Lippe Taylor

Beauty & Brains: Instagram Best Practices

How do you cut through the noise and create content that is relevant and engaging?

Instagram runs on a clever combination of analytics and aesthetics. With its clean, visually pleasing layout and responsive algorithm, this immensely popular platform has quickly become a critically important space for brands, particularly in Beauty and Fashion.

Inevitably, fierce competition for consumer attention arises. So, how do you cut through the noise and create content that is relevant and engaging?

Recently, we attended a fashion/beauty best practices session hosted by Instagram’s Eva Chen, Head of Fashion Partnerships at Instagram. We summarized our top takeaways into the below handy list.

Getting More Followers:

  • Build A Community– You can do this by simply engaging with your followers on a regular basis. Glossier is a great example because they frequently respond to their followers, creating a two-way dialogue which stimulates interaction between their followers thus creating a genuine sense of community.
  • Post More– Post more frequently. Most people follow an average of 1,000 people, so don’t worry about bombarding your followers with content. In fact, brands/influencers that post 8-10 times a day typically grow faster than those who post less. If you can’t turn out that much content, posting at least 2-5 times a day will also help. Do not let your obsession with posting the perfect photo stop you from posting more often.
  • Think Globally– The United States is only 20% of the audience base; the rest is international. So what you may find mundane, i.e. posting the Empire State Building, is actually likely to be exciting for your followers. Also, take advantage of geotags so your content is seen by more users searching for them, especially if you are posting internationally.
  • Create Original Content– Create content that is exclusive to your Instagram account only. For brands, this means creating content that is unique and not repurposing content from ad campaigns or other social platforms, which is a VERY common mistake. Always ask, can you get this content anywhere else? If the answer is no, you’re on the right track.

Increasing Engagement

  • Less Content vs. Sharing A Moment– Less polished, iPhone photos do better than glossy, overly-photoshopped images. For instance, candid behind-the-scenes images perform really well. So if your brand is doing a shoot, take behind the scenes photos to show what is happening through a different lens. This also works well as Live Video/Instagram Stories.
  • Create Content Franchises– Create templates that you can use as part of a recurring series. Do the same 8-10 things consistently so your followers know what to expect on your Instagram account. For example. Eva Chen posts a variety of food, children, New York and fashion.
  • Create an Identifier– Train people to know your account. For example, Pat McGrath consistently features gold sequins in her posts, so users automatically think of her when they see these.
  • Give Context To Photos– Always make sure you add a caption that explains and gives further texture to the photo. This may seem like common knowledge but you’d be surprised how often users skip this critical step.
  • Post More InstaStories– People usually post InstaStories on special occasions, but it’s better to post every day. The InstaStory queue (displayed above the feed) fits 200 accounts a day, and you want to be in the first 5 swipes of the queue. The more you post, the closer you get to the front of the queue.
  • Turn Static Images Into Videos– Add video versions of what’s typically your static content to increase dwell time. For example, Pat McGrath will take a video of a swatch instead of a photo.
  • Incorporate Video Into Your Feed – Video should be short, snackable content (10 six second videos are better than 60 second ones). Hermes does a great job at creating videos because they play around with video format. Some are boomerangs, hyper lapse or slow motion videos.
  • Feed vs. Grid – Impressions happen through feed not grid. Your profile should be aesthetically pleasing but once someone follows you they primarily experience your account through your feed so post accordingly.

Mastering Instagram relies on a comprehensive understanding of both its fabric and cultural norms. Best practices can be understood through this platform’s algorithmic and aesthetic structure, but user behavior is always evolving, therefore, to build and maintain your brand presence, staying on top of these changes is key! Stay tuned for future updates.

Photo by Tj Holowaychuk on Unsplash