August 5, 2019 by Rafaella Aguiar
How To Help Your Client Find Their Instagram Theme
You’re in a rut with your client: they need help finding their Instagram theme. While it may seem quite simple, it’s more difficult than it sounds.
The truth is your client needs a compelling and unique Instagram theme if they’re going to make it in today’s tough digital marketing environment.
You know this, but helping your client have the same realization is easier said than done.
As a social media manager, you need to construct a simplified way to help your client find their Instagram theme, and we’re here to help.
The Importance of An Instagram Theme Matters
Brands need to view their Instagram profile as more than a platform to share photos. Ultimately, this grid serves as a portfolio of images that give others insight into the brand.
The Instagram theme itself is a powerful story teller for brands. While each post should be compelling on its own, having an Instagram feed that shares a narrative will explain to each follower and new visitors what the brand is about, what type of content to expect, and why they need to follow. This recognizable theme or style attracts attention immediately and will pull truly interested followers in.
Essentially, a clear theme has a better chance of increasing engagement as followers already know the kind of content these brands will share.
While some clients believe having a theme means every picture should look the same, the truth is that an Instagram theme is all about representing one’s brand and telling their story through each post, and the overall impression the theme makes.
Developing an Instagram theme is a multifaceted process. It’s important to consider the following when putting together an effective theme throughout every post, story, IGTV video, sponsored posts, comments, and messages on Instagram:
- Target audience
- Goal-setting for Instagram campaigns
- Merging the brand’s mission statement with brand’s theme
- Identify the brand image
- Create well-curated content
Helping Clients Understand What Their Instagram Needs
It isn’t uncommon for marketing agencies to work with clients that have no clear idea of what they want or need when it comes to creating the right content for their Instagram.
Some of the most common phrases include:
- “We don’t really have a set Instagram theme, we just post pictures we think our customers will like.”
Or, perhaps they are posting content that isn’t up to par:
- “Here are some quick pics I snapped with my iPhone today that you can post.”
Or worse yet, they don’t understand the importance of building a community on Instagram:
- “Why did you post this lifestyle image!? It doesn’t have my product in it?”
We’ve all been there, and developing an Instagram theme and compelling content for a client often feels like an uphill battle. The process of discovering your client’s Instagram theme often raises several questions between both of you.
However, the discovery process is crucial in solidifying your client’s plan for Instagram, and helping them understand why having an Instagram theme is so essential to their business’ success.
Identifying Your Client’s Key Audiences
Before developing a compelling Instagram theme for a client, it’s crucial to work with them to identify their target audience. To reach one’s audience, one has to create content with their ideal follower in mind.
“Write [from your brand] to please just one person.”
Just as this quote from Kurt Vonnegut explains, instead of tailoring content to reach every single person following your client, posting content with just one person in mind will have the greatest impact.
Ultimately, the key to identifying a client’s target audience is specificity. It’s important to be clear with your client about which audience is the most targetable and profitable.
Moreover, your client’s brand isn’t supposed to connect with every single person, which is why targeting a niche audience is so important.
Here Are Some Key Questions to Ask Your Client When Working to Identify Their Target Audience:
- What is the desired action of your target audience?
- Do you want them to buy a product?
- Advocate for your Instagram account by spreading the word?
- Donate to your organization?
Questions like these help you and your client determine which audience would be most likely to respond to your client’s desired actions, which leads to the next question:
- What demographic is most likely going to take your desired action?
- What gender?
- Age group?
- Marital/family status?
- Income and Education level?
- Location, as in suburban, urban, rural / local, regional, or national?
- How does your ideal target audience think?
- Is there a specific personality type your brand responds to the best?
- What lifestyles, hobbies, attitudes, or behaviors suit your brand best?
For example, if your client runs a fitness account on Instagram, they may aim to target people who are very enthusiastic about weight lifting and exercise. Similarly, they may even attract people who are eager to make a healthy lifestyle change.
At this time, it’s important to determine the needs of the target audience as well as how the client plans to meet them:
- What challenges does the target audience face, and how will your brand help them?
Realizing the challenges and frustrations your client’s target audience faces helps your client find the audience that responds best to the solutions their brand offers.
For example, if your client runs a fitness account with tips about getting stronger, then they obviously won’t need to be targeting people like Arnold Schwarzenegger.
