ByAugust 30, 2017 9 Comments

Did you know that Instagram has over 700 million users and that the social network is expected to reach 1 billion users before the end of 2017? For those people thinking Instagram isn’t yet big enough to put any real marketing effort into, think again!

When using Instagram for business, it’s essential to build up an audience that is engaged and loyal to your brand. But how can you ensure these followers engage with your posts and in turn help you to grow as a business on Instagram? Two words: quality content.

This blog post will give you some tips on how to create that quality content in order to wow your community and make it near impossible for them to stop scrolling!

Here’s how to create quality Instagram content to engage followers in 5 easy steps

1. Create your own content

Although tempting, try to stay away from using too many stock images in your Instagram feed. The thing about stock images is, anyone and everyone can potentially use them, meaning your followers might have already seen the same pics in someone else’s feed or on another platform altogether. If you’re short of great quality images, create your own using your smartphone or computer!

Online design tools such as Spark Post are incredibly useful when it comes to crafting attractive visuals for social media. You can go for a plain or patterned background for a simplified look or even use a product image if you’re boosting for sales. Having a bank of high-resolution photographs of your products could really help get you out of a sticky situation if you ever find yourself low on content for Instagram. A simple, slick product photo can work wonders for your engagement if you have a strong community of fans.

Finally, it’s important not to neglect the variety of content formats available to you as an Instagram user. Try out the carousel post to share up to ten images in one go, creating a photo-album feel. A 60 second video can also be a great way of showing your products in use for example, or simply a short tutorial or demonstration. Be careful not to come over too pushy with your product posts – you’ll want to vary your content themes to keep things balanced and encourage engagement from your followers!

2. Define a clear focal point

Instagram is all about getting your followers to pause on and engage with your photos, and there are a few knacks to getting them to do just that. For instance, having a clear focal point could help users linger on your image. An image which is too busy is confusing to the eye and will have the opposite effect. Our brains do all these calculations without us even realizing, so it’s important to really take the time to ponder over your own content before asking your followers to do so once published.

Take the event advertisement template above as an example. It packs all the essential information in one small place, but the title of the event is the focal point. The bold color and slightly askew shape makes sure that they eye is immediately drawn to the image’s central focus.

3. Abide by the rule of thirds

The rule of thirds is a classic photography rule which any photographer would be able to tell you about. To execute the rule of thirds, you need to imagine a 9-part grid overlaying your image, aligning its most interesting features along the intersections. For a more interesting shot, adjust the focal point in one third of the image.

4. Allow for white space and borders

Leaving white edges around your Instagram images can create an unusual effect which attracts the eye more than an image with no border. This is especially true if the image respects previous points such as the rule of thirds and the clear focal point. Borders help ensure that elements in your design have room to breathe: an important aspect to consider if you want to avoid an overly busy post.

5. Pay attention to contrast and balance

For an image to stand out in an Instagram feed, it must have contrasting elements. The contrast can refer to colors, shapes, fonts, light and exposure, scale, white spaces and many more. Finding the contrast which makes your image pop is entirely down to you – and it is an essential step in getting your followers to engage with your content.

Play around with filters and the editing suite on the Instagram app. These editing tools don’t get a lot of publicity, but they’re really nifty and simple to use for great results. Adjust brightness, warmth, contrast, color and more, and find a style that suits your brand and tells your story effectively.

Before you post anything to Instagram, ask yourself ‘would I stop scrolling if I saw this in my feed?’

There’s more to creating the perfect image than meets the eye, and the best way to make sure you’re getting it right is to aim for balance. As mentioned in the section on focal points, balance can refer to both the photo elements and text that make up an image. A balanced design has a clear hierarchy in terms of message, created by aligning text elements so that they relate to each other in a symmetrical way. The first thing anyone will notice about your Instagram post is whether all the elements fit together correctly. If the balance is off, you won’t get your intended message across, and you could end up with a crowded, messy feed.

We hope these tips have helped you to see how you can get your Instagram images to work harder for you. Have some more tips we’ve missed out? Comment below to share them with us!

Emily Lydon

Author Emily Lydon

Emily is an Inbound Marketer for Iconosquare, based in the Limoges office. She loves all things social and revels in keeping on top of the social media marketing game by writing for the blog. She’s also a bit obsessed with sushi, gin and Netflix.

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