Since we first started drawing pictures on the insides of our caves (with my drawing skills I would have been an in-demand caveman artist, you should see my stickman drawings), we have been fascinated with images.
With the advances in mobile cameras, their ability to take great photos and apps that help unlock our creativity, the tools to create are now in the hands of every person with a mobile device.
This advance in mobile tech has led to the rise of social sites such as Instagram, Pinterest, Vine and SnapChat, all very different social platforms with one common feature: images.
Instagram in particular is interesting as it was purchased by Facebook and now boasts over 200 million monthly active users, 60 million uploads and over a billion likes per day.
With stats like these, is your brand taking Instagram seriously? If so, what is your plan to cut through the noise to be noticed? If you're struggling on Instagram, the following five tips may help you get noticed quicker and gain traction on this image based social network.
Fill Out Your Bio
Let people know who you are, what you are about and what it is that you do. You need to provide them with the information to help them decide in a moment's notice that they need to follow you. Your bio is the only place an active link can be included in Instagram so make sure you include a link back to your website here as well. For more info on creating bios that get attention Jenn's Trends has a great article you can find here.
Use Hashtags Accordingly
Love em' or hate em' #hashtags are here to stay and Instagram users are heavy hashtag users. While most social networks will see users including a hashtag or two, on Instagram it's not unusual to see 5 or more hashtags per image. If you can sprinkle in a relevant hashtag or three into your images you increase the chance of those outside your network seeing your images. This increases your exposure to a new audience and potentially brings you new followers. You can find current popular hashtags through services such as web.stagram.com.
Show Off The Real You
The best part of Instagram is how easy it is to show off just how great you and your company are. Embrace this by sharing images that display the very best your company has to offer. Give behind the scenes, VIP access only stuff such as your workspace, cool and interesting stuff only found in your office, show off the people that make your brand great, your products and even your customers. You believe in your company, your employees do too, now you need to show your audience why they need to believe in you as well.
It's not called a social network so that you can spray your message and then leave. It's social because you are expected to be social. Find other like minded or complimentary brands and individuals and like and comment on their images. If a comment is left on one of your images, it's only polite to continue the conversation. Don't silo yourself, keep it social and keep it fun.
Use Third Party Tools
While Instagram offers many great features and filters that can make even bad pictures look good, there are many third party apps available for your mobile device that can make your pictures look even better or more interesting. On my Android device I use an app called Photo Grid that allows me to create image collages, apply filters and even use backgrounds on my images. Another app that I am fond of is Camera Zoom FX, a camera replacement on Android that also allows me to edit images, create collages apply effects and stickers and touch up my images. There are many other photo app options for both iOS and Android devices that allow you to do so much more with your images than what you can do within Instagram. If you share images that have been touched up and altered outside of Instagram you stand a better chance of being noticed as users are used to seeing the same old filters applied to images and something new will stand out.
Visual marketing is only going to continue to grow. It's time that brands stop thinking that these types of services are for selfies and food only and time to start thinking of them as legitimate marketing channels.
As the saying goes an image is worth a thousand words and a really great image can increase the awareness of your brand and put you in front of an audience that your written content may never have. It shows a side of you that many will never see in person, and it gives your brand a face that your audience can begin to associate with: all things that in the end can help your brand build trust, build awareness and build an audience that cares about your brand.
Over To You
What is your favourite account to follow on Instagram?