In my last blog post I discussed the appeal of Snapchat and how companies can utilize the app to endorse their brand and create unique relationships with followers. I mentioned that Snapchat can be used in a more casual way, since content disappears after 24 hours. However, it is a bit different on other platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram. Because the content posted on these sites is much more permanent, it is of higher importance to mediate and edit what is posted to these platforms.
Pictures are an important part of online campaigns and they should be utilized in order to achieve the best results. People are visual beings and by using photos a company can bring people into their brand and get them interested in what they have to say. Regina Luttrell points out in her book Social Media: How to Engage, Share, and Connect that, “photos allow a company to tell a story that otherwise could not have been accomplished through other, more traditional mediums…by integrating photos as a means to inform your audience you can create engagement and interaction,” (130).
One of the most popular photo-sharing sites in existence today is Instagram. Instagram is owned by Facebook and is an app which allows users to apply filters to images and videos. The app also lets users comment on photos and easily share them on other social networking sites including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. The super sharable nature of Instagram is beneficial to companies since they can distribute content to other sites which then brings more people to the post.
For an app which boasts 300 million active monthly users, it would be crazy for a company to not jump on the Instagram bandwagon. This being said, there are some tips and tricks to effectively using the app. So, let’s get down to business, here are my 5 tips for any business who wishes to move their brand to Instagram.
Instagram pulls in a massive number of users, so it is imperative to keep your company’s presence alive and thriving. If you’re running social media for a company, you’re likely incredibly busy. Although it would be wonderful to take a hiatus from Instagram, that’s just not gonna fly. Followers want consistent content. Don’t blow up their feeds with 10 posts a day, but also don’t disappear for weeks or months at a time. Create a schedule, post every week, and keep the content fresh and engaging.
As with Twitter, Instagram utilizes hashtags to categorize content. Companies can add appropriate hashtags in their photo caption in order to classify their image and to bring other people to the image, aside from the account’s followers. Going off of this, it is annoying when hashtags are used excessively or when the hashtags are not relevant to the photo or company. Hashtags can be used to convey humor, but make sure to stay focused on the message the brand is trying to convey.
Initiate a Convo
You can’t simply post pictures and videos to Instagram without a caption. It is important to explain what the image is and how it relates to your followers. The image caption is also a great place to start a conversation by asking your audience to comment on the image with their thoughts.
Show Them Ya Care
Don’t forget to maintain that relationship with your audience. By following back those who follow the company account, this shows your audience you care. You saw that they followed you and you are interested in what they have to say as well. It’s also important to respond to comments and to occasionally share images your fans post relating to the brand. This can be accomplished by reposting the picture and giving a “shoutout” or a credit to the original poster.
To Filter or Not to Filter?
One of the unique aspects of Instagram is the wide array of filters one can apply to any image. These filters can give your account eye-catching images which creates an overall creative feel. According to Marketo, the Instagram filter you choose can say a lot about you keep this in mind when you’re posting. You don’t want every photo to be highly edited, this gives off an almost fake impression. Try mixing up the filter ratio every now-and-then by taking an au naturel approach. Post an unedited image, or at least switch up the filters a bit.
These are just a few broad tips for Instagram, but what about the photo itself? What types of images do you like to see posted to company accounts?