What to look for in your Instagram content
In a previous post, we looked at the 6 Visual Principles to bear in mind when creating content for Instagram. And within it, we said we would build on the principles, by looking at more of the specifics that make for a good (and bad) Instagram post.
And so, as promised – here is that post.
Probably the best way to tackle this, like most things, is in parts.
Part 1: This is about first getting the top-level fundamentals, right.
Part 2: This is about bringing to life the set fundamentals, correctly – the do’s & don’ts.
Part 3: The main things to consider before you hit the post button.
Hopefully this should then cover all the bases, helping you to create compelling content. So, to part 1 – the fundamentals.
Part 1: Instagram Content fundamentals
Like any channel, it must have an objective – why are you using it? By being clear on this, you can then align a creative concept to the objective.
For example, the channel could be used to target a certain audience, on a specific topic – to help shape perceptions or drive action. Once this purpose is defined, it provides a strong focus, from which the creative can be born.
The next top-level factor to consider, is trying to ensure the content you put out on Instagram is instantly recognisable and brand ownable. There are a number of ways to help achieve this, such as colours, composition, or photographic style. And of course, the creative concept will help too.
Finally, ensure your posts are well put together – artistically. This goes back to our previous post and the visual principles we talked about there. And how your posts must be intriguing and eye-catching in order to grab and hold the attention of viewers. This doesn’t need to be enforced quite so heavily when it comes to Instagram Stories. Here, less polished pieces of content can be published – given they have such a short shelf life.
Part 2: Instagram Content: The do’s & don’ts
Right, so we’ve got the big things covered. Now lets look at some of the smaller details to consider.
1. Get more bang-for-your-buck by using a portrait image or video.
2. Follow a mobile-first approach – ensuring the assets, and any of their important details, are viewable on a mobile screen.
3. Avoid standard stock photography – it needs to be brand ownable content remember.
4. Don’t use unreadable overlaid text. In fact, often we think it’s best to refrain from using overlaid text on your imagery. As trying to do this is normally a good indicator that the image being used is not strong enough to tell the desired story.
5. Use accompanying post copy that enhances the story the visual is telling.
6. Longer captions are now being used by more brands. But aim to include the key message within the first three lines – as it gets cropped on mobile.
7. Hashtags are very important. They help to increase the reach of your posts. They are also a good way to provide additional meaning to your post.
8. Hashtags must be relevant and targeted. General, vague hashtags are largely ineffective.
9. Good practice is to use the hashtags within a comment to your post, not flooding the accompanying post copy with them.
10. Much like hashtags, tagging other people, or a location in your post, greatly increases your chances of discovery by non-followers.
11. Dry, corporate images don’t work well. Instagram is a creative, inspirational platform, with a lifestyle focus – your content must always reflect the environment it resides in.
PART 3: The final things to consider before you hit the publish button
– Is the viewer getting value from your post? It’s not just you shouting about you, is it?
– Are you posting the content in its best format? Could it be transformed into something even more engaging? Perhaps using one of these video techniques we identified in another post – The different ways of using Video for Social Media Video.
– Would this piece of content you are about to publish, be better shared through Instagram Stories?
– Has this content been created based on learning’s from other posts? Or is it a new piece that you are experimenting with? It should be one or the other – otherwise it’s a waste.
– If you saw this piece of content, would you recognise it as coming from your brand? Does the way its shot, the colours used, and creative execution match your brand?
– Always think whether what you plan to put out is something you would like to discover in your news feed and whether you would engage with it.
– Ultimately, is the post tied to the overall objective of the channel? Always ensure you are creating and sharing purposeful content – not just doing content for contents sake.
We’ve pretty much just scratched the surface when it comes to the things to know to help improve the performance of your Instagram content – especially so when paid promotion is brought into the mix.
But, what we’ve outlined should stand you in good stead for when approaching the creation and publishing of Instagram content for your brand – especially as the client. Knowing all of the above will equip you with a checklist to follow when you’re presented with proposed content, to be used on your brands Instagram channel.
And of course, if you do need some support with your instagram content, please feel free to get in touch.
Until next time…