How to Rock Instagram

Friday 22nd March 2013

Instagram has fast become one of the most popular social media networks, with over a hundred million users documenting their lives through pictures. Instagram shows crazy levels of engagement: 40 million photo uploads last December alone, with 8,500 likes/second and 1000 comments/second.

If you are looking into broadening your social media efforts beyond Facebook/Twitter/YouTube and you have a rich pool of images, plus a young demographic to reach, then you should seriously consider spending time on Instagram. Yes, great photos are key, especially for smaller businesses: whereas well-known brands can rely on instant recognition to boost Instagram “likes”, niche brands – given the limited scope for searching within the network – need the “discoverability factor” and that comes with great content.

Lume loves Instagram, we think it’s a great channel for community building. We recently worked with the Prix de Lausanne to launch and build the organisation’s successful presence on Instagram. Here are our top tips for making it big:

1) Don’t use too many cooks

As in any other social media channel, your Instagram feed needs to have a voice, a visual identity, a message. This is easier if there is one person responsible for running the show, and becomes even more important once you start assessing optimum times for posting and handling the community. If that person happens to be great at mobile photography, then you have a winner.

2) Content is King

Whatever theme you decide to focus on, make sure to post interesting, high-quality images. If you have a big repository of amazing in-house photography, then make a plan to curate them. Otherwise, make sure that your Instagram manager is great at mobile photography. Trust us, it is NOT COOL to see blurry pics with the pretext that “light conditions were not good”, etc. After all, we’re living in the age of Iphoneography.

The Prix de Lausanne uses great photography for its Instagram strategy.

Photo: Gregory Batardon © Prix de Lausanne.

3) Don’t fear the filter

Instagram was not created for photo geeks with professional DSLRs. It was made for mobile phones with average to “crappy” cameras. Filters were added so that the app could pass itself off as an instant camera (hello Polaroid!). They soon became Instagram’s USP and this popularity encouraged other photo-based social networks to adopt and package their own filters. Using filters can be fun and they are an additional element for creating a unique voice.

Filters are fun and a fundamental part of Instagram.

Photo: © Marina Kleinwort for Prix de Lausanne.

4) Be regular (but don’t spam!)

This almost goes without saying. It is very important to think about how regularly to post and then stick to your plan. Better to start slowly (say, 2 posts/day) and to work towards increasing regularity as the follower base grows, than to go overboard at the beginning (when few are looking).

5) Be creative

No need to spend hours editing on Photoshop: you can take Instagram to the next level with additional apps to edit and enhance your photos. 

Some of our favourites:

– Overall editing: Snapseed, VSCO CAM, PicTapGo
– Text overlays: Phonto
– Montages: Diptic, PicFrame, Frametastic
– Blends: Blender
– Light effects: LensLight
– Selective focus: Afterfocus
– Additional filters: Pixlromatic, Picfx

If you want to learn more about how Instagram can be incorporated into your social media strategy, or if you have any questions, do get in touch.