5 Ways To Make Instagram Magic

It’s the most ‘grammable time of the year! Sparkling lights, falling snowflakes, dogs wearing coats!! It’s the perfect season to make some Instagram magic.

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Photo: @PepitoChihuahua giving us his best J.Crew catalog look.

First things first: if you don’t already have an Instagram account, get one!

The rapidly growing platform is a great way to establish your company’s visual voice and communicate with your target markets in a unique way. 68% of users are already following the Instagram accounts of brands they love and 70% of users go out of their way to look brands up. In the U.S. alone, active users are expected to grow to well over 100 million in the next couple of years (total users are already up to 500 million).

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Photo: Search Engine Watch

Convinced? Good. Here’s how to setup your account.

Remember to cover your bases by including a description that clearly communicates who you are, tagging and hashtagging to further your reach, filtering and editing pics to look their fiercest (use an app like VSCO), and posting at optimal times (12-1pm Monday through Friday is the typical sweet spot).

Once you’re all setup, don’t settle for boring. Create awesome (but curated) content that shows the personality of your brand: share what you’re working on, invite consumers behind-the-scenes, and develop visual content that makes you stand out.

Check out these tips on how to take great pictures using only your iPhone.

And don’t just stop at cool pics! Go next level. Here are 5 ways to up your Insta-game:

1. Think Big Picture >> Make A Grid

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Photo: Reynolds’ Instagram Cookbook via Digiday

Takeover your own Instagram by posting several images that add up to one big super cool image.

It’s easy. Just divide the picture up, post in the correct order, and let the puzzle come together! If you’re feeling nervous about getting it right, apps like Giant Square or Instagrid can help.

These banner-style grid images are also a fun way to announce news or create a “photo scavenger hunt” contest, like Heineken did for the U.S. Open in 2013.

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2. Tell Your Story >> Create Instagram Stories

The joy of Snapchat meets the user experience and reach of Instagram with Instagram Stories.

Here’s an example of one from J.Crew:

To access your story, click the top left icon and ‘gram away!

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Photo: ShoppingLinks.com

You can then bedazzle your images however you want with drawing tools, stickers, and filters. Learn more about how to make stories (and save them to your device) here.

This in-the-moment slideshow of pics and videos lasts only 24 hours and is an awesome way to invite users to experience an event alongside your team or spend a day in the life of your brand. You can even create mini-articles by taking users through a step-by-step guides or how-to, one pic at a time:

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Photo: Social Media Examiner

3. Add Some Movement >> Make a Video, GIF, or Boomerang

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If it isn’t already glaringly obvious, we love a good GIF here at Pekoe. So does Instagram! Add a little life to your posts by turning them into GIFs, Videos, or Boomerangs.

Video >> To share a video, simply select video when shooting or upload a video from your device. Videos can now be up to 60 seconds!

GIF >> Giphy.com allows you to create your own GIFs (or find ones that speak to you) that you can post to your account.

Boomerang >> This new Insta-extra takes a burst of photos, speeds them up, and plays back and forth. Just tap the infinity symbol when you are taking a photo or choosing from you library of photos. You’ll need to install the app first (it’s free!).

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4. Mix It Up >> Make a Collage

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Photos: The Pekoe gang brainstorming at Senor Frog’s.

What’s better than one great pic? A whole bunch of great pics! When a single shot doesn’t do the job, make a collage! This is a great way to capture an entire event or promotion in one shot.

Apps like Pic Stitch or Collageble provide easy layout templates.

5. It’s All In The Timing – Make a Time Lapse Video

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Photo: Dribbble.com

Create high quality time lapse videos (while in motion) with Hyperlapse (for iOS) or Microsoft Hyperlapse Mobile (for Android). You can shoot up to 45 minutes of footage and adjust the playback speed from slow (1x) to speedy (12x).

Track a memorable moment, film the setup of an event, or just take your audience along on a journey. It’s the perfect tool to share your process – even if that process is eating cake, like Jimmy Fallon on The Tonight Show. Watch here.

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