Graduate Blog / Graduate Life

Building a Brand on the ‘Gram: Using Instagram to tell your Story

It’s no secret that I have a (major) addiction to Instagram. But it’s not all vanity and ‘likes’ for me…I began appreciating the photo social media site once I realized how people were using it, specifically brands and businesses. Instagram is a tool to tell stories, engage others, and showcase creativity.

About two weeks ago, I received a message on Instagram from a Babson freshman who came across my profile through the #loveBabson Instagram campaign. We were able to connect and will be meeting in person this week to talk about a creative venture she’s starting. Having great pictures that tell interesting stories can help open doors to many different opportunities; this is your creative portfolio, and your chance to get noticed by consumers, employers, and possible partners.

A picture is worth a thousand words! The key to getting noticed on Instagram is less about the content and more about the photo. If you have an amazing caption attached to a photo that doesn’t capture attention, there’s a good chance your message will never be seen/won’t get the traction you want for your product or brand.

When I first started using Instagram, I made sure to observe what Instagram ‘influencers’ were doing online. What do they do that works? What kind of photos are they taking? What message are they sending? And from there, I began building my own voice and presence online. Before tackling the site head-on, I recommend first following popular accounts to see how they’re reaching people, and then make it your own.

Here are some of my favorite accounts I follow. Let’s look at how they “get it right” on Instagram:

The Inspiring Storyteller: Entrepreneur Magazine is “inspiring, informing and celebrating entrepreneurs” @entrepreneur.

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 11.52.37 AM

What they do well: Telling the stories of real people + creating content that benefits and informs its followers.

The Community Driver: Hilary Rushford is in the fashion world; her Instagram game is so good, she teaches classes about how your business can use it to grow. Follow her @hilaryrushford.

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 11.53.29 AM

What she does well: Taking interesting, aesthetically pleasing photos + engaging her audience by asking questions and encouraging followers to interact with each other on her photos.

The Encouraging Photographer: Artifact Uprising makes a living off of good photos…literally. Check out how this photo printing company uses Instagram to attract and retain customers @artifactuprising.

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 11.56.50 AM

What they do well: Sharing high-quality photos that are really, really pleasing to the eye and encouraging others to do the same. They are really good with interacting with followers, as well; I don’t think there’s been one post I’ve tagged them in that they haven’t liked or commented on. They encourage their followers to take pictures that matter to them…and then get them printed!

The Online Best Friend: These bloggers are sharing their stories with followers as they increase their reach online @pennyandboss.

Screen Shot 2015-12-02 at 11.49.33 AM

What they do well: They have strong, personal, distinct voices and use them to build loyalty online. As you follow along with their lives, you feel like you’re a little bit a part of them – like you’re long-lost, online friends.

Are you new to Instagram? Don’t know where to start? In my next post, I’ll be talking to college-aged students who are using Instagram to grow their personal brands about how they post/take great photos.