Instagram has become a powerful tool in the crafting and blogging world. As artisans, we should take advantage of this free visual marketing. Craft Lake Vendor WILD BIRD uses it’s gorgeous Instagram feed to promote their product and connect with customers. WILD BIRD is a Salt Lake-based company that sell stylish sling to carry infants and toddlers. Their product is functional and practical, but also aesthetically beautiful. Though their feed looks very professional, WILD BIRD founder Tayler Golden says that only about 10% of their photos are from professional photographers—the other 90% are taken on her iPhone! WILD BIRD promotes it’s baby sling products through beautiful photos and through influencers (other people who have a solid social media or blog following). They also encourage their customers to post photos using their product. WILD BIRD will then share their customer’s photos of their product as a way to promote and connect with the customer.
Golden also says she loves to connect with customers at markets, such as Craft Lake City. “(Craft Lake City) helped us make our community stronger. I love being face to face with my customers. There is nothing better than being able to help moms sling their babies all day long.”
Because they take most of their own photos themselves, WILD BIRD has learned to take and properly edit aesthetically pleasing photos. They recommend using Photoshop or VSCO. WILD BIRD’s Instagram feed is full of well-lit photos with a decent amount of white space and great composition. Ultimately, Golden attributes her business and Instagram success to focus and hard work. We’ve got a few tips for you to up your Instagram game and build your own Instagram success.
Taking the photo
While taking a photo, the most important things to remember are proper composition, focus, and lighting. Natural lighting will generally serve you best. Use it when you can. As for focus, since most people view Instagram on their phones, it’s a relatively small screen. You don’t need as much focus as you would a website or print, but even so, no one likes a shaky photo. Make sure to have clarity, even if you need to take a few photos to get it. Composition can be tricky. A good tip is to follow the rule of thirds. Most phone cameras have a grid setting, and Instagram has one as well. Try to make focal points where the lines intersect. The Instagram post below from WILD BIRD is a great example of the rule of thirds. The sling is the clear focal point.
It is also helpful to have lines leading your eye to the focal point. An interesting angle can work with any subject. If you’re photographing something that is common or a little mundane, try an interesting angle to give the photo some excitement—just don’t go too crazy. A photo that’s too busy can give a viewer a headache. The post below is a great angle. It has the reflection to add some interest and color, lines from the window pointing to the sling (the focal point), and it’s relatable. The viewer is in the position of the person wearing the sling.
Make white space your friend, especially when photographing a product that already has a lot of color or pattern. Get some solid backgrounds to shoot on, such as poster board, a slab of marble, tile, or a bit of wood. Just head over to the hardware store or the ‘As Is’ section in IKEA and get a few backgrounds to choose from. Or, maybe even the flooring or walls in your house could work! Generally speaking, an uncomplicated background is a good idea. WILD BIRD consistently uses white backgrounds to showcase their product.
Editing the photo
It can be a little tricky to take a professional photo with a phone camera, but worry not: There’s an app for that! Actually, there are quite a few apps for that, such as VSCO, Color Story, Whitagram, Snapseed, Camera+, and Pixlr, just to name a few. You don’t need to be a photography expert to figure out these apps. They are pretty user-friendly.
Exposure is important to utilize when you’re editing. You may have a great composition and subject, but without proper lighting, no one would be able to tell. A well-lit photo can go a long way. Taylor Gunn of WILD BIRD says, “I take 90% of my Instagram photos on my iPhone. It’s all about the right lighting at editing. If I’m shooting inside, I always like to make sure it’s nice and bright, and if I’m shooting outside, it has to be cloudy or evening time. Then, I use VSCO to edit. I love the filter A6. It’s just such a pretty filter, I can’t bring myself to venture from it.” Below is an example of WILD BIRD’s great use of lighting.
Make sure to keep your edits simple. Over-editing can be just as bad as under-editing. The natural look is very popular on Instagram, great for selling products in a good light, and thus good for business. No one is naturally sepia.
Posting the photo
When posting, try to be consistent. Post regularly, whether that’s daily, every couple of days, or even weekly. But be wary of posting too much in one day. If you have multiple posts in a day, try to space them out over a few hours. Don’t flood your followers’ feeds. Consistency in the content you post is also important. Have a brand, a style that suits you and your product. Try sticking to a color scheme to show some fluency through your feed. The aesthetic of your feed as a whole is as important as are the individual images you post. When a viewer is deciding to follow you or not, it will largely be based on how your entire feed looks, collectively, as they scroll. It’s much less likely that one great photo will sway them.
When posting, write captions that engage viewers. Questions are a great way to engage. Likes and comments will, of course, draw traffic to your feed, but if you’re looking to reach a larger market, try using popular hashtags. Hashtags connect you to all sorts of people. For example, if you are posting about a cake you made, use the hashtag #instacake or #instafood. You can also look at hashtag feeds for others posting similar things or for similar hashtags. You can even start your own hashtag for your product and encourage others to post for you using your hashtag. WILD BIRD uses #mywildbird and #wildbirdstash to connect their customers. It doesn’t hurt to throw an adorable sleeping baby into your photo either!
Instagram is powerful tool. It can help you or hurt you. The importance of a quality Instagram feed is invaluable to a business. Besides that, good photos make your products look good. They also show that you are professional and that you take pride in your product. Let your Instagram feed reflect the quality of your product. Take advantage of this influential marketing tool.