By Cokey Falkow
If you are involved in digital PR or marketing Instagram is on your radar. The just-released study from L2 shows that Instagram is now in the top five social sites used by brands.
How can you utilize Instagram to maximum effect? Here are few tips:
1. Train your team to create high quality, interesting visual material
What is their eye like? And don’t say green. Can they take a good photo? Can they resize images? Can they add text? When should you add text to an image – and why? Can they create a composite image that tells a story better? Watch what sort of engagement different types of images get.
Does the team have access to a library of brand shots, logos and video they can import into Instagram? How fast can they manipulate an image or video and get it posted to Instagram? Make sure your team is trained to produce great images and videos quickly. You will reap the rewards.
2. Be real
Research shows that ‘behind the scenes’ and real shots get far more engagement than brand or pack shots that could be found in a magazine. Instagram is about a visual point-of-view. It’s about how your brand sees the world and sharing that story with like-minded people.
3. Develop a look
And on that note, you may want to think about your image bible. What is your brand story? What sort of image sells your lifestyle? Or what best represents the things you believe in? Look at similar brands or search relevant hashtags and try and work out a visual style that appeals to your target market.
4. Use Hashtags to connect with the right people
Once you know your look create a brand hashtag that describes your story. And spend some time figuring out which hashtags will connect you to a community of people who buy in to that story and will be looking for the kind of visual content you publish. It may be just the brand name – #Nike #RedBull. Or you can add the story tag – like Red Bull uses #givesyouwings. Give your fans a tag they can relate to and use with their images and videos. If your brand is about organic snacks and treats perhaps #healthysnacking could be your hashtag. See Nike’s success – its started with a hashtag
5. Be careful who has access to your account
If you use a personal and a brand account check which account the device in your hand is posting to. Make sure your team does the same, or you may end up with pictures that your six-year old took on your brand account feed. And if that brand feed is linked it will then seed that content to your other social accounts like Facebook and Twitter, Linkedin.
On the flip side of this coin: Be circumspect about what you “like.” All the photos you like can be seen by the folk who follow you. Tap the Heart icon. At the top it says Following/ News. It is set to News showing all the news on you and your profile. When you tap Following you can see a list of the people you follow and under their names the pictures they have liked or commented on. If someone who has access to your Instagram account likes images and videos that are inappropriate for the brand it will be seen by your followers.
Take great photos and videos. Share them with the right people. Follow people who are posting content about your brand or your areas of interest. Since Instagram added the 15-seconcd video feature posting rate and engagement have skyrocketed. And now that you can import video into Instagram it opens up a whole new avenue of content possibilities.
Get on board and get connected to one of the most vibrant social communities around.
From the book – 15 Seconds of Fame: How brands can use Instagram to build an engaged community of advocates (Available on Amazon September 1, 2013)