Instagram engagement

Historically when we have thought of Instagram, the immediate image that comes to mind has been an amalgam of teenagers’ selfies, pictures of elaborate meals, and an assortment of other poor quality, low content images. This may be one of the reasons that businesses have tended to avoid using this particular branch of social media, but they may be making a big mistake. When used properly, Instagram can be a highly beneficial platform that allows businesses to better connect with followers and craft a unique online presence.

A Focus On Quality

One of the problems companies have that can cause Instagram avoidance is low photo quality. Without the right equipment and training, it can be difficult to capture that perfect shot. This doesn’t mean that small businesses should hurry out and buy fancy cameras or hire photographers in order to boost their presence on Instagram. Rather, the best ways to improve photo quality can really be quite simple.

There are a number of apps on the market that can be used to improve your photos before posting them on Instagram. If you’re interested in adding text, borders, icons, or your logo to images, give Post Designer a try. Even if you simply post an image taken on your phone, the beauty of Instagram is that the filters and adjustments within the app can go a long way toward making your images look great. By spending a little time on editing and improving the quality of photos, you can create images that will really connect with your audience.

Build Relationships Along With Content

Part of what makes Instagram effective is the interaction that goes beyond simply posting pictures. In fact, an Instagram account with pictures and no engaging text, tags, or conversations is worth very little. For businesses trying to make the most of their Instagram account, being responsive is key. Bring attention to your posts by applying appropriate hashtags and emoji, and by responding to user comments.

Comment exchanges are especially important because they engage the feelings of curiosity and exploration that enjoying art can trigger, according to an article by Park West Gallery. These are exactly the kinds of feelings that encourage customers to take an interest in your products and services. The curious customer seeks modes of participation and is fueled by artistic content. This is what makes Instagram such a powerful tool for businesses.

Learn From The Pros

For businesses worried that even editing tools might not be enough to make their photos stand out, there are plenty of professionals who have mastered the art of the Instagram photo. For example, one of Instagram’s most accomplished photographers, Cole Rise, recommends using unique angles to capture viewer attention.

More difficult to master is the art of lighting. Cory Staudacher, another Instagram expert, offers a few tips on this topic including taking photographs in cloudy weather or at the beginning or end of the day, rather than the middle. It can be tempting to try to get that great shot in full light, but too much direct light can actually cause photos to look dull or washed out, or cause awkward shadows.

Don’t forget that there are creative ways to alter a photo beyond the filters provided by Instagram. Whether it’s the dark cover of sunglasses or a colored cellophane sheet, setting a physical barrier between your camera and your subject can shake up the usual visual dynamics that Instagram users expect.

Take Advantage Of Tools

If you’re determined to make Instagram a core component of your marketing plan, it’s important that you use the basic tools smartphones like the iPhone provide. This includes the grid feature that can straighten out photo horizons, tapping the screen to improve the focus of the shot, and using the burst feature to take many shots in a short time to capture the best possible moment.

There’s one tool to avoid, however, if you want to create great Instagram photos – zoom. Zoom has been around forever and is a classic camera standard, and yet it can be a disastrous function for Instagram photographers. Forget using zoom and just get closer to your subject. Zoom tends to lose some of the crispness of a photo and create distracting noise and pixilation. If you can’t get close enough, choose a new subject. Instagram campaigns demand high quality photography and zoom will sabotage this.

Brands that want to use Instagram effectively will most likely be creating a lot of #latergrams – photos taken and then posted to Instagram at a later time. Don’t worry about the instant side of things; this aspect of Instagram has faded since the app was first launched. A good photo takes time, but it pays off in the form of engagement!

About the Author: Larry Alton is an independent business consultant specializing in social media trends, business, and entrepreneurship. Follow him on Twitter and LinkedIn.

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