Top Guide on How to Increase Brand Awareness on Instagram

Manu Sheen
Manu Sheen
Customer Success Manager at Insense
a woman wearing under eye masks
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Insense is a marketplace to collaborate with creators for UGC, posting, and whitelisted ads. 
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Businesses have always seen Instagram as an avenue for:

  • Growing their audience
  • Increasing sales 
  • Raising awareness

If you've been on IG for a while and have had a hard time achieving any of the above, you’ll be wondering what you need to do to turn things around. 

Does that sound like you?

Well, we’re here to help you make that happen. 

In this article, you’ll learn about proven ways you can leverage to increase awareness for your brand on Instagram. 

Alright, let’s jump right in!

1. Leverage Instagram Reels and Stories

If your marketing campaign on Instagram has been more about posting videos, images, and carousels on your feed, this is a call for you to change that social media strategy. 

Are we saying no more posts on Instagram feeds?

Far from it!

We’re saying you need to start using Reels and Stories too. 

Why?

For starters, Instagram Stories lets you:

  • Engage better with your audience: Brands can set up polls, ask their audience questions, be asked questions, and tag people.
  • Drive traffic to your website: There is only a handful of places on Instagram allowing you to post a clickable link. 

Your bio is one of them and ‘surprise, surprise’, Stories happens to be one too. Brands can also include the ‘Swiper Up or Shopping bag’ feature.   

  • Post a variety of content: Sticking to IG feeds usually means you have to always stick to your brand’s aesthetic so it remains appealing to viewers. 

With stories, you can be more flexible and post whatever you want without holding back.

IG Reels, on the other hand, can help you:

  • Reach new audiences: Your content will be seen by people who weren’t actively searching for your brand; thereby, increasing awareness for your brand.
  • Increase your engagement rates: The more people that see your content, the more inclined they are to engage with you.  
  • Educate your audience: With IG Reels, you can create videos to educate your target audience to help them make informed decisions.

Here are some statistics to show why you need to leverage these Instagram features:

  • 50% of people have purchased a product from a brand’s website after seeing it in Stories
  • 58% said they’ve become interested in a brand after seeing their Stories
  • Instagram Reels has 33.8% more reach than other types of content on IG
  • Reels also has a 63.4% engagement rate compared to other content types

When Chameleon Cold Brew, an organic coffee brand, wanted to increase their awareness on Instagram, it followed this same route and saw a 3.3x increase in brand awareness.

Image Source: Instagram

The Story featured a polling sticker and a call-to-action and it created magic. 

2. Collaborate with Instagram Creators and Influencers

Working with Instagram influencers does more than just increase brand awareness—it can help you increase sales, grow your customer base, and appear more trustworthy to your audience

Let’s face it, people no longer trust brands like they used to. 

A survey of over 395,000 people by Havas Group media showed that only 47% of brands are considered trustworthy. 

71% of the people surveyed said they’ve got little confidence that brands will deliver on their promises. 

As a customer yourself, there’s a good chance you rarely take a brand at its word.

You probably have to read reviews before making a purchasing decision. 

How can you get people to trust your brand?

Through influencer marketing where you partner with creators and influencers. 

They’re social media users that people know and trust so collaborating with them helps you leverage that trust

When people hear them talk about your brand, they’ll be more likely to pay attention to what the creators say. 

Studies have shown that 63% of consumers trust an influencer’s opinion about a brand more than the brand itself.  

What does that tell you?

That influencers can help your brand earn people’s trust which will in turn lead to an increase in brand awareness.

To help you understand why this is important, we looked at the Instagram profile of Lily Silk, a fashion brand, and discovered that posts where they featured influencers got more engagement than posts where they didn’t. 

Here’s an example of what we mean:

Image Source: Instagram

The post garnered almost 1.3k likes and comments, more than their regular posts. 

