Posts Tagged ‘instagram’
If a picture is worth a thousand words, then Instagram is the king in the social media palace. As the online and social worlds continue to evolve, so does user experience and expectations. Once accustomed to text-heavy articles and web pages as information portals, users are getting increasingly lazy when it comes to getting information and demand to get it quickly (and more importantly, visually). With the explosive growth of visual platforms like YouTube, Pinterest, and Instagram over the past ten years, users are clearly attracted to visual content as it relates to getting information online, especially when it comes to brands.
Instagram has over 80 million users and was acquired by Facebook in April of this year for $1 billion (techcrunch.com). If your brand is avoiding hopping on the Instagram train, it’s time to jump. In order to be successful on the Instagram platform, brands need to embrace the power of visual content and all hail to the king using the below tactics.
Tell A Story
Due to the nature of the platform, Instagram gives brands the opportunity to tell the story of their company. Give users an incentive to follow you by providing a “behind the scenes” look into the culture and daily events of your brand. This picture below was taken at Couples Resorts at the very moment when endangered sea turtles were hatching and making their way into the ocean. This elicited a big response in followers, as they felt a personal connection to the resort that was providing a play-by-play of the rare occurrence.
Find Relevant Followers
In order to build your following, it is important to optimize your profile for search with a robust “about” section that includes your website and relevant keywords, as well as your logo as the thumbnail.
In addition to the profile settings, it is important to utilize prominent hashtags in your posts to maximize your overall reach and to get new followers who are interested in the same topics that you are sharing in your content. Think like a user when tagging your photos, and use hashtags that make sense and are relevant to the image. Websites like web.stagram.com are available that calculate the most popular hashtags at the moment, which is a great benchmark if you’re stumped and looking for hashtags with maximum reach.
Expand Your Reach
Generating a good photo that tells a story and elicits emotions in users is a great start, but it is important to not limit the photo to just Instagram, but to share it across other social networks as well. From within the Instagram platform, you can tie a Facebook (profile, not brand page) and a Twitter account. Once you publish an image on Instagram you have the ability to share across either of these channels. I don’t recommend sharing on Facebook directly, since the use of hashtags on the platform is not as relevant as they are on Twitter.
Using a platform like web.stagram.com, you are able to see the Instagram photos on your account and share them across a host of other social channels such as Pinterest, Facebook, Tumblr and Google+. See the screenshot below for a look at this interface.
Another positive of Instagram is the ability to utilize hashtags to create conversations around your brand. One way to do this is by hosting an Instagram photo contest, where users simply need to enter the contest by using a hashtag (ex: #CouplesPhotoContest) for a chance to enter to win. This is also a great way to be able to re-purpose the user-generated-content once the contest is over. Prior to launching, I recommend creating a terms and conditions page on your website that thoroughly explains the rules of the contest so you can point all inquiries back to the site for more information.
What are some of your favorite brands to follow on Instagram? What content are they creating that makes you think of them as the King?
If you haven’t been keeping up in the exciting developments in the social media world, you should know that Facebook has acquired Instagram. However, this is no small acquisition. This move cost Facebook a whopping $1 Billion dollars in stocks and cash.
Is it worth the money? Well, this is a very strategic move for Facebook. Instagram already had an iPhone community of 27 million sharing photos and communicating with each other. With the recent move over to the Android market, there are estimates that this community will easily reach 50 million users. This is significant because part of Facebook’s dominance as the leading social network is with its photo sharing and viewing capabilities. Furthermore, Instagram was becoming a social network of its own between these photo enthusiasts. So, it was necessary for Zuckerberg to make a move to acquire the app. It is a smart move for Facebook to consolidate competitors that are threatening its social dominance.
Instagram will stay a standalone app. However, we should expect to see more and more integrations with Facebook on the horizon. There is a lot of speculation as to what cool, new features will be released with this integration. We don’t know if there will be capabilities for internet marketing management added to Instagram or not. But some of the ideas floating around are that users will be able to tag themselves in Instagram photos, Instagram photos will be able to be location tagged, and there will be the ability to use Instagram’s photo editing capabilities for Facebook photos. For now, there is nothing official released, but expect to see new features like these down the line.
This acquisition has not been pleasing to everyone. Many Apple users were already bothered when Instagram was released for the Android market. Now with the Facebook acquisition, even more are jumping ship. Many third-party photo sharing services are finding themselves with an influx of new users. This provides some new avenues for internet marketing companies. Followgram, Carousel, and InstaDesk are a few of these third party services that are gaining users. But this is only a portion of Instagrams users. Despite those leaving the app, Instagram still has a large following and will most likely keep growing.
With Facebook owning the application, expect to see a lot more Instagram news a features flooding your news feeds. This has already angered some enough to leave but will probably greatly benefit those who remain with the app.
Facebook’s acquisition of Instagram has created quite a buzz in the online world. From the exorbitant valuation of the deal to the competitive motivation to make the transaction, Facebook has taught internet marketing a few lessons in content creation versus content distribution.
