Instagram now allows users to upload landscape or elongated images, as opposed to square only.
Not very ground-breaking you might think, but this actually makes a lot of difference to regular users. The annoying square-only feature meant that you would often have to crop wider images, or physically alter how you take pictures (if you had the intention of uploading to Instagram).
In a blog post, Instagram said:
“Square format has been and always will be part of who we are. That said, the visual story you’re trying to tell should always come first, and we want to make it simple and fun for you to share moments just the way you want to".
It turns out that nearly one in five photos or videos people post aren’t in the square format, and we know that it hasn’t been easy to share this type of content on Instagram”.
Why Should We Care?
Images are a powerful tool on social media, so making sure that the quality and formatting is spot on can result in much more engagement from followers. Research has shown that posts with images on Facebook receive 53% more likes, 104% more comments, and 84% more click-throughs on links. Twitter’s own research of images in tweets uncovered that photos received 35% more retweets than those without images. These are big numbers!
Why Are Images Important?
Well, first of all, on a timeline filled with text an image can catch the eye. You’re more likely to look at a post with an image than one that, at a glance, looks the same as all the rest. Once you have your audience’s attention, this is where the quality of the post matters. The content of the image has to be of high quality to ensure your followers will interact with the post. As we touched on in an earlier blog post, “with a smart phone in almost everyone's pocket, everyone is a photographer and the standard for images on social media has rocketed”.
Content is King
Taking a good picture and posting a successful image is something of an art form. When posting an image, you should make sure it is…
Unique – Bright, eye catching and original. That’s what gets people’s attention. Pictures help you to tell your story, so show your audience what you can’t with text. Let them see behind-the-scenes, show off your product, give them a peek at what's happening right now. This will add value to your social account.
Formatted properly – Different platforms have different size formats. Until recently Instagram only allowed square images. Twitter images are better when they are optimised in a “letterbox” style and Facebook images should be no smaller than 500x500. Bear this in mind when you upload!
Relevant – Don’t just stick an image on your post for the sake of it. Not every post needs an image, and if it’s poor quality it might be better to leave it off altogether. Images enhance your post and should be there to improve it. Attaching a meme or funny picture just because you can could confuse your audience and may be at odds with your brand.