If you want to grow a massive following online, you are going to need to not only create content for your audience, but also know where you audience likes to hang out. In most cases, through social media, this is going to be either Instagram, Facebook, or Twitter. In this article we are going to be focusing on how to better engage with your audience through Instagram, and how to best use video and visual marketing in 2019.
It’s one thing to have a ton of Instagram followers, but another to have a ton of engaged followers. The number itself may look impressive, but it’s less about the actual number of followers you have, and how many of them are actually paying attention and interacting with the content you post. The goal is to have people liking and commenting on your content – and if you’re lucky, re-gramming it on their own accounts with credit back to you as the original poster. Use these tips to create visuals that will engage your followers.
1 – Create Animated GIFs from YouTube Video
Millennials are a generation that can also be called Generation GIF. They’re all over publications like Gawker, Buzzfeed, Reddit, and Tumblr. Using them as part of your marketing strategy allows you to increase your chances of going viral on various platforms and getting picked up by major publications.
Use a tool like MakeaGIF to create GIFs using photos, YouTube videos, uploaded videos, and webcam videos. You can even use it to modify existing GIFs. You can also use GIFYT to make GIFs from your YouTube videos – choosing which portion of the video you want to make into a GIF and add a caption.
That said, you’ve got to do a bit of extra work to add animated GIFs to Instagram. Right now, there’s no native support for them – even though Facebook has it. It’s a bit strange that we haven’t seen it yet, but until it happens, here’s what you can do.
Because you can only upload photos and videos to Instagram from your camera roll, it’s best to use GIPHY (and the mobile app makes it super easy!) to upload your GIF to the platform, then get an MP4 added to your camera roll that you can then upload to Instagram.
2 – Look to Fun and Unusual Holidays
Sure, you can do all kinds of marketing promotions around major holidays like Independence Day, Thanksgiving, and Christmas. But, it’s more fun and engaging to take advantage of quirky and fun holidays like, Learn Your Name in Morse Code Day (January 11), Grilled Cheese Day (April 12), and so on. It’s even better if you can find “holidays” that tie into your business or niche.
In addition to creating content for these holidays and events, be sure to also use #hashtags as well. Just by adding a few of these in, your content can start reaching thousands of new customers and audiences around the world.
3 – Use Tools with Instagram Stories
The Instagram Stories feature has some pretty awesome features that make for extra engaging visuals, like the ability to add text, filters, stickers, and use colored backgrounds. But, you can use Boomerang to create something that’s like a GIF. It makes short videos on a repeated loop that you can use in stories or your regular posts. It’s possible to overdo it with Boomerangs, though, so use them sparingly and watch how your audience responds.
Beyond Boomerang, you can also use Rewind, which allows you to record video into your story, and then the footage is instantly reverse to create some pretty cool effects. Both Boomerang and Rewind are accessible from the bottom of your Stories home screen. All you have to do is click the one you want and start recording just by holding down the button. It doesn’t get much simpler than that!
This is also possible to set up with ad campaigns on nearly all social platforms. With Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram all using video to engage with their audiences, be sure to explore your options with paid video content, and using targeted audiences.
4 – Pay Attention to Color
Research shows people make judgements within 90 seconds of seeing a product or a person. That study also found that 62 to 90% of that judgement is based on color, so the colors you choose in your Instagram photos has the potential to make a big difference in your engagement.
Based on that knowledge, a visual analytics platform analyzed 8 million Instagram photos and found that mostly-blue images got 24% more likes than ones that had red as the most prominent color. That said, the study also revealed photos with a single dominate color got 17% more likes than those that had multiple colors – but only 10% of the images in the study had a single dominant color.
5 – Pay Attention to Composition
Instagram is known for their square photo format, which can take a bit of getting used to composition wise. Poor quality photos won’t ever get you the best possible engagement, so learning to take the best photos is never a bad thing.
Central subject placement, which is generally advised against in traditional photography, is great for square photos when the subject is strong enough to stand on its own and keep viewer attention. Make sure you fill the entire frame, make use of symmetry, and shoot photos in landscape then crop them to fit the square.
6 – Use Captions to Tell Stories
People really like to stay on Instagram, and it’s easy to do since you’ve only got one spot for a link and can easily make your posts shoppable so people can buy from you directly in the app. Whenever you have a photo on Instagram, use the caption space to write a story about it. Provide as much detail and context as you can, and expand on your image.
This not only helps engage your followers but keeps them interested in your content – and looking for the next story with the next post.
People expect (and love!) longer stories on Instagram, though this isn’t the case with Facebook. That’s why it’s important to learn and understand the nuances of each network, so you can do each one the right way.
You can, always, direct people to your Instagram Story for more information and detail – then save that story for use as a Highlight later on, if you wish.
With Instagram, it’s clearly not a case of any visual will do. Because everything on the network is visual, only the best of the best, and those related to what your audience wants to see will get you engagement. Practice makes perfect – so do what you can to learn about your audience and perfect your images and you’ll succeed.