You don’t have to be cool to rule the (virtual) world. Brands are no longer hiding in cocoons, relying on heavyweight publishers for sponsored content. They’ve evolved into social butterflies on the digital sphere.
Granted, not every brand knows how to maximise Instagram to its fullest potential. Some see no wrong in whiplash colours and unrelated captions – the perfect trigger to a swipe (away). But you and your growing brand will have to do it right. We’ll help you out.
1. Find your voice
Don’t be afraid to let your feed do the talking. A picture is worth a thousand words, no? Your Instagram account is your brand’s voice. A strong identity sets you apart from the rest, but your brand can only shine when it knows itself. Think of the values your company stands by, and translate that into a visual force.
Take Starbucks for instance. Their Witch’s Brew Frappuccino is another magical concoction to join their out-of-this-world selection.
Starbucks’ recipe for success is simple. Their Instagram page shows a seamless integration around their cup of joe-from pictures of house coffees, and festive-themed caffeine to the newest additions.
2. Be consistent – it’s a strategy
This should be your brand’s middle name. Build a cohesive brand theme with colours, filters and aesthetic designs that are in sync. Ensure your photos are sized well (1080px by 1080px), so your feed won’t resemble a stock of mismatched crops. Learn from Pinkberry and their messy use of a filter, turning their berry yogurt into a chameleon instead.
From one dairy name to another, Ben & Jerry’s is making their Instagram page all about their delicious pints. Like them, be consistent with your branding, and don’t post the same picture thrice in a row. Spruce things up with creative ideas and don’t let others wonder why you’re on their timeline.
If your company is promoting a new product, make things easy on the eye by capturing shots against diverse backgrounds or adding related pictures such as a consumer trying out your item. It helps to remember to whom you’re posting for too.
3. Schedule posts in good time
There’s no hard and fast rule on the best timing, so test your posts at different intervals of the day. Our pro tip is to use Iconosquare to view posts’ statistics and keep track of the time your target market is most active. Even if you’re posting fantastic content, it’ll be water under the bridge if no one sees it.
Sporadic posting habits make your followers forget you. Over-posting will annoy them. Find a strategic balance, and a good suggestion is to have an editorial calendar to set specific schedules.
Think of your postings as a diet plan: Don’t be over-ambitious and commit more than you can chew, or take too many ‘chill pills’ and post only once a year. People will wonder if you’re still in business! The average brand posts, according to a Union Metrics study, is 1.5 times every day – a realistic goal for most.
4. Create Instagram Stories that work
Publicise giveaways, contests and timely deals on Instagram Stories, with a call-to-action for consumers to click on instantly. With their latest “swipe up” feature, it has never been this easy for brands to direct audience straight to their content.
Bringing your followers behind-the-scenes is like dangling the metaphoric carrot, holding their attention, in anticipation of the actual release. Take a page from H&M and their Conscious Collection, giving avid fans an inside scoop on the materials used in their environmental-friendly initiative, and keeping them on their toes about the upcoming release.
Travel application site Hopper, for example, uses Instagram Stories to offer massive flight discounts for your next holiday.
Whatever your motive -cheap thrills or sneak peeks- an Instagram Story is fluid and purposeful, all while aligning with your brand’s image. It’s not called a “story” for no reason!
5. Your followers matter
Not to sound superficial, but who your brand follows speak volumes. Following a charitable cause have others believe your brand is ethical, whether or not it holds true. Of course, it’s a given to check out accounts that are relevant to your brand.
That doesn’t mean you should go on a follow spree and add random pages, especially when your followers are half the size of theirs. It seems egoistic, but let followers come to you instead. Focus on building real relationships and let others share your content for you.
The ‘like for like’ favour doesn’t work here. Think of the number as a nice compliment, but genuine engagement with your supporters eventually takes precedence. Don’t sacrifice quality for quantity.
6. Just have fun
This seems contradictory to everything on the list. But the moment you view Instagram as a profit-making tool, you’ll lose out. While these guidelines may pivot into a powerful branding strategy, remember – when you start thinking “This seems fun”, others will too. Get inspired and start posting. Your visual diary is your brand.
Posted by Nur Farzana, CorpMedia
Instagram recently surpassed the 700 million user mark and that deserves a huge “Wow!” If you’re wondering about who, what, when, where, why and how, then you only need to look to Mark Zuckerberg. No one gets it better than Mark. By investing heavily in Facebook products such as Facebook Messenger, Whatsapp and Instragram, he’s created an ecosystem where millions of people get to connect and share their stories online every day.
But enough about Mr Zuckerberg, let’s get back to the Wow. With more than 700 active million users per month, Instagram offers a large gathering of followers that can benefit your business. These followers could very well become your customers, so they’re worth pursuing. Especially since Insta users have shown that they’re ready to engage with businesses within and outside of the app. More than 80 percent of users follow at least one business, and over 120 million users visit a website, get directions, call, email or direct message a business every month from the app.
