Instagram is evolving. Since launching in 2010, the social platform’s trends have done a full 360 and heaps of new features have been added to the mix. It’s therefore little wonder that brands are increasingly utilising Instagram to reach an ever-growing audience.
Wondering how the latest updates and trends can help your business engage with people? Beth Daniel, our new addition to the Sookio team, takes a look at Instagram’s most recent updates and how companies are making the most of them!
Instagram seems to be constantly finding new ways to innovate and enable its users to connect with their followers. Have you noticed the changes to your Instagram feed lately?
If you’re a regular user, you’ll have seen the platform launched its new Galleries function just last week. Eliminating the usual (and oh-so-familiar) process of deliberation over which individual picture to upload, the new feature provides the option to create a collection of images.
Galleries mark the latest in a string of in-app updates, additions and trends, making it a bit confusing to work out how you can harness the new functions and fashions to communicate with your audience.
So, we decided to give it a go, whilst looking out for companies already hitting the nail on the head when it comes to keeping Insta-trendy.
Gone are the days of having to summarise your great meeting, day trip or work event in one single image. Instagram’s new Galleries feature enables users to upload several images in one post, which viewers can then scroll through.
Why is this useful? The ability to swipe through multiple images means interested viewers can see more, learn more and get real feel for whatever it is you are displaying.
Cisco (@cisco) recently uploaded several images from its Berlin event to an Instagram Gallery. Providing attendees with a picture summary of their day, the Gallery also let non-attendee followers in on a taste of the action, and consequently could inspire people to attend Cisco events in the future.
On a recent trip to the Fitzwilliam Museum in Cambridge, we decided to give Galleries a go ourselves.
Although the editing and upload process is a little more complicated than usual, the new feature gave us a great way of visually documenting our visit to the museum and all it has on offer.
Remember when stories were a solely-Snapchat function? This changed last year when Instagram followed in the footsteps of its predecessor by introducing Instagram Stories, a new way to engage with followers through a series of timed images and video snippets.
Placing your content at the top of your followers’ timeline, Stories is a particularly useful tool to help overcome Instagram’s recently updated algorithmic feed, which orders posts according to their overall engagement, likes and comments rather than in chronological time-of-upload order.
By posting short, engaging snaps onto your Instagram Story, you can ensure your most loyal followers are kept up-to-date whilst encouraging new followers (and potential customers) to engage with the content.
This Girl Can (@thisgirlcanuk), the National Lottery-backed campaign celebrating inspiring and active women, regularly uses Stories to let its followers take a peek at what’s going on behind the scenes.
Most recently, This Girl Can used Stories to create short insights into the creation of its latest ad campaign, which followed a series of women participating in strenuous sporting activities. Allowing your audience to see extra, behind the scenes footage is a great way to inspire, educate and make them feel more involved in your company.
Previously a separate app, Boomerang was integrated into Instagram’s upload offering back in November 2016. The Boomerang option enables users to upload quirky mini videos which play a burst of photos on repeat.
Darlings, post me your #MakeupWish at my #CoventGarden Beauty Boudoir, #Westfield Beauty Wonderland OR on charlottetilbury.com. Follow the link in my bio to send your wish. I will choose ONE lucky winner and make all their dreams come true!!!! Winner to be announced in January. T&Cs apply. #CharlotteTilbury
Since becoming a function on the app, Boomerang is more popular than ever amongst Instagram enthusiasts - both for personal and business use.
For companies trying to establish a personality and keep on trend with followers, using the Boomerang option can create fun, short and watchable content which encourages viewers to connect with a brand’s personality.
Charlotte Tilbury (@ctilburymakeup), the individual behind the Charlotte Tilbury beauty line, does this particularly effectively. Uploading Boomerang shots of herself with other prominent figures in the beauty world, new product launches or competitions, Charlotte uses the feature to add a personal touch to her posts and engage her followers in a way which is more interactive than a standard image post.
The rise of the #Regram
Reposting images which have been uploaded by others, whether it be a relevant picture or a positive review about your company or brand, is a great way of giving followers a glimpse at your work in action.
Regramming means manually taking a screenshot of posts uploaded by others and sharing it on your own account.
Much like the infamous Retweet on Twitter, Regramming on Instagram is becoming increasingly popular amongst brands and individuals alike. Although it isn't a built-in function, Regramming enables businesses to be selective and creative about the third party content they share.
Allowing you to selectively illustrate genuine and positive reviews of your brand with the images taken and captions written by others, Regramming and crediting the original poster will also enable you to demonstrate the noise being made about your brand to your followers. Re-posting social content uploaded by others saves you time too! (Just make sure to credit!)
See how Bloom & Wild (@bloomandwild) uses an image taken by one of its customers as a way of promoting its flowers. They also take the time to compliment the customer’s photograph, helping build a positive relationship and winning a loyal customer in return.
When Instagram first made its move into the social media sphere, many of us (particularly myself) got a little filter happy. In fact, I often used multiple filters in order to appear extra creative and photographer-like to all 27 of my followers.
Today, it seems we are straying away from the 2010 filter craze, opting for more subtle edits and working with Instagram’s brightness, contrast, saturation and warmth tools to balance a picture’s colour and lighting levels.
To give you an example of how we’re doing this on the Sookio Instagram account (@sookio), take a look at the pictures above. The typography books had such bold and striking covers that there was no need to do anything more than just up the brightness a little.
Often, paying attention to how it’s cropped is more effective than adding a filter unnecessarily. Or we might use the tilt shift feature to make a particular part of the picture stand out, like in the above shot of ‘Coffea Arabica’ at Starbucks when we wanted to highlight a particular bit of text in the image.
Keeping up with trends and updates on each of your social media platforms may prove really beneficial when attempting to stay current and relevant on your customers’ timelines, and we always advise doing your research to discover how successful brands are utilising each of the channels.
Looking to show a more creative side to your business? Get in touch today to find out how we can help with your visual social media strategy.