Enterprise Ecommerce

5 steps to taking engaging Instagram product photos your audience will love

/ 3 min read
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    So you want to start sharing more product photos on Instagram? Well you’re not alone and that might be because Instagram has some of the best engagement when compared to other popular social media networks. How good is the engagement? Well, take a look at these stats:

    • 1.2 billion likes are given every day
    • 8500 likes per second
    • 1000 comments per second
    • The top 50 brands on Instagram have an average of 722,000 followers
    • An average of 1.5 million Instagram posts mention the top 50 brands

    With so much opportunity for great brand awareness, you’ll want your Instagram photos to stand out from the crowd. Further incentive is provided by the fact that Instagram will be rolling out its Instagram Shopping feature for eligible BigCommerce businesses starting in Q2 2017, which allows viewers to find and buy the products they want directly from Instagram. Below are a few strategic steps to take photos that will help you increase your followers, boost audience engagement, and ramp up selling power.

    For more tips check out Tinuiti’s Strategy’s list of Shoppable Instagram Best Practices.

    What kind of product photos should I take?

    You’ve created an Instagram account and are ready to start posting—but you aren’t sure where to start. Don’t worry, you have plenty of options. It doesn’t matter if you just opened your business or are a 20-year veteran, it’s easy to reach your audience on Instagram. As an owner or representative of your company, you have an inside lens into various aspects of your store. Sharing this view can add tremendous value to your customer–especially if you keep their interests in mind.

    Step 1: Pick a goal

    Before you start shooting, you need to come up with a strategy. The first step is knowing why you want to take pictures. Here’s a list of  potential photo goals:

    • Feature customers using your products
    • Take your fans behind the scenes
    • Host contests and projects
    • Promote or tease new products

    Imagine you are a marketer at Nike and you want to promote or tease a new product. One of the first steps you should do is review the calendar. Do you have a new product launch or announcement coming up? Is there a major event or holiday that will be relevant to your audience? This will help determine your supporting content and the product you should choose to showcase.

    instagram product photography

    Photo from Nike’s Instagram feed

    Step 2: Pick a product and make it timely

    The World Cup is the biggest worldwide sporting event this summer. It will be trending globally across various social media channels. Since Nike is a leader in the sporting goods industry, this is a great opportunity to connect the brand with one of the world’s most popular sporting events by sharing relevant content to help drive the conversation. With a vast inventory of jerseys, shoes and other soccer-related equipment, your team decides to showcase these items in creative ways that capture the spirit of the games and light sparks in your customers’ hearts.

    product photography instagram

    Photo from Nike’s Instagram feed


    Step 3: Create a story

    Your photos need to captivate your audience in a creative way. Remember to think about the story you want your pictures to tell. Study the event and the demographics involved. Learn more about the sport and the passion that drives the athletes to greatness. The World Cup is a worldwide month-long event, which means you have the opportunity to post relevant content for an extended period of time. Nike can share numerous relevant product photos from around the globe showcasing their influence on the sport and the cultures they reach.

    Photo from Nike's Instagram feed

    Photo from Nike’s Instagram feed


    Step 4: Choose hashtags and write captions

    All of the photos have been taken and you’re almost ready to share them. Now it’s time to find hashtags that will be published with your photos. Do your research and search across Instagram to determine which hashtags are trending. This will help your content gain exposure to thousands if not millions of new potential followers. You should also choose your own campaign or brand-specific hashtag so that all of your posts will be easy to find by other users. Just make sure they aren’t used by a competitor or bring up existing photos that might not be appropriate for your audience. You’ll also want to write captivating captions for the photos. Think about things will play into your story or resonate with your audience. Nike’s brand has been build around inspiring people to do more–and their captions are equally inspirational.


    Screen Shot 2014-07-03 at 1.31.08 PM

    Photo from Nike’s Instagram feed


    Step 5: Plan your post schedule

    Over a month’s time, the World Cup will host several games. That’s a great opportunity to coordinate new photo posts before, during, or after the games. To stay fresh and regular, you’ll want to have a posting schedule or calendar created. And while there are some apps available to help you pre-schedule your posts, remember that spontaneity and timing are everything on Instagram. Depending on the importance of the game, the teams involved, or surprise outcomes that may arise, the Nike team should be prepared to share content in real-time for greater engagement.

    Remember, Instagram is a community of people sharing moments from their lives–and you are no different. Have fun with it, and your passion will come through. Need more guidance on Instagram product photography? Check out this video Instagram created to help businesses on Instagram:

    Photo by Jay Wennington used under Creative Commons.


    Sean Couch

    Sean Couch is a digital strategist with a strong entrepreneurial spirit that keeps him highly motivated and open to challenging himself in new and exciting ways. He also is a huge photo and video enthusiast and co-founder at SceneScout, a mobile app created to help professional photographers and videographers scout locations, plan, and share their work.

    View all posts by Sean Couch

    2 comments on “5 steps to taking engaging Instagram product photos your audience will love

    1. Julie Neumann
      Julie Neumann on

      Fair point, we definitely want to keep these relevant and we’ll make sure we mix it up a bit more. In general I do think there is value in looking at the super aspirational examples when brainstorming for smaller businesses. Amazon, Zappos, of course Nike… yes, they have killer brands that guarantee a certain level of success, but they also have the budget for testing like crazy, hiring the best talent, etc. When applicable, steal their ideas and leverage them in a way that fits your business, I certainly do!

    2. Andrew Agnello on

      Yes, Nike can do a lot with their products on any social site. They are Nike! How about a relevant ecommerce example?

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