3 Steps to Increase your Instagram Following

How can you increase your Instagram following? Whether you are an established or aspiring brand/social influencer, these three tips will help you to optimize your time on Instagram. They will help you build and retain a stronger Instagram following, increase content quality, and engagement levels. Lets get into it!

#1 - Post Consistently

Posting consistently is absolutely essential because it increases your social presence. What is social presence? It is, "The degree of interaction and visibility between oneself and others in a social network." When you are posting consistently, you are sending the message to your following that you are a active, reliable, and trustworthy member of the social community. This is the first and most important tip because reliability and trustworthiness are paramount and attractive characteristics when building any brand or profile. 

Recent studies show that top brand accounts that post consistently have the highest following growth rates. Currently, the fastest growing top brands are @chanelofficial and @zara

@chanelofficial and @zara grow their Instagram following by an average of 1.17% per. week. This may not sound very impressive, but 1.17% for them is hundreds of thousands of followers. 

Interestingly, the number of times you post a day is not as important as maintaining that frequency. The key to the locked door of building your following being reliability, make sure your post frequency is steady. Although they are still a top brand, @nike does not post consistently and has a dramatically lower average growth rate of only .3% per. week.

As far as numbers go, posting consistently could mean posting one, five, or ten photos everyday but be sure to hold to that number. If your post rate drops, your Instagram following will likely also. Even though the number of times you post a day is not as important as sustaining that post rate, the general rule of thumb from many different studies is posting 1.5 times per. day. 

#2 - Fully Optimize your Content

The first step to fully optimizing your content to is exclusively posting high quality photos/ videos to your feed. The quality of  your post reflects the quality of your brand. What makes content high quality? High resolution captures, well framed shots, and human elements are all key pieces to quality content. High resolution content is clearer and more life-like. This sends a message to your audience that your profile or brand is professional. Well framed shots are another important factor to high quality content. Make sure the main subject of your photo/video fits into or is the cover photo for your post. Lastly, human elements in your content make them more authentic and relatable. Here are a few examples of high quality and well framed images with human elements: 

Photos in order by: @oliviariddering, @graydenpapers, @jameslano, @alexeydulin

The second step for optimizing your content is being trendy. Track trending hashtags, well performing content on other top brand/profile accounts, and other viral themes/challenges. Keeping up with trends is one of the fastest ways to increasing your Instagram following because  it increases your account exposure. Using trending hashtags and creating trending posts expands you audience beyond your normal following to the entire world following that trend.

Lastly, create comments that encourage engagement. Comments directly asking your following for a response or opinion perform the best. Open questions and asking for comments increases engagement by 300% on average.

#3 - Utilize Instagram Stories

The Instagram story has become extremely popular making it an important  tool to take advantage of. According to a CNBC article, only ten months after Instagram released their story feature in august of 2016, it had an average of 250 million active daily users.  Six years after it was founded, Snapchat still has less than 180 million active daily users. Utilizing Instagram stories is another great way to reinforce social presence too!

Here are a few tips for creating an engaging Instagram story:

A. Use Stickers and Polls 

Stickers and Polls are fun ways to engage and have fun or get real feedback from your following.

 

B. Add Hyper-links to your stories 

Hyper-links increase website and promotional page traffic.

 

C. Be friendly!

Spur engagement in multiple places on the platform (DM's, post comment section, and story comment section)

 

D. Highlight New Posts

Highlighting new posts drives traffic to your main feed.

 

In Conclusion...

So remember to post consistently, optimize your content, and utilize Instagram Stories. Be patient, Increasing your Instagram Following will take time. Commit to these steps and you will be great!

Follow Snapwire on Instagram: @snapwire

Check out  Snapwire's authentic photo library for high quality content you can source from. 

 

 

 

 

 

Successful Snapwire Photographers

A handful of successful Snapwire photographers have recently won five of our Snapwire challenges. All Snapwire challenges are accessible to all Snapwire photographers. They are great ways to exhibit your work, enter some friendly competition, grow your skills, and get paid!

