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.
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
Across the pond in England, the National Health Service is taking a stand on social media’s impact on mental health. The Royal Public Health Society is urging social media users to take the month of September off Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, and Snapchat.
While some avid users are committing to going completely cold turkey, others are are encouraging taking small steps such as avoiding social media after 6 pm or labelling the bedroom as a scroll-free zone.
While the organizers of Scroll Free September aren’t deeming social media as evil altogether, their intention for this initiative came from the desire to encourage balance. Although social media has completely revolutionized the way we communicate with each other, it can have some serious negative effects such as cyberbullying, poor sleep, depression, and anxiety. The event is intended to encourage users to check in with themselves and decide what aspects of social media make them feel good, and what parts have a negative impact on their well being.
Considering that social media is literally our job here at Imagine Media, we’re not sure if we could ever go cold turkey, but we are in full support of finding balance. We all feel digital overwhelm from time to time, and our best way to combat that is to put down our phones and get outside to exercise, meet friends for some good food (that we won’t put on our Instagram Story) or getting nose-deep in a good book in a moody coffee shop. If you choose to partake in Scroll Free September, we hope to see you back in October with a refreshed perspective on why social media is important and how to avoid the negativity. ✌🏼
Story By: Sophie Duncan
Over time, Instagram has become an increasingly important platform for the food and beverage industry. Think about it, food is constantly being shared via Instagram. At least once a day you will see food appear on your feed or in your stories. Not only that, but when searching for a place to eat, Instagram has become an important way to find the best place to go. People will look at photos on a restaurants social media channel to learn more about the food and atmosphere. With all of that being said, Instagram is an important tool that should be leveraged by the food and beverage industry. Social platforms allow a business to share daily specials, events, and interact with their followers. For the food and beverage industry, this is becoming a key way to market to their target audience and bring in customers. Below we have listed best practices for Instagram when it comes to the food and beverage industry:
Story by: Hannah Lagod
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