Q. Should your brand's social media feeds only be styled professional photos? Is it ok if your brand's social feeds are just phone photos, or is it ok if your feeds are a mix of both?
A. The best device to take content photos with is the device that you already have with you.
I am a firm believer that putting any kind of content out there is better than not putting any kind of content out there. If the only equipment that you have to take a photo is your phone then that is the equipment that you must use. A good photo doesn’t necessarily come from a big fancy DSLR camera, it does help however but what makes a photo great is the skill set of taking a great photo.
A comment was left on my Instagram post when I posted about this subject and I feel that it sums everything up perfectly, “If you can’t shoot compelling content with a phone, you can’t do it with a DSLR. Invest in learning skills, not gear.” Citizen Nomads
There are beautiful feeds out there that I know personally are only shooting their social posts with a phone camera. Then there are feeds that I know they are hiring out their content shoots to professional prop stylists and photographers. All of which is great but the question then becomes are you doing this just to fit the “Instagram Aesthetic”?
The Instagram Aesthetic is something that has been created by influencers, the beautifully styled flat lays with the warm filter, the perfect pose in front of the perfect piece of street art taken by their Instagram partner. You all know what I’m talking about, the perception that everything is perfect because their photo is perfect. This is boring, generic and the chances of you getting scrolled over are pretty great. Because that perfectly styled photo of yours looks manufactured and just like everyone else in your industry.
The Atlantic released an article stating that the “Instagram Aesthetic Is Over” and I seriously couldn’t be more excited that things are shifting. The article goes on to talk about how Gen Z influencers are now reaching for their phones camera instead of hauling a DSLR with them to restaurants and spending hours getting that perfect shot masked with the perfect curated “Instagram Aesthetic” filter they have created. Gen Z wants to shift things back to real-time and consistently showing up as your authentic self, not your social media alter ego.
I’m not here to pish posh on a beautiful photo, quite the opposite, in fact, I’m here to say that it should stop taking up so much of your brain space and time to get that Instagram aesthetic approved photo. Mavens feed has been and will continue to be a mix between phone, stock, personal DSLR and professional photos, why because I want to be part of the change in the way people look at marketing and branding. As a business, your business should be a reflection of and authentic as you. I should meet you for coffee, or walk into your store and feel the same feelings that I feel when I look at your feed or see your ads. I shouldn’t be seeing an alter ego of you on social media and meeting the authentic you in person. The translation of your in-person experience with a brand and a digital experience with a brand should be very similar if not exactly the same.
This is the goal of Maven and Muse produced content. Your business is as authentic as you are and this should translate into your digital marketing. By creating authentic to you content you are getting people to stop their scroll and take notice. This will build engagement, which leads to trust which leads to booking or purchasing from you.
The manufactured look of Instagram does work, it’s proven day in and day out. Perhaps in your homework assignment, you will notice that the manufactured look is what your target likes and expects from you. I’m not here to disrupt what is already working for you, I am here to challenge you to look at the analytics of your feed and see what posts have performed the best. Are they stock, DSLR or phone captured content? Were your words heartfelt or salesy? Dissect the top three best performing posts and mimic more of that in the weeks to come. The numbers don’t lie my friends, they are communicating to you what is working for you, what is setting you apart and not making you manufactured.