Jessy Weiss

Instagram remains one of the fastest growing social media platforms with over 700 million active users. With its ever-changing features, it’s difficult to remain up-to-date on how to effectively use Instagram to complement your business’s overall marketing strategy.

At its core, Instagram is a visual platform. It offers your business an opportunity to present itself in a purely visual manner. Yes, the platform offers captions, hashtags (more on how to use those later), and tags but they are in place to support the photographic message.
When using Instagram, use the following:

A consistent, brand voice is essential for using Instagram. Your audience, especially on Instagram, seeks an understanding of your business’s “personality.” Develop content reflective of your business, but also specific to the platform. Your followers on Instagram will likely vary from those on LinkedIn. With that said, don’t shy away from distributing the same content across several platforms, but give each one its own voice.
Hashtags serve as a great way to reach more people with your content. Instagram users frequently search trending hashtags to discover new content so sprinkle a few hashtags in your posts. While sometimes overused, we recommend, based on our own success rates, between four and seven hashtags. Ultimately, let the content of the post dictate the type and number of hashtags.
Your Photo Feed
Good quality photos make all the difference on Instagram. It’s the platform for beautiful photos, and users know it. That said, while most businesses may not have a professional photographer at their disposal 24/7, it’s still possible to create a compelling Instagram feed. Take photos that represent the brand best and keep it consistent. Make sure all of your photos, professional or amateur, have a cohesive look by using a uniform filter on all of your photos. There is nothing more beautiful than a consistent feed! Case and point: @laurenconrad.
Also, check out Eric Bach’s blog, The Language of Light: How Light Alters Perception, for some tips on how to improve those Instagram photos!

Use stories to share in-the-moment and behind-the-scenes content. This strategy provides another opportunity for your followers to get to know your company’s personality and day-to-day. Get creative with your stories – post a series of videos to create a short storyline or a fun boomerang.
The discover tab gives users, and your potential followers, access to a pool of relevant content based on their existing followers and other Instagram activity. On the flip side, the discover tab provides a resource for your business. Scroll through this panel to see what competitors do on Instagram, and how your followers engage with other accounts to tweak your approach. The discover tab also allows you to find and engage with people who don’t follow your brand. By searching hashtags relevant to your business, you can find users and engage with them.
Carousel Photos
As one of Instagram’s newer features, the carousel photo feature allows users to post multiple images in one post. Strategically order your photos; display your strongest, most compelling photo first, followed by supporting images. Or, use the left/right swipes to create a larger, continuous image, like @subway.

Jump-start your business’ Instagram presence by following some of these tips and tricks. Stay tuned to the A. Bright Idea blog for more advice on how to keep your social media presence on brand, relevant and an integral part of your overall communications strategy.

Shawn Nesaw

I sat down at my desk in my ergonomically correct desk chair with my laptop perched on top of its stand to begin writing this post. My fingers positioned on the keys, I stared at my computer screen. The words just weren’t coming.

My setting felt too formal for this particular task. So, I picked up my laptop and ran over to our beanbag room, repositioning myself in a comfy Dalmatian-print blob. The ideas started circulating as my mind entered a more relaxed domain. After some time, I landed on “the one” and began feverishly hashing it out.

But instead of hashing, I decided I needed to dribble. I stepped into the hallway and picked up our purple basketball, my idea transitioning from concept to concrete with every shot I took at the net hanging on the wall.

Our offices include various spots where team members can temporarily relocate, including our chill area with leather couches and punctuation mark pillows, our outdoor bar stool picnic table and our purple Adirondack chairs on the porch. Our MacBooks, Wi-Fi and Tervis Tumblers of coffee create the basis of the magic “Bright Light” solution for success, allowing us to create anywhere.

@MariaD_ABI enjoying a beautiful spring day on the ABI front porch.

Flexibility in our physical settings offers creative workspaces, which translate to the work we produce at A. Bright Idea. When we can physically change scenery, we’re much more likely to mentally readjust.

As a full-service agency, we support many different types of clients and varying projects. Sometimes we develop technical content, like descriptions of how a piece of technology works to destroy chemical weapons. Other times, we emulate Stephen King and make up a horror story for a haunted trail hosted by a nonprofit organization.

Based on the vibe or mood of the project, we prepare our minds to generate the appropriate ideas. Adapting our work space to the task at hand supports this preparation and acts as a green flag waving at the front of our brains, as if indicating approval for the ideas at the gate to set off.

We’re fortunate to have access to several buildings in our creative campus at our home base in Bel Air, while a second location sits on the edge of the tranquil Sonoma Valley Regional Park in Glen Ellen, California. Our surroundings set us up for success with inspiration galore!

Now that we’ve shared some of our flexible secrets, let us in on yours! What kinds of spaces do you find inspiration for your work?