Content creation is serious business…

One of the most important components of a successful social media game plan is the ability to create solid content. Brands need to stand out from the clutter and produce assets that are memorable, especially in crowded verticals. It is not enough to just wing it and hope for the best. It is mission critical that you have members of your team who can shoot and edit at a high level to make sure you are putting your best foot forward.

There is plenty of photography talent out there these days and we even use some freelancers from time to time to help us capture certain styles or solve for non-studio or even non-NYC shots. I would argue though that you still need to control the aesthetic from a brand-side POV and cannot rely solely on freelancers. Someone needs to be able to edit and modify as needed and have enough social chops to know when to create a video, vs when to post a carousel or even just which individual stills work in specific scenarios.

Not everything needs to be super stylized and overly branded and recent data shows that consumers actually prefer UGC or more “real imagery” instead. That being said, nothing should be lazy or careless. You can/should use UGC and 3rd party content as part of your mix, but a good editor can still create brand side assets made to feel real and authentic. Also, if you think about the end goal and reverse engineer from what you want to have happen, then you can glean more value out of all of your content from your website photos, to influencer collaborations, to photo shoots and everything in between.

As a very important differentiator, I think that having a social media agency mindset with a real understanding of the “what” and “why” makes a big difference when looking to create content that produces results. So unless you are totally content, let’s get to work and make some totally great content!

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Instagram Trends To Watch In Early 2019

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Square_Lexi-02Hi, my name is Lexi and I am new to Sircle Media. This is my first ever blog post at Sircle and I decided to reference this article about marketing trends on Instagram in 2019 that was put out by Socialbakers. We use Instagram all day long for clients and it was helpful to see some data around usage and consumption. I offer some personal and professional insight sprinkled on top of their list of the 5 platform trends that marketers must know. I hope you enjoy.

As a Social Media Manager and an avid Instagram user myself, I feel as though I understand Instagram’s popularity as a social media platform and how it would be a huge miss for brands not to utilize it for marketing purposes. Whether I’m sending memes to my friends or seeing what Kylie Jenner is up to, I spend multiple hours in a single day on Instagram. I am sure that most people reading this are addicted to IG too!

Since launching in 2010, Instagram has evolved tremendously from a photo-sharing site to the powerful marketing channel it is today. I remember using Instagram solely as an editing tool back in 2011 when I wanted to have cool pictures of me and my friends to post on Facebook during our senior year of high school. Boy, have times changed! Since then, Instagram has grown at a rapid pace, with over 1 billion active users to date.

So, what does Instagram’s dominance in the social media sphere mean for marketers? In this blog post, I am going to tackle and discuss the five Instagram trends marketers should know as 2019 unfolds.

First, high customer engagement is super important and you shouldn’t be against using paid social to find those right customers. Because Instagram is a highly visual platform, this particular social network is perfect for getting your proper target engaged AND keeping them absorbed in your content. For me, Glossier does an amazing job at producing content I like to see on my feed, while also successfully selling me on their wide range of beauty products.

According to Instagram Business, 80% of accounts follow a business on the platform and 60% use it to discover new products. In addition, 72% users buy products after seeing them on the platform. With that being said, I feel that in order to move someone down a purchase funnel, your business must be utilizing all of Instagram’s e-commerce features. For example, add a link to your bio to drive visitors to your website, include action buttons such as “shop,” use Instagram Story links and highlights to show off new products, and create shoppable posts for a more seamless shopping experience within the app.

Not only can you leverage e-commerce features on Instagram, but their Instagram Story feature, in general, is key. I believe the ephemeral content craze began with the creation of Snapchat, but once Instagram Stories were rolled out, they clearly became much more popular. Ephemeral content encourages followers to interact with your brand, allows you to increase website traffic, create buzz surrounding a new product launch, and so much more.

