What separates Instagram from other social networks and how can you utilise it to its full potential? We asked these questions to Lisa Borrie of So … Visualise – a creative prop hire company that specialises in the weird and wonderful.
Here at So … Visualise we originally saw Instagram as just another social media platform to update. We imagined it would be easy to spend all day updating our social media platforms, but we just didn’t have that time to spare.
We soon realised we needed to give it Our Full Attention.
While most of us will use the social networking app from our smart phones or tablets (handy for when you’re on the move), we found Instagram to be the perfect way to keep our customers in the loop. At the same time, we can keep an eye on who’s seeing our snaps.
We're not here to tell everyone how to use ‘Insta’, yet we can offer some pearls of wisdom as to our own success with this social media phenomenon.
How to ‘increase’ sales?
So … Visualise does not, at the moment, have an online retail space, yet we have carefully built up our online presence through Instagram and other social media platforms.
This is achieved by following influencers in our field of work (prop creation and hire), then sharing our photos and videos with the Instagram universe.
There is something very special about the neat presentation of Instagram’s profile grid. The square image format and filters help create a very professional finish that is pleasingly uniform at the same time.
For us, we carefully select the subject of the image first.
Nothing is done without a bit of thought. The lighting. The colour palette. How will this appear against the rest of our portfolio of pictures?
Then we consider a small, perfectly formed description or snippet. Nothing new here, we hear you say, except the words and photo must match perfectly. They say a picture tells a thousand words: this can be true, but when you view a famous painting in an art gallery, nine times out of ten you’ll be looking for the miniature description that goes with it to help provide some context. So choose your words carefully, as Instagram works in a similar way.
These snippets of information can be as effective and influential as the image; good snippets capture and enhance the moment and yet hint at the untapped potential of your business.
There are times we’re more ‘instant’, as the name of the app suggests. These posts are used sparingly and give our followers (and potential clients) a tiny peep at the So … Visualise world from behind the scenes. This can be a more informal way of interacting with our clients; a personal glimpse into our word; a chance to meet the team that creates the images.
Overall, we have at our fingertips a fresh and vibrant platform that is accessible in seconds. It gives an in-depth snapshot of our talent in a world that is refreshed every second, albeit one in which you can disappear from view thanks to a distant change in an algorithm!
We also find Instagram to be an intimate, direct and friendly way of interacting with clients. Overall, we’ve had positive comments and this shows us that hopefully we’re on the right track.
How to build your business personality.
So … You’ve set up your business. Hopefully it’s spinning like a top and your clients are happy with your work.
How much do you reveal about your business personality, though, in order to attract new customers and please your existing ones? For example, are you quirky? Are you deadline-driven? Perhaps your business is very bespoke?
If your profile is on the default setting, then it can be viewed by anyone on the planet. You can set your posts to private, but for us we found it’s important to have a succinct profile so that any potential business client can view our portfolio. And that’s when your profile is important. Snappy. To. The. Point.
Your pictures also tell the story and you can see, through the profile grid, how others perceive you. Having a random photo of your cat on there will perhaps dilute the message and won’t be ‘in keeping’ with the rest of your carefully constructed posts.
We also have the occasional post that includes our media coverage from a show or event that we might be exhibiting at. Still visual and impactful, without being a bore!
Making a Hash of Hashtags
While you can only tag your own posts – and you can use up to 30 of ‘em (yes, 30!) – we always feel it’s more helpful to be sparing and influential rather than greedy and annoying.
We also avoid any political or controversial hashtags. Tempting though it is, this is business, not a soapbox for your personal views.
A way of sharing photos and videos with your followers, stories disappear from your profile and feed after 24 short hours.
The well-known tune ‘What a Difference a Day Makes’ rings true. These stories represent something that happens within the moment: perhaps a delivery of one of your products, or a build-up to a product launch. Some reviewers use this to great effect when blogging from their review destination, for example.
You can make a Story a Highlight if you want it to ‘last’.
If not, then after 24 hours the story vanishes into thin air. A great way to keep people’s appetites keen and perky!
The final shot
So … Visualise is creative and vibrant and, at the same time, professional. Our thought processes are unique and we reveal this to our Instagram followers once a project is available in the public domain, or as a tantalising titbit for a new chapter in our enterprise. We now set aside a considerable chunk of our time for Instagram. It is time well spent. You get ‘instant’ results and a supportive following. What’s not to like?
Sneak a Peak at So… Visualise
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