This is also where you can infuse a bit more of your personal life into your feed. Don’t forget to post images of YOU, either having fun or doing your job. When people get to know the person behind the business they will understand your story and passion for your work, and therefore value it more. This is why I recommend that all size businesses have branding portraits done of themselves and their employees, as well as showing some behind the scenes imagery of you at work. Research has shown that clients will place a higher value on your work if they see some of the process behind it and how passionate you are.
TELL A STORY
One way to stand out and make your account unique is to tell a story by designing patterns within your Instagram grid. This is one way to differentiate yourself from other businesses when people view your grid. Immediately they can tell that you are unique and are communicating a clear brand message.
There’s so many ways to do this. Let’s take the two examples above. @culinessa has created a pattern in their grid by alternating horizontal and vertical images that have a white border around them. Right away, each image stands apart from the one beside it and you can see the entire image not just a square. There’s other accounts which design other patterns with their grid, alternating images with more graphic elements or images that span over multiple posts. The design options are limitless and you can really create something that is unique to you and your brand.
In the second example, @pantone has created a grid in which as you scroll down the colors fade and merge into one another. Pantone is a color management system, so right away you understand that they are about all the colors of the rainbow and more. It perfectly fits their brand and shows what they do.
POST UNIQUE CONTENT
I could probably write an entire post about having unique content for your social media posts, so I’ll try to keep this to the basics of what you need to know as a beginner. Why is having unique content so important? In a sea of accounts with over 700 million active monthly users on Instagram alone, you want your account to be different and unique. If you create your own content and imagery, you’re keeping things fresh and tailoring your posts to your overall brand message and therefore attracting your ideal client. Plus, imagine if you posted the same image on your account as a competitor – what would potential clients think if they saw the same thing on two different accounts? It would be confusing for them. Plus, you are not your competitor and should post unique imagery and graphics that are specifically created for your business.
Now, just for a moment let’s talk about what you can and cannot legally post on Instagram. Instagram’s terms of service indicate that you cannot post any imagery or artwork that you do not own the copyright to. What does this mean? You simply cannot go online searching for images and re-post them to your Instagram account. You must first get permission from the copyright holder, usually the photographer who created the image. If you don’t get permission, you could face fines or legal action against you or potentially have your account blocked. Fines for copyright infringement can be significant, and can devastate many small businesses should they be caught.
There’s also a somewhat unspoken moral code on Instagram, dealing with the fact that depending on the type of your business you should only post images that show YOUR work, your property or photographs/artwork that was created by YOU. And if not, you should disclose that. Imagine if you are an artist selling paintings. You are inspired by many things in your work, but if you posted another artists painting it would be confusing to your audience. Yes, you might be inspired by it and aspire to their level of artistry but you’re confusing your potential clients by posting work that isn’t yours. Furthermore, they are thinking that this is the artwork that you can create and you are misleading them. Just as I’m a photographer, but I don’t post images that were not taken by me as this would confuse my clients.
Now, if I happen to post a photo of myself that was taken by another photographer I do get permission from them as well as credit them in the image description. If your business is one that did not create or pay for the photographs, but the image shows your work you should always credit the photographer in the description and tag them as well as get permission to post the image. This is a common courtesy. There’s so much more on this subject, but let’s get back to the point at hand.
I’ve posted two examples above of brands that are creating unique content for their accounts. They also aren’t muddying up their feed by posting images from many photographers or other sources. These brands have either hired a photographer to professionally shoot their products/space/store, or they are creating their own unique content in-house.
The first example is a little cafe called @plukamsterdam that is the cutest little place in central Amsterdam that serves coffee, tea, beautiful pastries, a healthy breakfast and lunch menu. They also have a small retail space in the cafe that sells products. Their feed is full of their lovely food and drink as well as all the products that they sell both in-store and online. In addition to all of their in-house created imagery, you will also find that they have a vlog series of videos and are very active creating stories on Instagram on a daily basis. Because they create their own imagery and video, they are very active in keeping their brand message on-point and cohesive with every post, story and blogpost they release.
The second example is the beauty brand @loccitane which also creates their own marketing shoots for their products. You can see how the style and lighting of each image is very similar, and often their products are styled with other beauty tools and the ingredients that make up their products. You can further see their dedication to using quality ingredients by their use of videos in their feed which show flowers dancing out of their perfume bottles, or images of lavender in the French countryside which inspires one of their bath product lines. This shows that if you are in full control of the content and imagery that you produce, your brand message will remain clear and at the forefront of what you post.
So, how can you create unique content for you and your brand? I photograph brands, their products, their spaces and the people behind them – telling their unique story about why they are special. I get to know who you are, why you started your business and your goals so that we bring that out in visual form. Contact me today to learn about my Branding Photography Collections, or chat about how a Branding Photography Session can elevate your business and attract your ideal clients. You can contact me via my website HERE
or via email at firstname.lastname@example.org
I can’t wait to talk to you and hear about your business!