instagram-logoEveryone’s all abuzz about Instagram these days, with it becoming more than just snaps of children and food. Business owners are taking note, and with the new-ish addition of advertisements and sponsored posts, it can be overwhelming for faith-based brands or any brand to know how to curate successful content without getting lost in the shuffle.

Instagram grew tremendously last year.  At the end of 2013, 25% of smartphone users were filtering and ‘gramming to their heart’s content (source). That’s a BIG audience, and certainly one you should consider even more so the younger your audience appeal is. Still, no one wants to see brands overwhelming their feeds with stock photos that were randomly chosen in order to caption it with the real message.

How do you create honest, organic material that still carries across your message?

Here are 3 truly engaging ways to make your feed stand out and garner more followers.

-Don’t use stock photos! Make them intensely personal, even if they are product placements. Instead of just framing in a photo of a product, take one  that looks personal. If you’re selling a shirt, snap a candid shot of an employee wearing that shirt, instead of a screenshot from the website. It will blend in more easily to your readers, and won’t immediately ‘flag’ it in their minds as product placement. Skip the glossy photos here, and save them for Facebook instead.

-Invite your audience to take part.  Companies in the Makeup industry are doing this very well; using hashtags to help boost their brand. They often ask their users to post photos of themselves using their products, and the response floods in. Users love feeling included, so provide opportunities for them to feel personally invested in your brand or idea. Hashtags will boost your content. Research shows that posts with 1-2 hashtags do considerably better than those without (an increase of about 30% interactions per post.)  What ideas just popped into mind for your Christian product or ministry?  Start there.

-Reward your followers by featuring their relevant content in a feed on your webpage. Not only will this be great current content (though you’ll still need someone to look over and screen the photos), it will help increase the loyalty of your audience. They’ll feel acknowledged, and you will have tons of content to choose from. It’s a win-win for everyone!

For the most current social media trends, check out our blog here!