What set these Snapwire challenge winners apart were high quality shots, photos directly related to challenge briefs, and originality. 

Congratulations to Photographers: Paloma Herbstein, Sasha Alperin, Maile Marie, Jo Millington, Vitaly Solomatin

Going to the Movies

Photo by: Paloma Herbstein

Photo by: Paloma Herbstein

Paloma's photo stole the show with a unique perspective of a captivated audience in a movie theatre. Our favorite parts of this shot are the bright sheet of light projecting and all of the different faces enjoying a good film. 

In the City

Photo by: Sasha Alperin

Photo by: Sasha Alperin

Alperin's photo was picked as the winner for the "In the City" challenge because of it's wonderful composition. The image balances wonderful subject matter in all fields of the photo pretaining perfectly to the challenge brief. 

Family at Home

Photo by: Maile Marie

Photo by: Maile Marie

For the "Family at Home" challenge, we were looking for a at-home image of a family together, and this shot by Marie captures it perfectly. 

Travel Preparation

Photo by: Jo Millington

Photo by: Jo Millington

This was a clear standout photo from Millington in our "Travel Preparation" challenge. The composition is very simple, but neat details are mixed in like the henna on the hand. The finger pointing in the image sends a clear message of travel plans, and the surrounding items are travel essentials!

Pinktober

Photo by: Vitaly Solomatin

Photo by: Vitaly Solomatin

Solomatin nailed this shot for "Pinktober"! The quality image combined with multiple shades of pink and boxing gloves fully embodied the "Pinktober" challenge. 

How to Make Your Content Stand Out

This story was originally published on Medium here

Producing Effective Scalable Content in a Competitive Digital Landscape

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The Current State of Content

Content marketing is extremely powerful and can lead to meaningful revenue for businesses. The Content Marketing Institute defines content marketing as

“a strategic marketing approach focused on creating and distributing valuable, relevant, and consistent content to attract and retain a clearly-defined audience — and, ultimately, to drive profitable customer action”.

However, as the digital universe continues to expand, brands are being forced to produce more and more content in order to keep up. 20 years ago, brands could focus their time, energy and budgets on producing 4 high-quality content campaigns a year — one going out each quarter. Most of these campaigns had 1 key channel in mind: television. In today’s competitive landscape, those same companies are now producing more content pieces than ever before and on more channels, with Fortune 500 Companies producing, on average, over 4,000 content pieces a month (2017 Forrester Wave). With social media and ever-expanding content sharing platforms, that number only continues to grow.

What does this mean for the consumers that brands are trying to target? Being constantly bombarded with content, consumers have been forced to adapt — with ever decreasing attention spans and quicker than lightning decisions. In a matter of seconds, consumers know whether a piece of content is relevant and important to them and if they don’t deem it so, they’re quickly scrolling on to the next thing. Marketers need to be producing a higher volume of content a month, but in order for it to convert to meaningful ROI the content being produced needs to be high quality and personal. It’s important for marketers to realize this when planning out their content marketing campaigns. They need to look at the specific channels they will be using, what local markets those include, and how to tailor their messaging and visuals for each channel to capture their target audience effectively. The key is producing custom content rather than generic content. There are tons of specific strategies for doing this (too many to dig into here), but one that I find especially effective is using location specific visuals in targeted location-based campaigns. The important thing here is making sure the location is well recognized by the locals that you’re trying to target. For example, rather than choosing the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco, choose a hip local bar that only your target audience frequents.

