If a picture says a thousand words, what a novel you could write with Instagram! I frequently use this analogy with my clients and it's come up a few times recently so I decided to write about it here. A picture says a thousand words - so what do you want your Instagram photos to say? What do you want your Instagram message to be?
Just like every other social media platform, you need to have a strategy to Instagram. Simply posting to post doesn't result in success. Simply posting to post doesn't convey a message, a story, or value behind your brand.
How often have you looked at someone's Instagram gallery and been totally confused? Who are they? What do they do? What do they stand for? What are they all about? The posts are often disjointed, confusing, random, and irrelevant to their brand and business.
The sad thing is that some of these same companies do really well on other social media sites, but then fall flat on their faces when it comes to Instagram.
Yes, while Instagram is "different" from everything else, it's not that different.
If you're sharing brand products, behind-the-scenes, and customer content on Facebook, why would you share motivational quotes, magazine photos, and random food items on Instagram?
I know, it gets a little confusing and difficult when I tell you to share different content to Instagram and that you don't want to duplicate what you share on other sites. But the content should still have the same message. It should still look like the same company and not like some haphazard smorgasbord of "pretty" pictures.
So, what's your Instagram message?
This is what you need to figure out. What's your brand voice? What's your brand's story? What's your brand's culture? What's your product or service? All of these aspects (and more) determine your message.
And it should be a consideration for each individual photo as well as the photos as a whole. Each image should say something clear about your brand. Can someone glancing quickly at that photo determine what you want them to know? What about as a whole? Are your images cohesive to your brand message or are they completely confusing in relation to each other?
If your brand is centered around employee engagement, showcase your employees. If your business is big into volunteering, community outreach, or charity, showcase this on Instagram. If you have products available in-store or online, share them on Instagram (including a CTA on how to get them!). If you are a service-based business, show how you do your business and offer services. Show your business behind the scenes, and what makes your business "tick". These are all components of your message.
I want you to go take a look at your Instagram gallery. You can even ask a couple others to look at it for you too. What's the "message" you get when you look at your Instagram account? Is it the message you want to convey? Or is it something completely different?
Here's the thing, your message will evolve over time. Look at any Instagram account that's been active for more than a year and you'll notice a shift in content and overall message. Heck, even mine has changed significantly!
And this is a good thing. Your message should evolve along with your business. And, it means you can change your message right now if you don't think it's accurate or clear.
Once you know what you want your message to be, then you can start crafting content that supports that message. I'd be willing to bet that if you tweak (or completely fix) your Instagram message, you'll see a ton more success with your Instagram marketing.