Abi writes: We are Instagram obsessives at Crocstar. We’ve blogged before about the benefits of setting up an Instagram account, but we were so excited about the latest stats we just had to share our latest thoughts on using the photo-sharing app. So here’s how to make the most of your posts so you can reach the right people.
Instagram currently has over 300 million users worldwide, sharing on average 55 million photos each day. With the most followed person having 70 million followers and the most liked photo garnering 3 million likes, there has never been a better time to promote yourself or your business on Instagram.
Once your Instagram is set up, how do you make it successful? When noting the sheer amount of industries that have been revolutionised by Instagram, we’ve noticed one thing that popular ‘influencers’ have in common – they have got their visual branding spot on. A current example would be popular health expert Joe Wicks – sunny, smiley selfies and quick videos of simple food quickly convey his approachable personality and positive message to both existing devotees and potential new fans. (You can also see how to use Instagram when your business isn’t visual.)
Previous to working at Crocstar, I worked as a Visual Merchandiser. Gaining an understanding of commercial awareness and the importance of creating the right aesthetic has been crucial when growing an audience on Instagram for Crocstar’s clients. We’ve discovered that by simply altering the aesthetics of your Instagram, you can better promote your brand identity to increase interest and generate business.
Here’s the Crocstar toolkit on how to improve your Instagram aesthetics.
Take a step back
What colours/textures and shapes do you associate with your brand? Pick three or four and stick with them for backgrounds. Consider – what don’t you like about your current posts? Which are your favourite past posts and why? We love a good post it note session to get ideas flowing – try it and let us know what you come up with!
What is your competition doing and can you do it better? Even if it’s a completely unrelated industry, think of your favourite accounts and bloggers and brainstorm ideas on what you like and dislike. Put a plan of action into place and decide what you can emulate immediately, maybe their style of lighting or location and add your own twist.
Promote high standards
Good lighting is imperative and make sure your set/background is clean and neat before taking a photo. Particularly if you are working with a small budget – keep photos high quality. Professional photos add a nice touch, but play around with settings on your smartphone and you will be surprised at what you can achieve
Keep it simple
A clean white background always looks great and laying products out flat (known as a ‘flat lay’) is a hugely popular style of post.
Aim for consistency
Use similar tonal backgrounds for posts and use the same filter each time you post. This will turn your Instagram into a professional online portfolio with minimal effort, particularly if you stick to a small colour palette.
Use existing surroundings and resources
Settings and backgrounds are key to getting an interesting shot, but you don’t have to arrange a big budget photo shoot. Brick walls, quiet streets, rural areas provide stunning backdrops for free! And don’t forget a behind-the-scenes shot is a powerful tool in promoting your brand identity. If you work with products then your content is all around you. No time to take photos that week? Use infographics and repost high quality client photos to create conversation. Lucky enough to work in a stunning office building? A sunset/sunrise photo from your window may induce envy or perhaps a direct message enquiry or two.
Get some perspective
Don’t forget to offer visitors something new – a close up ‘details’ shot will contrast nicely with a full length shot from the previous day.
Don’t feel as though you have to rush out and buy all sorts of materials and tech in order to promote your blog. Consider what it is that you have to offer that no one else can and find your niche. The Coveteur is a fashion blog that only photographs close up details and The Daily Splice posts one collage art piece a day. People will keep coming back if you offer them a unique visual.
Try some of these suggestions – we’d love to know how you get on, and see another of our previous blog posts on how to advertise your products on Instagram.