Image Source: Instagram

Now when collaborating with an influencer or creator, you need to ensure that they are right for your brand as they (ideally!) need to: 

  • Be in the same niche
  • Understand what your brand stands for.

So, how do you find the ‘right’ creators?

There are several ways to do that and using a platform like Insense is a good idea.

Insense is a creator marketplace that helps brands discover creators and influencers who understand their needs. 

To get started with creator campaigns on Insense, you need to generate a creative brief where you share information about your brand and indicate exactly what you want from your next social media campaigns, from types of ads to where the camera should be placed. The more detailed a brief, the higher the chances of getting creators that will get it right, hassle-free. 

We then use the data you provided to match you with creators who fit that profile. 

…and you can start receiving high-quality content depending on your agreement with them. 

3. Use Branded Hashtags

Branded hashtags are hashtags associated with a brand—in this case, your brand. They’re also related to your products, brand’s slogan, or an event you want to promote. 

Using branded hashtags can: 

  • Increase awareness for your brand
  • Generate buzz for your products
  • Spark conversations and higher audience engagement

Branded hashtags also help you organize all Instagram content in one place

By that, we mean content produced by your brand, creators, or even customers. 

As long as you all use your branded hashtag when posting about your brand, anyone searching for your brand can then input it and see all the content relating to your brand

Lily Silk also uses branded hashtags. 

Image Source: Instagram

Upon searching for their branded tag, we saw they’ve got over 30k posts on Instagram including posts that weren't uploaded by them. 

If you search for even more popular brands like Nike, you’ll see they have over 100 million posts.

Image Source: Instagram

How do you create a branded hashtag?

You can simply add the hashtag symbol before your brand name, product or service, or campaign event

If you’re an upcoming business, you want to ensure you’re always using your branded hashtag.

More importantly, you may want to combine them with relevant and trending hashtags so your content gains more visibility.

4. Leverage Instagram Business Tools

Instagram has tools you can leverage if you want to raise awareness for your business and they can help you discover what your audience responds to.

These business tools include:

  • Adding contact information: Brands can decide how they want potential customers to contact them: via email, Instagram chat feature, or directions to a physical location
  • Access to analytics: This metric tool allows brands to get insights about their Instagram followers and what they resonate with directly on the app
  • Instagram shopping: The Instagram shopping feature allows customers to browse through your product catalog and make purchases within the app
  • Promoting posts: Businesses can also promote their performing Instagram posts without leaving the app. 

You just need to choose the post, select your target audience, and the post will be boosted.

By using Instagram tools, you’ll get to: 

  • Reach more people 
  • Learn about your followers’ trends 
  • Know how your content is performing 
  • See how your audience has engaged with the content

5. Boost User Generated Content (UGC)

Have your customers ever told you how much they love your product or service?

we know the answer is yes

Well if you said yes, do you know if they’ve created content that said so?

We want to assume you do but if you don’t, you’re literally sitting on a goldmine because that right there is UGC and people love it. 

Just in case you’re wondering, user-generated content is any content produced by your current followers or creators rather than the brand. 

And statistics show that it gets 28% higher engagement than brand-produced content. 

Using UGC as part of your social media marketing strategy on IG can help you increase brand awareness. 

Here’s how…

When customers put out content about your brand, they share it with their audience. 

That means there’s a good chance that people who’ve not yet heard of your brand will see it and become interested. 

If you have 10 customers with an average follower count of 500 who are using UGC, there will be more people seeing your brand. This is without you even running a paid marketing campaign. 

Now let’s say you ask for their permission to use their content, you can boost the UGC so it reaches even more people. 

If you’re wondering why UGC is important, a study shows that 93% of marketers say consumers have more confidence in content produced by other consumers. 

Another study revealed that consumers find UGC 9.8x more impactful than branded content or celebrity content.

A good example of UGC raising awareness for a brand is the Shot on iPhone campaign by Apple. 

It’s generated over 26 million posts on Instagram; showing people why getting an iPhone is the right move for them. 

