Show Off Your Brand’s Personality with Instagram
They say a picture is worth a thousand words – and in a world where photo sharing networks are all the rage, why spend millions of dollars on fancy advertising campaigns when you can capture the soul of your company within a newsfeed?
Everyone’s favorite photo app, Instagram, enables brands to connect in a unique way with customers by allowing the opportunity to visually personify the company. As with Pinterest, brands share images that project their personalities. Users have the ability to like, tag, comment or follow a brand and its images, essentially allowing the brand to become a part of their lives – or at least their daily social network routine.
Initially, Instagram was created as a platform for individuals to share visual content – to get off the couch and do something; to create, see and capture the things in life that really are unique – not necessarily with brands in mind.
Many view Instagram as the first truly international social application because of its visual appeal. The app does not rely heavily on words – as Facebook or Twitter do – and therefore is not constrained by language. It is a universal media that can be appreciated no matter what language you speak, allowing diverse people to connect, inspire and share the things they are most passionate about.
Although Instagram originally targeted individuals, brands are no stranger to the platform. The site’s Help Center outlines a slew of notable users including prominent musicians, athletes, fashion designers, politicians, technology giants and news outlets.
For B2C companies, Instagram is an ideal way to capture the lifestyle around the brand or showcase a product in a unique way. Giorgio Armani continues its “Frames of Life” campaign through Instagram shots; Ford used instagram to showcase the technology features of the Fiesta; CNN created a photo gallery to showcase the Instagram photos from Team USA at the Olympics. Recently, Bergdorf Goodman was featured on Instagram’s blog for its integration which included an interactive map that showcased its shoes in their natural habitat throughout Manhattan. Followers were able to use Instagram’s geotagging tool to mark their personal images on the map and contribute to the overall presence of #BGShoes across NYC. Kevin Systrom, founder of Instagram, thinks the network brings about a new way of shopping – suggesting that users will make purchase decisions based on the images they see in their news feeds.
As with most social networks, it may not be as obvious from the outset how B2B brands can use this platform to their advantage. However, there is opportunity for B2B brands to leverage Instagram for everything from HR, to product and service promotions or customer service.
General Electric joined Instagram to showcase its employees and take followers on a tour of its factories to “meet” the people who produce the company’s goods. The company also engaged its followers through a competition, “The Next GE Instagrapher,” which solicited entries from users who took photos that tie in with the company’s values, with the grand prize being a trip to the UK to shoot Instagram photos at a GE Aviation facility.
Jive Software also found success in Instagram with similar strategies. The company launched a social program to drive people to a microsite that offered a free trial of its software. The campaign focused on the “Jive Office Hero,” which showcased random and sometimes amusing pictures on Instagram of its employees and offices with the hashtag #officehero. To wrap up the campaign, the company leveraged Instagram to host a contest for followers to share photos of their own office shenanigans.
Other B2B brands might take advantage of Instagram to get feedback from customers, capture highlights from a company-sponsored event or curate its fans’ work by searching for its brand on the Search Instagram tool.
This infographic from Marketo shares more insight on why Instagram is important for business marketers.
Currently, more than 85 million Instagram users have shared four billion photos and six new members join every second (Source: Forbes). With those numbers, the opportunities to share are limitless.
“At some point in the next two years you’ll go onto Instagram and see what’s happening in real time anywhere in the world, and that’s world-changing,” says Systrom (Source: Forbes).