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Last updated: April 01, 2024

How To Brand Yourself On Instagram

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Instagram really is the new business card. People are finding you, liking your photos and then contacting you all through the app—so yeah, it’s a pretty big deal. But how do you deal if you’re just starting out? It can be overwhelming to conquer Instagram, but you NEED to be good at it. One person who definitely knows what she is talking about when it comes to Instagram is Creative Director Mary Rector-Gable, who sifted through more than 130,000 #ONESHOT entries this past summer. Here are a few tips from Mary for totally owning your IG brand.



Find What’s Engaging
Take a look at Instagram and see what people are liking, what they are inspired by and what they are truly engaging with. Then take a look at your page and find out where you are getting the most likes. Is it metallics that people love seeing? Or is it rainbow hair or balayage? Find what the people in your area are interested in most and go from there.


If there is one artist that owns the imperfectly perfect updo category, it’s @hairandmakeupbysteph, and with more than five million Pinterest followers, we can tell you, what she is doing is definitely working.


Pick Your Niche
After you’ve decided on a few things that are getting a lot of engagement, then it’s time to pick your Instagram niche. It may sound obvious, but you need to pick something you’re really good at and something you want to focus on. “And if you’re really good at a lot of different things,” says Mary, “then choose the one thing that is going to make you really different from the rest of your market.”

Develop Your Brand
Once you’ve found your engaging niche, it’s time to start asking yourself how you’re going to follow through with your branded Instagram page. Mary suggests always sticking to the hair. There are a few exceptions to this, but for the most part, you should stick to your “thing” and then post super close-up shots of hair with great lighting.

But if you think you already have Instagram figured out and want to brand yourself with more than just hair shots, here are a few things to ask yourself:

  • Is your goal to become a celebrity stylist? If you are a celebrity stylist or if you have more than 100,000 Instagram followers, you’re at the point where you can post more than just hair shots. Chances are, people want to know where you are and what you’re doing.



  • Is your goal to become a lifestyle brand? If you have an aesthetic that allows you to post more than just pretty hair shots, go for it. More often than not, this will come after you’ve already gained a large following. Take Matty Conrad, for example. Matty is a brilliant barber, and his work proves it, but now he has built a brand that people want to see, follow and engage with on social media. He’ll post pictures of his barbershop, his dog, his coffee and his whiskey—it all goes along with his cool barber style and the idea he is trying to sell.




  • Is your goal to be an educator? Being an educator via Instagram is easier than the two goals above. Why? Well, let’s just say it’s a little more straightforward. Stick with posting your niche hair shots, but don’t stop there, add the color formulas or tips for achieving the look you just posted. This is a really easy way to get people to engage and like your work. @prettylittleombre (Hotshot Winner of Ombré Shot of the Year at the BTC #ONESHOT Hair Awards in 2016) is always giving tips and advice on her Instagram page, and her followers LOVE it.



Just Go for It
Don’t ever think you can’t do something. “Take a look at our #ONESHOT Hair Awards,” says Mary. “If you’re struggling to find the right niche for you that’s also engaging, use our categories as a guide.” And if you find yourself thinking, “I don’t have enough followers to win a #ONESHOT award,” think again. In 2016, 76 percent of our finalists had under 25,000 followers, 62 percent had under 10,000, and we had two winners with less than 1000 followers. So don’t ever think you can’t—because you can enter, and you could win.


Watch Mary’s speech from the Matrix Elevate Me Training in Cancun!



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