Tag Archive: Instagram

  1. Your Four-Minute Guide to Instagram Grids

    When you post to your company’s social media accountsimagery is everything. Each social platform presents unique benefits, but Instagram (IG) is in a league of its own when it comes to aesthetic opportunityWith a square format leading the way, its side-by-side grid layout causes posts to neighbor each other in a way that calls for cohesion. 

    If you have a social media manager, layouts for Instagram are likely already on their radarIf you handle social on your own, through a trusted partner, or simply want to know how to get ahead on one of the world’s most used social platforms, discover why this effective way to communicate your brand via social is worthwhile.  

    Intro to Instagram Grids

    While making other creative marketing decisions for your brand, your expression of IG content should be top of mind. Seeing that 70% of users actively look up brands on IGthe platform may be a potential customer’s first interaction with your SMB (small and medium-size business). Your Instagram layout serves not only as content, but an opportunity for visual strategy, so you should do all you can to achieve love at first scroll. 

    As one of the first image-based social apps, Instagram begs for cohesion that creates a seamless experience for users. Having a dedicated grid layout helps consumers absorb information, and therefore, realize reasons to press “Follow. Most people follow brands to learn about promos, to be inspired and to be educated. Grids organize your posts in a way that quickly reveals all youbrand has to offer. 

    Most Popular Instagram Grids Right Now

    The Classic Square | @apinv

    While this style may not require much thinking outside of the box, the classic square is a tried-and-true layout for Instagram. This feed will focus more on your brand’s color scheme and theme, and rely on Instagram presets for its own unique harmony. An Instagram preset is a regularly used filter that creates a specific look for brands and bloggers in a single click. Many are created in Adobe Lightroom. 

    The Checkerboard @crewhealthinc

    Another traditional grid style, the checkerboard (also known as tiles) alternates between two post types. When using this layout, most companies alternate between photos and text-based graphic like a message or quoteSo, if you find yourself making announcements and often have something to share with your audience, checkerboard is worth checking out. No matter your preferred posts, be sure to keep fonts, palettes and backgrounds on brand. 

    The Row-by-Row | @findsomewinmore

    Because the human eye tends to scan content left to right (like reading a book), row-by-row layouts naturally tell a story. The idea behind this grid is to group posts in threes. There are a few ways to achieve this look. Here’s an overview of two widely used methods: 

    • Themed: like the example above, themed photos are similar, but not identical. Think multiple shots from a photoshoot, similar graphics, or a photo series centered around a product. 
    • Widescreen: this layout incorporates a single image that’s cut to fit into three horizontal squares. Like a panoramic photo, the widescreen effect creates a cinematic look and feel. 

    The Puzzle @dixhite

    The puzzle, one of the most difficult layouts, displays a single image recreated by multiple postsBy posting each frame of the photo consecutively, thereveal a larger version of the original image. Although challenging, the puzzle grid is unlike any other, making it the ultimate statement piece for any IG. It’s especially impactful for reveals, such as a new logo.  

    Laying It All Out

    So, how do you know which layout for Instagram is right for your business? As discussed, there are several layout options other users and companies utilize to tell their stories, and really, there’s no one-size-fitsall. To gain more insight for your SMB, try an exercise in which you create a sample of each layout with previously posted content. To up the ante, try this exercise with content you haven’t posted yet and honestly ask yourself if it still feels like your brand. You can test these through programs like Microsoft Word, PowerPoint, Adobe InDesign or a website like Planoly that helps visually plan, manage and schedule Instagram posts. Once you’ve laid out and executed your plan, your followers are sure to take notice. 

  2. All Eyes on IGTV: What Your Brand Should Know About the Video Platform


    By now, your audience is used to scrolling through the Instagram feed and somewhat mindlessly tapping through Instagram stories but in June of 2018, the widely used platform began to roll out a new way for them to enjoy content from your brand: IGTV.

    Designed with your phone in mind, IGTV is a standalone app with native integrations in Instagram for watching long-form, verticle video (and as of this month, long-form horizontal video). With stories being mere seconds long and the upper limit on in-feed videos maxing out at one minute, IGTV enables you to share video content that is up to an hour long. As the app settles into its second year of existence, let’s take a look and how some high profile brands have successfully utilized the platform and answer the all-important question: 

    Should I be producing IGTV content? If yes, what does that look like? 

