Use a call to action or engagement
Having a pretty Instagram feed is excellent, but shouldn’t be your only goal. Instagram is like a billboard for your business or brand. It’s your opportunity to capture potential clients’ attention. If you’re not asking your followers to take a specific action when they visit your account, then you’re missing out on the opportunity to convert them into a lead.
By adding a call to action or engagement in your account bio, posts and stories, you’re increasing the potential to turn a lead into a sale. Here are some sample call to actions and engagements we love to use in our strategies:
- Subscribe to our newsletter for exclusive access to our deals and promotions
- Order your XYZ now by visiting our online shop
- Book your free 15-minute consultation to speak with one of our experts
- Share this post with someone who would find it useful
- Let us know what you think in the comments below
- Save this post for later
- Send us a DM to learn more
Plan your content in advance
While it may be tempting to only post when the inspiration strikes, we can’t stress enough how important it is to plan your content ahead of time. Anything you do on social media should follow a campaign strategy if you’re focused on increasing brand awareness and sales for your business. Every image/video should visually represent the result of your call to action.
For example, if you were selling flowers in an online store, you’d create content that shows the experience of the product your followers can purchase. You could offer your audience behind the scenes videos making the arrangements, how you package the product for delivery, tips to care for the arrangement once it’s in their home, a product shot of the finished arrangement, a repost from an existing client of the flowers in their home, a review, and an inspirational post on why followers should buy themselves or someone else flowers from your shop.
All of this content should be shot and edited in advance. To make things even easier on yourself, pre-write the content and use a scheduling program, like Plannable, Hootesuite, Buffer or Later, to queue up posts for the feed.
Use the grid to tell a story
When we refer to ‘the grid,’ we mean the 9 images that show up first on your feed to make a perfect square. The visual aesthetic of the grid should tell a story at first glance. Social media users consume content at an increasingly rapid rate, so it’s getting harder to capture attention using written words or individual posts. A user should identify the theme of your story within 5 seconds of landing on your account.
Your business may offer more than one product or service. Instead of focusing on posting about everything you do, focus on one key element and call to action at a time. Beautiful and professional feeds do an excellent job of visually categorizing their products and services in this way. If the goal is to sell flowers through your online shop, post 9 consecutive visuals to your feed that focus on the experience of buying your product.
Composition is Key
There are different types of visual content that we create for particular purposes. If we’re trying to show the experience of a staycation at a boutique hotel, we’re not going to just show images of the full room. While a beautiful shot of a place is absolutely necessary for the grid, we’re also going to focus on the details that a guest would experience. Our first post may be a POV video of a guest opening the door to the room. The post that follows may highlight the soft and fluffy bedding. The next image could be a repost of a guest taking a selfie in the bathroom mirror before going out. The effect this creates is a mixture of experiential videos, close-up shots of the details of the experience, and social proof of the experience from a person who has actually stayed at the hotel.
Using a mixture of birds-eye view type visuals, experiential videos, and close-up looks at the details creates a story that conveys your product or service theme.
Stick to the same aesthetic
Filtering your photos and sticking to one colour palette will give your feed a cohesive aesthetic. Not everyone can work with a professional photographer or videographer right away, so an easy way to do this is to use a program like VSCO or the in-app filters that Instagram provides. At Monarch, you’ll notice our content is very earthy in its colours. We use neutrals, earth tones and the occasional pop of green. This is one of the social media strategy tactics that is the most effective in creating subconscious brand trust. Cohesiveness in visual aesthetics is the difference between a professional and an amateur account. It shows the viewer that you have a clear and defined brand identity.
The number one important thing to remember if you’re going to use filters on your images is please, for the love of all things good, use the same one. Don’t flip back and forth between filters.
This is a starting point for creating a professional-looking Instagram account for your brand and/or business. Try it yourself by creating a grid (9 posts) that follows these five Instagram feed optimizations. Let us know how it worked for you by tagging @monarchsocialmedia in the comments on your Instagram posts.