Instagram Best Practices: Lifestyle Industry


When it comes to Instagram, there are a lot of things people assume every person needs to have a successful reach. Aesthetic, good photos, personality, and so on. Instagram has become increasingly important for brands to reach an audience, especially brands that fall into the lifestyle category. People now use Instagram for jewelry inspiration, shopping research, and for places to buy lifestyle pieces. Not only that but now people share photos daily and tag friends in accounts for products they like or tag boyfriends to drop hints. Instagram is very quickly becoming a major outlet to reach a target audience. Here are a few quick tips to create a great Instagram feed for lifestyle products:

1. Aesthetic

As many already know, Aesthetic is everything on Instagram. It’s important to hone in on an aesthetic that makes your brand unique and lines up with their style of product. Sticking to brand colors and specific styles of photos should help create a cohesive look, and attract more followers to your page. At Imagine, we use a top 9 grid to create and keep an aesthetic for partners.

2. High-quality photos

The aesthetic of your Instagram account is important, but even cohesive content loses its luster if a photo isn’t high quality. High quality and professional photos consistently get more impressions and shares than lower quality photos. If you can see a sparkle in a diamond or all the details of an intricate dress design, it creates a more luxurious look not only to your account but to the product as well.

3. Models>Objects

Using a model in some photos, if not all, is a better practice for lifestyle Instagram pages. It reminds the viewer that there are people on the other side of the screen, not a catalog trying to sell them something. Putting human features in your photos gives an audience a feeling of personality, and feels more like a conversation rather than a sale scheme.

4. Communication

When people comment all the time “love” “beautiful” “the right one is my favorite” – show these people some love! As brands, you feel excited when people love your work, so you might as well tell them. It makes people more likely to want to interact with your brand more and replying in specific ways can help create a stronger brand voice. Communicating with people directly on Instagram can also help people figure out how and where to buy your products.

Story by: Amanda Carneglia

Back Your Social Strategy With a Beautiful Website


Our partners invest a great deal of time and assets into giving us the tools to create engaging social media content to be distributed across their social platforms. From breaking down their Top 9 to perfectly styling each photo, we take so much pride in producing a visually appealing social strategy to capture the attention of our partner’s target audience.

A challenge that we have run into, however, is that a business owner will invest in their social media strategy, but not match that investment for their website, which is where the real magic happens ($$). It’s so important to reinforce your social media channels with a user-friendly, well-designed website that is consistent with the branding throughout your social channels. If your social media strategy goal is to drive followers to your website, then it’s only logical that you’ll want to lead them to a pot of web design gold that will continue to captivate them.

A beautiful website does not need to be complicated. There are four main areas that you’ll want to focus on when designing the perfect web experience: visual hierarchy, typography, branding/colors, and of course, user experience (also known as UX).

Visual hierarchy is what signals your website visitors where their eyes should travel across the screen. As the scan the page their attention will naturally gravitate to specific points on the page depending on how your website is composed. Patterns, font size, colors, and layouts all play a role in the visual hierarchy of a page, but the main takeaway is to make sure that you’re considering how each element on the page interacts with the big picture.

Typography selection is another key player in web design. Most professionals have certain fonts that make them cringe because they are commonly used on poorly designed websites (looking at you Comic Sans). Selecting typography is an important decision in how you portray your message and brand personality. The goal is to choose a font that is easy to read, but also unique enough to evoke the overall feeling that your website is trying to achieve.

The branding and color scheme of your website should flow smoothly from your social media channel. When you begin the branding process for your business, the color scheme and voice is something that you will want to define in the early stages of development in order to make sure you are being consistent throughout all your marketing materials. Your website is the perfect platform to really dive into branding and set the stage for who you are as a business. Be consistent with colors, logos and messaging.

Above all, it’s important to make sure that your website is easy to use. If you’ve ever visited a poorly designed website, you definitely know how frustrating it can be when you can’t find what you’re looking for. Every step of your website design should have the user’s ease of experience in mind. Some excellent examples of successful UX design include RX Bar, Starbucks, and SPANX.

If you think of your social media platforms as the storefront windows designed to draw your customers into your store, then your website is the equivalent of the experience they have once they walk through the door. You want to make sure it’s consistent, visually appealing, and easy to navigate. For more information on website design, you can consult with professionals at companies such as Nicely Built or Sideways8.