Instagram is all about being seen, and which business wouldn’t want to increase their visibility, right? More visibility means new users finding, following and engaging with you, and yes – eventually buying from you. The key to increased visibility is to expand your reach.
There are three basic elements to bear in mind when looking to increase reach and promote growth: content, caption, time. It’s all about creating a voice behind the brand, producing engaging content, and building a relationship with your followers.
Engagement on Instagram is not so easy as it’s a rather isolated space, compared to other platforms like Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter, where interactions happen publicly. If someone were to comment on a Instagram post, chances are you won’t see it unless you’re following that brand or if they tag you.
If you’re planning to use Instagram to grow your brand or business, it’s important to develop a good marketing strategy that will help keep you on track along the way. You will soon realize that follower engagement plays a vital role in growing your Instagram account as well as your brand. While there’s no magic formula to getting more followers, here is a list of tactics that will be helpful along the way.
- If you want a massive Insta following, you need to be posting high quality content (photos and video) ALL of the time – not just post randomly or once every week or so.
- Write descriptive captions. Storytelling will help generate engagement and sharing.
- Interact with top influencers; aim to become one of their favourite people or brands.
- Promote your dedicated hashtag on your other social media profiles, on your website, and your email blast.
- Get creative with your hashtags. Be funny, be outrageous. Be different but not boring!
- Scan for relevant topics and trending hashtags. Join these conversations to get in front of more people.
- Emojis are becoming a universal mode of expression. Nearly 50 percent of all captions and comments on Instagram now have an emoji or two. Make sure you use the right emoji to convey your message.
- Cross-promote your Instagram account and content on other social channels.
- Use your weblink to drive traffic to your newest or most popular content.
- Use the call-to-action buttons such as Shop Now and Install Now, as people will be able to learn about a product or service and take action directly from an ad to sign up on a website, buy a product, or download an app.
Many businesses still struggle on Instagram or avoid it entirely, because they don’t find the site intuitive and they aren’t sure how to actually build a list of active, engaged followers. Not utilizing the network could be a huge mistake for a business as an established Instagram profile with a lot of followers can open up opportunities to establish your brand as a trusted authority within your industry, promote your business and increase sales. So give it a shot!
Posted by Irene Gomez, CIO, CorpMedia
When Instagram first launched in October 2010, it did not expect to gain 1 million users in a span of 3 months. Apparently, many people fancy the idea of showcasing their photos in square grids. But it is more than a personal thing.
Growing at an exponential rate for 3 years straight, Instagram has become one of the rising darlings of social media. Through its focus on photos and close connectivity, Instagram offers an innovative way to leverage visual marketing, with new elements such as InstaDirect-send private messages and InstaVideo– takes a 15 second video.
Today, the Instagram community boasts a whopping 150 million users worldwide. Huge companies such as National Geographic, Zara and Starbucks are all using Instagram to expand their business.
Why are companies jumping on the bandwagon? Because Instagram offers an opportunity for brands to diversify their content as a means to broaden their online reach quickly. Simply put, businesses want to be where their customers are! Getting on this platform is a great way to check out what’s trending in the community, and also track their products by the number of mentions. Through the use of hash tags, companies are able to engage in direct conversation with their audience, and this can inspire new products and/or new product uses.
How can your business benefit from Instagram? Here are some tools and tips to get you started:
Under the “About Me” section, write a brief description of your brand/company. Just like any other social media network, everyone reads the simple introduction on your page before scrolling further. Make it appealing to viewers and remember that less is more. A short, witty tagline is better than a long presentation that can throw people off.
- Behind the scenes
Yes, it is a business that you are running so why not show the viewers how it’s done? Snap photos showing the different aspects your product, or post pictures of events or conferences. Photos of the office and staff interactions will help to build rapport with your audience.
- The art of # (Hashtags)
Thanks to Twitter, the hashtag has become an important means of communication. Hashtags open up the potential of allowing the consumer to influence an ad campaign, for example. So if you’re doing a short survey, or even hosting a contest via Instagram, create a hashtag that users can easily identify with and access quickly. Each time they search for a specific content hashtag (e.g. #iwanttowin), all related photos will show up in one place. However, use relevant hash tags.
- Be creative
You don’t have to go all professional and capture photos using a DSLR camera, and then edit on Photoshop. The key is to keep it creative but simple. Add filters to your images. There are tons of free applications you can download from. There are even filters for InstaVideo! Remember you are communicating through visuals to tell a story to your viewers, so there is no reason to produce boring pictures or videos. Or someone may just hit that “unfollow” button!
