8 Ways To Brand Your Instagram Beautifully

May 29, 2015

I have 8 tips from a consumer side of the fence when it comes to how brands market themselves on Instagram, you know, what I like and what I find annoying. But first, ever since my little boy was born, I’ve been shopping Petit Bateau because I just love their clothes for little boys. And aside from their gorgeous clothes (my son has this sweater and this sweatshirt), and how well-made everything is, I find their Instagram account so cohesive, beautiful and helpful for when I want to peek in and see what they’re up to whether it be a new outfit or a photo shoot. That’s why I follow them – I love their product AND I love how they present themselves on IG. In fact, I have found so many brands on IG that really market themselves beautifully, you don’t even feel as though you are being sold to because they present product in artistic and creative ways. For this blog tip, aside from my 8 tips, I want to open up the discussion to all of you because I’d love to know how you are marketing your brand on IG (leave your IG @name too in the comment) and if you have any tips on what is making it work for you OR if you are a consumer/fan of a brand and want to highlight some brands that you think do it right and most importantly, why. I’ll weigh in with my thoughts below.

8 Ways To Brand Your Instagram Beautifully
8 Ways To Brand Your Instagram Beautifully

Brand Marketing Thoughts:

1) Cohesive photography – a must!
2) Natural lighting so I can see products as they really are (no fancy filters or altering colors, for instance)
3) Sharing behind-the-scenes in a cool way, not showing big messes and chaos or anything that may make me feel like you are just like me. I actually WANT to believe in the dream when I buy from a big brand. I want to believe they are a fairytale and everything is magical at their cool company.
4) Have some negative space in some photos, or in all. I like the focal point of the image to pop and I don’t like cluttered photos where I don’t know where to look.
5) Don’t be too vague. I get so annoyed when brands sorta kinda reveal something underway but don’t reveal enough to excite, just annoy, you. It’s a balance but a good brand manager can figure out how to do a teaser without ticking people off.
6) Don’t re-gram my photos simply because I’m wearing one of your products without asking me first. I just may not want my infant or my bad hair day to be seen by your 200K followers.
7) Don’t post a lot of sales, giveaways and new products in boring ways. Get creative and make engaging with you fun and memorable.
8) Don’t have too many IG takeovers. I know these takeovers are trending, but some brands pick the wrong people to take over their accounts and so many times I have unfollowed brands because I cannot stand the images that start funneling in from the guest IGer. Make sure your guest grammers are as good as you, or better, and share your aesthetic.

Okay that’s all I can think of, what about you? Care to weigh in? #20blogtrends

(images: petit bateau)


