Today, the look of your Instagram feed is equally as important as the look of your website, catalog and ad campaign. Social media is a powerful way to connect with consumers, but if shoppers discover a brand or store on social media, and the aesthetic doesn’t follow through the rest of its channels, chances are they won’t make a purchase.
Enter Apex Creative, a firm of visual storytellers helping brands create better campaigns across channels. Apex asserts that social media visuals are equally as important as campaigns, and claims to have the key to creating imagery that can carry throughout a brand’s storytelling. Apex founders Mani Zarren and Alicia Hendersen gave a presentation to Accessories Council members earlier this week. Here’s what you need to know:
- Combine your campaign shoots with social media shoots: Now, social media campaigns are just as important as traditional ad campaigns. Most companies spend a big percentage of their budget on campaign photography (ads, look books, website), and forget about the daily content needed for social media. Apex suggests combining these shoots by planning extra vignettes and model shots that can be used for Instagram, etc. That way, the model/location/photographer is already paid for and the social media campaign will feel cohesive with the rest of the brand’s imagery.
- Plan content production in quarterly increments: The best way to accomplish this, Apex says, is by hosting four photo shoots per year. During shoots, think about events/holidays taking place for the next three months. For example, is there a trade show you’ll be promoting? Think about holidays (something patriotic for Fourth of July, for example), and don’t forget about silly holidays like #nationalsunglassesday or #nationaltacoday, which tend to go viral on social media. (Track Maven has a pretty cohesive list.) Then, plan your posts using tools like Air Table. This will allow you to see how your photos will look next to one another.
- Mix pre-planned content with spontaneous content: That’s not to say you can never post an iPhone photo taken that day with staged, pre-planned content. Just make sure that it’s in line with your feed’s aesthetic and message. Another way to share spontaneous content without it living on your feed for all eternity is to leverage Instagram stories.
- Utilize free imagery that fits in with your brand aesthetic: Are you all about the tropics? Use unlicensed photos of island locations to set the mood on your feed. Or, #repost from applicable influencers/travel bloggers who evoke your message. Just don’t forget to ask permission and credit them!
- Strike a balance: All-in-all, your feed should be approximately 50% lifestyle shots and 50% product. Social media is all about creating your company’s message and, ultimately, garnering sales. Don’t overwhelm your followers with product shots, but be sure to include enough that they know what you’re all about!