You have one second to grab a viewer's attention as they scroll through Instagram. There is SO much content being posted on Instagram on a daily basis, an average of 995 posts per second actually! While we may not have nearly that many posts coming across our feed, we still have a significant amount making it impossible to view every single post that comes across our feed. Therefore we're selective of what we actually view and we pause only on something that really catches our eye. Whether it's a beautiful scenic location, something delicious, a funny video, or a graphic with a topic that interests you, the key is using an image or video that stops us in our tracks.
1. Portrait Photos
Instagram basically has 3 post sizes; square, landscape, and portrait then everything in between. Portrait photos take up more real estate within the feed, therefore drawing more attention as you scroll. We have also found that the average engagement rate on portrait photos is higher with square photos falling in second, and landscape photos getting even less.
For a full guide to all Instagram image sizes, click here.
2. Make a Visual Statement
If you really want to make an impact, don't share photos that resemble what everyone else is already doing. With your audience in mind, you want to create images that will grab their attention.
Vibrant, bright photos tend to outperform dull, blurry photos. With that in mind, pay attention to your lighting when snapping photos for your Instagram feed. Bright, natural light (yet not too harsh) looks attractive to the eye and they tend to be easier to edit as well.
Avoid centering your subject in your photos. One important rule to follow is the "Rule of Thirds." Imagine 2 parallel lines across your frame horizontally and vertically at equal distances. According to this rule, put your most important elements along the lines or at the intersections. When you do this, it creates tension in the image making the photo more interesting and engaging.
The final piece of creating a scroll-stopping image is how you edit your photos. Editing your photos using the same or similar filter is also another great way to stand out and also create brand recognition. However, make sure you don't overly edit your photos. Overly edited photos don't go over well on Instagram because they feel fake and misleading.
3. Try Short Videos and Reels
The newest addition to Instagram, Reels is Instagram's effort to compete with the newly trending social media network TikTok and it surely is working! Instagram understood that people are engaging and spending more time watching shorter (less than 30-second), entertaining videos. We've noticed a huge increase in engagement, views, and page likes on accounts that have started sharing Reels consistently. Longer videos and live videos don't seem to have the same impact. Unfortunately, our viewers have a shorter attention span nowadays and they'd rather "watch" the cliff notes than read the whole book. Whether it's a Reel you're sharing or a promo video, try to keep it on the shorter side.
Ultimately, if you don't understand your audience and what grabs their attention you will have a hard time achieving success with these 3 tips. While you may see an increase in engagement it will be short-lived if you're audience isn't top of mind in the content you create and share. If you're interested in learning more about how to build and attract your target audience, click here.