Storytelling & Instagram : 4 Ways Brands Can Tell Powerful Stories on Instagram.

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Storytelling & Instagram : 4 Ways Brands Can Tell Powerful Stories on Instagram.

Since the Instagram app launched a couple of years ago, over 300 million people have used this platform as a visual place to share their lives. While some people use it to post photos of their coffee or their cats, other people have used it to share their adventures, build their brands, and tell powerful stories. With more than 20 billion images shared on the app to date–this app has become a creative space & community for people to share their story in innovative ways using photography and short videos. 

With so many of us spending so much time on our mobile devices, Instagram allows us to share our stories to the world in a quick and easy fashion. It has become a simple, yet powerful tool that has allowed people and brands to develop their own voice visually. Below, I have developed 4 essential tips everyone should consider if they want to share their story using the Instagram app.

1. Find your niche & develop your own unique voice.

One of the tips I always try to tell people is–to find your niche. As you can see from the photos I have included in this article from my recent trip to Canada, I am an adventure travel photographer and I want people to recognize my account for that reason. If 100,000 people started following me with the expectations of travel and adventure and then I started posting pictures of cars, I would lose that cohesion and relationship strength with my audience. This doesn’t always mean though, that you can’t branch out and do different things. There are plenty of people who fit a variety of niches, but have used their editing style to create a sense of cohesion. This is essential for creating your brand image. As people, we like things that are somewhat predictable, we crave familiarity. By giving your audience something they know they can expect from you, it will be easier to grow a stronger and more dedicated community around your work.

2. Utilize your captions to add more depth to your photos.

There are some gifted and blessed photographers that are able to use their photography and have it speak for itself, but for the photography newbies like myself, captions can become a vital part of your storytelling process. Up until I had 50,000 followers, I was just using my iPhone to take photos. It’s not always about the gear, although it can help, it’s about the story and connecting people to your voice. I have found that when I pair a powerful caption with a photo, it allows me to give narrative to my work. The truth is, a lot of us are taking the same photos. A lot of us are going to the same places, but what is going to make your account stand out is your story. Telling people what it was like to see something for the first time will always be more impactful than attaching a John Muir quote and calling it a day. Your story ultimately, makes a huge difference.


3. Try shooting from different angles

As I mentioned before, a lot of us are taking the same photos. How many times have we scrolled passed photos of Yosemite or Glacier National Park on Instagram ? Probably too many times to count. But, this is when your unique perspective comes into play. Instead of shooting something from the same angle as everyone else, try looking for new spots to take the same photo. Maybe you want to get closer to the ground for a different angle, pose a person in a different place, or shoot a photo through the branches of a tree to provide a more natural frame. There are always ways to put a new spin on the same place, and try to make sure you try a bunch of different angles.

4. Highlight your brand’s versatility:

This is an important one because, while you still want to have a particular niche and consistent editing style, you don’t want to place your brand in a box. I always like to use the example of Dove, the soap company. When we think of Dove, we don’t just think of a bar of soap. We think of women empowerment, body positive messages, and their desire to inspire young women to chase their biggest dreams. While dove might be a soap company, they used things that were related to beauty and shaped their brand voice in that way. Social media and Instagram are powerful tools because, brands can no longer just talk AT us, they actually have to talk to us. We follow brands that we trust, that are engaging, and that create powerful content. Find ways to expand your current niche creatively to develop a strong brand voice.

Blog post and images courtesy of Emily Thomas. Emily will be speaking at Social Media Week Miami

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