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How To Define Your Brand Presence And Voice On Instagram

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Social Media Manager at Hunker.com, Lacey Won, shares her best tips and tricks for crafting an Instagram brand identity that stands out above the crowd.

Hunker.com prides itself on helping first timers improve their homes through inspiring home tours, practical solutions, and actionable design advice. The site’s Instagram account currently boasts the highest engagement rate (6%) amongst competitors in the home design space, a large part of which is attributed to a consistent voice and look across post types, developing credibility by utilizing Stories features to their fullest potential, leveraging user-generated content, and increasing visibility of the Hunker brand by engaging with the audiences of its competition.

Here’s a breakdown of some of the takeaways Lacey Won, Social Media Manager for Hunker.com, shared at SMWLA:

Achieving a cohesive aesthetic & voice

In the digital age where most people are consuming content via a mobile device, brands only have a few moments to hook their audience. For this reason, devoting time and effort towards messaging is critical if to creating a highly engaged and loyal on-platform community For Hunker.com, Won says a key ingredient to achieving this is creating and crafting an on-brand cohesive aesthetic and voice and maintaining that throughout your Feed and Stories that’s authentic to your business. Bare in mind, people tend to experience these differently, so having specific strategies for each one is a piece of actionable insight Won offered.

The first step? Deciding on a look and defining it clearly. You can use your company’s website as reference point, like she does with Hunker. If this isn’t applicable, simply aim to lean on the mission and values of your brand and and convey that visually. A best practice as you build out your platform with content is to have a way to preview it before making it public. For Won, using a planning grid or tools like Adobe Photoshop are viable options so you can gauge how what you’ve created will fit in with the story you’re trying to portray.

Once you’ve locked down your aesthetic, it’s time to find your voice. Your voice should be tailored to your target audience, so it is imperative to understand their wants, needs, and what compels them to engage with your brand. Consistency is an important characteristic because ultimately, this is what dictates your brand identity and establish it in the eyes of consumers as a business entity. To ensure this for Hunker, Won asks herself “is what I’m putting out there an accurate reflection of our mission and aesthetic in some way, shape, or form? Is what I’m saying literally or visually matching what we’re saying on Hunker.com?” The answers to these should always be yes. If not, consider making some tweaks.

In the same way you’re maintaining this consistent look, feel, and voice on your Feed the same principles should be applied when publishing to Stories. Hunker, for example, focuses on two categories of Stories: traffic-driving, which link out to articles on Hunker.com, and engagement-base which are meant to be engaged with from within the platform.

Engagement and audience building

Won describes that the first and best place to look when trying to boost engagement is your existing audience. This is because they’re already engaged with you and interested. By investing in this group through responding to their and messages, you’ll demonstrate that you notice them and they matter, which in turn will create a stronger incentive to become loyal members of your community.

Another group to interact with as you build your audience is your competitors. By engaging with their content, you boost your visibility and exposure and convey that you’re entering the conversation and are aware of your surroundings within the space. In this vein, interact with your competitors’ audiences. This can beneficial for the reason that if they’re already following your competitors and demonstrate that they like their content, it’s likely they’re also your target audience and what you’re creating will be of interest too. One word of caution with this, as Won shared, is to be mindful of what might be off-brand or considered offensive. Genuity and avoiding cases where you may come across as a bot or spam are additional best practices.

Further, yet another way to drive engagement is asking for user-generated content (UGC) and use it to your advantage. It makes your messaging feel like more of a conversation and they get a sense they’re participating and your benefit, it essentially serves as free advertising. Win-win. If you’re incorporating calls to action (CTAs) in your post with hashtags, strive for specificity. Compared to resorting to broader terms, niche hashtags will help increase your chances of showing in the top posts section of the hashtag page making it easier for people to find you and makes it’s more likely you’ll be discovered by someone not yet aware of your brand.

Instagram Stories: best practices, tips & tricks

If you have a business account with over 10,000 followers, you can use Instagram Stories to swipe up and link out to drive traffic. If this is a goal of yours, Won urges to undergo testing for a full understanding of what compels audience members to click through so your decisions are backed by accurate insights.

Another, less business-oriented way to use Stories is to forge personal connections and facilitate consumption on-platform. Text, tags, videos, gifs, and stickers are a few features the app provides that can be leveraged for this purpose. Further, you can intermix photos and video, feature your team members, give your audience a behind-the-scenes look at what you’re doing, all of which will help them get to know your brand more closely. Not to mention by utilizing these features, you add to your credibility by demonstrating your knowledge of the platform.

Aside from the type of Story, other general tips to consider are always including a CTA in your message, even if it may be subtle such as tossing in an arrow or emoji to direct the viewer’s eyes. Understanding the different time constraints is also essential to anyone looking to improve their use of the platform. On the one hand, a Story photo post is only five seconds long whereas videos can be a maximum of 15 seconds. Regardless, be clear–less is more–but also have fun!

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