How to Use Instagram to Market Your Brand

Social Media Marketing Tool: How to Market Your brand on IG

Is your company looking to use Instagram as part of its social media marketing strategy? This post is for any business large or small, anyone responsible for marketing efforts for business on Instagram. However, even if you aren’t a company you can benefit from the information and over-riding principles we teach in this article.

The end goal is the same whether you are a business owner, an influencer, or someone who hopes to become an influencer, we all want to grow on Instagram. Growth means a greater share of the market will see your brand. Growth on Instagram means big business.

Ask yourself, what are you willing to commit? Time, money and dedication will be needed. But Instagram is where it’s at. Instagram is now the largest social media platform in the world. And as Facebook has recently announced, changes to their algorithm Instagram is poised to take over an increasingly larger share of social media marketing as well.

Let’s get right to it.

social media marketing on Instagram pink flowers

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Beauty Above All Else

Marketing on Instagram is unique. In order to succeed on Instagram, you must buy into the fundamental belief that beauty can be found everywhere. Beauty, creativity, artistry and visual story telling are king. And overt advertising is out. Sure, people ignore these guidelines every day, but you don’t see these same people succeeding on Instagram. Follow the rules, post beautiful content and the Instagram gods may start to smile at you. Yes, it’s more complicated than this but this is where you must start.

Learning to turn ordinary situations and mundane topics into artistic moments, therein lies the rub.

No matter what your niche, whether you’re selling tires or beautifully crafted smiles (dentistry), your images must:

  • Catch the eye
  • Inspire curiosity
  • Entertain
  • Spur emotion
  • Broadcast a gripping message

Image vs. Graphic Text for Social Media Marketing

We’ve already talked about the fact that Instagram is a visual platform first and foremost. But what about posting graphic text, i.e. inspirational quotes? We do see some value in using inspirational, thought provoking, or humorous quotes that seem to cut straight to the chase. It seems easier too, doesn’t it? Why not just use text? Here’s why: Research has shown that emotional response to visuals is more positive than text. And, Instagram is a visual first platform.

We aren’t outlawing graphic text, but want to make it clear that visuals should far outweigh text and be the first choice when possible. It’s like the 80/20 rule. You can use it, but in the right proportion you’ll achieve the best results.

Even when promoting, it’s better to promote with an enticing, beautiful photo that just might pass as non-promotional than to smear words across the screen. Lead with beauty.

Now that we’ve introduced you to marketing your brand on Instagram, you are ready for the next step. If you’re ready to get serious about your Instagram goals, you can join our comprehensive online course called “From Confused to Confident: 6 Steps to Instagram Success.” It just might be perfect for you. Learn all about it and sign up for our Instagram success course here.

social media marketing with flowers

Social Media Marketing: Creating Emotional Response

Here is the key: Your images don’t have to show something that directly or literally represents your brand, as long as it reinforces the kinds of emotions you want your customers to associate with your brand/company.

For example, a tire company’s feed should not be only pictures of tires. And a dental office does not want to show a feed of just the inside of people’s mouths.

Rather, you want your feed to represent how your company sees the world. You want to push people beyond the normal concepts of what they associate with your field to include the bigger picture. You want to paint the picture of the lifestyle that your product or services makes possible.

For example, the tire company might include photos of a hot car pulled up to a fancy restaurant with a beautiful woman just stepping out of the car. The tire company is making the bridge to the type of lifestyle their tires will lend themselves to. You should include pictures that you know your brand’s target audience will be attracted to.

Another example is the dental office that shows pictures of a beautiful family smiling all together (the dental practice treats children as well as adults). A picture of a romantic dinner for two with a closeup of the woman’s beautiful smile shows the promise of romance is the end result of having beautiful teeth and a beautiful smile. Health, beauty, attractiveness, success, happiness, all of these things are in line with a healthy, beautiful smile provided by the dental services.

