Tuesday, January 14, 2014

indieBusiness: Instagram Luuuurve.

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Everyone talks about branding. Your "online brand", your "personality", consistency etc etc etc. You have no doubt heard it all before. There are so many different social media platforms that I sometimes feel that it is actually quite difficult to maintain a consistent image throughout all platforms. Especially considering that each social media platform has a slightly different use/intention. And let's face it, social media has become a way of life and life isn't always packaged in exactly the right hue to match your logo.

For example - let's say your entire online branding is saturated with lashings of pinks and reds which you wish to carry through your entire "online kingdom". BUT, here comes the dilemma - you are sitting at your lunch table desperate to share today's nommings on instagram but you have not eaten strawberries, cherries, pomegranates or anything else in the reddish-pink spectrum. In fact, the super healthy EPIC GREEN spinach and kale salad you had does not fit into your branding colour-scheme whatsoever. Do you share the leafy greens which completely destroy your pink hues.. or do decide to rather not share your lunch but hopefully share some pinkish-red cherries that you will eat tomorrow? Today I just wanted to share my thoughts on this and a few of the instagram accounts that I follow - that I think are getting it SO RIGHT.

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The first instagram account that I wanted to share with you comes from Laura Bezant, a jewellery designer based in London - Laura is a friend of mine and her instagram account is one of my favourites to browse through. Not only because she posts gorgeous diamonds and gems all the time (*ahem*) but because her branding is so consistent with her products that her instagram feed literally drips honey-bronzed-gold. And, if you click over to her bespoke pieces - you will see that her instagram aesthetic is almost identical to her incredible golden-typography. Side note: see also her pinterest account. This lady has it down.

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When I was screen snapping these instagram accounts, I saved them all onto my desktop without naming them at all. Knowing that without doubt, I would be able to very easily match up the photos to the instagram account and the next two accounts I want to introduce you to are perfect examples of exactly that. Above: Jared Botha - mainly black and white, city, raw. You get a real sense that every single one of his shots are completely thoughtfully composed, balanced and executed with a sharp clarity.

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 Oh So Pretty Blog is another instagram account that has it down. Completely filled with white, whimsical snaps of daily life. Victoria works hard to create an aesthetic that is consistent which compliments her clean and minimal blog style. She even makes eggs look amazing.

 photo omyogi_zps55c8485c.png  photo omyogi3_zps3f26ee2a.pngSometimes though, you can create an instagram account that is consistent based on the content of your shots rather than the aesthetic of the pictures. Take for example, Om_yogi who posts daily pictures of her yoga practise. Whilst the "look and feel" of her photographs are not necessarily always visually consistent - the content she posts is and is what is used to create her online image - which is strong. You know exactly what you'll get when you open up her instagram feed.

So here's the dilemma -The way I see it - there are two ways to look at "creating yourself" online. The first, your brand/blog/website/words as an ONLINE BRAND. The other is as an ONLINE PERSONALITY. And it is your choice to choose which social media platforms you wish you create yourself as an "online brand" and which of those you wish to use to create your "online personality" - and of course there will be a large part of overlap within these two streams. For example, in my own instagram account, I often post photos of Warren and I, cups of tea or random breakfasts - which doesn't really have anything to do with "indieBerries the stationery and design brand". It does however, have everything to do with "indieBerries the person". In my opinion, the things I choose to share on these different platforms completely determine whether I am building up an "online brand" or an "online personality". I agree that for a large part, these things will definitely overlap - but say for example I wished to build my instagram account purely for "indieBerries the brand" - I would (tearfully) refrain from posting pictures of my lunch, my husband, my seventh cup of coffee. I would become more conscious of the content I was posting - ie: more random doodles, more product shots, more card ideas, more cartoons etc. I would also pay more attention to the lighting and style of each of these pictures. For me though, I have chosen to use my instagram feed to build myself as a personality rather than a brand - it's my life, the random happenings, the behind the scenes of the actual 'brand-work' and the funny lols - but over this coming year, I would like to bring the two closer together.

