Just grow your followers and you’ll be set! If you’ve found yourself a victim of this not-terribly-helpful advice, don’t worry – Zebra 360 Online Marketing is here to help you make the very best of your Instagram channel for your personal brand simply and creatively, in a way that will build your efforts successfully without compromising your personal information or brand identity.

Quality over quantity

Especially among young Instagram followers and channels aiming at the youth market, there’s a misapprehension that all you need are followers and the rest will happen for you. In a market that can be saturated with unproductive follows and spam-bots, the reality is a little different. Quality will always win out over quantity- and that goes for what you post too. Having 100 people productively engaging with each and every post you have will have a far greater impact on your channel, profile and identity over time than scoring 1000 followers who don’t consume your content.

What does quality content mean in this day and age? Content is the proverbial KING! Every post you share, once out there, is out there for good- there’s no ‘take-backsies’ on the internet. Even deleting it on your channel won’t be able to halt its spread. This means it’s important every post is authentic, in-line with your brand stance and personality, and contains only information relevant to the channel and its content. No personal rants, no derogatory-laced snap responses (even to trolls) and no content you (and your grandmother) wouldn’t be proud of. Each and every post should offer value to your followers, be of interest to them, and carry your brand name proudly into the digital world.

Don’t buy followers!

Not now, not ever. The long-term damage to your identity a stream burdened with spam-bots, hacked accounts and fake accounts (and let’s face it, that’s all these ‘purchases’ net you) will always far outweigh that temporary glowing feeling from seeing subscriber numbers tick over. Not only that, but if you’re a younger person trying for an up-and-coming Instagram stardom, these fake buys will bring you nothing but trouble in the form of people attempting scams and identity theft you likely aren’t worldly enough yet to handle. One legitimate follower whose interest you have piqued with stellar content will always be worth 1000 bought subscriptions.

Keep posts balanced and regular

Instagram is a slightly different creature from other social media platforms. Posting more than once a day is seen as spamming behaviour. However, ensure content appears daily, or every second day, to keep your channel freshly in the eyes of your followers and conversations working to build your personal brand.

Communicate with your followers

Don’t just shout in the wilderness! Building a successful Instagram following needs you to engage with people, and that includes responding to comments you receive (even if it’s just with a quick emoji, provided it suits your brand identity). People want to know you are a real person and build a sense of community with you. Follow those whom you aspire to be like and those that post rich, relevant content you enjoy. Don’t just blindly ‘follow’ people- opt for those who present an image and ‘speak the language’ you want for your own brand identity.

Use your hashtags and your time wisely

They’re there for a reason! Click on hashtags you use and see what else people are posting on the subject, and don’t forget to interact with that content too! You want to prove you are a live, interesting channel, not an empty container for bland promotional content. Of course, you need to use the right hashtags when posting your own content, too- and always check their context, don’t just ‘assume’ what they are referring too. Some image-wrecking disasters have started that way!

In short, if you’re looking to cultivate a happy, productive Instagram image, you need to spend some time on the platform enjoying it. It’s your personal brand you’re building, after all! Spend some time each day commenting, discussing and talking to people in comments on your content and relevant other channels so you build a true image as an influential, reliable and approachable source.

How do I keep safe on Instagram?

Of course, in an age where almost any personal information can be found within a few clicks, it’s critical to ensure your channel is set up to keep you safe. Growing your personal brand on Instagram safely (and with style) is an important part of the game. For younger brand influencers (think the 13-21 range), it is well worth going ‘private’, so no one can follow you without permission. This gives you the perfect opportunity to scope them out before tying your channel to them. Older users may be more comfortable with open subscriptions, but it’s still worth checking out people who follow you and employing the ‘block’ feature if you feel it is safer.
Be sure to keep your geo-locations broad, too. Never make the error of pinning your home address on Instagram, and opt instead for your province or town, or even a well-known local meeting point like a popular mall. Keep any and all discussion of your schooling, varsity or work (and extracurricular activities) under wraps- no one needs to know where you hang around when you aren’t building your Instagram brand. Even on a private account, the risks to your personal safety are too strong.

It’s perfectly possible to build a strong, thriving Instagram personal brand from the ground up, and do so in a way that keeps you safe and your private life private too. Remember, the Zebra 360 Online Marketing team are always here to help boost you on the way to success!