Instagram boasts more than 600 million monthly active users, overtaking Twitter in 2016 in popularity. No longer an upstart network, Instagram was acquired by Facebook in 2012 for $1 billion, and it has since attracted the attention of brands seeking to capitalize on a visual platform.
The network’s basic unit of communication is the square image or video, with captions, comments and likes a distant second place in terms of importance. Of the big four social media platforms, Instagram is the most unique. Therefore, your content marketing strategy must follow suit.
Instagram users skew younger and more digitally savvy than other platforms. 59 percent of its users are between the ages of 18 and 29, and 31 percent earn more than $75,000 per year. It’s essentially the marketer’s dream: tech-friendly millennials with disposable income.
If Facebook visuals are candid and casual, Instagram is the opposite. If you can’t produce a stylish and mood-appropriate photo, don’t bother. The poor quality will show when surrounded on all sides by aspiring amateurs and preening professionals. The most successful Instagram accounts have a recognizable style, and here are a few tips to help build a strong brand identity:
- Stick to the basics: High-quality, crisp images that viewers can quickly understand will get the best results. Brands with experienced photographers on staff or established audiences can take a few more liberties, but don’t bore your followers with uninteresting product photography that anyone can find on your website.
- Attention to detail: Instagram is the place to tell your brand’s story with visuals that align with and project your brand, so attention to detail is critical. Beyond crisp resolution, every element of the shot needs to work together as a whole to evoke a mood or feeling.
- Keep it simple: Avoid cluttered background or elements that obscure the main subject of your shot. Don’t rely too heavily on selfies or big, smiling group shots: Instead, try to capture a moment that doesn’t look like it was taken at a studio. Look for symmetry by using the gridlines feature on your phone for help.