It is the job of the social media manager to help the client find the audience that is most open to receiving tips about gaining bigger muscles.
Asking clients questions like these will help them find the niche audience they want to attract.
Developing Your Client’s Goals
After identifying your client’s audience, collaborate with your client to determine the ‘critical goals’ for their brand. You cannot develop a successful image for your client without knowing their short and long term goals for business success.
Work with your client to determine quantifiable, specific goals. A major theme of developing a compelling brand is specificity.
Helping your client determine their goals often becomes quite challenging. After all, you’re asking your client to really visualize what the big picture is for their brand, and that’s a daunting task for many clients.
What you can do is present your client with a variety of well-defined acronyms or formulas that help your client determine their goals more easily.
Acronyms, like S.M.A.R.T. Goals, act like a goal-setting compass for your client; they give your client an idea of which direction they need to go to determine the ideal goals for their brand.
With S.M.A.R.T., your client will understand the goals they set need to be:
For example, the following goal is far too simple and general:
“I’d like to have well-curated content.”
While it’s fantastic your client already knows they want to have better content, this goal does not fully meet the S.M.A.R.T. criteria:
- Specific: The client must specify how they plan to improve their content and what actions they plan to undertake.
- Measurable: A goal of having well-curated content cannot be measured as there are no specific metrics given.
- Achievable: This goal is easily achievable but details must be further specified.
- Relevant: Improving their content is relevant to their main focus of growing their presence on Instagram.
- Time-Bound: A time frame must be set for the goal.
In order to achieve to properly set realistic goals, clients must establish clear and specific short-term goals that serve as building blocks for the long-term ones.
An example of a S.M.A.R.T. goal for a client should sound like this:
“With a focus on posting high quality, captivating images and promoting my account all over Instagram, I want to use the best tools and branding techniques to build a well-curated feed.
I will consistently post two quality images a day to attract new followers and boost my engagement.
This goal is:
- Specific: Your client wants to post two quality images on a daily basis.
- Measurable: Your client can measure their progress by tracking their engagement with the number of likes, comments, and follows based on their new content.
- Achievable: Using particular tools and techniques to post twice a day makes this an attainable goal for your client.
- Relevant: Setting short-term goals to build a well-curated feed is a relevant step in the right direction.
- Time-Bound: Your client has made this goal time-bound by committing to posting twice a day to achieve the goal.
Oftentimes, setting short-term goals works as a great tool for discovering a client’s long-term goals.
For example, after setting the long-term goal of growing their following on Instagram to 10K followers, a client may realize they want to make a shift in the frequency of their posting. By making a shift to the “Time-Bound” aspect of their SMART goal setting, clients have a more effective way to track and reach the long-term goal.
After asking the client critical questions to help find their target audience and taking the necessary measures to pinpoint their short- and long-term goals, social media managers will be well on their way to the next step of defining a great Instagram theme.
Reaffirming the Brand’s Mission Statement
While a brand’s Instagram theme may seem to focus solely on the aesthetics of a brand, there’s more to it than that. A successful Instagram theme must be in line with your client’s mission statement.
To merge a client’s mission statement with their look on Instagram, social media managers need to thoroughly understand this statement and how it relates to their audience.
The most effective way to craft a client’s brand positioning statement is to use Brandwatch’s tried and true formula:
(Brand) is the (product/service category) company that provides (target audience) with (brand mission statement) by (reasoning brand will deliver on this promise).
An example of a brand mission statement for a successful company, like Nike, might look like this:
“For serious athletes, Nike gives confidence that provides the perfect shoe for every sport.”
The above example provides:
- Brand name: Nike
- Product: Shoes
- Target audience: Serious athletes
- Brand benefit statement: Gives confidence to the shoe wearer
- Reason the brand delivers its promise: Nike shoes provide the “perfect shoe for every sport”
This mission statement hits on all of the following points:
- Brand Name
- Target Audience
- Brand Benefit Statement
- Reason the brand delivers its promise
By unifying this brand statement with the message and theme of each Instagram post, clients will have a clearly curated Instagram feed. Each post should in some way communicate what the product or service is, and how said product or service benefits their target audiences.
Zeroing in on the Brand Image with Clients’ Instagram Theme
The best way to zero in on the way your client’s brand is represented in their Instagram theme is to use brand expert Jean-Noël Kapferer’s Brand Identity Prism.
