Try Shutterstock Editor, the easy and efficient design application. Create professional social posts, promotions, presentation slides, email headers and more.

Instagram is one of the most popular social platforms out there, and its popularity shows no signs of waning. The app is primarily focused on photo-sharing, either users’ own creations or favorite found images. Original content on Instagram typically involves amateur or professional photography, but illustrations and videos are also found on Instagram feeds.

Brands can use Instagram as a platform for advertising and marketing. In fact, many major brands and companies maintain Instagram accounts to connect with social media users who prefer this platform. They can do this in two ways: with organic content that they simply upload from a mobile device, or through paid content that they upload and then boost to target specific audiences.

The principles of designing and marketing posts on Instagram for your brand are fairly simple, allowing small business owners, personal brands, and startups to all gain traction on the platform with accessible visual techniques.

Make consistent branding choices

Branding your Instagram presence involves much more than simply placing your company name and logo on images.

When viewed as a grid, your Instagram page should have a ‘vibe’ – a discernible aesthetic that sets the tone for your brand and aligns with your identity. Is every image vibrant and exciting? Or is everything black and white to establish a dramatic presence? Think carefully about color palettes and composition; while images will appear individually in user’s feeds, you should still consider how they will look in grid view.

Creating documentation of your branded design choices lets you refer back to past choices to ensure consistent appearance. For instance, knowing the precise color of blue you like to use as the background of your marketing material will let you implement that same color every time you need to create a new ad design for print or Instagram.

Each image should also have engaging post copy that represents your brand consistently. These can be hashtags relevant to your industry, emojis, phrases that are key to your brand, or even artistic/unusual spacing in the post copy that lends itself to your visual identity as well.

Every post should feel like a natural fit for your brand or business. Some of the easy ways to do this are by using the specific fonts, logos, and colors associated with your brand. This is especially important when it comes to paid Instagram posts, which will show up in a target user’s feed but not on your brand’s Instagram page where you organically post content for your existing followers.

Work with the right dimensions

Instagram lets you upload images in three orientations:

  • Square
  • Landscape (horizontal)
  • Portrait (vertical)

Typically, brands choose one orientations and stick to it for all of their posts. The default Instagram upload is square, and Shutterstock Editor can help you create the perfect branded design for your feed. Choose an image or upload your own, then apply features including text, shapes, filters, and the perfect crop to make the image your own.

instagram post template
Edit this template in Shutterstock Editor

Shrunken images lose detail and clarity, so use templates like the ones Editor has to give yourself a precisely sized canvas to work on. This way you can feel entirely confident that your next post will look just the way you want it to.

Instagram is a visually-rich social media platform that is perfect for marketing. Keep these tips in mind to create a strong brand identity on the platform, which will almost certainly lead to greater success.

Top image by Evannovostro