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This is How You Create Eye-Catching Content, and Win Instagram in 300 milliseconds!

While I can right away share the method to create eye-catching content for your brand’s Instagram account, I want you to pause for a moment and ponder upon your own Instagram usage. I want you to think how do you as an individual use Instagram.

What kind of people do you follow? How many brands do you follow? And finally, while lazily scrolling through the photos, did any one photo make you stop, read the description, created an urge to ‘like’ it? Did it motivate you to check out the “link in bio” and go to the website? That’s the action I am talking about. How will you create exactly that action for your brand’s fans? Before we get to that, let’s ponder upon how important are such attention-catching photos or visuals.

How Important are Eye-Catching Visuals?

As a small study, I browsed through the profiles of about 300 completely random people from across the world and found that on an average people follow more than 400 other individuals and brands.

Now, even if all these brands are following a simple a-photo-a-day strategy, these individuals are ‘consuming’ about 400 photos daily in the short browsing sessions. If correctly done, the math points towards just one thing: the users are giving nothing more than a passing glance to the content that you are putting up on their feeds.

Additionally, there was a study conducted by Pew Research regarding the frequency of Instagram usage:

insta-freq

The Science of Visuals and how the Human Brain Responds

The science of how we consume visual content has a role to play here. A study conducted by experts at Institute of Research in Psychology in Belgium claims that the response times for familiar and unfamiliar face decisions are 310 ms and 370 ms respectively.

In simple terms, if a person is shown a photo of a familiar face and an unfamiliar face, her brain shall respond in about 310 milliseconds to the familiar face (possibly, recognize or react) and in about 370 milliseconds to the unfamiliar face (possibly, a generic reaction). This data represents the “elapsed time from stimulus onset to motor output“, which means the time between seeing a photo and giving a reaction.

Now, if you were to connect the Instagram session length stats with this finding, you realize the minuscule amount of time you have to leave an impact.

You can take a moment to digest this sudden realization. However, you know it’s the same for everyone, right? And the only way to win this platform is to break through the clutter. Some of the larger brands have experimented in their own ways and have succeeded in achieving superior engagement. But, it’s not something that shall work for individuals or growing brands (unless you plan to pull off a Jen Selter). So what do you do?

What goes in a good photo?

1] Photographers

You may be a famous photographer or an amateur just starting out, Instagram has a place for you. Right photography skills combined with a good understanding of the platform and you are good to go.

One important point to understand here is that everyone has nearly the same device for clicking photos: a mobile phone. While the debate about putting up photos clicked by DSLRs has been going on, technically, Instagram is a place for photos you’ve clicked with your phone. And, in order to succeed on this platform, you must master the art of ‘phone photography’.

Most of the good photographers have already mastered this art. For pro photographers, it is very important to learn more about the platform and the way it works. And amateurs must focus on their phone photography skills while keeping in mind the way you must post on Instagram. Here are some tips for both, amateur and pro photographers:

Amateur Photographers

If you have just started out on Instagram, it might appear a bit difficult to gain likes and engagement, but that’s the case for any platform. You should not lose hope. Instagram has been the launch pad for the careers of many aspiring photographers.

The stories of photographers like Carli Kiene and Chris Ozer should inspire you to chart your own course and effectively use Instagram for marketing.

Credit: Brian Flaherty

Chris Ozer [Credit: Brian Flaherty]

2] Illustrators

These are some of the most interesting artists to have adopted Instagram. Many of these artists still work on paper and then upload photos of that art onto Instagram. A number of them are also digital artists and prefer uploading the soft copy of their art onto Instagram.

One major factor differentiating these artists from the photographers is the minimal use of filters. While browsing through the photos of some of the top illustrators on Instagram I found that a majority of the photos did not have filters applied. This is primarily because there are no lighting effects in a painting, unlike photos, and applying filters might just distort the original colors. This and some other tips need to be kept in mind if you are an illustrator using Instagram for marketing your work.

Illustrators

If you are an aspiring illustrator trying to reach out to businesses for work, you might also want to check out tips to build a strong personal brand on Instagram. And, never forget to add your email id in bio, who knows somebody might want to reach out to you right then!

3] Food bloggers

Food bloggers were the earliest adopters of Instagram. If you were one of those people who hooked onto the platform since its inception, you might have seen a constant flow of your friend’s breakfast, lunch, snacks, and dinner ‘served’ in your feed. Those photos did trigger surprise hunger pangs, didn’t they?

But today, almost everyone clicks photos of their meals and it has become somewhat difficult to set yourself apart from the noobs. However, there are some simple tips to keep in mind if you are building a strong following on Instagram specifically. One, you should definitely check out the Copy Followers feature, which is one smart way of connecting with your peers & new clients, secondly, check out some of these tips and see how you can gain maximum benefit for your Instagram marketing plan:

foodbloggers

The QSR (Quick Service Restaurant) and the hotels segment is growing internationally. While some of these businesses have started onto social media, a lot of them are yet to get onto the platforms. With content marketing as a prime marketing method, food blogging scene is only going to heat up in the future. Hence, it makes sense to build your business smartly right from now!

4] Independent sellers

The global B2C ecommerce sales is set to hit $1.5 trillion in sales driven by strong growth in emerging markets. While this has burgeoned because of the rapid expansion strategies of larger players like Alibaba and Amazon, a lot of smaller & individual players have benefited this proliferation of technology.

If you are one of those independent artists or curators trying to build your business through Instagram, there are quite a few points that you need to keep in mind. I know the restriction to share the link to your product is one big pain in the neck, and the ‘link in bio’ looks like quite a task for your followers. But, you know, your loyal customers are anyways going to look out for you, it’s the new customers that you need to acquire. And, these come through catching attention through the content that you post on your Instagram feed. Here are some pointers that shall help you build quality content and help you reach to the right audience:

independent sellers

For good conversions I would also suggest that you try multiple photos of the same products and give people more chances to ponder upon the product before making a purchase. The timing of the posts should NOT be an issue, however you might want to check GoTags for a unique way of connecting with your buyers by providing them links over email.

5] Brands

If you are a brand manager or a client facing manager on the agency side, I truly empathize with both of you. I understand that both of you are working towards  developing a strong brand strategy, and often midst the pile of work that you are busy with, it becomes difficult to pay attention to your brand’s Instagram strategy.

Now, I hope that you are aware of the statistics that clearly indicate that Instagram is one platform that you should not be ignoring at all. And, some of the best brands are already doing good work here. If you too wish to create a success story for your brand, then, you might want to keep the following points in mind:

brands

What’s the point of all of this?

If anyone ever told you that winning on Instagram was an easy deal they were totally wrong. I guess even you must have understood that by now. However, if you were to take this up as a challenge and follow the correct set of tactics, nothing can stop you from making a mark and establishing a strong fanbase on the platform.

The premise of developing strong content for Instagram is built upon the consumer behavior & psychology that understands how people respond to stimuli and interpret the message.

Research has shown that the brains of the current generation, aka millennials, is being rewired. With the attention spans of individuals attaining a new low everyday, it has become very important for businesses to catch the attention of this crowd.

As your growth partners, we at JustUnfollow would love to hear you out. Please share your thoughts and opinions in the comments below!

About the Author

Shyamal is the Growth Hacker at JustUnfollow. A big time Sherlock Holmes fan, he's sharply observing the market for product growth hacks. If you have leads, do share @huckingfacker