By Ashley Sullivan
Instagram isn’t just selfies and vacation photos. Eighty percent of Instagram users follow at least one brand, reports AdWeek. That doesn’t mean you should jump on the Insta bandwagon without a plan. Before you post your first #picoftheday, you need to define your strategy.
Like people, brands have personalities. Your brand’s public-facing personality is built by consistency in your marketing. A personality helps consumers connect with your business on an emotional level. Crafting an Instagram strategy may sound like “fluff,” but when you consider that most buying decisions are emotionally driven, it becomes a serious component of your marketing toolkit.
A strong Instagram strategy starts with defining your aesthetic and planning your content.
Your aesthetic is the consistent look and feel of your posts. This includes photography type, photo-editing style and style pattern.
Will your photography type be lifestyle, studio or a mix of both?
For photo-editing style, think outside the filters Instagram provides. You can easily apply a consistent style to your photos using Adobe Lightroom pre-sets for editing functions like exposure (the amount of light) and color. Whether you choose warm, golden tones or a bright and airy motif, Lightroom allows you to quickly edit your photos to the same style with the click of a button.
The best Instagram feeds don’t happen by accident. This is where style patterns come in. Think of Instagram as a magazine. When people arrive on your feed, they see the whole layout. If they are impressed by what they see, they are more likely to follow you. Instagram displays content in a grid of three columns and infinite rows. Planning a layout based on this grid structure cab help you create an enticing Insta feed. One simple style pattern is “columns.” Choose three image types, like people, landscape and text, and always post in the same order. This will display the same photo type in each column on your Instagram layout.
Make content personal, and relate it to your core values and mission. Get to know your target audience. The content you share is for them. Conduct a customer survey to get feedback directly from the source. Follow brands on social media that your target market follows, and learn from—but don’t copy—their strategy.
Use hashtags and stories. When it comes to #hashtags, less is more. Select a few that are relevant to the photo and your brand. Don’t just use a trending hashtag because you want to be found. You want the right people—potential customers— following you. Instagram Stories allows you to give consumers a behind-the-scenes look at your business. Showcase a product sneak peek, an event or office culture.
Instagram is a powerful tool to build your brand. What’s the key to success? Convey personality with relevant, recognizable and consistent content.
Ashley Sullivan, Lead Generation Specialist at RedRover Sales & Marketing Strategy, can be reached at redrovercompany.com.