We live in an increasingly visual world. Everything from Facebook to Twitter to online newspapers have started orienting their information delivery towards image or video based mediums. And that is why apps such as Instagram are so successful and, therefore, vital to you, your business or blog.
Instagram is visual content at its core. But when an app is so image oriented and has over 70 million users, you need to find a way to have your Instagram feed and content really stick out, especially if it is an account for your blog, shop or service. The big question mark for Instagram always remains: how do I get more followers? More likes? More sales?
One way in which to increase your followers is through quality images, because I mean you’re more likely to follow an Instagram account with beautiful images? Right?
For example just under the hashtag of #jewelry there are 24,408,476 posts or under the hashtag of #ootd (outfit of the day) there are 83,076,195 posts--and these are the number of posts at the moment I searched for them.
As a creative entrepreneur visual strategy is a key part of your business strategy and brand identity because it’s the best way to attract people to your account and drive them to your website or shop. But it’s having your images and account stick out amongst the rest that is often the difficult part. Instagram can be frustrating in that way. You may have amazing products or insanely well-put-together outfits but if you don’t have a visual strategy in place for your Instagram then people simply will not pay attention.
Fortunately, there are very simple and easy things that you can do to improve your visual content and get the recognition you deserve.
Here are some things to think about:
1. Post Good Quality Images
This may seem like a no-brainer, but you would be surprised at how many times we have come across amazing products or outfits that were captured in bad quality images through our Instagram audits.
Some examples of what we mean by bad quality:
Small file size
These are all easily fixable mistakes. Make sure your product is the focus of your image or that your background for your outfit pictures is clean and simple with you outfit being the focus. Use a good camera and tripod. For outfits shoot in continuous mode and for products shoot from above.
We also mean quality in the another sense. Make sure whatever you post, you post with intent. Meaning, make sure there is a reason for why you post what you post and that is catered towards a specific niche or Target Audience.
Not sure about your Target Audience and how to define one? In our course Instabuzzing we go through a step-by-step process in our workbook and module to help you define your target audience through a series of questions and exercises.
2. Please Edit Your Pictures!
Editing your pictures is just the lift that your image will need to take it from good to great. It helps to make pictures clear, clean, crisp and put-together. Once you have a picture edited to your ideal you have a reference point for the rest of your images. This makes editing all future images much easier and quicker, as you should be applying the same editing tools to all your instagram pictures to maintain continuity. Editing can be done on iphoto on Mac, in VSCO, in your photo editor on your phone or even with the photo editing tools provided by Instagram.
Think about things like:
-Upping the brightness a little. Images that are lighter and brighter have 24% more likes than dark images.
-Playing with the contrast to make the colours come alive a little more.
-If your pictures are too yellow, fix that using the “warmth” or “cast” options. It has been shown that pictures with blue being a central colour or overtone have 24% more likes.
-Shadows/highlight tool that helps to bring back some of the details you may lose when you increase your brightness
In Instabuzzing, we will be sharing more picture taking and photography techniques that you can learn step-by-step in order to improve your images right away! This course dedicates a full module on visual content strategy and helps you to define your visual brand identity through lessons, actionable tips and workbook materials.
3. Don't go Overboard with Filters
Instagram is great in that it allows you to choose a filter for your image as you upload it onto Instagram. While this is genius for aesthetic continuity and to make an average photo look great, you need to always hold yourself back from getting filter-happy. More often than not, posters end up using inconsistent filters (“lark” on one and “inkwell” on another). This disrupts the cohesion of your overall visual stream, leaving your feed all over the place and visually inconsistent.
The important thing here to remember is: PICK ONE filter. That one filter is the only filter you should be using on all your images. This filter should fit your brand identity and work to create aesthetic cohesion of your visual content on Instagram.
This leads us to...
4. Don't Forget About Your FEED
Meaning, think about how your grid comes together. So it’s always good to step away from the image you are posting and look at the bigger picture, which is your grid. Think about how your image will fit into the grid you have currently. More so, think about the picture next to it and the picture below it, since it is between those two images that your new picture will appear. This will also help in keeping your aesthetic consistent.
5. Have a Theme or a Style
It is important to remember that everything from your image to your grid should be a part of your larger brand identity. Enforcing a theme or style on your instagram feed helps to uphold your brand identity and cohesion. Everything from your visual content, to your filter, to your bio should work together to promote your brand whether you are a shop, artist, or blogger and your branding should be focused in drawing in your Target Audience. Meaning, your grid, your images, your style and theme should all work together to draw in a specific ideal person in mind to you or your business/blog.
In Instabuzzing we have a whole module dedicated to defining your Target Audience and brand in order to attract the right people to become your followers on Instagram. It has been shown over and over again that successful Instagrammers have a clearly defined brand identity and Target Audience that informs their feed and images. Without such clarity there is inconsistency in visual content, in filters, in theme and style and this leads to a confusing Instagram experience of your feed which in turn deters people from hitting that follow button.
Themes can range from minimalist to monochrome to bright pops of colours. Having a theme informs the type of pictures you are taking, the filters used on the images and your grid, but again, the theme you choose should fit in with your brand. For example, if you sell natural and organic face product you might opt for a lighter, brighter theme with pops of green and brown as opposed to a theme with blacks and rustic-based images.
If you’re ready to take your Instagram visual strategy to the next level, then checkout our course Instabuzzing, where we dedicate one whole module to it! This course will provide actionable tips and tricks to up your images and feed on Instagram with lessons and workbook material with step-by-step direction.