Currently the favorite hangout for brands that are either inherently visual or can hire someone to create a visual stream for them. Here it’s all about the images—most of the time. There are a few exceptions where the accompanying text is equally popular, but those accounts are rare. Here’s a great example if you’re curious: @LucyTheFlowerHunter . Every Sunday Lucy writes a very short story about her family, her dog and her gardening life in Wales and does so with great wit and style. However, first and foremost, her images are stunning. Of course there are plenty of people who get it all wrong by blathering on with endless hashtags and long captions that just irritate people. If you’re going to take up a lot of space on social media, you’d better have something compelling to say.
What seems to work best is to have some key text in the image, since many people just scroll through without reading captions. Then add a fairly short caption for those who do read them. Hashtag #strategy is a science unto itself, but I can help you make sense of it.
Insta—as the cool kids call it—sometimes gets a bad rap for presenting unrealistic photo-shopped lifestyles that are impossible to emulate and lead to high insta-envy and low self-esteem. Which is why if you use this platform, you need to keep it real. Sure, you do want professional, well-lit product images, but you also need to balance those with grittier behind-the-scenes reality shots of how the magic happens. People want the unvarnished truth, which inspires brand confidence and loyalty.
There’s a rhythm to great Instagram accounts that is achieved by carefully posting a variety of content. This page (left) is what someone sees if they check out an account to decide if they want to follow that person or company. It’s a real-time snapshot of the last dozen images posted. In this example you can see product shots, a Valentine’s Day message, a holiday shipping notice, a candid shot of the owner and her daughter, inside the bakery shots and a video that tantalizes with the pouring of chocolate. All together they give a good picture of a working mom, the artisanal nature of her business and the range of what she’s currently baking. The idea is to entice the viewer to like the company as well as its products, because there’s a real person there who wants to help make your holiday or event special.