Monday 19 March 2018

Tell Your Brand’s Story with Instagram: Tips and Best Practices

What’s the best way to tell your brand’s story?

Do you remember your favorite book as a child? I was always drawn to picture books, because they allowed me to see an image and then construct a story from the photos on the page. Fast forward twenty-some years and I’m still drawn to “photo stories.” While I don’t flip through picture books like I did when I was younger, I’m constantly reading and viewing other people’s “story” within the social space.

There are hundreds of platforms and mobile applications for brands to use today from Facebook and Twitter to Pinterest and Quora and everything in between. There’s certainly no lack of options when looking for platforms to reach a specific brand audience. One question that remains unanswered is this: what platform is best to tell your brand’s story?

Instagram has been a hot topic lately with Facebook’s recent acquisition of the mobile application but also because of the number of brands using the platform effectively and successfully. There’s one key insight about Instagram that reminds me of my childhood picture books: Never underestimate the value of a powerful photograph.

Instagram provides a way for brands to tell their own story and share “what they’re all about” in order to connect with their audience. In a previous Edelman Digital article,  shared tips, considerations and recommendations for brands looking to launch an Instagram account. Today I want to share more information on why Instagram is a valuable platform to tell your brand’s story.

Why should brands use Instagram? Below are six quick reasons:

  • Ease of use – brands already are sharing owned photos on Facebook, Twitter, company blogs and more. These photos can and should be shared with the Instagram community
  • Global reach – only 50% of Instagram users are in the United States. Japan is the #2 country using the platform, followed by countries like Brazil, Canada, Spain and the U.K.
  • Instagram provides the ability to quickly and easily publish to multiple platforms, including Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare and Tumblr
  • Content sourcing -  Instagram users are more than willing to contribute photos to a specific brand hashtag that brands can then use for events, websites, promotional materials and more
  • High engagement – take a look at what Tiffany Co. is doing on Instagram. The brand has about 25% engagement on all Instagram photos. While many brands have larger followings on Facebook and Twitter, the engagement (Likes and comments) on Instagram is significantly higher compared to other social platforms. This is the norm across brands using Instagram.
  • Instagram gives brands a genuine voice; sharing photos on Instagram doesn’t “feel like an advertisement”

As you probably know, Instagram is solely a mobile application with no web component. If you don’t have an i0S or Android device, don’t fear! You can view Instagram photos online with some very helpful web viewers. Check out five suggestions below:

  • Ink361 – this is one web viewer that is recommended for livestreaming photos at events with a specific hashtag. The site also allows users to like and comment on photos when they login with their Instagram account.
  • Gramfeed – this is the web viewer the Instagram team links to on their own blog. Gramfeed allows users to search and view Instagram photos by users, tags and location.
  • Statigram – this web viewer gives users the ability to view Instagram photos on the web. Statigram also provides number of likes and comments received, top 5 most Liked/comments photos, most engaged followers and optimization tips on best times to post photos
  • Webstagram – this web viewer is an easy way to view photos your brand posted, as well as Like and comment on other photos, follow and unfollow other users.
  • Pingram – this one’s for all of you Pinterest lovers! The Pingram web viewer allows users to view Instagram photos in the Pinterest layout format and then “pin” directly to their Pinterest account. Users can also search for photos by location, popular users, number of Likes and more.

Still not convinced? The below Instagram stats might give your brand an extra push to start snapping photos and sharing on Instgram:

  • 30+ million registered users
  • 1 billion+ photos uploaded
  • 5 million+ photos uploaded per day
  • 575 Likes per second
  • 81 comments per second

Instagram’s focus is on “being a storytelling service.” Brands have their opportunity to not only tell their audience what they do, but show them by snapping a photo and adding a fun filter. My favorite stories as a child were ones that focused on images first and words second; Instagram is a way that individuals and brands can tell their story in a similar fashion.

Image credit: anniehp

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