7 Experts tell YOU How to Build the Perfect Lifestyle Brand on Instagram

"How do you build the perfect lifestyle brand on Instagram?" is a question I get asked a lot. For many female entrepreneurs, building a lifestyle brand is the holy grail because it allows you to be totally you, and to build a business around your personality.

But mastering the art of building a successful lifestyle brand can be tricky. And that’s why I asked 7 Instagram experts who've actually done it to share their best-kept secrets on building the perfect lifestyle brand in an exclusive interview.

So, DRUM-ROLL ladies... Grab a notebook and a cup of your favorite beverage, get comfy and let’s dive into the interviews.

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Let's kick off with Alexandra, founder of Preview app (hands up if you love it as much as I do).

1. Alexandra/ Preview.App, @preview.app

What do you do? I'm one of the founders of the Instagram feed planner app Preview.

Followers:  43.8k

Where are you based? Australia.

Alex is a true expert, because she really understands what makes a good lifestyle brand and she can see one from miles away. Not only does she truly care about her users, but she is constantly working with them to make sure her app is as user-friendly as possible. Watch out, there’s lots to be learned from that girl.

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Kristin Brause: What is your killer tip how to build the perfect lifestyle brand on Instagram? What type of information can you share with your audience that educates and inspires them to follow in your footsteps? What tips do you have on building the perfect lifestyle brand on IG, and on getting the balance right between personal and business?

 

Alexandra: Hello everyone! That’s a really good question and it’s hard to think about only 1 tip.

  • But if I had to choose I would tell you to think about consistency, but not in the way you typically think about it.

  • Of course posting consistently on Instagram is important. But if you’re missing other areas of consistency, you might not be growing your brand as good as you want it to.

 

Consistency on Instagram comes in 3 forms:

 

Visual consistency: This is your theme = your visual personality = how you feed looks like overall. You should edit your photos using the same filter(s). This way people will instantly recognise your style and your brand when they see your photo among others. You’ll also make your Instagram feed scroll-worthy (therefore entice people to hit that “follow” button to enter your world). There are many different ways you can achieve visual consistency (read here).

What you post about: This is your content. What do your photos say about you without having to say a word? Your photos tell a story and they will speak for you. So focus on a couple of things you would love to share. Ask yourself: “What are 3 to 5 things that I love?”. What you post about is the reason why people will follow your journey.

• Be yourself: Instagram is a community. We’re all human beings and we love to meet new people. Don’t feel like you have to copy other successful lifestyle bloggers. You can get inspiration from them, but never forget to infuse your own personality and twists on things. Your Instagram page is about yourself. Take time to assess what you would love to share. Quick note: Being yourself doesn’t mean you have to show your face (Michelle, @mich.elle.imagery is a great example).

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I think these 3 ingredients are key to a beautiful, grounded and strong lifestyle brand on Instagram.

Here are some examples from girls who created their own consistency and are not afraid to infuse their personal style (PS: they’re all Preview App lovers too :))

@mich.elle.imagery: Michelle is the queen of flatlays. She created visual consistency throughout her feed with 2 things: (1) natural colors in her photos and (2) her photo props (books, plants, coffee, food, letter boards).

(See a screen grab of Michelle above)

@corinthsuarez: Corinth is a lifestyle blogger. Consistency is everywhere for her: in her feed, her Insta Stories and her website. Wherever you go, you know when you see something she created. She makes it clear what she is all about: fashion, makeup and the occasional food and landscape photos. Her brand doesn’t stop at her Instagram feed. Her Insta Stories are fun, quirky and loaded with her personality (and edited consistently). Her editing style and personality makes her brand shine.

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@simplywhytedesign: Joanne is a designer. She disrupted the way we think about a creative Instagram feeds. She creates her own “puzzle” grid layout with animated photos. Sick, right?!

 

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I really hope these tips and examples give you some inspiration and motivation. Have fun creating YOUR feed!

 

Next, I asked Nina Tailles. Nina's style is unmistakably simple, pure and minimal.

 

2.  Nina Tailles, @ninatailles

 

What do you do? I'm an Instagram stylist.

Followers: 2.5k

Where are you based? Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia.

Nina has managed to build a lifestyle brand without ever showing anything personal. Her color palette is monotone - white, gray and pastel white - and Nina has mastered a minimalistic style. Below she reveals her brand building tips that she uses to build up a loyal following of fans and keep them eagerly anticipating every new post.

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Kristin Brause: What is your killer tip how to build the perfect lifestyle brand on Instagram? What type of information can you share with your audience that educates and inspires them to follow in your footsteps? What tips do you have on building the perfect lifestyle brand on IG, and on getting the balance right between personal and business?

 

Nina Tailles: In short, I would sum this up using these two words: repetition + reputation.

  • First thing is consistency. Consistency in your voice, message, visuals and posting frequency. This is what many of us struggle with, especially if we DIY our brands: there's always a temptation to try a new thing, adjust our colors a bit, repeat after someone we like, etc. This is how we unintentionally dilute our brand.

  • Second thing is connections. We can't stand alone in social media. You will grow the most through connections you make on this platform. People trust their peers' recommendations, so you have to know your community.