Now when it comes to IGTV, I am still just getting my feet wet. For those who don’t know, IGTV is Instagram’s longer-form video hub displayed as a vertical video on an Instagram account. To be honest, sometimes I forget to check out IGTV, but just recently, IG pushed out a new update, where video previews can be published in the main feed. This is a big update and a clear indication that Instagram is focused on continuing to try and get users to adopt IGTV. I already see influencers actively using it for how-to videos and a behind-the-scenes look at their lives. Which brings me to my final Instagram trend to look out for in 2019….Influencer marketing.

According to eMarketer, 78% of influencers consider Instagram to be the best platform for brand collaborations. When well-respected influencers post about brands they are eating, wearing, drinking, you name it, followers are able to easily find and buy the featured items. I cannot even begin to describe the countless number of times I have purchased a product this way. For example, whenever Arielle Charnas posts about the clothes she is wearing, you bet I am going to swipe up and check it out nine times out of ten. Brands should be making sure they find the right influencer(s) that fits their target audience and that their performance metrics are on point. Since I started working at Sircle, I’ve made sure to keep my eyes peeled for influencers who are engaging with the brands that I manage in order to readily turn them into brand ambassadors.

So, to sum things up, Instagram, just like any other social media platform, is constantly evolving and we will see so many new trends in the future. I recommend that you take the time to apply these tactics now and stay on top of the latest trends!  See you on The Gram!

 

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Stop Motion: If done right, it makes people stop and pay attention!

Dictionary result for stop-motion

noun
  1. a cinematographic technique whereby the camera is repeatedly stopped and started, for example, to give animated figures the impression of movement.

We have all seen them. Those clever videos that bring a seemingly still environment to life through a series of photos being married together into one asset. They are a great way to stand out from the clutter and add a deeper narrative than you can get with an individual still photograph.

It is very important to do it with precision though. If you don’t have the creative chops or the patience for that matter, they can come out very sloppy. When that happens it takes a seamless and high-quality asset and it degrades the experience quite a bit. Our recommendation is to keep it very simple, with only a few movements or transitions OR hire an expert like Sircle Media.

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When planning it out it is a good idea to storyboard it first, make a plan of attack and then get to work. Think about spillage, dust, light and even the shadow created by you and your camera. The slightest variation can trip you up and then you need to start all over again. That can lead to a huge time suck OR even quitting and never getting to the finish line.

If you want to talk stop motions, hit us up! We would love to discuss…

 

 

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Food Styling – Sells Product!

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If you want to stand out in the very crowded healthy CPG or beverage categories, it is very important to create high quality and memorable visual content. At Sircle Media, we are big believers in video content, but still photographs can pack quite a punch too.

One of the big differentiators from one brand to the next is the flavor or taste profile and brands need to include some imagery that helps tell that story. Well executed food styling can really make your product stand out and make it crave-able, which can move someone from awareness to trial very quickly. We all want healthy products in our lives and the added bonus is that they taste great too.

Sell that narrative and you will earn more first time users. Follow thru on that promise (meaning the product actually does taste good) and you will have customers for life!

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IGTV – Promotions in the main Instagram feed…

 

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Instagram has stumbled a bit out of the gate with IGTV, but the platform is committed to making this product stick. Not only does it open up a new frontier for creators on the social network, but it steals those same creators and the eyeballs that watch them from YouTube. The added cherry on top is the additional real estate for Ads and the revenue that comes with it. Trust me, they are going to make it work.

They recently rolled out a new feature that allows you to publish your IGTV uploads directly to the feed, where you can tease users back to view the whole video and your channel in the process. They made it super seamless at the time of posting, which will make it easy to adopt for users and is a very smart way to draw attention for sure.

Below you can see how it looks in the Instagram grid as well as the teaser to watch the full video when you click on the actual asset:

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We encourage brands to experiment with this and to use some longer form video content (especially a “hero” video that describes who you are and what you sell) in the process. There are some nuances to consider when doing this and we touch on the topic in a recent episode of our podcast, The Inner Sircle.  Enjoy!

 

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