If you’re about to be swiping your credit card more frequently over the next few weeks, you’re not alone. Holidays are a busy time for shoppers - and marketers. A great deal of consumers will be shopping from brands they discovered on social media this year. But just how much does social media affect users spending habits around the holidays?
While the latest news from Snapchat’s earnings report isn’t ideal for the 1.5 billion dollar company, their newest update ensures that their grasp on teen users is still right at their fingertips. Snapchat recently announced the addition of lenses to desktops in hopes to boost awareness of lens tools. With the goal of building awareness about the lens feature, Snapchat also wants to highlight the ever-growing popularity of user-created lenses.
Our creative team at Imagine Media is the embodiment of hard work. The team begins with meetings and planning on Mondays followed by two photo shoots per day four days a week. They are constantly on the move and will go to great lengths to capture the most creative and challenging content for our partners. The rest of the team is constantly in awe of their talent and love following along on their adventures throughout Atlanta and beyond. We’ve broken down the creative team and their roles below so that you can get to know the team that makes the magic happen.
When you’re building the brand behind your company, it’s important to establish a set of rules and guidelines to promote consistency throughout your marketing materials. Brand Guidelines serve as a resource for how to present your company to the world. From logos to fonts and brand voice to the color palette, this style guide will ensure that your company is properly represented across all platforms.
When we onboard a new partner at Imagine Media, one of our first steps is to take a deep dive into their brand guidelines. This information is vital to our team because it helps us understand the company at a very personal and detailed level. Whether it’s our copywriter trying to assume the brand voice, or our graphics team making content for their social channels, all of the information included in the brand guidelines helps us build and represent their brand.
You might be wondering what should be included in your brand guidelines. As with any creative process, a great place to start is by building a mood board. This will help set the tone and overall feel of your brand.
Another important element to include in your brand guidelines is all versions of logos and signature graphics that you would like to be utilized. Specifying color and logo size is important for people working with these elements. You can also make clear what would be an example of unacceptable logo usage in this section.
Next, you’ll want to incorporate typography and messaging. Determining the fonts that represent your brand is an important step in creating the personality of your company. Messaging and brand voice are how your brand communicates with their audience. This subject can be relatively tricky, but if you provide your creative team with a clear brand voice, it will make the copywriting process much more effective.
Finally, defining your company’s color palette is an essential part of your brand guidelines. Keeping color consistent throughout your marketing materials will support your presence online, on social media channels and throughout your marketing campaign. When you consider colors like Tiffany turquoise or Coca-Cola red, you get a true appreciation for how much color influences your brand.
Now that you are equipped with the knowledge of brand guidelines, take note of how other companies establish their timeless brands through these elements. If you’re interested in learning more about branding, we highly recommend our friends at Wildcat Echo, who have branding down to an art form!
Story By: Sophie Duncan
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:
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.
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.
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
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
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