We all know the one about how a picture is worth a thousand words. And yet most social marketers feel a lot more comfortable using something like Facebook or Twitter to get their marketing message out there. Really, that’s not that surprising. After all, words are in many ways a lot easier. They can be edited, they don’t need a subtle understanding of color and positioning and they can be dreamt up from any basement or back office.
At the same time, images do have a lot of power and you don’t use them at your own risk, as most people are far more likely to be activated by a good image than a good story. For that reason, to help you expand into Instagram marketing, here are some important ideas to consider.
Tell a story
The first thing to realize is you need to tell a story. I don’t mean a literal one. I’m not suggesting you contact some kind of writing agency. Instead, it’s about translating an emotion and an idea into imagery, by using a certain style, the same types of filters and/or the same subject matter.
This will give your Instagram a cohesive and coherent feeling. And that’s vital if you’re trying to create any kind of followership.
Fortunately, you can use some words with your Instagram pictures. Even better, you can use hashtags. These are vital to reaching a much bigger audience than you otherwise might as these get your pictures in front of people who otherwise might never see your images.
Do note, to be successful with hashtags you need to use the right ones. And you’ll rarely just make these up. Instead, you have to do some research to find out what hashtags are commonly used with the concepts you’re trying to communicate. It’s a bit like keywords, really.
The best way to find out what hashtags to use is to find out which are currently trending and to type something like ‘hashtags associated with X’ into Google to get a list of phrases you can use. Even better, follow a couple of these hashtags to see what kind of pictures and followers are associated with them. In this way, you’ll know which path to pursue.
Only use high-quality pictures
Honestly, this is true of words just as much as of images. The thing is, most people can see even more quickly with images if they’re cheap or amateurish than with words. So here it’s even more important that you really go for high-quality imagery.
In truth, assume you’re going to have to pay for your images as you’ll either have to bring in an outside photographer or get somebody on your staff to use their time at work to take and edit pictures. You’ll have to work out which of these is going to be more effective for you.
Just don’t assume you can successfully run an Instagram marketing campaign using free stock images. People that spend their time focusing on images will know when photos are just stock photos – generally as they will have seen them before.
If you’re doing it yourself, learn at least the basics
You want to know how much of your image should be taken up with your main subject and how much of it should be something else, for example. There are tons of guides out there which will give you the basics. So make sure you study those if you want to take pictures or even just be involved in selecting them.
While you’re at it, also take the time to learn color pallets. These are basic color combinations that go well together. Of course, it’s hard to bring these kinds of colors into your pictures. Nonetheless, if you know what kinds of colors naturally go together in our heads, then you’ll be far more likely to seek them out in the environment around you. And that will make it far more likely people will engage with your content.
Like all social media the first step is to connect
A lot of social marketing campaigns fail because the people running the campaign try to put the cart in front of the horse. They try to sell before they’ve managed to connect with anybody. That doesn’t work on social media. After all, people don’t go onto social media to buy stuff. Instead, they go there to show off their personality and enjoy other people’s demonstrations of individualism and artistic insight. This is even truer on Instagram than on other platforms.
For that reason, make sure you get it the right way around. Tell your story and connect with other people first and market your products second. Note that I’m not talking about time here. I’m talking about priorities. Right from the beginning you can showcase your products. That’s fine. Just make sure that you’re also building your brand and your identity and sharing with other people your message and your ideals.
For once you’ve done that you’ll find that creating interest in your brand will happen quite naturally.