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Personification of Your Brand

People don’t relate to brands, per se. They relate to people. So, the goal is to make your brand personable. It’s not enough to share beautiful photos, you must also create a personality behind the photos.

One way to make your brand more personable is to make people laugh. This is one area where you can veer away from your specific brand image slightly. Humor doesn’t have to be in line with your brand, it’s like taking time out of your regularly scheduled programming to laugh. This is human, and it is welcomed. Making people laugh makes your brand more personable and relatable, so bring on the giggles.

Learn more essential strategies to build follower connection and engagement in our post:

Robot Vs. Real: How to Make Instagram Personal and Win.

Social Media Marketing: Make it Timely

Instagram is a current, up-to-the-moment platform. It follows that it is driven by what is happening today. The best posts create relevance based on current events and what’s trending now. Keeping in line with seasons, holidays, and world news is a great way to get your posts to attract your audience and even make your posts go viral. Don’t ignore the world around you. Instead, use it to make your posts more relevant and timelier. Use the trends to become part of the trends.


Don’t make the mistake that most brands do by creating a social media strategy based on all promotions or no promotions. Both extremes will do your brand a disservice. Reaching a happy medium should be your goal. What is this exact best formula? It will of course vary from brand to brand and audience to audience, but a good rule of thumb is 80/20.

Make roughly 80% of your feed valuable, helpful, intriguing, inspiring, high-quality content that builds engagement as well as attracts new followers and reserve 20% or less for more direct promotion or sales. Depending on your audience, this number can vary. Pay close attention to how your followers react and adjust the types of promotions you include as well as the frequency.

To add value to your promotions, reward your followers for their loyalty by promoting special sales and incentives available only to your followers on Instagram.

For more information direct from the source we highly recommend the Instagram for Business Blog and their Instagram Help Center for guidelines and general questions.

Social Media Marketing Image Resources

It is always best to create your brand’s own unique visuals, whether they are photos or videos. Original content is always your first choice. But when budget and time constraints make this impossible there are many options these days for free or inexpensive stock photos. Carefully curated and mixed with mostly original work this is a very viable practice.

The sources below offer some free photos. You will find most sites offer a selection of free and then a bigger selection if you are willing to pay. The benefits of paying are multiple. 1) usually the best photos are not free and 2) the paid selection will include photos that are less used.  Instagram rewards uniqueness so it might be worthwhile for this important quality alone. Some sources that offer free photos include:

A source for inexpensive photos is:

Looking for graphics? Head to:

This is a brief listing. By searching the web you’ll find many more sources. Take the time to research and find the sources that offer the best photos for your brand. Be choosy. Take your time and make sure your photos truly represent your brand and your true, consistent image. Sloppiness or inconsistency will do your brand disservice and be a waste of your time.

Marketing Power on Instagram

The marketing power of Instagram is already huge, and all signs point to nothing but continued growth. It’s time to get on board or your brand will be left behind. If you are already on Instagram it may be time to invest more time and effort. Since both of these commodities are highly valuable it pays to be smart. Educate your company’s social media team, stay abreast of the continuous changes, and your brand will be poised to harness the full power of the future of social media on Instagram.

For more Instagram strategies read: How to Master Instagram Game with Winning Strategies

Want to be trusted, valued, and rewarded by Instagram? Find out how to keep your “trust score” high. Read: What’s Instagram’s Trust Score and Why Should You Care?

Time to Get Serious About Instagram

So, you are all set to market your brand on Instagram! How exciting. Now, you’re ready to start thinking seriously about Instagram as a whole. Don’t miss this opportunity to sign up to receive our 90-minute Personalized Instagram Audit today. We will analyze every aspect of your account, create a clear plan for you, and coach you personally for your ultimate success.

Jodie and I have been helping clients build Instagram success for years. Many of our past students are now successful influencers and have grown their brands beyond their wildest imaginations. We can totally do the same for you!