  • Accept the fact that it will take time. Building your brand is not a 1 day business. You have to invest either time or your money to create awareness on Instagram. You have to put something in, before you can reap the benefit, this is just how the energy works and Instagram is no different.

  • Make sure you content provides value. You can inspire, educate, entertain and build stronger connection with your audience so before you create any post start with your intention first. When I work with my clients on their content strategy we start by trying to think as their potential client. Discover their dreams, hopes and fears and then from this standpoint we create content.

  • If you struggle with visibility and don't feel like becoming an open book for the whole world, that's okay. You are not alone and many people feel this way. There is no 1 tried and true success strategy. You are in charge of how personal you want to get . If it's not your favorite part, just focus on solving a specific problem for your audience, become an advocate  for an inspiring idea, make visuals the strongest part of your strategy or  share every detail of your craft. Just choose something and stick to it.

 

And remember, it takes time (or marketing budget). Most likely you are just fine, just don't give up too early and you will see success!

 

3. Ashley Perkins @ashley_prgirl

What do you do? I'm a marketing & brand strategist at Prestige Revolution, Helping you create influence, income and impact online.

Followers: 1.3k

Where are you based? Toronto, Ontario, Canada.

I've been following Ashley's brand-building journey for a while and seen her go through different changes. When it comes to creating the perfect lifestyle brand, you can't be afraid to try new things until you find the perfect niche and look. Through her journey, Ashley has crafted a brand where she can be herself whilst serving her audience best.

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Ashley Perkins:

  • The best thing you can do to build a lifestyle brand on Instagram, or any social network for that matter, regardless of whether you’re a newbie or are experienced; is to know who you’re talking to and why.

  • No amount of filters, flat lays, or followers will matter if you’re not crystal clear on the purpose behind your brand - and your purpose lies in your ‘who’ and your ‘why’. These two components of your brand have a direct impact on everything you say and do online, and the better you know them, the more successful you’ll be.

  • You’re not in the business of building a lifestyle brand for you, you’re in it for your people. So, how can you get to know your ‘who’ and your ‘why’ to build a brand that attracts the right audience? Ask yourself these questions first…

1. What needs does my product or service fulfill?

2. Who would identify with the values and lifestyle my product or service represents?

3. Why would someone choose to buy from or work with me above anyone else in my niche?

  • Answering these questions will allow you to identify the core of your ‘who’ and why they would be loyal to you, which allows you to build a brand that aligns with your business goals.

  • Next, you need to create a visual representation of your brand that attracts your target audience, or your ‘who’.

  • Creating a stand-out brand on Instagram relies heavily on consistency. Every piece of content you share should tell a story that reflects your brand’s identity, because it’s the same values at the core of your story and your brand that are ultimately going to resonate with your target audience, and draw them into you.

  • Share photos, videos and media that highlight the people, processes, values, colours, products, and tone that demonstrate who you are, what you do, and why you do it.

  • Don’t be afraid to be a human being! Talk about your ups and downs, and how each of them makes your business unique. The goal with sharing your story is to go beyond the imagery and capture your audience’s trust so they become life-long fans."

 

 

4. Sue B Zimmerman, @theinstagramexpert

What do you do? INSTAGRAM MARKETING. I provide you with REAL tactical tips for your business daily.

Followers: 54.2k

Where are you based? Boston, USA.

Sue is authentic and honest. When I invited her to the challenge per DM on Instagram, her reply was a straight up "Sure". Sue has been an entrepreneur all her life, and besides IG marketing advice, you also get her years of experience advising businesses. By being her authentic self, she makes her brand approachable and relatable and makes people want to work with her.

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Kristin Brause: What is your killer tip how to build the perfect lifestyle brand on Instagram? What type of information can you share with your audience that educates and inspires them to follow in your footsteps? What tips do you have on building the perfect lifestyle brand on IG, and on getting the balance right between personal and business?

 

Sue B Zimmerman:

  • To build the perfect brand you need to have intention, focus and consistency.

  • You've got to show up as the same person online as you are offline. You've got to be authentic. You have to make yourself memorable, and of course you've got to be unique so people will remember your brand.

  • Don’t compare yourself too much to others. Success doesn't happen overnight. You've got to realize that the other brands you look up to didn't get successful just like that. There is a lot of work that goes on behind the scenes. People are always looking for the magic pill, but honey, that doesn't exist. You've got to be prepared to put in the hard work first.

  • I come up with all the creative ideas for my brand (take my signs for example, which are a huge hit with my audience).

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  • Your brand is everything, but don't overthink it or you'll lose people's trust.

  • Your content needs to be educational too, of course. People love learning from other people's experiences. I believe the success behind my brand comes down to me showing up online every day as me.

 

5.  Tript & Prabh, Buzzing Creatives @buzzingcreatives

What do you do? We teach creative entrepreneurs how to grow their biz online by leveraging your social media.

Followers: 3.9k

Where are you based? Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada.

Tript & Prabh from the Buzzing Creatives love a good community (spelt with a capital ‘C’), and it has become the centerpiece of their brand. Not only do they have their own #buzzingcreatives hashtag, but they also support those in the Buzzing Creatives community affected by hurricane Maria.

