Monday, 21 January 2013

3 Questions to Ask Yourself Before Your Brand Joins Instagram

Hey, have you heard of Instagram? It’s that handy-dandy app all the kids are using these days that makes your expensive smartphone camera photographs look like a Polaroid from the 70s. Of course you have. It's all over the place.

So hipster, dude.
As happens with such popular Internet phenomena, marketers have excitedly leapt onto Instagram’s bandwagon and are desperately trying to find ways to make money off of a site that has historically been known as a place for sharing pictures of one’s feet, or one’s turkey sandwich.
And cats. Always cats.
For some brands, this platform really works, and it’s a great tool for sharing with your audience. For others, it’s simply a waste of time that could be better spent cultivating your brand on a different medium. 

In order to decide whether Instagram is the right choice for your brand, here are 3 simple things you want to keep in mind.

1. Are you visual?

Do you sell a product or service that can be shown many different ways, utilizing the various Instagram filters to make it even more visually appealing? Can you show your brand in different exciting locations, or being used in clever ways? Do your employees regularly do legitimately interesting things [that someone other than your mother would want to see]? 

Your Instagram account should be a way to showcase who you are and what you do, but if your product/service is not so visually appealing (think law firm, or medical practice) or if your office culture has little to offer, then maybe you don’t have much to share. At Swagger, we like to share behind-the-scenes photos from our video shoots. It gives people a chance to see how videos are made from a unique perspective and it stirs interest in our upcoming projects. Also, we’re Houston-based and proud of it, so occasionally we like to show our Houston pride by sharing photos of the team on field trips around the city. These two types of photos show both what we do and who we are. 

2.  Can you master the art of the #hashtag?

 Hashtags are clutch on Instagram. Hashtags help you gain followers, hashtags help you find new customers, hashtags help you organize contests and promotions, and once, I heard a hashtag saved a kitten from a really tall tree. 

I swear. His name was Georgie and ever since then he has given his catlife over in service of the Great Hashtag.
But some people either don’t “get it” or slap a million hashtags on every post, making their brand look like an over-enthusiastic teenage girl. 
Over-enthusiastic teenage girl = redundant? #sorryimnotsorry #omg #footshot #nyc #skyline #whiteshoes #hadfrostedflakesforbreakfast #whydoesntstevenoticeme #clouds #rightfoot #leftfoot #seriouslystevepleasenoticeme #buymyproductorilljustdie #illsimplydie #lolz

3. Do you have time?

Don't do it just to do it. Too often brands lose focus trying to exist on every social platform available rather than sticking to the ones they can do well and make sense for them. If that's only Twitter, then only be on Twitter. You'll be ok, I promise. If you end up with an Instagram account for your brand that hasn't shared a photo since that one of the dirty break room fridge four months ago, you might be doing more harm than good. You want exposure online, but only when it's quality exposure.

If the answer to these three questions is yes then congratulations, your brand is on its way to becoming the next Instagram sensation!

Who do you think is using Instagram well? What kind of companies do you follow there? Or are you over the whole thing entirely? Leave your thoughts below, tweet or Facebook us!

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