In the early days of photography, all was staged in the minutest detail imaginable. That’s mainly because there wasn’t the possibility of retakes – you got stuck with whatever the result was.
Most pictures dating back to the end of the 19th century look more or less the same, either with families gathered together in a garden or yard (they needed the sunlight) or with groups of people outside buildings, preferably where there were stairs so faces could be stacked-up in a way that they all showed up in the photograph.
The end of the twentieth century came with an explosion of means to take pictures and everybody became an amateur photographer.
Then social media came along and we were all flooded with pictures of absolutely everything from bare feet at the beach to cats sitting in small boxes and curiously colored leaves in the fall.
Not just any image will do
We are currently living in a very visual world. It’s not even necessary to seek the content, it has a way of reaching us everywhere – on the social media platforms, on the big screens now located in pretty much any spot that draws a crowd, in our e-mails and even printed in our regular, old school mailboxes.
Even though the diversity of subjects and imagery is still great, we have traveled a bit back in time and it’s also the quality and professionalism of the visuals that matter. Smartphone manufacturers compete against one another to come up with the most proficient cameras and there are numerous apps and courses that aim at turning the average man into a very competent creator of meaningful and (most of the time) artistic imagery.
Using Instagram imagery to your advantage
That’s awesome for our eyes but a bit of a tall order for anyone looking to promote a business on media platforms, especially video streaming ones and Instagram. So here are some tips on how to go about creating visuals for the most visual social media platform:
Pictures must be top notch
If you are an online entrepreneur looking to promote your business on Instagram, you need to be mindful of the quality of any piece of imagery you post. Even if you are not promoting a product but a service, it all must look professional and appealing to the potential customer.
Even if it’s just a picture of a pen writing on paper, let’s say, it needs to look like the best possible pen, writing by itself on something that feels more like a cloud than a simple white sheet.
If you are promoting with photographs of people, it’s even more important for them to be flawless and give the right feel and idea – you know what they say, a picture’s worth a thousand words and you want those to be the ones that convince your potential clients to click ‘buy’.
Read more: Mastering upselling to increase your profits
It’s a good idea to not only have a good camera but also read a bit about composition, lighting and colors before you begin posting on your business page.
Some photos are just more aesthetically pleasing than others. We like images and they stay with us even if we can’t quite put our finger on what makes them so appealing.
Luckily, studies were carried out and one in particular offers some valuable information about aspects that lead to a certain visual post being preferred:
- Images with background are favored over those with limited or no background at all;
- A single dominant color brings better engagement than several dominant chromatics;
- Images with more visual textures do better than those that are perceived as smooth;
- Light images are greatly preferred to dark ones;
- Users prefer bluish images over the reddish versions.
Use imagery that is popular
In case you were wondering what the most liked photo on Instagram is, you can see it here. Yes, it’s just an egg against a white background but it set out to break the previous record and it did.
This does not mean that you must use breakfast foods if you want to sell your product – unless it really is cooking related. Otherwise, here is a list of types of photos that are currently performing very well on Instagram:
- User generated content. It is no secret that people seek authenticity and want to be able to connect and relate to their online browsing. UGC is also an excellent example of social proof so whenever you can re-share pictures of your customers on your profile and never forget to give them credit for it.
- DIY images. Many of today’s searches begin with ‘how to’ and that shows that users are interested in witnessing processes. If you are marketing an online course, you can choose an interesting piece from it and turn it into a sequence of images. Or you can post only one photo with part of the process and attach a link to your site and landing page for the rest.
- Motivational images. We have all seen them on our social media pages. Quotes from famous people or merely witty Hallmark-type sayings are infinitely popular and get liked, shared and posted as profile pictures or personal stories. You can use such imagery and motivational words to drive up engagement with your product or service, as long as the message is at least remotely related to it.
- Seasonal pictures. Linking your product or service to popular culture and trending events is a great way to get some extra exposure for your Instagram posts. It also helps connect with potential customers on an emotional level, so this is a great time to get into the Holiday spirit and come up with some wonderful Christmas related content.
Setting up a business account and posting on Instagram is easy. Getting likes on posts… not so much. 65% of pictures posted on this platform get 0 to 10 likes so if you want yours to be situated in the top 35 percent work on your visual content and stay on top of trends.
Raluca Cristescu has over ten years of experience in corporate training, focused mainly on soft skills for customer service and direct sales.