It’s the perfect time to get serious about Instagram. It’s now or never!

jodie & julie

How To Use Instagram to Market Your Brand pin

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How to Use Instagram for Business Social Media Marketing
Article Name
How to Use Instagram for Business Social Media Marketing
Is your company looking to use Instagram as part of its social media marketing strategy?  This post is for any business large or small, or anyone responsible for marketing efforts for business on Instagram. However, even if you aren't a company you can benefit from these principles of Instagram success.
Publisher Name
The Design Twins
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  1. Chrystal says:

    This is such a great post and has me thinking of how to share more of my vision on IG and not just my brand!
    Thank you!!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      There you go Chrystal! Exactly! Keep it inspiring and beautiful and you’ll have more success. Good luck, Sweet Friend. With gratitude, Julie & Jodie

  2. Laura says:

    Great info. Thanks for sharing. I am in the process of setting up a blog. One source for info about this says not to set up your Instagram as a business account because it might get less exposure. However, I think you get more tracking and analytics with a business account? Do you have any thoughts or advice on this point?

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      I’m wondering what your source was that said a business account on IG “might get less exposure”. There is a lot of hearsay about this topic. Guesswork and rumor we’ve heard as well. We haven’t heard this to be true from any reliable source however. And it is our experience that this is not the case. People like to blame something, some cause for why their IG isn’t successful or as it used to be. But people draw conclusions without real cause and effect. We have had both types of accounts, I’ve gone back and forth a couple times for different reasons. We have seen no corollary. The tracking and analytics available with a business account are useful for sure. Hope that helps. Best wishes, Julie

  3. Thank you for your insight. You’ve made it very easy to apply. Enjoy your day! 🙂

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      That’s great to hear. We try very hard to be as clear as we can. We are writing to such a varied audience that sometimes it’s hard to know how much information to offer and how detailed to be, etc. etc…it’s liking walking a high wire and just guessing haha. But glad we hit the mark for you. Hope you’ll continue to enjoy our blog posts. With gratitude, Julie & Jodie

  4. Anita Williams says:

    Very informative.

  5. […] week The Design Twins tackled the topic of “How to Use Instagram To Market Your Brand.” Whether you are your own brand or you are a business, these tips will help you grow and […]

  6. […] week we tackled the topic of “How to Use Instagram To Market Your Brand.” Whether you are your own brand or you are a business, these tips will help you grow and […]

  7. Catlin Rogers says:

    Great information! Thanks for sharing!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      So glad you enjoyed our post! We hope you continue to love our blog and gain inspiration from our future posts!
      XO ~ Julie & Jodie

  8. Piper says:

    Such a great post! Has me thinking 🤔 you two are so good! Thank you for your continuing education on IG.

  9. Shawn says:

    Such an inspiration! Started following you just recently and have learned so much! Love your colors, textures and neighborhoods🤗

    Thank you!!!!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      We are so glad you are inspired by our blog! We hope you continue to love our future posts and keep learning from our ideas and tips!
      Lots of love, Julie & Jodie

  10. Hi Julie and Jodie! You two cuties have really compiled such an amazing resource here! Instagram can be mind boggling but you have simplified it into something attainable by writing this post! I just love you both and I’m grateful to be inspired by your fantastic ideas!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      We are so glad you enjoyed our post! So excited that you are learning from these Instagram tips and ideas, hope we continue to inspire you in the future! Lots of love, Jodie & Julie

  11. Tammy Groethe says:

    What an undertaking to write on such a misunderstood and complicated subject. You did it so well and I’m impressed with your thorough guidelines and tips! Love you two ladies so much!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Tammy, You are so generous with your appraisal. It means so much to hear your kind analysis of our post. We hope we see you in Waco! How amazing would that be?? Sending love and hugs to you, Julie & Jodie

  12. I just want to go scoop up some flowers now at the market and bring them to you both with a big ‘ol hug!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Aw, Monica, you are the cutest. We feel your virtual hug!! thank you for taking the time to visit us on our blog. We sure do miss you, but know you occupy our hearts always. Saying a little prayer that we see you in Waco! With love always, Julie & Jodie

