Instagram has over 500 million active users, and at least 30% of them purchased a product they had first seen on Instagram. What does it mean for your brand? It means you should swear by the platform.
It’s no secret that social media users engage with visual content more than any other, and that’s why developing a strong Instagram presence is a must for every brand that not only wants to sell but has an engaging story to tell.
According to Sprout Social, 70.7% of US businesses are using Instagram. But how many of them are doing it right? Posting randomly isn’t going to work. Instagram is unapologetic when it comes to clumsy photos. So, to please the social media giant, let’s learn some aesthetics.
Before getting creative with photos, you should be firm on what type of content you want to grace your feed. Your visual identity should be in sync with what your brand stands for. To develop a strong and genuine connection with your followers, let them know what the story of your brand and its core values are. Let’s say, if you are proud of your company culture, take a couple of snaps to show it!
Instagram is actually full of appealing images. But what’s the point if it’s so difficult to tell them apart? The point isn’t having pretty photos, but making someone instantly recognize your brand. So make sure that every photo you post is a reflection of your brand’s identity.
Your Target Market
You’ve got your identity now, but social media channels are a two-way street. If you want users to act, you should know exactly whom you are targeting. Your followers are your potential customers, so find ways to bring them into the conversation.
The best way to appeal to your target market is to learn from them. Look at what type of content your followers and customers are sharing. Really, there is no better way.
Another way is to integrate user-generated content into your feed, content that will complement your own aesthetic. For example, Airbnb has found a way to keep the balance between their aesthetic and user-generated content. In a sense, user-generated content has become their aesthetic. Sharing photos and stories from all around the world gives their feed a look that’s inspiring and impersonal. So look up to your followers, they can be creative too!
Now we’re getting into the nuts and bolts of brand aesthetic on Instagram. Consistency can be created mainly by sticking to one color scheme and subject matter.
Many people believe that the easiest way to a consistent aesthetic is by using the same filter. Actually, it’s more complicated than it sounds, because other factors such as lighting play a role. So if you master all the aspects below, using the same filter would actually come in handy!
If most of your photos are shot in natural light, and only a couple were done indoors, the difference can be drastic. Therefore, using the same filter over them won’t help much. So determine what type of lighting suits well the vibe of your brand and try to stay true to it.
Brightness and Contrast
You should also be consistent when it comes to brightness and contrast. Photos with more brightness and contrast usually do better on Instagram, but be careful not to overdo it.
A useful tip that is rarely mentioned: taking photos from a consistent angle can greatly enhance your aesthetic. Many popular accounts on Instagram only upload photos shot from above. While that’s the mainstream stand, feel free to find your unique angle!
Do you want to achieve a dark moody look, or do you want your feed to radiate with colors? Of course, the decision shouldn’t be random and has to be linked to the identity of your brand. Brighter colors have proven to be more attractive. In fact, photos with bright colors are 592% more likely to get likes than the darker ones. But if bright colors don’t suit your mission, forget about the impressive number above.
Using one color palette might be monotonous. And that might not be something you are going for. You can accentuate different colors in your feed, but the important thing is to make the transition smooth. See how Pantone does that by posting in color blocks. From four rows of turquoise, they move to a section of pastel pink and then transition to intense orange and red.
Consistency should also apply to your subject matter. Take Coffee ‘N Clothes’s Instagram page as an example. They are very clear on their content, and their slogan stylishly caffeinated is there to prove it. Thousands of people hit the follow button because they know exactly what the page has to offer. And when their photo pops up on your feed, it’s just hard not to tell them apart.
Take a look at this Instagram page that posts vibrant photos of children as another example. Their bio says “We believe that children are the future,” and every photo they post lives up to that belief.
Now, your focus can be more diverse. Posting too much of the same thing risks being boring. However, too much diversity might leave your followers confused about the identity of your brand. And here is where balance comes into play. When playing around with different subjects and themes in your photos, try spacing them evenly across your feed. Don’t cram them next to each other.
Colorful photos aren’t enough. The best photos are those that communicate a narrative. In other words, don’t just sell with your Instagram — try to establish a connection that goes beyond that. Think of building brand awareness as your main priority.
GoPro’s Instagram is masterful in that sense. Not only do they post user-generated content, but also have a wanderlust feeling to their feed. Looking at those photos isn’t just aesthetically pleasing, but motivates you to explore the world!
A killer aesthetic takes a lot of planning. Be prepared to shoot hundreds of photos, of which only ten will make it to your feed. You can use free apps such as Preview or UNUM to plan your Instagram feed. Upload your photos, move them around, and see what looks best. And be prepared to kill your darlings. There will be individual photos that you will totally adore, but as soon as you put them in the feed, they’ll lose their charm.
Creating a mesmerizing aesthetics is hard work, which requires great attention to details and intensive planning. While Instagram offers a lot of possibilities to promote your brand, it certainly isn’t going to do the job for you. So make sure you know the rules, and think twice before sharing your photos!