Move over Facebook and Twitter, Instagram is making its way to the top of the social media pyramid. 85% of top brands are now using Instagram to showcase their brand to potential customers and diehard fans.While it may seem that Instagram is flooded with pictures of food and selfies, the social media app is perfect for all sorts of brands and businesses — especially small businesses!
At Peppermill Projects, our team holds weekly brainstorm sessions to schedule our Instagram posts. We love to highlight our own work, creativity, quirky “national holiday” posts, client projects and everyday fun in the office. Instagram is the best free advertising tool to put a “face” AND personality to your brand.
To improve your Instagram skills and make your account shine, we offer 3 tips for better Instagram posts for any small or large business:
1) Perfect the shot
Here’s a little secret. Some of our posts that look effortless took several takes and a whole lotta’ planning and set up. Sure, you could take a picture of your products exactly where they are on the shelf, but if the lighting is dull or the space is too crowded, the photo won’t look as beautiful and eye-catching. If you own an apparel company, take a few minutes to art direct your shot and create a beautiful display of your t-shirts. Try to use natural light when possible to eliminate harsh shadows and yellow overhead light. Even better, show people enjoying your products! Have your customers submit photos wearing your shirts in interesting places. Consumers love seeing their photos featured on their favorite brand’s social media page.
Instagram offers several filters that can be tempting to use, but many times it’s best to just adjust the brightness, warmth, saturation and contrast to make the photo seem most natural.
2) Tell your brand story
You know how Dorothy follows the yellow brick road to Oz and finds out that the all-powerful wizard is just an ordinary dude behind a curtain? Well, think of your brand as the ordinary dude, except consumers won't be disappointed knowing (and seeing) the people that work behind a logo and brand. They want to connect with the actual people that make or sell their favorite products and services! By personalizing your brand, it becomes less of an “it” and more of a “who.”For example, if you just hired a new employee or intern, share their first day. Any small office or business can post a “day at the office” shot, whether it’s at lunchtime, in a meeting, or an office party.
For many brands, showing the lifestyle associated with the product is key to engaging your target audience. A great example is RXBAR, a beautifully designed all-natural, whole-ingredient protein bar. Their target audience values health, natural food, wellness and active living, so RXBAR promotes that lifestyle through their Instagram posts. In this example image, RXBAR shows their product (with the ingredient list front and center) in the hands of what looks like a hiker in the mountains. In just one image, they communicate a compelling brand story that inspires people to buy their product.
3) Utilize hashtags
When you use Twitter or Facebook, more than a few hashtags seem obnoxious and can kill your character count. However, with Instagram, the more hashtags the better. Heads up: the limit is 30! Hashtags are the best way for your photo to be seen by users that don’t already follow your business, but are searching for hashtags based on their interests. As aBranding & Graphic Design firm, we spend time researching popular hashtags for the industry. When we post a typographic logo, we make sure to hashtag #typography, #thedailytype, #typematters, etc. Users interested in typography commonly search those hashtags and as a result, bring new followers to our account. While it may be tempting to use random or trending hashtags that have nothing to do with your photo, try to stick to relevant tags that will bring quality users to your account and brand.
If you’re on the fence about using Instagram for your brand, we encourage you to give it a shot (no pun intended). You’ll find that you have more content available than you thought, plus you’ll have fun playing on your phone during the workday. For inspiration, follow some of your favorite brands on Instagram and check out businesses in your industry that might have accounts. Visit Happy snapping!