Nowadays creating content on social media could be considered a form of modern art. It takes a lot of effort, patience, and needs an overall concept in order to reach the desired outcome.
Just the same as a piece of art made by an artist, right?When we take this example to the influencer marketing field, the real question is: what makes an account attractive for a modern kind of marchand – so a brand itself?
We asked our influencers from all over the world to share their experiences with creating branded content and gathered some tips for all aspiring creators.
It’s all about the details
Good quality – that’s an expression that’s always used when it comes to Instagram content created for professional use. Mostly in reference to the composition of a picture (including good lighting, not blurred elements, vivid colours) but also the way the product is displayed.
Brands are really sensitive about the context in which their product is presented. That’s why it’s important to show the logo or the product in a visible place and avoid recommending services of brands’ competitors as it is perceived as highly unprofessional.
These rules don’t necessarily mean that the way of presenting a product needs to be the same every time. Imagination plays a big (maybe even the biggest) role in the process of promoting a product.
As Onyi and Craig, UK based owners and creators of @mossonyi account suggest:
The key thing we pay attention to is understanding the message of the brand. Only then can we interpret it in our own way which enables us to tell a story on behalf of the brand. The product then becomes less of a focus with the brand message taking centre stage. This is what makes a successful campaign in our opinion.
Fredi, a German based creator of @fredi_boldt profile outlines:
I don’t like doing product placements or highlighting products extremely, and, I think, most people/followers don’t like that, too. So I am trying to add products to my regular content and remaining true to my style.
Don’t be a copycat
Every photo should depict a story that is involved in creating it. When you don’t pay attention to the caption, it makes the audience feel as if something is missing. Whenever you’re wondering what thoughts to share with your audience – think about yourself as a storyteller – what associations bring this photo and the product you are presenting to life? What memory do you have when looking at the place it was taken? Or simply… how is your day going?
People prefer to follow creators with whom they can somehow associate with and know them a little bit more from a personal side. When an influencer expresses his or her personality by sharing their passions, things important from his/her perspective or a personal taste, followers are more likely to treat him or her as a kind of friend.
As Hugues, an owner of @hug_thesituation claims:
(…)I’m passionate about photography, art and travels. I love sharing my passions and Instagram allows me to do so. As a private person, it’s easy for me to share my feelings and my journeys through my posts. I want to help and inspire as many people as possible and I always inject my personality into my posts. We need to celebrate our individuality that’s why I hate to see copycats. There is no certified rule book on any of this. It’s all about self-expression. Be true to yourself!
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I love those people who can make me smile😊😁 during bad and good moments. Sharing this with the world is a symbol of friendship and peace. Nothing can be done without hope and confidence. Share yours with me 😉 @alexii_lgl @vanessa_jone @aichadiorthiam #KeepSASmiling #MySmileMoment #ColgateSA #ad
Jessica, a creator of @jesych profile adds:
“(…)especially for a introvert like me, showing the world your interests and passions via IG posts is the easiest and the most comfortable way. Like I post about my music, my art, my modeling, my healthy lifestyle, my love for animals, my work out, basically all of me.”
Jonathan, a US based owner of @jonathantilkin account sums up:
(…)My Instagram feed is definitely heavily curated, but everything is is geared towards showing the things I like to do and the places I see. As a musician, the platform is great for putting out music (both on my story and main feed) and using polls to let my audience tell me what they like about the projects I’m working on.
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Had such a great time this weekend exploring the Wynwood walls down in Miami. You’d think I would have checked them out at some point growing up, but I never really had the chance! Stopped in at this cool coffee shop to escape the heat for a bit, but made sure I stayed on schedule with my #Olympos Swiss-made timepiece from @Zodiacwatches. It’s a re-creation of their 1961 iconic watch and I honestly can’t stop staring at it – more details in my bio! 😄 #ZodiacWatches #Sponsored
Discuss, don’t just observe
It is essential to give your followers the feeling that you genuinely care about them and their opinion. Remember, it is not only about numbers but a real kind of bond that starts when you engage them more and more when creating your visuals.
As Jessica’s (@jesych) pointed out:
I never treat my followers as fans, I treat them like my friends and I take time to respond. To me this influencer job is not only for marketing purpose (…). We can really contribute, inspire and support each other.
Onyi and Craig (@mossonyi) on communicating with their followers:
We tend to interact with our followers on our Instagram posts. We make an effort to make our posts more inclusive. This could be by telling them how we’ve spent our day and also asking them about their day so it’s not just a one sided relationship.
Stay true to yourself
Never promote products that you wouldn’t use on a daily basis or you’re not genuinely curious about. Your audience is really sensible and probably will point it out very quickly.
Also, pay attention to recommending products that fit the general flow of your account – there needs to be a link between the influencer’s lifestyle and the brand’s spirit. Why? This approach doesn’t only make your account more consistent but also makes you a more authentic influencer.
In Jonathan’s opinion (@jonathantilkin):
From my experience, brands care most about finding an influencer whose identity lines up with the image the brand is trying to convey. It’s about selling a lifestyle and, more than ever these days, authenticity. (…) The most success is found when the ad seamlessly blends with the world the influencer has created. This only happens when the product is something the influencer would actually use – it has to be something they feel 100% comfortable promoting because if that ease and belief in the product isn’t there, people will notice.
Let’s sum up all the great tips that our influencers kindly shared with us:
- It’s all about the details – the more you pay attention to the product’s exposition without losing your creativity, the better the quality is! Also, try to catch the general idea a brand wants to show through product promotion -with a better understanding of the campaign goal and the brands overall message, you will be able to present it in a more attractive way.
- Don’t be a copycat– try to create an interesting caption that will be a personal note from your side and will make your content more “complete”.
- Discuss, don’t just observe – a bond with your audience is something you should care about in the first place, so that they stay longer with you and support all your activities.
- Stay true to yourself – always be honest when it comes to promoting a brand – if you feel it doesn’t fit your lifestyle, it’s worth thinking about the collaboration twice.
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As you see, in a social media world full of aspiring content creators, it ain’t easy to be noticed. However, if you follow one line of style and focus on a message you want to spread by using your visuals, you will easily observe that your profile is increasingly blooming.
And the more unique and personal the story you tell is, the more people will be interested in the work you create. From this point is not that far away to making brands eager to work with you!