By Lauren de Guzman
Once upon a time people stopped to take photos that they would later frame and place in the family room, now the first thought that crosses our mind after taking a snapshot is what filter, caption and hashtag we will use when we upload the photo to Instagram. The power of images cannot be understated; after all a picture says a thousand words. Instagram has established itself amongst the top ranked social media platforms, but continues to distinguish itself from the rest with its photo based social sharing feature. New features like Insta-stories, in which users can create a collection of images or videos that will delete automatically after 24 hours, now make Instagram a competitor with other top social sharing apps such as Snapchat. Finding your brand’s creative edge on Instagram can lead to increased brand awareness and can establish a set of long term veterans.
- Let your Instagram represent your brand
Instagram is the best channel to show an organization’s culture and humanize a brand. Anyone can take photos and upload them to the web, but if you want to have a successful Instagram account you must make sure each photo represents your brand and its unique personality. Everlane for example, a small clothing start-up based out of San Francisco, has revolved their Instagram account around simple photos in a basic black, white and grey theme. This is because Everlane prides themselves to be all about the basics.
- Inspire and be inspired
Instagram is a visual platform in which users can inspire one another. A great example of an inspirational instagram account is Underarmour. Underarmour is a brand built around athletics, inspiration and mental determination. Each photo or video they upload has an intensity to it that makes you want to jump off your couch, do a push-up, and go for a run.
- Hashtag away
Hashtags are one of the best ways to gain followers on Instagram. Do your research and see what hashtags are trending in your industry. Whether for your brand or a campaign your brand is doing, creating a unique hashtag for your brand will make it easy for the public to locate your account and follow it as it continues to grow. A great example of a successful hashtag is the #LetHawaiiHappen campaign by Business Hawaii. The campaign aimed to drive tourism in Hawaii, but the clever thing was that the majority of the content was produced by the public. The campaign generated approximately 100,000 posts.
- Contests, games and giveaways
In an ebook by Hubspot they state, “whether you’re looking to support the launch of a new product, generate loads of attention or build momentum with consumers quickly, contests are by far the best way to expand your reach, engage your community and boost virality.” Engaging followers with contests, games or giveaways is a great way to gain new followers as well as encourage current followers to interact with your brand. Adidas and their #myneoshoot campaign, for example, created an Instagram contest in which users shared Adidas-inspired Instagram photos. They then selected the top posts and brought them into model for a professional photo shoot.
There is no question about it: Instagram has the ability to leverage your business and position it amongst top competitors. Now is the time to jump on the bandwagon and establish your business’ presence on a platform with more than 400 million users. Instagram is an essential tool for businesses from every industry in social media marketing and on the journey to building their brand identity.
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