Instagram How To...

Why and How to Create an Instagram Style Guide

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An Instagram Style guide is an essential tool for ensuring a consistent Instagram branding and gaining success. It’s not just us saying it; the entire social media world is nodding in agreement.

If you’re not sure that creating an Instagram Style guide is worth your time, this article will clear all doubts. Read on to find out precisely what an Instagram Style guide is, why you have to create one and what to include in it when you do.

Here we go!

What is an Instagram Style Guide?

An Instagram Style guide is, plain and simple, a document containing information on how your brand should look and “talk” on Instagram. It’s the single source of truth that outlines the stylistic choices that give your account its uniqueness. In essence, it’s a guarantee that your followers will always recognize a post from you when they see it.

While you can be as creative as you want when putting your guide together, there are a few elements you shouldn’t overlook. An Instagram Style guide should contain your visual guidelines (think brand colours, fonts, grid aesthetics) and critical tone of voice dos and don’ts for captions.

To get a clear idea of what an Instagram Style Guide is, you need to understand what it is not. The style guide is not a strategy or tactics document. Thus, there’s no need to mention details such as the publishing schedule or specific content ideas.

Why do you need an Instagram Style Guide?

Where to start? The reasons for creating an Instagram Style guide are so compelling that it’s hard to decide which one is the most important. 

A style guide will help you keep a consistent look and feel, enabling you to build a strong, recognizable brand. Ultimately, this will lead to improved relationships with your followers and a higher chance of them forming a long-term connection with your business.

Furthermore, a style guide is a great way to onboard new employees. Why? Because it empowers them with everything they need to dive into their tasks. This way, when the time comes to step up and handle the Instagram account on their own, they’ll know what to do. 

Having an Instagram Style guide will help your brand deliver consistently with every post, Story, or Reel. Hit after hit after hit. Plus, it will create an internal professional culture, helping colleagues take on new responsibilities without wasting time.

6 things to include in your guide

1. Image and video guidelines

Instagram is a visually driven platform. So, if you are to focus on expanding one section in your Instagram Style guide, this is it. 

Make sure to paint a clear picture of how posts, Stories, and Reels should look like. Things such as how to frame photos and videos, what type of filters to choose, how to edit, and what stock photos and videos to reach out to are essential.

It’s also a good idea to include links to shared folders and assets that could be used for products or services. These assets can be life-savers for someone who’s new to the brand.

2. Fonts and colours

When it comes to using text in post images or videos or in your Stories, you need to be consistent. Having one font here and one font there won’t do you any favours, as your followers won’t get a clear picture of your brand and fail to recognize it.

To avoid such a disaster, make sure your Instagram Style guide mentions the font that should be used throughout Instagram materials. If you want to go one step further, list sizes and weights for post, Stories, and Reels, as well as exceptions. 

Also, don’t forget about brand colours. Including the hexa code is a good idea (e.g. white is #FFFFFF), as it will help all team members use the same shades consistently. 

For extra points, state what colours should be used for what (text, Stories’ background etc).

3. Brand voice and captions

Your brand voice represents your business character, so it’s important for whoever writes your captions to capture that uniqueness every time. 

To make sure this happens, your Instagram Style guide should include a section on the characteristics of your tone of voice. Is it formal or casual? Serious or humorous? Direct or filled with subtle metaphors? Make sure to describe it in as many details as possible and give examples. Including does and dont’s can be a game-changer.

While you’re at it, dive deeper into how captions should be written. Does your brand engage in storytelling with long posts, or is it short, sweet, and to the point? Are you okay with using emojis, or you want to keep things simple? Whatever your choice, mention it. 

4. Hashtags

Using the right hashtags is essential for a successful Instagram strategy. Even if switching things up is helpful once in a while, you probably have some tested and approved hashtags that do the job. Plus, you might even have branded hashtags for different occasions (contests, events, product launches etc.).

How to Use Instagram Hashtags in 2019 - The Social Shake-Up Show

Your Instagram Style guide should include a clear breakdown of all the above mentioned. A good approach is to create topic categories and write down all the approved hashtags for each. An even better approach is to use Preppr to keep track of all your best hashtags, automatically. What a relief! 

5. Instagram Story formats

Instagram Stories have so much leverage that they deserve their own section in your Style guide. Make the most of it by pointing out which tools you use for Story creation and what templates and layouts are preferred. 

Moreover, this section should cover the Instagram features that should be used or avoided, such as polls, questions, quizzes, countdowns, and other. At the same time, outline the use of GIFs and the types that are preferred. 

Since you already mentioned fonts and colours in section 2, there’s no need to go over these again. You can reference the chapter above. 

6. Grid guidelines

Last but not least, offer an overview of your grid’s aesthetics. Beyond colour palettes and combinations, you might be using different patterns for your grid, so make sure to state if you do. 

Once again, Preppr might prove of actual use to you and your team since it allows social media managers to preview feeds and plan accordingly. 

Plan your feed ahead of time - Preppr

Ready to style it up?

The only acceptable answer is “Yes, let’s create this Instagram Style guide!”

Now you have the basic ideas to get you started. We’re confident your creative juices will soon get flowing, and you’ll own your style guide like an Instagram star. 

If you’re looking to ease your workflow (and improve brand consistency), remember that Preppr is always and forever your social media sidekick. 

Learn more and try it out for 10 days, free of charge — you’ll want to style it out with Preppr forever. 

Ilona Iftode

Ilona Iftode is a copywriter with a taste for adventure. She lives to write, travel and explore new concepts in the realms of advertising, marketing, SEO and beyond.

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