The Infamous Photo “Dump” and How to Leverage it as a Brand
“Photo dumps'' and similar user-created initiatives to make the platform more casual have taken Instagram by storm within the past few months or so. But what exactly is a photo dump, why do they exist, and how can you leverage the trend as a brand? We’ll go over it all in this quick overview.
What is a “photo dump”?
…It’s kind of exactly what it sounds like. According to Bustle, a “photo dump” is a series of random photos (with, sometimes, occasional memes interspersed) – usually unedited, unrelated, and taken within weeks or months of each other – posted to Instagram using the slideshow feature which was introduced in 2017.
With the slideshow feature, users can post up to ten images in a singular post. This is perfect for the spontaneous yet casual nature of the “photo dump”. The “dump” portion of the phrase implies that a user is simply logging on to the app to quickly post an uncurated batch of photos from their life as of late and then logging right off until it’s time for the next dump post.
Many celebrities and influencers have taken part in the trend since its unofficial inception in some time around late 2020. Emma Chamberlain, Bella Hadid, and even President Biden are just some who’ve offloaded the contents of their camera roll to the app as of late.
This trend – like most social media trends – may seem like it came out of nowhere, but in reality, when looking at the history of Instagram and its place in our new pandemic culture, photo dumping seems like the natural next stop on where Instagram is headed.
Why do photo dumps exist?
“Make Instagram casual again” has been a phrase making the rounds across all subsects of the app for at least the past two years now, albeit sometimes jokingly. Gen Z users in particular have yearned for the olden days of the app back when it first launched in 2010, before posts were incredibly hyper-curated, edited, and carefully planned to fit in with the dreaded algorithm and were instead simple, silly one-off pics of Millenials with mustaches unironically drawn on their fingers held to their faces or a coffee mug with a quirky phrase on it.
It seems that these days, everyone has to have their own personal “brand” to adhere to on their social media platforms instead of using them for what they were originally intended for: being genuine.
That’s where photos dumps and other “casual posting” efforts come in. Photo dumps force users to reconsider just how much time they are spending choosing and editing photos to perfection and if they should be spending that valuable time doing something else, like going out and actually making real-life memories with people they care about without prioritizing that Instagram-perfect photo shoot.
If you’re a brand, completely abandoning your traditional social media formula in order to appear more just a little more casual and inviting to your audience may seem terrifying – but don’t worry, there are absolutely ways to do it and be successful!
How to utilize Instagram photo dumps as a brand
Brands can be casual, funny, and successful – we’re seeing it more and more these days. Take Duolingo for example – they’ve amassed a huge following by interacting with their satirical audience and engaging with the most recent TikTok trends. They may have taken the “photo dump” trend a little too literally, though.
Here are just a few examples of how Instagram users have interpreted the meaning of a photo dump and how you can put a brand-appropriate spin on them, while still being able to post frequently and keep up engagement.
The monthly photo dump
This is one of the most common types of photo dumps you’ll see on Instagram. At the end of every month, users post a photo dump of all their favorite memories from that month. You can do the same as a brand!
Including photos from around the office or working from home could really convey that casual feel. Or you could post a bunch of professional edited photos that you’ve previously posted that month just as a fun round up.
As a brand, you can really get creative with photo dumps – doing one once a month could be just the thing your brand needs to get a step up in the algorithm.
The event photo dump
Besides monthly dumps, Instagram users have taken to uploading a whole selection of photos to represent one event in their lives, like a concert or graduation.
This is perfect if your brand is involved in retail or otherwise selling something to your audience – you can showcase all the products that will be featured in a sale or launch by doing a photo dump to celebrate the event. Because the very nature of the photo dump encourages the audience to scroll through all the photos within the post, you could see huge engagement with this kind of photo dump.
Create a new kind of photo dump
The whole “thing” behind photo dumps is creativity and expression – there are so many different ways you can leverage those concepts in a photo dump as a brand!
A photo dump of pics you consider to be representative of your brand’s aesthetic or theming (akin to a moodboard) could be a cool and interesting way to let your audience know that you’re not afraid to be casual.
You could also try and combine another new Instagram-staple, the infographic, with the photo dump! Accompanying some professional, edited photos that showcase your brand’s best qualities with some infographics about your brand’s mission or recent statistics could really shake up how photo dumps can be used for brands. It could be the beginning of a brand-new Instagram trend all on its own!
Author: Louise Irpino