Define Aesthetics for your Feed
Building a visual narrative for your launch, helps you share your core values and it really creates a visual narrative for your community. And I have the word community here because I believe, each one of you can create your own community around your business on Instagram, and it's just a matter of again, attracting that right customer, or follower, they talk about you, maybe they're talking about you in their Facebook groups, maybe they're talking about you at a network event, and then more people come over, and then your community starts to grow and you feel, the endorphins you get when you're actually attracting the right people, it's giving you validation to what you're trying to share with the world, and that's what we all want is that validation and that community. I'm all about building communities and helping other people have success, and one of my favorite hashtags in fact is, community over competition. It really is, and so if you have that kind of mindset of building commun...
ity, it's a really healthy Instagram mindset, but let's talk about those aesthetics, and how you can create them. So, you want to create visuals that are consistent in both and the style and the quality that you're posting. Because Instagram is growing and growing and growing, it's more important than ever to up level the quality of your visuals that you're posting. Now yes, there are accounts that are so successful that are based off humor, or just news, it's not the end all be all, but for the most part, if you're trying to grow and launch a business, the aesthetics, look and feel is so important. The consistency and the quality. So you wanna choose a color scheme, and you wanna stick to it whenever possible. My color scheme in this slide deck, matches my website, matches everything I do all over social, so when you see this, it reminds you, like subconsciously of the business, the brand, right, and that's what you want to think of in everything that you do because your brand is not just your colors and your logo, it's like how you dress, how you talk, how you show up, the energy, like it's everything, so you need to think like that when you're actually building out your Instagram feed. And you want to stick to that and be very consistent. You can use filters to make sure, just when you do, just make sure you use the same one. So on Instagram there's filters, and then there's third party apps. There's so many third party apps. I use VSCO cam for my Instagram expert account, and I have a certain filter that I run my photos through so it has that look and feel of that light look and feel, and you can experiment, you can even go to Pinterest, you can find, on Pinterest you can search Instagram themes and maybe you want pink and white and gray, or you want bright colors, you can find themes, and often people share the apps they use to create them and the filters that they use to create them so once you find a look and feel theme, stick to it, consistently, okay? And you don't want to over crowd your feed with images and captions that are heavy with text, unless, like I said, you're in a launch. Because what's organic to Instagram, are photos and videos in the moment of time, and text heavy posts just isn't the look and feel that magazine, that digital magazine that people really, like that's what they love about Instagram, and that's why people spend that time getting that inspiration so make sure that you don't crowd your images, especially if it's quotes that aren't really matching up to what you're doing in your business. And if you are using quotes, try branding them in a graphic way that is consistent with your branding. So, if you execute your branding really well, your posts will immediately be recognized as people scroll through their feed. I know for example, camping with dogs. I know when that comes right in, that that's camping with dogs. When I see Teal's art, I know that it's her art. I know when I see the dry bar, the flowers, the yellow, it comes in, it immediately, that brand recognition is what you want, but at the same time, you don't want that to get stale, you want to surprise and delight and have new and fresh ways of doing what you're doing. And I'm in the process of trying to figure out how to get more engagement like all of you, and coming up with new ways to post, that's gonna up level that engagement. I think we're always all looking for how can I get more engagement, how can I do this better, how can I stand out, how can I be original, so just keep experimenting with different ideas, and I want you guys to ask yourself, what do you want your brand to actually reflect, like what is it about your brand. I want, bright, cheery, colors, Instagram inspired, glasses, you know, just like, you know, the feeling of Instagram and what it can give other people emotionally like, I'm always trying, the positive energy that can be part of that feed and that branding look and feel, I always want that to be reflected in my branding. And who do you actually want to be following you? I will tell you right now, that I know for a fact, on both of my accounts SueBZimmerman, TheInstagramExpert, I have random people following me, and you know it's not worth blocking random people, especially when you have over 50,000 followers but, if I was really diligent about making sure that the people that were following me were the only people I wanted to be there, my engagement rate would be higher, versus some teenagers and random people, that are just, you can follow anybody. But it takes time to go back