They say “a picture is worth 1,000 words.” If this is in fact true, a picture posted on Instagram is worth far more than a 140 character tweet.
Over the past two years Instagram has exploded in popularity with more than 100 million users and is one of the most downloaded phone apps.
Instagram borrows the hashtag concept from Twitter and aggregates content like Facebook. However, it is different from other social media because it is purely mobile. There is no such thing as “Instagram.com” and simply cannot be accessed from a laptop or desktop computer.
It seems as though with each social media app that is released, people get lazier and lazier. People no longer want to read someone’s long, dramatic Facebook status. With new apps like Instagram and Vine, zero reading is involved, just mindless entertainment.
So as technology develops and users desire information in an extremely brief but visually appealing way, it is important for PR professionals to utilize Instagram as a social media outlet to promote a specific brand, company or product.
Because people are becoming more and more visually oriented, a post on Instagram helps create a visual connection between a brand and a potential consumer.
PR Newswire offers 5 tips for PR Pros on Instagram. One of the tips I have noticed the most on my personal Instagram account is businesses hosting contests for giveaways. In fact, I even participated in a Delta Airlines promo. Delta created an Instagram account and encouraged people to follow and share its picture for a chance to win a free plane ticket to any destination. Some sort of contest or giveaway is quick and easy (just how social media users like it) and shares visual content with existing fans, while attracting new ones.
In fact, there have been numerous successful PR campaigns thanks to Instagram and visual PR. PRNewser highlights some of these in the article 5 Great 2012 Instagram Branding Campaigns.
Don’t just post boring photos of your products. Tell a story about the product that shows how people use them and what they can do. For example, if you’re promoting diet supplements, you could post before and after photos of people who have used the product to show how it has transformed the client. Make sure the photo is interesting, and your followers are more likely to share it. It’s all about grabbing attention to your photo and making someone stop and look further into it instead of continuing the thumb scroll.
Social media also makes people feel like they are part of something without actually being there. If a company is planning an event, Instagram allows them to share information by taking photos of the planning process. By posting photos of the invitations, venue, decorations and food, people will feel like they are part of the process because they see it from start to finish. This is advantageous to a company because it will help stir up hype for an event.
Who knows what the next big social media craze will be, but it is crucial for PR professionals to be Instagram savvy as another useful outlet to engage potential consumers.