Instagram Branding Tips for Small Business


As a small business owner, you know you *should* be on Instagram promoting your products or services and engaging with potential customers to grow your business. But adding small business Instagram management your ever-growing to-do list can be overwhelming. And let’s not even get started on Instagram branding!

If you are already on Instagram, there’s a good chance you’re not being particularly strategic with it. Honestly, who has the time?! But creating a cohesive Instagram brand for your business can really, truly have a profound impact on your Instagram success and your ability to grow your business through this social media channel.

The Impact of Instagram Branding

Think for a moment about your favorite Instagram feeds - the ones you go back to again and again to see the latest updates, or the ones where you spend forever scrolling through their posts. What do they have in common? Chances are - they’re *professional.* They’ve got great imagery, they use beautiful photographs, they have a color scheme and a put-together layout. When you look at the feed as a whole, it just looks nice - and it’s clear that this is a feed that had a lot of thought put into it.

When you look at your own feed, does it say the same thing to your visitors? If not, then these Instagram branding tips are for you!

The good news is, creating a cohesive Instagram brand doesn’t have to be hard, and it won’t take up all your time. Even better? These simple changes will have a profound impact on your Instagram success! I’ve done this work for clients and seen their amazing results.

Instagram Branding Tips for Small Business

1. Be consistent in your messaging.

This doesn’t mean post about the same thing every day. It means knowing your overall brand story, your business goals and the actions you want your followers to take, and ensuring each post that you share ties into this mission. You don’t want to just get the most followers possible, you want to find the followers who truly want what you offer. Having a consistent message will help do that.

2. Use brand fonts and colors.

If you don’t already have a visual brand for your business - that’s step one. Select company fonts and company colors and use them in *everything*, including your Instagram feed. Need to learn more about small business branding? Check out my services page all about this (there’s even a free download with tips!).

3. Pay close attention to your imagery.

While Instagram was first designed to be an in-the-moment app, if you’re using Instagram for small business you want to be a little more intentional. Ensure that the photos you share all have a similar color scheme, similar lighting and similar filters. Sharing one black and white photo, one sepia photo, one bright photo with lots of contrast and one faded, over-exposed photo will not give you a cohesive look.

4. Get set up with Instagram templates.

I’m a huge advocate for Canva - a free online graphic design tool that seriously anyone can use. If you upgrade to their paid version (for just over $10 per month), this tool becomes even more powerful, allowing you to set up a brand studio complete with colors, fonts and templates for social media posts. Create yourself a few templates for the kinds of posts you often use (think: quotes, tips, photo overlays, etc) and use your brand colors. Use these templates often to create a cohesive look throughout your feed. You’ll also save yourself TONS of time.

5. Use your logo.

You probably spent a lot of time or a lot of money on creating a beautiful logo for your company. Don’t be shy about using it! I like to place my logo at the bottom of a lot of my photos and posts. That way, if the photo is shared outside of Instagram, my business gets credit whether I am tagged or not. It also helps your followers immediately recognize your work when it pops up in their scrolling.

6. Select a layout.

Using the tips above will go a long way toward creating a professional, cohesive Instagram feed. But if you really want to stand out, I recommend selecting a specific type of layout for your posts. There are a lot of different ways to do this (I love this super comprehensive post full of examples). One popular layout is a checkerboard, alternating between a white background post (typically text-based) and a colored post (a photo or one of those templates you created).

7. Show your face.

Don’t be shy, business owner! When you’re an entrepreneur, you ARE your business. And the fact is, people don’t connect with photos of pretty offices or products. They connect with other people. If you’re not sharing photos of yourself and your team, you’re missing out on engagement. You don’t need to invest in professional photos (although that is a great option!). It can be as simple as investing in an iPhone tripod, getting yourself outside or in a brightly lit room, picking out a cute outfit and putting on your best Instagram fake laugh.

8. Tell your story.

Yes, you want to share your products and services, but if you only sell on Instagram, you won’t gain the engaged audience that really leads to business growth. It’s not enough to share pretty pictures of yourself - you need to tell a story. Talk about why your started your business, what drew you to this field, why your business brings you joy. Tell your story and you’ll build a more engaged - and more invested - follower base.

9. Plan ahead.

To really create a cohesive Instagram brand, you need to plan ahead. It’s too hard to stay cohesive when you’re posting at the last minute and figuring out your posts day to day. Yes, it’s great to have the flexibility to post when something exciting or interesting comes up - and planning ahead does NOT mean you can’t still do this. But spending an hour planning your Instagram posts for the week will make it much easier to stay on track with Instagram branding and will save you tons of time and energy.

I like to use the Plann app to play around with post layouts to figure out what looks best and I use Buffer to actually schedule and post my content.

10. Don’t overlook your Instagram Stories.

I know, I know - *another* thing to think about. Instagram stories may seem like not a big deal, but your stories can reach a totally different audience than your main feed, and can help your existing audience get to know you better. Stories are a great place to post reminders about sales, new offerings or other special offers. They’re also a great place to share more of yourself and behind-the-scenes looks at your business.

While stories are often a bit more casual, I still always suggest trying to keep them as on-brand as possible. Create yourself some story templates in Canva that use your brand colors, fonts and logo to save time and keep the look and feel of your stories consistent. Use Instagram’s Story Highlight feature to promote your best story posts right in your bio.

Getting Started with Instagram Branding

With this simple Instagram branding checklist you’ll be well on your way to Instagram domination. I know it seems like a lot, but with a little work upfront, your Instagram management will become faster, easier and more professional.

If this still seems like too much on your already full plate, then let’s talk! I regularly take on this work for clients and it’s one of my favorite parts of my business. I can get you set up with Instagram branding guides and templates, and even take on the day-to-day management of your Instagram and other social media accounts.

Let’s chat!