Should I brand my Instagram feed?
One of the most popular questions I get about Instagram is should the feed be branded and or not?
Truth talk: it doesn’t matter.
Plan the look. Don’t plan the look. Either way, make the deliberate decision and then commit to it.
My personal preference is that if you have a personal brand or are an organization/business it’s best to choose to create a cohesive look that reflects your brand image.
When you’re an organization/business, everything that your audience sees should reflect a similar style, aesthetic, and feeling so that when your audience sees you, they immediately know it’s you.
It’s like when you see a post on Facebook, want to send it to a certain friend, and then realize that it’s that friend that shared it.
Brand recognition is fabulous.
Does this take a little more thought and effort to create? Obviously.
But guess what? Marketing takes more effort period so you may as well channel that in good ways.
Related side note: for a little while now I’ve seen some marketing experts say that the planned feed and/or super-cohesive look is on its way out.
Those people also still have branded and cohesive feeds soooooooo...
For my brand, I’ve created an alternating feed because 1) I dig the way it looks and 2) the separation allows me to be a little less strict in choosing photos that fit brand. You can better get away with “close but not quite” in an alternating feed.
More cohesion. Less effort. Hooray!
(And while it takes a touch more effort to plan out the alternating squares, it’s still less overall time than when I needed my photos to be 100% on-brand so it still works out as a win from time/energy/productivity perspective.)
Things to think about as you decide on the branding and creation of your Instagram feed:
Consistent posting is key - which way will best facilitate that for you? Will the restrictions of curating the look make it easier or harder for you to post consistently?
When someone looks at your feed, they should be able to tell who you are and what you do by the first 9ish or so squares. Does a quick scroll best showcase and properly describe you and/or your organization?
If you decide to go with a branded/cohesive feed, one of the easiest ways to help is to use the base colors, and/or same/similar filters and settings for all of your photos. This naturally brings cohesion to your photos.
If you’re afraid that all the branding and cohesion will remove your ability for spontaneity, remember that you also have the stories option. Branded feed and unbranded stories is a popular choice of many organizations. (Including me!)
And really, here’s the solid truth when we’re talking cohesive branding of a performing arts feed:
It’s going to be a c-h-a-l-l-e-n-g-e.
Different shows have different looks so you’ll need to put in some extra thought, effort, and creativity to bring everything together visually. If you host some artist takeovers (which I highly recommend) there will most likely be some disruption in the look. (Unless you work with them to keep their posts on your brand.)
Not saying it can’t be done - many larger companies are doing it beautifully - just know up front that it takes some extra effort. (Which isn’t a bad thing.)
So don’t worry if you don’t want to or can’t maintain a cohesive feed.
Maintain a consistent feed and you’ll be doing great!
One final note: if you choose to go unbranded, please, PLEASE don’t lie about it. I recently saw a profile that said it was a "natural and unplanned Insta." A quick scroll through showed that it was most OBVIOUSLY planned. Plan or don’t plan. Totally cool. What’s not cool is lying about it.
Do you have a cohesive feed or do like to take pics as they come? Share which and why in the comments! Not on Instagram yet? What’s preventing you from checking it out?
Is all of this a foreign language? Contact me today and we’ll walk through it together, decide if it’s a good option for your organization, and get you all set up!