Instagram: Unlock the Power of Your Brand’s Image [Research]

3 Ways to Make Instagram Actionable For Marketing

Instagram is about more than just the photos we take and share. Instagram enables us to see the world differently. With the help of its social media integration, Instagram creates memories and provides context for everyday activities. Instagram enables marketers to leverage the visual power of their brand.

Given its origins as a mobile app, it’s not surprising that only 12% of the adult Internet population use Instagram according to a recent Pew Internet Report. 27% of this app-driven, social media image site’s users are 18 to 29. 

What’s unexpected is that Instagram is making a bigger impact than other high visibility social media networks. This is attributable to Instagram’s combination of beautiful images and social media integration. New users are driven to the site based on images they view on other social media networks. In turn, this gets them to reengage on social media to discuss the images they’ve uploaded.

Here are three ways to use Instagram to expand your social media presence and increase engagement.

Stroke your audience’s egos. Remember social media isn’t about you! The surest way to get other people to talk about you is to talk about them. Post their images on your site and they’ll send their family, friends and contacts there to see their photos. To ensure that you maintain editorial control, curate their Instagram images. Known for its high quality photography, The New Yorker uses guest Instagram curators who are professional photographs. Actionable Marketing Tip: You don’t need to be a well-known media entity to accomplish this. Find Instagram photographers who are interested in your topic or a related one. Then engage them to determine if and how they’d like to talk about working together. (Here’s how to increase Instagram engagement.)

Spotlight your target audiences. Think broadly about your various target markets and determine how you should use their Instagram images in your marketing. Depending on your organization, this can include customers, influencers, employees, donors, volunteers, the public, the media and the government. (Note: Not-for-profits have a wider array of publics by their nature.) To this end, it’s useful to create a marketing persona and a social media persona. Once you decide on a theme for your images, you can either create the images yourself or curate images made by your audience. Glass of water in Rwanda via InstagramActionable Marketing Tip: Focus on small details related to subject of your images. Instagram is great for framing details and bringing out the often less known story. For example, Charity Water uses Instagram to tell the story of the importance of water to the people of Rwanda. Each image is beautiful and says more than your average not-for-profit pitch.

Seek photographers to help create content. Instagram provides a forum for finding photographers, whether they’re professionals or amateurs, who create amazing images in your product category. Actionable Marketing Tip: Use Instagrammers to photograph your digital campaign. The added benefit is that you can view a photographers’ images to gather insights into his or her perspective on the world. Further, you can leverage the power of their followers. For example, Johnny Walker selected top Instagram photographers such as Chris Ozer who has over 165,000 followers, to shoot the Scottish highlands showing the natural beauty of the landscape. The best part from a marketing perspective is that the brand gets the power of his follower base.

Use Instagram to take advantage of the your organization’s visual power. Let your products and customers look better than they do in real life to become the star of your marketing.

Have you experimented with Instagram for your business? If so, what did you discover?

Happy marketing,
Heidi Cohen

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