    When IGTV was launched many brands were slow to catch on. After all, this was yet another item for content creators to tack onto their punch list, and an expensive one at that. Long-form video content inherently comes with certain quality expectations. Couple that with the time associated with maintaining a consistent production schedule to keep your social audience engaged and you have a recipe for a budgetary nightmare. And add all that to the fact IGTV is a new platform without a proven track record of good ROI and, well…you get the picture. 

    As time went on, and as Instagram made improvements, such as the ability to showcase in-feed and Insta-story IGTV previews and included the addition of IGTV content in the discover tab, it became clear that this could become a worthy extension of a brand’s social content strategy – if the brand can commit to doing it right. 

    Who is Doing IGTV Right?

    One industry utilizing IGTV to its fullest is high fashion. Brands like Balmain, Givenchy, and Saint Laurent have long understood that, while the masses may not be able to afford their product, there is still value in being unattainably admired and desired by those same masses. They have utilized IGTV as a way to showcase everything from full runway shows, product highlights, design breakdowns, and exclusive behind-the-scenes moments. 

    Another industry fully taking advantage of IGTV is the beauty industry. With the makeup artist (MUA) obsession in full swing, IGTV has been yet another way to get tutorials and product reviews right in front of consumers. Brands like MAC and Sephora have no shortage of content to help aspiring beauty gurus learn how to create the perfect cut-crease and use the right foundation for their skin type.

    What to Take Away for Your Brand

    So what do these two industry examples tell you about how you should be utilizing IGTV? Give what the most loyal members of your audience what they crave: Valuable and exclusive insight into your brand and the products you offer. Showcase what you do best and remind your audience why they love you. IGTV is the perfect vehicle to do just that.

    Content for IGTV is less about gaining new audience members as it about reminding the most loyal why they follow you in the first place. If you can commit to producing high-quality and consistent video content, then there is no question that you should be producing that content for IGTV. As a new facet of the behemoth that is Instagram, there is only going up from here for brands who start early and commit.

  3. Which Social Media Channel Is Right for My Business?

    Social Media

    In this day and age, you’ll be hard pressed to find a brand that doesn’t have a presence on social media. If you’re a brand that’s just starting out or a veteran in your marketplace looking to expand into a new platform, you may be asking yourself: Which channels should I be focusing on?

    Ask many people and I guarantee the answer will be; “As many of them as possible.”

    This, however, is quite often not the case. Social media success is not marked by having your brand on every single platform, nor by haphazardly posting in order to simply fill a newsfeed. Quality is better than quantity, no matter if you are talking about the content you are producing, the time you are spending on each platform, or the number of platforms your brand is active on.


    When trying to figure out where you should be spending your time, try to answer these three questions:


    1. Where are your target personas spending their time?
    2. Where does your message resonate the most?
    3. Can you create relevant content that broadcasts your message efficiently and accurately?

    A financial firm that primarily focuses on B2B marketing would probably see a higher return on their time by writing informational articles and engaging with industry professionals on platforms like LinkedIn or Twitter than it would be trying to build an Instagram presence. Why? Instagram is primarily a photo and video-based social media channel, and a financial firm may not naturally lend itself to sharing visually interesting content. Meanwhile, an architectural firm could realistically provide industry insight and project updates on Linkedin and Twitter while also curating an Instagram feed that appeals to an audience who admires the elements of design so prevalent in that field.

    Finding the right social media platform for your brand is dependant upon the needs of your business and your ability to provide content. Feeling overwhelmed? Don’t worry. Below, I have highlighted the best uses of each of the leading social media platforms.



    Facebook has had a tumultuous year but it still remains the most prolific and influential social media network. According to Hootsuite, 1.47 billion people are daily active users and there are 80 million small to medium-sized business pages. With that being said should you have a Facebook page? Short answer: Yes.

    But should you expect it to be a successful way for you to market your business? Well, that depends on how you use it.

    With Facebook’s pivot toward their “Groups” functionality and the importance, it places on “meaningful conversations,” you might find it hard to reach your audience members through all the noise if you don’t engage in paid advertising and boosted posts on the platform. That being said, if you are a business that hosts a lot of community events, relies on community feedback, or you are trying to sell a product directly to consumers, Facebook’s reviews, events, and Shopify integration functionalities are second to none among other social networks.


