If it’s true that a picture can tell a thousand words, then wouldn’t it be nice to tell that story right away as it happens? This is the force behind the popular application Instagram. This free app lets you post a picture immediately on the Internet after you take it. It is hugely successful now and it can contribute immensely to the branding of your product, service or company.
Launched in October 2010, Instagram is a sharing program for pictures which allows you to share your photos immediately through various social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter. This service is instant as its name suggests and works well with mobile devices such as the iPhone, iPad, iPod Touch and Android phones.
Many people have fallen in love with Instagram particularly the way it can conveniently enhance your photos with the use of digital filters which improve contrast, brightness and color tone. The popularity of Instagram has convinced Facebook to purchase it for a billion dollars in cash and stock on April 2012.
Visual Storytelling for Branding Success
Even with its high profile acquisition by Facebook, Instagram remains a small and independent unit comprised of fifteen employees. Its success is primarily driven by its storytelling appeal. Ordinary people can instantly share their pictures online and the story behind this picture.
The focus of Instagram on storytelling is not limited to people. It can also benefit the brand of a business. Remember, the brand created by a business name is a story in itself. It tells people what the business is all about: the quality of its services and its commitment to customer care. Pictures that tell a story can help shape the perception of people about a brand. This is where Instagram can help in branding.
Let’s take the example of Burberry which has been using Instagram to market its brand. In a campaign called Art of the Trench, it invites people to post in Instagram their pictures of trench coats with their campaign hashtag #artofthetrench.
The marketing campaign of Burberry is interesting because it invites participation and collaboration with Internet users. When people are more involved in something, they care even more. Not only that, it creates awareness about the Burberry brand especially its trench coats.
Another example is the social rewards program called TopGuest which invites its users to post in Instagram their photos of the hotels where they are staying. If this is an affiliate hotel, the members of the TopGuest program can claim rewards for their Instagram photos.
Levi’s, Ben and Jerry’s Ice Cream, Sharpie and Threadless are some of the notable brands who have integrated Instagram in their marketing campaigns.
Harnessing Instagram for Your Business
Instagram is a free service which your business can use as an edge over the competition. After creating an Instagram account, you can link it with your other social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter.
With your existing contacts in Facebook and Twitter, you can tell your target market about your new Instagram functionality. To invite participation with consumers, you should think of various ways to make Instagram useful. Here are some ideas:
- Use Instagram as a means to post sneak peeks and behind the scenes photos. Whether you are creating a new film, product or event, you can use Instagram as a visual platform to provide instant updates to your friends or followers with a teaser.
- Instagram contests are a good way of involving your friends and followers so that they can get to know your brand better. You can invite them to post Instagram pictures about a certain theme or idea.
It is a good idea to make them post pictures coherent with your brand. This will make them think of ways to align their pictures with what your company is representing. Of course, it’s always a good idea to raise the stakes with attractive prizes and rewards.
- Make use of hashtags when you post Instagram photos related to your brand. This will make it easier for your brand to have its own category online for easier browsing especially in Twitter.
With the help of Instagram, a compelling photo with a captivating story can always improve the branding of your business.