  • Reply Jennifer Oakes May 29, 2015 at 4:19 pm

    I follow “Cherish Me: Dublin” on instagram even though I haven’t actually purchased anything from their store. Her website is: .. being a mom, especially a pregnant mom, her store carries things that I may want/need. I’m into fashion, and she definitely features fashionable maternity clothes. She makes you feel like you don’t have to be a frumpy pregnant lady. I definitely feel frumpy often, especially being a stay at home mom. Why should I wear the fancy dresses she posts in her instagram account? for the kitchen? to get it dirty when my one year old throws the spaghetti back at me??? lol, yet, like you posted above, the fantasy, that fairytale.. hahaha.. I have nowhere to wear these beautiful maternity dresses.. but she posts them. hahaha, but I also am aware that her store has “everyday” pregnant lady clothes.. and that’s wonderful. Also, clothes for after the baby is born, when I’m breastfeeding. I’m on a tight budget, we only have my husband’s income, and what pocket change I get from YouTube. I’m not going to be buying clothes from overseas. But I love that the outfits she features on her IG are clothes that I might not be able to find here in the USA, because they’re from designers over there. Again, that fantasy. I think it’s important to be aware that you might be marketing to a group of people who for whatever reason, can’t have what you feature. At least not at that time in their life. Maybe they live overseas, like myself, or finances prevent it at that time. But you never know what the future holds. Plus, being inspiring on your IG account, I think that’s a must. I also follow a fitness guru, her IG is bella.falconi. She actually lives nearby me because I recognize all the areas she posts from, I’m like, “hey, that’s around the corner from me!” she’s also pregnant, with her first baby, which I remember what that was like, and she’s 27 weeks pregnant, just like me, or about due the same time as I am (except I’m expecting my second baby.) She was crazy, crazy fit before pregnancy, again, a fantasy of mine is to be in tip top shape, lol! but now she’s pregnant and also wonderfully fit.. I thought she wouldn’t be able to handle pregnancy because she was so crazy strict before, but now, she’s doing it like a dream.. that aspirational “fit pregnancy.” Though I don’t care for many of her posts, the ones I do like, I LOVE. Where she shows herself in videos doing the exercises that I secretly know I should’ve been doing all along also. The ones that I see and think, “Gee, I know I should be doing that.. or should’ve started, etc..” She pointed out recently in a post, “Pregnancy is never an excuse for being sedentary unless the circumstances demand it to be that way. Pregnancy is life, not illness. There might be limitations, but never excuses. One day I will tell my baby how I took care of myself and her ever since she was in my belly just like I will do for as long as I live.” That hit my heart, because.. hahaha, way to slather on the guilty feelings over my being so sedentary in this pregnancy, but. anyway, she’s inspirational for me. What can I say? I need to be ready mentally to become fit. and I know I’m going to run out of excuses at some point.. I can’t keep blaming it on this and that. I suppose it’s when she demonstrates that she means what she says, those videos of her exercising.. with a pregnant belly, those hit home. She owns a vitamin/health/fitness shop. She promotes a lot of fitness type products/clothes. I don’t really care for her fashion sense when it comes to workout clothes, but again, that’s not what her account is about for me. Anyway, I’ve typed enough. I know I subscribe to other accounts, but as I’m scrolling who I follow on IG, it’s not letting me see everyone I follow, IG can be funky sometimes. lol. Anyway, have a great day!


  • Reply Giulia Doyle May 29, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    I believe a brand has to decide if they are going to have a mostly orginal photos type feed or a curated feed, ie. featuring real customer. Both can be successful, but there has to be a method applied.
    I’ve had good experiences with brands that I’ve tagged that ask permission for a regram by asking me to add a special hashtag. That hashtag is identified on their IG account and site and has clear terms and conditions.
    I don’t sell a product, but I still try to streamline my IG account so I get a better community and interaction.

  • Reply Angelia May 29, 2015 at 4:41 pm

    I am just restarting after a major studio fire. I am a textile designer, so trying to work between art and design is unique in finding my market. So my instagram in very new. Thanks for the pointers, I hope to put this to good use. @angelia3armstrong

  • Reply kirsten May 29, 2015 at 4:43 pm

    I love Fossil, Daniel Wellington and Michael Kors on IG!

  • Reply Agata May 29, 2015 at 4:56 pm

    What a fantastic subject! Thank you for putting this up.
    I’m co-founder of a small furniture brand and I’m still learning how to create an inspiring IG.
    In my opionion : A good pictures are a must , but also mix of personality and honesty. It’s not only about the product, but also “ who ” stands behind the brand. People identify with a story not only with product itself,
    and this is really a challenge to create a wonderful IG account for the customers.
    Looking forward to some tips from your readers!

  • Reply Sarah May 29, 2015 at 5:31 pm

    Hi Holly,

    Interesting! And I agree with most of what you say, but beware that when you upload images to a lot of social media sites (if you ever bother to read the very small Ts&Cs) you often instantly lose copyright in your own image and it becomes the property of (eg) Facebook, so in fact have very little control over who uses it for what purpose…irritating but true.
    Lovely Petit Bateau pics too!!

    • Reply decor8 May 29, 2015 at 8:15 pm

      @Sarah – I don’t really worry about that because I’ve never seen/heard of any major issues around it so I don’t think companies care about my flower photos, etc.

  • Reply Eunice May 29, 2015 at 5:34 pm

    Thanks for the tips! Do you think they apply similarly to smaller/indie/personality brands? I struggle to find a balance between being personal (showing what’s going BTS or in my life) vs my portfolio work/florals on my IG @heavenwildfleur . Like your tip #3, I’m not sure if followers want to know that I’m like them, and hence I’ve chosen just to post work/products mostly. However, I am looking for ways to inject personality and build my own image on my IG as well. Advice most appreciated (can’t wait for Bootcamp!)