and check and see if they are the right follower, and I know someone that actually spent two days blocking anyone that didn't fit her avatar just so her followers could be completely clean. And when you have thousands and thousands and thousands of followers, that's hard to do. But if you took the time to do that, it might turn things around, to go back and look at your followers, the customer you're trying to attract, to have follow you. How do you want to convey your brand to your community, like what is that hashtag, what is the energy in those hashtag hubs. Are you supporting your community, what ways are you supporting your community? And where is your content created? Are you gonna share it in your feed, are you gonna share it in your stories, are you gonna share it in you lives? How are you gonna organize your content once it is created, like I said earlier? I like having everything ready in an organized Dropbox folder so I can pull it down from Dropbox when I need it for a launch or campaign. And, ask yourself, why are you posting this photo? If it's just to check it off your to do list for the day, that you posted on Instagram, that's the wrong reason, maybe you should skip that day. But if it's gonna support your goals, and all of the aspects of what you're trying to accomplish, you can post it but you have to ask yourself, why am I posting it, what is the reason behind this content? Okay, so lets go back to the dry bar. Best example, so you will see the mix of their products, so if sell or consume products, and you do flat lays, this is called flat lays, when the camera is from high to low, notice that some of them are open, some of them, like the whiskey fix, you can see it straight up, there's a design element on that marble table, so all of, they are selling or talking about that flat iron. I don't use the flat iron so I forget the name of that item but, that's the focus of that. And that is the traffic driving post, but in the middle, is a little girl, that's the engagement driving, like she just got her hair done, she's so cute. You don't even see her face, but you can get a sense of that emotionally, what that experience is like, what could they even have little yellow cushy things for her to sit on that match right? And then there's Alli, Alli is the founder of the dry bar, she has her own account. AlliWebb if you don't follow Alli, she's totally worth following because like Sarah Blakely, she really inspires women and it is just hysterical. You get to see life as a mother with kids running big businesses but, look at the birthday cake for her they did, it's so instagrammable. It's like, and she's shaking her hair, like because it's the dry bar, like all of those, and her mouth is open. Little hint about the mouth open, it's like when you take pictures and your mouth is open, it's like wait, what's she saying, what's she thinking? What's she saying it's like you can almost hear her squealing that she's so happy about that cake, right? So all of that is so on brand. Notice also the yellow wall behind her. So maybe that's the easiest thing to do, is to stand, I mean just look at the wall. Can we just take a second to look at the wall? It's great right, the purple wall. Like just stand in front of the brand color. Alright lets go to the next example which is, OMG my favorite guy crush on Instagram, it's the Chase Jarvis, the founder of Creative Live, and I'm not just saying that because it's Chase, the founder of Creative Live. Do you guys follow him on Instagram? Everybody, hands up, if you don't you should. So okay, Chase does such a great job at showing us his true personality. And then seizing opportunities like in the middle of the road where there's something there to just hands out, smile, look away from the camera. And then the text, I don't know if the text was done after, but probably was. Creativity is not a skill, it's a habit. But what Chase does on all of his inspirational quotes is he puts his name, which I love, because you know that that's his original quote, and he's looking away at the quote, so he's just leaning against, his legs are crossed, he being really casual, and I've had the pleasure of meeting Chase and taking Instagram pictures with him, and this is like the sense of his personality but he's always, inspiring and pushing people to be more creative. And then there's the killer, I'm the dude with the camera, coming off the helicopter, walking towards you, I got this shot, like I got this, I'm living this, I'm in the zone. This is what I do, this is what makes me happy. And there's so much more of this, and the other aspect of Chase that I love, is his Instagram stories, he's taking us with him all day, to the gym, back here at Creative Live, in Seattle, here in San Fran, you know, when he's working out, outside, swimming, like you really get to know the fierce leader of this company, and that's cool, that's intimate. That's awesome, right? And so, if you're comfortable with sharing your persona, maybe you're not so comfortable on video, there's ways around it, little text heavy posts like that is okay because it's on brand, and this is the mistake typically don't see it done as well as Chase does it, it's usually it's random, but with him it's so intentional and obvious. So there's a reason you see all these inspirational quotes here at Creative Live walking all around, right? So he takes it from Instagram, but it's physically here at Creative Live which is so great. Alright, next example, I need to know if anyone in the audience has been to one of these events. You have?