- Link everything together
Does your company have Facebook, twitter, blog? Link your Instagram posts to all the platforms – this will have a multiplying effect – not only will your followers stay updated, it will widen your reach.
Not only do people interact through your visually appealing pictures, they may also post comments. Do make it a point to reply and if they follow you, follow them back! This presents another opportunity to explore your audience and understand their interests, which may impact and/or help to improve and expand your company and brand offerings.
- Reward your followers
Once you reach your target number of followers (e.g. 4,000), why not reward them with discount codes, promotions and free tickets? This is a good way to show your appreciation and in turn, your followers will also spread the news about your company. Take Mercedes-Benz for example. They gathered five of Instagram’s best photographers and offered each, five days behind the wheel to take inspiring photos with the car. The one who received the most likes got to keep the all-new Mercedes-Benz CLA. The best part, even fans were allowed to participate. They sent their photos under the hashtag ‘#CLATakeTheWheel;’ in the hopes of winning a car. The contest helped Mercedes-Benz to gain more followers, and the company appeared in the newsfeed of millions of Instagram users through selected Instagrammers’ posts.
Instagram is an invaluable marketing tool. By integrating Instagram into your social media marketing campaign, you can give your followers an insight into your company. It is a great way to promote your business while being creative at the same time – and that’s always fun right!
Posted by Aishah Nur, Corp Media.
In the ruthless digital storm of today, it is no longer “I am blogging this” but “I am blogging this now” that will keep your readers hooked. Live blogging can actually be an extremely valuable resource to your readers if done right. When information is succinct and posts are thoughtful, useful and focused throughout, they may consider your blog the go-to blog for event coverage.
Quintessentially, live blogging is the posting of regular updates to one’s blog as the respective event is taking place, as opposed to blogging after the event itself. It definitely requires preparation, and the number one rule – never run out of power!
– the laptop
– the digital camera
– the video camera
– the digital recorder
– notepad & pens when your wrists need a break
– miscellaneous – power cords, batteries, charger, sweets (to stay awake)
- Find internet access
Do contact the staff in advance to ask if there will be wireless internet access available in order to stave off disaster. It wouldn’t be a live blog if you’re not blogging live. If disaster strikes, call a friend and have them put up a notice that you are experiencing difficulties on your live blog.
- Schedule/Rank most popular events
Dedicate your time to blog the portions that you know will be popular. Treat the event like a collection of websites, and hone in on the presentations that you have mentally assigned as the highest ranking page.
- Use visuals
Pictures are unquestionably a great adjunct to any live blog. With the popularity of platforms such as Pinterest and Instagram, there is no question that visuals appeal to audiences. However, make sure you clear the use of digital cameras and other recording devices with the event staff beforehand – recording live video or audio would be ideal. This acts to complement your live blog, not to substitute your content. You can always go back afterward to cut out the more interesting snippets to post on your website. It will also cement you as a professional in the eyes on those viewing your live blog.
Remember to refer back to your live blog later and use it as research to piece together more cohesive blog posts for your website.
Choosing the Right Platform
On the other hand, depending on the scale and type of event and its following, you need to consider first and foremost if live blogging is your best option. The fact is that while live blogging reflects tech savvy, some events just are not suited to it. For example, if an event is very dry, in-depth or complicated in its content, blogging it live may be inappropriate and counter-productive.
This may be especially so as such events that rely on the accuracy and depth of what you are covering. Thus, it would make more sense to draft a proper blog post.
Depending on the demographics of your readers, one could also take a hybrid approach. That is to live blog interesting snippets of the event itself, especially if something unexpected happens. This can then be supplemented with a full-length post that covers the event proper.
Embracing the Times
There is a host of other mediums one can use to reach out for coverage. Social media networks such as Flickr, Ustream.tv, Twitter, Tumblr, Pinterest and Instagram are just some of this growing number. Live blogging can also be done using WordPress, ScribbleLive, and CoverItLive. The key here is not necessarily to be the best live blogger, because then you are limited to your platform. What is more important here is to be a great communicator. This way, as trends and tools change, your readers will always be loyal to your input and voice.
A live blog will get more hits the day of the event than any other time. We are a society of instant media gratification junkies and this provides the instant fix we crave. While live blogging may not replace traditional blogging anytime soon (or at all), it may encourage it to become lengthier and meatier than it has been in the past. Instead of offering just the quick breakdown that the live blog offers, bloggers will have to inject more qualified statistics and observations in their post-event content to make people want to read their posts in addition to the live blog coverage.
Posted by Yiwen Ng, PR Executive, Corporate Media
21 October 2013 | Categories: Public Relations, Social Media | Tags: blog, blogging, CoverItLive, effectiveness, Flickr, Instagram, journalism, live, must-haves, Pinterest, PR, public, relations, ScibbleLive, Tumblr, twitter, Ustream.tv, Wordpress | Leave a comment