Before Facebook acquired Instagram, the site was exclusively a way to distribute information. With the exception of typed statuses, Facebook users left the actual creation of content up to others like Spotify for music or Zynga for games. Instagram provides a technology platform for users to both create and share information. This allows for deeper user interaction, which is important to Facebook.
There are three lessons that Facebook’s Instagram acquisition has taught us:
1. Partner with marketing companies who specialize in content creation instead of reinventing the wheel. Doing this can actually result in far more engagement than expected because you have a stronger expertise in both areas.
2. Facebook and Instagram are both strong in content creation and distribution, so leverage each platform’s expertise instead of trying to create something similar from scratch.
3. Make room for the amateurs. Instagram and Pinterest allow the user to post and share. The pros create cool content that users will want to share, but it is the consumers themselves who bring reach.
Internet marketers will consistently be challenged to adapt to these trends and provide meaningful content that people will want to share. How do you think Facebook’s Instagram acquisition will affect the Internet marketing industry?
Long-awaited photography application Instagram is now available for Android users via download from Google Play. The app, previously exclusive to iPhone users for free, hit 27 million users last month. That number is pretty impressive as it was only available to IOS users until now. The application allows you to apply professional edits to your photos taken with your phone, and upload them onto Instagram’s network. The photos may also be shared on Facebook and Twitter. Instagram is considered a social networking app because it allows you to follow your friend’s photo streams and “heart” each others photos. The fast growing user base is an exciting opportunity for online marketing companies, and many of us are asking how Instagram can be a part of your company’s social media marketing strategy. Below are a few ways companies are taking advantage.
- Image Marketing- Instagram allows you to share your client’s story through vivid pictures. In the age of translucency and openness, consumers now expect to be included in the operations of their favorite companies. What better way to show your customers what goes on behind the scenes than a company Instagram page. Check out how some early adopters such as Starbucks, Redbull, and Tiffany & Co. are using the app for their campaigns.
- Share the Process- Every company goes through a process for their products/services, ranging from procurement to factory operations or even food preparations for a restaurant. Let your customers know the process behind your customers favorite products or services.
- Brand Management- The old saying “A picture is worth a thousand words,” is none truer in today’s world. By sharing what pictures represent your brand, you can make a lasting impact on your brand’s image. Show your customers what your brand is all about through dynamic pictures.
Now that the app is available to android users, expect not only a boom in the growth of its user base, but also companies to quickly jump onto this bandwagon. Currently Android and IOS combine for 110 million users in the US alone. The app has a real chance of hitting 100million users by the end of the year, a task that took Facebook four years to accomplish. Do you think Instagram is a valuable marketing tool for your company?
With all the buzz on the newest social media platform, Pinterest, internet marketers everywhere should be paying close attention to which sites are grabbing the most attention and bringing in the biggest ROI. So which picture-sharing addicting platform is in the closest running against Pinterest? The answer is not necessarily in a platform, but a mobile app, Instagram. Not available to Android users, Instagram has still managed to quickly become the most-popular mobile image-sharing application available. At more than 15 million users with 500 million photos uploaded since its launch on October 6, 2010, Instagram could be your next in to get consumers attention.
Although Pinterest can help your brand in many ways (see earlier blog post) Instagram is a place internet advertising companies can actually create content and share photos. Here are a few ways in which your company can be taking advantage of the image-sharing app:
Show Your Brand’s Personality – Once you get used to how Instagram works, you will notice how easy it is to share perfectly edited images of your brand’s product. Rather than just posting photos of your products, mix in images that really showcase your brand’s personality by posting photos of real consumers with your brand, for example.
Link To Twitter/Facebook – Instagram is savvy enough to give you the option of uploading your images via Twitter and/or Facebook with every share. Be sure to connect your Twitter and Facebook accounts to your Instagram account in order to drive the most traffic with your images.
Consistent Posting – Since many users of Instagram will spend quite a bit of their time in the app, it’s usually in large increments 2-3 times a day. They may not be scrolling through their entire feed of images therefore you want to keep up with regular posting at niche times of the day: morning commute, lunch hour, and evening commute.
“Like” Your Fans – Since Instagram integrates a similar function like the Facebook “like” button, be a friend of your fans and like their photos that you see as representation of your brand. This will cause them to be more apt to pay more attention to the images you post and share with their friends. Also, be sure to utilize the ease of the comment section for each image and reply back to any user comments.
Keep Up With Trending – Brands can use social media platforms to let consumers know that they want them to share photos revolving around a designated topic (for example: #March). When users then upload images, they can attach that hashtag or even your Instagram username (for example: @InternetMktgInc) to get their photos into the entry pool. This is a great way to drive traffic because users will be more inclined to hashtag your brand if they see many other users doing the same. And you can always follow the submissions by pointing an RSS reader to: http://instagr.am/tags/[hashtag name]/feed/recent.rss (no “#” before the hashtag name).
Now that we all know how to utilize Pinterest and Instagram, which image-uploading platform will your brand try to conquer? Share with us your thoughts and opinions in the comment section.