When looking to drive brand awareness or capture new customers on Instagram, it's important to ensure that your content stands out from the pack in order to grab the attention of your audience. The platform now has more than 700 million users, so there's a lot of competition in user feeds. Focusing on the finer detail could be the key step that stops users as they scroll, as opposed to just passing your by.
You can determine your visual marketing strategy by analyzing competitors or those in your niche, and/or by checking the content that appears under the top hashtags for your vertical (e.g. food, fashion, home decor). Imagine all this content as one feed being viewed by your target customer. To capture their attention, your photos and videos will need to pop.
Here are 5 ways to develop a unique visual marketing strategy for your brand.
1. Get Graphic
Instead of basic close up shots of your product or your product in an artistic setting, you could try adding in graphic elements - either place isolated images of your product on graphic backgrounds or add graphic overlays.
Sonic always produces great Insta shots - this one uses a regular product shot in a new way.
A post shared by SONIC Drive-In (@sonicdrivein) on Oct 2, 2015 at 11:58am PDT
2. Use Opposing Color Schemes
Scope out your business' category and competition on Instagram. Do many of the images within your category use lighter tones? Bright colors?
Do the opposite for yours.
Black, grey, and dark shades tend to be less common on Instagram, so those are great places to start. Another way to approach this tactic is to simply use a color overlay for your images. Make sure the color overlay is light enough so that the images are still visible.
Nike always showcase creative elements in their Instagram feed - this one uses opposing color to make the image stand out.
A post shared by nike (@nike) on Mar 26, 2017 at 7:44pm PDT
3. Be Less Polished
Many businesses use professional, photo-shoot quality scenes for their Instagram images - you can stand out by using a less formal, "behind the scenes" look for your images. Include employees, warehouse backgrounds, and actual office scenes. Featuring real life customers, dogs, and kids will also increase your engagement rate.
Today's cell phones typically take excellent quality photos, so just snap away as soon as you see a scene that captures your brand.
Hootsuite use their Instagram feed to showcase their work life and inner-office experience.
A post shared by Hootsuite (@hootsuite) on Mar 6, 2017 at 4:29pm PST
4. Use Movement
While video content on Instagram is on the rise, the majority of images shared to the platform are still static shots. Shake things up by putting your products or services in motion.
Use video, Boomerang, or cinemagraphs to add a pop of activity - even opting for action shots over for still life photos can help your business' images stand out.
Microsoft has used simple video movement in this image to make it more engaging.
A tweeting dress. A pollution-detecting makeup concept. The retro-futuristic farm of 2050. See what else Microsoft Research designer and "fusionist" Asta Roseway is up to by clicking the link in our bio.
A post shared by Microsoft (@microsoft) on Mar 9, 2017 at 12:01pm PST
5. Use Multiple Canvases
Instagram now allows users to upload up to 10 images to single post - your viewers see your first image in the feed, and are then able to swipe through to view the rest. This feature isn't widely adopted yet, so you'll definitely stand out from the competition. Use this format to your advantage.
Show before and afters, steps in a process, or increasingly zoomed in shots of a single subject. Have fun with it.
Tasha 'The Unlikely Chef' Ly uses multiple images in this post
This week's #wcw goes to my neighbor @cbgreenfeld for allowing me to try out her @hellofresh box last night lemony pan-seared chicken with a pesto and fresh peas potato salad was on the menu last night and it was YUMMY honestly if you're interested in learning how to cook but only have 30 mins to prepare a quick and easy meal each night, def check out #hellofresh btw this is not a sponsored post just an honest review #getcooking
A post shared by Tasha Ly (@theunlikelychef) on Apr 26, 2017 at 11:35am PDT
There's no end to the ways you can use the options available on Instagram to make your content stand out, and with a little creative thinking, you can come up with fresh, innovative takes to help increase your exposure and get more people paying attention to your business.