In the current world we live in, when Instagram changes, we must adapt. That's just the nature of the beast. Social networking is now at the core of every relevant business we know, and smart marketers know that online branding starts with Instagram and experimenting with all of the platform's key features.
With that in mind, let's dive into how brands can use the newly released album functionality in ways that'll leave their audience wanting more.
The beauty niche will never be the same again.
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Flashback to two weeks ago when you were posting on Instagram, doing what you do, and noticed out of nowhere that there was an addition to the interface. Right next to the Boomerang and Frame icons was a little circle that looked a lot like an album... 😳. Naturally, your brain melted and you did the only logical thing — you had a nap. Or at least that’s what I did.
Yup, Instagram has introduced albums that allow for multiple uploads in a single post. It's been available to advertisers for a while now, but this mass deployment is a game changer. What do albums mean for your Instagram strategy? What about your content calendar? Now that you can use more visuals, how are you going to source it?
Don’t get overwhelmed and have another nap. Stick with us here, you’ll be happy you did.
We’ve seen brands begin to experiment with the slideshow function over the last couple of weeks, but it’s just the tip of the iceberg. Albums will eventually evolve, like when videos went from 15 seconds to 1 minute, or when landscape and portrait photos were introduced. Speaking of, why does every photo in the slideshow need to be cropped to a square? What’s up with that, Instagram?
Needless to say, this latest functionality has opened up a new world of possibilities for marketers to promote on Instagram. And who would we be if we didn’t get you excited about navigating this terrain and help you leverage it to your benefit? 😉
We’ve put together a list of 8 ways in which albums can be used creatively while providing your followers with super valuable, engaging content. Get ready to have your posts saved and screenshotted en masse.
1. Digital Merchandising
Gone are the days of wondering what creative to use, it's now all about which image will make the cover. Albums are a digital merchandiser's sliced bread, aka the greatest thing ever. Product can finally be presented the way it should be, with a litany of detail shots, contextual pics and various angles.
When is the last time you were online shopping and there was only 1 image available per product? NEVER. Albums are changing the Instagram merchandising landscape completely. Let's observe.
Product discovery at its very finest. If this doesn't make you want to buy, you're prob not their target audience.
So many deets, so little time.
2. Comic Strips
It’s a new day for those who make comic strips. This whole photo carousel thing could resurrect a dying art. We’ve seen it with memes a little bit here and there since the update, but those convey an entire thought in a single image, whereas comics are about storytelling and taking people on a chronological journey.
An album is the perfect way to walk people through a joke and tell a story. Don’t be surprised if you see Garfield, Dilbert and Hägar the Horrible images sprinkled all over your discovery page sometime in the near future.
Give us an album already!
3. Photo Edits and Thematic Content
Photo editing is a science, albeit an inexact one, but a science nonetheless. With every photo taken there are countless ways it can be edited. Light and airy. Dark and moody. Bold and bright. Warm tones or cool tones?
For those who don't want to choose, you no longer have to. Slideshows allow you to share multiple edits of the same thing in one go.
Same goes for a riff on a theme:
Another fire 🔥 execution is the panorama swipe-through. This one's a bit more tricky: it's three separate images that would encompass 1 big panoramic image when stitched together. This is a clean AF way to give your followers a more dynamic experience. Get your graphics department to give you a hand with this one.
Mountain views from my recent trip to Norway. Make sure to swipe right to see more! I've always been inspired by @peterlik's brilliant landscape photos, which are normally shot as magnificent panoramas. Looking forward to embracing @instagram'a new feature, to share images that didn't work with the square crop! 😊🎉
5. BTS & Process
We’ve talked about BTS before (behind-the-scenes, for the unfamiliar), and we can all agree that bringing people into the fold can do wonders for engagement. The more inclusive you are with your content, the more users will feel apart of your brand world. That said, sharing anything but impeccably edited visuals just isn't part of the strategy for some businesses.
While Stories became the place to share day-to-day fun and quirky content, albums are providing another avenue to experiment with visuals while allowing brands to remain true to their aesthetic's core ethos.
Think of the album cover as the way to make a first impression by using your hero shot, and include behind-the-scenes photos or videos for the rest of the slideshow to illustrate the process. This'll allow you to retain that polished image while experimenting at the same time.
6. Beauty Tutorials
Move over Pinterest, Instagram is coming for ya! Ever wonder how to do your hair in a halo braid? Or how to properly wing your eyeliner? Or maybe how to get the perfectly contoured cheekbones?
I haven’t, personally 🚹😏, but I know a lot of people that are dying for this type of info. If you're a beauty brand, making albums can help showcase product usage by bringing people through the process in a perfectly crafted, concise manner. This can give video how-to’s a lot of competition, since there's no hitting play, pause and rewind while trying to execute what's on deck. It's also a great way to show off different shades of, say, a lipstick collection within your line.
Tutorial carousels are the new beauty school, ya'll.
Manga rainbow girl goals. 😍 Look keyed by @beasweetbeauty. #MACBackstage at @neithnyer #AW17 #PFW. Swipe right to see more details ➡️ and shop #MACWorkItOut by clicking the link in our bio! 🛍 #MACShop. #Regram from U.K. MAC National Artist @zalala_makeup and U.S. MAC Artists @ladies_of_liberty. #MyArtistCommunity #MyArtistCommunity_UK
Taste the rainbow. Sort of.
Following a recipe is a long established, vital part of cooking. Loose-leaf papers with secret family recipes are handed down from generation to generation. Now they can just be shared via DM.
For those who weren't born with gastronomy prowesses, recipes need to be followed to accomplish culinary success. Instagram albums are a perfect place to walk people through the steps required to create a meal that will garner rants and raves.
Like with beauty tutorials, slideshows allow people to follow along at their own speed, and the step-by-step chronological arrangement of carousels is ideal for laying out recipes. Take note, @goodhousekeeping 📝.
8. Flatlays & Lookbooks
You're seeking to showcase a flames look from your brand's collection. You can choose to lay items out in an impeccably nonchalant lifestyle way, or choose a unique killer shot from your SS17 lookbook.
Now imagine going into one of those posts and being able to scroll through a whole panoply of detail shots following the hero cover image. This would really bring the whole thing together nicely wouldn’t it? The best part is that it enables your gallery to remain visually cohesive. Seems like a no brainer to us.
It's all about the individual spotlight.
All of the pieces, one cohesive gallery.
In the end, albums are just another awesome way to share more content and get more intricate with your brand marketing. It’s a new tool that can be used in a multitude of ways to serve many different purposes, like a trusty Swiss army knife. So, how do you plan on implementing albums into your Instagram content distribution strategy?
P.S. Feel free to have a snooze now that you’ve finished this piece, you deserve it.
Want to learn more tips and tricks for your visuals? Get in touch today (right after you subscribe to our weekly newsletter below 👇).