We want to tell you about Flowers for Dreams.

The company started off as a college initiative to sell a few hundred roses, but in 2012 the team behind it officially launched and haven’t looked back.

In a little over three years, it’s gone from college project to a flourishing modern bouquet business with a growing team.

This is interesting back story, but what’s more interesting is how much success they had thanks to their dominant presence on Instagram. 

In what is the ultimate compliment, Instagram itself features the company as a case study on its business inspiration page.

So even Instagram thinks Flowers for Dreams kills it on Instagram, attributing their success to their “unique, locally minded aesthetic”.

This is great for Flowers for Dreams, but can anyone do what they did? Build a successful and sustainable business just by winning on Instagram? 

The short answer is no. Unfortunately, Instagram is an image-based platform so success comes down to the impact of the images posted, and most business owners don’t have the skills needed to win. 

But because you’re reading this, you’re not most business owners.

In it, we’ll give you a shortcut to winning on Instagram. We’ll share 15 different types of images you should be posting on your Instagram account and we’ll back each up with a case study.

And the best part?

We know it’s one thing to learn all these things and another to apply them. So, for each of our 15 image techniques we’ll give you a bunch of Canva layouts you can use to apply the technique straight away.

To use any of the Canva layouts in the article, just click on them. You’ll be taken to the layout in Canva where you can customize it with your own copy, then download and share it on your Instagram account in minutes.

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01. Use filters to be professional and consistent

Photo filters are the core of this oh-so-popular social media app. Learn to use them properly and you’ll reserve your one-way ticket to successful Instagram marketing.

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Achieving Instagram fame is all about using the right photo filters.

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Whether you want to get a retro look with low-contrast tones (such as the ice cream photo) or you’re going for a highly saturated color palette (similar to the dish photo example), image enhancement will get you places.

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There are plenty of apps that can help you put a trendy filter on your photo but what Canva’s images editing tool can do with your snapshots can be a complete game changer for your brand’s visual marketing.

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With Canva’s filter code system, you can easily refine your images while maintaining brand consistency. This article will guide you through the various methods of image enhancement that you can apply when retouching your photos.

The examples above feature four unique photo filters you can try on your images right away. Each one emphasizes a different image adjustment setting. Play around with the filter sliders yourself to get a look that matches your brand’s identity.

02. Use quotes to inspire your audience

Using quotes in your Instagram marketing strategy is a great way to increase the social interactions on your profile.

See It In Action

The Instagram feed of Awakening People is an example of the power quotes have on your profile’s performance. By focusing solely on quote posts, this Instagram profile has managed to get 242k followers with around 3k likes per image. You can do the same for your brand as well.

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Quotes are a timeless and incredibly powerful way to boost engagement on your brand’s page. They motivate, inspire, and make your audience feel good. The more relatable the quotes are, the more social media interaction they will receive.

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When used in graphic images, quotes must take a central position in the design. In the example above, the frame and the quotation marks navigate the viewer’s eyes towards the center. Quotes are most often best represented with calligraphy or elegant sans serif fonts.

If you’re managing a company profile on Instagram, use quotes that are in accord with the vision and industry niche of your brand.

Use the design template above to create a quote post design of your own in Canva.

03. Use infographics to educate

Being an effective visual learning tool, infographics answer the market’s demand for data that is educational, interactive and engaging.

See It In Action

Earth Archives blows away its competitors in the #infographics section in Instagram with a gorgeous set of visually compelling, informative posts about Earth. Their infographics rely on HD images, have a circular structure, and use various colors to represent different information sectors.

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Educate your audience on the benefits of using your company’s services or provide insightful information that will increase the interactions on your Instagram feed by creating clean infographics that are easily shareable.

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The majority of the infographics that can be found online feature an extended portrait layout ideal for Pinterest and other social media platforms. Yet, Instagram-optimized infographics are just as powerful. The square shape of the graphic promotes symmetry and is incredibly useful for displaying visual data in an easily comprehensible way.

Keep data short, avoid placing too many graphic elements and ensure that your text is readable.

Try remixing the design above to create an infographic that will rocket-launch your social media strategy in Instagram.

04. Use videos to enchant your audience

Videos are a fairly new to Instagram. The popularization of video-driven social media apps such as Vine has resulted in an increased interest in short video posts.

See It In Action

This one shown below is one of the many videos you can see on the business social feed of Undesign. The Instagram profile of the Italian design studio is full of video design inspiration which entangles modern typography with abstract art.

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If you want to go for something simpler, you can always combine two or more graphic posts in a video, just like Jessie Boutique did.

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DIY In Canva

The recent launch of Instagram’s 15-second video posting feature gives you the opportunity to tap into a powerful source of traffic and increase your social media engagement instantly.