  13. Jill says:

    You’re my go-to for IG advice. Thank you!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Wow, Jill, that is so cool to hear! We work very hard to learn and share all we can. Hearing your sweet reply makes it all worthwhile. Wishing you great success on your journey. Blessings, Julie & Jodie

  14. Shannon says:

    Thank you for making it so easy to enter!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Shannon, You are so welcome. And we are very excited to hear that using this system is user-friendly on your end. That kind of feedback really helps us decide whether to use it again or not. Wishing you luck! And if you don’t win we hope you can still attend. Blessings, Julie & Jodie

  15. Sue says:

    As an artist I’ve found your post so informative. Looking forward to hearing more!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Sue, We are so happy to hear that you found this post informative. We will continue to share all we can. Blessings on your journey. With gratitude, Julie & Jodie

  16. Jenn says:

    Such helpful information as always ladies!!!! Thanks so much for sharing your insights with us!

  17. Rendi says:

    This is a great resource ladies, thank you sop much for sharing!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      So nice to see you on our blog. Thank you for your kind message. It means a lot to hear from you! We hope you continue to enjoy what we share. Blessings, Julie & Jodie

  18. Tracy Cooke says:

    Great advice! Thanks for all the beauty I love following your feed!
    Lots of good advice, pretty pictures and sound design!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Hi Tracy,
      Wow! So nice to receive your kind message. We love to hear that you are enjoying what we create and share. It makes it all worthwhile to hear feedback from our followers. Blessings to you, Julie & Jodie

  19. Diane says:

    Very interesting, thank you

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Thank you Diane! We appreciate your reading our blog and leaving a reply to let us know. We hope you will continue to visit and enjoy. Blessings, Julie & Jodie

  20. A. Suzette Sykes says:

    Very interested in your help with social media marketing!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      We are happy you are finding our insights valuable. We hope you will continue to enjoy reading all our IG help posts. Perhaps you are considering joining us at our first event in Waco. If not look for future events and our upcoming online course we will be offering. Wishing you great success along your journey. Blessings, Julie & Jodie

  21. Diane Barron says:

    Hi there! I’ve been following you two friendly faces for about a year now. I love all your tips and tricks. =) Thank you for all you do!
    God Bless!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Hi Diane, Aw, you are so sweet! We love that you are a faithful follower. It warms our hearts to hear! Thank you ever so much for your kindness and support. It means everything to us. Blessings to you always, Julie & Jodie

  22. Jeannie says:

    Julie and Jodie, great post! My daughter and DIL started a blog last year and I am acting as their editor. Because my daughter is a morning news anchor, she has a built in audience, but they’d like to grow their following and I found this info to be particularly helpful. Hope to meet you in Waco!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Jeannie, How exciting! Both that you are enjoying our IG blog posts and that you are looking forward to our event! We really hope you are able to attend and look forward to meeting and growing together. With gratitude, Julie & Jodie

  23. Ann says:

    Great read!! As a sign-maker I appreciate the info of how to market my brand!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Ann, We are so happy to hear that you benefited from reading our blog post. It makes all our work seem so worthwhile when we get this type of feedback. We hope you will continue to read and enjoy the many IG help posts we have written. Wishing you all great things on your journey! With gratitude, Julie & Jodie

  24. Lori Rowe says:

    Great post girls!!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Hi Lori,
      Thanks so much for reading our blog and your sweet reply! We appreciate your support more than we can say. So blessed to be on this journey together. With love and gratitude, Julie & Jodie

  25. Theresa says:

    Great post! Very informative. Thanks so much for sharing your knowledge.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Thank you so much, Theresa! We are so glad you found our blog and are learning from our Instagram posts! We hope you will enjoy reading through our many IG help posts. We have a veritable library, so enjoy and let us know what you think! With gratitude, Julie & Jodie