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Kristin Brause: What is your killer tip how to build the perfect lifestyle brand on Instagram? What type of information can you share with your audience that educates and inspires them to follow in your footsteps? What tips do you have on building the perfect lifestyle brand on IG, and on getting the balance right between personal and business?

 

Buzzing Creatives:

Instagram is a great platform to build your lifestyle brand, and it can also be a fun platform to do this! So our advice would be have fun, whilst investing time in it and having patience.

  • Developing a lifestyle brand on Instagram does take lots of trial and error but is well worth it!

  • First and foremost understand what your brand is, what it encompasses,  colours & fonts are important,  but you need to also think beyond that.

  • Understand what sort of feelings you want to elicit from your visitors, what do you want them to feel when they visit your Instagram?

  • Your brand informs all aspects of your Instagram and that is why it is very important to think about your brand aesthetic and how it can be reflected in your Instagram grid.

  • Branding itself is much more than the visual components: it includes the messaging, content and story surrounding the brand.

  • It defines an emotional relationship between customers and the business.

  • Your brand aesthetic on your instagram should present a story or a lifestyle that your target market desires through your content as this is what will build that emotional relationship between you and your customers.

  • When you are building a lifestyle brand on Instagram you want to use your visuals to allow the visitors make their own decisions without feeling like they are being sold to.

  • Once you have a good grasp of your brand you then want to start transferring that over to your instagram via lifestyle images and images that humanize your brand.

 

  • Do you want to sell a healthy lifestyle? A glamourous lifestyle? A minimal lifestyle?
  • You need images and content on your Instagram that evokes those emotions in your followers.

  • And that is where we always recommend to have a Visual Content Style Guide - where you take note of colours, editing steps, filters, moods etc. of your images so you can remain consistent with your images.

  • We also recommend scheduling your posts on a scheduler that allows you to preview your instagram grid and move things around to give you your desired look and feel.

  • On Instagram, if you post the right images, consumers will devour your marketing message without a hard sales pitch from you!

  • So it’s always a great idea to keep a good balance of posts where you are selling the lifestyle of your brand with posts where you are selling your services and products!

 

6. Stevie Dillon @steviesayssocial

What do you do? I manage social media for professional services + businesses that sell their expertise. I also do coaching + training, strategy + content.

Followers: 1.6k

Where are you based? Brisbane, Australia.

Stevie Dillon's lifestyle brand is built on trust, palm trees and fashionable shots, and it’s the perfect balance between personal and business. Stevie writes from personal experience, but always with her audience in mind.

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Kristin Brause: What is your killer tip how to build the perfect lifestyle brand on Instagram? What type of information can you share with your audience that educates and inspires them to follow in your footsteps? What tips do you have on building the perfect lifestyle brand on IG, and on getting the balance right between personal and business?

 

Steviesayssocial:

  • You know the first nine squares you see on your Insta profile when you first click into it? What do those nine posts TELL people?

  • Do they paint a picture of you, your business and what you're all about? Are they a big, fat, in-your-face sales pitch? Or are they just a mish mash of whatever, because you can never really work out what to post and so, you'll admit it, you kind of just post whatever.

Here's the thing.

  • Social media is all about creating connection. It's about helping, providing value and delivering your brand story in a way that encourages the right people to relate to you and to trust you.

A social media follow? It's kind of a BIG thing.

  • My biggest tip is to follow the 4:3:2 rule. It's a rule that I made up myself, and it WORKS.

  • Four of the posts in your grid should ADD value to your audience. Entertain, educate or inspire your audience. Three should give your audience the opportunity to RELATE to you. Use digital storytelling and give people an opportunity to get to know you, like you and trust you.

  • And two can SELL. Because, you’ve earnt the right to by leading with value first.

Last but not least is Claire Wolfson.

 

7. Claire Wolfson @clairewolfson

What do you do? I'm a Creative director / stylist / designer / digital strategist.

Followers: 2.6k

Where are you based? Long Beach, USA.

Claire Wolfson has a crazy good eye for visual storytelling. She is not only

consistent but super creative and produces images that make you go 'Woooow, I wish that was my account'. Claire has made her passion for Wiener dogs her business and she has built up 2 successful Instagram accounts @beangoods, 40k and @shopmatchmymutt 7.1k on the side.

Don’t forget to check them out.

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Kristin Brause: What is your number tip how to build the perfect lifestyle brand on Instagram? What type of information can you share with your audience that educates and inspires them to follow in your footsteps? What tips do you have on building the perfect lifestyle brand on IG, and on getting the balance right between personal and business?

 

Claire Wolfson:

  • Pin point what makes you unique and memorable and make that part of your brand.

  • Be consistent with all your visuals.

  • Pick a color story and layout for your brand and stick with it.

  • Above all stay humble and be kind - respond to your dms, engage with your followers and collaborate with like minded boss babes!"

 

THANK YOU to all our experts.

I hope you enjoyed these valuable and insightful nuggets of advice as much as me. It’s not every day that you get so many successful ladies in one place.

 

Do you have any questions? Please leave a comment below.