As a photographer, I’ve been drawn to Instagram since it launched in 2010. The interface is visually appealing, clean and simple, and it offers multiple opportunities to share, connect, promote and sell. It’s easy to use, especially from a Smartphone, and there are endless ways that you can customize and share posts, stories and videos.
Instagram is now home to over a billion users worldwide and around 500 million people access it every day. Major brands worldwide are using the app to market their products and services. 75% of U.S. businesses use Instagram. Engagement with businesses on Instagram is 10 times higher than other social platforms. These are a few of the reasons why you may want to consider being part of this upward trend if you own a business.
It’s been my goal to get better at storytelling on this entertaining platform, and I’ve been studying and experimenting with different ideas. Here are some of the things I’ve discovered along the way:
CAPTURING AND PROCESSING IMAGES
Most of my photographs are taken with a DSLR because I’ve been shooting professionally for over ten years. However, I’m amazed at the quality of some of the camera apps for web-based sharing. The filters and processing tools offer infinite possibilities, and I use them with many of my images. My current favorites are Snapseed, Pixlr, Sketch, Varnist and Instagram. You can also create or purchase graphic templates from sources such as Canva, Creative Market and Envato Elements.
The gallery-style format makes it enticing to experiment. Recently, I’ve been adding images that tell a similar story or have a coordinated look and feel. Some users apply this technique to their entire feed, but I like the variety and challenge of trying different ideas in a series. Part of the reason I approach it this way is because I’m a marketer; however, random photos can also be effective.
You can showcase your products, services and special events with attractive photos that are artfully displayed in a color-coordinated grid. The “tic-tac-toe” format makes it easy to plan. Instagram and other vendors have added many features for marketing and selling products.
Since I began using hashtags regularly, I’ve discovered and been discovered by many more people. They’re designed to be a search tool for most of the social media platforms and are particularly effective on Instagram.
EVENTS AND PROMOTIONS
Create hashtags that are specific to your event to create buzz. They can be included in posts in all of the social platforms before, during and after it happens. The hashtag will make your event easier to discover, and the related posts will show up in a page that is specific to it. You can post teasers that include special guests, activities and vendors. This is also another interesting way for volunteers to get involved.
You can also share the same photos on other social media platforms such as Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. It’s easy to plan and pre-schedule them with services like Hootsuite.
I recently created several photos for the Tappmeyer Homestead using artistic filters for the Painting a Summertime Past tour that was organized by Historic Saint Louis. Check out the pages for #tappmeyerhomestead #historicstl2019 and #historicsaintlouis. Any image or video that includes those hashtags should show up on those tagged pages.
There are several resources where you can learn more about how to maximize the Instagram platform. Here are some of them:
There’s always room for a story that can transport people to another place. ~ J.K. Rowling