Occasionally, Apple reposts the UGC on their profile like this one from Shinichi:

Image Source: Instagram

How do you get UGC?

  • Launch a campaign like Apple did
  • Ask customers to share with you
  • Run giveaway contests
  • Partner with creators 

Let’s continue!

6. Create a Consistent Posting Schedule

Another thing you can do if you want to raise awareness is to create a schedule indicating when you’re going to post. 

There’s no doubt that users spend a lot of time on the app. 

In fact, statistics show that in 2021 users spent approximately 11.2 hours per month on the app. 

In 2022, 52% of UK users that were surveyed said they spend 1–3 hours per day on Instagram. 

But beyond that, what you want is for people to notice your brand when they’re active on the app. 

How do you ensure that happens?

By studying your audience to know when they’re most active and creating a posting schedule that suits that time. 

According to Sprout Social, the best times to post on Instagram are:

  • 11 a.m. on Monday
  • 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Tuesdays and Wednesdays
  • 10 a.m. to 12 noon on Thursdays and Fridays

…and when you come up with a posting plan, remember to remain consistent with it. 

That’s an effective way to raise awareness for your brand on Instagram. 

7. Actively Engage with your Audience

Engagement is an important practice you need if you want to increase brand awareness on Instagram. It’s when your audience interacts with your content and you with theirs.

To be more specific, engagements from your audience include getting:

  • Likes 🥰
  • Shares 👭
  • Comments ✍🏾
  • Saves 💚
  • Mentions 📢
  • Direct messages (DM) 💌
  • Follows 🏆

You want to ensure your content is captivating enough so people engage with it. 

Why?

Instagram’s algorithm constantly assesses whether your content should be shown by looking at how interesting it is for your audience. 

In other words, the more interactions it gets, the more the chances of them showing it to more people. 

Now, even more important is the need for you to engage with your audience or community too. 

How do you do that?

Well, by:

  • Responding to their comments
  • Commenting on posts where you were mentioned
  • Engaging with posts from people in the same niche as you when you can
  • Reposting content where your brand was mentioned

A good example is this post about remote work from Buffer:

Image Source: Instagram

You can see them responding to people’s comments on the post. 

Another example is Apple reposting one of their followers’ submission of the #shotoniphone campaign.

Image Source: Instagram

That’s how you can engage with your audience so people can see the social side of your brand. 

8. Highlight Your Brand Personality & Visual Identity

Raising awareness for your brand is a form of brand development. 

As such, you need to develop a personality and identity that’s specific to your brand alone. 

That means you can't just post any kind of content to your feed to get people’s attention. 

You need to be intentional about your visual identity so that all your posts have a direction.

How?

Be cautious about the:

  • Ad creatives you upload
  • Colors and filters you use
  • Sound or background if it’s a video creative

Essentially, the visuals you use need to reflect a unique atmosphere for your brand like this feed from Macy’s:

Image Source: Instagram

As you can see, it’s colorful, contemporary, and inviting at the same time. 

Now if you’ve decided on what your brand’s aesthetics are, take this a step further by showing them to your audience in every post.

Remain consistent even after people have become aware of your brand.

Why is this important?

So when people see your post, they can associate it with your brand.

9. Show What Your Brand Stands For

Beyond being known for what kind of product or service you offer, you want your audience to know what your core values are. 

You know, like your mission statement or purpose.

How do I do this?” 

Do I put out a press release or pin it to my highlights?”

You can do what Nike does on their Instagram account. 

They showed they support the BLM and Stop Asian Hate movement in their bio.

Nike also upload posts showing their support for people who go against non-progressive cultures:

Image Source: Instagram

Posts like this show people your brand cares about your audience and what they’re going through.   

10. Optimize Your Profile for SEO

If you want to build brand awareness on Instagram, optimizing your profile needs to be part of your content strategy.

Why? 