Story By: Sophie Duncan

Instagram Top 9


You might be asking yourself, what is a Top 9 and why should my business care? We refer to the Top 9 as the first nine photos that appear on an Instagram profile’s feed. One of the details we focus on for our partners is making sure their Top 9 is always strategically curated. We pay attention to the feed's overall color scheme, how the images flow when your eye travels across the screen and the variety of images that appear in the feed.

When users are browsing the Explore tab and find a profile that strikes their interest, the next natural step is to visit the profile to see more content from that particular user. As they scroll through, those first nine photos can be a make or break in their decision to actually follow the account.

What are Instagram users looking for in the top nine? They want to relate to the content in some way. They want to see that the profile has been put together in a strategic, intentional way. They want the photos to tell a story, convey a feeling or establish an overall mood. There's no doubt that Instagram users connect with their followers through photography and the content has to be chosen to appeal to that particular target audience.

Similar to how the way you dress presents your personal style, your Top 9 can also establish a personal theme for your online presence. For example, let’s compare two Instagram accounts that have two very different moods: @annacmathias and @peachestopearls. Just by simply glimpsing each of these accounts, it’s clear that the users have different personal styles. These distinct styles are conveyed immediately within the Top 9 photos and each piece of content in their feed has been chosen to match the overall mood. 

At Imagine Media we also strive for these differentiating themes among our partners. During our first strategy meeting in the onboarding process, our team creates a mood board to reflect our overall goal for the new account’s Instagram feed. This helps drive the creative direction that our photo stylist and photographer will move forward with when pulling inspiration for the photoshoots. 

Now that you have a better understanding of the concept of a Top 9, you will notice how other Instagram users put this into practice. Be sure to follow Imagine Media on Instagram to see how we piece together our Top 9 each week!

Story By: Sophie Duncan

Gearing Up For IGTV


One of the most challenging and exciting aspects of the social media business is staying up to date on the latest trends and newest platforms. When our team gets news of an update, we make sure we include a discussion about it in our weekly meeting. This ensures that we are always at the top of our game, delivering our partners the best services for their industry.

This week our account team will, of course, be discussing IGTV, Instagram’s competitive answer to YouTube. With this new update, Instagram is allowing users to post video content up to an hour long. This is a significant escalation from Instagram’s former 60-second limit on video content. A dedicated IGTV app will also accompany this feature. Given that Instagram recently reached 1 billion monthly users, this new long-form video feature will have a large audience to cater to.

The pressing question within Imagine Media’s walls is how can we put this new tool to use for our partners? To say that our video team is excited would be an understatement. This new feature will no doubt allow for an extended list of video options that we can offer to our partners in order to create a new means of reaching their target audiences.

Stay tuned to Imagine Media’s social channels and learn how we will be implementing IGTV into our social strategy!

Story By: Sophie Duncan

How Typography Influences Your Brand


Creating brand guidelines for your company is a complicated process that involves a number of important decisions that can affect how your brand is perceived. One of the most important, and often overlooked, decisions is what typography to use for your marketing materials.

Just as the words you choose to write are important, the aesthetic in which you present them is equally as important in determining what mood you are trying to communicate. Differences in typeface can convey your brand's personality. Some are recognized as informal, while others are louder, and some are more classic.

It’s up to you to decide how your brand’s typography will influence the psychology of your communication to your audience. When chosen correctly, the right font will help your audience identify the brand’s attitude. Once selected, it’s of course very important to be consistent with your typography throughout your marketing strategy. Just as color creates a brand identity, so will your typeface.

So, how do you choose the correct typeface for your brand? This decision can be more challenging than some of the more obvious branding steps like designing a logo or pairing a color scheme. It’s easy to get caught up in the terminology of typeface and the different fonts can all blur together!

We recommend beginning this selection process the same way we begin many of our creative efforts: by creating a mood board. Screenshot some of your favorite font pairings that you’ve seen in other brands to compare and decipher your preferred font selections. You want to make sure these choices are readable, and also on-brand as far as your voice and personality. You can also look for trends in your industry to see what typefaces brands prefer.

One great tool to use when educating yourself about fonts is the WhatFont app. Once installed, this will identify what fonts have been used on websites that you are browsing. This tool is also helpful to learn how to mix and match different typefaces to create contrast throughout your branding.

At the end of the day, consistency with your overall brand voice is the most important factor when selecting fonts. Choosing the typeface is an important step in the branding process that deserves just as much as attention as the more obvious stages in creating your brand identity.

