How Instagram can add striking imagery to site design

Monday, April 25, 2016

Instagram's focus on striking imagery can help create a compelling brand image when it is incorporated as a clickable sales and e-commerce platform or a lookbook. Sites needing a social injection can embed its feed, link through hashtags and include its badge for better sharing.

Photo-sharing social network, Instagram, is becoming overwhelmingly popular. With over 400 million active users, it is no wonder more brands are hopping aboard the IG train. While there are many business tools for Instagram, the question for web designers becomes: how can you integrate Instagram in web design? Here are six examples of brands that are doing it well.

The Embedded Instagram Feed

The primary way of integrating Instagram into web design is embedding a feed. Famedrop (@famedropofficial), a Montreal-based online clothing store, embeds a feed just below the fold on its home page. By having an Instagram theme that ties well with current products and web design colours, the integration is more unified.

The Lookbook

While also an Instagram feed, a simple IG page creates an entire webpage worth of content without having to create extra content. Vu Sunglass (@vusunglass) uses this technique as a lookbook-style page for their sunglasses. Listed as ‘Editorial’ rather than ‘Instagram feed’, there is little to no evidence that this quality content originates from their IG. The smooth integration subtly promotes e-commerce by linking the shown glasses when the thumbnail image is clicked.

The Sales Focus

Similar to Vu Sunglass’s Editorial page, White Fox Boutique (@whitefoxboutique) has created a page with distinct sales approach. Entitled ‘Shop our Instagram’, the purpose is clear before the user even arrives on the page. As the user clicks on the Instagram pictures, a list of links to the displayed products appears, leading them straight to the point of purchase.

With so many e-commerce brands active on the mobile app, Instagram could be more accommodating to these users. Instagram has begun to incorporate e-businesses into the platform with its relatively new endeavor, Instagram for Business. However, it is rumoured that the costs of creating an IG advert are incredibly high – from $350,000 to $1 million per month! For smaller companies, these rates are simply not feasible. For these SME users, the social media platform has hinted at releasing easier ways to link to checkout pages online in the future, but given its mobile nativity, it will be a difficult undertaking. 

The Hashtag Feed

Through our digital lifestyle, evangelist and word-of-mouth marketing are becoming hyper-active. This means customer involvement is increasingly vital for brands everywhere. Run Happy NYC (@runhappynyc), a community dedicated to the New York City Marathon’s 44th anniversary, created a hashtag (#runhappynyc) to get people to contribute content. Instagram posts and Tweets are combined into one feed, and displayed on the site’s home page. In doing this, users feel as though they are part of something bigger than themselves. Seeing yourself, or someone you are training with, featured on the homepage of a site like this gives viewers the warmfuzzies.

The E-Commerce Platform

While Instagram is not exactly optimized for e-commerce, despite recent efforts, other companies such as FourSixty and Like2Buy have created platforms to link Instagram and e-commerce businesses. Suja’s (@lovesuja) e-commerce site allows you to order cold pressed juices. While the products are very Instagrammable, there is currently no easy way of linking each post to their website. The only clickable link available on IG is in the profile description. Suja can use this one link to bring clients to their Like2Buy page, where they can easily view the beautiful photo content and, with one click, land on the product’s webpage. This makes for a much easier conversion to purchase, and the ease of use for clients makes the experience more enjoyable overall.

The Instagram Badge

Sometimes the simplest integration is best. Particularly when your website is already impeccably designed with animations, such as digital production company Make Me Pulse (@makemepulse). The Instagram logo, found in the bottom left corner with other social media badges, is very basic. The white on the black background pops, but doesn’t distract from the websites authentic design and animated graphics.

Bonus – The Website on Instagram?!

A little out of the box, Sandwich Creative (@sandwich_creative) has designed a technique to put your website and all its information on to Instagram. As the viewer scrolls down the IG page, the tiles transform into new pages. Although it is not a functional or clickable “website”, it would be ideal for organisations who use their current website to inform. It is technically the opposite of what is discussed above, as this is integrating web into Instagram, however it could mean some companies will not need a traditional website any longer.

With many other social platforms being integrated so well into web design, it is important that designers seek out methods to integrate Instagram, particularly those who’s target demographic aligns with the age of the most active Instagram users (16-34 years old). And with a variety of ways to integrate it, from subtle badges to entire pages of Instagram content, there is no longer any reason to avoid integrating this photo-sharing platform into your site.

(Courtesy of Vandelay)