Happy 1 year anniversary to Instagram on being bought by Facebook for $1 billion dollars.
In today’s social media focused world, we’re constantly being bombarded with messages, advertisements, and calls to action. Visual content grabs our short attention span much faster than a well written article or blog posts. If social media is meant to engage our audience and communicate our brand, why are so few smaller organizations and small businesses still slow on incorporating Instagram into their communication and social media strategy?
In my experience, when Instagram is raised as a potential social platform for clients, responses range from “we’re on Facebook, Twitter and Linked, now this?” to “how can non-professional photos bring money? The pictures on our database are fine” or my favorite “don’t people use that for taking pictures of their lunch?”
In response to the database question, clearly they haven’t read my earlier post.
As far as the other questions are concerned, here are my two cents about how non-profit and small businesses should join the Instagram party.
Back in the day, capturing that unique photo opp meant lugging around a camera, hiring an expensive photographer, or the ultimate- not have a camera because ‘we didn’t think it was important’. Well, smartphones have made these excuses pretty much obsolete. With Instagram you can snap, edit (if need be), and share your photo in no time! Not to mention that with smooth integration between Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare (for those on it), and email, Instagram is a simple way to post onto those dreaded social media platforms your brand loathes (see complaint above).
In many cases, local brands confront a challenge broadening their audience to unfamiliar markets. Social media has broken down many of these barriers. Pictures have that universal touch that simplifies the process allowing brands to communicate their core, universal message without getting lost in translation.
Storytelling has become the trend for communicating a brand. So while writing great content is still critical, complementing it with some photos that can capture the same message will only help further the brand.
According to Social Bakers “The whole shift to visual storytelling presents new opportunities and challenges for marketers. It seems that the personification of your brand is becoming the hottest social media trend! Pictures are great in attracting attention, expressing emotions or ideas and fans find it easier to identify with them. Plus they are fun! To build a strong loyal community of fans and customers, you need pictures that will create a cohesive consumer experience and encourage a deeper relationship on a more personal level.”
Today is also Ben and Jerry’s Free Cone Day, here’s how their brand engages their audience on Instagram.
Like with all social media marketing, ROI is the key. If the number of comments or likes is not enough, there’s a platform called Simply measured. It’s a social media tool that quantifies the value of each post and ensures that your message is being heard by the appropriate audience.
So what makes for good photos?
People love sharing their experiences using a product or brand. A simple hashtag # or mention @ , allows consumers to a company expand its reach.
For example, over Passover, I was at a branch of the Dan Hotels chain. So throughout my stay, I mentioned and used #danhotels when sharing my Instagram photos. To the point that some people asked if I was getting paid for it. No, just helping to spread the love for a brand that gets social media.
Consumers may not want to see your lunch every day, but they may enjoy an elaborate spread from a hotel buffet, the shmorg at the annual gala, the new brochures that are hot off the presses, or your remodeled work space.
Like with all social media efforts, Instagram requires a strategy. If your business or organization is interested in bolstering its brand awareness and online presence, then make sure the content is engaging and interesting to them, not you!
As always, being on Instagram, Facebook, Twitter is not enough, someone on staff needs to generate great content and engage with your audience.
In short, as my friend and colleague, Beth Kanter says,
“Instagram boils down to curate, snap, hashtag, engage, and repeat.”
So what are you waiting for? Join me on Instagram and start capturing the millions of magical moments that make your brand unique!
How has your brand incorporated Instagram into its strategy?