When it comes to Social Media, what was once a platform to share your daily musings and good looking breakfasts has become the place to show your ‘brand’, both on a business and personal level. Just like research says that humans form a first impression within one tenth of a second of meeting someone, you’ve got a similar snapshot of time to capture someone’s attention with your social photos and brand ‘voice’ so we’ve detailed our Instagram Secrets and Tips for you all based on what we do over on our Insta page.
What do we mean by brand or brand voice?
If you’re trying to grow your social media following and someone lands on your Instagram feed, will they stay? Not only will new visitors be looking at all the little squares that fit within one phone screen to see if they like your style, but they’ll read your Bio and probably watch your stories to figure out if following you is worth altering their own Follower Ratio/adding clutter to their search feed for. If you’re a dog account, your brand voice is usually the first person thoughts from puppyland – think treats, sniffing butts, lovers of socks and rolling in poop – and then your stories help to tie both your feed and bio together with real-life events that prove all of those things (just maybe don’t film the real-life rolling in poop!).
Before we tell you all our secrets, let us first start off by justifying how we know all of this. Well, we don’t. Nobody really knows the perfect formula and even successful accounts can fall in popularity just when they think they’ve got it, thanks to an algorithm somewhere changing and they need to start playing around with a new pattern or theme. But here’s what we do and use on a daily basis:
We’ve mentioned this one before, but we think it’s important to choose a pattern to the types of photos you upload. Mix it up between indoor and outdoor photos, close-ups or photos from a distance. At the moment, we choose to alternate our photos between customer photos and product shots or quotes – it leaves our feed looking simple and fresh without too much going on, much like the style of our PUPSTYLE products!
We apply the same filter to every single one of our photos (and now videos thanks to the app below) to ensure our feed looks smooth and nothing stands out too much. To keep it even more consistent and communicate our brand style, we try to apply a similar filter to all of our Instagram stories. Extra tip: don’t waste time by editing your stories elsewhere first – choose one of Instagram’s story filters that looks most similar to your photo filters and you can still communicate your brand across both.
This is by far our favourite app ever. There’s both a free and paid version that are both our go-to for filters and photo edits. The free version comes with a host of free filters and you can pay within the app for a full set of new filters with the option to see the filter effects before you purchase them. We’ve only recently upgraded to the paid version which allows you to apply your regular filters to videos which is ah-mazing for consistency in our feed, but not totally necessary. The best part about this app is that you can see all your edited photos in one place, so you can see if they’re all gelling together before you even upload them to Instagram.
Our Favourite Filters: We love the A filters, M filters and S filters. The exact filter we use will remain our only secret (plus it is no longer available as we bought it on a promotion about a year ago!)
Our next go-to that we use a little less frequently is Snapseed. This one is super handy to lighten up only a section of a photo, rather than editing the brightness on an entire photo. We use this one when we have any photos with harsh shadows or dark spots that need to be lightened and is particularly great for photos with light coloured dogs in them where increasing brightness on the whole photo would be too much for little Fluffy with the snow-coloured fur. Our favourite tool: the Selective tool – simply touch the part of the photo with that tool then drag your finger across the screen to edit the brightness in that section. We’re all about quick edits so this one definitely makes the list!
Another free app, Planoly is one we use daily to plan ahead and make sure our feed will look good before we’ve even posted our newest photo to Instagram. It lets you upload your photos into the app, drag and drop them into different positions and see how your feed will look once you upload all your new photos. You can even prepare your captions including the tags and hashtags and schedule your photo for a particular time and day where you’ll get a notification reminder from Planoly and you can easily copy your post directly to Instagram to upload. We’re obsessed with this app and it’s particularly good for keeping us on track with our alternating pattern.
Our last suggestion requires you to change your Instagram profile from a personal profile to a business profile, but this doesn’t mean you actually need a business and it won’t change anything on the front end that your followers see. It helps you to gain insights about your followers and best-performing photos and stories. You can see the times that your followers are most online on different days to help you choose the best time to post your photos and (hopefully) get the most engagement. You will need a Facebook page in order to convert to the business profile but it doesn’t mean you need to be active on both platforms – it’s purely there because Facebook is where any business transactions are done if you choose to pay for advertising. There’s 4 easy instructions here on how to convert your profile to a business profile and start using the information to your benefit!