Story By: Sophie Duncan

Pinterest Trends We're Loving This Summer


Pinterest has released its top search trends for June, and the results can help drive your following on the platform. As the summer months roll in, the typical searches for BBQ recipes and bikinis are at the top of the list, but there are some more unexpected searches that you should know about if your business is using Pinterest in their social media strategy.

There’s no doubt that summer is a great time to party. From pool parties to baseball tailgates, there’s always a new, creative way to celebrate the warmer weather. However, trending right now on Pinterest are stargazing parties. That’s right! It’s the summer equivalent of a fall backyard bonfire, and we’re loving the cute themes that people are posting on Pinterest.

Tattoos are a huge hit on Pinterest no matter what the season, but this June elegant tattoos, quote tattoos, and coordinate tattoos are getting the most hits. Thinking about getting some ink this summer? Remember that tattoos are permanent, not just for the season!

With great BBQ’s must come an assortment of creative sauce options. If you’re throwing a BBQ bash this summer, be sure to do your Pinterest research for the perfect sauce. Trending right now is, of course, traditional BBQ sauce, but also Cowboy Butter and Boom Boom Sauce! Never heard of them? Learn how to make them and become everyone’s favorite party host.

Frosé is out, and white wine slushies are officially tagged in. Scroll through the collection of recipes for the perfect refreshment to your poolside party!

No summer outfit is complete without a stunning pair of shades. This summer,  according to Pinterest it seems that orange sunglasses are all the rage. They have some tasteful ways to style orange with every summer outfit.

Swim fashion trends are revealing that off the shoulder suits, one-pieces, and plunging necklines are at the top of everyone’s searches right now. Make sure you’re lake or beach ready by checking in to Pinterest's trending styles.

Keeping up with the trends allows you to post content that is in line with what’s popular among your followers. Follow Imagine’s social networks for more social media news.

Story By: Sophie Duncan

Share Posts to Stories on Instagram

Instagram has officially launched a new feature that enables users to reshare an Instagram post with their friends via Instagram Stories. This will allow users to provide their own feedback or commentary on a post, without having to put the post in their profile's permanent feed.

We’re so excited to see how this feature will be used by audiences to engage with our partners! We can only imagine how useful this will be when announcing items on your Christmas list, sharing with friends a photo of food to entice them to join you at your favorite restaurant, or brag about a professional service you recently used.

To share a post to your Stories, simply tap on the paper airplane icon below the photo, and click “Add post to your story.” You can customize the background color by swiping left and add your own text, stickers, or GIFs.

Once published, the Story will credit the original poster with a link back to their Instagram profile and appear in your Instagram Stories for 24 hours.

Be sure to follow Imagine Media’s Instagram Stories for our weekly Social Studies series that will provide you with any social media news updates you need to hear!

Story By: Sophie Duncan

How Color Influences Your Brand

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It’s pretty obvious that color and branding come hand in hand. Color can not only influence buying habits, but it also helps consumers create a relationship with the brand. When you think of companies like Tiffany and Co’s blue or the bold red of Coca-Cola, you have an immediate association with that brand. From that initial reaction, you could probably imagine an advertisement you’ve seen or that company’s website. Color helps create a personality around the brand and stretches across all associated platforms.

When we onboard our partners, one of the first things we ask for is their brand guide, which would ideally include the brand color scheme. We take this color scheme and use it in all elements of their social strategy, from graphics to photoshoots. Our goal is to develop consistency across our partners’ social platforms, and the color scheme is essential to establishing this across the board.

Some of the most important places to incorporate your brand colors into your social media platforms are in your logos and graphic images. Our partners at DO GOOD X set a great example of how color can be used in branding throughout their Instagram feed. This approach can also be applied to your Instagram Stories if you are incorporating graphics into that strategy.

We love to incorporate our partners’ brand colors during our photoshoots and creative strategy too. Jewelry partners like James Allen and Brown and Co have impressive Instagram feeds where their brand colors are intentionally displayed throughout their feeds. We buy paper in the partners' brand colors and use it as a background for our flatlays, or select props based on these color schemes too. 2ULaundry's Instagram feed is a great example of how colorful props can be used to establish the brand colors within the creative strategy. 

Choosing your brand colors is an important decision. Color has a psychological effect that will influence consumer behavior, and different colors evoke different emotions among the audience. Think about your brand values and voice, and use color to reinforce these themes throughout your branding.

To learn more about branding beyond just the color scheme, check out our branding blog.

Story By: Sophie Duncan