How to use powerful images for impact on Instagram

22nd June 2021

We live in a visually-stimulated world where images have a powerful impact. Images matter especially on platforms like Instagram, which are visual in nature. But not every brand can use this platform to their advantage, mainly because they have trouble creating images for impact on Instagram.

So if you want to get in on the action, check out how you can use photos and brand messages on Instagram:

1: Diversify your content calendar

The key to making an impact is by creating content that matters to your audience. And what matters to your audience may differ from segment to segment. You can’t just post a photo of a coat and expect it to have an impact on everyone. 

While some may follow your social media content for product-related updates, others might want to learn more about your brand’s background or your values. So to satisfy these different audience segments, make sure you create a content calendar that caters to varying informational needs. 

Your content calendar should be diverse enough to fit in ideas like:

  • Behind-the-scenes glimpses into your business
  • Tutorials and how-tos
  • New product updates
  • Event updates
  • Holiday celebrations
  • Marketing material
  • Testimonials from real customers

The Instagram feed for ASAP Skin Product includes a diverse mix of before-and-after photos, testimonials, product photos, motivational quotes, and contest updates.

The Instagram feed for ASAP Skin Product includes a diverse mix of before-and-after photos, testimonials, product photos, motivational quotes, and contest updates.

2: Get creative with your message and branding

For your images to have an impact, they need to push through the noise. This can be a little challenging with Instagram being a visual platform where everyone’s sharing photos and videos. So to stand out, you need to find a creative way to visually get your message and branding across.

Try to exhibit your brand’s personality into these images using wit, humour, optical illusions, animations, and so on. See how Ben and Jerry’s creatively and attractively position the ingredients for a strawberry cheesecake along with party supplies to promote their strawberry cheesecake ice cream.

In some cases, you can even use text overlay to present a text-based message in a visual format. Ben and Jerry’s, for example, use text overlay to promote their cookie dough chunks using a clever pun.

Ben and Jerry’s creatively and attractively position the ingredients for a strawberry cheesecake along with party supplies to promote their strawberry cheesecake ice cream.Ben & Jerry's use puns in their Instagram images.

3: Refine your images to make them pop

Your images shouldn’t just be creative; they should also look great to stand out from a sea of other visual content. With photos, use the following photography basics to get them picture perfect:

  • use the rule of thirds for a well-balanced shot
  • spotlight your main subject by adding space around it
  • use lines to draw the eye toward the main subject
  • experiment with different lighting to set the right mood.

Once you capture the right photo, adjust the contrast and saturation to create more intense colours that stand out. You can also use the free presets on apps like Afterlight, Lightroom, Snapseed, and VSCO to instantly edit your photos. For best results, consider using the same preset for all your photos to maintain visual consistency.

Even if you’re not posting photos, you can still create images that instantly catch the eye. Take the Canva Instagram feed, for instance. Being a design tool, you can immediately see how they create graphics using bold and fun colours that speak volumes about the brand’s personality.

Canva uses images for impact on Instagram to showcase its brand personality.

4: Let your customers do the talking

One of the most impactful types of content on Instagram is user-generated images because content from other users act as social proof. So it gives people a reason to trust your claims and the confidence to buy your products. 

In fact, 60% of respondents in a visual objects study said they were more likely to buy something based on a UGC image on the brand’s Instagram than based on a branded post. 

This makes it crucial to include user-generated content in your brand’s Instagram visual strategy. To make your feed more coherent, you could try selecting the images that most fit your brand’s theme. Otherwise, you could also set aside a ‘highlights’ section just to showcase user-generated content.

Pottery Barn Kids does a great job of sharing user-created images that feature their products. This gives more context to the product in question and helps others visualize how it could look inside their own homes.

Your customers images can be used for impact on Instagram like Pottery Barn Kids.

5: Stand up for a cause

With consumers becoming a lot more conscious about social and political issues, brands that can have the most impact are those that have the courage to stand up for a cause. In fact, Sprout Social found that 70% of consumers want brands to take a stand on important public issues. 

But whatever cause you decide to talk about, make sure it’s close to your heart so your message and stance feel authentic. This could range from the latest crises to social issues like homelessness and poverty.

Another Sprout Social survey found that natural disasters and crises were on top of the list of social/political issues that consumers want brands to talk about (76%). Education follows close behind with 74% of consumers wanting brands to talk about it. Then you have environmental issues (71%), human rights (70%), and poverty/homelessness (69%).

Take Sol Cups, for instance. The brand sells eco-friendly reusable coffee cups and bottles using hand-blown glass. They use Instagram to regularly share visual messages about the environmental impact of single-use plastic and how the brand tries to tackle that issue.

Standing for a cause like Sol Cups is a great way to use images for impact on Instagram.

6: Take representation into consideration

In line with the previous point, your brand can also take a strong stand on diversity and inclusion by being mindful of representation in your images. According to the Adobe Diversity in Advertising survey, 62% of Australians prefer to buy from brands that feature diversity in their ads. And for 56% of consumers, lack of diversity would influence brand perception.

So Instagram could be the perfect platform to feature diversity in your images and show your audience that representation matters to you. This is also a great way to relate to a diverse range of consumers who would be interested in your products.

Lorna Jane Activewear gives us a great example of this. The brand features women of all shapes, sizes, and ethnicities to show their products are for all women.

Diversity and respresentation is important if you want to make an impact on Instagram with photos and brand images.

Ready to have an impact on Instagram?

Your Instagram images could have an impact – not just for your brand but for your community. So make the most of the tips and ideas we’ve provided to start creating impactful and eye-catching images for the platform.

Start posting to your Instagram feed today with a free trial of Metigy’s social media scheduling calendar and management tool – click here to try it for free.

Already a Metigy user? Log in and explore Instagram Content Publishing today.

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