Okay can you grab the mic, because I'm like obsessed with this account okay, Museum of Ice Cream, go figure, it's a museum of ice cream, it's an event, I wanna say what I know, because I might be missing, it's an event, they travel and sell tickets. So their pre-launch is teasing the next event and location so they travel around, and they set up I'm guessing a space where it feels like this, they're in white, they're in bold colors, there's ice cream, and you eat ice cream and you jump in Jimmy's and you have a good day, like what is it, tell me more.
So ice cream is probably something that I love more than anything else in the entire world,
Okay. and the one I went to it was awhile ago, but it was in San Francisco, and they made like a wall out of ice cream, and you could just like taste different kinds of ice cream off the wall,
Off the wall?
And it all looks like a magical ice cream unicorn paradise, a candy land, basically CandyLand.
Okay wait, okay, so that is so here, so tell us more of what else is there besides ice cream on the wall, it's like Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, like, it's inspiration and creativity, are you networking and meeting other people that are coming together because they love ice cream?
Yeah, like everyone is there because they love ice cream.
They love ice cream, is there vegan ice cream, is there coconut milk ice cream, or is it all regular ice cream?
I think when I was there they had different kinds.
Like you had vegan, and that sort of stuff.
And are their flavors their own or are they endorsing ice cream flavors that make the ice cream?
I think it's mostly their own, I don't really remember that part.
Okay, so these are details I don't really know, but I'm just obsessed with their Instagram account, and they're doing it right because the way that they tease the launch of the event, and then bring you in, and then you see Instagram moments like this, I'm like what goes on at this event? Are they dancing, are they on unicorns? But so, is it in a big room?
It was fairly large, it was fairly large, but it was like only like one floor.
And so you had to buy a ticket to go, right?
Yeah you had to buy a ticket, and I stood in line for a long time.
Uh, like a hour, it was a huge line.
And can I ask you how much a ticket is, to go to one of these events, about?
I think I paid my friend who couldn't go, like $45.
$45 to eat ice cream? Okay.
Like as much ice cream as you could possibly want.
As much ice cream as you could possibly want, okay so is this like, is this real? This is crazy, this is Instagram, I love it. So, there you have it, there's a great business model for those of you that love to eat kale. (laughs) Unlike my daughter, you can have like a kale day. This is how ideas are born, though, right? Inspiration from other Instagram accounts. There's pieces here for each one of you watching this, there is absolutely information so, if you think you're ready for next DIY shoot, that's what we're gonna talk about next. The photos, the visuals, because we all want those unicorns and rainbows pictures. They're not easy to get, right? But every time I see a painted wall, and I'm with my husband when we travel, and by the way we were just in Austin, Texas. They have so many great murals, I'm like stop! He's like, what are we doing? An Instagram photo, come here honey. I have an Instagram husband, he's not on Instagram, he's like, what are we doing? Trust me, it's gonna be fun, just do it. He's getting used to it, he understands this is what I do for a living, this is good. But anyway, you need to think about prepping for your next DIY photo shoot so decide if you want to have photos, like multiple photos for the launch or just one, or just this like, when I work with Alana, it was awesome because, I went with every color arm tight that I had. Did I tell you I bought all of them? It's crazy, but I had a blue one, a yellow one, and a pink one so I changed, we had different positions of my hand, bring it forward, bring it back, hold the mic up, hold it low like, you have to think about all of this, and Rachel on my team actually sent Alana a check list, because that's the other thing you wanna do, you wanna have a checklist of what you are trying to accomplish at the photo shoot. When you hire a photographer, you should be really really organized, and make sure you leave with, oh my gosh, I missed that shot, I cannot believe it, I just changed my outfit. Gotta go put it back on, so you wanna make sure you have the check list, but you wanna make sure that you take a lot of photos for multiple launches, when you do it, so the one I did for Alana, was for just the social sip, but when I do a photo shoot with Carissa, who I shared earlier, she has become my photographer for all of my photos, I do one pretty much once a year, with my team, I change probably 10-12 times, and she's like Sue, you change more than any of my clients. That's because I'll take a towel, and I'll change outside in Boston. I don't need to run back, like, I always say, no one's gonna remember me. Just hold the towel, so I just wanna get as many photos, and you want them to be evergreen. You want to think about like what you're gonna be launching that year, what are the campaigns, the outfits for that campaign, do they match the