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Get Them To Swipe: Engaging With Instagram Galleries

Girl using mobile phone

If you don't already know this, you can add up to ten photos and videos to an Instagram post. This is great for events or incidents in which you wish to share multiple videos or photos, but don't want your feed to become overloaded with that particular incident.

Law enforcement social media managers will find the Instagram gallery feature useful for creating a new form of engagement and stepping out of "the comfort zone," by using this cool little idea I saw from some company months back (sorry, I don't recall who did it first).

The Idea...

What you basically want to post on your department's Instagram feed is a post containing multiple videos. The videos contain simple photos with one moving arrow and the word "SWIPE" which slides across the screen. This moving arrow quickly draws the viewer's attention and contains a call-to-action. If timed just right, it will literally force the user to swipe across his or her screen, to see what's next.

You won't be able to get the real effect of this technique in the above embedded post, or while viewing the post on a desktop or laptop computer, as it is meant for mobile devices. Remember, Instagram is a mobile friendly platform, and therefore techniques like this are also tailored for mobile devices.

How To Do It

The first thing to do is layout your message in a "story board" fashion. A simple technique I like to use is to take a piece of paper and fold it several times. I unfold the paper and each "block" is now one portion of the video. In the block, I write the words that will be shown. This allows me to see how the video will flow and that the copy is easy to understand and is consistent with the images on the screen.

Once you have decided your message, you'll need to use your favorite video editing software to create your Instagram movie. I used Camtasia for this project, and set my canvas to be a square 640 x 640 dimension, as this is the preferred size which looks best on Instagram. 

Next, I took my still photo and uploaded it into the software. I then created my additional layers of text, logos, and icons and placed them over the photo.

To create the eye-catching movement needed to draw attention to your call-to-action, I added an arrow which slides across the screen. The words "SWIPE" are on the arrow, which tells the viewer what you want them to do next. The total length of the movie is five seconds long, with the animated arrow appearing within a second or two after the movie begins to play.

I then simply swapped out the photo and the text for the remaining five movies. This kept all the icons and text aligned and in the same position as the viewer swiped through the message. 

Remember to remove the arrow and/or text about swiping from the last slide, as this is the end of your video.

Why This Works

Social media has taught us a great deal about how people read, watch, and listen to information which is coming through their devices. Due to the huge volume of photos, videos, and written content, which I'll call "noise" for the purposes of this article, it is a constantly evolving study of what gets someone to stop and focus on your message.

By stepping out of the norm of just having someone either stare at the screen as they watch your video, or thumb past your posted photo, you create engagement and interaction with your followers. You grab their attention with the moving "call-to-action" arrow and cause them to do a movement they don't do as frequently as scrolling, which is to swipe to the side while using the Instagram app. It essentially is something different, and possibly new. This automatically generates a positive feeling with something "new" to do on social media.

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