Instagram is a visual playground for 800 million users and counting, according to stats compiled by Smart Insights. While part of the social network’s draw might be following celebrity accounts, there’s another benefit: The platform offers stellar examples of personal branding.
I’m not talking about those celebrities who do it for a living. I mean regular, everyday people who integrate Instagram into their daily lives. They might not be household names, but following each of their feeds is still a fascinating journey.
The following six Instagram accounts show how those of us who aren’t famous can successfully use the platform to boost our personal brands.
1. Jenna Kutcher (@jennakutcher)
Jenna Kutcher is a photographer, podcaster (Goal Digger) and educator based in small-town Minnesota. And although she may photograph weddings, her personal Instagram account isn’t full of brides and grooms. Instead, she posts high quality, stylistically similar images of herself and her family, along with inspirational quotes and landscapes. She includes personal captions with each photo, delving into her life and struggles as if talking with close friends.
Kutcher’s business experience gives her the credibility needed to host webinars and courses on all things marketing and entrepreneurship, as well as photography. And when she has something to promote, she doesn’t shy away from including a call to action and URL asking her followers to sign up.
Don’t be afraid to follow her lead; after all, how can you get your followers to take the next step if they don’t know what that step is?
2. LeJuan James (@lejuanjames)
LeJuan James is a social media sensation. As a comedian “representing Hispanics around the world,” videos are his thing—he started on YouTube and then transitioned his audience to Instagram. He knows which type of content is his strong suit and he laregely sticks with what he’s good at.
Oftentimes on social media, users feel pressure to copy the cool new trends they see in others’ posts, but that’s a recipe for failure when it comes to brand consistency. Like James, if you know you’re strongest in one type of content, it’s OK to make that your focus—even if that means bucking platform trends.
3. Nora McInerny (@noraborealis)
Nora McInerny is a writer, the host of Terrible, Thanks for Asking podcast and founder of Still Kickin and Hot Young Widows Club. Her Instagram bio is short and sweet, but it matches her profile and her brand to a T—which are all about how she’s making the most of her life, and how she’s helping others do the same. She talks about going through really hard things, like loss and grief, but her feed is also full of pictures of her children and motherhood and this beautiful thing we call life.
Your Instagram should be a zoomed-in view of your product, not your product itself. If you run a dry-cleaning business, no one wants to see a bunch of pictures of the building’s exterior. You need to show them the people, the before-and-after shots, the lint balls, and the behind the scenes.
4. Jasmine Star (@jasminestar)
Jasmine Star is a photographer, so her photos are high quality, but her highlights don’t just show the facets of her life—they teach, too. Star is also a business strategist, and she offers easy-to-try tips for entrepreneurs through her posts and her bio. She regularly writes captions that are longer than 300 words, and she speaks very deliberately to her audience, which is a critical element of personal branding.
Yes, long captions might turn some people off. But they’ll keep others around. If you know what your audience members want to hear, give it to them straight in a long post if that’s what it takes. Just remember that the only path to failure is trying to be everything to everybody.
5. Elizabeth Gray (@thegraytergood)
At first glance, hand-lettering artist Elizabeth Gray’s profile might seem to be solely focused on her art, but the true heart of her Instagram account lives within her Instagram Stories. There, she posts everything from tutorial videos to inspirational quotes to snapshots of her cats and coffee. She keeps her photo posts centered on her work, letting the art shine, and she allows fans into her life through her Stories, adding depth to her profile.
Instagram’s Stories platform is becoming a popular place for consumers and brands alike to connect with others. Use yours to offer content that complements your main posts, giving your audience another channel through which to interact with you.
Mike Monroe is a Christian, husband, dad, marketer and wannabe athlete. Mike started working at Vector Marketing in 2000 as a student at Boston College. He wanted to stick out from the crowd and develop himself professionally. Nearly two decades later, that goal hasn’t changed. Learn more at TheVectorImpact.com.