The Facebook-owned Instagram has actually far surpassed its parent platform in terms of certain audiences and certain marketing techniques, image marketing chief among them. Although you may apply some general tactics of social media marketing couth to the Instagram platform, its unique mix of demographics and features requires techniques specific to it as well. The creation of engaging content should be chief among your concerns; without great images, even the most sophisticated marketing plans fall flat. Here is your guide to creating the images that will work on Instagram.
HD is Now Standard
Assume that all marketing on Instagram is finding its way to a consumer base that does not understand analog fuzz whatsoever. Invest in the proper hardware to match cutting edge specs of digital cameras for best results. If the standard is now 4K, take pictures with a 4K camera and nothing else. Once the standard improves, improve with it.
You will not brand your images in the traditional way – for instance, putting a t-shirt with your brand logo in every photo is Instagram suicide. Brand your photos by theme. Here is your inside track to theme branding:
- Describe your brand with a descriptive, poignant adjective.
- Whenever you take a picture, make that picture evoke that adjective.
- Do not post any picture on Instagram that does not evoke the feeling that adjective describes.
Once people begin to unconsciously connect your Instagram page to an adjective like “sexy” or “adventurous” or “exotic,” you can brand yourself consciously in your images any way you want. You can actually analyze your success here by the number of people who put your adjective (or a synonym) in the comment section.
Once you set the philosophy of your page, you need a visual hook in every image. People will subconsciously gain a sense of familiarity with your images through this technique, a technique that is successfully implemented by virtually every personality driven brand in pop culture. For instance, if you are a fitness model, wearing yoga pants in your first 100 photos might be boring to you, but it will brand you in the eyes of your potential customers. If you are branding a plant food, showcasing a different exotic plant in full bloom in every photo will help to associate your product with health and vitality for your customer’s plants.
You can eventually expand a hook like yoga pants or exotic plants into more divergent hooks, but this is an advanced strategy known as the “reinvention” that should only occur after you have solidified your brand in the eyes of your audience and THEY tire of your hook.
The trend today is bright colors and lots of contrast. Although Instagram has filters, you will get better results using a post production program like Adobe After Effects or Photoshop. Use these programs to add that extra edge that will keep your photos looking slightly more professional than your competition.
People Whenever Possible
People connect most readily with images of people. If there is any excuse to put people in your Instagram images, then use it. Keep in mind that these people should uphold the theme of your page as mentioned above. For instance, if your selected adjective from the tip above is “happy,” then every person in your photos should have a smile on his or her face.
Each of your Instagram images should have a single focus. If you take an exciting picture that fits your other criteria but has two focal points that fight for your attention, make the image two images and put them up as a series.
Creating a Picture Series
If something works for you, then do it again. Think of your successful pictures as the first installment in a blockbuster film franchise that is taking place on your Instagram. Once you have put up a few pictures, you will be able to tell the ones that are really connecting from the engagement in the comments section.
Study your successful pictures to understand exactly why they are successful with your audience. Aggregate the comments that these pictures evoke and try to note trends. Watch the adjectives that people use – this is how people view the theme of your page. Build on their assumptions.
Study Your Competition
Instagram gives you a built in classroom – the pages of your competitors. Use the same criteria mentioned here on their pages. What is the theme of their images? What do they use as a focal point? How do their customers respond, and what content do they gravitate to? Once you understand what your competition is doing correctly, you can modify your content to speak to your strengths more readily. As you improve in your ability to analyze, you will also be able to note holes in the marketing strategy of your competitors and fill that need in your own pictures.
Do you have any Instagram image creation tips to add?
Check out this infographic from Later – and learn which image sizes work best for the Instagram platform!