5 ways to make an emotional connection through your instagram feed

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Here's my truth. I am so. freaking. tired. of looking at Instagram feeds that are just all the same. Minimalist white. Brush fonts. The same two colours over and over again. 

It's so boring. It lacks soul. It does not make me want to engage.  It's gotten to the point that we focus so much on curating a pretty feed that we have forgotten that social media is about connection. 

I say ENOUGH! 

I'm starting my own movement - or at least rally cry. Let's bring back the SOUL to Instagram. Let's aim to firstly connect with our audience in a real way and then share pretty pictures.

To make it happen, here's five tips for how to emotionally connect with your audience through Instagram. Who's with me?!

1. Refocus on connection

Let's go back to basics here. People buy from people they know and trust. Simples. 

Just like your smile and quick chat with your barista in the morning, your daily Insta post is a small interaction that over time, builds to help your audience get to know you.
That meme you post shows your humour, that caption you write shows a bit about your soul, the photo of your product demonstrates what you are offering. Each interaction adds up until your audience has a solid feel for who you are, and consistently seeing ‘you’ helps develop trust. 

If you are posting something, even if it's pretty, 'just because', then what message are you sending to your audience? How are you growing that beautiful (and hopefully one day bountiful) relationship?

Tip One

When you are thinking about what to post, before you dive into pictures or captions I encourage you think

'what is the purpose behind your post?'
What are you trying to achieve? Are you genuinely trying to share and connect or are you posting for the sake of it?

2. Lead with emotion

Any #ladyboss worth her weight in Kmart purchases, knows that you need to be crystal clear on what the emotions and values are that your brand stands for. They are the values that are important to you, and the emotions that you want to make your audience feel. 

It goes back to trust. You consistently show me things that make me smile and feel good, I get to know you as a brand that makes me feel good. You start posting sarcastic, nasty things, then my 'ear' picks up on that and questions your consistency. If it seems legit, then I continue to trust you, but if I question it too often, I no longer rely on your brand to make me feel good. You are losing my 'trust'. 

So what do we do? Well, you need to try and incorporate at least the essence of your brand values emotions into all your posts. Text and images.

For example, one of your brand emotions is 'supportive'. When you are searching for an image to post ask yourself, 'is this image OF something supportive?' or 'does this image make me FEEL supported?' (like a good bra perhaps :) ) 

Go with your gut on this because there is no hard and fast rules. But if you aren't even asking the question you may not be considering the emotional response of your choice. 

Tip two

  • Choose the top three values that your brand stands for.
  • Write them on a post-it note and stick it to your monitor.
  • Use it as a reminder double check that your next post idea is on the emotional money. 

Extra tip

Take one of your brand emotions and do a mind map. With your core emotion in the middle write down all the word associations you can. It could be things, or actions or whatever. The idea here is to take your 'non-tangible' emotion word, and generate a big list of words or phrases that can become prompts for images. 

3. Think colour families

Colours are powerful. Different colours will make you feel a different way. So, your brand emotions should lead your selection of brand colours. It's one way to get consistency in your feed. 

BUT  - this is where I really have a different opinion to many Instagram gurus (not calling myself one here!). I HATE seeing a feed that is all the same colour. I find it dull, and contrived. Where is the real essence of who you are and what your message is? 

Colour theorist and researcher Angela Wright discovered through empirically testing behavioural responses to colour that colour harmony is a real thing.  

When you are sharing images or content, if you stick to colours within the family of your brand colours, then you are still creating a consistent feeling visual experience. 
This is hugely useful. It means more creative freedom, a rational basis for your colour decision, no more mixed messages and no more boring two coloured insta feeds.

Tip three

  • Head on over to Pinterest and search seasonal colour palettes.
  • Find the palette that best incorporates your existing brand colours.
  • For the next week experiment with selecting images that are within the broarder seasonal palette.

4. Um, actually get emotional.

Now don't freak out. I am not talking about excessive displays of emotion here. I am just referring to the need to actually express sometimes.
It's okay to share how you feel. You are a person. Yes, you are representing your brand, but you are a human too. If something you are sharing makes you excited say that. If you are concerned or feeling a bit wobbly about a decision maybe consider saying that too. Don't be OTT, just be real.
We connect more quickly through vulnerability and seeing someone's truth when they express themselves creates this. 

Tip four

Every day practice making some 'feeling' statements.

"I feel ____________ about _____________".

For example, "I feel pride when I see people using my photographs'. Or, "I feel overwhelmed when my son stands still, mute, and in a stubborn tantrum.

I am not saying use these statements in your captions, but use the exercise as a practice to expressing small day-to-day emotion in words. 

5. Respond to comments

Now, I know you all know the importance of responding to comments for your engagement analytics. The algorithms love that.

But in addition, remember that social media is social. It's not a billboard.

You post, you talk to people, you follow and like, you create relationships and build a community. It's what helps them get to know you, and create more meaningful relationships with your brand. 

Tip five

If you are already responding to comments left on your post, commit to reaching out and commenting on one new account a day for a week or so and see what additional relationships you can begin to build.

Want to know more?

There you go. Five pretty actionable tips that will help you make more emotional connections through your Instagram feed.

It all boils down to really knowing what your brand emotions are and what your brand personality is. When you really have these brand foundations it is easy to come up with consistent and aligned marketing content.
One of the ways that I find easiest with my clients is to talk in terms of what their brand archetype is. If you are struggling with this, or would just like to see what your brands personality type would be,  you can access my free 'what's your type' quizz. This easy tool will not only help you identify your brand archetype but will also help you make more informed decisions about how you can use imagery to connect even deeper with your audience. 
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