The most adaptive marketers are realizing that they can use custom visual content in tandem with bigger advertising campaigns to create more cohesive and stronger results. This is because the consumer of the digital age now expects content to be hyper-personalized and are more likely to respond well to content that is custom and tailored to their interests. In fact, it pays off to be on top of the content marketing curve. The Content Marketing Institute claims that:

  • 82% of consumers feel more positive about a company after viewing custom content
  • Website conversion rate is nearly 6X higher for content marketing adopters than non-adopters

How to Scale Content Efficiently

So, we know that custom content is important, and because of social media brands need more and more of it. But how do brands go about scaling their content needs? Let’s talk about budgets for a second. 50% of content marketing budgets are allocated to the creation of the content, with 25% equally going to distribution/management and promotion (Content Marketing Institute). Creating custom assets is difficult, which is why marketers are spending half their budget on it. When talking about visual custom content alone, the options for sourcing are limited, and marketers are wasting even more money on the time it takes to source good content than the actual assets themselves.

Currently, when sourcing visual assets, marketers have two subpar options: stock photography or commissioned photographers (a third option is in-house, but since most marketers don’t have access to this option, we won’t discuss it here). Stock photography tends to be generic, overused, and often a non-option for product based brands (like Starbucks, or Beat’s headphones). In addition, it’s close to impossible to find shots that match your brand’s aesthetic which leads to tons of time wasted scrolling through pages and pages of content. If you do opt for stock, the good thing about it is that it is relatively affordable at scale and you can get it instantly. There’s no turnaround time because it’s already shot and produced, and most traditional stock sites offer competitive subscription pricing so that you can download the volume you need on a small budget.

The better option is hiring a pro freelance photographer to complete and deliver results because it leads to higher quality custom content. You’re able check out the freelancer’s portfolio in advance to ensure they’re right for the job, and give them clear directions about what you’re looking for. Although producing better quality results, the downside of this option is that it’s not scalable and requires coordination and turnaround time. When attempting to tackle certain regional markets, it’s essential to include visual content from those specific regions but finding freelancers in every geographical area you need shot becomes a logistical nightmare. Not to mention licensing rights might be difficult to negotiate with a freelancer.

The truth of the matter is that the current options are not addressing the scalability problem of current content needs, and it is economically impossible to attempt to make them work. Thus, newer Content-as-a-Service models are beginning to emerge to offer a scalable solution to the problem. They combine things like technology, machine learning, and crowdsourcing to deliver content in a smarter way. One of those platforms is called Snapwire, whose hybrid approach makes them unique. They have a community of 430K creators worldwide that are curated and sorted into photographer levels. Image buyers fill out a creative brief and send over brand guidelines to Snapwire’s dedicated creative team who handles logistical aspects. Then, their robust technological solution delivers incredible results, quickly and affordably. All photos that are not purchased from a custom photo request migrate over to their growing marketplace library of photos.

Snapwire removes the pain of discovery and negotiating price, saving time and logistical headaches. Brands get high-quality, on-brand content produced faster than any other method and get to download everything with a Royalty Free license. The most impressive factor is the scalability aspect when it comes to getting geographical locations shot. Because of their global community, brands are able to get on-brand content shot all across the globe. Snapwire has completed several extensive location-based shoots for Google, delivering shots of over 2,000 individual locations worldwide and 430 neighborhoods. Google continues to use Snapwire because of their ability to produce beautiful results at scale.

For more info about how Snapwire works, and how they can help you scale your content needs, email alexis@snapwi.re

Photography Technique Isn't Everything

As photographers, we've all gone through the bombardment of basic composition techniques when we first pick up the camera: rule of thirds, leading lines, filling the frame...the list goes on and on.  But it's important to remember that these rules simply build a foundation, and are not meant for you to follow for every single shot you take.   

These rules are definitely a good start, but keep in mind that in the long run, it is possible that these rules may restrict you from reaching your true creative potential.   At the end of the day, creativity has no boundaries or rules that govern it. So next time you go out with your camera, try to forget the generic photography rules, and just shoot Surely, it'll take A LOT of trial and error, but you'll be surprised with what your own creative vision can create. 

