Instagram is one of the most powerful social media networks for companies to expand their brand—but only if you’re using it correctly.
What started as a stream of stunning photos has evolved into a robust online universe, and simple graphic images are no longer enough to get you noticed in this expansive space. (click to tweet!) Yes, you do still see posts of inspirational quotes as text over pictures on Instagram, but that’s not why people seek out this social network. They come because it allows them to discover a secret glimpse, a behind-the-curtain peek into who you are and what you stand for.
They come because it allows them to discover a secret glimpse, a behind-the-curtain peek into who you are and what you stand for. It reminds your customers that underneath your company’s shiny website and professional product descriptions, you can find real people doing real things.
The impact is profound because ultimately we’re all human beings seeking connection. And we can find this connection through a network like Instagram, even if it’s a business’s page we’re looking at. (click to tweet)
One of the best examples I know of a company sharing their essence through Instagram is the clothing brand Zara. Mixed in with editorial photos of models in dresses and fall boots are the photographers who capture those moments with their lenses. It’s a chance to get to know the artists that are responsible for the images you see, and it makes any viewer feel like a VIP.
Because of the freedom of the platform, companies can post almost endless pictures—entire galleries dedicated to their brands. And even though all of these images are different, you can tell that they belong to the same company through the way the photos are framed, their color, style and typography. You can scroll and scroll, but you’re still only focused on one thing: Zara. That’s the importance of branding.
Instagram also gives brands a chance to go even further with their products than a simple website or catalogue ever could. (click to Tweet) Through features like highlighting a different piece of clothing and the various ways you can wear it daily, they’re showing their followers how to take Zara’s clothing out into the real world. They’re giving it a context in which it flourishes.
Another one of my guilty Instagram pleasures as a designer is Shop Bando. Simply put, it’s a beautiful online store with beautiful things. While the company showcases their products, they do it in a way that stands on its own as art. Bright colors playing off of one another and patterns layered on top of patterns. Even the photographs of the candy they’re eating in the office look like they should be for sale. You want to jump into this profile and be a part of this world. You can’t help it. Look at those bobby pins next to that confetti! Look at that gorgeous headband on the girl that looks just like you—this should be your life! And your headband!! Putting products in context is the ultimate win-win. The company gets to promote what they’re selling while you get to imagine the dreamy situations where you could look like that, act like that, and feel like that.
Instagram is about the images, absolutely, but its real potential is the narrative you’re weaving. I know you can upload a photo from Word Swag where you put text on a snapshot, but as anything else it’s a tool. You have to decide how you use it. For your brand, perhaps Instagram is the place where you post the goofy photos of your office Halloween party or highlight how your employees dress up your company’s clothes in their own lives. Maybe it’s where you show people what really goes on during a fashion shoot or 18 different ways to wear that flower crown you’re selling.
Let Instagram be your playground. Experiment, tinker and test. (click to Tweet)
Here are a few techniques for paving the way to Instagram fame:
- Before you post anything, get clear on what your objectives are. What do you want this post to do for your brand and your followers?
- What story are your posts telling? If it’s not clear to you, it might not be clear to your followers. You may want to consider asking a few loyal followers what they feel and notice when they look at your page.
- Do your posts match your brand? Be consistent with things like colors, fonts and compositions. That way people will recognize in an instant that something belongs to you.
Are you ready to become famous on Instagram? Share you thoughts on the comments!