By Monique Stennis, MBA
Social Media Manager
University of Redlands
AABLI alumna, Class #6
Instagram is one of the top ten social media sites,along with platforms like Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube and Pinterest. Purchased by Facebook for $1 billion, Instagram is one of the most popular real-time photo and video sharing apps, reporting more than 300 million daily users. With 26 per cent of adult online participants using this medium, up from 17 per cent in late 2013, brands are taking notice of Instagram’s effectiveness as a marketing tool.
1.Tell your brand’s story visually.
Before plunging into Instagram, do your research: Find out if your target market is using this platform. Determine whether you can create visual content that will narrate your brand’s story. Importantly, discover if you have the “bandwidth” needed to constantly communicate with your intended audience. Social media is all about being socially engaged with your audience; inconsistent posting, sharing, commenting and “liking” is the kiss of death.
We needn’t look far to find one example of staying close to an audience. The African American Board Leadership Institute’s page speaks to business leaders interested in serving on governing boards by sharing real-time photos of events such as panel discussions with collaborative partners, by publicizing nonprofit board leadership training and by sharing timely online recognitions of the AABLI family’s efforts in the business community.
- Cross-promote with your other social media channels.
National Geographic @natgeo promotes its Facebook page in its Instagram pitch. With a maximum of 150 characters, how you frame your own pitch is totally up to you. Many brands use this area to promote their websites or other social media platforms. Notice one small but clever idea: @natgeo used www.bitly.com to reduce the size of its URL, which may have been too long to include.
A hashtag, known to many as a pound or number sign, is a great way to help users find your content. #uclaworld is a great example of a hashtag that is relevant to students, alums and fans of the university. It captures photos of their travels while showing their commitment and pride in the UCLA brand. Such brand loyalty is a huge plus for the organization.
Many brands inundate their posts with hashtags. There is no hard and fast rule governing the number of hashtags on a post, but Hootsuite, a social media management system, says you expose yourself to spammers when you have too many (anywhere between five and 30 in a single post). Equally important, Hootsuite cautions that a glut of hashtags may “dilute your message” or suggest that your page is “desperate for followers.“
To learn much more about hashtags, go to #HashtagStrategies. It will be a good use of your time.
- @mention a Fan on your Instagram page
Notice how Camillerosenaturals mentions @angiedivina? The post also shows up on angiedivina’s page, which boasts more than 4,000 followers, all of whom can see the post from @camillerosenaturals. This is a great strategy. The next time you post a photo on Instagram featuring a guest speaker, mention that speaker. It also functions as a shout out to fans.
Now that we know hashtags are a great way users can find your content, let’s see how some brands use them for further promotions. @Mylastbite posted an inviting photo of a bacon-wrapped grilled cheese sandwich promoting Bacon Day. One of its many hashtags was #ABC7Eyewitness, which means it alerted ABC7 about the delectable sandwich. ABC7 posted and mentioned @Mylastbite on its Instagram page. Did I mention that ABC7 has 116K followers? After ABC7 posted the bacon sandwich photo, @Mylastbite re-posted the screenshot of the ABC7 mention to underscore just how awesome its photo was. I am not sure if they did, but to get greater mileage from this exchange, Mylastbite could also have posted the screen shot on its Facebook page.
Gramblr is a terrific program that allows you to upload pictures and videos to Instagram from a desktop computer. This application offers the same capabilities found on your mobile device, such as cropping, applying filters and writing captions. Remember, however, that Gramblr is not Instagram.
‘Pic, Play, Post,’ an app designed for iPhone and iPad, allows users to make video and picture collages. These videos can be used on most social media platforms. The app is especially useful in creating collages that include both photos and videos.
Sources: www.instagram.com/press, www.pewinternet.org, and blog.hootsuite.com
Resources: Instagram Tips: Using Hashtags, http://blog.instagram.com/post/17674993957/instagram-tips-using-hashtags
This blog is not written by aabli.org or The African American Board Leadership Institute. The author is solely responsible for the content.