In September 2015 Instagram reached 400 million active monthly users.
As Instagram’s popularity increases, it is more important than ever to make your account stand out. How to manage your business Instagram? What are some ideas to use IG for business? What are the costs associated with Instagram as it relates to your business?
Here are some helpful tips to get you started.
1. CREATE A DISTINCT LOOK & FEEL
Maintaining consistent use of a particular color palette, theme, filter, purpose or subject matter will assist in giving your Instagram feed a unique look and feel. This will allow your followers to easily associate your images and image style with your Instagram account.
Some example techniques together with Instagram accounts effectively making use of the respective technique:
a) BLACK & WHITE FILTER
Some accounts such as @nazaret apply a black and white filter to all of their images. Other accounts such as @Microsoft utilise the black and white filter as a visual cue. For example, a ‘Behind The Scenes’ shot. Either way, the result is captivating.
b) SPECIFIC COLOR PALETTE
Accounts such as @love_aesthetics ensure all their photos stick to a specific color palette. When viewed altogether on your profile the result resembles a carefully curated artwork. Another example is @charlottelovely.
c) THEMED BY SUBJECT MATTER
Some accounts are well known for their creative use of subject matter. While it may seem repetitive, what is great about these accounts is the story they tell. One great example is @theballoondiary where the viewer is essentially led on a journey by the girl with the pink balloon. Another example is @andrewknapp who tells the story of his dog, Momo; often hiding him in photographs and encouraging viewers to ‘find Momo’.
d) USE OF TILING
Tiling is the process of cropping an image into squares and uploading them to span across multiple tiles on your profile. While this method does require a fair amount of planning and strategy, there are plenty of tools to help you achieve this effect. Some apps to try would include: Tile Pic and nSquares. This is a popular method for photographers, particularly when showcasing a panoramic shot. A great example of an account that does this is @isaiah6559.
e) CREATE INSTAZINES
Insta-zines are essentially single page brochures cropped into squares and arranged strategically on your profile. While this makes a strong impact, it removes the freedom of posting regular photos and thus is not recommended for personal accounts. However, larger companies such as Contiki are embracing this technique by opening new accounts dedicated to insta-zines. For example, @contiki_instazine. This is effective because unlike paid ads, the user does not have to leave Instagram to receive the marketing message.
2. FOCUS ON THE PHOTO
Instagram is a photo sharing application thus the quality of the photo itself is important.
An effective Instagram account will be comprised of photos that evoke an emotive response and therefore generate follower engagement.
The following questions can be used as a guide to help identify quality photos.
- Is this photo relevant to my chosen audience?
- Is this the best photo I took today?
- If somebody else posted this photo, would I like it?
- Is there anything I can do to this photo to make it better?
You should also consider editing your photos. Maybe you’ve captured something at a strange angle, or the lighting is dull. These minor glitches can often be the difference between a low and high engagement Instagram post. You can correct these issues by using Instagram’s default filters and editing functions. There are also a number of great applications such as VSCO-CAM or SnapSeed that allow you to enhance photos on your mobile device.
As you can see in the example below, simple filters and slight changes to the brightness, exposure and contrast can be a quick and easy way to improve the quality of your image. Image enhancement below is via VSCO CAM iOS app.
3. CURATE YOUR PROFILE
It is important to note that Instagram posts are not exclusively viewed in the Instagram live feed. In fact, the first thing new Instagram followers do is view your entire profile and gallery in attempt to get to know you. The challenge is that you only have a few seconds to make an impression and convert your curious visitor into an avid follower of your Instagram account.
Therefore, your profile image and bio should be as genuine and informative as possible. Your bio should communicate what you and your account are about in the least amount of words.
Some tips for creating a great Instagram profile include:
- Answering the following: Who am I? What do I do? What is unique about my account?
- Reveal something quirky or personal about yourself.
- Do not include hashtags in your bio unless you are known for one.
- Do link to your website or blog if you have one. (Note: This is the only way on Instagram to share a clickable link – besides a paid Instagram Ad).
- Look authentic. Use an honest headshot or a logo for your profile image.
Let us know your favourite Instagram account in the comments below!
You can also check out the ManageFlitter Instagram account: @manageflitter_IG.