Gone are the days when tween girls ruled the world of “Instagram aesthetics.”

Crafting a beautiful Instagram aesthetic is becoming a powerful branding tool, and the number of companies hopping on this trend is steadily increasing.

An Instagram “theme,” or “aesthetic,” is like a jigsaw puzzle. It’s made up of hundreds of different images, but when these images come together they create a bigger picture, a bigger story. This is the story of your brand. The goal of an Instagram theme is for your brand to be recognizable once your puzzle is put together.

The key to creating a cohesive, visually appealing Instagram theme is consistency. You have to commit to posting photos that stay within your brand guidelines. For Flying Cork’s Instagram, we stick to a bright color palette of blues, whites and a pop of red or orange here and there.

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If your business has a very minimalistic logo, you might want to try a neutral, minimalistic Instagram theme. If your brand is bold and powerful, model your Instagram aesthetic after that.

So how do you create an Instagram theme that exemplifies your brand and is visually appealing?

Edit your pictures the same way

Once you’ve chosen a theme that aligns with your overall brand message and feel, it’s easy to stick to if you apply the same basic editing techniques to each photo you post. One photo processing app that we recommend is VSCO. It has plenty of free filters that allow you to customize the tone of your pictures.

Filters can make a huge difference in the look of your picture. Here’s one photo that we recently posted with three different filters applied:

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See how drastically each filter changes the overall tone? Choosing one filter to apply to all of your pictures will assist in unifying your feed. Again, choose one that compliments your brand message and the colors in your photos.

Utilize negative space

One of the easiest ways to distract from your Instagram theme is to post too many “busy” photos. Notice how the row of pictures below has lots of negative space that allows for the colors of our aesthetic to stand out:
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Posting photos that have too much going on can take away from your Instagram aesthetic and become distracting.

Limit your color palette

In the row of photos above, our color palette is pretty clear. One of the keys to establishing an Instagram aesthetic is knowing what won’t fit. Make sure that you only publish posts that have the same color scheme and flow nicely. Be ruthless! You’ll thank yourself later.

Also, don’t assume that because you’re limiting your color palette, you’re also limiting your creativity. You might be surprised at how much this opens your options and refines your eye.

Plan Ahead

If you want to preview how your photos will look next to each other, you can either create a separate, private Instagram account or download Planoly. Both of these options will let you see how your feed will look ahead of time and allow you to play around with the order of your future posts.

Remember, the purpose of Instagram is to engage your audience with visual content, so imagine you’re one of your own followers. What do you want to see? What would make you hit “follow” or “like?”

DO YOU HAVE ANY INSTAGRAM AESTHETIC HACKS? LET US KNOW IN THE COMMENTS BELOW!

Millions of marketing dollars are spent every year on digital paid advertisements. Wouldn’t it be great if you could make those dollars work harder for you?

Imagine if you could increase lead volume by 20-50% while keeping spend levels unchanged. With an effective landing page strategy, it’s certainly achievable—and may be easier that you’d think. Whether you’re dabbling in paid advertising efforts or you’re a long-time veteran, remember to pay special attention to your landing page content and design—it can make or break your campaign.

Ready to pump up your paid advertising efforts? Try out these easy tricks to increase landing page conversions.

Minimize any opportunities for a user to click away without converting.

That means taking out the top navigation or any links that could direct users away from the landing page. If you’re paying to send traffic to your landing pages, you really don’t want them to leave before you capture the lead. The ROI for that tactic is roughly equal to flushing your money down the toilet.

Put a form at the top right of the landing page, above the fold.

At Flying Cork, we’ve built a lot of landing pages. The ones with the best conversion rates almost exclusively have the form in this position. Why does this work so well? When a user sees the form first thing above the fold, they immediately understand that there is a value proposition: Is it worth it to trade their information for the offer? They don’t get stuck reading a page only to find out that they have to fill out a form in order to get what they really want.

Furthermore, a typical Internet user looks at a page like a book, reading from left to right. If there’s a form on the right side, then where does the headline, text and imagery go? In the empty space to the left, of course, becoming the first thing the user sees. With the right copy and feel-good imagery, you can prepare users for the information request.

Include a clear call to action on the form.

And by clear, I mean something that helps the user understand exactly what they’re getting in return for filling out your landing page form. Good button text includes language such as “Download,” “Get More Information,” or “Schedule Appointment.” Avoid vague text such as “Click Here” or “Go!”

Think about the mobile experience.

