Instagram has set itself apart among social media channels due to its unique visual storytelling power. 400 million monthly active users share over 80 million photos and generate 3.5 billion likes daily. Ever since Facebook launched ads on Instagram globally, more and more brands are flocking to the platform, hoping to build connection with this active, influential community who are proactively looking for exploration and inspiration.
It’s good news for brands that Instagram audiences are receptive to marketing efforts, but the expectation for visually stunning content is higher than any other platform. Brands can’t just show up on Instagram and hope that the consumer would easily be impressed. They must create high quality and inspiring content otherwise they would be buried under creative and stunning images posted by savvy users and brands every minute.
We’ve compiled 8 of the most common mistakes made on Instagram, and how to avoid them:
1. Uninspired POV
Don't show products from angles users see everyday. With the high level of media-saturation on Instagram, you have to provide users with something novel to engage them. Consider a unique POV, like extremly high or low angles, or a first-person perspective.
2. Unbalanced composition
Instagram users favour balanced, symmetrical images, so avoid posting anything that’s awkwardly off-centre. Employ the Rule of Thirds, which directs the viewers’ eyes where you want them.
3. Low contrast
Your images need to be thumb-stopping. Photos with little to no contrast provide the user with nothing to grab their eye. Make your subject “pop” with high contrast colours and textures, and avoid bland or neutral backgrounds.
4. Lack of focal point
Most users only devote a split second to each post, so make sure there’s a clear focal point: nothing with too many disparate elements, which baffle the eye.
5. Fake and staged photos
Instagram is famous for its authentic imagery. Successful Instagram posts -by brands and regular users alike- are organic and "in the moment." Avoid using content that seems forced, like many stock images.
6. Unnatural lighting
Soft, even natural lighting is inviting to the eye and thus inspires positive emotions. Avoid harsh or unnatural light in favour of sunlight: think about how you feel under fluorescent lights or in the sun. You want to pass that feeling onto your followers.
7. Forced brand integration
Nothing turns off users like forced brand integration. People come to Instagram to be inspired, not badgered by brands. Integrate your brand or logo into the image by having your subject interact with it naturally, or make an appealing lifestyle the message of your post.
8. Inconsistent look and feel
People don't follow your account for just one post, they often check the entire feed. Drastic changes in aesthetics between posts can confuse users. Work towards a consistent aesthetic with every post you make to develop a clear visual identity for your brand.
We live in a world where consumers have a historically-low attention span and high standard to impress. Instagram is powerful visual story telling platform for marketers, and to make the most out of Instagram requires way beyond just having an account. A well-crafted Instagram campaign with on-brand images can tell compelling stories that build strong brand equity and ultimately achieve business objectives.