I love Instagram. In fact, it may have replaced Twitter (or at least tied it!) as my favorite social network.
Combine the power of visual storytelling with the app’s sheer number of active users and one thing becomes clear: When you approach Instagram through a PR lens, the platform can become a key tool for connecting with influencers, conveying stories, and activating audiences. How? I recently spoke at FPRA’s Annual Conference, sharing 40+ examples, ideas, tips and tools to help brands take a fresh approach to Instagram. Scroll through my slides at the bottom of this post, or keep reading for eight best practices that you can apply to your brand/clients:
- Get creative with your content. Why do people follow brands on Instagram? According to recent data from Iconosquare, some do it because they actually like a brand (62%), but a large chunk of people say it’s because they want to discover new things (54%) or find the brand’s content interesting or funny (48%). Keeping that in mind, experiment with different types of content to see what resonates with your audience and look for ways to infuse creativity, humor or inspiration.
- Humanize your brand. Similarly, be on the lookout for opportunities to “lift the curtain” and show off the people behind your company. Social media – and Instagram, specifically – can help you build a personal connection with potential customers, which can help yield a few different business benefits.
- Post frequently. To build up your community, you’ve got to post fairly frequently. We typically recommend at least a few times a week, if not more. (Pro tip: Instagram works best when it’s “in the moment,” but it’s okay to set a schedule to ensure you’re posting often enough. Just make sure the content is super relevant either way.)
- Reward behaviors you want people to repeat. As with any other social network, posting your own content is just the first step. Engagement and interaction are equally important to help build community and establish relationships. Some easy ideas to start? Always respond to comments/questions on your own content, plus look for ways to interact with other people’s content (e.g., like, comment on or regram their photos).
- Be smart with hashtags. How do you find opportunities to interact, you ask? Start by identifying and monitoring relevant hashtags. We typically come up with a list of 8-10 hashtags to monitor for each client, and then continue to build out the list as we discover more. This tactic also helps us identify influencers in different communities.
- Use data to increase engagement. Don’t forget to include relevant hashtags on your own photos, as they’ve been proven to increase engagement. Geotagging photos and @mentioning someone in your caption are shown to boost interaction, too.
- Create an Instagram style guide. Be consistent with colors, fonts and other design elements to create a cohesive look on Instagram – one that also aligns with the rest of your overall branding. This means thinking strategically about what filters you use, too: Instead of applying random filters haphazardly to each photo, stick with a few that fit your brand’s style.
- Be professional. If you’re going to invest time in Instagram, don’t do it half-heartedly. There are hundreds of apps and tools available to help you take/edit professional-looking photos, regardless of whether you have a photography/design background or not. Check out The Ultimate PR Pro’s Toolbox to see a few of our recommendations.
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- The Ultimate PR Pro’s Toolbox: 160+ tools to increase efficiency and drive better results