  • Reply Nicole May 29, 2015 at 7:04 pm

    This is good, I am at a cross roads in the fact I just started my IG company account and am trying to balance how to make my wonderful product appealing visually when its just me and I dont have all the set ups for a styled photo shoot. I’m learning and working at it. I hope to one day have a great IG account, but for now, I am watching, listening, learning and experimenting with how to grow my audience.

    Thanks for posting this!

  • Reply Jasna May 29, 2015 at 7:17 pm

    I love Instagram! Currently I m into food photography and I follow all food photographer. I think the most important thing on Instagram are beautiful photos.

  • Reply Keltie Knight May 29, 2015 at 10:38 pm

    it’s so hard for me because I do TV and some of my stuff is fashion, some is celebrities out in the field and some is inspiration. I droll over beautiful instagrams but somehow mine gets messed up. I wish there was a company that instagramed for you!

    xx Keltie Knight

  • Reply Jess May 30, 2015 at 12:33 am

    Thank you for the tips. I find it really difficult to decide how to market my brand on IG. As an artist I obviously post about my art but I do post about my life as well. It is not all white and minimal but it is real to me and I think I would prefer my clients to know the real me in the mess and chaos sometimes rather than the idealist life that everything is rosy and great…
    Anyway I would love to hear your thoughts on my feed….

  • Reply Linda Mordan May 30, 2015 at 1:40 am

    This is such an interesting topic to me!
    Thank you for sharing your insight.
    I’m not selling anything (yet) but am in the process of slowly building a circle of people interested in seeing my inspirational art.
    I started it as an exercise in drawing every day, but it seems to speak to people in different ways, which is lovely.
    I don’t even begin to move in the circles mentioned here, but the very first thing that I did was clear out my account of any images that were just random “life” stuff, so that it’s now very consistent with drawings.
    If someone sees my blog, they immediately know what the point it of
    Coming from a background in product development in the gift industry, I do believe that for a brand, consistency is key.
    Wish me luck, it’s been fun and I hope to keep it up!

  • Reply Eos May 30, 2015 at 7:10 am

    I love how instagram is a way to connect soulfully and when following brands I really like if they show what is part of their work, their values, their mission and what they believe.
    We all want to achieve something and by investing and buying from a brand we love to direct our money flow into the direction where others believe what we believe. It’s like an expression of who we are and making a statement about how we want to be seen from the outside world.
    My favourite brands in my instagram feed are @riflepaperco and @houseofrym I love how you can feel the lifestyle behind those brands.

    On my own instagram I really like to connect with who my ideal client is and what inspires her, interests her and connects. My values are soulful connection, authenticity and holistic beauty and I try to be led by them when I post photos into my feed and just share some words from the heart so it makes people feel to have a little peek into my life and what I am up to.

  • Reply natalie james May 30, 2015 at 7:17 am

    I have just found a new company which i adore, Tea, childrens clothing. Their website, instagram and story in fantastic. I just love to see their beautiful images and happy lifestyle.

  • Reply Nannette May 30, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Hi Holly,
    Great pointers! You are so right, it’s about not over-doing it and enducing enthousiasm. Some accounts are so great, you feel like going way back to see all their feed. I love the IG of @ilovewrds, it’s inpsiring and I feel like buying their product, so goal achieved!
    I wonder, is IG the new ‘blogging’?

    • Reply Holly Becker May 31, 2015 at 9:22 pm

      @Nannette – IG Isn’t the new blogging, it’s just an alternate way to reach people. For me, blogging is much more intimate and welcoming because you can put words with images and create something very meaningful, or informative, etc. A picture on IG is fantastic, and can also say a lot, but I think blogging will always be the most personal and intimate form of communication online outside of old fashioned emails.

  • Reply honey&gazelle May 30, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Interesting read! As we are such a new studio, we are also trying to find our footing in the IG universe. I think its really important to find a good balance between blatant promotion (i.e. product shots) and consumer interaction (e.g. behind the scenes shots that shows a human aspect to the business). Consistency in the appearance of the feed is really important too! Not a fan of filters too (:
    Thanks for sharing your thoughts!

    x Jia, (IG: @honeyandgazelle)

  • Reply Cattie May 30, 2015 at 4:31 pm

    Great post, and so helpful! I just started using Instagram (got my first smart phone in November!) and am still getting the hang of it, but I love it! Being a photographer, I’m of course all about the visual and I’m not sure I’m using the captions and hash tags the best way. Trying to read up on how to’s, but my best inspiration is other people on Instagram. I love Farmhouse Pottery (their products are gorgeous, I like that they mix a little bit of their personal lives in, and they do give you that idea of living the perfect life), Paper Runway (great images, lovely quotes), Local Wanderer (great photography, makes me want to do nothing but travel), and Grant Legan (awsome photographer, again, someone who inspires me to travel).