    As reported by Hootsuite, 75% of B2B and 65% of B2C businesses market on Twitter, and 85% of small to medium-sized businesses believe that Twitter is an integral tool for providing customer service. But with the average half-life of a single tweet being just 24 minutes, how does one ensure that their brand’s message is being communicated effectively through the platform?

    The hard truth is, unless you are devoting a significant amount of time engaging with others and consistently tweeting on the platform you very well might just be screaming into the void. The crux of a great Twitter presence is not necessarily using it as a megaphone to amplify your message but more like a two-way radio to interact with your customers, your community, or like-minded businesses.


    With over one billion monthly active users and 70% of US businesses utilizing the platform, Instagram is the third most widely used social media platform in the world, according to Oberlo. As I explained earlier, if you do not have the visual assets (photography and video), this platform might not be for you. Instagram users want a visual and artistic representation of your brand. This requires a constant flow of new and exciting photo and video content for users to engage with.

    If you can swing it, I suggest utilizing a healthy mix of user-generated content to encourage tagging and engagement, professional photography that really tells the story of your brand, and candid “of-the-moment” shots that give your brand authenticity.

    Over the past few years, Instagram has made it easier for business to see direct ROI from utilizing their platform. From integration into Facebook’s Ad manager, swipe up to link out features on Instagram stories (for accounts with over 10k followers) and direct shopping on Instagram for approved business, there are many opportunities to utilize this platform to benefit your business.  


    If you’re a B2B marketer, LinkedIn is definitely the place for you. According to Foundation Inc., 80% of all social media generated social media leads come from LinkedIn. But like any platform, it’s all about what you post. LinkedIn presents the unique opportunity to position your brand as a thought leader in your industry through posting LinkedIn Articles and thoughtful company updates. But more than that, the platform also allows your employees and executives to leverage their own LinkedIn presence to further bolster your brand’s credibility.

    Deciding where you should spend your time and money on social media is always daunting. However, as long as you set clear goals, understand your audience, and know the best uses of each platform, you’ll be growing your audience and influence in no time. But remember the key principle to social media success: Quality is always better than quantity.

  4. How #Brands Can Use Hashtags for Big Wins

    For many, hashtags are an enigma–a social media buzzword along the likes of “virality” and “geotagging.” However, this method of virtually labeling and grouping terms has become valuable enough to warrant the attention of any modern businessperson.

    Though a pop culture punchline, hashtags are an essential tool for multinational brands to small businesses, car manufacturers to fast food chains. Using hashtags effectively can lead to major strategic wins for your company, regardless of size or trade, but only if you give the social media staple the respect it deserves.

    Utilizing hashtags may seem a little juvenile to the unpracticed, but trust us when we say you’ll be #winning if you investigate and implement the right hashtag strategy for your brand.

    Starting With the Basics

    So, you don’t know a darn thing about hashtags. That’s OK–we’re here to make introductions. Say hello to #. That guy is called a hashtag. You may know it from its former life as the pound button, but it has taken on an entirely new meaning in the world of the web–specifically within many popular social media platforms, including Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.

    At the base level, hashtags can be used to “tag” specific key terms involving your post. For example, if Jessica, a proud dog mom, shares a photo of her shiba inu, Charlie, she could hashtag terms like #dogmom, #shibainu and #shibainusofinstagram. She could also start an original hashtag term that allows friends and fans of Charlie to quickly find photos of him on the platform. Such a tag may be #Charlietheshibainu or #Charlietheshiba, as long as no one else is using this tag already (who knows, there could very well already be a shiba named Charlie on Instagram).

    Shiba Inu

    As you’ve probably noticed, these terms cannot contain spaces. They also should not begin with a numerical or symbol, but numbers can be added after a letter.

    Incorrect: #1969Woodstock
    Correct: #Woodstock1969

    Within most social media platforms, clicking a hashtag allows users to see every post that has ever used the tag, which is handy for organizing posts, tracking a trending topic or even entering yourself into a contest.

    It’s incredibly important to understand that hashtags are often used in hot-button issues, political debates and other rather heavy subjects. Before using a hashtag, it is always safer to look up its context before blindly jumping into a conversation in which you do not intend to participate.

