Having trouble standing out amongst competitors on Instagram? Check out these Instagram hacks to create better content for your brand.
Don’t Sleep On Instagram
As many of us know, Instagram is an incredible social media marketing tool. It gives brands the ability to hone in on their target audience, increase their following and gain brand recognition.
There are endless opportunities on Instagram, especially for brands. It allows you to directly engage with your audience and is a great tool for practicing community management. Let’s take a look at the different features that are available and various ways they can be used to promote your brand.
Why Instagram Stories are an Important Tool for Your Brand
If you are an Instagram user, you’re are likely to know all about the story feature. Instagram Stories allows users to share images on their profiles that last 24 hours.
Stories allow you to keep your content clean and current, and differentiate temporary content from permanent brand messages.
Unlike regular posts, you don’t have to worry about cluttering the main feed with too many images. Stories are located in a separate section above the regular feed. They are also seen on a user’s page when tapping their profile picture.
Stories are the best tool for brands to feature temporary promotions, new product releases and other timely information can be shared. By focusing your temporary messaging in stories and your primary brand messages in your feed, you’ll keep the conversation clean and current, without overwhelming your clients with digital clutter.
Can’t Forget About the “Highlights”
Don’t worry if 24 hours isn’t long enough to display an image on your account. After an image is posted to your story, it can be saved to the highlights section on an account.
Consider what your audience may want to know about your brand and what your brand has to offer your clients. Highlights allow users to view information without having to dig deep into your account. This is the place to feature frequently asked questions, products, services and prices — anything that’s important, but subject to change.
It is a good idea to organize your highlights section into categories. Think of this as though you’re organizing a file cabinet. Determine how you’ll categorize your brand messages into highlights, and then place relevant stories in the correlating highlight.
Make sure to select a cover photo for your highlights. This adds appeal to your profile.
Did You Know About the “Saved” Feature?
Users also have the ability to save posts from other users on their account.
It’s simple: all you have to do is select the flag on the bottom right of a post.
Not only does this feature allow you to look back on previous content, but it also can be a great way to form an idea bank for future branding. Save content you can use as inspiration when creating your own posts. It is also a good place to keep industry news, social media tips, or anything else that may benefit you or your brand.
Sometimes, the things we save may seem to get swept up in a black hole. In order to avoid this, organize your saved content into collections. Doing this is similar to creating a highlight on your profile. Let’s walk through it.
- To begin, select the panel menu on your profile page.
- Then, navigate to the “Saved” tab, where you will access all of the content you have marked.
- From there, you are able to create and edit collections.
Collections allow you to keep your saved content organized and accessible. To add posts to your collections, simply hold down the saved icon in the lower right corner of the post until your different collections appear.
There is another way to create collections. When you scroll upon a post you would like to save, hold down the save icon. This will direct you to your collections and give you the ability to form a new one.
Instagram’s Not-So-Secret Hacks
While Instagram may require some creativity to attract other users to your account, it should not be something that intimidates you. There are numerous tools available on Instagram that many people don’t know how to use. Let’s take a look at these features and see how they can enhance your content!
Change a Story’s Background to a Solid Color
Instagram stories offers a default gradient background and we’ll just say you can do better! It only takes seconds to transform some boring background into a color that enhances your story.
How It’s Done:
- First, select the draw tool
- Then, select a color that goes along with your story
- Once you have a color selected, press and hold anywhere on the background
- You will know when to release as the background will have changed color!
Why is This Important?
Believe it or not, even something as minimal as a color has the potential to make or break your Instagram story.
An important message or photo may be misinterpreted or confusing if the background does not match the rest of the story. You most likely would not want a serious message over a hot pink background. Consider who you are talking to, what the message is and how you want it to be interpreted.
Changing the background color does not enhance your stories alone. It also serves as an opportunity to form a cohesive highlights section on your profile. As a brand, it is important to keep the highlight section looking clean and professional.
This trick also serves as a chance to integrate your brand’s colors, or similar colors, into each story. This leads me to the next Instagram hack…
Accessing More Colors
If you have ever used the draw tool, you are probably quite familiar with the limited color assortment. After finding myself quite bored with those basic colors, I was ecstatic to learn there are so many more available to me. There are two ways to find the exact color you’re looking for.