Kapferer explains that a successful brand identity needs to clearly define its physique, personality, culture, relationships, reflection, and self-image:
Physique and personality fall under the brand’s description. Physique embodies the physical representation of your client’s brand, while personality represents their brand’s character.
For example, your client might be a fashion designing entrepreneur. Their physique, or physical representation of the brand, could be their profile picture. Wherever the logo is seen, people think of your client.
Your client’s personality, or brand character, might lean on the fact their account posts innovative visuals and creative designs. In this case, their brand’s character is defined by its comedic personality.
To create a consistent theme, one must combine physique with personality. If your client wants to be known as an artistic powerhouse, their content should have a logo and content that communicates their creative nature.
Look at the logo of the popular Instagram account @HeyStudio:
The logo features the brightly colored designs that represent this design studio’s visual language and overall theme.
This logo and theme represents HeyStudio’s physique (it acts as a physical representation of the brand), while also communicating the account’s personality: the use of bright colors and wavy shapes reflects the creativity and passion of the designers at HeyStudio.
The internalization of a client’s brand is its culture. A brand’s culture defines what specific values the brand embodies and how these values affect the brand’s behavior.
This one is a little easier.
Perhaps your client runs a makeup tutorial page on Instagram. You’ll then want your client to create a feed featuring high quality makeup videos, effective styling tips, and stunning visuals of resulting makeup looks.
Example: Have your client encourage followers to post images of their looks using your client’s makeup tips with a branded hashtag.
Your client’s brand is externalized through its relationship. A brand’s relationship represents how it affects its consumers through its message.
Nike, for example, tells its consumers to ‘Just Do It’ and this establishes Nike as having a motivational relationship with its consumers.
Ask your client what type of relationship they want to have with their consumers. This will go a long way in helping them further define their Instagram theme.
Description of Customer:
The final part of the prism is how a brand describes its client/customer.
Reflection represents the definition of a brand’s target audience, while self-image depicts how the customer sees themselves in relation to the brand.
Ask your client how their brand defines its target audience, with the useful questions listed earlier in this article.
Also, work with your client to find out how customers see themselves in relation to the brand.
You can discover a follower’s self-image by going through comments on your various Instagram posts and seeing what the client’s consumers say about themselves in relation to the client’s brand.
Now, the Brand Identity Prism may appear confusing to a client at first, so consider using a visual system like a vision board, powerpoint, or a mockup with examples to make the prism more accessible for the client.
Presenting the prism to a client with examples and visuals gives this client a more accessible way to use the prism. They’ll soon be able to craft a brand with a clearer identity by defining the brand through multiple aspects.
With a strong, visual brand representation, you and your client will uncover revelations that will make their Instagram theme stronger and more relatable for target audiences.
Solidify Your Client’s Brand in Their Curated Content
One of the best ways to solidify a client’s brand through their curated content is to learn from the best. With tips like creating buzzworthy captions, to focusing on high quality photography, social media managers can effectively establish a solid Instagram theme with consistent branded posts.
Continue to develop a solid Instagram theme for your client with content. If content is king on Instagram, consistent content provides the fuel for your client’s brand to become a large presence across the platform.
Occasionally, clients will struggle to create impactful posts. Helping your client battle creator’s block allows them to continue to consistently communicate their brand to their target audiences.
Creating a Consistent Instagram Theme
Developing impactful content and effective marketing strategies for your client is an ongoing process. While this process should involve an influx of new and exciting ideas, the one thing that should always remain the same is the theme.
As you work to tie in the niche audience research, goal setting, and mission statement into your client’s Instagram theme, it’s just as necessary to create a strong and consistent visual language throughout the entirety of your client’s Instagram.
When considering your Instagram theme, it’s important that you understand the quality of your content isn’t just based on each individual post. The way an audience perceives your client’s Instagram grid is the determining factor that will either make or break their decision to follow this client. Additionally, brands need to use their Instagram feed to tell a story that reflects well on their brand.
With a few photo editing apps, clear creative direction, and high-quality photos and videos, brands will be able to focus on any one of these following theme ideas:
1. Color-Centric Instagram Theme
Aesthetically pleasing feeds that use the color-centric theme incorporate one or more colors that are consistent in most or all of their posts. Whether they’re featuring their products or client testimonials, this content is easy to enjoy as limiting color usage makes for a more attractive feed.