It helps ensure your profile is visible on the social media platform and lets you build a community if you’re just starting out. 

In other words, when people search for content related to your niche, your account will be shown. 

Another reason why it’s important to optimize your profile is that SEO happens to be an important factor in what Instagram shows in users’ Suggested Posts.

According to Instagram, the suggestions are based on posts from accounts users follow or posts they like or save. 

So if your profile is well optimized, your posts might organically pop up on the Explore page or suggested posts.

Now, how do you optimize your profile?

  • Come up with a strategy: This involves deciding what you want to achieve on Instagram, which in this case is increasing brand awareness.
  • Optimize your profile: Use an attractive username, ensure your profile is public, include a trackable link in your Instagram bio, and leverage the shopping feature.
  • Use keywords: Add keywords to your profile name and bio.
  • Use hashtags: Add relevant hashtags to your posts but avoid using the same ones for every post.
  • Leverage alt text: This feature allows you to write a better description of your photos.

Here’s an example of an optimized profile from e.l.f. cosmetics:

Image Source: Instagram

Cosmetics is the keyword in their profile and as you can see, they added emojis to make it more catchy, and a link to their website for users to easily pop into it, as well as activating the IG Shopping feature. 

11. Build Effective Ad Campaigns

You can boost brand awareness by launching ad campaigns. This involves running paid campaigns on your business profile so your brand has more reach. 

Employing this digital marketing strategy can help you:

  • Target people beyond your current demographics
  • Raise awareness
  • Get more sales

That’s what beauty brand Sephora did when they wanted to increase awareness for their new fragrances. 

They partnered with creators to produce content for the ad in their brand’s voice.

Image Source: Instagram

The results?

Sephora got a:

  • 17-point increase in ad recall
  • 2.4 point lift in standard brand favorability 
  • 1.3 point lift in purchase intent 

How do you build an effective ad campaign?

  • Select the creative you want to use
  • Go to Ads Manager and click the +Create green button
  • From there, choose your goal (brand awareness in this case)
  • Input your budget
  • Set your target audience
  • Choose where you want the ads to be displayed on Instagram 
  • Submit it for review

When it’s approved your ad will run on Instagram. 

12. Create Inclusive Content 

 Before you run off to Google to search for inclusive content, here’s what it means:

It’s a type of content that touches a diverse community of people that your brand is in contact with. 

To put it more simply, it’s content that people of different beliefs, characteristics, and traits can resonate with. 

Producing inclusive content is a great way to build your brand awareness campaign and get more people talking about it. 

How?

In advertising research by Microsoft, 64% of people said they trust brands that represent diversity in their ads. 

63% of them also said they consider brands like that authentic. 

Now, if you want to create inclusive content for your small business, keep the following in mind:

  • Understand your current audience and the audience you want to reach
  • Avoid making assumptions about your audience
  • Carefully select visuals that match your findings
  • Use words in your copy that depict balance, openness, and connection

13. Use Other Channels to Promote Your Instagram Profile

Last but not least, you can cross-promote your Instagram profile on some of the most popular social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn to raise awareness for your brand. 

If you’re active on TikTok for example, you can ask your followers there to follow you on Instagram. 

Cross-promotion is a good option to consider if you have a follower base on another channel. 

It provides a chance for you to capture people’s attention on Instagram as you’ve done on your other platforms.

Here are a couple of ways to promote your Instagram profile on other platforms:

  • Add your profile link to your profile
  • Share posts on the other platforms with a caption directing them to Instagram

And it’s a wrap, let’s bring this piece to a close!

Increase Your Brand Awareness on Instagram with the Right Tool

Ready to put what you’ve learned so far into practice?

We know you are!

With all the information we provided you in this piece, we’re confident you now know what needs to be done.

But if you want help getting started, we’re here to help in any way we can. 

So, feel free to book a demo with us, and let’s help you raise awareness for your brand.

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Manu Sheen

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