A lot has happened in the past year, not only IRL but also on our feeds. For better or for worse, the pandemic skyrocketed screen-time, bringing a ton of eyeballs to Instagram with every brand battling for them. As Instagram’s trending content continues to change quickly, marketers need to stay ahead of the curve in order to keep their brand relevant.
Here’s a breakdown of emerging creative trends, along with corresponding tips and tricks to help you elevate your brand’s Instagram aesthetic.
Level Up Graphics with Animation
Adding movement to your content makes it more dynamic. At Socialfly, we’ve seen that quote posts with video components are some of the highest performing pieces of content. One way to take quote cards to the next level and guarantee higher engagement rates is by adding animation, like a moving background or repeating or flashing text. In this example that we did for client Ghluv, the ocean waves grab users’ attention in a soothing way. Not to mention, high-quality stock video layered beneath text carries an editorial flair that can be great for the aesthetic.
Upgrade Solids to Gradients
Thought you could get away from the quarantine tie-dye obsession? Now it’s on your feed too. If you’re looking for another way to enhance your brand’s graphics, get creative with gradients. Replacing a solid color with a subtle gradient can do the trick. Gradients add a softer touch to your designed piece, not to mention a gentle pop of color to help liven up your feed. (Pro Tip: This style is best fit for brands targeting Millennials and Gen Z.)
Mimic Smartphone Features
Scrolling through the ‘gram and suddenly find yourself looking at an iPhone note or reminder notification you don’t remember writing? While at first it was jarring to feel like your favorite brand hacked your phone, these types of posts continue to grow in popularity and receive high engagement. Not only do they feel natural and seamless, but they also help your audience envision how the product or service could play into their day-to-day lifestyle.
Portray Radical Authenticity
While commercial photography is still important, it’s now just as important to balance your brand’s feed with content that looks real. Not try hard, not perfect, but “taken on my iPhone” in a way that looks natural. The no-filter edit plays into the user-generated content look that pushes authenticity and forms a community-inspired feed.
Utilize Carousels for Advocacy and Education
Even though this style requires the reader to swipe a few times, if done right, the scroller will be pulled in. So how do you nail this carousel aesthetic? Keep it simple and use ample space. Utilize a modern or whimsical font to let your copy shine. After all, it’s all about the copy here and educating your audience.
Even if your brand isn’t vocal about social causes, you can use this text-heavy carousel for any educational purpose on Instagram Story or Instagram.
However, if you rely on paid promotion, we recommend focusing on Instagram Stories first. Carousels don’t always perform as well as other types of posts, but both are great for aesthetics and storytelling.
Dabble in Reels
There’s a learning curve with Instagram’s short-form video content, but now is the time to adopt this new feature. As always, remember to provide value to your audience. Not only will people spend more time on your post, but your post will rocket up the algorithm as Instagram likes to promote its new features. (Pro Tip: Be careful not to post with the TikTok stamp on Instagram, or it won’t be promoted.)
If you’re ready to elevate your brand’s aesthetic, get in touch with firstname.lastname@example.org.
Written By: Melissa Levin, Junior Art Director