What began as a simple photo-sharing app among friends has grown into a global community of consumers and brands. The social networking app now has more than 300 million members who share in excess of 95 million photos and videos each day (source).
In addition to individuals, businesses have been a part of the community since the beginning, using the platform as a way to showcase their products and services in a rich, visual context.
The benefits of using Instagram for business include generating high levels of engagement, the ability to create visual marketing, connecting with a target audience and the opportunity to drive traffic to your website.
But how do you go about creating the perfect Instagram post?
1. Visual Merchandising
Product flat lays are a visually appealing way to share product details with your customers.
- Space your products within a square format (I’ve noticed this drives a higher engagement).
- Limit yourself to between three and five products so as not to overwhelm the eye.
- Use a background with texture, but that doesn’t overpower your product. (marble, fur, white space, solid colour wall)
Embrace POV-style photography in order to pull your customer into the story.
- Highlight your product subtly.
- Incorporate everyday or attainable objects that everyone loves.
- Angle your product so that they cover 60% of the frame. This adds depth and focus to an image.
If you or your style are the main focus of your visual, keep in mind these pointers:
- Create “caught off guard” moments.
- Add movement — walk across the street, check your phone, etc.
- Capture moments that are realistic to your customer. Posed and overly contrived photos may come off as inauthentic.
2. Caption Writing
Tell a story.
- Every post should work individually and as part of a larger story.
- Think like a magazine editor or brand writer — not an ADVERTISER.
- Tell the story of your product or brand. DO NOT SELL.
Keep it short.
- The average social media post holds a person’s gaze for a mere eight seconds, so you have a limited amount of time to capture someone’s attention.
- Keep your captions to between 90 and 120 characters.
- If it’s right for your brand and audience, use emojis when appropriate.
Add a CTA: a call to action
- you can casually include a call-to-action, such as “link in bio.” or even ask a question to trigger specific comments
3. Hashtag Strategy
Developing a hashtag strategy as part of your Instagram marketing is the key to gaining followers, increasing likes and creating engagement. Hashtags allow your posts to be seen by users other than the ones that already follow you.
Instagram allows 30 hashtags per post. If you are a new brand, use all 30 if it makes sense. If you are fairly established, it’s common practice to keep it between 5-10. In order to determine what the sweet spot is for your brand, research the hashtags that influencers in your industry and your competitors use in their posts.
Your hashtags should be relevant and contain keywords people are actually searching. For instance, using #yourbrandname when people don’t know your company won’t be too effective. Instead, find out what hashtags are popular within your field and see which ones fit the content your publishing.