Instagram: Marketing Inside The Frame

Photographs: 4 Ways To Create Social Media and Content

cameraWith Instagram, we no longer need to use our words. Instead, we use Instagram to capture our lives with a snap of our smartphones. Then we enhance its gloss and, with a swipe or two, we can share the small moments of our lives in their best light with others.

According to Pew Internet Research, Instagram is used by 17% of the US adult online population, about 60% of whom use it daily or multiple times a day. While this may sound small, don’t let the percentage fool you. About 150 million people use Instagram.

Instagram’s 3 benefits

For users, the upside of Instagram is that we:

  1. Want to make our lives look good. Instagram helps us accomplish this without a lot work or time so that our lives appear to be wonderful to others.
  2. Want to let others, both our inner circles as well as strangers, see our lives from our point of view.  Instagram allows us to post images easily across a variety of social media platforms.
  3. Want to share compelling images of our world. Instagram enables us to curate information in the form of images with our social circles.

Instagram use: Care required

But don’t snap to judgment where Instagram is concerned. You need to use Instagram with care or you’ll miss out on life.

Linda A. Henkel of Fairfield University found the following in “Point and Shoot Memories”. Based on research taken during a museum tour, some participants were directed to take photos and others were directed not to take photos.

  • Just the act of taking photographs was insufficient to remember the object or event. Henkel found people who recorded their museum trip with snapshots of each item tended remembered few of the objects and limited details about them compared with the people who didn’t take photographs.
  • But the act of composing an image by focusing on specific elements enhanced memory of the object. When participants photographed specific details of an object, they tended to remember the entire piece as well as the particular features.

4 Ways to use Instagram photographs for social media and content marketing

As a marketer how can you leverage this trend to create memorable social media engagement and quality content using photographs? Please note that while inspired by Instagram, these tips aren’t limited to just Instagram images!

  1. Set up one or more designated photograph locations. Take a page from the award ceremonies where the press lines up to take photographs of stars and other celebrities. Disney World does a variation of this by having locations where visitors can take photographs of their kids with Mickey Mouse and other various characters. This works well for experiential brands as well as retailers. Of course, there are retailers like wedding dress mecca Kleinfelds that strictly prohibit photographs. Actionable Marketing Tip: Ask customers to share their photos on Instagram or other social media platform.Photo Disney Style- Baloo and Louie From The Jungle Book at  Disney World
  2. Spotlight your customers wearing or using your products. Create a special location where your fans can strut their stuff. Instagram is great for this. But don’t overlook  your other social media platforms. Make them feel special and highlight their images in your related marketing. Understand that you may need to give them an incentive to participate such as a discount coupon. Don’t forget to get their permission to share the image. This means that you should check with your legal department that the person making the submission owns the rights to the image and that they give their permission for it to be shared. Gymboree does a great job of including customers’ kids in their social media and emailings. Gymboree-We Heart You Wednesdays on Facebook
  3. Offer professional photographs. Get a professional photographer to take photos of your customers in action. Ask them to use a combination of Instagram and professional cameras. This is an established revenue stream for experiential offerings such as tours where a photographer accompanies your group and takes great shots of you and your friends. It works particularly well when you can’t take photos of each other such as on extreme trips and the like. Instead of charging for these images, include your branding to get broader reach via sharing. (Here are 7 experiential marketing tips.) Actionable Marketing Tip: Make sure that you get your customers’ permission to use their images.
  4. Give away professional photographs. Let your customers and others use your photographs of your product. Use a combination of different platforms including Instagram. One social media photo platform that gets overlooked is Flickr where you can give people full or limited rights to share your content. Some businesses use it as a way to get links back to their site. Alternatively, you can give them to your customers and encourage them to share the photographs. I love how Rubbermaid has posted professional photographs on FlickrRubbermaid Closet


We’re visual beings. Use Instagram to get your customers’ photographs of your products and services into your social media and content marketing mix.

How do you get your customers and fans to share their Instagram photos with you?

Happy Marketing,
Heidi Cohen



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