Instagram is quite possibly the pinnacle of social media. You can share snapshots of your life and edit your photos to match your imagination. You can converse and socialize as you do on Facebook but without any clutter or confusion. It’s easy, intuitive and just plain fun. And it’s all focused around one thing: images.
Instagram provides an outlet for creativity in everyday life, and therein lies its appeal. This also makes it a useful outlet for strategic advertising, as unique, eye-catching ads attract followers and enable you to share your message. But how do you use Instagram to your advantage in the ad game? Sharing any old image isn’t an effective advertising method … so what are the guidelines behind a solid Instagram campaign? Here you’ll find four basic principles to guide your Instagram efforts so you can start sharing more successfully.
1. Get a Plan Together
No social media effort can flourish without strategy. After all, you plan your marketing efforts in every other area to account for consistency, effectiveness, and cost … why wouldn’t you do the same for social media?
First, identify your target audience. They will shape the look and focus of your ads, so delve deeply into the demographics of your Instagram audience. One way to get insight into your target audience is by checking out your competitors’ Instagram profiles and seeing who their followers are. Many times, you’ll find your target audience all assembled right in one place, along with information about their other interests!
Aside from just looking at your target audience, you need to determine the overall goal of your campaign. Are you just starting out and needing followers? Or are you trying to get people to share your images so you can branch out to new viewers? Answering these questions will determine your calls to action, so make sure you have this objective set before you start your campaign.
2. Focus on the Image
Once your intentions are mapped out, you can work on the “how” of your campaign, namely, the ads themselves.
In the realm of Instagram, your focal point will be the visual aspects of the ad. It’s easy to scroll mindlessly through Instagram, but when you see an image that strikes you, your fingers stop and you feel compelled to examine the ad more thoroughly. This is the objective — to arrest your viewers so that they don’t just give you the scroll.
Scan through Easil’s premade templates, and find one that fits your campaign. Even if there are aspects that need to be adjusted, you can always customize later. For now, just find a basic framework within which to work.
Now you can focus on amping up your design. Easil’s templates are created to be unique and aesthetically engaging, but customizing with your own branding makes for a more personalized viewer experience. You can modify in a number of ways to complement your image:
- Adjust color schemes. You can say a lot with color. Muted greens help create a sense of earthy calm. Stark black-and-whites are arresting and classy. Reds can imbue a sense of excitement. Change your colors to jive with your immediate message and your long-term objectives.
- Add a photo. Photos help us feel connected to real events, places and people, and from that perspective, it makes sense why Instagram is as popular as it is! You can use this to your advantage by including photos that intrigue and excite your audience. Close-ups or unusual images that require further examination are great for drawing in viewers, and photos with people in them help create a relatable experience.
- Use humor. If it fits with your brand voice, humorous images are a powerful tool in your advertising belt. Add a touch of entertainment with a quirky or comical photo or visual. Not only can you further your brand, but you also create a memorable campaign that your audience will want to share.
Customize your templates using these methods, and you’re well on your way to standing out amidst the Instagram masses and creating a scroll-stopping image.
3. Work on Wording
While imagery is crucial, it needs to work in tandem with your text. If no one knows who you are or what you do, then all your visual prowess is for naught.
Find a way to succinctly get your message across. You don’t want your text to overwhelm the visual aspects of your ad, so keep it brief, punchy and memorable.
In case you didn’t know, Instagram is owned by Facebook, and once you’ve created your advertisement, it’s very easy to run it on both platforms. Facebook has noted that audiences prefer ad images with very little text on them and has even enforced a 20 percent rule in the past. So keep this in mind when you’re creating your ad.
In terms of what type of text to add, calls to action are incredibly important, as they compel viewers to share or follow your brand. And don’t forget to include a hashtag to create a community around your product!
4. Share and Share Alike
Once you’ve concocted your ideal Instagram ad, it’s time to share your creation with the world. Obviously you can just publish to Instagram, but you can also share to Facebook and Twitter simultaneously by selecting those functions on the share screen.
When you’re strategic about the formation and sharing of your Instagram advertisements, you can expect to see far more engagement with your target audience. Keep these simple steps in mind, and you can create an ad that you’re satisfied with, that expresses your brand and that attracts followers … without giving you a stress headache.