    How Using #Hashtags can Help Your #Brand Win

    • Get in on the Conversation: Hopping into the conversation on a trending topic can not only expose your brand to new potential customers, but also establish itself as an entity that keeps up with the times. If the #WorldSeries is trending, you better believe hot dog and beer brands will be weighing in on the game and utilizing that hashtag to reach a wide, targeted audience. However, companies must always be careful not to jump into a conversation that is inappropriate for their brand. Do some research on a hashtag to ensure it’s not being used for dubious purposes, is removed from politics and is something that feels like a natural fit for your brand.
    • Gather a Social Following: Have you ever noticed that most major brands that are active on social media also have a short hashtagged phrase that is closely associated with them? Based on campaigns, the company tagline or a limited contest or event, having a hashtag that fans of your brand can rally behind can help your audience build a community around your product or service. For example, The Orlando EDC has rallied around the hashtag #ThisIsOrlando to display interesting aspects of Orlando life on social media:

    #ThisIsOrlando EDC

    #ThisIsOrlando EDC

    • Create a Contest: Hashtags are one of the simplest ways to conduct a contest. On Instagram, in particular, a common contest involves contestants simply sharing a photo along with a promoted, wholly original hashtag in order to enter. This avoids the use of cumbersome third-party apps or other means that can get complicated and expensive. For example, to support its limited-time ground turkey offering in 2016, our client, Tijuana Flats, concocted the “#GiveYouTheBird” campaign. The company asked followers to post images of people or situations that they want to “give the bird” to for a chance to win free meals. Despite the somewhat risque (yet appropriate for the brand) approach, this not only increased brand awareness, but got customers highly engaged and excited about their company on social media.

    Tijuana Flats #GiveYouTheBirdTijuana Flats #GiveYouTheBird

    A Tool Worth Hashing Out

    Though hashtags first gained popularity through Twitter, all of the major social media players utilize some aspect of hashtagging, including Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Google+ and more. We understand the apprehension–new terminology, new tech and lots of new rules and jargon to throw on the marketing know-how pile. However, if you choose to simply throw your hands up in surrender and ignore hashtagging, you do so at your business’s social media peril. Much like social media as a whole, companies that do not respect the potential utility of hashtags for branding growth and client cultivation will be left in the #past.

  5. The New Instagram Logo: Good, Bad or Meh?

    Change is hard and the internet can be, well, let’s call it, “judgmental.” From the knee-jerk hatred for any and all of Facebook’s usability updates to Instagram’s recent algorithm change, there seems to be an immediate and impassioned push to slam even the proposition of change in the social media apps we use every day. The designers behind the new Instagram logo must have said some prayers, taken a swig of something strong and practiced a few mental relaxation techniques before the big unveiling.

    Instagram Logo

    You have no doubt seen much ado about this new design. Everyone, from professional designers to, oh, I don’t know, your mom, seems to have an opinion, critique, praise or four-letter word for this simple, gradient redesign. Of course, you don’t have to be a designer to have an intelligent opinion about the new Instagram logo — but it sure doesn’t hurt. That’s why we asked our creative director, Andy MacMillin for his take now that the smoke is clearing on the initial controversy.

    3 Thoughts on the New Instagram Logo

    • It’s neither bad nor groundbreaking. Instead, it is simply on-trend with modern logo designs, ditching the outdated, skeuomorphic logo.
    • The controversial, bold gradient is actually a good design choice, since the rest of the design is a textbook, flat design.
    • The need to stay relevant probably sparked the Instagram logo redesign — something important for an app as popular as Instagram. Though keeping to current trends is helpful with relevancy, a designer must also find a way to make a design stand out.

    Overall, I think we can call Andy’s overall opinion of the new Instagram logo something along the lines of, “meh.” The bold addition of the colorful gradient is a plus, but the design itself falls a bit flat. On the other hand, if the goal was to modernize Instagram’s logo, it seems to have done just that.

    Though not everyone is so happy with the change, the internet outcry, at least for now, seems to have dulled to a sneering whisper. Change is hard, especially for big brands with a lot on the line. The lesson that we can pull from all of this is that change can be painful, but is always necessary in order for brands to remain relevant to their audiences. As long as your design is well strategized and represents the soul and essence of your brand, you should go into a redesign with confidence — come hell or heavy internet criticism.