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In Canva you can repurpose screenshots taken from your video and create static graphics to be included in a video. You don’t need to be a professional motion graphics animator to create a video that captures your company’s spirit

With Canva you’re able to create frames for short videos presenting your products and services. Once you’ve created your designs, use an online tool, such as Gifmaker to combine your images into a video.

05. Use slides for visual storytelling

Instagram might be oriented towards photography, but the app hosts lots of different graphic content. Graphic slides are a great way to tell a story and keep your audience informed.

See It In Action

The Instagram feed of the Melbourne-based design studio Vertigo features some great examples of Instagram-optimized designs that can easily be turned into a short slides presentation. Each follows a specific design pattern and tells its own story.

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DIY In Canva

Presentation design requires good structure, consistency, accurate data and a design that truly grabs the viewer’s attention. You can master the art of presentation design with this article.

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You can use Canva for Work to resize the presentation slides you’ve already made in Canva and share it on your Instagram profile. You can also try remixing the graphics above to create your own designs.

06. Turn Your Instafeed Into a Mini Website

Hack your way through Instagram and build an interactive marketing campaign with a creative post layout.

See It In Action

If you take Instagram marketing seriously, you’ve probably already heard of Ikea’s Instagram hack. The company managed to create a website within the app that directs visitors to different sections of the store.

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While this project takes a lot of time and dedication, it’s a smart and innovative way to engage with your followers.

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You can create an Instagram “website” yourself by creating different images in Canva and then uploading them in your feed accordingly. Use profile tagging to create links between the different sections of your website. Each category should be represented with a new profile.

Check out how Ikea did it or just repurpose the image layouts above and create a similar project yourself.

07. Share captivating ads that sell

Just like any other social media platform, Instagram can be used for advertising. The key for creating captivating ad designs is successfully blending them with the other non-promotional images in your Instagram feed.

See It In Action

This minimalist ad design we found over Eriskon Siadari’s profile puts centralized product placement into use to create an Instagram ad that really captivates viewers. It combines the product’s photo with an elegant sans-serif font and a sleek frame to create a design that matches the visual identity of FC Barcelona.

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DIY In Canva

Here are two ad design templates you can remix in Canva right away.

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The first image features a mesmerizing photo of a tropical landscape. The thin frame and elegant fonts give the design a sophisticated feel. Because the main element in this design is the image, this advertisement will easily blend with the other photos on your feed and won’t put off your followers.

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The vintage elements used in “Lady & Raffaele” give the design a quirky, yet, classical look. Curved text is typical to the retro typography. You can create a similar graphic in Canva by typing each letter of the word separately and then rotating it slightly.

08. Boost engagement with a call-to-action

If you want to convert your profile visits into sales you need to have a compelling call-to-action.

See It In Action

The Instagram posts of HeroSlides have something that most graphic posts lack completely — it’s called “call-to-action” or a CTA. The CTA button is the main element that can transform your social media posts into revenue and this brand knows how to use it wisely.

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DIY In Canva

Creating a captivating CTA with Canva is easy. The main rule of the call-to-action is to stay focused on the key points of your promotion. Make sure your CTA button is clearly visible and not cluttered with too many elements.

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Use the layout above to make a social media post with a powerful CTA.

09. Increase brand awareness with a solid logo

If you’re going to use Instagram for promoting your business, you would also need to make sure your logo is recognizable by your audience.

See It In Action

This design studio uses a particularly impressive method to advertise it’s brand name. HeyStudio’s name is implemented in a large portion of the company’s designs. You can see some examples below.

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Vogue up your logo and present it in different graphic compositions to create variety in your brand’s visual promotion.

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The two graphic examples in this section show the same logo presented in two different ways. In the first design, the image composition is centralized while the flowers add diversity to the design. In the second graphic, the logo gives space to additional elements.

You can try similar layout designs for your brand’s logo by remixing the designs above. Alternatively, you can use other Canva templates and supersede some elements with your logo.

10. Convert followers with shout-outs

Managing a business profile on Instagram doesn’t mean you should have a one-way interaction with your followers. Giving your followers a well-deserved mention will make your Instagram feed buzzing with comments and likes.

See It In Action

This pretty shoutout post got Brit+Co more than 300 likes and 90 comments on Instagram in a single hour. It’s relatable, engaging and matches the community’s spirit.

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DIY In Canva

You can test different social media campaigns to see which one would work best for you. Encourage your audience to share images of their favorite products or create a “comment competition” and offer an awesome prize. The possibilities are endless.

Give your followers a shout-out and you’ll receive the same in return.

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The first example above is focused on user-generated content. (If you try this one, make sure you have full permission to use the user’s photo.) You can host a photo competition, for example, and notify your followers that you’ll be using the winner’s image solely for the daily shout-out.