brand, all of that. So you want to pick multiple outfits, so you can shoot them in evergreen. So we've become pretty good at this. I live on the cape in the summer, so we've done a lot of my photo shoots on the cape, and this is first time that I've done it in the city of Boston, where I live most of the year, and I love the skyline behind me, it's just a different feel but it's still on brand, and it's nice to have different backdrops, but finding a backdrop that is on brand was the biggest challenge so I went downtown to Seaport, downtown area in Boston, and it was perfect, so you need to think about that. You also need to think about the time of year that your launch is rolling out, so that if you're shooting in the winter in Boston and there's snow, but you're launching in the spring, there's a little disconnect, the snow and the flowers. So you gotta just plan all that, and you also want to consider who is and is not going to be in the photos with you so, a lot of what we do are, and I'm going to go over the different shot styles but a lot we start, we usually start inside and do a lot of photos inside, and then we move outside depending on the time of day, notice the lighting, as a photographer, they'll tell you the best time to get outside for that. Sweet time of day, and then we typically wrap up and go back in, our photo shoots take us all day. But it's so worth it when you have photos that you can pull from all year without having to think about it again. And we took awhile to plan out this location, I actually did a video and sent it to my team. I'm like, here's a spot in Boston, here's another spot, what do you think? There's a brick wall, there's trees, there's water, and they're like, that's the spot, alright good. So just put it on video if you're gonna be looking at areas and you need to run it by people to see what they think, that's a good way to do it, and decide if you need to bring props so, I love my props, I have a lot of props, I always say I have the best props on the internet. When I'm on Instagram Live and in my office. So bring the props that match up to your business, but typically I keep those inside and outside, we're just doing more stylized shots. So, there's three key images that you need when you work with your photographer. Okay, for your launch, you need to have your personality photos, okay that would be you. Alright, and how you stand out in your personality, whatever that is, you need to have your product, or your service shots, okay? So videographer, your camera, your camera bag, all the things that you do to set yourself up for success. You know, sorry, I forget your first name.
Yours is Ian and yours?
Reva! So for you, it could be a rainbow of fruits and vegetables, next to weights and different types of weights, and maybe it's the barbell like, props like that, just having, even if it's behind you, so notice like I said, I have the best props on the internet, like I even still to have something representational near me when I'm teaching, because it just helps, explain this is Instagram, this is Instagram Stories. (laughs) So having the right props for the photo shoots, making a list of what they are, maybe those props are cards, that have the words on it that match up to what you're trying to do, or maybe their mugs. I know that Sarah Blakely in her personal feed is always sipping on an inspirational mug now, as one of her posts, it's not a post that she's launching, but it's personality, so think of like, what's the words on your mugs? Or maybe cards that you buy at the store and you save those and gather your props, the ones that make sense, okay? Also, having your non product service detailed shots so these are shots where you have your devices out. And Instagram, the shots with the phone, when people are looking down at their phone, it's very instagrammable or when the phones are on the table and you're shooting high to low on to the table, and there's laptops and computer and phones out on the table, those all feel like oh, they're working, what are they working on, what is that? What's coming up next, so here are some shots of me in the city of Boston, okay? So the one on the right is from a photo shoot when we got a shit ton of snow, that was like two years ago. And so Carissa's like, jump off the snow bank! And that's so you! And I'm like okay, Carissa, where are the balloons? And I'm like, I got them, good! So we brought balloons to that photo shoot, we brought glitter, the glitter didn't quite work, I kept blowing the glitter, but it just didn't work so, we had all my signs, it was so cold. We were in a hotel, and I'm like, can we use your bathroom for a photo shoot, and they're like, are you coming and going? We stampled in so much snow, back and forth, changing like as many time, and I couldn't feel my fingers in the end so, again notice the time of year, but the snow makes for a nice reflection, and then my Chanel boots which by the way. I discovered those boots on Instagram, from Holly Nichols, who is an Illustrator. And I talked about her in my first Instagram course. She did an Instagram story holding up those Chanel boots, and I'm like, I have to buy those boots. Those are amazing, Morgan and Rachel on my team are like, why are you buying those boots, and I'm like, I love them, they