If you’re like the majority of the 2 billion people who use social media, it’s probably become almost robotic for you to reach for your phone during even the shortest moment of downtime. ICYMI, social media is playing a huge role in our daily emotions.
Instagram posted their 2018 Year in Review highlighting the trends they saw across the platform. What they didn’t mention was how it’s been a busy year for Instagram internally, with a lot of new updates, features and tools introduced to the social media platform. We took a trip down memory lane with the Imagineers’ favorite social media platform to give you a big picture view of what 2018 looked like from an Instagram user’s perspective.
Committed to creating real experiences for audiences, Instagram recently announced that they will be using machine learning tools to identify accounts that are using third-party apps to generate engagement.
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
See those little blue and white check marks next to the user handles? Yeah, you recognize that symbol. You see it next to the names of celebrities, well-known athletes, and big-name companies like Apple. You also most likely know that that little check mark means that the account its attached to is “verified.” But what does that really mean?
As if the altering of the Instagram algorithm wasn’t enough, we must grasp the ever-changing concept of Instagram stories. Since the release of Instagram stories in August 2016, businesses have seen a positive return from utilizing this tool. Some of us on the other hand simply want to know, what is the difference between Instagram stories and Instagram posts in the feed? Keep reading to decipher the difference and determine if it could be better for your page.
A unique concept of Instagram stories is that it allows your followers to see images and footage that may not make it to your feed often. This is a perspective that viewers love to see because it provides a sense of transparency for viewers. We often feature behind-the-scenes footage or Boomerangs (a moving picture or GIF), here at IMC, when we go on a photo or video shoot for our partners. This creates excitement and increases engagement on your page, which drives brand awareness.
With Instagram stories, there is no need to provide an extensive chunk of text or captions, because of the amount of time it lasts. If you plan your stories out correctly, you will need very minimal text to drive a message. If the viewer has to back tap or pause the story in order to read the text it may be too wordy. Try keeping the words in the story between 5-15 words per image or video.
One of the most obvious differences of posting on your Instagram story, compared to your actual Instagram feed is that you are posting a compelling story every time you post. You don’t have to do everything by the book when posting on Instagram stories, but you should ensure that there is a natural flow when going to the next story and that it is beneficial. Say for instance there is an event occurring that day and you want to feature it on your page, but you are unsure of how to integrate it into the flow of your feed. Instagram stories are the perfect tool to include this content.
If you find that your viewership decreases further down your story, try creating a storyboard or mood board to plan out your story. This is a great way to strategize your story prior rot posting to continue enticing your audience. If your Instagram story shares a timeline or narrative it'll encourage your viewers to stay tuned.
Story By: Daija McElwee
We recently covered types of promotions and how to play by Instagram’s rules when hosting giveaways. One of their rules is that you have to offer eligibility requirements: here we’ll cover the five types and ways to participate in Instagram contests.
Like to win: For this type of contest, participants like a post to enter. This is the easiest of the five, but it heavily depends on the number of people reached. Be sure to schedule your post at a popular time to get it in front of your audience and make sure to direct followers to it in other posts or through Instagram stories.
Comment to win: To enter, participants comment on a post. This is a popular option for accounts hosting a giveaway. Commenting to enter is usually coupled with having to follow the page as well as tagging to win (see below).
Tag to win: For this entry, participants tag a friend in the comment section of a post to win. This is a perfect time to prompt your participants to share an interesting story, for them to tag their friends, etc. The options are endless. This method of entry can bring a lot of new traffic to your page and widen your exposure.
Repost to win: Participants repost a brands photo on their personal account and use a specific hashtag and/or tag the brand hosting to win. This is a great option to get your product out in front of a new audience.
Photo entries: With this method, participants enter by posting a photo to their personal account and using a hashtag to enter. This is a popular option for user generated content. Prompt participants to get creative when photographing your product or posting to enter.
Each of these methods of entry are just a starting point so you can also combine a couple (like the comment and tag to enter) -- and remember to get creative!
Story By: Tabita Strimbu
Love it or hate it, the Instagram algorithm is here to stay and keep businesses on their toes. While it is always changing, we know the current Instagram algorithm prioritizes time spent on posts, along with engagement and user feedback to determine what users will see in their feeds.
Luckily, there are a few relatively easy strategies to employ to ensure your business’ posts are seen and, more importantly, engaged with on Instagram.