What can I do to create a more consistent Instagram account?
  1. Become more conscious of the things you are choosing to post. I am guilty of this in the exponential. But let's be honest, any picture looks way better with an instagram filter. And sometimes that snapshot (the one not fit for internet consumption) that you wish to send to your friend needs a filter. If you wish to instagram something but don't want to post it on your instagram feed - Go to settings > airplane mode. Instagram your photo (and make sure your settings are set to save to your camera roll). Once you have instagrammed your pic, turn airplane mode back on and delete it from your instagram feed. A copy will be saved in your camera roll, but it will not be published.
  2. Build yourself an "aesthetic". Both Laura Bezant and Oh So Pretty Blog - do this very effectively on instagram. Pay attention to lighting, use filters that are similar. Compose your pictures with the entire set in mind. (Will this picture fit in with all the other pictures I have posted?)
  3. Create hashtags for yourself. And check in often. I have only recently started doing this with #indieberries. Since I use instagram in a more "personal" capacity it is useful to create hashtags such as this one - for me to be able to build the "brand" side of this platform without losing the "indieBerries-the-person" side of things.
  4. Use other photo-editing programs to build a consistent feel. Your photos for example could all feature a "polaroid" type feel or hipstamatic light leaks - play around with different looks and feels and find one that you like and is easy for you to use and then build up your profile around it. Some of my favourite editing apps: hipstamatic, picture show, studio design, vsco, square ready. I haven't had a chance to download the beautiful mess app - but I imagine it would be a goodie!
  5. Do it your own way! As many tips/rules/advice I could give you, I think the main thing is for you to ENJOY the social media platform you are using. If you are having fun then your followers will feel it! If you REALLY feel like posting a picture of your peanut butter sandwich - even although it doesn't really have much to do with anything - go for it! At the end of the day - it is your account and you should post the things that make YOU happy!

Speaking of which... I am currently participating in the 100 happy days challenge on instagram - come join in!

You can follow me on instagram here.

Which are your favourite instagram accounts? Share Share!



Helena said...

Such a great post. I totally agree with you on the 'bringing together your brand AND personality' part. I think Pinterest is a great example for this (at least for me) - I only pin what really feels right for me, so it's definitely a representation of who I am, but also goes hand in hand with my brand. As I think it always does, since most brands are created based on people's personalities and aesthetics.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts + by the way, you look cute in your vintage NYE outfit :) x

femmegypsy said...

Another great example is: http://instagram.com/froufrouu Absolutely adore this Instagram account!

Gaelyn Cokayne said...

Awesome tips Che, thank you! I am definitely an online personality rather than a brand. However that being said, I reckon my personality matches my brand so it seems to work for me!

Che Kershaw said...

ooh I love that!

Che Kershaw said...

I completely agree with you! I LOVE your pinterest account and I think one of the reasons that it's so successful is that you already have a very strong sense of personal style - which is why it's easy for you to marry the two together. I think it's almost impossible for people to create a brand that does not have a hint of them in it somewhere.. but I also think that some platforms are geared better for different purposes - so that an instagram feed could be your "behind the scenes of you and your work" (which will obviously still have a strong style/aesthetic) and a pinterest account would lend itself more to "your brand image". Either way loads of overlapping and since it's grown from a person - it will always be shifting and changing :)

Helena said...

Thank you, Che! I think Pinterest has actually helped a lot in 'finding my style'/getting a sense for it. And definitely agree with you - different platforms all have different strengths. I'm only just trying to figure out Google+, and sometimes even feel like I haven't completely got my head around Twitter and Instagram yet. So thanks again for the tips, really helpful! :)

vanessa said...

lovely. got some good new ppl to follow too. I like Pomverte.

allydlv said...

Great post Ché! Thanks for the tips!

Abby said...

So true. One of my goals for my blog this year is to think like a brand

Ms. Dee said...

I'm kind of crazy when it comes to the aesthetic of my instagram account (and my blog really), to the point that pretty much everyone I know in real life knows my color scheme and what I'll instagram and what I won't. Sometimes I feel very limited with what I can and can't post, but I just really like how it looks and I get a lot of compliments on it, so I'm sticking with it and sharing pictures that don't "fit in" on twitter instead.

Che Kershaw said...

ooooh yes!! Your instagram feed (and Blog!) have the most gorgeous aesthetic! I think that's one of the things that I have been worried about - the "limiting" factor of making everything so stylistically similar. But you are right and very deserving of those compliments - so gorgeous! x

Che Kershaw said...

ps - there was actually also another instagrammer/blogger who I wanted to include, but I couldn't remember her name - she does quite a lot of soft pinky posts. She was recommended by instagram as someone to follow and then ended up with a WHOLE lot of spammers and ended up shutting down her account and changing to a private one!

Michelle said...

OMG they are all so organised. mine is far from that and I do need to work on it but doubt I will ever be at the consistency of these instagrammers.