Get This Look
Give clients this theme by choosing a color (or two) that represents your brand well. While this minimal color palette can seem incredibly limiting, it is incredibly effective in creating consistent content.
2. Go with a Vintage Look
The vintage style focuses on a consistent color palette that uses earthy and warm tones. This aesthetic is a bit more rustic and works well with clients that have this same sort of classic style to their services and products.
Get This Look
Create this vintage style for your clients by using editing tools that have presets and filters that will give their images the same aesthetic every time.
3. Beachy, Bright, and Relaxed Aesthetic
While many Instagrammers with a beachy and relaxed aesthetic share travel photos, this theme also works well with lifestyle brands. From bright whites to stunning blues, this theme is automatically appealing to anyone that sees it.
4. Bold and Vibrant Color-Filled Theme
Brands that are more artistically inclined tend to benefit the most from this theme. Filled with tropical tones and bold colors, this theme helps to tell a story through the Instagram feed.
Get This Look
Creativity is the key to this theme. Experiment with everything from colorful patterns and designs to bright textures and product photos. This type of varied content will make any feed pop.
5. Light & Airy Look
Instagram themes that really make an impact leave clients with a certain feeling. This light and airy look is all about communicating a sense of calm simplicity. Clients that take a bare-bones approach to their business will likely love this look.
Get This Look
The defining factor of this look is a white background and natural lighting. This gives each post an airy feeling which helps keep everything consistent. While composition can change in every photo, it’s important to have the background include at least 75% white space.
6. Nostalgic and Retro Style
Clients can go retro with this nostalgic theme idea. Vintage-inspired looks like this one are all about images that effectively communicate everything a client’s brand is about in an unique way.
Get This Look
Clients can get this retro look by starting with stock images and vintage throwbacks, being sure to add in a mix of their own branded images. With the help of apps like Photomosh, Glitch, HUKI Cam, and Camcorder, they can easily create this classic throwback aesthetic.
7. Rural and Rustic Aesthetic
Lifestyle brands whose target audience loves the outdoor life, benefit the most from this rustic and rural theme. This clean and natural design gives any Instagram grid a natural and laidback theme that will resonate with anyone that loves the great outdoors.
Get This Look
This look is all about little contrast and low saturation, with a big emphasis on natural light. With high-quality photos and a bit of color here and there, this rural and rustic style will be completely in line with your client’s brand.
8. Color Block Style
Much like the color-centric theme, this aesthetic makes use of color blocking. Pairing vibrant hues by “color blocking” multiple dynamic tones that will make your client’s feed more visually stimulating.
Get This Look
Brands that use color-blocking often swear by user-generated content. This allows clients to connect with their followers while filling their feed with a variety of images. With the help of branded hashtags and scheduling apps, brands can collect and organize these colorful photos to successfully curate a dynamic feed.
9. White Minimalistic Style
Minimalism is a popular theme for brands on Instagram. This aesthetic is easy to achieve as it focuses on content with limited tones and colors. Typically, this minimalistic theme relies on white and black as the predominant tones for a consistent look.
Get This Look
This theme is all about “less is more”. Most brands with minimal feeds use big open compositions with desaturated photos. By sticking with earthy tones like nude, white, and black, photos will look more consistent and will require even less editing.
10. Borders Theme
The borders theme is a creative style that makes use of vertical and horizontal borders. This look makes your client’s Instagram grid read like an artistic collage. Simple yet effective, this theme has a big impact when viewed together.
Get This Look
Clients can experiment with borders by changing their aspect ratio on their Instagram photos. While these photos may feature distinctly different colors, the feed will still appear elegant with varied yet consistent borders throughout the grid.
Final Thoughts on Creating an Instagram Theme
As said earlier, specificity is crucial when helping your client find their Instagram theme. Identifying the target audience, determining business goals, and solidifying your clients brand all require intentionality and research.
Encourage your client to be specific and honest with you, and themselves, about their brand and what they want for their Instagram. With a greater focus on clients’ audience, goals, brand image, and content creation and curation, social media managers will be well on their way to establishing a clear and consistent Instagram theme for their clients.
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