  • Reply Ana May 30, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    i think one company that’s doing a
    wonderful job on ig is @HedleyandBennett.
    The Apron Squad is having such a ball and Ellen’s
    positivity is infectious!
    Plus i want/need every apron they’ve got.

  • Reply Wrenaissance Art May 30, 2015 at 9:37 pm

    I’m a total newbie at Instagram, I didn’t even realize the extent to which big retailers were using the platform!
    As far as companies re-posting images of people’s children without permission–the creepy ick factor is pretty high! Aren’t they worried about getting sued for child exploitation?
    When it comes to seeing the IG feeds of individual artists, I like the idea of an artist using an Instagram account as a form of conceptual or digital installation art–where the photos form a thematic whole. For example, a sketch-of-the-day account, or a collection of old, hand-lettered signs found while traveling. My IG is
    Life in the studio/work in progress feeds can be pretty cool, too. It just seems like it’s easy for it to get jumbled and lose cohesion.
    Do you have a recommendation for iPad/tablet apps for Instagram? Would you use Pshop Elements for pre-processing, and some 3rd party app for reading, and just use the cloud or email to transfer the pix to the phone for upload?
    Because of my bad eyesight, I’d held off on Instagram until I got a new iPad with camera. But then discovered the app only works on the phone! :-(

  • Reply Nova @ 18chelseamews May 30, 2015 at 11:04 pm

    @Holly, I think what Sarah meant is that she agrees with what you’ve said in point 6, but unfortunately the T&Cs of some social media sites e.g. Facebook, state that by posting your image in the first place, you’ve given up the right to have a say in what people can or cannot do with your images. So whilst asking permission is the correct and polite thing to do before a re-gram, sadly, some people just don’t bother.

    Thanks for another very useful Blog Trend post. I’m looking forward to the Instagram Workshop!

  • Reply dawn May 30, 2015 at 11:54 pm

    i am not marketing anything and do not follow very many, however i do think maria (dreamywhiteslifestyle) does it very nicely … she posts her day to day and then her product photos are all in a similar feel with a little blurb saying ‘in the shop now’ … so it is never pushy … just pretty

  • Reply Melinda McQueen May 31, 2015 at 2:11 am

    My favourite brands I love, are always great at having a discussion. It’s an easy way to connect with brands you love!

    So Looking forward to the insta bootcamp & finding new creative peeps to follow ;)

  • Reply Simone May 31, 2015 at 7:20 pm

    I do have an onlineshop and I consider instagram as a big playground. I have a lot of fun presenting my products, I love making pictures, I love arts ….Instagram is pure joy!

  • Reply Hannah May 31, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    These are such great points :) I really love the idea cohesive images, which I need to work on because I get far too excited with the pics I take and want to share them immediately, ooops. I do love for great photography and inspiration. They also show a more personal side whilst being a business. My instagram is getting a little more cohesive but the aim is to do so much more…… @han_house

  • Reply Hannah May 31, 2015 at 8:13 pm

    oh sorry my instagram is

  • Reply kristiina June 1, 2015 at 2:42 am

    Really great post, Holly! Might I add one more thing: there are apps now for scheduling posts on IG, so sometimes, while the photos are lovely, I see 4-5 posts in a row from the same person/company (maybe I don’t follow enough people!!).

    I think Mindy Kaling is a GENIUS on IG. She has branded herself perfectly….I also like @leahalx_jewelry…very well done :)


  • Reply kristiina June 1, 2015 at 2:43 am

    ps–I love the new site!! :)

  • Reply mel June 1, 2015 at 5:33 am

    Holly your new site is absolutely B E A U T I F U L ! Interactive, interesting, pretty and very you! Congratulations and so look forward to the BYW IG class. Mel xx
    P.S. “decor8 [dek-uh-reyt], noun: a design blog that makes you happy” Love it!

