Cast your memory back to before Christmas. Right before Christmas. I talked about the basics of marketing on Instagram. Well, to begin with that was a huge post, so I cut it in half and here (drum roll) is the other half!
Instagram is a visual platform. You can’t just write something pretty, it has to look good too and that means great photos and well-designed graphics that match your business’s brand.
Let’s look at the basics of building your visual Instagram empire.
Last month I said that customers will use your bio to decide whether to follow you. That’s true, but they’ll also be looking at your account posts, or your grid, to decide whether you’re worth engaging with.
You really want your brand to give a punch on Instagram. You’re in competition with a lot of photos and graphics and, to be honest, a lot of them all look the same.
I follow a lot of business motivation accounts and I’ve become blind to the stock photos of women looking happy and free.
One way of making your brand stick out and become instantly recognisable is to be consistent with your colours and fonts. Use your branding colours on your images, take photos of things that are the same colour as your brand, or that are colours that complement your brand.
Some businesses also always use the same filter to create consistency and add to their brand.
For example, Adminosaurus is quite green. So, I try and stick to green colours and filters as much as possible.
While users can choose how they want to view your accounts, it seems like most people use the default grid view. This means you can have all sorts of fun and, actually, the order in which you post photos can be important.
Some businesses will stick to photos and collections by colour, often using their branding colours. Others may use the alternate effect. In fact, that’s what I do with Adminosaurus.
See? Right now I post to Instagram twice a day. The first post is something business related, so something from the blog or a quote or tip. The second post is something a little more personal. That way I get a pretty pattern of alternate images from branded to photos.
You can get even more creative with your grid patterns.
This is the account of Beehive Social Media, a local social media agency I follow. See what they’ve done? Rather than alternating, they’ve created strips. This involves posting three at a time, but the effect is clever and eye catching.
And do you see what they’ve done with the bee branding? Using three posts to make one big image on the grid. Now THAT is clever and I love it.
And you can take that even further…
Kimra Luna of Freedom Hackers fame did this to her Instagram grid as part of a big launch promotion late last year. Now, I missed the right time to take a snap, but you can see what she was doing. One whole grid taken up by lots of little posts that make up one big image.
The only downside, from my point of view, with this is that when your customers check their feeds, they get a lot of random photos. When Kimra’s team was posting this, I wondered why the hell I had a photo of someone’s hip on my feed.
But the overall impact is huge.
So what should you post?
Got your colours in mind? Your style? Great! Now what?
You can post practically anything. Take a photo of your product, your surroundings, your behind-the-scenes, something amazing and post it.
Group some photos together in a post by tapping the right icon on the bottom of the photo when you go to add a photo. Confused?
This one here!
You’ll have to download Instagram’s Layout app, but it’s great to mix up your grid with what becomes a cluster of smaller images.
And don’t forget the latest social media hotcake, the video! Record a 15 second video directly to Instagram, create a Boomerang (one second video) or upload a one minute video the same way you would a photo.
Use all these posts to promote your latest product, explain how something works, give insight into your latest launch or service, create a client testimonial, give a sneak peak behind the scenes, show off your personality, or run a competition.
Now, I’d like to go more into competitions but that’s another topic entirely. I’m planning on running a contest or ten on my other Instagram account for my writing business, Write into the Woods. So, once I’ve experienced it, I’ll let you know how it goes.
Instagram might seem tricky but it isn’t
Yeah, okay, it doesn’t help that they’re always adding new features but you have to embrace it!
Marketing is about trying new things and experimenting, and you have to do that with Instagram. See what other people are doing and let it inspire you. Get creative and, most importantly, have fun!
Most importantly, if you’re going to use Instagram for marketing then try to record your results so you can see what works.
Check your engagement levels, by going to the insights tab if you have a business account, see what posts get liked and comments, what hashtags give you more views and use Bit.ly links to see just what Instagram does to your website traffic.
Hopefully these basics, along with last month’s tips, will give you some ideas when starting or refreshing your Instagram account.