If you are a fan of the television show Arrested Development, then you know that the program revolves around the Bluth family. You also know they are so dysfunctional that any attempt to bring normalcy to everyday life would fail miserably. So, if the members of the Bluth family were to take and post pictures of their crazy antics to Instagram, undoubtedly, they would instantly develop a following.
If you haven’t guessed by now, this blog post is about Instagram. This social network, which has quickly gathered a following of over 300 million users per month, allows users to share images on its platform or on a variety of others sites including Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr and Flickr. Every social network has their own niche and when Instagram was introduced, it was all about the photo. Instagram was also able to capitalize on this by allowing its users to enhance their photos through a variety of filters, which adjusts everything from color to contrast. This, along with the fact that the images are restricted to a square shape gives Instagam photos a vintage feel. Today, when people use their phone cameras to take pictures, they can use a preset filter called “1977” to capture an image that resembles one from a Polaroid camera in 1977.
Since its introduction, Instagram has also added video capabilities that allow you to shoot a 15 seconds video, and similar to still photos, you can apply filters to give it a classic look. While you can put a description associated with your post, unlike other types of social media, you cannot add a hyperlink that is associated with the image. However, you can use up to 15 hashtags for greater visibility vs. the 2 hashtags that is common practice with other social media platforms. This further shows that Instagram is really all about sharing interesting visuals with your group of followers.
While this may simply seem like a fun app, Instagram is definitely a social platform that should not be ignored for businesses. In fact, Forrester Research found that Instagram’s engagement was 58 times times greater than Facebook and 120 times greater than Twitter. Review the tips below to learn how businesses have been using it to develop some incredible results for their brands.
USE INTERESTING IMAGERY
Since the main focus of Instagram is the actual image, make sure the image you post is visually interesting. Your goal is to create some excitement and response from your fans. It could be as simple as taking a picture from a different angle or using one of the different filter options. For example, the energy drink company, Red Bull uses filters with vivid colors to enhance the action featured in their extreme sports sponsored athletes. Mission Bicycle, a San Francisco-based bicycle shop, gets creative by posting images of their bikes against different interesting backdrops throughout the city. And the eyeglasses company Warby Parker does a great job incorporating their product into the imagery by showcasing different shots of New York City as seen through their trendy glasses.
SHOW BEHIND THE SCENES
It is a smart idea to do something different on Instagram than what you may do on any other social network. One popular trend that companies are doing lately is using Instagram to give fans a backstage pass. For instance, Nordstrom and Williams-Sonoma give fans a glimpse into what it takes to shoot the images that go into their catalog or the filming of a product demonstration. Other ideas include taking your followers into a normal work day by showing images of your employees at their desk. All of these ideas allow followers to feel like they are part of the experience.
SHOW YOUR FUN SIDE
Fans of the Ellen DeGeneres show know that she has a good sense of humor and her Instagram account is consistent with this tone. Her site features photos of her guests along with her humorous captions and her audience loves it. In fact, The Ellen Show is the most-followed brand on Instagram. The site has a personal and authentic feel to it with the use of her humor. Since she is a comedian this represents her brand very well.
TELL A VISUAL STORY
In order to engage your audience, tell a story through images. This is exactly what the musician Taylor Swift did to promote her latest album called 1989. She told a story with a 13-day visual countdown by sharing images of hand written lyrics of different tracks from her upcoming album. Each track had a personal image of the song with handwritten lyrics, with just a simple doodle or a background of where she was at the moment. The engagement stats were very impressive and she received as many as 600,000 likes on a particular photo. By sharing some insight into her process and her daily life, her fans felt connected to her visual journey and she was able to create an enormous amount of excitement for her upcoming album.
HAVE FANS SUBMIT PHOTOS
Invite your fans to use their creative side by having them submit their own images while using your product. Choose from the submitted options and post the best ones to your account. Starbucks has been having a lot of success with this tactic and it has helped them become one of the top 3 brands on Instagram. Every few weeks, Starbucks shows their appreciation by posting the chosen Instagram photo as the cover page on Facebook with an acknowledgment of who created the photo. This is also a great way to integrate two different social mediums in your overall plan. And another example is cosmetics retailer Sephora who has had success by asking their fans to submit before and after photos to show how their products enhanced their look.
They say that a picture is worth a 1,000 words and with Instagram that is so true. The above companies have gained success using these tactics to brand their company successfully. So, get creative by sharing a different and enticing side of your company. And if your brand consistently posts interesting images like the ones you would anticipate from the Bluth family, it will certainly develop an instant following!
What techniques have you used to develop success with Instagram?
To learn more techniques about using Instagram as part of an overall social media strategy, read my previous post titled Social Anarchy.
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Want to learn more about Instagram for business? Check out the following resources, where I obtained some of the above information: 3 Mind-Blowingly Gorgeous Examples of Instagram Marketing, 12 Brands To Follow on Instagram,23 Brands Using Instagram And What They’re Doing Right, What You Can Learn From Taylor Swift’s New Album Instagram Teaser Campaign, 52 Tips: How to Market on Instagram, The Ellen Show Is The Most-Followed Brand On Instagram, The 5 Best Ways To Grow Your Instagram Following & Instagram Tops 300 Million Active Users, Likely Bigger Than Twitter.