3 Ways to Be More Strategic with Instagram

Picture of Aliza Sherman Aliza Sherman is a news media entrepreneur, author, women's issues activist, and international speaker. Sherman has received recognition for her role as an entrepreneur focused on women's issues, particularly women's role in the news media industry and their participation on the Internet.

3 Ways to Be More Strategic with Instagram

Instagram continues to rise in popularity, not solely because it is owned by and integrated Facebook, but that connection didn’t hurt. The image-oriented social network derives a lot of its power from visual storytelling. Great images and video can help make or break an Instagram account. Here are four ways to be more effective with social media marketing on Instagram.

1. Determine your “look and feel”

Because Instagram is dependent on visuals to attract attention and help convey a message, what you post not only markets your company but should project your brand image.

Color can be one aspect of the look and feel of your Instagram account. Think about your company’s logo and color scheme. Develop a color palette that will inform the images and video you post.

Shape can also be part of the look and feel. Is your brand sharper edges or rounded curves? Does a circle or an oval work for your brand or a square, rectangle or octagon? Or is the shape more abstract like an inkblot or more faceted like a starburst? Pick shapes that can frame some images or photograph objects with the shapes that best reflect your brand.

Font type and even font sizes can affect the look and feel of your Instagram feed. Your logo font may not be suitable for text on images. Look for a complementary font that you can use that is legible and not too distracting from the image you type on.

The composition of your images and video also create a look and feel. More close ups or more landscapes and scenes can be part of an overall look.

While you don’t want to alter too many images you post to Instagram, occasionally placing your logo on an image is good for branding. The same goes for text on images. Space out your images with text unless that look is part of your style.

2. Storyboard your visuals

As you plan out the look and feel of your Instagram account, lay out nine images that you’d like to us in a table or grid, three images across and three images down. This grid helps you see how photographs or video thumbnails look when they are side by side and part of a larger visual canvas.

Use Microsoft Word, Excel or PowerPoint to lay out your images or a storyboarding app like Boord. Move them around until you like the way they all look together. Keep in mind that as you add new images, the positioning of the images will continue to change. To maintain the same layout you’ve established, plan to post three images at a time.

To get an interesting layout effect where several images side by side create a larger image, use an app like 9square, Instagrid or Pic Splitter. Again, keep in mind that as you add single images, the overall layout is disrupted but you can avoid this by uploading multiple images at a time to keep them in place.

3. Engage with your core audience and influencers

Spending all your time planning and posting on any social network is only part of the process. Engaging with others on Instagram is key to attracting attention to your account and brand. Start with following accounts that best reflect your current and prospective customer. Be careful about asking to follow private accounts unless they have followed you first.

Pay attention to the posts from the accounts you follow on a daily basis and like and comment on the ones that are in line with your brand personality and identity. Don’t go off brand just to like an image and don’t comment if you don’t have something genuine to say, even if just a compliment.

When someone comments on your post, like the positive ones and comment on them when it makes sense. The more you interact with others on Instagram, the more they will notice you and pay attention to what you post.

While most individuals post to social media, including Instagram, in the moment, planning out your Instagram content is smart for a company with a brand to build. Mix spontaneous posts with planned posts, but make sure to follow pre-established guidelines so even live posting fits into an overall strategy.