Standing out on Instagram starts with building a strong memorable brand. One that helps you calve out your dedicated place in the world of the squares.

When building a strong brand, one that works well on Instagram, there’s plenty of elements to consider. You need to tell your brand story, whilst engaging your audience and ultimately selling your product or service.

How to stand out on Instagram

I believe taking things back to the start is important when you consider how to make your brand shine on Instagram. Get these key ingredients right and you’ll be more than half way there. A few questions to ask yourself:

  • What are your brand values? These are principles or beliefs that shape your business. They lead your personality, message and identity.
  • What makes you different?
  • What is your vibe, your brand story, your tone of voice?
  • Are you a warm and welcoming business, a vibrant, brave and fun business, a serene and relaxing business. How do want your audience to feel?

These are the key elements that you need to know and develop, to calve out your unique place.

Image of Sarah sitting on a rug crossed legged with laptop

10 Ways to stamp your brand on Instagram

There are probably more opportunities to convey your brand on Instagram than you might ever have thought of. Here’s 10 points to consider.

1.Content topics:

Choose content topics which tell your brand story whilst delivering on your audiences motivations and needs. These are the topics you will talk about. They need to sell your product or service, showcase your values, demonstrate your expertise, connect and most importantly fix the problems your audiences needs help with.

Getting your content right is probably the most important thing you can focus on.

2.Imagery and photography: 

All imagery needs to reflect your brand and be consistent. Aim for one filter, a certain tone or colour palette. Think about locations, your outfits and other props used in your shots. Are they accurately telling the your story.

Graphic showing 3 iphone screens each with an image, the first a cornish cottage, second dahlias and third an image of Sarah

3.Brand elements / Brand codes:

These are elements that become recognisable as you. From colours, to shapes and pattern and fonts, own them and make them yours. For example, my brand uses coastal colours, rounded squares and light and airy imagery and time and time again, I’m told that members of my community recognise my content even before they see a name attached.

4.Unique Voice:

Aim for a consistent brand voice whenever you write, on Instagram captions and your bio and throughout your other channels. Is that a chatty, professional or funny tone? Are you looking to position yourself as a thought leader or a quirky, fun brand. Think about Who Gives a Crap toilet paper or Innocent in comparison to The White Company or Boden.

What vibe are you wanting your customers to get from what you say. The words you use and even your use of emojis add weight here.

5.Profile Image:

If using an image is it consistent with all your imagery? Same filter? Same look and feel? If using your logo, make sure it is a stacked version with any wording clearly visible.

6.Story Highlights

There’s two ways to look at story highlights. One as branded billboards pointing to your most important information and secondly in a similar way to your website navigating leading users to the info they need. Highlights need branded covers, consistent with the look and feel of your page. Maybe they are images, words or icons.

The content of those story highlights matters too. Avoid having a disorganised collection of stories. Opt for some beautifully branded stories. Keep them current. Outdated stories indicate a lack of attention to detail and are totally irrelevant. Use highlights to showcase the very best of your offering and to help your audience quickly find what they are looking for.

Graphic showing 3 iphones containing Sarah's branded story highlight contents

7.Grid layout:

What style are you aiming for with your grid? There’s all sorts of styles from beautiful images that required nothing more, to bold graphics, checkerboards, rows, columns, rainbows, white borders, even circles.

Do avoid puzzle grids and any images and graphics that you might like to extend across more than one post. You might think it’s the cool thing to do, but unless you are a graphic designer (or employ one) and have heaps of time on your hands very likely you will tie yourself up in knots. Keep it simple.

8.Look and feel of your grid:

Use your brand colours and a consistent colour palette to match your brand colours.  When designing post graphics, incorporate brand colours, brand codes and consistent brand fonts. You can extend your usual brand colours to incorporate a few extra complimentary ones for social, one or two accent colours maybe.


Don’t forget that you have an opportunity to stamp your brand in stories, making each of your stories instantly recognisable as belonging to you.

  • Include some branded stories to communicate key messages.
  • Change the background of posts you share to stories to your brand colours. Having your colour palette on your phone as an image you can load into your story will ensure you can use the colour picker to get your brand colours.
  • Choose a consistent Instagram story font and colour. E.g. If you’re brand colours are ocean colours (mine are) look to consistently use those.
  • Share content from other accounts in your stories (tagging the creator) that add to your messaging and overall brand.

10. Reels and Video:

Add covers to ensure that these look on brand on your grid. Make sure the content reflects your brand story, or who you are as a person if you have a personal brand. It’s definitely acceptable to have a bit of fun with Reels but do think about the fit with your brand.

When I started making reels I felt the pressure to lean into trending this trending that. Now I just stick with using reels as another format for sharing my core content. I stay in my lane, don’t worry about reels going viral and use them to connect further, inspire and educate my community.

Remember consistency is key.

If parts of this blog have inspired you, I’d love to hear from you. Likewise if you have questions, pop over and find me on Instagram @sarahrichardssocial.

I’d love to help you ramp up your Instagram and offer an Instagram Power Hour for this very purpose. If you’d like to work through how you can specifically stand out on Instagram, book a session and let’s get started.