  26. Cristina says:

    Thanks so much for this post! I’m new to IG and I have a lot of learning to do!! You are so sweet and generous to share all your knowledge! I truly appreciate it!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Cristina, You are so sweet! Thank you for your kind reply. It makes it all worthwhile to hear our efforts are appreciated and helping others. We hope you will continue to enjoy all our posts. Wishing you great success and joy along your journey. Blessings, Julie & Jodie

  27. Tracy says:

    What great tips!! I love Instagram!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Tracy, So glad you found this post helpful AND that you love Instagram. Keep that joy and enthusiasm and it will serve you well on your journey! Blessings, Julie & Jodie

  28. Thank you for all the work that goes into these posts!

    • Mikkel says:

      I want to come so so badly!!

      • jjdesigntwins says:

        Welcome to our blog. We hope you continue to visit and enjoy all we post. Good luck on your Instagram journey. With gratitude, Julie & Jodie

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      So nice to see you on our blog! Even more, we love that you are reading and enjoying our posts. You are right…we do put a lot into these posts. So to receive your kind appreciation means a lot! We hope you will continue to visit and enjoy our posts. Blessings, Julie & Jodie

  29. These are such great tips ladies! I love how invested you are in helping others succeed.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Dear Sarah,
      So glad you liked these ideas! That is our goal, we hope you continue to enjoy our posts! We love being connected with you!
      XO ~ Julie & Jodie

  30. Theresa Maher says:

    Really great tips and a lot to think about. Thank you!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      That means so much to us, thank you! We hope you continue to enjoy our posts for new ideas and inspiration! XO ~ Julie & Jodie

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      So glad you love our tips and are inspired by this post! Thank you for the sweet comments!
      XO ~ Jodie & Julie

  31. Jen says:

    So happy I found your IG…now living in NY with fond memories of home (WA) & such amazing decorations!! 😍

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Hi Jen! So glad you found our blog and Instagram! Thank you for the kind comment and we hope you continue to enjoy our posts! XO ~ Julie & Jodie

  32. Heather Koogler says:

    Awesome article. Truly worth saving!

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Thank you so much! We are so excited to see you on our blog. Love that you enjoyed this post and grateful you took the time to leave a kind reply. We hope you continue to enjoy our posts! XO ~ Julie & Jodie

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      So glad you enjoyed this post! Thank you for the sweet comment and hope to see you on the blog and our Instagram account in the future!
      XO ~ Jodie & Julie

  33. Thank you for providing the knowledge about branding through instagram.

  34. Ella Hayes says:

    Thanks for sharing your marketing technique. Nowadays Instagram playing a key role to have a good amount of visitors. Really your article will be very helpful for me.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Ella, You are absolutely right. Instagram is already playing a key role in today’s marketing and only shows signs of increasing in power. Smart marketing plans include Instagram in their efforts. Thanks for the kind reply. Hope you continue to stay in touch. Julie & Jodie

  35. Joie Gahum says:

    Make use of tools like hashatory whenever youre using hashtags in your post. It’ll help you find the right hashtags.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Thank you Joie! That’s kind of you to offer this suggestion. I’m going to check it out! Thanks for visiting our blog. XO ~ Julie

  36. Melisa Smith says:

    Hello dear, I am very glad to read your article. I try to read different types of digital marketing related article always. Today I am surfing to read about SMM and I found your one. I think today’s web world cannot think without SMM. Day by day the rang of SMM in becoming wide. In my view, every marketer should have a clear concept of how to use social media for SEO. In that case, You tips and strategy will help a lot for using Instagram. Thank you so much for your awesome article. Keep covering this type of valuable content more.

    • jjdesigntwins says:

      Hi Melisa, Yes, this is all true. It’s important to stay up to date and educated as we travel these continually changing roads of Social Media Marketing. Every day is a new day it seems. Glad you gained some insights visiting our blog. We hope you will continue to visit and learn. Wishing you all the best, Julie & Jodie

  37. To interact with your followers is the best way to increase your engagementon instagram. These tips are very helpful, thanks for sharing.

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