Let's be real, marketing is hard. There's really nothing about it that's easy. It takes a lot of thought, a lot of effort and works best when you plan ahead. When you think of all the things that go into marketing your business it get's a bit overwhelming and a lot of the time you might not have the time for it. In being a marketing manager for a few different brands along with my own I've learned a few things, storytelling is the most powerful marketing tool you have. Whether you are using words or images to tell the story, its what connects the most with your audience and when social media is oversaturated with advertisements and brands, the stories you share will be the thing that stands out.
Telling A Story With Words and Images
There are a few brands that I follow that market their brand perfectly. They focus on the lifestyle their products promise with an emphasis on the morals of their brand. In every post they create, these two things are clear. Take Patagonia for example. Throughout their Facebook page, you'll find photographs and videos of the adventures the outdoors bring. In some cases, you might see some close-ups of their clothes but everything comes back down to living a life of adventure and taking care of the earth that provides that adventure. Take the post below. With only a few words they show what's important to them, on Christmas they aren't asking you to buy more or to see their sale, they want you to focus on the important things just as they do. And what's even better is they give you a jaw-dropping image to go with it that shares the same story of embracing what matters.
Another way to tell a story is to actually tell a story using words. Instagram is the perfect place to showcase high-quality images of your product and that lifestyle that comes with it right next to a personal story. Sharing true stories about your life, things you've learned or want to teach or a behind-the-scenes story of the staff, this is a great place to do it. Having 2,200 characters to use gives you plenty of space to share a true story that will deepen the connection with your audience. Christ Burkard is a world-class adventure and landscape photographer. His Instagram has 2.9 million followers and counting and for good reason. Aside from the stunning photos he shares he does a great job telling stories alongside them, giving tips to amateur photographers and sharing conversations he has with friends. He adds an extra element to the photos he shares by diving deeper and providing a personal story to go with them.
Tailoring Your Images On Instagram
While all your social media should have high-quality, well-lit images that represent your brand, Instagram is by far the most important. Well maybe that and Pinterest, but we'll get to that. When you think of Instagram you should think of your feed as a visual magazine. Everything should be tailored to match the look and feel of your brand. Your brand has a look and feel, a mood with colors to match. When you build your Instagram you should have 1 color that flows through all the images (White, black or for me blue). You'll also want to choose whether your feed is light or dark.
LoneFlag has done a great job with this. All their photos have grey in them whether they showcase their product or the lifestyle. They keep a masculine tone to all their images and when you look at them together they feel like they go together.
KrochetKids puts a heavy emphasis on lifestyle with their products subtly placed in the images. They'll scatter in a few product only shots but for the most part, they want to sell you on the life that's lived with these products. Again they stick with a color scheme keeping a bit of blue in every photo and having a sharp focus and bold colors in every shot. When you look at a single image you fall in love with the product, when you look at their feed, you fall in love with the brand and lifestyle.
When it comes to building your Instagram you don't need all professional images. It's a great Idea to get as many professional photos in your marketing as possible, but we all have budgets. A great way to save is to pay for professional photos every couple months and get a batch of photos that you can spread out over time. In between that time learn a few tricks to iPhone photography and use apps like Snapseed and VSCO to edit the images and keep the same feel to them. If you can find a photographer that will work with you to help you take these images it's a great partnership to have. They'll hook you up every 1-3 months with photos and teach you a few tricks to use while you fill in the rest of the photos you want to most in between. (I would be more than happy to work with you on providing monthly photos as well as giving you a few pointers on taking photos on your phone!)
Also if you're looking for a great way to plan your Instagram posts in advanced and see what the photos will look like in your feed check out planoly. This is my favorite tool when it comes to Instagram and I think you'll like it just as much as I do!
Images On Pinterest
One of the last ways to share your story is through Pinterest. While the other platforms have a great way to share written stories along with visual stories, Pinterest is almost strictly images. The clear images that are lighter in color and have minimal elements are the most successful images on Pinterest. If you can add words to a post to bring others to your blog post or to share a quick story in a couple words these are often the most clicked on images. Providing a variety of these images gives you a better chance on getting clicks and directing people to your website.
Pinterest is the visual version of Google, it's an important place to have your content to get back to your website. However, just like Instagram, it's imperative that you have the highest quality images (best if they're long) to use in order to get people to click.
Your brand isn't like any other one out there so you have a story that's all your own to share. Finding ways to combine visual and written storytelling will help you connect with your audience on a deeper level and allow you to create not just customers but a community. If you're looking for someone to help build your portfolio of images that showcase your products and the lifestyle of your brand, I'm here for you. I'd be more than happy to help you build the photos you've been dreaming of sharing as well as giving you some pointers on how to take some great phone photos in between our photo shoot sessions. Contact me here, or leave a comment below and let's start capturing the story of your brand!
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