How to Leverage Visuals When Selling on Instagram + Tools to Use

By Gaurav Belani

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Instagram is on a roll. Launched in October 2010, it was late to the party? Facebook launched way back in 2004, and Twitter in 2006. Nevertheless, Instagram has crossed some truly admirable milestones:

  • It has more than 1 billion monthly active users worldwide, of which 500 million access the app daily.
  • More than 35% of all online adults use Instagram.
  • At 2.2%, Instagram's massive user base has the highest engagement rate of all social platforms. 
  • Users spend an average of 53 minutes a day on Instagram, interacting with accounts, scrolling through posts, watching Stories, conversing with friends, and more.

As a business looking to capitalize on Instagram, these numbers must be music to your ears. But wait, there's more:

  • Eight out of ten (or 80%) of Instagram users actively follow at least one business on the platform.
  • Engagement with brands on Instagram is 10 times higher than Facebook, 54 times higher than Pinterest, and 84 times higher than Twitter.
  • 60% of users claim to have discovered products on Instagram.
  • Over a third of Instagram users purchased a product online via their mobile.

So, if you're just starting out selling your products and promoting your business on Instagram? well, it's about time. The platform is perfect for showcasing your products in a good light, acquiring new audiences willing to shop online, and ultimately build a raving fanbase for your brand. The question is: what kind of images should you upload?

While the possibilities are endless, there are three types of images you must upload to manifest yourself as a modern, savvy business:

Product Images

Product images are high-resolution photographs in which the product is highlighted against a pure white backdrop. These images enable your shoppers to focus only on the product without any distractions. And so, make sure to always upload at least one of these (preferably multiple, from different angles) to showcase your product as is.

For instance, Everlane does a fantastic job of posting high-quality product images.

Now, it is possible you don't have your product's images with a pure white background. If that's the case, you don't have to purchase and learn costly and complex tools like Photoshop to modify the background. Just use online tools like AutoClipping to quickly and easily remove the background of your product's image and make it pure white.



Lifestyle Photos

In essence, lifestyle photography means showcasing your products as they're being used in real-life, everyday situations by ordinary people. Typically, it involves using a scenic background with a model to flaunt your product in all its glory.

For example, here's how Banana Republic nails its Instagram game by posting beautiful lifestyle photos.

 

You see, Instagram shoppers (or anyone for that matter) wouldn't like it if you just straight up promote your products and be salesy. The best product promotions are ones that don't feel like a promotion at all. Instead, they appear natural and hence, more “check it out” worthy. Simply put, lifestyle photos are agreeable, relatable, and easy on the eye.

Besides, if you're finding it hard to come up with ideas for such photos, snoop around your favourite brands or competitors on Instagram. You're sure to find more than enough inspiration for your own campaign.

Illustrations

This is something not many product-based brands do, and that is why it can make all the difference for you, helping you stand out from the competition.

As a business looking to promote and sell products over Instagram, the following two types of illustrations may work extremely well:

  • Creative typography: Minimalistic, text-only posts that look simple yet elegant. These may comprise a single phrase contrasted against a subtle background, or an illustration leveraging the concept of negative space.


  • Crisp infographics: A short infographic underlining all the key benefits and unique features of your product. It can also take the form of an instructional illustration that demonstrates how user-friendly and easy-to-use the product is.

You may be thinking how on earth will you design something that looks so professional from scratch. The thing is, you don't have to. Enter Canva: a tool countless small businesses rely on for producing great-looking social media visuals swiftly.

 

With hundreds of ready-made templates, icons, illustrations, and an intuitive drag-and-drop interface, all you need is a bit of creativity to design beautiful graphics.

Closing Thoughts

While you can do all the creative work? photography, editing, basic graphic design? yourself, it is advisable to hire local professionals to do it for you. Don't scrimp on visuals by uploading amateurish images taken on your smartphone.

It is not that expensive to hire a professional? consider hunting one on Fiverr. Starting at as low as $5, it is actually quite affordable. Investing in high-quality photography and professionally designed illustrations will pay dividends throughout the lifetime of your business, so it's definitely worth it.

Make sure to keep Instagram marketing best practices in mind when marketing your business on this platform. Onward and upward!


About the Author:

Gaurav Belani is a Senior SEO and Content Marketing Analyst at The 20 Media, a Content Marketing agency that specializes in data-driven SEO. He has more than seven years of experience in Digital Marketing and loves to write about Blogging, Link Building, and Content Strategy to help clients grow their search visibility. In his spare time, he enjoys watching movies and listening to music. Connect with him on Twitter @belanigaurav.

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