  • Reply Ruth Ribeaucourt June 2, 2015 at 1:28 pm

    Love the new site Holly!
    I only just started on Instagram in September (10 months ago) as I didn’t ‘get’ it or more likely didn’t have the head space with two young kids and two young creative companies to work on. I started documenting my antique textile collection for myself, so that I could always have a record of how something was hand beaded or stitched or how a certain pattern was developed from esquise to a silk ribbon….and as I started to share these personal documents I started to find kindred spirits, fellow textile lovers, trim addicts, costumers, haute couturiers, French lovers – it has been an incredible experience to meet all these creative souls.
    I have found instagram to be a truly supportive, open, inspiring community and I think it works for me as I take images that move me – in an authentic way (I hate how that word is abused in marketing) but it is coming from a genuine place and is not overthought and I think this is what works (atleast for me) from a ‘branding’ point of view for my antique textile and jewellery businesses. Passion and energy and beauty shine through.

  • Reply Laura June 3, 2015 at 5:18 am

    I am really enjoying IG for its simplicity – my daily dose of beautiful/inspirational images. I actually find galleries with a running theme such as color, style, or composition to be boring – knowing the next 5 images will look like the last 5 posted. I think Instagrammers need to be true to themselves and not force themselves into a mold. I think @LittleBigBell and @CestMaria do a great job of balancing quality photos with a surprise element – you never know what they’ll post next, but you know it will be beautiful.

  • Reply Whitney June 6, 2015 at 12:12 am

    This is a really great read! I currently own a start-up apparel boutique with positive lifestyle messages: I’ve been looking at my IG feed as “quick snap shots” of daily life behind-the-scenes, some sneak peeks of my designs and processes, and the rest of it is fans tagging my brand wearing my items (which definitely leads to a LOT of inconsistent photos). As much as I love seeing all my customers wearing my products, this post has made me stop and think about how I really want my branded account to look as a whole – cohesive. It’s still important for me to showcase people in everyday life wearing the product to make it approachable and not only displayed to “sell the dream.” Do you have any suggestions on how companies do this sort of thing? Would setting up another, separate account for my brand fans be the way to go for those curated, candid moments? Thanks for this post!

  • Reply Cindy Lin June 6, 2015 at 8:26 am

    Hey lady!

    This is such an inspiring post! I love that PB uses illustrations in their photographs. It reminded me of our last chat. What we talked about had definitely been marinating in my head. :)

    I’m catching up on your Instagram bootcamp now and I’ve been struggling with maintaining both of my personal (@cindylinsf and company (@staged4more But now having read your blog and going through the bootcamp, thinking about the brand identity, I think I have an idea of how to make both accounts work. So thank you! <3


  • Reply Brian Max June 8, 2015 at 10:19 pm

    These photos were definitely taken by a professional camera first, edited by a computer, and then posted on instagram. That is why a filter is not needed. It is not all natural light. It is definitely harder than it looks.

  • Reply Suki June 16, 2015 at 1:42 pm

    Thank you for the tips. The first one is really hit me, I haven’t thought about the cohesive before just posting photos in random (quite messy;) I like IG because it’s simple, short and it’s kind of a quick note to myself. I love looking at nice photos. As a designer I read by looking at colour scheme, layout, composition and I can imagine what behind that scene. I use IG as a playground for food experimenting and trying new thing.

  • Reply Viki June 19, 2015 at 3:51 pm

    I think you’re right Giulia. Illustrator and I’m trying to build a brand around. I have a young instagram account a few months
    It is quite difficult to find a balance between commercial and inspiring content. I’m still experimenting with it. I hope my content is not too irritating. This article is very useful for me and the comments too. Thank you!

  • Reply elaine June 28, 2015 at 1:33 pm

    Wow… Thank you for the great tips; you have definitely given us a lot to think about. We are newish to blogging (within the last 5 months) Instagram is our favourite media but we do question what to put up, the grid etc… Trying to build our brand – in association with our interior design business is a major task but your tips are fab!

  • Reply Marlene July 23, 2015 at 5:56 pm

    I was very pleased to discover this web site. I wanted to thank you for ones time for this fantastic read!!
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