Instagram is one of my favourite social media channels. I’m not a professional photographer, but I love taking pictures. I give many kudos to whoever had the genius idea of installing camera abilities in cell phones, because that means I can snap away whenever, where ever; at least for the most part.
A lot of businesses, institutions, and organizations are jumping on the Instagram train because it’s a great way to share your brand through creative images. But what if those images aren’t aesthetically pleasing? When I’m looking for professional accounts to follow I don’t just follow anyone. I click on the profile I’ve searched for or stumbled upon, and go through at least their first 50 images. If the majority of what they post is well photographed and well edited, then they’ve got themselves a new follower. I’ll even follow companies I don’t buy from, or institutions I’ve never been to, if their images are well captured. Eph Apparel specializes in men’s suits. Although I have no intention of buying myself a men’s suit, I continue to follow them because I think their images are flawless.
What will turn me away is an account full of photos that are too dark, too blurry, or too pixelated. These are the type of photos I expect to see from friends, but not from someone who’s trying to sell me on their brand. When I do come across these types of “professional” accounts, I assume the following about the person or group of people in charge:
- They’re new to Instagram and aren’t aware of the best practices associated with having a business account
- They don’t have a lot of social media-related experience in general
- They aren’t aware of the effects their account can have on their target audience
- They don’t have a social media strategy, or at least not a strong one
- Managing social media is part of their duties, not part of their title
When I started looking for job listings in the communications field and saw a number of businesses looking for a social media specialist, I wondered how someone’s job could “just” be social media and nothing else. What would they do with the rest of their time? But as I continue to learn as much as I can about using social media in relation to marketing, I see how it should be a full time position. It requires a lot of time and dedication to run your social media channels effectively. Posting a blurry photo is quick and easy to do, but anyone can do it. What helps to make your brand stand out on Instagram is the ability to turn those photos into something visually appealing to capture the attention of potential new followers, and to retain their interest in your story. Sometimes you’re in a time-sensitive pinch and all you can do is take a quick photo with your phone and post it right away, and that’s okay. But those types of photos shouldn’t make up the majority of your account. Take the time to make your photos look their best. If you can’t do that, then you may need to look into hiring someone to do it for you, whether it be a social media specialist or a photographer. Not in the budget? You might want to hold off in the Instagram account for now, and re-direct your focus to Twitter or Facebook.
Here’s a list of some of the brands I follow, with great accounts. You should follow them too!
- Jenna Rae Cakes
- Pottery Barn
- Parrot Design
- The Body Shop Canada
- Laura & Co. Events
- Eph Apparel
- Sambajoy Photo & Art
- Prairie Yogi
- Closet Vanity
- Emily Schuman