Insta-Perfect; Is this what we’ve come to?

We’ve all (by now) at the very least heard of Instagram. Whether you scroll your feed multiple times a day to stay in the loop or only check your page every now and then, you’ve more than likely felt the short-lived thrill of a new ‘like’ on your post, or new followers to your feed.

But do you understand how to get the most out of your business account, or realise what you might be missing out on? Do you understand the difference between your home feed, the ‘explore’ feed, the hashtag pages and location pages? And do you understand the difference between uploading a post versus uploading an ‘insta-story’? Let us break it down for you.

First and foremost, Instagram should be viewed as another tool in your social media presence. Simply put, it is a platform by which you connect with followers on a Visual level – minimal text, maximum imagery. Businesses need to understand how having an Instagram account, depending on the nature of your business, can really showcase another side to your services and products. What you post on Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter will be slightly different to what you would post on Instagram, however the overall brand personality and message still needs to be consistent*.

What does consistency look like on an Instagram account? Think of all your individual images like separate cogs in a wheel. If the separate images don’t interact well with every other cog in that wheel, the device simply won’t be effective. When someone lands on your account, without clicking into individual images, the first thing they will view is your page as a whole – this is why it is vitally important for your overall theme to be consistent. Whether you achieve that through staying true to certain colours, tones or styles is up to you, but every image on that account should contribute to maximum visual pleasure.

Stories Vs Posts

Instagram stories have rapidly gained popularity, with the latest stats showing that 500 million users are using stories every single day (January 2019). While this staggering number is a little hard to comprehend, what we do know is that your stories must complement your actual page posts. Without engaging and relevant content on your page, you’re not going to get anybody watching your stories in the first place. The second thing to remember about stories is that they only last for 24 hours – after that they are gone. People can’t watch them again, so if they miss out then too bad (though there is a way around this – save stories to your ‘highlights’ reel so people can watch them at any time).

Why would any business want to put something on their Instagram story if it only lasts 24 hours, you might ask? Think of it like this; what you would post on your actual page (where the image remains indefinitely), is what you might refer to as a ‘finished piece’. Whether that is a product, a beautiful scene (or in our case as a Creative Agency, we might publish a finalised logo design or marketing campaign). What you would show on your story however, is ‘behind the scenes’ glimpses into your business to connect with your viewers on a more personal, ‘raw’ level. A fashion company for example, may post an ‘Insta-story’ showing a seamstress out sourcing fabrics or sewing items onto a dress, but on their business page they might upload an image of the final product being worn on the runway. In comparison, a heavy industry company might post an ‘Insta-story’ showing maintenance on a machine or a close -up video of works being carried out. A post they might publish on their actual page however, might be an eye-catching drone shot above a mine site – something that really shows the scale and magnitude of their projects.

Instagram stories simply connect with your viewers through a different perspective than your page posts, showing an insight into the inner workings of the business. To someone new to Instagram or indeed the world of social media, navigating this landscape can be confusing. What we are noticing is that younger generations seem to have an ingrained intuition when it comes to understanding the differences across, and within social media platforms. If this is all a little overwhelming and you don’t know where to start – don’t panic. Social media is an ever-changing beast and can (thankfully) be a little more forgiving than your traditional ‘printed’ marketing materials. Check out some of the ‘big’ brands out there relevant to your industry to see what they’re doing well – but just remember not to become a ‘sheep’ in this aspect. You need to stay true to the ‘why’ of your own business and let your brand personality shine through to fully engage with your audience.

*For a breakdown of the importance of brand personality, social media content and platforms, get in touch with the team at redhotblue for a consultation.