glitter! So I walked down the streets of Boston, and my husbands like, what you buy? It's all good honey, you don't even know what Chanel is, so we're good. Anyway, I love the boots, and that's just the personality shot, right? That's downtown Boston Seaport, which is beautiful. Have any of you guys visited? Other than Alana, who lives right there? Oh you did, okay, isn't that such a great area? Cobble stone, I love all the textures, it's great. Okay, so here are the product or service shots, okay? So I'm actually just holding up white paper, and my graphic designer can super impose my logo, or we can put words on that. This is a really great tip for you guys. I also have a little chalk board, that has stripes on it, so if you hold up a white piece of paper high or low, and I'm blurry in the back so the attention's on our strategy guide, our Instagram strategy guide, so that is a product shot because I sell a service online, which Instagram for business owners is our online course. But also if you sell physical products, The LoveBomb Co is a great Instagram account to write down. I love Jenna, I've talked about her in the past. She sends me awesome mugs like this to help manifest some cool ass shit and it's like, that's my kind of mug. So, notice the details of the nail polish. And the shirt that matches it, those are all details that are intentional, okay? So these are product shots, you guys. And then, Jody, who is a client of mine, she knits and she sent me this blanket, and I'm like Jody, I messaged her on Instagram, do you have any like neutral blankets that I can use in my product shots, I'll tag you when I use it, and Jody sent me that knitted blanket. She sent me a white one and we used the tan one, and she's like keep both of them. And so that was really nice so I'm able to tag her, and give her shout outs and have her get more Instagram followers just simply from showcasing her in a photo shoots so, I want you guys to think about, what other businesses and brands align with you, where you can put their products, or props in their photos and tag them, as a collaboration and you'll get attention from your feed and reciprocate, and that's a great way to do it. Okay and there is me and Morgan. You guys are going to be hearing from Morgan a little later, she's gonna be talking all about Instagram ads, you guys, it's gonna be amazing but Morgan and I are sitting at my apartment, and this is that shot I talked about, there's no products, it's all the devices I got my phone, we got our computer, she's got her phone on the table. Thank you Starbucks, product placement, no they didn't pay me for that, they should. But this is, Carissa basically just to get this shot she's like, just look at each other and smile. I'm like, okay, and then she'll say funny things as a photographer, and then Morgan will say something, you know, getting these shots sometimes can take a lot of time so just know that if you're going to do this, you wanna have the lighting right, the right props, all the things that are on brand, Morgan's bracelets, the bright colors, all very very intentional. And this is also part, it will become part of a campaign for a launch that we do, when I'm wearing that pink top. So every top I'm in, matches up to a campaign that we will launch. And you guys will see this unfold, as you watch my Instagram account, and you all turn notifications on, TheInstagramExpert, you'll be like, oh Sue's in a campaign I remember her talking about that shirt, okay? So you want to make the most of your limited time, and you wanna use creative tools that can really help you create your visual content, and be very very intentional about what you're putting in those photos. Sometimes, my dog will be in the photo in the wrong place, and Carissa will be like we have to do it again because Cody's tail was in that one, or you know, there'll be a green gummy in the photo, or like some food that didn't match up to what we were doing. Like all those details, you need to have a really good eye for it, and I trust Carissa, she always have my back, and she'll jump up on a table like this, to get the right picture, like she'll do whatever it takes to get the right picture. And she's like Sue hold it, hold it. So you wanna work with someone that's gonna help you deliver those photos, and if you can't afford a photographer maybe you can barter, maybe you have something they need and you can barter but really investing in those photos will help. Okay, one of my favorite apps to use, to create content, and by the way, when I first started on Instagram, I started a lot of time in Canva, and when I went to Syndey, Australia for a conference I visited their office, and it's so awesome, their door is that color, and it was so fun to be there. And I used to be in the trenches of Canva. Full disclosure, I don't spend my time there now, I have a graphic designer, but this is where we start, we start out, like all of you are nodding, like Canva is amazing and you can use it to create great animation. My graphic designer took the background of a photo shoot which you can probably see a little bit behind the shape my hands there, my dress. And this is actually an animated gif. I want to talk to this point for a second. So every time we launch a blog post, now this is not a