Thanks to smart phones, everyone today has a camera on them, at all times. Never known to miss a perfect photo-op, Millennials especially, have mastered the art of photo-sharing on social media (I mean seriously, my friend’s 17-year-old cousin has more than 2,000 followers on Instagram … WTH?).
With Instagram’s popularity on the up, and Facebook’s on the down (likely thanks to Mom making an account and commenting “Who’s that boy???” on all of your photos), Instagram is becoming an increasingly important channel for brands who want to communicate with Millennial consumers.
If the audience is right, every brand should be on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram, at base. Advertising and ROI aside – maybe you don’t have the budget, or maybe you want to start off with the basics – Instagram is an art, not a science. And, if you want to grow your brand’s Instagram, there are just a few simple steps you can take to try your hand at mastering the channel like a true Millennial.
Step 1: Securing rich imagery.
Whether your brand is a footwear company or a PR agency, it’s essential to secure imagery that is vivid and plentiful. If you have some wiggle room in your marketing budget, make photo shoots a priority. If that’s simply a no-can-do, make sure that you – as your client or company’s very own brand ambassador – are prepared to snap photos whenever the opportunity presents itself (just like a Millennial). At HPR, we’re no strangers to impromptu photo shoots right in our own office. Just make sure you’re using a high-quality digital or phone camera.
If your brand already has an established fan base, learn to embrace user-generated content. Consum-stagrammers typically love to see their photos on brand’s pages, and can even help fill in content when you’re in need. Just be sure to ask them permission and give proper photo credit.
Step 2: Filtering that sh*t.
A good filter never hurt anybody – especially if you want to give your page a consistent and cohesive look (highly recommended). Every brand should have its own personality, and the filter you choose is part of that personality.
You’ve probably been out with your friends on a Friday night, taken what felt like a thousand photos, then hovered over the camera together and had one of your friends announce, “Filter that sh*t.” Well, I’m here to tell you: Don’t use Instagram filters. This Thrillist article demonstrates that Instagram filters can actually do your images more harm than good. Down with Amaro!
Confused? There are other, better photo-editing apps. VSCO, a photo-editing and photo-sharing app, is an HPR – and Millennial – go-to. VSCO’s filters are known for their subtlety, so your photos will never appear #heavilyfiltered. Plus, you can easily copy-and-paste whatever edits you make to one photo onto others. Starbucks is a good example of a brand that uses (what I presume to be) a VSCO filter to give their Instagram a rich, consistent vibe.
Step 3: Talking the talk.
Millennials arguably have their own language, and while I don’t recommend trying to talk like them in every post everyday, you can craft captions that are attention-grabbing to them. Leverage trending hashtags (see our client’s #MondayMotivation post below), while keeping captions simple and aligned with your brand voice.
Don’t let Instagram fall to the wayside – it’s become too important a channel. It may take you a while to gain as many followers as my friend’s cousin, but if you follow these steps, you’ll have yourself a follow-worthy page in no time.
My fellow Millennials, what other advice would you give to brands just starting out on Instagram?
- Deanna Haas
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