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The second example shows how you can mention the winner of your competition. The high-resolution image in this design quickly grabs the viewers’ attention. The price takes a central position in this graphic, and yet the company name is clearly visible in the bottom of the post.

You can easily repurpose the two graphic designs in your Canva editor and try out this strategy yourself.

11. Incorporate hashtags into your graphics

Ever since the hashtag took over the Internet, it has been used in almost every popular social media platform.

See It In Action

With over 11k followers and an Instagram photo feed to die for, Salam really knows how to promote their brand. Along with their fabulous quote and event posts, their promotion posts using the hashtag #FashionDreamHouse are nailing it with a color-infused, geometry-inspired design.

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DIY In Canva

Hashtags are your way to reaching millions of Instagram users every day and their power should not be undermined. Besides being used as a way to increase traffic to your Instagram profile, hashtags can be also used for increasing brand awareness.

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You can invent a hashtag for your social media campaign and promote it with a special graphic post on Instagram and other platforms.

Make sure your hashtag takes a central position in your post. Dont’ be afraid to use additional graphic elements to enhance your design.

Try out remixing and adapting your ideas into one of the Instagram post templates above or make a completely new design in Canva.

12. Host exciting giveaways

Everybody loves giveaways. There’s no better way to secure your place in the hearts of your customers than by giving them your product, free of charge.

See It In Action

This cute giveaway Instagram post by Hearts and Krafts presents a product showcase tailored for a holiday campaign. Product collections are particularly popular on Instagram so this post design is great for advertising giveaways.

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Giveaways are a popular way of acquiring new clients and making your audience interact online.

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You can promote your giveaways on all social media channels — including Instagram, of course. Being a visually-oriented platform, Instagram is ideal for giveaways that feature a beautiful product photo. But you can also create a promotional post that doesn’t show your product and ornate it with various graphic elements.

Try to revamp the graphic template above and create your very own giveaway promotion post in Canva.

13. Show-off your products

Instagram is one of the most popular platforms for product advertisement. Thousands — if not more — product photos are uploaded on the site each day.

See It In Action

There’s a lot to learn from the post designs of this company. While HD photography may take you a long way, a well-designed product display with a strong caption will guarantee your message won’t get unseen.

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Besides uploading awesome landscapes and playing around with filters, you can increase brand awareness and share visually compelling graphics and high-quality photos of your products.

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Always make sure you’ve got the best shot of your product before uploading. The templates above show two examples where the product photos are the basis of the graphic’s design.

Customize them in Canva and use your product photos to promote your brand with a captivating graphic post.

14. Engage your audience with events

Another way to interact with your audience on Instagram is hosting various events.

See It In Action

This event Instagram posts of About Cirebon has all the ingredients of a buzz-worthy social media presence. The design uses white space to emphasise on the event’s CTA and gives all the required information users need to consider taking part of the event.

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You can promote your events through the app and invite people to join. But in order to create a successful campaign, you need to create graphic ads that will compel your audience to get involved.

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The two examples above show two event promotion graphics that will quickly grab your followers’ attention. The golden frame on the first graphic gives the design a sophisticated look. The second design has a rather minimalist style, yet it captures Instagram’s spirit with a colorful, tropical photo frame.

The templates above have a flexible design which you can use to promote a Twitter chat, a podcast, or even a holiday.

15. Offer discounts in graphic form

No one can refuse a tasty discount.

If you want to guarantee your promotion is seen by your audience, you need to invest in creating a special Instagram post that really grabs your viewers’ attention

See It In Action

This retro discount post design by hits the jackpot for its clean and practical layout. The message is short and the ad design gets straight to the point while the vintage elements give off a quirky and playful look.

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Don’t let your promotional posts become dull and indistinguishable.

Ensure your sale is seen by using graphics with high-resolution images and a call-to-action that’s clearly visible even with a quick scroll through the feed.

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The templates that come along with this post can help you design an engaging discount post yourself. Customize them using your Canva account and promote your deals in Instagram with a graphic that really grabs your audience’s attention.

Conclusion

Revamp your photos and create promotional graphics that will rocket-launch your Instagram marketing campaign. Engage with your audience and remember, consistency in posting combined with visually compelling images are the secret keys to successful social media growth.

We’d love to see your designs, so don’t be afraid to share them on your Canva profile or in the comments below.

Veronika is a graphic design whiz, avid SEO specialist and photography enthusiast with entrepreneurial mindset and a soft spot for all things writing & design. When she's not enjoying the mesmerizing beauty of nature, she spends her days exploring the mysterious realms of the Internet with a hot cup of coffee in hands. Catch up with her on Twitter at @vberrenike where her love for graphic art and online marketing intertwine in an inspiring social media feed.