product, but this is content so, for those of you that are thinking, I'm a blogger, like how does this all apply to me? We are so intentional that every single time we have a blog post, we have an animated gif like this. And they're in my brand colors, so you know that when you see that animated gif, I launched, I dropped a new blog post. On my website there's a new blog post, and you all can learn something new. So that blog day is extremely intentional for me and my team, from the point that we send it out to our email list in the morning, wait a couple hours, to the point I start posting on social, specifically Instagram, my team does LinkedIn, Facebook, and Twitter, we are trying to drive traffic to our blog, because why, because that's our website, we own it. We want to get you there, we want you to read it, we want you to comment, we want you to share it, and we might even target you with Facebook ads, right? So this, we take very very seriously, the content we create so a lot of the principals that I'm teaching about product and services, we apply to our blog posts that we share, typically once a week. And so, when you guys start seeing this, you'll be like, I can go learn something new. And then, in my Instagram stories, I'm talking about this blog post with great intention. I'm driving traffic to the blog post, and then at 9pm, at blog day, pretty much all the time, unless I have something personal going on and there's a conflict, I go live on Instagram Live and I teach something that is about the blog, but I teach a ninja tip that I didn't talk about in the blog. And I bring in guests into my dual broadcast. I'm gonna show you all this later, the Instagram Live is the next session. Now this might sound exhausting to you guys, but this is content, but this is how you stay top of mind, this is how you build influence, this is how you become the go to person in your space by building that trust by someone who's teaching the same content consistently, and we have been doing this consistently so our audience is conditioned to understand like that's what to expect when we share content. Is this making sense to you guys? So Canva is the tool that you all can use to create something similar and this blog post that you all should write down, super easy, this blog post sits on my website. I'm literally teaching you how to create an animated gif, similar to what I showed you, step by step, everything that you need, I have a youtube channel that's embedded in that blog post, I have it written out. So if any of you want to start doing graphics, like animated graphics, this is a great blog post to go read. And when you're there, make sure you leave me a comment that you came over from Creative Live, because that's how I know you landed where I'm telling you to go, that's for everyone out there on the internet, too. Wave.video, they are actually based in Boston, I had the pleasure of meeting the founder of this company, talked about them on stage at social media marketing world, is another resource for all of you, who are not savvy with your own videos, or feeling like you have the skills, like a videographer does, to do video. This is drag and drop images, drag and drop videos, some of your own, some of them are stock, and there is a special discount code for all of you. Are you ready to right this down. It's WXA_50_OFF, 50% off, to use this software. And it creates, should I say that again, out loud? Okay, I got the nod, I'm going to say it again. WXA_50_OFF, I'm gonna have to coach them on coming up with a better code (laughs). Alright, but you guys got it, right? You wrote it all down, okay. So let me show you what this looks like. I'm gonna press play, and oh there is some volume, there's a little, there's audio, awesome! (soft music) Okay so simple right? So this is real easy, and can be done for your Instagram story. So if you want movement, and you're in your launch, and you want things a little bit more up level, than the real raw photos of you doing the selfie style talk, this is a great way to do that, super easy. You guys excited about this? Has anyone heard of wave video before? Because you read social media marketing world. Did you see their booth.
I got it.
Okay, can you take the mic? So talk about it.
Okay so, I picked it up, I'm actually pretty good at video editing but the access to all the other videos, you have access to a million or some crazy number of professionally shot videos of just about any topic you can think of, so that was really valuable for me.
So did you search the topic and then you have the choices?
Exactly yes. So if you're doing video, or you're doing computers, whatever you're looking for, it's pretty much there. And they have an editing tool where you can pull your own video in, use their video, mix it up, add the sound, anything you want like that.
and it's super easy.
Awesome, thanks for sharing, so lets quickly recap this section you guys and move on. So using consistent visual aesthetic can make people stop in their scroll, and that's what you want, you want people to stop and engage. You want to experiment with different types of styles of images to find out what's gonna best connect to your audience. And every photo and video that you share, can add to the narrative that you're creating for your launch.