Photo by: Ajanta Bhuyan

Photo by: Ajanta Bhuyan

Photo by: Yakashi Yasui

Photo by: Yakashi Yasui

Photo by: Marin Stefani

Photo by: Marin Stefani

Photo by: Sue Harper

Photo by: Sue Harper

Why Seasonal Content Converts

27M pieces of content are shared every single day (and that number is only growing). With social media and ever-expanding content platforms, relevancy becomes increasingly important. Being constantly bombarded with content, consumers have been forced to adapt - with ever decreasing attention spans and quicker than lightning decisions. In a matter of seconds, consumers know whether a piece of content is relevant and important to them and if they don't deem it so, they're quickly scrolling on to the next thing. 

What does this mean for businesses and brands, who rely on content for conversions? In order to stand out in the noise, brands must produce high-quality custom content that's relevant to their audience. One way to do this is to create seasonal content campaigns. The key here is making sure the content your brand is putting out is tailored to current events and your target audience's interests. This will make it instantly stand out because it's relevant and personal. Further, if you're able to create a campaign of localized seasonal content that's even better. 

One of the most difficult parts of obtaining custom on-brand content tends to revolve around the actual creation of the assets. This is because the options are limited for brands and businesses. They can either search through stock libraries to find seasonally themed images, but typically it's close to impossible to find images that perfectly match your brand aesthetic. On top of that, if your brand contains a product, stock photos will fail because they will contain generic items (not your specific product). Alternatively, brands can produce the content themselves in-house or hire a photographer to shoot something custom for them. These options are good ones if you have the budget and turn around time to get it done. 

If you're like most brands, forced to scale their ever-increasing content needs under a relatively small budget, Snapwire may be the solution. We're a Content-as-a-Service platform that uses our global community of 400K photographers, proprietary technology, and superior creative briefs to get brands beautiful on-brand content at scale. In fact, we're stoked about our solution and want to help brands get content that converts. We'll be offering brands 10% off a seasonally themed or location-based shoot through the Fall. You'll get access to our professional roster of photographers, and be matched up with a dedicated Snapwire creative team member to help execute your vision. This offer will end December 21st. 

If interested, shoot an email over to hello@snapwi.re with your creative vision and ask about the 10% off deal. 

Photoshop is a Helpful Tool, But can be a Potential Crutch

    Photographers have long relied on editing tools like Photoshop to retouch their photos. It has become a part of the art. While the ability to correct and enhance images is a valuable tool, relying on it too heavily can be undermining. With the rise of social media, marketers are realizing that in order to stand out, they need to be producing content that looks authentic. In a 2011 study by MarketingExperiments, a highly edited portrait was put up against a more authentic portrait as the face of a website. The authentic portrait resulted in a 35% higher subscription rate from customers than the highly edited generic looking portrait. Authentic photos take the cake. The photos that stand out are minimally edited shots that display raw emotion.

    Snapwire is a platform that allows photographers around the world to sell their shots to buyers. It’s different than traditional stock because it’s produced by real photographers (as opposed to professional stock companies) and every shot submitted is unique to the platform. The raw emotion of the images really stand out, which is why some of the biggest brands and businesses are opting for this solution.  Here are some awesome photos from Snapwire photographers: 

 

 

Photography to Make Going Back To School A Breeze

It's almost here! Summer was lovely and warm, but alas all good things must come to an end. Some of us may be returning to school for their last few victorious semesters, and some little ones are heading into classrooms for their very first time. Either way, the back to school season signals a lot more free time for busy parents. Between the frenzy of school supply shopping, carpooling and class registration, check out some of these images from Snapwire photographers to inspire you this semester!

Eddie Rios

Eddie Rios

Kyle Bianchi

Kyle Bianchi

Mandy Stephenson

Mandy Stephenson

Nik Palomares, Przemek Klos

Connor Moulton

Connor Moulton

Yolya Ilyasova 

Yolya Ilyasova 

Anika Bristy, Benjamin Dupont