, leaving relevant comments that will help people to see the person behind the brand. Other users will be more likely to engage with you if they feel like they are talking to a real human being.
Ultimately, you need to let go of any delusions that you can treat Instagram like a look-book or catalogue for your brand. Yes, this is the place to show your best photographs and to get your product out there – but the majority of Instagram users don’t like advertisements being thrown in their face. A little personality is all that it takes to make your feed more relatable.
Five Easy Ways to Add Personality to your Instagram
1) Show your products in real-life situations (yourself or a model wearing your clothes, furniture displayed in a home, vases filled with flowers, etc.).
2) Include relevant content of your daily life (if you’re a florist, share a photo from a flower market or if you have a shop, share a video tour).
3) Share a little bit of yourself in your photos – even if it’s just your hand holding one of your products.
4) Utilise your Stories to solve any questions your followers may have (how to style products, how sizing works, etc.).
5) Write captions and comments like a real person, not like a marketing handbook.
Words by Emma Lavelle
Image by @drcuerda