Mobile visitors usually have a different intent than someone on a desktop or tablet, and they tend to have a more urgent need for information. They want to act quickly rather than draw out the research process and wait for a reply after filling out a form. To help them get what they need as fast as possible, consider using a trackable click-to-call phone number.

Use clear headlines and scannable content.

No one is going to stick around to read paragraphs upon paragraphs of text on your landing page. Well, some might, but for the majority who won’t, make sure your headlines and design are conducive to scanning. Do your best to enable users to understand your offerings and unique benefits at a glance.

Up the trust factor.

You can make your landing page more trustworthy by including relevant partnerships, certifications or customer testimonials. Partnerships with or endorsements from recognizable associations can make users feel more comfortable with giving away their information. Including testimonials shows users that other people have used the product or service before them with good results. This should go without saying, but always make sure to include REAL testimonials—never fabricate them. You want people to trust you, after all!

Always have a thank you page.

Remember in tip #1, where we said to minimize any opportunity for users to click off the landing page? Well, if you have a thank you page, you can encourage users to click around your properties all you want. I wouldn’t suggest adding a top navigation here, because it will most likely lead to an inconsistent design experience. However, you can include links back to your website so users can learn more, or try directing them to your blog and social pages. Help them get engaged with your online properties—open up those gateways for them and make it easy for them to discover more. Of course, make sure you’ve got plenty of fresh content there to keep their attention!

Intrigued? Check out this blog post for more tips on thank you pages, or read how a former unbeliever saw the value of paid search.

When you think of augmented reality (AR), you might imagine a person with a headset on, wildly flailing their arms as they fight off zombies.

Though that’s true to an extent, AR is evolving – and the possibilities are fascinating. Just take Pokémon Go, for example. In the past few weeks, we’ve seen people aimlessly walking around with their heads down, furiously flicking their smartphone screens to catch the Pokémon character in their area. (I have to admit, I’m guilty of doing this, too!)

Pokémon Go might not fit the typical headset-donning idea of AR, but it’s taken the biggest stride so far to make this type of gaming more accessible to mainstream audiences. Watching its success got me thinking that AR could have a place in the digital marketing world as well.

Don’t believe me? Hear me out.

Soon enough, both AR and virtual reality (VR) headsets are headed for the masses, giving marketers yet another way to reach their customers.

Though not as common (yet!), AR is slowly but surely beginning to make its play in digital marketing strategies due to its mix of technology, visual effects, and entertainment. Pokémon Go has become a huge success for businesses in particular because they are able to utilize this technology to encourage users to visit their stores via the game. Businesses are increasingly turning their stores into “PokéStops,” which increases foot traffic and has led to additional sales.

The New York Post reports that the L’inizio Pizza Bar in Long Island City supposedly increased its business by 75 percent just by inviting Pokémon Go users to play the game in the comfort of their restaurant.

You can transform your business into a PokéStop, too!

Now, let’s imagine the possibilities of what can be done with this technology beyond Pokémon Go. I already started to jot down some ideas that I wanted to share with you.

  1. Let me set a scene for you. You’re walking down the street and a storefront catches your eye. Right then and there, the company’s contact information appears on your phone, seemingly out of nowhere! AR has the potential to make the world a bit more interesting by enhancing reality with digital advertisements.
  2. In the retail industry, customers could digitally try on clothes, accessories and even makeup in the mirror … of their own homes! AR could enhance the at-home online shopping experience.
  3. Brands could have their advertisements displayed in the lobbies of buildings or could even transform a seemingly blank wall into an immersive experience for users.

While Augmented Reality offers fantastic opportunities, I also think that there will be a fine line between being immersive and intrusive.

Many people believe that advertising is already too intrusive, especially when users are forced to watch a 30-second ad that they cannot skip, or as many as six commercials during a 20 minute Hulu show. It’s this type of advertising that really leaves a sour taste in their user’s mouth.

So, it will be important that AR and VR advertising is done in a smart way to avoid tainting the users’ perception of the experience before it even takes off. Integration should be subtle so that users are not overwhelmed by the new mediums. Much like how a search engine displays a snippet in the results, the design for AR’s “first glance” should be unobtrusive, but interesting.

As Augmented Reality continues to pick up steam in the tech world, I’m very anxious to see if any of my preliminary predictions come to fruition.

Want to try AR for yourself? Companies like VTime, Aurasma, and Augment are all working to give everyday people the opportunity to try their hand at AR.

How do you think Augmented Reality can make a play in the digital marketing world?  I’d love to hear your feedback in the comments section below.