How to Use the Color Selector
- First, select the draw tool
- Next, tap and hold down any of the colors
- A rainbow slider will appear, allowing you to select the exact color you wish to use
How to Use the Eyedropper Tool
- Take a photo or select one from your camera roll
- Then, select the draw tool
- In the lower, left corner is the eyedropper tool. Select it.
- To select a color with the eyedropper, drag over the image and release over the color you wish to use
Why is this Helpful?
I mean, who doesn’t want more color options? Not only are you given more space to express your creativity, it also serves as a great way to share more personalized stories.
Being able to select any color may be one of the most valuable tricks for brands on Instagram. The ability to customize the pen color allows you to incorporate your brand’s color(s) into each story. It can be used to add details or a background to the post.
Telling a Message
I said this before, and I will say it again. The color of a story’s background has a strong factor in how a story is interpreted. You want the colors to compliment the overall message the story is telling. You want to avoid using colors that will clash with the theme, message or image being shared.
Translucent Overlay on Stories
Similar to adding a solid colored background, Instagram also allows you to cover a story with a translucent overlay.
How to Add a Translucent Color
- Select the pen tool
- From the pen selection, choose the marker tool
- Determine the best color to place on top of the image
- Finally, press and hold over the story to color the screen
Keep in mind that lighter colors will likely work the best. You may have to test a couple of colors before finding one that works.
What Can I Do With This?
This is a great feature is you are looking to get creative with your stories.
Messing around with this feature may uncover many ways this feature could be used. Maybe you can use it as a background behind text or another image. Brainstorm ways this could find a place in your story posts.
Utilize that Eraser Tool
Surprisingly, the eraser tool may be one of your best friends when it comes to creating unusual visual effects. It can be used to show off your brand in a unique and exciting way. Here are a couple of ways to spruce up your stories using the eraser tool.
Reveal an Image
If you want to get creative with a regular photo, this may be a trick for you.
- First, fill the background with a solid color as you learned earlier
- Then, select the eraser tool and remove the color from areas of the image you wish to reveal
The eraser tool also allows you to get extra creative. If you have an image that is just missing a little something, consider adding a cool effect.
Here’s how to get this optical illusion effect:
- Use the marker tool to color over your object — I recommend using the glow pen as it will give you more of an illusion
- Then, use the eraser to remove marks, making it look as though it is looping around the object.
Play with the Font
You likely know about the ability to change the color on your story font, but let’s talk about adding more colors. There are a few ways to try this.
Reveal More Colors
Similar to the additional colors on the pen tools, you can access additional shades to font colors.
- First, select the font you would like to use and type what you would like the story to include.
- Then, select any of the available colors similar to what you want
- To display different shades, tap and hold on the color and more shades will appear.
Match Another Color
Just as you did when you found more colors on the pen tool, the eyedropper can be used to find a color you already have within your image.
- Enter the text you wish to add to your story
- Then, select the eyedropper tool and pick out a color you would like to use
Changing Highlight and Text Color
Some fonts have the ability to be highlighted. You can find this when using the text tool if you see a box with “A**” in the upper-left corner of the screen. You have the ability to customize the font color AND the highlight.
- First, select a color you wish to make the highlight. Keep in mind that that text will change color. This will be fixed in the next step.
- To change the font color without affecting the highlight, select the text you wish to change.
- Keeping the text selected, select a color. You will notice that the font changed colors but the background remained the same.
Why Take The Time To Do This?
Maybe you want your brand’s color as the font color for your story, or you want that the perfect gold color of your cat to stand out. Whatever the reason, the ability to transform the basic color palette to the text used gives you more creative freedom with each post.
Don’t Be Afraid To Get Creative
Sharing eyecatching content that helps better showcase your brand is extremely important, especially when users judge your brand through your stories, highlights and feed.
Be sure to double-check all of your content before publishing it to Instagram. Make sure everything is spelled correctly, is appealing to the eye and gets across the message you want users to see.
Social media isn’t everyone’s strong suit. Don’t worry, tough–it’s ours!
If you need help promoting your brand and hope to see original content that showcases your brand to its full potential, don’t be afraid to reach out.
Here at SH1FT, our team works hard to make sure your account runs smoothly. We like to think outside of the box to provide you with everything you, and your brand, need to grow, engage and succeed. Get in touch with us here.