The Art of Instagramming
Instead of representing your company through articles, or even harder-- a 140 word snippet on Twitter, use pictures! Instagram is perfect for any business because it pushes your brand right to the forefront. You have complete control over the color scheme, layout, and content that creates the vision of your company. You decide what people see in their mind when they run across your business title in a conversation. Use these 3 main tips to give them something to talk about-- "did you see that new dress? It was so nice to be able to see the length on Instagram!" or "there is a new project coming out, I saw it on my feed this morning!" People talk about things they see on social media, so make sure they are talking about your latest post!
Instagram easily slips your company's marketing into the morning routine of anyone checking their phone. Plus their lunch break, after work, and before bed routines, too. With the right pictures, people will enjoy seeing your business posts pop on their feed just as much as seeing a picture of their neighbor's puppy, or all of the wedding announcements this season. No longer is there a separation between ads and what the viewer actually came to see, now it's all just part of the Instagram aesthetic.
So how do you flawlessly mix in your business' photos with all of those personal posts, while also making them memorable?
1. Good Lighting
I cannot stress this enough, good lighting is the holy grail of Instagram-- everyone tries for it, and it has the special power to get anyone to double-click faster than possibly anything else. Of course what your pictures is of matters, but good lighting can make anything look good. Plan out your posts well so that you can take pictures in the best lighting. Natural light is best. For outdoor photos, the best time to take them is the hour after sunrise, or the hour before sunset. Referred to in the professional photography world as "the golden hours," this principle also applies to simple pictures taken on your smartphone! But don't worry, if your schedule doesn't allow for early morning picture taking, just make sure you find a room that has good bright natural light. Take advantage of the indirect light. Know your focus so that you can make sure the light directs the viewer's eye to the right place. Instagram users usually respond best to bright photos that utilize white space, color, and angle. Good lighting incorporates other photo quality needs-- such as, focus. Never post a blurry picture. Don't use filters that are too strong, unnatural, or obvious. Using natural light will eliminate the need for too much editing. All of these photo taking tips lead into an idea that will create continuity in your social media branding--
2. Decide Your Aesthetic Now
Before you post, decide what kind of look you are going for on your feed, and don't post if it doesn't match! On social media is it easy to want to post all of your material, but the powerful businesses are ones who have a very specific brand and stick to it. New customers will be viewing your feed all at once, on your Instagram profile. Make sure they find a set of pictures that look good together, and that give them a quick idea of what your brand is like. Having a predetermined style will help you when deciding what to post and what pictures to even take. Social media is how you reach the masses, and trust me, any soccer mom or college student can be just as picky as any critic when it comes to double clicking an Insta picture. Plan out your posts, be specific about your look, and hold your posting to a standard of excellence. Yes, even Instagram should be excellent in today's business world. As good as your sudden new idea might sound at 10pm, don't take a picture for it until the next day. Not only will the lighting be better, but it will give you a chance to make sure your post idea is up to your feed's standards. Trust me, I am the worst offender when it comes to late night Instagram ideas, but double checking before you post will help ensure a lighter, more engaging feed. Lastly, don't assume that your services or products only fit into a certain marketing mold. As an avid Instagram user, I have seen dog food advertisements that look just as pretty and engaging as ads for trips to Hawaii. No joke. And before I even realize what I am looking at, I've double-clicked and liked an ad that fit so seamlessly into my feed, I didn't even realize I was being advertised to right away.
3. Interact With Your Followers
Your account can get easily lost in the sea of other personal and business accounts, unless you remind your followers that you're there with more than just frequent posts. Commenting, liking, and following regularly is essentially saying "hey we are over here! We sell products that you need!" On my personal account I am often followed by small companies who can sense I would like their products, because they have checked out my feed and have a great idea of what I am interested in. Companies who follow me have turned me into an online shopping fanatic, because often I don't even have to go looking for them. Don't just get on your account to post pictures, make sure you are following similar businesses (know what your competition is up to) and especially follow people who fit your brand, because your products will fit their lifestyle or needs and they will support you with likes and purchases. Important tip: Let your followers know that you would love to see them tag your products in their personal pictures. It's like creating an army of brand ambassadors bragging about your business, and for free! For example, if you sell clothing, tell people to tag your account when they post their excited post about their new shirt! This gives people the source when they think, "ah where is that shirt from? I'd like to get it for myself!" One incentive to get this happening is to offer post features on your account! Pick the best pictures tagged with your products, and repost them on your business' feed. Now, if your business' services are not easily or often posted about by your customers, still let them know you are there by commenting on their posts and liking other pictures. But of course the best way to interact with your followers is to post regular, high-quality photos!
Instagramming doesn't need to take a lot of time. Create good posting habits so that it social media can become an easy, seamless marketing tool for your company! Being decisive and specific about what you post will bring in a large crowd of customers, people who know your brand and talk about it with their friends.